Farscape The Complete Fourth Season

The cliff-hanger is one of the greatest dramatic devices ever created. Used correctly at the end of a TV series' season, it can ensure months of agonising over unforeseen developments (will Buffy come back from the dead? Will Angel get discovered at the bottom of the ocean? Will you find a girlfriend and stop caring about these things?) and the final episode of the fourth season of Farscape features a doozy. Of course, the cliff-hanger only works if your show gets to come back at all, which didn't happen to sci-fi cult fave Farscape, cancelled right before the beginning of filming for the fifth and final season of its story arc. This poses a bit of a problem, as yes, the cliff-hanger ending of season four does end things on a positively downbeat note that's terribly unsatisfying to anyone who's invested the huge amount of effort that following the myriad twists and turns of possibly the smartest and quirkiest sci-fi series requires for its untold geeky rewards. Labelled the "season of hope," following three's "season of death," it doesn't start off well for our plucky human astronaut John Crichton, not only is he stranded far from home in a galaxy full of aliens, he's now stuck on a dying Leviathan (a living ship) and completely alone save for the (implanted) voices in his head. But over the course of the fourth "hopeful" season, he'll be reunited with Moya (a not dying Leviathan) and her crew of aliens and muppets (yeah, fucking muppets!!!), a pregnant Aeryn (the unrequited alien but human-looking love of his life), battle both the Peacekeepers (militaristic humans) and the Scarrans (militaristic aliens) and even briefly return to earth. What made Farscape so awesome was its mix of pop culture awareness, the incredible (but sometimes over the top) acting of Ben Bowder as Crichton, who is the rabbit we follow throughout Farscape's journey, the solid supporting cast, the humour, the wacky one-offs and the constant conflicts. Again, this ten-disc (yikes!), quite over-packaged set looks like it's loaded for bear in terms of extras, but they're relatively short once you get into it (featuring interviews, some deleted scenes, plot synopses, character histories, etc.). Again, it's a shame Farscape wasn't allowed to correctly finish its story arc (fuck, you want to cancel something, start with Enterprise), but luckily all the dangling threads of season four will be tied up in the upcoming four-part The Peacekeeper Wars series. See, sometimes fan support (i.e., geeks bitching and moaning) can achieve something. (ADV/SMA)