|DVDs - Region 1 Season 2 Volume 2.3|
The second season Farscape continues with another five episodes. This Region 1 set includes: "Out of Their Minds", "My Three Crichtons" and the complete "Look at the Princess" trilogy – Part 1: "A Kiss is But a Kiss", Part 2: "I Do, I Think" and Part 3: "The Maltese Crichton". Extras include Farscape Dictionary: The Moya Menu, Alien Encounters, Actor Biography: Virginia Hey, Character Biography: Zotoh Zhaan, Conceptual Artwork and a Farscape: The Game trailer.
by Dani Moure
This set kicks off with one of the funniest Farscape episodes to date, Out of Their Minds. This episode sees each of the crew members, except Zhaan, have their bodies switched with hilarious results. Witness Rygel in John's body, peeing in the maintenance bay, along with several other amusing moments that just typify this entire episode. The wafer-thin plot concerns a group of Halosians who claim Talyn fired on them, and want to destroy Moya. Zhaan visits them to find out exactly what is going on, while the attack from the Halosians causes the body swapping. There's really not much more to the plot than that, but to dismiss the episode for that reason would be tragic, as for anyone that has seen a little Farscape this is an absolute blast. The cast put in blinding performances in the other bodies, particularly Gigi Edgley who really shines in capturing the nuances of Pilot and D'Argo. The rest of the cast is fantastic too, and this episode should not be missed.
Next up comes My Three Crichtons, a story in which Crichton gets duplicated by a flying yellow ball of energy not once, but twice. With three Crichtons running around Moya you know you're in for trouble! The story is solid, if somewhat disappointing after the previous three episodes. Particularly nice is the resolution to the story, in which a caveman-like Crichton is forced to do the honourable thing and sacrifice himself to save the crew. Another interesting aspect is the look at what humans may become in the future, through super-evolved Crichton, and it's not pretty. It's a fairly well thought out and produced story, but it's nothing to be up in arms about.
The second disc in this set marks Farscape's most ambitious storyline yet, in that it's the first three-part Farscape story. It's a format that would be revisited later in this season (coming on volume 2.5) to great success. Originally, the "Look at the Princess" story began life as a two-part story, but after filming they realised they had almost half an episodes worth of material that needed to be cut, but since the quality was so high, it was used for a third part and the plot was expanded to accommodate this. You wouldn't notice this on first glimpse though, as the quality of the first part, A Kiss is But a Kiss, shines through, with no noticeable filler or anything of the like. A fast-moving, eventful story moves all the pieces into place, as Crichton ends up kissing a princess and being left with little choice but to propose to her, or become food for the Scarran or be turned over to Scorpius. This is a superb episode, with rich characterisation for all the key players, including some of the guest stars, and everything in the Farscape universe is turned on its head. An exceptionally well-done entrance from Scorpius, plus the introduction of a new major threat, the Scarrans, just adds even more bonus points. Part two, I Do, I Think, the "added" section of the story, lacks some of the pizzazz of the first part, but nonetheless continues to move the plot forward in an interesting manner. All sorts of deception and revelations come here, as Crichton survives his assassination thanks to some timely help, Aeryn leaves all upset to go rock climbing with a new man, and Crichton is placed in a most precarious situation. The scene in which Crichton seemingly goes a little mad before jumping into space out of a ship that is about to explode is simply awesome to watch, and coupled with more unlikely twists, and the "statue for 80 cycles" cliff-hanger, you have another winner. The final part, The Maltese Crichton, concludes the arc in a most emotional manner. High praise is deserved for making Crichton, quite literally, lose his head, as well as forcing Scorpius to become an unlikely ally and providing more intrigue when Crichton is unable to kill him. The heart-wrenching scenes with Crichton's would-be daughter, and the amazing, speechless yet perfect final scene leave a wonderful taste in your mouth, as you realise that this is one journey the crew will never forget. Though it doesn't quite match the dizzy heights of part one, it nonetheless is a great conclusion and a wonderful slice of Farscape.
The extras on this volume are sadly rather sparse. Although the packaging indicates that deleted scenes are included, they are not. They were not listed as an extra on any press from ADV, so the inclusion on the package is a little mystifying. Some people may be annoyed that there are none here, since we know a few exist, and indeed they appeared on the UK DVDs. In my opinion, they aren't worth getting too worked up about, as they consist of one alternate scene from "A Kiss is But a Kiss" (Pilot simply talks longer to Zhaan when he opens the doors for her to sing) that runs a minute in length, and two from "The Maltese Crichton", running thirty seconds each. They're nice to have, and they really should have been on here, but unfortunately Henson didn't supply them to ADV (for whatever reason) and so they're not here.
The other extras are mainly text extras. There aren't many video extras for season 2 available, so unfortunately most of them are simply text based linking clips of the show. "Farscape Dictionary: The Moya Menu" presents a series of the shows words and phrases, explains their meanings and shows them in action. "Alien Encounters" describes the aliens in the episodes in question, who played them and shows a brief clip of them in action. The actor biography for Virginia Hey and the character biography for Zhaan do exactly what they say – give a few pages of text on both. Finally there's a trailer for Farscape: The Game from Simon and Schuster.
So while it's not the most exhilarating volume in terms of extras, ADV have, much like Contender with the UK DVDs, done the best job they could with limited materials.
Video & Audio
The audio is presented in either 5.1 or 2 channel Dolby Surround, and it sounds great with no distortions or dropouts.
The video is pretty exemplary. There are no noticeable problems with the transfer, and the image always looks crisp and clean. Quite frankly, the Farscape discs show just how good TV shows can look on DVD, and I have no problem at all with the transfer.
Packaging & Presentation
The cover art continues in the same style as the previous releases for this season, with Zhaan taking centre stage here, while John, D'Argo and Scorpius are in the background on the left hand side. The cover looks nice and appealing, and really there's not much else to say. The back cover provides all the show details nice and concisely, but loses some marks for the inclusion of Deleted Scenes in the extras list.
The menus are, well, a bit bland. They fit with the rest of season two's menus, but nonetheless they're a bit plain. I'm hoping this is one area that ADV can improve upon for future releases (perhaps when season three roles around?). ADV have done some great menu designs in their time, but these not only look a little bland but also lack some functionality. As has been noted by many fans, you really should be able to select which episode to watch from the main menu, as opposed to having to go to the scene selections sub menu to do so.
This disc contains some tremendous episodes, which are some of the best the show has to offer in these early seasons. The lack of extras is disappointing, especially considering what ADV has given in the past, however the quicker release schedule (with more episodes per set) does make more extras a bit difficult, especially when not supplied with much to work with. So if you can put up with the lack of extras, this is a fine set with some real showcase episodes that is well worth a purchase. Of course, if you're collecting them all, you didn't need me to tell you that.
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Item: Farscape Season 2 Volume 2.3
Recommended Retail Price: $39.98
Distributor: ADV Films
Region: 1 (NTSC – US, Canada)
Picture Format: Pal 4:3
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0
Number of Discs: 1
Format: 2 x DVD9
Total Running Time: 260 mins (approx.)
Episodes: "Out of Their Minds" (46:08), "My Three Crichtons" (46:08), "A Kiss is But a Kiss" (46:11), "I Do, I Think" (46:08) and "The Maltese Crichton" (46:03)