Friday, January 06, 2006

this makes me happy

It was just a 4-paragraph article on the back page of the arts & entertainment section of my daily paper. But the headline caught my eye: Rebellious Starbuck in for another rough ride

I knew they weren't talking about the coffee house chain. Nope, tonight's the night when season 2 of Battlestar Galactica resumes on The SCIFI Channel, and there's a lot of buzz in the online and print media surrounding it.

Ironically, I'm (as yet) only a casual viewer of the show. What I've seen, I've loved, but I haven't had a chance to catch up. That's OK, the DVDs are available for season 1 and the first half of season 2 already, so it's just a matter of finding them down at the local Blockbuster. I've had it with Skiffy in real time; I can't deal with the commercials. Plus I love being able to watch 2 or 3 episodes per evening, racing through an entire season in a couple of weeks. It's awesome.

(Right now DH and I are sampling The Shield (audio at link) but will probably drop it after the first DVD; I just don't see how the Chiklis character can ever be redeemed, and I honestly don't want to see the series producers and writers try to convince us he should be redeemed.)

So if I'm not poised to watch tonight's new BSG, what is it that makes me happy about a few column inches in my local newspaper? I'm happy that BSG is a success, because it deserves to be. And I'm hoping that with the success of BSG, more fans will discover the joys of Farscape -- I commented earlier today over at Orac's that BSG is the direct descendent of Farscape, only BSG is a lot more serious. I know of many folks who loved Firefly and now love BSG, but never even looked at Farscape. That's just silly, since Farscape predates them both and paved the way for them.

There are several forces now working in Farscape's favor: the popularity of a similarly high-quality genre show; the weird scheduling habits of Skiffy that lead to extended hiatuses; the availability of FS on DVD; and the airing of FS in syndication in both national and local markets. Farscape cheerleaders (like me) should be hopping on the "Like BSG? Try Farscape" bandwagon.

I'd like to see FS gain a steady audience. It was a good show with many great moments. Is it as good as BSG? Well, having not seen all that much of BSG I can't really say, but my impression is that BSG is better -- but so what? FS in many ways was better than Babylon 5 and every other show that predated it. That's the way things ought to be: we improve as we go along. Just because BSG is better doesn't mean that FS isn't worth watching -- far from it.

I've written a lot about Farscape, although it has been years (!!!) since I've done so. Years ago, I edited a "Farscape Special" edition of Jigsaw magazine, and commissioned Tom Francis to write this overview (RTF format). Earlier incarnations of my own FarscapeWeekly site included this much longer introduction (MSWord .doc) by me. (Yeah, I really need to overhaul that site, but I've been lacking in both focus and ambition in that area; cancer tends to be distracting.)

If I've managed to pique your curiousity about Farscape, Tom's piece is a good place to start. If you need more details before committing, check out the longer one. If they garner enough hits maybe I'll bestir myself to clean up, but that's not the point. The point is, if you get a chance, watch Farscape. It's smart, funny, gritty and gorgeous -- much prettier than BSG for that matter -- and populated with as great an ensemble of characters as you are ever likely to find.

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