Transcript of Rockne O'Bannon interview in Startlog mag

Discussions about Farscape's cancellation, and the campaign to promote the show's return. General discussion about THE PEACEKEEPER WARS should go in the relevant forum.

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Transcript of Rockne O'Bannon interview in Startlog mag

Postby VBKatLou on Mon Feb 03, 2003 11:17 am

Here's the link to the thread at FMD: ... eadid=7061

Here's the text:

We Were One Horse Pulling A Very Large Cart

We were an expensive show, and they were a small network, but the thing I find particularly unfortunate is that they made this big, proud announcement of a fourth and fifth season pick up, getting all the juice they could out of the loyal fans, and then over;I don't want to say dubiousbut economic issues that hadn;t changed sufficiently over the last couple of years, they pulled back on that fifth season.;

On the changing mood at the network

We did sturdy service for them in terms of being their highest rated show for three years running they would rerun all the episodes and strip us five nights a week. Our ratings did very well, then they began something in 2001 where they took us off the air completely no reruns or anything throughout the entire fall. For several months there was no Farscape, either in reruns or originals, and that's a long dry spell to leave an audience without a show, so we kind of knew from the beginning.

The new regime thought they'd take that money [that they paid for Farscape] and do 2 or 3 new shows like is that easy to get a critically-acclaimed award-winning show. I think thats what their internal attitude has been, and more power to them

On The Fan Uproar Over The Cancellation
(remember, this interview must be at least a month or two old)

I think the dust has settled for the moment, but for the most part I believe the fans are bidding their time and getting their strength for when the last eleven episodes air. As of right now, its [the show] definitely a doornail at SFC. They're retreated down into their concrete bunker, and whatever dren storm (he used the 's' word) has been falling on them, they're pretty much inured to it.

On Promoting the Shows Last Episodes

Its [the show] dead as far as theyre concerned. Theyre not going to lift a finger. To be honest, as much as they would love to have a successful series on the air, if they promoted the show to any degree and it garnered higher ratings, imagine the egg on their faces! So, they have no interest in promoting the show

On The Way SciFi Valued The Show

My feeling is [they felt] the grass was always greener. When I was having conversations with SFC about doing something else for them, they would say,So, what sort of show interests you And I would hear, Gee, we would love to have Smallville orWe would kill to have Enterprise I like both of those shows, but thats not the point! If Farscape were on Showtime, they would have been saying,If only we had Farscape on our network!


A network normally has seven nights to program, and they carefully position shows where there is flow next to each other, and steadfastly keep shows that dont have flow away from each other. In the case of SFC, their original programming was distilled down to just Friday night: Stargate, and us. We were two original shows, so they had to pair us up which is fine. The problem is that the campaign they came up with was essentially aimed at the very thing Farscape isnt. It seemed to emphasize that John Crichton always gets the space babe, that sort of thing which clearly is not the case! Obviously, if you advertise it that way, youre never going to get the audience that will appreciate the show.

On The 88 Episodes

SF Channel retains the repeat rights for two years after the final episode premiers, which means that the first 88 shows arent available to a potential buyer. As for SFCs assertion [on their official website] that they havent been approached to release Farscape to another network is disingenuous at best. That is patently untrue. They might not have been asked, but thats because Henson let.

Henson let THE SUITORS know that SFC has a stranglehold on reruns for two years, so of course nobody is going to contact them. So, its rather disingenuous. Theyre clearly not passionate about airing FS, and if they were, they would have gone ahead with the promised 5th.

On What Rockne Believes Is SFCs intentions for FS, and What He Thinks.

I think they will wring everything they can from the show, and hopefully two years from now, when the episodes do become available, a) well immediately sell them into syndication, and b) there might be an opportunity to do something else either with new episodes or some sort of long form to complete the series.

On The Notion That FSs Storylines Made Gathering New Viewers Hard

There were never any specific notes that I was aware of. Believe me, there were constant conversations of how can we make this more accessible But does that translate to dumbing it down or making the stories or characters less complex? We were battling our personal feelings that the shows appeal to the passionate core audience and critics was that it was so outside the box. But the very thing that made it unique made it [difficult (I wonder what word he used instead)] for new viewers to hop on board any single episode and get caught up in who these characters are. This is something TV in general wrestles with. If you look at the main networks, theyve thrown in the towel to a large extent

On The Cancellation

Theyd been talking throughout the summer, but much to the credit of Henson, Hallmark, and David, they really worked hard to make it work, in a financial dynamic that everyone could live with. The compromise position that SFC was taking was Well give you 13 episodes for a fifth season so were not totally slapping the audience in the face and saying that were reneging on a 5th season.

At the same time, they started becoming intractable in terms of the financial aspect of it. Henson, Hallmark, and David really tried to make it work, but SFC really dug in their heels, because the bottom line was, they just didnt want the show anymore. Early in September, when all was coming to ahead, I heard from David. They were essentially working out the press release, [saying] that they were picking up 13 fifth season episodes, and then it all blew up.

On Wrapping Up The Show, Even If Theyd Had Notice

As far as I know, nothing was changed, because it was too late to change anything to a significant degree. Plus, David and I agreed the show didnt deserve some rushed, half-ass Lets try to wrap this up finish. The saga of John Crichton and the other characters goes on. [The end] hasnt been filmed and we havent seen it yet. The notion of trying to cobble together [an episode with a sense of closure] in the eleventh hour was discussed for about a hot second, but no more, because the show doesnt deserve that.

The sad fact of Farscapes history at the moment is that the series goes off at the end of season four with a cliffhanger. It isnt the end of the story. In fact, if we had a fifth season, with the intent of concluding the five years of the series, the last episodes wouldnt necessarily have been a sigh of relief, with everyone staring at the horizon, having completed everything there was to complete. Probably the saddest aspect of this for me is that the series is going off the air with the story left up in the air.

On Finding A New Home
(SFCs two-year stranglehold on rerun rights to the first 88 episodes of FS has effectively precluded an immediate life elsewhere for the show.)

That has been the stumbling block in getting a TNT or even a syndication company to say Yes, we would love to produce new episodes. What they want is to marry it with the syndication of the original 88. So there is a possibility that a few years down the line once weve pried the show from SFCs cold, dead fingers that we might be able to reconstitute it then

Message From Rockne To The Fans

In the shows first four years, when it aired in its original run, the audience was like a community. It was small and passionate enough that there was a real unity there, married to the fact that we now have the Internet, which allows us access to the viewers and to get a sense of what they like and what they dont like. For me and the shows makers, the fans were a part of the series. It was quite a wonderful community of people who watched it during its original run. So we can all take pleasure in the fact that we were all a part of Farscape as it aired. Obviously, I hope the 88 episodes live on in syndication and garner new viewers. But those of us who were part of the series during its original run have something we can carry with us. In terms of trying to get the show back, Ive been incredibly heartened and pleased and flattered by the wave of passion that Ive seen from the fans.

Im glad they like the show!
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RE: Transcript of Rockne O'Bannon interview in Startlog ma

Postby TINemo on Sat Feb 08, 2003 7:44 pm

This makes interesting but not very encouraging reading.

Does anyone else think NASA's Columbia tragedy may be the last nail in Farscape's coffin?
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RE: Transcript of Rockne O'Bannon interview in Startlog ma

Postby Dani Moure on Sun Feb 09, 2003 11:14 pm

>Does anyone else think NASA's Columbia tragedy may be the
>last nail in Farscape's coffin?

I don't really see why, short of TV networks hugely over-reacting to sensitivities over what happened.

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RE: Transcript of Rockne O'Bannon interview in Startlog ma

Postby Rebel_Sun on Mon Feb 10, 2003 3:19 am

After reading this article, how anyone can cut SCILIE any slack at all is beyond me. I've always felt the suits were trying to kill the show, especially when they chopped up the seasons and with their lame promotion efforts. Frell them, may they go off the air soon after season 4 and have to give up the rights cheap.

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RE: Transcript of Rockne O'Bannon interview in Startl...

Postby Starburst on Tue Feb 11, 2003 2:20 am

I agree.Don't you think that SFC are acting like the jealous ex-boyfriend.It's the mentality of "I don't want you anymore but I'm gonna make damn sure that no-one else gets you".What a bunch of selfish pigs.
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RE: Transcript of Rockne O'Bannon interview in Startlog ma

Postby Chi_fi_Eagle on Tue Feb 11, 2003 5:02 pm

>This makes interesting but not very encouraging reading.
See I was really encouraged when I first read O'Bannon's interview! A lot of my questions were answered and now we actually have a good understanding of the future. Two years after 4.22 airs in the US who knows we may actually have a season 5 and beyond, syndication, a movie, anime etc. I do not feel Farscape being removed from this Universe and Rockne gives me HOPE! :D and contentment for the first time and it has allowed me to really enjoy these remaining episodes.

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