To be honest, I really didn't know anything about "Farscape" going into viewing it. Arriving in an order where I'd actually ordered another film, I decided to keep it after seeing how popular a release it is at places like amazon.com. The premise sounded interesting enough - a sci-fi series done by the Henson company, with good special effects and interesting creature designs - and after watching, I wasn't at all dissapointed.
Ben Browder plays astronaut John Crichton, about to go into space on a mission to test a new form of propulsion. Unfortunately, he throws himself and his ship right into another dimension where he finds himself in the middle of a battle between human peacekeepers and escaping alien prisoners.
After not being familiar with the series before, I was really impressed to find that this was a cable series, as the budget looks to have been impressive. Effects are really first-rate, and sets are remarkably detailed. Not only that, the screenplay is well-written and the series provides an interesting story and characters.
This first volume presents the premiere episode as well as the second episode, "I, E.T.". Future episodes will be released on DVD by ADV in the next month or two.
VIDEO: ADV Films presents "Farscape" in the show's original full-frame aspect ratio and I'm pleased to say that, although I've never seen the series before now, I'd bet that it looks better than it did when it was originally broadcast. Sharpness is generally good, although there's the occasional scene that looked slightly soft. The majority of the program though, looked better than I'd expected, with a smooth, crisp picture that actually often had nice depth to it.
Flaws are very minor, apparent only in a couple of spots - a minor bit of shimmer and a trace of pixelation is all there is. Neither of these problems are distracting - and actually, are hardly even noticable. Very, very good work.
SOUND: "Farscape" gets a Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation that does not stretch too far beyond it's television-origin boundaries, but little touches such as the nice bass from the rocket launch early in the first episode makes for a more entertaining experience. Surrounds are used very nicely and agressively on occasion, such as the scenes where the ship goes through into the other dimension, which nicely rivals the "going-through-the-gate" scenes in "Stargate", although doesn't quite succeed in being quite as impressive.
Still, there's plenty of the usual "sci-fi" sound effects to keep viewers entertained as ships fly over or lasers fire. During the more intense sequences, there's some impressively strong, deep bass, as well. Although this certainly isn't the most impressive "sci-fi" soundtrack, my expectations were more than exceeded by this nicely done and occasionally exciting audio presentation. The second episode included doesn't have quite as much action, but it still provides strong audio quality and the occasional agressive moments.
MENUS:: Menus are very nicely done, with animation that is very professional looking and an enjoyable way to enter the DVD.
Commentaries: The premiere episode contains a commentary by creators Brian Henson & Rockne S. O'Bannon as well as actor Ben Browder. The second episode included offers a track with thoughts from Claudia Black and Anthony Simone, actors. Both tracks are quite interesting and informative, with the speakers providing energetic and fun discussions of the production of "Farscape". Fans of the series will definitely enjoy listening to the perspectives of both groups.
Making Of: This is a slightly over 22 minute documentary that provides a very interesting look at the general production of the series as well as the story. In-between views and analysis of the story behind the series, there's some enjoyable footage that shows how the special effects and make-up were created. A nicely done feature that's worth viewing for fans.
Video Profile: A video profile for John Crichton, which includes actor Ben Browder chatting about the character and story.
Also: Image gallery, Conceptual Art Gallery and web-links.
Positive: The two episodes are enjoyable, and sci-fi fans will likely find them entertaining. Image quality is impressive and audio quality exceeded my expectations for something coming from television. There's also quite a few strong extras.
Negative: No negatives; although some may be unhappy that the series isn't going to be released in "box set" form, with the cult status of the series, stores are probably more likely to carry the single discs than a larger box set, although it could be other reasons. There's also no insert, although with all of the other nicely done features on this disc, I doubt anyone will complain about something that minor.