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ADV Films presents

Farscape 2.1 (2000)

Crichton: Look, just trust me, paper beats rock!!
D'Argo: But that's totally unrealistic, rock rips through paper!- Ben Browder, Anthony Simcoe

Stars: Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Gigi Edgley, Lani Tupu
Other Stars: Anthony Simcoe, Virginia Hey, Wayne Pygram
Director: Andrew Prowse, Tony Tilse, Ian Watson, Rowan Woods

Manufacturer: DVCC
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, some language, nudity)
Run Time: 03h:20m:00s
Release Date: 2002-06-25
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B+AB+ B-


DVD Review

As I head into the realm of Farscape's second season on DVD, I must report the unfortunate fact that the series itself has been cancelled by the Sci-Fi Channel. After the rest of the next season airs, it will be no more, at least not on that channel. This, of course, leads to an awkward fact: the writers weren't expecting it, thus the next season will most likely not be self-concluding. We all know how the Farscape folks love cliffhangers and such, so this is rather a distressing fate for such a popular and well received show. In short: it stinks. I personally think a lot of television shows go on for far too long, thus wearing out their popularity and their effectiveness. Farscape has not yet reached that point; not by a long shot. Regardless, we now step into Season 2 with a slight format change from ADV, moving to 4 episodes per set as opposed to 2. Jumping right in...

Mind the Baby
John, D'Argo, and Aeryn managed to complete their elaborate escape plan from Season One's finale. Hiding in a giant asteroid field, John and D'Argo have no choice but to wait around while Aeryn searches for food and water in an abandoned space station. Moya is far away, trying to escape from Scorpius' command carrier. Zhan is useless, caught up in a trance to ascend to another level of consciousness, and Chiana and Rygel aren't getting along. Unbeknownst to anyone, Aeryn has made a secret deal with Crais, who now commands Talyn, Moya's child. Unfortunately, all the scheming and problems will only lead to a poor conclusion. A bit slow for a season opener, it still manages to set the stage for the future of the show.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Moyas

Vitas Mortis
Still on their mission to hide, Moya's crew encounter an aging priestess of the Luxans, D'Argo's species. She rejuvenates after encountering D'Argo, and convinces the crew it's because of him. In reality, though, she's draining energy from Moya and the crew. D'Argo allies himself with the priestess, causing a serious problem between shipmates. While it might seem a bit early in the season to get off the core plotline, this episode actually functions quite well as a nice little thriller to add some tension to the characters.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Moyas

Taking The Stone
Chiana discovers that her brother is dead. Moya's crew stops off at a planet they consider safe and in the process, Chiana runs off to get wild with some of the local teens. In her depression over her brother, she decides to waste away on the planet just doing whatever it takes to survive, and her crewmates will have to help her make a better decision. A little off the beaten path, this episode seems slightly out of place, but it went miles in establishing Chiana as a very strong part of the show and an indispensable character.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Moyas

Crackers Don't Matter
In this rather surreal episode, a strange alien boards Moya and presents himself as a friend. He claims he has a way to create a device capable of cloaking Moya to Peacekeeper radar. In order to test the device, the alien says he needs to guide Moya through some pulsars, but in the process, the pulsing lights drives the crew crazy. Everyone begins acting insanely hostile towards each other and start to ignore the bigger picture. Crichton, who is less effected by the phenomena, realizes the alien is up to something more sinister and has used the pulsar trick to draw attention away from his activities. Now we're cookin' with Farscape gas! This feels more like a typical adventure for the crew, and results in more interesting characterizations of the people we've gotten so used to.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Moyas.

Season Two starts out well and proves that good writing and production values can take a series into its peak. After the first season, a lot of people suspected that the future episodes might go overboard, or potentially just plain stink. Happily, that was not the case with Season Two. While Season Three (which we're a LONG way from in terms of the DVDs) was extremely strong, Season Two put down the seeds for many future aspects of a complex show. All sorts of plots and subplots are set in motion by these first few episodes, believe it or not, and we can look back with interest that we honestly had no clue things would amass as they have.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: An outstanding transfer allows the sharp, clear, digital brilliance of the show to really take centerstage. There are no compression issues and the slight grain here and there in very dark textures is only noticeable when you're really looking for it. The end result is another solid transfer in the Farscape line-up that seems to be straight from the original masters. Colorful and explosive, there are no complaints here.

Image Transfer Grade: A

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 sound mix isn't quite as outstanding as it is on previous volumes, but it's still extremely good. It fits the episodes well by adding in some wild directionality, expanded frequency range, and a lot of power during the more action-oriented portions. This is about as good as television DVDs get. The Surround 2.0 soundtrack is very good as well, but lacks some of the crisp dimensions of the 5.1. The latter is preferable overall, but even if you do not possess 5.1 equipment, the added clarity should be obvious.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+ 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Andromeda, Spriggan, Gasaraki, The Devil Lady
2 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Double alpha
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Alien Slang Dictionary
  2. Conceptual Drawings
  3. Alien Encounters Log
  4. Ben Browder Bio
Extras Review: Volume 2.1 sees the return of at least one commentary track, which should please fans. Claudia Black and Ian Watson offer their thoughts on the episode Crackers Don't Matter. Ironically, Black crunches on crackers during the episode, making for a very noisy, but entertaining, commentary. Two deleted scenes are presented, though they are very short (in the range of seconds) and add very little to the two episodes from which they were snipped. An alien dictionary offers some weird slang for you to add to your vocabulary, most of it originating from the episode Taking The Stone. A guide to some of the aliens we've visited so far offers a look at these beings in a bio-like fashion. Speaking of bios, actor Ben Browder and his character, John Critchton, each get one on the first disc. Things are closed up with a gallery of conceptual artwork and a batch of ADV trailers. Of course, the 4-episode format will make purchases less painful for the Farscape die-hards, but despite this change, the packaging and menus are barely effected, blending in nicely with previous discs.

Extras Grade: B-

Final Comments

Farscape changes over into a new format (which is most welcome) for its second season, but the quality of the show remains focused on a solid, entertaining and dramatic sci-fi experience. Fans will already feel comfortable, whereas newcomers should be able to catch on without too much effort.

Dan Lopez 2002-09-19