Edgewise #3 – FarscapeJune 18th, 2012 | Posted by in Columns and Essays
More of Dwayne’s Science Fiction and Fantasy column, formerly hosted at FantasticCon.com-
Dwayne is dead wrong about FARSCAPE
Last time I promised I’d be talking about STAR TREK but any dedicated reader of this column should know by now that I am easily distracted and seldom keep my promises. Anyway, I was only going to talk about STAR TREK to kill time. What I really wanted to do was review a contemporary genre show (in contrast to my usual habit of writing only about things that happened before you were born). So I watched X-FILES three weeks in a row (I’d never watched the show before, at least not all the way through) and mostly liked it. I was going to write about why I liked it but my Fantasticon overlords, possessed of intellect vast, cool and dispassionate, told me that my first review shouldn’t be too positive, or I’d lose the respect of my new audience. Fortunately, that’s not a problem this time.
FARSCAPE is one of a number of new series that recently debuted on cable’s Sci-Fi channel. The Sci-Fi channel, once merely a home for awful reruns of science fiction programs, has now upped the stakes considerably by co-producing awful first run science fiction programs. By this standard, FARSCAPE succeeds admirably.
Before we go on, I should introduce you to Dwayne McDuffie’s first law of enjoying science fiction and not being such a damned nerd: It doesn’t require a great deal of intelligence to prove that a Science Fiction story can’t happen. You can’t look smart doing it. You don’t.
Hence, never tell me there’s no sound in space and that I therefore shouldn’t be able to hear the spaceships whizzing by. Don’t tell me that you can shoot a bullet straight through a gas tank and it won’t blow up the car. And for God’s sake please don’t tell me you figured out how fast Warp nine is and have therefore determined that the starship VOYAGER should be home already. I mean really. Spare me. That being said, the premise of FARSCAPE was so stupid, I came very close to changing the channel to a dreaded seventh season episode of HOMICIDE (the program formerly known as “the best damned show on TV” and currently known as, “I wonder if NASH BRIDGES is any good tonight?”).
In FARSCAPE, astronaut and “his own kind of hero” John Creighton has a radical theory: If you accelerate towards a big mass, like a planet, you’ll go really fast. Apparently, gravity is related to acceleration. I’m with him so far. John tests his brilliant supposition by going up into orbit and dive-bombing the Earth in a special craft of his own construction. The experiment doesn’t end up in the way I would have expected: the creation of a big crater with a very flat spaceship at the bottom. Instead, the ship opens up a wormhole and transports our hero light-years from home, into the middle of cosmic jail break. He also accidentally kills the brother of this guy dressed like Rick Moranis in SPACEBALLS. He swears revenge. Not Rick Moranis, the other guy.
Our hero is captured by a diverse crew of alien inmates; one blue, scaly girl, who is sometimes naked; one Rasta-dred, PREDATOR-looking guy; two “cute” robots; one regular-looking space babe, for romantic interest later, I presume; and a couple of Muppets. I would have bitched about the Muppets looking all fake and whatnot but I’m giving the producers extra credit for the lack of aliens that look like humans with bones in their forehead. Despite all of this going on, other than when he gets a Babel fish stuck in his ear, our hero basically spends the entire hour in jail, waiting for something to happen. I know how he feels. Big pass on this one, folks.
Dwayne McDuffie is a founder of Milestone Media and has developed a bad habit of running long on these columns. For your information, you got 120 words for free this week