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ADV Films presents
Farscape #3 (2000)

D'Argo: Tomorrow is a rest day.
Crichton: I thought today was a rest day!

- Anthony Simcoe, Ben Browder

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: March 21, 2001

Stars: Ben Browder, Claudia Black
Other Stars: Anthony Simcoe, Virginia Hey
Director: Rowan Woods

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild violence)
Run Time: 01h:39m:12s
Release Date: May 01, 2001
UPC: 702727009822
Genre: sci-fi


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A-A-A- B+

DVD Review

Are you ready for episodes 5 and 6 of Farscape? Of course you are! So is ADV, whose next volume of the popular TV series is arriving soon. The third season is chugging a long pretty well as I speak, but not without a few tears shed for a character's loss. It's nice to go back to these early shows and see the core of the dramatics and action that gave birth to this show that has exceeded its expectations in such amazing ways. So, let's jump right in.

Back and Back To The Future sees the crew of Moya encountering a strange vessel that's about to explode. Two crew members of the strange ship manage to escape and board Moya, expecting some refuge from a threat they perceive. Like D'Argo, they are Luxons (well, close cousins to the species), which complicates things as the female of the two, Matala, attempts to seduce the males aboard Moya to cover up something. When John Crichton boards their vessel, he is overcome by a strange force that gives the ability to see into the future for short bursts, and what he sees disturbs him. What exactly are these people hiding on board their ship? This is pretty much the first of Farscape's 'weird' episodes where something strange happens not entirely related to the thread of the series, but rather as a "Twilight Zone"-ish effect on things. As someone who's watched the series since the premiere, I'd have to classify this episode as one of the classics so far.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Moyas.


One of my personal favorites in the series (and the episode that cemented my opinions of the show) is Thank God It's Friday...Again. D'Argo experiences Luxon hyper-rage, which makes him menace any threatening, nearby males. This means Crichton is big trouble; hiding himself in any corner of the ship he can find. To cool off, D'Argo decides to take a brief "vacation" on a nearby planet, Skykar. After a few days, Aeryn Sun, Crichton, and Zhann decide to go after him and see if he's doing well. They find D'Argo content and happy amongst a strange society of farmers who seem to mindlessly work all day, and then mindlessly party all night. Crichton begins to suspect something is wrong when he realizes that the people are constantly promised a "rest day" that never comes. Eventually, he is exposed to an underground movement that tells him the planet is indeed harboring a dark secret, but D'Argo, and now Zhann, are completely enraptured with the lifestyle. This marks the first episode that really makes a major departure from the "on board ship" episodes, and instead takes place mostly on a planet. So, we have more sets, costume design, and actors present. Although previous shows touched on this, none really had the same level "otherworldly" atmosphere. The great production values and wonderful visuals in this episode pretty much sold me on the show, while I was still skeptical.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Moyas.


These episodes mark something like an end of an era for Farscape. By this time, the show was getting enough good press to draw in more viewers. The first six episodes were also done at a time when marathon shooting sessions were employed to get them all done for their television premiere. After this point, filming was a slightly more calmed procedure and the valuable experience gained on working with the puppetry and CG led to better and better work on future shows. Of course, as good as the early shows were, the series has evolved in leaps and bounds since.

Another element that's very obvious in these shows is how hard the writers were trying to break free of many sci-fi show doldrums by adding some twists and inventive characters. Who would have ever expected it to result in the resounding success of the current Farscape episodes; a dark, epic show that has redefined what many people expect from a linear science fiction or horror series.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Other than a few minor moments when I detected some shimmer in certain areas, the image is no less impressive than previous volumes. Extremely clean, clear, and sharp with no obvious problems.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The same, great Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes adorn these episodes. Filled with lots of surround action and wide soundfield. Good bass usage and well-toned dialogue round off the mixes and, overall, there's nothing that stands out as negative here. These shows aren't quite as aggressive as some previous episodes, but the track still represents the best it can offer.
The Dolby 2.0 audio tracks contain about the same usage of sound effects and directionality, other than the obvious mono surround material. Although not as clear or crisp as the 5.1 mix, it still sounds impressive for the average 2.0 Surround mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
2 Original Trailer(s)
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by (1)Ben Browder, Rowan Woods/(2)Rockne S O'Bannon, Anthony Simcoe
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. DVD-ROM Weblinks
  2. Conceptual drawings.
  3. Actress profile: Virginia Hey
Extras Review: Two more commentary tracks appear on this volume. For the episode Back and Back To The Future, we have actor Ben Browder (John Crichton) and director Rowan Woods. The track is filled with a lot of information about how Rowan Woods (a very esteemed director in Australia) got involved with the series, and what it was like filming these early episodes. Ben Browder adds his usual, jokey charm to the mix, along with some funny trivia.

Thank God It's Friday...Again features commentary by series creator Rockne S. O'Bannon and actor Anthony Simcoe (D'Argo). Like the first track, this deals a lot with how director Rowan Woods was received on the show, being such a major force in the Australian film scene. Simcoe, also Australian, reveals his excitement over working with such a figure.

The profile in this volume focuses on actress Virginia Hey, who portrays Zhann. It's basically a 15-minute interview with some footage from the show edited into it. Unfortunately, fans hoping for a glimpse of Virginia out of her make-up will be disappointed. (Try The Road Warrior)

There is a gallery of conceptual artwork presented, mostly in the form of black-and-white drawings. They seem to be unrelated to the actual episodes on this disc, but rather just general artwork from the design phases of the show.

There are weblinks and 2 promotional trailers for the Farscape series as presented on DVD. There is also a skippable trailer for Generator Gawl before the main menu.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

It's unfortunate that ADV's decision to only release 2 episodes a volume has overshadowed the good work they're doing with these discs. However, although I'm impressed with the show so far on DVD, I think they may want to re-think that policy when they get to the second season (or possibly sooner), as this seems to be a hefty price to pay for collectors. Hopefully, someone near you carries these on rental, as it's a great to catch up on some of the events that lead you to where we're at now in the show.

 


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