Farscape Downunder

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    Although Channel 9 is supposed to be screening the third season of Farscape this September (in a couple of weeks, no less), I thought I’d share something I’ve just read in the Weekend Australian (Review Supplement). There is a cover story on the state of SF called ‘Its Alive’, and the article mentions that the show is ‘soon to be seen regularly on Foxtel’s Fox 8’.

    This is good news, if only because the implication is that Fox 8 (unlike Channel 9, who co produce it) might actually be committed to screening it from season 1 onwards. Season 2 was supposed to begin on another Foxtel channel many months ago, but apparently the increasing adult content was a deterrent (it was originally shown on a kid’s channel). And , of course, Channel 9 -despite their own financial investment – has been very haphazard in screening the show from day 1.

    For the record – the article goes on to single out Farsacpe as the best SF on television, citing praise by the likes of the New York Times and Newsday. One remark holds particularly true for me : Farscape is “TV’s most underrated drama, and is more philosophical, more adult, more briskly stimulating and way more unsettling than” most shows on television.


    I thought it would feel more at home on TV1 than Fox8.


    After noting Farscape’s absence in the September ‘free to air’ tv guides, I decided to ring channel 9’s programming department (Melbourne). According to them, they have NO INTENTION of showing Farscape EVER AGAIN – despite indications that they had intended to begin with season 3 onwards this September. (Note that the situation *might* differ in other Australian states, but I was told that this was 9’s general attitude for the following reason). The person insisted that channel 9 were no longer involved with the production of the show season 3 onwards anyway, which may or may not partially explain its recent cancellation (the loss of a local financial backer would presumably have contributed to rising production costs). The show was said to be ‘no good for 9’.

    All is not lost. According to the online Foxtel guide, Farscape returns to cable, Tuesday October 15. In fact, there are two episodes being shown that night (7.30 and 8.30). I’m not sure what this does with the currently screening UK version of Queer as Folk at 9.00 pm. Trouble is – and I’m sure you knew there just had to be a catch – the episodes do not begin from the begining. Instead, Farscape makes its debut on Fox 8 towards the end of season 1 (the last two episodes, Bone to be Bad and Family Ties respectively). Given that the Foxtel guide only permits access to its schedule up to a month ahead (and it only September 15 here), it is also possible that season 2 might begin proper a couple of days later in a different timeslot – presumably Friday night). Hopefully, then, this abrupt beginning is just setting up Season 2 onwards, which channel 9 showed out of order, across timeslots and without 6 pivotal episodes.

    Ahh, its good to be a SF fan

    [ 16-09-2002: Message edited by: bonnee ]


    Wow, that really sucks.
    And it’s an Australian show, too.


    Now that I have the Foxtel guide in my hand: just confirming that Farscape has found a new home on Fox 8, beginning Tuesday, 15th October onwards. Note that whilst the show premieres with a double episode at 7.30 pm Tuesday night onwards, it will settle in at 8.30 with single episodes 22nd October on.

    Note further that, yes, Farscape continues to get shoddy treatment on Foxtel as well. The Farscape premiere will (somehow) manage to skip most of the first season, and will use only two episodes from season 1 as a lead in to Season 2 onwards. Given that the show premieres with arguably the worst episode in season 1 – not to mention, manages to completely ignore the two most important pivotal/transitional episodes just prior to that (Nerve and Hidden Memory)- Farscape is not likely to make much sense to those who might have otherwise been interested in keeping up with it.

    Mustn’t grumble too much though – at least its back on air.

    [ 02-10-2002: Message edited by: bonnee ]


    Hmmm, just read the following exerpt on one of the sites Camelyn directed to me too.

    14 October 2002: TV Week blurb on season 3 on Nine
    “Good news for Farscape fans … Nine will screen the third season of the Oz-made sci-fi series this summer. Watch for the adventures of astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) from late December. Farscape fans have been holding rallies around the world to revive the series, which was canned after four seasons.”

    I must have missed this in the tv week, and clearly it does not coincide with what channel 9 programming told me weeks earlier. Perhaps they’ve changed their mind or that this decision only pertains to some states downunder (ie, sydney). So keep your eye on local guides.

    I wonder if the (limited) media coverage of the show’s cancellation helped raise its profile downunder, resulting in the decision to screen season 3 after all.


    Here is a little follow-up on the info that Bonnee has been posting. This is courtesy of Carol Denehey, and is a response to a letter directed at Foxtel in support of Farscape:

    “Thank you for your letter dated October 9 regarding Farscape. We at Foxtel are also big fans of Farscape and were equally disappointed to hear of the end of production on the series.

    Farscape was an enormous investment for Foxtel, representing a large proportion of our drama budget for the year. Our investment however makes up less than 10% of the total cost of producing the series. Without the major investment of the SCIFI Channel there is simply no way we could afford to produce the series.

    The high quality cast, crew and production values that you mention come at enormous cost. While not having the budget of some US dramas, Farscape is still a very expensive drama to produce.

    Even if we could afford to produce the series, our hands would be tied. We do not own production rights for Farscape and as such could not produce or distribute the programme. Our rights at present are purely for transmission. The cost of acquiring production rights for the series would again be well out of our budget.

    Thank you for your letter. We do appreciate your feedback. I only wish I had better news for you.

    Yours Sincerely,
    Stephen Baldwin
    Programme Executive”


    I was SO looking forward to watching Farscape too… anyway, I personally am not with the opinion that Farscape should be on TV1… Fox 8 seems the right home, and besides, it needs more sci-fi on it!

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