From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name: Farscape
Abbreviation(s): FS, Scape
Creator: Rockne S. O'Bannon
Date(s): 1999-2004
Medium: television
Country of Origin: United States/Australia
External Links: IMDb, Official Henson Farscape site, Official SciFi Farscape site
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Farscape was a space opera show in which anything could and did happen during its four seasons and post-cancellation wrap-up miniseries. Although based on a seemingly familiar premise -- boy gets lost, tries to get home -- Farscape took that premise and ran with it all over various genres, tropes, and levels of crackiness.

The show offered an epic romance between lost Earth astronaut John Crichton and exiled former Peacekeeper soldier Aeryn Sun, sibling-like bonding between various characters, lifelike animatronic characters with well-fleshed out personalities, a vast number of pop-culture references, and canonically played with such tropes as time travel (and losing virginity during), heists and capers, encounters with clones, alternate realities, ascended ancients, characters turning into cartoon versions of themselves, bodyswapping, the primary POV character talking to an imaginary friend for entire seasons, drug addiction, mpreg, and more.

One trope Farscape is notable for (mostly) avoiding is the reset button, especially the 42-Minute Reset. Events from previous episodes are referenced again later in the season or several seasons on, dead characters rarely come back to life (and if so, only with effort, soul-searching, and a price to be paid), and all of the main characters -- even the animatronic ones -- grow and change, permanently, over the course of the show.

Although some have noted that in the latter seasons John Crichton suffered from noticeable manpain, overall the show passes the Bechdel Test well.

The Fandom

"This show may be just about the hardest show in fandom to pimp. On first watch it's a little too loud, a little too garish, and a little too weird. You dismiss it as "Muppets in Space," and pass on by. So did I. But I was missing out on something huge and gorgeous and epic and true. And so are you. Which brings us to ... Ten reasons to watch one of the greatest scifi shows ever made"[1]

A "puppy pile" may be called down on people new to the series. A puppy pile involves squee and encouragement from older fans, with non-spoilery teases about what's to come.

Although fans of the series are deeply enthusiastic about recruiting new fans, the first several episodes are sometimes a stumbling block:

I was enticed into Farscape-watching with the promise of big plot arcs, excellent continuity, and complex storytelling; as of the first few eps, the show isn't yet delivering in those areas. I don't expect epic storytelling yet — epics, pretty much by definition, require a lot of time in the telling — but the contrast to Firefly, which did introduce elements right away that could clearly lead to big arcs, is instructive. Farscape's characters are certainly interesting, but they don't yet have much depth or even much history (even the fact that they're recent prisoners, which is theoretically very interesting, doesn't yet have much urgency to it, particularly in the cases of Zhaan and Rygel). This is also true of S1 BtVS, of course; but early BtVS eps are much more tightly structured: multi-layered stories linked by a central metaphor. [2]

The Fan Campaign

The Save Farscape movement was a major grass-roots campaign by concerned fans to influence the broadcasting decisions of a television network. It was not the first of such campaigns, by any means. Fan campaigns to save beloved shows date back to 1967-1968, when an unprecedented effort of protest letter-writing and phone calls by an organized group of fans influenced NBC to renew Star Trek for a third season. In 1984, the group Viewers for Quality Television was founded, initially to "rescue" the series Cagney and Lacey from cancellation; its advocacy was successful and CBS retained the show, which gained subsequent popular and critical acclaim.

The 1990s saw the introduction of the Internet as a weapon that fans could utilize to mass popular support for pressing networks and production companies to retain beloved shows. Fans created message boards and websites to spread the word and direct protests to the appropriate authorities. Some of these efforts over the years have been temporarily successful (i.e. Once And Again, Jericho), while others have not (i.e. Mystery Science Theater 3000, Roswell). Some efforts, from galvanized fannish communities, have helped influence networks to revive shows that have been cancelled for years (i.e. Family Guy, Futurama).

The Save Farscape campaign represents a significant, large-scale effort in this regard. Following the September 2002 announcement by the Sci Fi Channel that it was rescinding its renewal of Farscape for a fifth season, angered fans leapt into activity with a multi-tiered effort. Besides the now common tools of phone calls, letters and e-mail messages, fans broadened their responses to call more attention to their cause. Many of them sent Sci Fi Channel executives packages of crackers, in homage to the title of a favorite Farscape episode, "Crackers Don't Matter." They actively worked to recruit new audiences to the series, including an attempt to find enough "Nielsen families" to visibly boost the show's ratings. In a more media-savvy age, the Beyond Hope Fund (later retooled as Where's My Riot?) was created to supply press kits for the media, purchase ad space in newspapers, and fund other publicity efforts (these include the auction of which the materials in this collection were a part). Some fans even attempted to locate funding that would free Farscape from the financial restraints of network television and make it a purely viewer-funded series. All of these actions represent a new type of multi-faceted media campaign that both built on lessons learned from similar fan protests in the past and evolved new forms of attack.

In the end, the campaign was partially successful. Although the Sci Fi Channel did not renew the series itself for a new season, it did agree to air a four-hour miniseries that would wrap up unfinished storylines from the series. Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars was broadcast in October 2004. [3]


Forums/Mailing Lists/LJ Communities

screenshot of the Terra Forma forum
  • crichtonlovesdargofic "Crichton Luvs D'Argo". Archived from the original on 2003-10-27. Description: "The chemistry between John Crichton and D'Argo demands a forum. That is the purpose of this list. To discuss and share a general friendship or slash story. other character stories are accepted here, too, especially slash, but it would be nice if the guys got an honorable mention. All fic posted to the list will eventually be archived in the WWOMB. Author's please use the template on site when posting. I don't have the time or the inclination to moderate this list for underage ears, so joining is your confirmation of being of legal age." (Squidge mailing list)
  • Leviathan "Leviathan". Archived from the original on 2003-04-08. Description: "This is a semi-moderated, all-inclusive list for Farscape fiction, from gen to slash. All writers and readers welcome. Anyone may join with the understanding that there may be adult content. Posts are moderated to promote the posting and critical discussion of fan fiction, and to limit OT distraction. This list is also affiliated with the Leviathan Fiction Archive. Please rate and label all fiction posts. When in doubt, consult the FAQ in text or HTML format." (Yahoo! Groups mailing list)
  • Farscape Slashfic "Farscape Slashfic". Archived from the original on 2003-12-18. Description: "Aliens trying to put up with a hunky, but annoying, human. Slash list for fans of the sci-fi Channel smash-hit Farscape. Members may post slash fiction, news about the show/actors, etc. to the list as long as it concerns Farscape in some way. NOTE: All slash fiction posted to this list is archived at www.slashnexus.com unless instructions to the contrary are included with the post." (Yahoo! Groups mailing list)
  • Farscape Goes BDSM "Farscape Goes BDSM". Archived from the original on 2003-10-27. Description: "There is something about Farscape that just screams BDSM, at least it does to me, if you agree, join me in the sharing of chat and stories, fiction archived at WWOMB, a multi-fandom, all genres fiction archive, unless there is a "No Archive" note in the story headers." (Squidge mailing list)
  • Adult Farscape "Adult Farscape Adult Farscape". Archived from the original on 2003-10-27. Description: "Love FarScape? John? Crais? D'Argo? Ayren? Whoever? Share a discussion or a general, hetero or slash story. We're interested in it all, Smarm and beyond. The stories are being uploaded as webpages as I get time into the shared files of this list. All stories will eventually be archived there as well as on the WWOMB, our list site, unless they include a 'NO ARCHIVE" notation. This does include stories posted as URLs This list follows the squidge TOS. That means, aside from my personal rule of NO FLAMING, we have two other no-nos. NO CHILD PORN (I.E: no pics or manips of children in compromising situations) and NO SNUFF. Otherwise you are free to let your imagination soar. Break the glass ceiling that might be imposed on other Farscape lists and go into the vast unknown territories of fanfic fantasy." (Squidge mailing list)
  • Wormhole "Wormhole". Archived from the original on 2003-08-20. Description: "Gen. The Wormhole -- a Farscape analysis list (The Wormhole) Purpose: The Wormhole has been created to connect the very disparate corners of the Farscape universe. It is open to anyone over 18, but only listmembers will have access to the archives, so if you want to know what we're talking about, you'll have to jump in your ship and join us. The rules are few: 1) We encourage you to cross-post analysis from your blogs, the boards, and other lists, but please do not cross-post other people's responses or forward listposts without the author's permission. 2)Discuss, debate, declaim all you wish, but leave your pulse pistols at the door. Verbal violence will not be allowed. 3)Remember half this fandom is generally out-of-sync with the other so please be very, very careful to label all discussion of eps that haven't aired in both places as spoilers. That's about it. Come in, we promise you will emerge...somewhere. -- Your list mods, cofax and Fialka." (mailing list
  • FarScape Fic "FarScape Fic". Archived from the original on 2003-09-01. Description: "Astronaut John Crichton, on an experimental space mission, is accidentally hurtled across the universe into the midst of an intergalactic conflict. This list is a place to discuss this exciting new show, and post a little fiction. We welcome hetero and slash fic as well as the occasional general fic piece. The list follows the squidge TOS meaning we have two no-nos. No Child Porn (pics, not fics) and No Snuff. In addition to that No Flaming. Aside from that, the list welcomes you with open arms to push against the envelope and let your imagination soar. Anyone have photo manips? you are encouraged to share them in the shared web files. Just open up a folder and drop them in. Be sure to post an notice to the list so we can find it. Wallpapers are welcome as well, and sound wavs...whatever. By joining you confirm that you are indeed over the legal age in your area. Please drop an intro so we know you're here. You are welcome to chat the characters, the show, and in the event of one of our guys getting a new role somewhere, that as well..No gossip, though. Just sharing of the knowledge. Oh yeah, the stories sent to the parent list on YG will be uploaded as web pages onto the shared web of this list in anticipation of the migration over here as I get time. The stories posted to this list will also be uploaded here so don't just browse the message posts you might be missing some hidden treasure. Finally, *All* fiction posted to this list not accompanied by a Do Not Archive Notation is archived at the Wonderful World Of MakeBelieve." (Squidge mailing list)
  • Crais Loves Critchton Fic "Crais Loves Critchton Fic". Archived from the original on 2003-10-27. Description: "Gen, M/M Slash, F/F Slash. Farscape's Crais and John Crichton have that certain flame that demands attention, here is the place to discuss the love and hate between these delightfully attractive men, fiction archived at WWOMB, a multi-fandom, all genres fiction archive, unless there is a "No Archive" note in the story headers." (Squidge mailing list)


Notable Fanvids

Fanfiction Examples




Fansites & Fannish Links

Canon Resources

Meta/Further Reading


  1. ^ 10 Reasons to Watch Farscape by 65pigeons, 12 March 2009. (Accessed 7 April 2011)
  2. ^ notes on Farscape S1 by heresluck (Accessed April 8, 2011)
  3. ^ Guide to the Save Farscape Auction Collection
  4. ^ vid announcement post without embed or current download link on LJ, viewable vid at YouTube (both accessed 26 April 2011)