This must-have collection includes 8 episodes of the first season of the Jim Henson Television, Hallmark Entertainment, and Nine Networks award-winning series on 2 discs. This award-winning series, which airs on SCI FI, ha... more »s been called "The Best Sci-Fi on TV," by TV Guide, and hailed as "TV's Best Space Series" by USA Today.« less
"Like many fans of FARSCAPE, I've only now started turning in my old recordings of the show for DVDs now that we are finally getting acceptably priced copies of the show. Although there have been other TV series that have appeared in overpriced editions-THE X-FILES springs to mind-FARSCAPE was the only one in its original edition that could be said to be prohibitively so. I'm not sure about other fans, but there was simply no way that I was able or willing to pay for a set that listed for well over a hundred dollars. One could make some complaints about the new Starburst edition-for instance, I'm still not clear on why they have to dribble these out two discs at a time, instead of releasing an entire season at once-but two things one cannot carp about: the cost and the number of extras. As to the former, I've been about to find each disc in the Starburst so far from various resellers listed on Amazon for no more than $16 apiece. As to the latter, each of the three sets making up each season is stuffed with a variety of special features. Some of the special features feel a bit like filler, but a number are substantive. In this set we get video profiles of Crais (Lani John Tupu, who also provides the voice for Pilot and therefore the only dual role performer in the series) and the two end-of-the-season newcomers, Chiana and Scorpius. The importance of the arrival of the last two can't be overemphasized, since after their debuts the show takes on the shape it holds pretty much until the end.
Although I love every season of FARSCAPE, the series completely matured, I believe, in this final third of the first season, with the addition of Chiana and Scorpius to the cast. Both of those characters changed the chemistry of the show dramatically and took it in entirely new directions. Chiana's arrival is somewhat disguised in "Durka Returns," as the prisoner of Nebaris and one of their most successful reclamation projects, Durka, whom they have reprogrammed to be nonviolent. Durka, we learned in a previous episode, was a torturer and notorious Sebacean who took especial delight in questioning Rygel. But it was not Durka but the feline, ultra sensual free spirit Chiana who would become a permanent member of the cast. Although the cast was superb from the beginning, Chiana brought a new dimension to the crew as the resident bad girl. It would be a long time in the series before Chiana would come to cease being primarily more concerned with herself than with the others, but she would end by becoming attached to the welfare of the whole more than to herself. No character on the series, not even former space Nazi Aeryn, would grow as much as Chiana. I'm sure the series would have been marvelously successful without the addition of Chiana, but it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun. Besides, while Virginia Hey's Zhaan was undoubtedly beautiful and sensual and Claudia Black's Aeryn was beautiful and sexy despite herself, Gigi Edgley's Chiana was always a pure, unadulterated sexpot. She always seemed to be on the verge of jumping the bones of anyone within jumping distance. She also brought a playful physicality that marked her off from the other characters.
Likewise, Scorpius brought a degree of genuine menace and creepiness that Crais never quite managed. In my opinion, Scorpius was the finest villain in the history of TV. Even the first time we see him, before he developed in a host of wonderful ways in the final three seasons, Scorpius was unforgettable. He simultaneously was part Frankenstein, part reptile, and part elegant gentleman. His costume looked both like a snakeskin and a tuxedo with tails. And while his face was haunting, he spoke with a soft, sophisticated voice that completely belied his appearance. The first time we see the cooling rods rotating into his skull we know for certain that this man is a monstrosity, yet charismatic and compelling despite that. Even had he not developed he would have been one of the medium's great villains, but what makes him so extraordinary is the way that the show's creators gave him so many new dimensions in the seasons to come, not least as they develop John's "Harvey" late in Season Two.
This set is graced with several superb episodes, including "A Human Reaction," in which John thinks he has returned to earth with his shipmates. It is an extremely important episode on several levels, not merely because it is compelling on its own, but because it represents the spot at which John is implanted with hidden knowledge about wormhole technology (which essentially provides the drive for the main structuring story arc from his appearance in Scorpius's Aurora Chair until the end of the miniseries following Season Four). We also receive further confirmation of John's feelings for Aeryn. The final two episodes are the first in what would prove to be a series of extraordinary season-ending finales that helped define FARSCAPE during its run. Three of the final four episodes have John going down to a Peacekeeper base to attempt to find a medical treatment for an injury that Aeryn has suffered and that will prove fatal if not dealt with. It is there that we find Scorpius for the first time, a restored Aeryn leading the others down to the base to rescue John, and finally the crew being dispersed as Scorpius attempts to recapture John. The final episode is one of the great images in all of FARSCAPE with John in his space suit and D'Argo holding hands against a brilliant orange planet as the season ends.
Oh, and in the other episode of the final four, we learn that Zhaan is a plant! Actually, the first alien in the history of Sci-fi was what was described as a giant carrot in THE THING FROM OUTER SPACE, which was ghost-directed by the great Howard Hawks.
FARSCAPE in its first season established that it was willing to take chances to a degree never before seen in television. Not every gamble paid off and not every episode was perfect. But when FARSCAPE succeeded, it succeeded spectacularly. By the end of the first season, it could lay claim to being one of the finest Sci-fi series in the history of television. By the end of its third season, it could with considerable justification lay claim to being the finest ever. As good as Season One was, Season Two would be much better, and then Season Three, one of the great seasons of any show in the history of the medium, would be even better than that."
Now on Single Sided disks
Y. Kitaynik | 07/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After many complaints, ADV has chosen to re-release all of Starburst Seasons 1 and 2 on SINGLE SIDED disks. The positive effects that come from this change are many:
1. DVD quality is No Longer low. Disks play well, no glitches, no freezes, etc.
2. The titles of the episodes are marked clearly on each disk. No need to squint and rotate the DVD as you try to read some tiny font.
3. No need to flip the disk over when you want to watch other episodes. This is mostly beneficial to the people who own DVD players that can hold multiple disks at once.
4. Disk artwork :-D
There are then, certain faults that result from the change as well, all dealing with packaging quality:
--> Disks are stored in such a way that 2 are attached to each side of the DVD case. This means that in order to get to the disk at the bottom, you first have to remove the one at the top. If this isn't annoying enough, it turns out that all of the DVD buttons that hold the top disks don't work very well. Pushing the button doesn't pop the disks out as there are other plastic pieces that hold it in place. You have to push those with your fingers in order to get a disk out, and that can get really painful. If you're not careful, you might very well break a DVD in half.
My personal solution was to go and get my own DVD cases that worked properly. Having to find multi-disk cases with identical dimensions as that of the ADV ones shouldn't be that difficult. Also try to find ones that have clippings for literature, if you want to keep one in your DVD case. This Starburst release comes with a separate page listing disk content/episode synopsis, but there's no where to adequately store it.
Having that said, the content of the Starburst itself is excellent. As you know, all of the extra features from the original releases, plus many new ones (mainly the commentaries) are included. Subtitles have finally become available, and some disks don't have those annoying ADV commercials that blighted each of the original Farscape releases.
As for the quality of the show itself, that's something I won't discuss. If you haven't made up your mind about whether you like/dislike the series, then you've probably read enough reviews to get an idea of what most audience think about Farscape. I personally feel that Starburst Collection 1.3 contains the best lot of the episodes in the first Season."
Great series & now more affordable.
Andrew Dorman | Springdale, AR United States | 03/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not ony are the Starburst edition disc more for your money. Being double sided discs they take up less room one the shelf. This is good when you're poor like me and live in a small space.
Plus, we finally have gotten to the Chiana episodes."
Michael Valdivielso | Alexandria, VA | 03/09/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I love Farscape, so any review I do about them that has less than five stars hurts me. But I have to say, the double sided DVDs sometimes seem to freeze or skip. Not alot or I would have demanded a replacement, not that there are any, but double sided DVDs are just not the best way to get a show out to the public, even if it somehow makes them cheaper. On the other hand there were a lot more extras in the Starburst edition than the other DVDs and the other seasons are available to get NEW, not used, so I am looking forward to the other seasons. Too bad the first season is so hard to get and costs so much. More people would become Fans and spend more money on the DVDs."
Farscape is great!
Charles Cooper | Seattle, Wa USA | 04/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I started watching Farscape in Season 3. I watched all episodes and reruns I could get my hands on. I think they were INSANE to drop it from television.
I eventually bought the entire collection at once.
The only reason I gave this a 4 out of 5 stars, is because of the quality of the DVD. The inner clips of the box break very easily. The DVD always defaults back to subtitles between episodes, which is really annoying.
Even with the problems of the DVD, I love this set."