STARRING: Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Anthony Simcoe, Gigi Edgley, Raelee Hill

2004, 240 Minutes, Directed by: Brian Henson

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars is the direct result of a feisty fan base that was enraged when the SciFi Channel in the U.S. decided to cancel the cult favourite two years ago after four seasons. With an international campaign of fan-funded advertisements, write-ins and demonstrations in front of the New York and Los Angeles offices of the SciFi Channel, the network relented by committing to this four-hour mini-series.

The series followed the adventures of John Crichton (Ben Browder), an American astronaut who was lost in a wormhole and ended up on the other side of the galaxy. Crichton ends up on a giant living spaceship – a Leviathan – crewed by escaped prisoners. In this part of space, a fascist intergalactic government called Peacekeepers rules with an iron fist and a fleet of ships. However, the Peacekeepers have their Cold War opponent in the Scarrans, a reptilian race with genocidal tendencies.

In classic Wizard of Oz storytelling, Crichton makes new friends – a motley group of people from different races, including: Officer Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black), a former Peacekeeper; Ka D’Argo (Anthony Simcoe), a big Luxan warrior; and Rygel (Jonathan Hardy), a deposed sovereign. At first, the series followed Crichton’s attempts to get home to Earth and then a new story line developed as both Peacekeepers and Scarrans began chasing Crichton and crew for his wormhole knowledge and its potential as a weapon.

In Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, the story literally picks up the pieces from the truncated end of the TV series when Crichton and Aeryn were disintegrated by an alien weapon. The two are trying to get married as Aeryn is expecting their baby. However, the running joke is that every attempted marriage ceremony is rudely interrupted by war. When full-scale war breaks out between the Peacekeepers and the Scarrans, both sides feel that it’s Crichton’s wormhole knowledge that will secure victory.

"Literally picks up the pieces from the truncated end of the TV series!"

As the end to the TV series, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars should satisfy fans. Production values are practically theatrical-quality with some very slick CGI animation of Rygel as well as the fast-moving space battles. It’s like an episode of Farscape amped up to be a full-blown action movie. Browder has always played Crichton like a young Bruce Willis –which makes for great comedy as the American lost in space and missing his toiletries and candy. In Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Browder occasionally closes in on Shatner-style pompousness. Black is fun channelling Sigourney Weaver as Peacekeeper mom of the year – especially when she gives birth, wraps the newborn babe and picks up her weapon to blast through a barricade. Browder and Black’s chemistry is a big part of the series’ appeal. By necessity, the other characters get short shrift since this is ultimately Crichton’s story.

What made Farscape a cult favourite was its great cast and its irreverent humour as it defied Star Trek-style plotlines where all problems were tidily resolved within an hour. Even as a four-hour miniseries Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars is happily sloppy as it races to conclude the series and all storylines in one big bang. Logic errors abound, Crichton gets preachy about his Armageddon device, and the ending is surprisingly syrupy – no doubt a big happy hug to its fans.

If the U.S. TV ratings are any indicator, Farscape will return in some form or another. SciFi Channel proudly announced that Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars was number one in its timeslots and demographics, garnering a whopping 6,883,000 viewers!

- Harrison Cheung



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