Farscape: Character Bios: John Crichton

COMMANDER JOHN CRICHTON is played wonderfully yet humanely by Ben Browder

If you were to meet Crichton in a pub he would seem fairly normal – if a little boring.  He probably wouldn’t be able to hold down a conversation about sex, drugs and rock n’roll.

John Crichton is the son of an ol’ spacedog NASA astronaut (once walked in space).  He has a PhD in Theoretical Sciences and a refreshing lack of machismo. He had a job as a Mission Specialist on a number of NASA Shuttle launches.

Although his father is an accomplished astronaut in his own right, Crichton’s career headed off in a different direction.  John does not have the same ‘gung-ho’ macho spirit of the ol’flyboys of his fathers generation and is quite defensive about this.  I guess he has lived his life in his fathers shadow for a long time and needs to prove his own worth – in his own way. The young John Crichton was a lonely child often having to worry if he would see his father again (because of the dangers of his job). He soon learned the importance of independence and self-reliance.

Crichton theorised that if a ship could be made to use the Earths Atmosphere and gravity to increase acceleration (a sort of slingshot effect), the ship would not only break Earth’s orbit, but increase speed to such an extent that it would be able to reach other planets and even stars.

He was given a chance to prove this – a NASA Mission was developed in which HE would be the pilot (a little unrealistic, if you lose the pilot, you lose the expertise and any future chance at proving the theory).  Unfortunately a freak worm hole appeared as Crichton’s ship neared it’s maximum speed and his little ship flew straight into it. When Crichton emerged from the wormhole he quickly learned that he was a long way from home and had been thrust into a pitch battle between the Peacekeepers and a large but sleek Leviathan spaceship called Moya. .

Checkout other News & Reviews from Sci Fi SadGeezers:
Battlestar Galactica: S01E09: Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down

To make things worse, some stupid Peacekeeper twerp bumps into his ship (the Farscape) and then crashes into an asteroid, killing the pilot.  Before Crichton could fully comprehend what was happening around him, he was ‘pulled in’ by Moya’s docking beam and had the fortune (or misfortune) to meet up with its crew – a weird looking bunch of misfits (in any galaxy) desperately trying to manoeuvre their ship away from their attackers (Peacekeepers).

By the way, the stupid Peacekeeper twerp was the brother of a Commander Crais, a powerful and particularly nasty leader of the Peacekeeper attack on Moya – he vowed to kill Crichton for the death of his brother and breaks all the rules in pursuing Moya to that end.

Crichton’s reaction to them (and theirs to him) was gritty, realistic and funny.  How would you feel?  What would you do?  Most of us wondered what would happen if we suffered a similar fate and Crichton’s experience was very believable.  His crewmates looked on him as an inconvenience, a troublesome half-wit of no use to them in their struggle to escape the Peacekeepers  He was whipped with D’Argo’s tongue (very kinky that) and imprisoned until he could prove that he was NOT a Peacekeeper.

This he did.  The Moya was freed from her shackles and Crichton told the crew to steer the ship into the local planets’ atmosphere.  He pulled the ‘Farscape trick’ and Moya went whizzing off out of range of the evil Crais and to temporary safety.

Through the adventures that followed in the first and second season, we see Crichton’s temperament and character change as he learns to interact with the crew.  He tends to be the one who doesn’t overreact, and who brings a small amount of sanity to an insane adventure.

Checkout other News & Reviews from Sci Fi SadGeezers:
LEXX: Biography: 790

He has a particularly interesting relationship with Aeryn Sun, a Peacekeeper who accidentally found herself on the ‘other side’.  Aeryn has more balls than Crichton (and me…. and you… put together!) and seeing Crichton getting beaten up by his prospective new girlfriend on a couple of occasions was a lot of fun.

This SadGeezer believes that these two fancy each other like mad and desperately want to rip each others underclothes off with their teeth, but writers are funny like that.  You just cant have a relationship develop into something more than ‘professional’ without the love interest overshadowing the sci fi story.  They actually bonked in (“A Human Reaction”) But ever since then,  just as they seem to get close again, something happens and the chance is lost.

Crichton and Zhaan have a strong bond.  Zhaan seems to understand Crichton’s predicament more than the others and often gives him the benefit of doubt.  He also gets on well with Chiana.  Sometimes I wonder if this is because he fancies the very attractive grey girly, most of the time he acts like her uncle (but maybe he’s a bit of an Uncle Ernie’). 

In fact Crichton (with the exception of some erratic behaviour in season 2) seems to get on well with everyone – even D’Argo and Rygel (who spat on him) and I think that is the main flaw to his character.  Realistically you could be nice to the big shaggy dog, but most of us would be less than warm to him.  And yet, most Farscapers tend to like the growing closeness of Crichton and D’Argo (I wonder why?). If you meet and have to work with some of these personalities you would loath them – especially Rygel!

As a scientist, Crichton has an affinity with Moya. He is fascinated by the spaceship and always respectful of Pilot’s abilities.  He doesn’t so much issue instructions to the ship as ask it’s advice which, I guess, is understandable and humane.

Checkout other News & Reviews from Sci Fi SadGeezers:
Firefly: People: River

Yep!  Humane, I think that’s how Crichton can best be described.  I guess that’s good, but not really human.  I’d love to see Crichton do something bad, maybe a serious mistake or make a pass at Chiana when he’s drunk and get a good slapping, something to make me warm to the geezer a little more.

BEN BROWDER

He was born in Memphis, and raised in Charlotte in the United States where his family owns and operates a NASCAR Busch racing car. Browder is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville and learned acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

Before Farscape, Browder was best known for his character Sam in the series Party of Five in which he played  Neve Campbell’s boyfriend.  He has also appeared in many other TV series such as Paper Mansions, The Dottie West Story, Danielle Steel’s Secrets, Innocent Victims and A Wing and A Prayer.  His serial TV appearances include Melrose Place, Grace Under Fire, Murder She Wrote and Boys of Twilight.

Ben Browder’s feature film debut was in Memphis Belle but he also appeared in Nevada with Gabrielle Anwar and Kirstie Alley, A Kiss Before Dying with Matt Dillon, and Boogie Boy.

Browder has appeared in theatre most notably in the Broadway production of The Merchant of Venice which starred Dustin Hoffman and has acted in numerous regional theatre productions.

Discuss this character in the Farscape Discussion Forum

This character review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl
and not for reproduction without the authors express permission

The FARSCAPE names, characters and everything else associated with the series  are the property of The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Entertainment,  Nine Network, and in association with The Sci-Fi Channel and the BBC.

Share this:

Related posts

The Umbrella Academy Season 2 – First Impressions Review

The Umbrella Academy Season 2 - First Impressions Review

The Umbrella Academy. This second season review describes why it’s lighter and funnier (and bloodier) that the first series without losing any of its emotional poignancy, the super kids clearly grow as individuals (and as a family) as they save the world from certain apocalypse.... again.

The Boys Season 2 First Impressions Review

The Boys Season 2 First Impressions Review

For those of us suffering Sci Fi Comic Book fatigue (re Marvel Universe) you will find this season of The Boys refreshing, fun, horrible and marvellous (usually at the same time) – One of the best Sci Fi Shows this year! It’s great! Watch it!

Star Trek: Picard S01E03 – Episode Review

Star Trek: Picard S01E03 - Episode Review

In this episode review of Star Trek Picard we see Soji is still completely unaware that she is a synthetic being, she tries to help claim back captured Romulan members of the Borg Collective. One of them tells her she recognises her as 'The Destroyer'. Meanwhile, Picard, Laris and Zhaban are attacked by a crack Romulan assassination squad. They survive but Picard needs to leave in a hurry to find Dr Bruce Maddox, the person who probably created Soji and Dahj. Picard engages a crew to help him: A former Starfleet officer, Rios, his old friend Raffi and Dr. Agnes Jurati.

The Witcher S01E08 – Episode Review – Much More

The Witcher S01E08 - Episode Review - Much More

This is a detailed review with lots of pictures. The episode is about the convergence of three timelines and a how Nilfgaard was given a bit of a slap. We finally see how cool sorcerers are and especially how powerful Yennefer is.

Star Trek: Picard S01E02 – Episode Review

Star Trek: Picard S01E02 - Episode Review

In this Episode Review we see that Picard starts to investigate the death of Dahj with the assistance of Dr. Agnes Jurati and a former colleague, Raffi Musiker. Starfleet and some other more secretive Romulan forces are concerned what he might uncover and particularly where the truth about Dahj will lead.

The Witcher Episode 7 Review – Before a Fall

The Witcher Episode 7 Review - Before a Fall

In this Witcher Episode we noticed that “Before a Fall” was certainly less trivial in its portrayal without Jaskier. Indeed, the start of the war between Cintra and Nilfgaard and sending a group of mages face an army (with their own fanatically devout religious mages willing to die for their cause) with the realisation and sense of destiny playing on Geralt to find and protect Ciri adds a level of story depth with a different entertainment value that the excellent big character development scenes. In this episode, the narrative was definitely more focused on the story.

Star Trek: Picard S01E01 Episode Review – Explained

Star Trek: Picard S01E01 Episode Review - Explained

Episode Review: Picard meets Dahj after she is attacked by Romulan assassins and something 'activates' within her and she gets an image of Picard in her mind. She seeks him out to see if he can help explain what is happening to her. Picard travels to the Daystrom Institute in Okinawa and meets with Dr. Agnes Jurati, who reveals Dahj may be Data's daughter through an experimental procedure known as fractal neuronic cloning – meaning she is an android with an organic body but a positronic brain. She goes on to say that this activity results in twins.

The Witcher S01E06 Episode Review – Rare Species

The Witcher S01E06 Episode Review - Rare Species

This Witcher Episode Review is about as close to a typical Geralt of Rivia story as you can get - that is, a monster and a dilemma. It also lets us see one of the classic fantasy genre monsters of all time - dragons!  There was much less gratuitous in this episode which was a shame, but it was certainly good fun to watch.  The graphics were really good.  Ok, not as good as the amazing dragons in Game of Thrones, but definitely better than the Kikimora from the first episode. Though to be honest, I thought the Kikimora graphics were pretty good too.

The Witcher Episode Review S01E05 – Bottled Appetites

The Witcher Episode Review S01E05 - Bottled Appetites

The meeting between Geralt and Yennefer really delivers! Their get together bubbled with raw energy, sexual charisma, and fun that kept is all entertained. Cavill and Chalotra looked really good together and look physically and mentally well matched, That wasn't just good acting, it was good writing and direction too.