Farscape: The Complete Third Season

Pity anyone trying to jump into the Farscape journey halfway through its scheduled five-season story arc (which ended prematurely with its cancellation after the cliff-hanger finale of season four). Because this "down under" sci-fi masterpiece with an American lead, lots of British talent and muppets (yes, fucking muppets!) was just too clever, involved and entertaining for its own good. Although an ensemble cast, Farscape revolves around John Crichton, a human astronaut who gets sucked through a wormhole, transported to the far edge of the universe, dropped into the middle of a galactic conflict and ends up stranded on a living prison ship (Moya) with a motley crew of aliens. Of course, by season three there had been so many developments that plot synopsises become difficult (he's been given wormhole knowledge by an advanced alien race; the Peacekeepers, a fascist military group are after him, led by Scorpious, kind of a gay (or British, whatever), S&M version of Vader; there's a romantic sub-plot with Aeryn, an ex-Peacekeeper who helped him escape, etc.). Still, season three opens with "Season of Death" and that would be a theme for an entire season where numerous characters die. Farscape's mix of humour, pop culture references, traditional sci-fi staples presented with unique twists, muppets and its strength of cast (particularly Ben Bowder as Crichton), made it one of the best sci-fi series in years and despite its premature death, fans were so ravenous for more that a four-part wrap-up entitled The Peacekeeper Wars is scheduled to run in October. The bulky, over-packaged, ten-disc season three set comes with what initially looks like a ton of extras, including four episode commentaries by the cast, deleted scenes, trivia, a season three recap with exec-producer David Kemper, among others, but it is easy sledding to get through (the commentaries and summary are the meatiest extras) and Bowder appears fleetingly. Still, despite the taunting task, anyone still mourning the death of Firefly or bored of the current Trek should dive into Farscape. Plus: character histories, aliens encountered, more. (ADV/SMA)