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Farscape - Starburst Edition Season 3, Collection 2
The second volume of the Starburst editions for Farscape's third season presents viewers with eight more episodes in the science fiction series. Some of these episodes are stand-alone, while a few others continue the story arc from the first third of the season, culminating in a two-parter that feels a lot more like a season finale than a mid-season episode. The content here will be entertaining to fans of the series, but in the end I'd say that the series doesn't pick up enough momentum to convert casual viewers into complete fans.
Collection Two opens with the generic space adventure "Green Eyed Monster," in which the hybrid leviathan Talyn is swallowed by a giant budong. Will the crew figure out how to escape? Hm, let me think about that. Fans of the show will enjoy seeing the character interactions, but the plot itself doesn't really go anywhere. "Losing Time" follows hard on the heels of this episode with one of the most overused science fiction plot elements of all time: an energy being has taken over the body of one of the crew, and the others must figure out who it is. There's some general interest in the fact that we now have two Crichtons (one on Talyn and one on Moya) but that doesn't make the story any less hackneyed.
"Relativity" attaches itself to one of the ongoing plot arcs more securely; as Talyn recuperates on a planet, the crew have to deal with a Peacekeeper Retrieval Squad led by Aeryn's mother. Other than the tense mother-daughter conflicts and continued attention to Crichton and Aeryn's relationship, this is a fairly straightforward episode. "Incubator" has more punch to it, as we get Scorpius back in the picture, and with him more details about the neural chip. "Meltdown" switches back to the adventure-of-the-week mold, though; here Talyn suffers from an alien influence and tries to fly into a sun, while the rest of the crew suffer from the spillover of Talyn's compulsion.
The set wraps up with the two-part "Infinite Possibilities," focusing on Aeryn, Crichton, and Crais in Talyn. In "Daedalus Demands," Crichton has to face up to the Ancients once again when they suspect that he has leaked the wormhole knowledge to a dangerous alien race; in "Icarus Abides," they also have to deal with the arrival of the Scarrans. The "last time on Farscape" introductions make these episodes sound a lot more exciting than they turn out to be, when watched at full length. There are certainly some very entertaining moments, but the overall feeling of the episodes seems to be that they're slightly padded with action set-pieces and overly long character-development sequences. In particular, the conclusion to "Icarus Abides" is clearly intended to be a tear-jerker for dedicated fans who will linger over every moment... but for the more casual viewer, the drawn-out and teary farewells seem too overly manipulative, and the scene simply drags on too long.
In the end, I have the same feeling for Collection Two as I did for Collection One in Season Three: these are episodes geared toward the most devoted fans of the series, not viewers who might enjoy the show's story but aren't completely hooked.
As with Season Three Collection One, this set includes four single-sided discs in a double-wide case, with the DVDs awkwardly overlapped in the case.
The image quality here is a bit disappointing, compared to the earlier DVD releases. Contrast tends to be too heavy, and the image is noticeably soft and blurry in many middle-distance shots. Colors look fine most of the time, but sometimes look a bit too saturated. The episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
The Dolby 5.1 track handles the demands of the episodes quite well, with some nice surround effects as well as a generally good handling of the music and dialogue balance. A Dolby 2.0 track is also included, as are English closed captions.
Some special features appear on each disc, with the fourth disc containing the bulk of the extra material.
Disc 1 has an audio commentary for "Green Eyed Monster" with Ben Browder and director Tony Tilse, and a commentary for "Relativity" with Lani John Tupu and director Peter Andrikidis. There's also a short set of deleted scenes from the episodes on that disc. More deleted scenes appear on Discs 2 and 3. All three of these discs also have "Cool Farscape Facts" (text information on the episodes), "Alien Encounters" (text information on the alien characters in the show), and the television promotional trailers for the episodes.
Disc 4 has a solid set of "Behind the Scenes Interviews." After a short segment with Ben Browder (5 minutes) we get an interesting one with Wayne Pygram (Scorpius) running 24 minutes, and another with Gigi Edgley (Chiana) running 18 minutes. This section finishes up with a quick 4-minute segment on Paul Goddard (Stark).
Apart from that, we get text character histories of Chiana, Crais, Jool, Stark, Scorpius, and the neural clone; a production design gallery; and a set of ADV previews.
At this point, midway through Farscape's third season, it seems clear that the show is being made by fans, for fans; there are some interesting stories being told here, but I found the pacing to be too slow overall, with too much attention on the characters and set-pieces and not enough on the narrative. If you have been enjoying the series so far, you'll want to continue here, but overall I'll just give the set a "rent it" recommendation.