The Weekly Geek: Essential “Farscape”

Netflix instant streaming has been an absolute godsend for good geeks (like me) who have been dying to catch up on (or check out) sci-fi TV series. I’ve personally been re-trekking with The Next Generation, and I’m looking forward to finally watching Deep Space Nine for the very first time, in its entirety, of course. Bring on the progressive space aliens and “very special” same sex romance episodes! 

One very “special” side effect of this whole phenomena, however, has been the fact that a whole slew of nerds are being exposed to my favorite series of all time — Farscape — for the very first time. After hearing a few negative comments from other geeks (mostly on podcasts, like my otherwise beloved Giant Bomb) who are thoroughly unimpressed by the show’s first few episodes, I feel the need to sell you on it, dear readers. 

Farscape is truly unique – it takes a lot of the “space opera” tropes and turns them on their head, with characters that react realistically (and often negatively) to their bizarre circumstances, and grow as the show progresses. It was a serialized show in a time where sci-fi was largely episodic, an as such, the storylines were complex, rich, and emotionally satisfying. It’s also one of the most genuinely sex-positive and female-positive series in the whole genre, presenting a world wherein women are complicated, strong, and as susceptible to faults as the male characters – in other words, genuine equals. As an added bonus – there’s actually a good bit of lady-on-lady love, mostly through bisexual con woman Chiana. 

Of course, there’s nothing quite like Aeryn Sun, a badass soldier who discovers herself (both her softer side and her true convictions) throughout the series.

However, like anything that tries to be a bit different, it starts off slow, and yup, there are first season (and even second season) episodes that don’t live up to the rest of the series. Thankfully, the kind folks at I09 have just constructed an “Absolutely Essential” episode guide that gives newbies exactly what they need:

The Jim Henson Company’s early 2000s serial space opera Farscape ran with multiple subplots, and some were more satisfying than others … Out of the series’ 88 episodes and concluding miniseries, here are those episodes required for understanding the series’ greatness.

The only difference I would submit would be to go ahead and watch the entire third season straight through. While the piece gives you all you really need, I would argue that S3 Farscape is the greatest season of sci-fi television ever put to film.