I was sucked into the wormhole about a week ago and have completed my journey through the strange universe of season 1. There's much to tell. It's not all pretty, but it has a happy ending. No, not that kind (well maybe that kind if you throw in an extra $100).
Had I not been told how good the show is as you get further in, I think I would have turned it off about 20 minutes into the first episode. It was Krofft Super Show cheesy to point that I was expecting ElectraWoman to yell "Frank! Frank! We need more power!", or Dr. Shrinker to show up with his shrinking machine (come to think of it, that sort of does happen in "Bone to be Wild"). I had a hard time with Zhaan's blue skin, D'Argo's tentacle head and funky nose (God, that awful nose), turtle-ish Pilot and muppet Rygel. They were all too colorful, too bright and strange and I couldn't see myself getting involved in these characters. The set was too big and open, too golden-cheerful for a spaceship. The floor looked too much like a soundstage, the set pieces and props too minimal, too cheap, too recognizable. Ick. Ack.
Then there was the opening story arc of "I will stop at nothing to avenge my brother's obviously accidental death!" You've got to be kidding me. What the hell were all these people raving about? And what was I going to do with all these episodes I'd downloaded? Might as well give it a go, I guess. Maybe it actually does get better.
Well it does. It did. It got a lot better. And Farscape managed to pull me in, despite my early resistance. First it was Aeryn. She was awesome from the start and probably the only reason that I kept watching beyond the first episode. And no, it's not just because of those giant boots or the kick-ass wardrobe, or the guns she slings, the punches she can throw, the way she tries to take charge, or the way it all contrasts to her carefully guarded vulnerabilities. And it's not just the way she pretends Crichton is beneath her (or the way she says "Crichton") even while she semi-flirts with him. It's all of that and more. Her character started strong and has only gotten better (thanks in part to Pilot's DNA). Aeryn Sun just has this commanding presence that you can't deny. And so it was initially through her interactions with the other characters that I came to know and care about them all.
I kind of liked Zhaan early on, but now she's waning. She's become a bit one-note tiresome (although it was rather interesting to find out she's a plant). I think she's best when she's cooking up some strange concoctions/potions/poisons/explosives and she wears me down when she's all "look at me I'm so spiritual, oh the struggle, so spiritual, I was once horrible, now so spiritual... and strangely sexual." You get the idea. She's soothed me with that soothing voice one too many times and I just don't feel like being soothingly soothed anymore. If she could channel in some of this it might help (yeah I was excited to see she played that cool chick from Road Warrior).
D'Argo's nose is still a very big problem. I have, however, learned to see beyond it (perhaps Zhaan soothed it out of the forefront of my mind) and his ridiculous sword-gun and quilted red robe. And even though I was kind of not so caught up in his "I want to see my son again one day" drama at the time, I found that knowing his backstory actually helped bring the character to life for me going forward. I think I might even rub his blood clear if he were bleeding in my living room (probably be better for the rug anwyay). And I love his relationships with the other characters: the back and forth friendship with John, his warrior comaraderie with Aeryn and whatever it is he has sort-of-but-not-quite going on with Zhaan.
I took an instant liking to Chiana when she arrived, with her desaturated color, cat-like movements and untrustworthy ways. She's the perfect foil for Rygel, a character that's grown on me a lot over the course of a season. He was once just an annoying muppet who rivaled D'Argo's nose for the thing that could most interfere with my ability to take the show seriously. But now? I love him and all his Dominar smugness and quotable smart-assness. I really don't even think of him as a puppet anymore. He's fully fleshed out and as much a character as anyone else.
Oh John Crichton, where do I begin? He's our guide at the beginning and he wasn't a guide I wanted to follow. Partly it was because I saw him the way everyone else on Moya saw him and partly it was because I just didn't believe him as an astronaut. He was too vacant. I still hate all his "humorous" earthly references and his dumb nicknames for everyone, but he's starting to come into focus. I'll put it this way: he's better now and it has a lot to do with black shirts. It's a journey and I get that. He had to start somewhere and he's going somewhere. But it's about frelling time he made some progress.
Farscape is very character driven and that's what I dig about it. That's also why I am no longer distracted by weird noses (ok, maybe a little) and sets that looked so ludicrous to me at the start. It's about this oddball group forced, through various circumstance, to live together, work together, trust one another and find commonality in order to survive and maybe one day make their ways home. And it's a good mix. I am, however, wondering how many more times the Moya crew can get suckered by evil-doers, crazies, viruses and the like that just need to come aboard to make some repairs. But I suppose if they never let anyone dock, we wouldn't have Chiana now. So as long as these characters continue to keep me intrigued, I'm all in.
My least favorite episode so far is the second one from season 2, "Vitas Mortis" (which is where I left off). The next time I have insomnia, I think I'll put that on. My favorite is probably a toss up between "A Human Reaction" and "Nerve"/"Hidden Memory". Episodes have definitely trended better towards the latter part of the season 1. After cruising through 15 episodes this past weekend, I may take a few days off, but I'll be diving back into season 2 soon. Because despite its early flaws, I'm enjoying Farscape quite a bit now and am looking forward to more. I might even say I'm hooked.
And I seriously gotta get me a pair of those kick-ass Aeryn Sun boots. And some DRDs.