Monday, April 21, 2014
Monday Muse -- Old School Style: Ben Browder as John Crichton on Farscape
Wow, has it really been fifteen years since Farscape first aired on TV? Now that makes me feel kind of old!
Back in the late 90's and early 2000's, sci-fi shows were actually doing okay. Maybe it was the turn of the new millennium or something, but there were a number of them on TV at the time, with Stargate SG1 leading the pack. Sure, we get new sci-fi shows popping up every year at the moment, but none of them seem to be catching on. Terra Nova only got one season (which I was really disappointed about) and this year, shows like Almost Human and Intelligence (which you could arguably say isn't technically sci-fi at all) haven't gotten very good ratings and don't look to be in contention for a second season. I think one of the only reasons Defiance got passable ratings and a second season was because of the game tie-in.
So the fact that Farscape, as whacky as it could be with all those puppets and what-not, managed to last for four season is pretty remarkable in the current cut-throat, ratings-driven television industry.
On a side note, Farscape was great for the Australian television industry, because despite being an American show, it was shot in Sydney. Similar to Terra Nova, which was filmed somewhere in Queensland, a northern Australian state. Of course, I think the expense of production in Australia was one of the reasons why Terra Nova didn't end up being viable for a second season.
Anyhoo, back to our Monday Muse.
One of the things that really hooked me on this show in the beginning (and a lot of other people, I think) was the relationship between John and the ex-peacekeeper soldier Aeryn Sun. After having seen the first few eps again, now I remember why.
From the first moment these two laid eyes on one another, the chemistry sparked to life. In the first episode, even when they don't know each other, they both put the other first to detriment of their own well being. Aeryn speaks up for John when the villain, Crais, threatens to lock John up and experiment on him. Crais turns on Aeryn, and accuses her of being contaminated. When John realizes this means a death sentence for Aeryn, he risks his own life to take her with them when they escape.
From there the connection only deepened. I don't know if maybe the fact that they were the only two humans on board the ship Moya had anything to do with it or not, but John and Aeryn continually gravitated to one another.
The relationship with Aeryn aside, I really loved the character of John Crichton. He started out as a scientist lost in space, who didn't know much about weapons or defending himself. In fact in the fourth episode, he blew up Aeryn's rifle when he tried to fire it. And there's been several times when he's run instead of fighting. But as the seasons progress on, and he has no choice but to fight in order to save himself and Aeryn, John becomes the Alpha male, but still retains that sensitive side, the one which fell in love with Aeryn so easily and could still hold out hope, even when things were looking so dark.
One other thing I loved so much about John, he was one of those tough guys who couldn't stop the tears. A bit like Dean Winchester on Supernatural. Yeah, they're tough guys who'll do anything to protect the ones they love, but if something really gets to them, they're not ashamed when a few manly tears roll down those handsome cheeks. And you always remember the first time. Like with Dean, when he made that desperate phone call to his dad, because he was worried about Sam.
For John, the first time we saw this depth of emotion was toward the end of the first season. Crais had been relentlessly chasing them all over the galaxy to get revenge for John killing his brother in the first episode (though, it was an accident, a collision that happened only moments after he first came through the wormhole).
The gang manage to capture Crais, and while he's locked up, John goes to confront him about why Crais wouldn't listen to reason and just leave them alone. Until that point, no matter what had happened, John had just gone with it, adapting as best he could. But I think in that moment, everything that had happened finally caught up with him, and the knowledge that he may never get home to see his friends and family again, that he was stuck in this deadly galaxy he still didn't quite understand, just trying to survive, overwhelmed him, and the emotion needed to come out.
Yeah, give me a tough guy who cries, and I'm a sucker.
If you happen to be a sci-fi fan and haven't watched Farscape, then you're seriously missing out. Yes, yes, I know the puppets and the hardcore costumes are a little much at first. But if you can manage to get past that, then you're in for some sci-fi romance gold. In fact, I wouldn't hesitate to say that Farscape has been to date the best example of sci-fi romance and how well it can work on TV, and will probably retain that title for a very long time.
So I will be continuing on with my Farscape re-watch, and enjoying every moment of John, and his complicated relationship with Aeryn.