Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars (2004)

(Original Air Date: October 17, 2004 [part One])

Five Stars... it's perfect!Five Stars... it's perfect!Five Stars... it's perfect!Five Stars... it's perfect!Five Stars... it's perfect!

Farscape returns better than Ever!

Luxan Critic!!!
J.C. Maçek III
The World's Greatest Critic!

When "The Cage", Star Trek's first pilot, was submitted to NBC it was rejected for two infamous phrases: "Too Cerebral"; "Too good for Television". In hindsight these phrases may seem humorous, especially because TV has changed so much since the Mid-Sixties. What exactly does "Too good for Television" mean anyway?

In 1999 (and on through 2003) that question might just have been answered in the form of Farscape, the Jim Henson Company's amazing foray into serial television featuring a wise-cracking scientist Astronaut (at once action Hero, mental mentor and everyman) accidentally shot through a rift in space and ending up on the far side of the galaxy in the midst of opposing factions in a conflict too big for his understanding. As Ben Browder's Commander John Crichton grew into this saga, millions of fans (known as 'Scapers) thrilled to his adventures with his new friends, a group of escaped prisoners on a living ship. It was different every week with amazing special effects excellent unbounded writing and great acting all around. But was it "too good for Television"?

Apparently so in an ironic way. In 2003 the Sci-Fi Channel Canceled the show in favor of such "winners" as Tremors: The Series and, I kid you not, Sci-Fi Reality Shows. But Farscape wouldn't die! Or, rather, the 'Scapers wouldn't let it die, launching multiple campaigns coordinated by the good folks at WatchFarscape.com. From women sending their brassieres in to Sci-Fi Exectutives to donating DVDs to United States soldiers around the world, they, (or should I say... we) tried just about everything. Unrealized Realities: The Farscape Trading Card Project When the Mini Series Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars was announced it was a definitive (if partial... so far) victory for the fans, the creators and the stars.

But how is the Mini Series? Well, for the first time in my life I didn't suspect, I knew what "Too good for Television" meant. From the Special Effects to the acting to the ambitious scope of the project, and most especially, the writing, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars is just about the best thing I've seen on Television!

When we last saw our gang, Scorpius and Sikozu had been spaced to await the Peacekeeper Command Carrier our boy still was the boss of and John Crichton and Aeryn Sun had helped collapse a worm hole to Earth, which the Scarran race wanted to turn into a bag of Crunch N' Munch, and Moya needed a nice, relaxing Calgon bath. To celebrate their victories, Aeryn confesses to John that she's going to have his baby after all just as he begins to propose Marriage. Naturally along comes a spider and turns Aeryn and John into dust like a staked Vampire on Buffy, right in front of Chiana, D'Argo, Moya, Pilot and Rygel!

Might I say that's a hell of a way to end things? Might I add, heck yes. But the good news is that John Crichton (Browder) and Aeryn Sun Claudia Black were actually only mostly dead! Ka D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe) has negotiated a Peace with the Eidelons (the very Frellers that "Crystallized" Aeryn and John) while our buddy Dominar Rygel the Sixteenth (voice of Jonathan Hardy) picks up each itty-bitty piece in the only way he can. The good news? Everyone's favorite intergalactic star-crossed lovers are back together and whole again!

The Bad news? Well... um, Aeryn's not Preggers anymore... Rygel is. Hoo boy! And since it can't get worse from there, things start getting better and better. Turns out that the Scarran influx into this part of the Galaxy has pissed off a certain half Scarran half Sebacean named Scorpius (Wayne Pygram) enough for he and his commando buddies to start erasing Scarran ships from existence and starting the last great war of the age. Scorpius' babe Sikozu (Raelee Hill) no longer looks like a cross between a Barbie Doll and Sputnik, but now looks like a cross between a dominatrix and a porn star. Bad enough for you? Okay, well, the re-incorporation of John Crichton also re-incorporates Scorpius' revamped Neuroclone named Harvey, which means Scorpy knows the big guy's alive again.

So, while the whole gang's back together, including Pilot (voice of Lani Tupu), Paul Goddard's Stark and Gigi Edgley's Chiana (with new eyes thanks to the new Diagnosan), things are just as bad as ever for our intergalactic Scooby Gang as they're chased by Sebacean Peacekeepers, Scarran Warriors and border raiders. It's packed with the best of vintage Farscape all around. And if you thought that the end of Season Four had the mother of all Cliffhangers, The Peacekeeper War part one throws down the grandpa of all Trump Cards on that one.

The truly amazing thing about Part One is the magnificent scope and ambitious inclusions that the writers have made. Series Creator Rockne S. O'Bannon and the excellent David Kemper have put together a teleplay that covers more bases than even the truest of fans saw coming and still left many doors open. The reaching backward into older, sometimes almost forgotten episodes for loose ends to tie up actually enhances the care and precision of this show. There are more attackers, asides, surprises and shocks here than in a whole season of Farscape Proper. Even a now Feral (and somehow even hotter) Jool (Tammy McIntosh) makes a Cameo! We learn much more about the Scarrans, more than we want to about Scorpius and Sikozu, quite a lot about the Wormhole Elders and quite a lot more about things that I can't spoil for you! But we do learn with certain horror just who these Sebaceans are, and just why such a warlike organization could call themselves "Peacekeepers"!

Under lesser writers this ambitious attempt might well collapse under its own weight, but O'Bannon, Kemper, and Director Brian Henson juggle everything tensely and surprisingly well. It's a multi-limbed tree, for sure, but the trunk keeps growing to a shocking twist.

Farscape also looks better than ever here, with enhanced and more ambitious special effects of a quality on Par with Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones! From the all-animated aquatic Rygel (that still looks like Rygel) to the improved Starburst effect to the closer views at the ships in daylight to the expansive horizons, The Peacekeeper Wars delivers the best looking Science Fiction anywhere.

If I had to nitpick anything, the only thing I had a problem with was the short time during which Crichton and Sun were crystallized. In the space of two months, so very many things took place creating so very many emotional and tangible changes that I wondered why only two months had gone by in the story. And, Granny, if that's my only complaint about the whole show, then guess what? Five Stars!

That's right! Five Stars out of Five for the first half of Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. I've never seen so many dominoes falling into place from so many points in the Mythos to form such an amazing total. I just hope this isn't "The End!" A show that's never gotten old, that always breaks new ground and balances comedy, action, depth, romance and intrigue with skill and aplomb is a rare find.

For you newcomers, there is enough of a recap to catch you up without insulting the hardcore 'Scapers, and there's enough new to surprise even the most clinically cynical amongst us! So until the cliffhanger is avoided (which is tonight in Part II, I hope) I'll see you in the next reel!

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Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars Part One (2004) Reviewed by J.C. Maçek III who is solely responsible for his own views and for his affinity for the Long-Faced Scarrans!
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Now if Chiana would just get Naked for me!

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Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars (2004)
(Original Air Date: October 18, 2004 [part Two])

Five Stars... it's perfect!Five Stars... it's perfect!Five Stars... it's perfect!Five Stars... it's perfect!Five Stars... it's perfect!

An end worthy of a Dominar!

Scarran Critic!!!
J.C. Maçek III
The World's Greatest Critic!

You must watch!  There will come a Reckoning!
I hope this isn't the end! I really, really do, though it's hard to imagine (ratings be damned) Farscape starting again as a series after what we saw in Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars Part II! On one hand, I can't get enough Farscape, and it truly is the best Television ever made. On the other, The Peacekeeper Wars was no ordinary TV program, even for Farscape. As I said in my review for Part I, this is pretty much "Too good for Television", and a weekly show of this scope and magnitude... Overwhelming! Exhausting!

MORE COMICS!It was beautiful to see the return of Moya with John Crichton, Aeryn Sun, Joolushko Tunai Fenta Hovalis, Jothee, Ka D'Argo, Dominar Rygel XVI, Chiana, Sikozu, Pilot and even Scorpius and (ha, ha) Harvey. Sure we all miss Zhaan, Talyn and Crais, but look at this list! It's a brilliant testament to character development that such a packed roster can be made sense of!

And it's a testament to writers Rockne S. O'Bannon and David Kemper along with big-boss (and this time, director) Brian Henson that the best thing on television was found on channel 131, for Frell's sake! If anything Part II of this Mini Series is more ambitious, more jam-packed with what makes Farscape great, and even better in its great moments than Part I. Some of the flaws (still not enough to reduce the Rating) are a bit more noticeable too, though. However it's the human struggle of these non-humans that brings you in and causes an unexpected emotional attachment to the characters (puppets and guys in big rubber suits though they may be). Ironically Farscape is one of the more realistic shows ever made in terms of characterizations. Henson and company haven't once told us "Because we said so!" and that holds true here too.

After the previous night's Cliffhanger, it's up to Jothee's Luxan commandoes to pick up the Scarran trash and rock this roll. (For those of you who don't know, Luxans are a warrior race who make Klingons look like Smurfs, and Scarrans are a cross between Darth Vader and Godzilla, with the attitude of Dick Cheney!) The problem is that Rygel (Jonathan Hardy) is in a Phoebe-like Labor with John and Aeryn's Bambino (who's set to squeeze out of Aeryn anyway in a few arns) and someone among them has got to be a Traitor Joe!

Far-Casting on the Fly!

Watch These Names, Kemosabe!
  • Ben Browder - John Crichton
  • Claudia Black - Aeryn Sun
  • Anthony Simcoe - Ka D'Argo
  • Gigi Edgley - Chiana
  • Wayne Pygram - Scorpius/ Harvey the Neuroclone
  • Raelee Hill - Sikozu Shanu
  • Tammy McIntosh - Joolushko Tunai Fenta Hovalis
  • Paul Goddard - Stark
  • Melissa Jaffer - Utu-Noranti Pralatong
  • Duncan Young - Emperor Staleek
  • Francesca Buller - War Minister Akhna
  • Rebecca Riggs - Commandant Mele-on-Grayza
  • David Franklin - Captain Meeklo Braca
  • Matthew Newton - Jothee
  • John Bach - Einstein
  • Jonathan Hardy - Dominar (deposed) Rygel XVI (voice)
  • Lani Tupu - Pilot (voice)

And don't forget these Heroes, Amigos!
  • Directed by Brian Henson
  • Written by Rockne S. O'Bannon and David Kemper
  • Produced by Martin G. Baker (producer)
    Brian Henson (executive producer)
    David Kemper (executive producer)
    Rockne S. O'Bannon (executive producer)
    Andrew Prowse (producer)
  • Original Music by Guy Gross

-Cast Away, Kneumsi!!!

And you thought you had a hard commute? Imagine traveling half-way across the galaxy facing people who want to kill you, people who want to kill you, people who want to kill you and people who want to kill you, only to meet up with the enemies of the people who want to kill you and find out that they too want to kill you, while you've just been in vitro fertilized by your boyfriend from your midgety Alien Surrogate Mother's gut, crashing into the ocean and still having to engage in the grand-mere of all gunfights with several of the many factions who want to kill you. Nope... no Starbucks on the way for you, Mammy!

It's Grayza (Rebecca Riggs) the woman with the literally hypnotic breasts who steals the Peacekeeper show this time, while Scarran Emperor Staleek (Duncan Young) is on his grudge match to annihilate all who get in his way, hopefully with John Crichton's "Worm Hole Weapon". Do we finally get to see it? Ah, canna say, suh, but the resolution to that loose end is worth the whole show!

Even with all that going on, more of that quasi-human struggle, unpredictable surprises and a cast of characters as rapidly shifting as a NASCAR Mustang, the whole thing still manages to make sense and fit in perfectly like a Where's Waldo Jigsaw Puzzle! It has to! Anything this big and ambitious wears even the smallest flaw on its nose!

There's little more I can tell you without ruining what really is the best time you can spend in front of a Television (barring an actual... nevermind). Suffice it to say though, more loose ends are tied up than a Sausage Link press, and more action, drama and comedy abound here than in most actual network lineups!

Best of all, this Cinematic Quality adventure is a worthy ending to an incredible run. I hope it's not over -I hope every couple of years a new movie or Mini Series graces us- but if this is the end, it's a fitting end, emotional and heart-wrenching, (the intergalactic Scooby Gang leaves some of their Blood behind) and sometimes it's painful for a fan to watch, but this ending was the perfect ending.

It's the kind of ending that will be talked about and quoted by fans like... well, like John Crichton. And that's why we like him so much. Ben Browder's John Crichton isn't this affable, but still out-of-this-world hero like Luke Skywalker or James Tiberius Kirk. Instead he's one of us... a guy who grew up in Texas watching the same shows and movies we watched and cracking on the enemy with quips from Star Trek, Land of the Lost, Star Wars, Jimmy Stewart Movies, Bogie Movies, you name it... he's the wise-cracker we all want to hang out with on Movie Night! When he made it home, what was his dad talking about? "September the 11th"! He's the unlikely hero thrown into unlikely circumstances and dealing with them in the most likely way he can. He's just like all of us fat sci-fi geeks at home, but he looks better in Leather Pants.

He's just one of the massively well developed characters here, making this show incredible, even in its final [two] hour[s]! Farscape is "that good"! Farscape is Star Wars good, it's Alien good, and it's not to be missed. I didn't think I'd like it either when I first caught wind of it back in 1999, but I'll be damned... it really is "too good for Television"!

Five Stars out of Five for night two, the final night, of Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars! Yeah, it is that good, and it begs to be seen and seen again to catch the subtleties. One can't help but wonder, though... where can we go from here? Here's hoping that the "Next Reel" is on the other side of the Galaxy in the Uncharted Territories! Then, I'll really mean it when I say... see you in the next reel, Kiddo!

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Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars Part Two (2004) Reviewed by J.C. Maçek III who is solely responsible for his own views and for Jothee's new Nose!
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Officer Sun naked would be nice too, actually! How about Jool or Sikozu Naked? Even Grayza! Where's Zhaan though?FARSCAPE!