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ADV Films presents

Farscape #6 (2000)

"I'm Butch. This is Sundance. We're the Hole In The Sky gang."- Crichton (Ben Browder)

Stars: Ben Browder, Claudia Black
Other Stars: Anthony Simcoe, Virginia Hey
Director: Tony Tilse, Andrew Prowse

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild violence, some language)
Run Time: 01h:39m:12s
Release Date: 2001-09-04
Genre: sci-fi

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer


DVD Review

As I write this, Farscape is getting a re-birth on television, as it is being shown from the beginning, in regular intervals, giving 'newbies' a chance to catch up. The sizable complexity and history of the show can be a bit daunting, admittedly, so it's good to see an effort made to bring new fans in. While this is going on, another volume of the show on DVD will hit the shelves, offering another way for folks to get involved.

The first episode is 'Till The Blood Runs Clear. Crichton, having modified and repaired his shuttle, decides to research solar flare phenomena. He manages to re-create the circumstances that made the wormhole that originally brought him to where he is, and his obsession with getting back home endangers the crew of Moya. His shuttle develops problems and must land on a nearby planet for repairs. While there, he and Aeryn discover that official bounties have been put on the heads of D'Argo, Rygel, and Zhaan, and Bloodtrackers are on their tail. Crichton and Aeryn must pretend to be bountyhunters as well in order to put the Bloodtrackers off the trail.

Despite the fact that this episode is fairly old in the scheme of Farscape, it easily shows up virtually every sci-fi show currently on the air. It has gorgeous special effects (a bit more than the average episode) and uses minimal sets to create a feeling of a sizable planetary location. The episode is also important for two other reasons: it begins Crichton's obsession with wormholes and his desperation to reach home at any cost, and it also introduces the Bloodtrackers, who are very important characters later on.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Moyas

In Rhapsody In Blue, the crew is awakened from pleasant dreams when Moya decides to starburst herself across the universe after hearing another Leviathan distress call. Upon arrival, it turns out the call was faked by an isolated sect of Delvian priests in order to contact Zhaan, who is also Delvian. Upset by the trickery and deception, Zhaan decides to investigate further, only to find out that the sect wants to learn Zhaan's power of mental assassination. She had previously used the power to reap vengeance, and this is why she was initially imprisoned on board Moya. The revelation disturbs Crichton and the others, but more disturbing is that these other priests wish to learn the skill.

Again, this episode ranks very high, in my opinion, for its stellar production values and gorgeous photography. It's always nice when a Farscape show takes place primarily off the spacecraft, giving them a chance to play with sets and elaborate costume design. It also establishes the dark past of Zhaan and the fact that, although she is now a spiritual priestess, in the past she was a far more sinister person. This could change relationships on board the ship and prove to be a difficult time for everyone involved.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Moyas

The professionalism here is one of the elements that earned the show its acclaim. I wish the current episodes still held on to this aspect a bit tighter, as they seem to have altered focus to introducing lots of characters, rather than keep reigns on the ones they've got. So, there is a certain simplicity to the earlier shows that's interesting to go back to. Though I enjoy the show to this day (which is rare for me in serial television), it would be nice to see a return to the roots of Farscape.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Again, a superb, if not slightly better, transfer awaits viewers here. Virtually perfect in every way, there are no real complaints. Rhapsody In Blue seems a bit softer, but this would appear to be related to the photography in order to make the Delvian temple more atmospheric in appearance.

Image Transfer Grade: A

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: As with previous discs, an extremely active and exciting Dolby 5.1 mix is used for both episodes. There's a lot going on in terms of directionality, split-surround effects, and subwoofer usage. At times, some of the intensity of the track tends to drown out certain lines of dialogue or sound effects, but some volume adjustment fixes that. The Dolby 2.0 Pro-Logic track, while slightly muted, retains much of the activity of the 5.1, but doesn't have the same superb, crisp quality. For a basic surround mix, though, it is certainly more impressive than most.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English (captions)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Reboot, Bubblegum Crisis 2040, Martian Successor Nadesico, Gunsmith Cats
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
  2. Conceptual drawings.
  3. Video Profile: Moya and Pilot
Extras Review: The largest supplement is a short feature discussing Moya, her pilot and their role in the show. These "video profiles" are common, so far, to the Farscape discs and mainly highlight some of the effects or puppeteering work that goes into that character. There is a gallery of conceptual artwork (all from the episodes shown on the particular disc) and a photo gallery of stills from the actual show. Sadly, there are no commentaries this time around, and the disc is rounded off with ADV trailers (including Reboot, Bubblegum Crisis 2040, Martian Successor Nadesico, Gunsmith Cats).

Extras Grade: C

Final Comments

Another volume comes home, and my impressions are generally the same. The quality is impressive, but the simplistic presentation needs adjusting. We need season boxes or some similar form of distribution.

Dan Lopez 2001-09-04