|Books - Illustrated Season 2 Companion|
Following the best-selling first volume, Farscape: The Illustrated Season 2 Companion provides in-depth coverage of the series' amazing second year. Granted unprecedented access to the show's stars and production team, this official guide takes a detailed look behind the scenes, with exclusive interviews and photos, plus a comprehensive episode guide. It's a book no Scaper can be without – in fact, it's frelling indispensable.
by Dani Moure
So here we are with another Official Illustrated Companion. This time, it's for season 2. And yes, it follows the exact same format as last year's season 1 version.
The book begins with a short foreword from Brian Henson, talking a little about the show, followed by a two page spread explaining the behind-the-scenes changes for the second year, and a brief background. Then it's off, straight into the episode guide.
The episode guide is obviously the main focus of the book, and it's quite nice. However, much like last year, it falls under the "could be better" category. Each episode starts with a very brief, spoiler-free, summary of the events driving that episode. Scattered about the page are quotes from the episode, a (not infallible) credit list, and some nice pictures. Unfortunately, this is the book's first major downfall, in that all the pictures (bar the cover) are black and white. This is frustrating, as some of the shots are great and would just jump off the page in full colour, but this is down to budgetary/publishing limitations, so I just live with it, since the focus should be on the content, and so it will be. Sadly, this is also a mixed bag. Following the synopsis, we get a wonderful piece on each episode, with backstage, production notes, and comments from the cast and crew. The problem is, well, there's just not enough of it to satisfy my hunger. The synopses are disappointingly thin on the ground, although I do see a need to keep them spoiler-free, but whilst the behind-the-scenes information that follows is great, I would just love more. There are books for other series (such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer) that have more pages devoted to each episode, whereas here it's a mere three episodes worth, and that includes the (often large) pictures. As I said, what's here is good, and offers some more insight into the production of the episode, but I just want more.
There is one exception though, and for that I am eternally grateful. For when you reach the end of the episode guide, you notice the last page holds simply a small synopsis of "Die Me, Dichotomy". At this point I almost screamed "Where's my insight into my favourite episode?!?" And then I turned the page. There it was, in all its glory – a special "Script to Screen" ten-page feature on that very episode. This is a great read, and by far my favourite section of the book. I'm biased, yes, since it's my favourite episode, however it really is well worth a read to get an idea of how images in a writer's mind are formed and turned into an enthralling story.
Following that special feature, we have some character profiles. These are updated version of the ones in the first book, and follow a similar pattern. Most of the main cast's pages are filled with quotes from the actors/performers who play the character, and give a nice insight into what they think of the people they portray. Again, these suffer in being three pages long (an additional page is used for an image of each character), and lacking the depth you may expect. Although it's nice to see comments from the cast, it would have been nice to have more in-depth analysis on how the characters have grown and changed throughout the course of the season. Following the main characters, there's a brief paragraph or two on recurring characters. Although only a little space is used, the inclusion of Maldis, Durka, and a few others is a little baffling, as the space could have been used to flesh out the key recurring members like Scorpius and Crais.
Things are wrapped up with the inclusion of a nice feature on the Creature Shop's effects, and short features on creating Pilot and costume design. Finally, there's the "Into season 3" short piece, with a few facts and snippets regarding the latest season, followed by a short (but informative Lexicon).
I like the Illustrated Season 2 Companion (as well as its season one counterpart), however there's no denying that the format used for these books could do with an overhaul. I can live without colour photos (although they would be nice), but I really find myself wanting a lot more depth for the character profiles and the episode guide. Fleshing out the stories for the summaries and more backstage notes for the episodes, plus highlighting character changes along with cast comments would be nicer than the brief exploits we get here. While I recommend these books as being useful and interesting to fans, I will caution you that you may be left wanting more, as you get the impression that these books only scratch the surface. What's here is nice, but I would love more!
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Item: Farscape: The Illustrated Season 2 Companion
Recommended Retail Price: £9.99
Authors: Paul Simpson and Ruth Thomas
Publisher: Titan Books
Length: 160 pages