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    Farscape Shawarma

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    Paeter
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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Paeter on December 11th 2014, 1:22 pm

    Sorry I haven't chimed in on any eps here in awhile.

    I'll just spit out all of my Look At The Princess Trilogy thoughts here:

    211- A decent episode but not awesome. However I love how character motivated the plot is. The Aeryn/Jon relationship is the reason this trilogy of eps exists.

    212- Another pretty good ep with a few moments of "cinematic" greatness, where it shows that they have experienced movie directors working on this show.

    213- This one really surprised me with a moving experience in several moments. As you'll hear in my recording, I was literally in tears during and after watching this ep. I suspect I may be fairly unique in having that reaction to this ep, and that's fine. But fair warning: If you don't care AT ALL about the Aeryn/Jon relationship, bail out now. This show probably isn't for you.


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  mindspike on December 11th 2014, 2:09 pm

    I've only watched the first two parts of this as yet. But this is, for the most part, really good stuff.

    There is a strong eugenics theme throughout, driving the political structure of the neutral kingdom, the interaction between Aeryn and John, D'Argo and Chiana, the subplot with Moya. All of the action is properly motivated to drive the plot forward and develop character at the same time. The sets and effects remain at a stellar level. I remember how impressive Pilot's holographic effect was 15 years ago, and it still looks great. The directing is subtle. The dialog is natural. Sci-fi has always been a vehicle for the discussion of how technology effects social change, and this set of episodes deals with meaty subjects on both a personal and societal level. For my money this is really Farscape at its best and the very best kind of sci-fi.

    Paeter wrote:I love how character motivated the plot is. The Aeryn/Jon relationship is the reason this trilogy of eps exists.

    Patricia Wrede wrote:
    Plot and characters go together like green eggs and ham; one without the other just isn’t as interesting. Yet a lot of writers consistently have trouble making them work together. Either they’re so focused on their characters that they forget to make the plot work, or they’re so focused on the plot that the characters become little cardboard puppets just going through the motions.

    Whichever way the problem runs, the keys to getting out of it are balance, flexibility, and occasionally reminding oneself that what you’re after isn’t green eggs or ham; it’s both together.

    Green eggs.
    And ham.
    With toast and coffee.
    Boo-yah.


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  mindspike on January 16th 2015, 10:29 am

    I'm caught up to both "Beware the Dog" and "Won't Be Fooled Again". Both of these episodes leave quite a lot to be desired, especially coming down from the previous three. The production quality on both of these is just really subpar for the show. The vork (?) is goofy looking. The other alien in the episode is obviously recycled from earlier episodes. The cinematography on both episodes is hasty. The exposition for "Fooled Again" is tedious and laborious. Even the "funscape" segments feel forced, admittedly that part of the show never clicked with me to begin with. I'm completely at a loss to explain it, as both Richard Manning and Naren Shankar consistently produce far superior scripts for the show.

    The confrontation between Scorpius and Crichton at the end of "Won't Be Fooled Again" really pays off nicely, but getting there was a feat of endurance. I know it gets much better, very quickly. I'm in for the full count.


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Paeter on January 16th 2015, 9:21 pm

    mindspike wrote:I'm caught up to both "Beware the Dog" and "Won't Be Fooled Again". Both of these episodes leave quite a lot to be desired, especially coming down from the previous three. The production quality on both of these is just really subpar for the show. The vork (?) is goofy looking. The other alien in the episode is obviously recycled from earlier episodes. The cinematography on both episodes is hasty. The exposition for "Fooled Again" is tedious and laborious. Even the "funscape" segments feel forced, admittedly that part of the show never clicked with me to begin with. I'm completely at a loss to explain it, as both Richard Manning and Naren Shankar consistently produce far superior scripts for the show.

    The confrontation between Scorpius and Crichton at the end of "Won't Be Fooled Again" really pays off nicely, but getting there was a feat of endurance. I know it gets much better, very quickly. I'm in for the full count.

    Yeah, Beware Of Dog is not the best, but I mourn your loss for "Won't Get Fooled Again". Wow! One of my most enjoyable eps of the series!!! Sorry you missed out. Good news is there are not a ton more of these "awesome" types of episodes left in the series. Plenty of little moments peppered throughout, though. (Still not sure why you muscle through, man! I'd have jumped ship by now!)


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  mindspike on January 19th 2015, 2:51 pm

    I muscle through because I said I would! I really do like the show, even if I don't have the emotional connection to it that you seem to have. And I know there are some really good episodes to come. Plus, I've never seen more than spots of season 3 and 4. That's all uncharted territory for me!

    I'm more confused about why you (Paeter) had such a positive reaction to "Won't Get Fooled Again", except that you really enjoy seeing these characters in new contexts. With your investment in Crichton's character, and the fact that he spends the episode basically acting like a loon instead of interacting with his circumstances.... I just really expected a more "Jeremiah Crichton" reaction.

    The production value of this show is one of the highlights for me, and this episode in particular is shot with all natural lighting on undressed sets, very artsy and not at all consistent with the look of the rest of the series. It has all the hallmarks of a show that has run through its budget, including limited make-up and effects, sets that don't require specialized lighting or props, recycled large effects (notably with the Scarran), and generous portions of ad-libbing by the cast. Most of my problems stem from the lack of story structure around the emotions that John is experiencing. We lack any kind of context for his delusions, and rather than taking the journey of emotional suffering that the director is clearly trying to convey, I found myself wishing they would just get to the payoff. We the viewers already know this is all fake and that nothing that happens in the delusion will affect the show! The closing scene between Scorpius and Crichton was just so slam-bang on target that I can forgive the rest of the episode.

    This kind of episode has historically been a crucial mistake in production direction; episodes of this type have been known to cause series cancellation. About this time during original airing was when NBC was placing the order for the second half of season 2, following strong ratings driven by the princess trilogy. The show almost got cancelled, but was saved by Saturn Awards in the same year for Best Syndicated TV Series and Best TV Actor (Ben Browder) as well as nominations for Claudia Black and Virginia Hey (Zhaan also being one of the most popular characters at the time).

    Much of what Farscape was doing in this episode is a direct homage to shows like Dark Shadows, Twin Peaks, and Passions. In fact, Dark Shadows was one of Sci-Fi Channels, mainstays at the time Farscape originally aired. It worked for those shows, but I just don't see it working for Farscape. The episodes that have allowed me to connect with the cast are those like the princess trilogy and "Thank God Its Friday Again".


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Paeter on January 22nd 2015, 9:51 am

    216- The Locket

    Possibly the first episode to make me cry during my first viewing of the series. (Several more before this one make me cry now, though.)
    Despite my increased sensitivity compared to the average guy, I'd say that if you feel nothing this entire episode, I'm genuinely bummed for you, because you're not experiencing one of the greatest strengths of this series, which is the development of the relationship between John and Aeryn. Although it appears that the romantic events of this ep may have no impact on future eps (appearances can be deceiving), we see the very real POTENTIAL of the romance between these characters, and through their older selves gain insight into what their younger selves are thinking and feeling about each other but won't admit now or don't yet fully understand. (Old Aeryn's reaction to John when she first sees him breaks my heart.)

    Very different from the "wacked out" eps, but this is another kind of ep that Farscape does that makes it unique to my experience of sci-fi television. One of my absolute favorites of the series.


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  mindspike on January 29th 2015, 3:09 pm

    I am that robot. I don't have strong feelings for these characters. I'm not in this show for the character drama, I'm in it for the action and adventure. This episode wasn't much on action or adventure, but it did focus on the character drama.

    I liked this episode. It was self-contained; all of the references and call-backs mentioned were given a line of dialog to put them in context. That's important to me, but it's not a deal breaker. Farscape still operated in the era of one-off shows, though it followed in the footsteps of Buffy and X-Files by setting up larger stories that operated in the background.

    More important to me, this episode did something that Farscape's not good at - it was subtle. Not only was the "in your face" wackiness absent, but it took the time to lay the groundwork for ideas and then see them through. Old John and Old Aeryn provided nice counterpoints to their young selves. We had teasers, setups, payoffs. It's really constructed very well. Justin Monjo is the writer, and he also did previous episodes that I really liked (The Flax, A Human Reaction, The Hidden Memory, Taking the Stone). Of course he also wrote "Crackers Don't Matter", an episode that I really didn't like.

    And I really like the character design on Stark. I'm glad he's part of the cast again.


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Paeter on January 30th 2015, 5:04 pm

    mindspike wrote:I am that robot.

    lol! Wow! So life-like!


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  mindspike on April 13th 2015, 11:15 am

    Catching us up a bit....

    I just finished episode 3 of season 3 "Self-Inflicted Wounds part 1".

    Since 216 "The Locket", Crichton has degenerated and gotten better, they "killed" Scorpius, rescued Jothee, killed Aeryn, Aeryn got better, Zhaan's dying, Chianna is sleeping with Jothee, D'Argo finds out, Jothee leaves the ship, Rygel is being an ass, and fresh tension has been introduced on board Moya.

    All of it came to a head in episode 302, leading into a shake-up of the cast and status quo in 303 and 304. Zhaan really is going to die and leave the show.

    But what has me going on the board here is Paeter's comment that this episode is really a mess as far as the story goes, and he wondered if that was just his perception. No, this episode really is a hot mess. There's quite a lot of hollering and hullaballoo but no real forward motion in the story. This episode really just serves to showcase the new status quo for the series going forward and reintroduce tension to a cast that was getting comfortable with each other. This episode is an example of the writer spending all their attention on the characters and nothing on the plot, unlike 302 "Suns and Lovers" which combined a sleek plot with meaningful character development.

    It really feels like an attempt to go back to season 1, where everyone was unsure about their place on the ship and their relationship with each other. They've had two seasons to bond, and the cast was becoming a team. Now we return to tension between the cast. No one is comfortable with each other, and we can start from scratch.

    It's still a hot mess. We've passed the number of episodes that I've watched. Going forward is all uncharted territories for me. Let's see what happens. On to 304....


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  mindspike on April 29th 2015, 12:11 pm

    Ep. 305 Different Destinations

    This is good stuff. I really liked this episode. Great action, a moral dilemma, and a really messy ending. This reminds me of when Lost In Space and Twilight Zone were in their prime. It's a really good example of the doctrine of unintended consequences in action. There's just so much subtext going on in the actions of Aeryn, Crichton, and the nurses during the siege regarding fate vs personal responsibility. Really good stuff. Much as I like the character designs, I could do without Stark and the screamer (Tammy Macintosh).

    Ep. 306 Eat Me

    What... the... frell... This episode is really surreal. The horror vibe, the twinning, the cannibalistic monsters. The way the whole thing took existing sets on Moya that we've become familiar and comfortable with and turned them into haunted house freak show. I was enjoying the episode, the crap they put D'Argo and Chianna through, the insane Pilot... and then they started eating the Leviathan... aaaahhhh!! No moping about being lost, no pseudo-spirituality...

    If this is a glimpse of the future, I'm really looking forward to it.


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Paeter on April 29th 2015, 7:54 pm

    mindspike wrote: I could do without Stark and the screamer (Tammy Macintosh).

    lol! Yeah, having two of these drama queens is a bit much.

    Hope you find the upcoming ride interesting! The "twinning" of Crichton begins a very compelling new status quo for the show...


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Nathan James Norman on April 30th 2015, 9:28 am

    Paeter wrote: The "twinning" of Crichton begins a very compelling new status quo for the show...

    The "twinning" of Riker actually plays into a later DS9 episode!
    Riker shows up on the station... but it's Tom (the other Riker), not William T..

    So there... super-continuity... across shows!!!!

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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Paeter on April 30th 2015, 3:12 pm

    Nathan James Norman wrote:
    Paeter wrote: The "twinning" of Crichton begins a very compelling new status quo for the show...

    The "twinning" of Riker actually plays into a later DS9 episode!
    Riker shows up on the station... but it's Tom (the other Riker), not William T..

    So there... super-continuity... across shows!!!!

    Whoa, seriously?? Forgot all about that! I thought he died or something at the end of that first ep. Maybe he just "went away"? Can somebody get one of those McKinney-thingies around here to clear this up?


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Nathan James Norman on April 30th 2015, 8:41 pm

    Paeter wrote:
    Whoa, seriously?? Forgot all about that! I thought he died or something at the end of that first ep. Maybe he just "went away"? Can somebody get one of those McKinney-thingies around here to clear this up?

    From Memory Alpha: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Thomas_Riker

    William Thomas "Tom" Riker was a result of a transporter accident in 2361 that created two William Thomas Rikers, genetically indistinguishable from each other, with personality and memories identical up to the point of the duplication. One of the duplicates continued to be known as William Riker. The other chose to use his middle name and be known as Thomas Riker.
    [...]
    In 2370, Thomas expressed dismay at the Federation's policies towards the Cardassians and the Federation colonies in the Demilitarized Zone, and later joined the Maquis resistance. In early 2371, Thomas, posing as William Riker, came aboard Deep Space 9 and stole the newly-commissioned USS Defiant.

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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Paeter on May 2nd 2015, 10:07 am

    Nathan James Norman wrote:
    Paeter wrote:
    Whoa, seriously?? Forgot all about that! I thought he died or something at the end of that first ep. Maybe he just "went away"? Can somebody get one of those McKinney-thingies around here to clear this up?

    From Memory Alpha: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Thomas_Riker

    William Thomas "Tom" Riker was a result of a transporter accident in 2361 that created two William Thomas Rikers, genetically indistinguishable from each other, with personality and memories identical up to the point of the duplication. One of the duplicates continued to be known as William Riker. The other chose to use his middle name and be known as Thomas Riker.
    [...]
    In 2370, Thomas expressed dismay at the Federation's policies towards the Cardassians and the Federation colonies in the Demilitarized Zone, and later joined the Maquis resistance. In early 2371, Thomas, posing as William Riker, came aboard Deep Space 9 and stole the newly-commissioned USS Defiant.

    They MUST have killed him off after that, right? Crap, one more reason I need to go back and give DS9 another go.


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Nathan James Norman on May 4th 2015, 6:11 am

    Paeter wrote:

    They MUST have killed him off after that, right? Crap, one more reason I need to go back and give DS9 another go.

    Nope. Apparently, there were initial plans to revisit the character on DS9, but none of the writers toward the end of the run wanted to do so.
    He has, of course, shown up in comics and novels.

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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Nathan James Norman on May 4th 2015, 6:30 am

    And, of course, there was always the BIGGEST reveal in history... when we realized we were dealing with Tom instead of Will.


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Paeter on May 5th 2015, 3:36 pm

    Wow. Goatees really are the symbol of evil and deception, aren't they?


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    Farscape Season 3

    Post  mindspike on December 4th 2015, 2:29 pm

    So I'm just now catching up on the rest of Farscape season 3. I listened to Paeter talk about the episodes before I watched them, and you can really hear the emotional connection he's got to this TV show. There are a few series that have hooked me like that, but not many and not for a long time - Pretender comes to mind.

    I saw seasons 1 and 2 when they aired, but left off viewing season 3 for some reason. I don't remember why. So these were all new experiences for me. It was quite an interesting ride.

    The bottom line for me is that I simply don't see the same things in this show that Paeter does. I do agree that Claudia Black is an amazing actress. She was nominated for a Saturn award every year from 1999-2002 for Farscape and finally won in 2004 for Peacekeeper Wars. Well deserved amidst some outstanding competition, including Gillian Anderson, Charisma Carpenter, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Garner....

    Back to Farscape. Season 3 saw quite an improvement in the quality of the scripts, and a significant improvement in the digital effects budget. The episodes this season are more polished and consistent than ever before. Paeter describes this season as the highlight of the series, and I find that very easy to believe.

    I was very interested in the dynamic between Crais, Aeryn, and Crichton. I thought the end of the season was very rushed, like they had expected a larger episode order and got cut halfway through filming. (That didn't happen.) I have a lot of other gripes with the production and the writing, but they did not stand in the way of watching and enjoying the show. For the most part, I most enjoyed the episodes that Paeter hated and hated the episodes Paeter enjoyed. I like characters of Jool and Chiana, while D'Argo and Moya-version Crichton annoy me quite a bit.

    I may be Paeter's exact opposite when it comes to Farscape, but I think it's a good show and I'm glad to be on this journey.


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  Paeter on December 4th 2015, 4:07 pm

    mindspike wrote: For the most part, I most enjoyed the episodes that Paeter hated and hated the episodes Paeter enjoyed.
    lol!  
    My online laugh of the day. So glad you're here, my friend.


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  mindspike on December 9th 2015, 5:05 pm

    Starting in on season 4.... I'm three episodes in and really enjoying the setup and direction of the show.

    401 Crichton Kicks - The opening episode is very well constructed, distilling the history and baggage of the previous three seasons down to a dramatic opening that effectively introduces Sikozu and reintroduces Chianna and Rygel. Returning audience members get caught up to speed and new viewers are given essential character and plot points. The dying Leviathan is a wonderful setting and skilled story device to showcase the look of the world and direction of the plot.

    402-403 What Was Lost - The slow reintroduction of the cast continues, and very effectively. Jool has been continually maturing as a character over season 3, and we finally get a good, solid payoff of her character arc from last season. The plot arc for the rest of the series is set up, and we get a villain in Grayza with a properly sustainable villainous motive. I'm sorry to see Jool go, but it was good to see her grow up.

    This two-parter is the kind of Farscape I really enjoy. It's got a dynamic villain that is susceptible to her own vice, a complex plot that grows from the motivations of both sympathetic and unlikable characters and their situation, and the various elements are handled with subtlety. Plus, there's a bare minimum of tomfoolery on the part of Ben Browder. Season 3 was heavily focused on Aeryn, but was very haphazardly plotted. If this is representative of the rest of the season, 4 is going to be very good indeed. It's no surprise that Justin Monjo wrote this two-parter, as some of the very best episodes of the past three years have been his (Taking the Stone, The Locket, A Human Reaction, Losing Time, The Choice.....)

    It's been awhile since the Shawarma episode, so I figured I'd go back and hear Paeter's thoughts again.

    .... scratch

    Figures.

    Paeter hated Jool because he found her uninteresting. I liked her quite a lot after her whining proved to be a complicated character flaw, one that she was working to overcome.

    Paeter finds Grayza uninteresting because she is more stereotypically evil than Scorpius. Plus, I was really shocked that he didn't get into the "lust sweat" thing, as much as he goes for the gross elements of this show. I find Grayza to be properly villainous, selfish, ambitious, and short-sighted with a properly descpicable attitude toward others. Her motivation is very sustainable and does not limit itself to a single goal in the way that Crais or Scorpius did. This girl is a nasty opponent because she's a nasty person.

    I know Scorpius is coming back, and I found the whole subjugation thing pretty bizarre. I'll wait to see where it goes. I think he's a fascinating character, but he developed into a really strong anti-hero somewhere down the line instead of being the poop-your-pants terror he was at the end of season 1 and beginning of season 2.

    Jool. I love stories about people growing up, and her arc did just that. Tammy Macintosh's star was rising at the end of 2001, and she filmed the two episodes of Farscape season 4 before leaving to spend the next 7 years on the critically acclaimed drama All Saints. Rockne O'Bannon did not want to lose her.

    On the next episode. I need to catch up, and this season is starting strong!


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    Re: Farscape Shawarma

    Post  mindspike on February 18th 2016, 12:56 pm

    Right. We've gotten to the end of the series proper. I have some thoughts.....

    Regarding Chrichton: The inconsistent way the Ben Browder plays this character really bugs me. He's not a proper adventurer, not a proper scientist, not a proper soldier. Not really anything at all that I can understand or relate to. As has been said, one minute he's dancing on the tables and the next he's flat on his face. He's certainly not the "hero" of the show. It's very frustrating to me. But then Paeter said something at the end of We're So Screwed part 3 that clarified things for me. Chrichton-the-character actually hasn't been entirely sane since the Aurora Chair. Looking back, his character shows classic signs of schizophrenia - he cannot distinguish between what is real and what is not real. This goes beyond the "Harvey" implant to encompass his entire experience onboard Moya. He also has periods of lucidity, where he understands the import of his actions and situation. I've been frustrated by a "hero" who won't act like one, when that was not the point of the show. I simply failed to understand that.

    A Show Without Heroes: The characters on Moya are just regular people caught in an unfortunate circumstance. They don't have an overriding mission, other than to stay away from the bad guys who hate them. It's quite a lot like Firefly and Lost In Space in that regard. But where I found Firefly charming, I've largely found Farscape - again - frustrating. I think it may come from a difference in impetus for action. The crew of Farscape is largely reactive, responding to their circumstances after the manner of Lost In Space - and it reminds me a great deal of that show. I think the difference is that LiS feels like we're exploring the universe and Farscape doesn't feel like we're actually going anywhere with purpose. The episodes I've enjoyed the most have been the ones where the crew is on a mission and making things happen or exploring things. I like that kind of adventure.

    Regarding the end of the final episode: when Farscape ended, the fan outcry was tremendous in proportion to a relatively young Internet. Fan sites sprang up. Fans lobbied for comics and fiction. Fan action was responsible for getting Peacekeeper Wars made. I know Paeter wanted a tidy ending, but I think that if the series had been wrapped up nicely, the fan response would have been significantly less, and we would not have gotten the later material. Just a passing thought.

    "To be continued..." is, I think, an ending far more true to the spirit of Farscape than "The End". The show embraced change and cliffhangers. Plus, it was thematically not about accomplishment but hardship. If this is "The End" there is no more adventure to be had. But if the adventure is "to be continued...." It's a powerful way to end a story, perhaps that's one reason all three Indiana Jones films end with Indy on the cusp of another adventure.

    Mark Twain once said that a boy's story ends when he becomes a man, and a man's story ends when he gets married. It's the thematic progression from exploration to accomplishment to responsibility. They are manifestly different stories. Farscape, it seems to me, started out as exploration, gradually integrated more elements of accomplishment, and ended with the characters on the cusp of assuming responsibility.

    I never saw Peacekeeper Wars, I'll be interested to find out where they take things and how they actually end the story. I suspect John and Aeryn will get their happily ever after, because the show is a romance and not a tragedy.


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