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DVDs - Region 4 Season Two Box Set

Item Description
Astronaut John Crichton, on an experimental space mission, is accidentally hurled across the universe into the midst of an intergalactic conflict. Trapped among alien creatures wielding deadly technology and hunted by a merciless military race, Crichton is on an epic odyssey more spectacular than anything he has ever imagined.

Review
by Jacqueline Lim

The Episodes

Farscape finds its feet in its second season. It is this season where the main characters, having been slowly established in Season One, begin to really develop, where relationships between characters take on the complex nature that fans have come to appreciate and where major narrative arcs are developed. The season opener, Mind The Baby carefully deals with the cliffhanger plot points from the first season and also manages to set the scene for some of the overall narrative thrusts of the season, such as Crais’ link with Talyn and evolution into a more complicated and less transparent character and Scorpius’ pursuit of Crichton. The episodes that follow continue to develop the Farscape story in a rich and multi-layered way.

In Crackers Don’t Matter, the viewer gets the first glimpse of the Scorpius clone that exists in Crichton’s head (later named Harvey by Crichton) and the insidious nature of Scorpius’ pursuit of Crichton’s wormhole knowledge is slowly revealed in later episodes such as Won’t Get Fooled Again and reaches a crescendo in the final four episodes from Liars, Guns and Money, Pt.1 through to Die me, Dichotomy.

A number of relationships between characters are explored in this season. Chiana and D’Argo begin an affair after swapping bodies in Out of Their Minds which eventually leads D’Argo to consider asking her to marry him by the end of the season. Most notably though, this season sees the continual deepening of the relationship between John and Aeryn which is craftily explored in The Way we Weren’t, the Look at the Princess trilogy, The Locket and the final four episodes.

The final four episodes of the season are perhaps the best of the season as all the major story points start to converge such as Crichton’s increasing madness, Scorpius’ desire for Crichton’s wormhole knowledge, D’Argo’s search for his son and the John/Aeryn relationship. The effect is a collection of episodes that not only have a high level of action in them but contain some of the most dramatic and devastating emotional scenes of the series.

The Extras

Commentaries

A strong feature of this box set is the wealth of commentaries that it holds. There are four commentaries on the episodes, Mind the Baby, The Way We Weren’t, Won’t get Fooled Again and Die Me, Dichotomy. They are all strong, interesting commentaries that dissect different creative elements of the series.

The first commentary is done by Lani Tupu, David Kemper and Andrew Prowse. Several topics are addressed, namely the motivation behind Crais’ character, the changes to the show that the second season brought and the appeal of the Farscape. The trio also discuss Farscape as an Australian show and the influences that this had on the final product and creative process. It is a funny and informative commentary and the interplay between the three men is entertaining and endearing.

The commentary for The Way we Weren’t is done by Guy Gross, the musical composer to the series from Episode 2.06 onwards. It’s a different kind of commentary and it provides a good insight into the process behind the scoring of the series.

David Kemper and Rowan Woods present the commentaries to both Won’t Get Fooled Again and Die Me, Dichotomy. Both commentaries are thoroughly entertaining in terms of the bantering of the two commentators and the information that they provide. At the central core of these commentaries, David and Rowan tease out the themes of the two episodes and discuss the emotional heart of each.

Games

The box set contains two games, Bingo! Give Brainac a fluffy dog and Match the Star. Both games are engaging and are a little bit different from the usual fan trivia. Bingo! Give Brainac a fluffy dog presents little scenes of Crichtonesque dialogue and the viewers’ role is to then guess what is the next line. It’s a treat for anyone that enjoys Crichton’s various pop culture references and use of American slang. Match the Star has a gallery of shots of aliens (in full costume and make up) and the viewer has to pick which actor plays which character.

Biographies

A selection of cast and character biographies are also provided with the Extras. They are useful for anyone not familiar with either characters or actors but naturally are not that particularly informative to veteran viewers.

Lingo, Ships and Aliens

The encyclopaedic content of the extras continues in the sections Farscape Lingo, Weapons & Ships and Alien Encounters. Detailed descriptions on aspects of the Unchartered Territories are provided here. Semantic origins of alien lexicon is probed in Farscape Lingo, schematics of weapons and ships are displayed in Weapons & Ships and for viewers wanting to know a bit more about the “aliens” on the show, Alien Encounters delivers.

Farscape PC Game Trailer

A trailer of the Farscape PC Game is included in the extras. It’s a brief look and probably a useful feature for fans thinking of purchasing the game.

Concept Art Galleries

This feature outlines some of the drawings of costumes, ships and weapons used in the series. Its an interesting feature, though perhaps a little long. It does give an insight to the expansive creative effort that went into producing the series. It is a pity though that these drawings and sketches are not catalogued more formally in a book with descriptions and explanations, perhaps a more accessible format in which to view them.

5.1 Surround Sound Music clip

This is a piece of music taken from the series and played to the backdrop of scenes from Die Me Dichotomy (the climactic scene when Aeryn is pursued by Harvey/John). The music sounds good when heard through a surround sound system however it does feels slightly off-kilter when played as part of a music “clip”. It feels as if one is watching the episode with the sound turned down with the soundtrack playing on a CD in the background; not quite in time to the action, and slightly set apart from it. The music is dramatic enough and for that it works in with what’s happening on the screen but in terms of its rhythm, it feels out of sync. Perhaps joining the music with a collection or montage of scenes would have been slightly more effective, giving the sensation of an actual music clip.

The package

The set comes with 6 DVDs which are neatly packaged with some sharp artwork. The visuals in the menu are great and work in well with the soundtrack that is played in the background. The sound quality is clear and fantastic on a surround sound stereo system. The only downside to the way the DVDs are organized is that in order to get to the menu, a host of promotional stills (eg. from the Henson Company, Channel 9 and the producers of the DVD) have to be viewed. It is annoying that the menu cannot be automatically accessed as soon as the disc is inserted in the player (even after trying to the press the “menu” button on the remote).

Overall

Series Two is a fantastic series, probably one of the best in Farscape’s short-lived life. For that reason alone, the set is worth getting. But the extras do make it a particularly good investment in any DVD collection, especially the commentaries. Its snappily put together and looks great. Any Farscape merchandise collection would be the poorer for not including this in it.


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Item Details
Item: Farscape Season 2 Six-disc Collector's Box Set
Recommended Retail Price: AU $139.95
Distributor: Universal Home Video (Australia)
Region: 4 (PAL - Australia)
Picture Format: Pal 4:3
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1/Dolby Digital 2.0
Language: English
Number of Discs: 6
Total Running Time: 970 mins (approx.)
Episodes: "Mind The Baby", "Vitas Mortis", "Taking The Stone", "Crackers Don't Matter", "The Way We Weren't", "Picture if You Will", "Home on the Remains", "Dream a Little Dream", "Out of Their Minds", "Look at the Princess Part 1: A Kiss is But a Kiss", "Look at the Princess Part 2: I Do, I Think", "Look at the Princess Part 3: The Maltese Crichton", "My Three Crichtons", "Beware of Dog", "Won't Get Fooled Again", "The Locket", "The Ugly Truth", "A Clockwork Nebari", "Liars, Guns and Money, Part 1: A Not So Simple Plan", "Liars, Guns and Money, Part 2: With Friends Like These...", "Liars, Guns and Money, Part 3: Plan B" and "Die Me, Dichotomy"

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