The first season was reviewed a few weeks ago. Though good, I didn’t think it lived up to its reputation. Does the second season fare any better?

Cast and Crew Information

Ben Browder as John Crichton
Claudia Black as Officer Aeryn Sun
Anthony Simcoe as Ka D’Argo
Lani Tupu as Pilot and Bialar Crais
Jonathan Hardy as Dominar Rygel XVI
Virginia Hey as Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan
Gigi Edgley as Chiana
Wayne Pygram as Scorpius

Created by Rockne S. O’Bannon
Cowritten by David Kemper (4 episodes), Justin Monjo (4 episodes), Gabrielle G. Stanton & Harry Werksman Jr.(3 episodes), Grand McAloon (3 episodes), Naren Shankar (3 episodes), Richard Manning (2 episodes), Lily Taylor (1 episode), Michael Cassutt (1 episode), Peter Neale (1 episode) and Rockne S. O’Bannon (1 episode).
Directed by Tony Tilse (8 episodes), Andrew Prowse (6 episodes), Rowan Woods (5 episodes), Ian Watson (4 episodes) and Catherine Millar (2 episodes)

Availability Information

This season is available on DVD in both complete series and single season editions. There are also a number of out of print collections, but they’d be used editions likely available at higher prices with bulkier packaging.

Premise

Crais takes a back seat to the new “big bad” in Scorpius. They hunt for D’Argo’s son while trying to evade Scorpius and track down Moya’s child, Talyn.

High Point

The replacement of Crais. The main adversary in the first season was a laughable template of the enemy, bent on murder out of revenge. Scorpius, on the other hand, needs Crichton alive. In fact, he takes steps to protect Crichton, and those steps lead to some very unexpected places.

Low Point

“Dream a Little Dream.” That episode felt out of place as a flashback, but would have been worse as the season premier as intended. I understand the need to use footage that expensive, but it would have been more effective had it either been moved up sooner in the broadcast order or been used to set up a future storyline. Instead, it feels too late on the surface, and doesn’t have its timing justified by the subsequent stories.

The Review

The originality is strong. The Crichton/Scorpius dynamic isn’t the only element that’s unusual here. As with the first season, the script ideas are highly innovative, exemplifying the level of creativity that only science fiction and fantasy can provide. I give it 6 out of 6.

The effects, sadly, are only slightly improved over the first season. They no longer use the abysmal CGI version of Rygel, but foam and rubber still look like foam and rubber. The Scarran characters didn’t make a believable threat for me simply because they looked so fake around the heads. The articulation of the long fingers of so many aliens is also limited, to the point where the characters can’t manipulate the controls they are seen using. Still, the worst of the first season has been corrected. I give it 4 out of 6.

The stories are great. They take enough time to make developing relationships seem plausible, and come up with ideas and situations that you simply won’t see on other shows. I’d rather not get into specifics for fear of spoilers, but rest assured that viewers will see fresh stories on screen. I give it 6 out of 6.

The acting from the live cast is good. Stark’s portrayal seems a bit inconsistent, almost as though they were inventing new aspects of the character to serve the story rather than allowing the stories to serve the character. He’s not in this season much, however, although the IMDB listings include episode counts that seem to spoil some upcoming story points for me. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production involves some very elaborate set pieces. The editing and lighting are also effective. Some of the camera angles seem limited by the needs of the puppeteers, though. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is very strong this time around. I’ve heard great things about the series, but the first season didn’t live up to that reputation. This season did. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a much stronger turnout than the first season. Some parts of the Crichton/Crais dynamic weren’t working, and they’ve been fixed or replaced as needed. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Farscape: Season Two receives 36 out of 42.