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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • 4 Audio commentary - 4 episodes
  • Cast/crew biographies - Cast and chracters, jargon, and equipment
  • Isolated music score
  • 3 Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • 2 Interactive game

Farscape - Season 2

Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 970 mins . MA15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

With the success of Season One of Farscape, for which you’ll find the DVD box set reviewed here, a second series was planned, tying up the loose ends from the cliffhanger ending of Season One. The major actors from the first series all signed back on, augmented by a wide range of characters that come and go, played by actors who will by and large be well known to Australian audiences, where Farscape was filmed. There are, however, some differences from Season One.

The show is less centred on the human character, John Crichton (the ever-lovable Ben Browder), and his attempts to get back to earth. The sexual tension between Crichton and Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black), is again explored, as, naturally, are the attempts by Scorpius (Wayne Pygram) to capture him. There is also another developing relationship on board that is the source for a few tense moments. The core of the crew is again rounded out by Zhaan (Virginia Hey), Rygel (voiced by Jonathon Hardy), Pilot, and D’Argo (Anthony Simcoe), still trying to locate his son, plus the runaway, Chiana. The crew is to be found living on/in the leviathan, Moya, a living spacecraft. In Season Two, each begins to have more of their personal demons revealed which makes for interesting viewing.

The baddies are ever present, and each of the 22 episodes is self-contained, though it’s logical to watch them in order. The storylines are just as good, and the makeup, costuming and set design are again first rate. Many of the characters grow and change across this series, especially the newer regulars, and that is a good thing. There is nothing more disappointing than watching characters simply going through the motions week in, week out.

Of note is that fact that each of the episodes in Season 2 is a little shorter than those in Season One (four minutes shorter to be exact), but fans can rest assured that there has been no tampering with running times, and nothing censored. Issues of running time and squeezing in commercial breaks are to blame.

While fans still lament the axing of the show after just four seasons, they can cheer themselves up a little by grabbing this Season Two box set. There are also whispers over at Henson’s (yes, the Muppet people who co-created Farscape) of an anime series, or possibly a feature film. There is nothing concrete yet, but it is always a possibility as there can be little doubt the fans are there to support it.

  Video
Contract

No doubt the question on the lips of most rabid Farscape fans who expressed so much disappointment over the MPEG artefacting that was a real problem for the Season One box set, is, “Have they been eliminated from the Season Two set?”. The answer is, “Yes – mostly.”

Like Season One, this is an essentially fantastic looking, full frame image, apart from a few instances of pixellation as experienced in Season One that similarly occurs during some fade-ins. They are nowhere near as frequent, however, and in general the image is very sharp, incredibly colourful and clean, and makes for wonderful viewing. Every colour imaginable is reproduced beautifully, as are black levels, while shadow detail is also very good.

There are no problems with shimmer or marks, spots or flecks, and fans should be well satisfied. There are not even layer changes to contend with. Each disc carries four episodes and there is plenty of room and almost no problems.

This is undoubtedly a better effort than the Season One box set.

  Audio
Contract

It is just possible that the Dolby Digital 5.1 here is even a little louder and fuller than the Season One, and again sounds very impressive. There is great clarity, lots of rumbles and explosions, plenty of work for all speakers, even the surrounds, and the subwoofer chugs along merrily much of the time. On occasions, however, it does seem that the action is a lot louder than the dialogue and there is a temptation to play with the volume control.

Sounds are well separated and there is evidence of panning. Dialogue is mostly centred in the front unless deliberately placed elsewhere for effect, and there are no problems with volume, fidelity - there also aren't any synchronisation dramas as evident in some of Season One’s episodes.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo also sounds great, but is not as immersive or as effective in the big action scenes of which there are many.

  Extras
Contract

Season Two is rather packed full of great extras, and some of them, such as the Audio Commentaries were specially recorded for the Region 4 box. The first, for the episode Mind the Baby, is courtesy of Lani Tapu (Crais and Pilot), David Kemper (executive producer), and Andrew Prowse (director and associate producer). It is an informative commentary with all three delivering plenty of information that fans will really appreciate.

The second commentary comes with The Way We Weren’t, and is from composer, Guy Cross. It is less interesting, though die-hard fans will no doubt still get something out of it. It is punctuated by lengthy gaps.

The last two commentaries, for Won’t Get Fooled Again and Die Me Dichotomy, sees things back on track as David Kemper is joined by director Rowan Woods, and the pair deliver two wonderfully informative and jam-packed commentaries, Fans will be salivating.

From here, the extras are largely textual, but even the most fervent fan should find some new snippets of information. They are well packaged, and a worthy addition.

First up is Farscape Files, which features character biographies of the mostly major characters. They are easy to read and informative, but anyone with more than a passing interest will know most of this if they have watched even half a dozen episodes.

Alien Adventures, like the above, is textual information about the main races and species' that grace the show. Most are complimented by short snippets of a prime example in action.

Star Biographies continues the trend, and naturally it delivers actor biographies of the eight major characters. It highlights the wealth of experience the cast brought to the show.

Changing tack slightly, we are presented with Farscape Lingo, which is like a mini-dictionary of the many unique names and jargon from the show. It is further broken down into sub-categories, How Much?, What is That?, and Talk the Talk. Each entry is again accompanied by a snippet of the term being used and is a nice touch.

Weapons & Ships works in a similar way. It is presented in two sub-categories and each entry contains a short written piece and an image of the ship or weapon.

There are also two Games that are easy to play. The first is Bingo! Give Braniac a Fluffy Dog and involves watching a clip and answering a question such as “What does Crichton say next?” The second game, Match the Star, is a multiple choice “Which character does this actor play?” game.

Speaking of games, after watching the Farscape PC Game Trailer, you may wish to purchase the CD-ROM game for more hours of fun.

The Concept Art Galleries are mildly interesting as they self navigate through dozens of artists sketches and make-up shots of Costumes, Ships and Weapons.

Lastly, there is an 11-minute musical piece from the series in 5.1 Surround Music Clip. It is accompanied by clips from the episode Die Me Dichotomy.

  Overall  
Contract

The second season of Farscape is ultimately more satisfying than the first, likewise the DVD box set. The characters have been well established, the storylines are more involved, and the dynamics between the characters are even more volatile, though the underlying comradeship is always present. The storylines are darker, often delving into the dark pasts of many characters. The sets and costumes are never short changed, and the filming of the show is always of a high standard. The video problems that disappointed so many in the first box set are largely absent this time around and this series is highly entertaining viewing.


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      And I quote...
    "The crew of Moya continues on its less than merry way encountering all manner of foe, old and new…"
    - Terry Kemp
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Akai
    • TV:
          TEAC CT-F803 80cm Super Flat Screen
    • Receiver:
          Pioneer VSX-D409
    • Speakers:
          Wellings
    • Centre Speaker:
          Wellings
    • Surrounds:
          Wellings
    • Subwoofer:
          Sherwood SP 210W
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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