Most of the sci-fi shows you enjoy today owe some kind of debt to Farscape. On the flip side, most of the sci-fi shows you grew up on, Farscape liberally stole bits and pieces from. It’s quite possibly the most unoriginally original series ever made. Here’s a show that came along at a time when space opera wasn’t doing a whole lot of experimentation, and yet that’s almost exclusively what Farscape did. It took heaping platefuls of well-worn sci-fi clichés and ideas and turned them on their ear, seemingly just to find out what would happen. Most of it worked, some of it did not, but that’s the price you pay for innovation. The show was primarily a drama, but that didn’t stop it from working in jokes and sight gags whenever possible. This was considerably different when compared to the various, dry Star Trek series that were around at the time. It also featured loads of monsters and aliens, most of which stand the test of time, which is unsurprising since The Jim Henson Company was behind the show, and they are, after all, the folks who built an empire on a frog and a pig.
But The Muppet Show, Farscape is not, and don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. It’s a serious show for people who take their sci-fi seriously but can still appreciate a good fart gag every now and then. Over the course of 88 hour-long episodes, it tells the story of Earth astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) who, within the first 10 minutes of the pilot episode, is flung halfway across the universe via a wormhole, only to end up smack in the middle of an epic space battle. He soon finds himself living onboard a living ship called Moya amongst a group of alien prisoners who are on the run from their captors, the Peacekeepers, a militant group of human-looking aliens. As the series progresses, Crichton goes from inchworm to King Cobra, and eventually ends up being the most important man in the Uncharted Territories because of one thing: the wormhole knowledge planted deep in his psyche by an alien race known as the Ancients. Whoever possesses this knowledge will be able to build a weapon of awesome might, although what Crichton really wants is to just get home; too bad every alien the other side of the Milky Way wants a piece of him along the way.
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