Deconstructing Moya

A Farscape Re-watch Project

A Farscape Rewatch

When Farscape premiered in 1999, it captured the hearts of viewers across the world. It was the story of John Crichton, a scientist from Earth who was flung halfway across the galaxy into an interstellar conflict. His initial goal was to survive in this new environment in hopes of finding a way home.

Its quirky humor and engrossing storyline quickly catapulted it to its current slot as one of the best-written and most well-loved pieces of science fiction shows on television. It’s also one of the best series out there in general.

Here at Deconstructing Moya, we’re going to re-watch it with you and find out why.


When I first saw Farscape, I was a teenager, watching television with my mother. She had heard about this upcoming show, a science fiction show that was produced by the Jim Henson company. She said it’d be right up my alley, and since my mother had usually been the one to introduce me to the best sci-fi and fantasy stories out there, I was inclined to believe her.

Enter “Premiere”. Here was a classic fish-out-of-water story completely turned on its ear. Our hero may not have known there was other life out there, but as TVTropes says, he’s One Of Us. He’s seen Star Wars and Star Trek, he knows how to handle himself in a situation. This man is not Arthur frelling Dent. The fact that he’s Genre Savvy can hurt him at times, but it’s saved Moya and all those aboard her more times than I can count.

More than that, though, what struck me the most about this show is – for lack of a more appropriate term – its humanist aspect. D’Argo may be The Bruiser, but he’s not a stupid pile of meat. Aeryn might be a racist (speciesist?) soldier, but she has feelings of her own. Zhaan can be the mediator and Den Mother, but she’s not afraid to rip you a new one if she thinks you need it. (See “Throne for a Loss” for one of the more awesome examples of this.)

I personally haven’t seen many of these episodes since their first run on SciFridays – eventually being paired with Stargate once the SciFi Channel picked it up, which was absolutely delicious – so this will be a great exercise for me. Some of these episodes I haven’t seen in over ten years.

Stick around, and we’ll see where this takes us.


I didn’t watch a lot of tv back in 1999. There just wasn’t time. Other than the whole household religiously following Boy Meets World and Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place (which soon dropped the pizza place), I just wasn’t capable of tuning in “same time, same channel” every week for shows I already knew I’d like, such as Buffy or X-Files or Stargate SG-1 or whatever incarnation of Star Trek was currently on the air. I was moving into my last year of high school (Class of 2000! Woooo!), had to help take care of a severely handicapped sister, and whatever time I had left was divided between the occasional book or video, playing old favorites on the Genesis (complete with Sega CD add-on – that’s right, I had one), and throwing another entry onto my increasing collection of screenplays (everybody needs a hobby).

But then there was Farscape. Right from the beginning, I knew this show was different. The look and the attitude captured an alien reality that was equally filled with a jaw dropped in awe, a casual shrug, a sneer of repulsion, a sigh of frustration, and a snort of hilarity, all thrown at us to such a level that we and the human hero either had to quickly adjust or go mad (both of which happened, now that I think about it). I wasn’t able to catch every episode, but tuned in whenever I could and was blown away by the bold imagination of the creators and the fearless exploration of the performers. It was an honest reality in that nothing, not even the square-jawed American lead, was fully good or fully bad, and everything built off of relationships that never settled and choices that weren’t always right.

It was a fun time, but as it went on and the continuity became deeper and deeper, my sporadic viewing was leaving me increasingly in the dark as to what was going on. Then came DVD. I bought my first player in 2000, and in 2001, the anime company ADVision, of all people, started putting out discs of this show. It didn’t take long for me to fill in the gaps of what I’d been missing, and I became a total addict, swiping up each new set the week it hit the market (which was no small feat in the days where they cost $100+). I was frustrated at news of the cancellation and knowledge that my journey would end on a cliffhanger, but, dammit, I just couldn’t stop watching. This was a show that never let itself get comfortable, often throwing in more twists every few episodes than most would in their entire multi-year runs. And, yet, it never resorted to a gimmick. As I said before, these were fully realized people making choices that were fully justified by who they were and what life had thrown their way.

It was the ultimate road trip, a forced family locked on a journey without a destination, making the most of it on the rare occasions life would allow. And I was along for the ride.


My memories of exactly how I got into Farscape are somewhat fuzzy, being tied to college and all associated trauma, but I do recall that it was the height of science fiction television.  I recall watching SciFi fairly frequently, which may mean that I stumbled across it at random.  (This was, I feel the need to mention, before SyFy went to 24/7 made-for-TV movies.  Y’know, when it was good.)

So let’s say I started around mid season two.  The very first thing that caught me was the music.  You cannot listen to the season one and two opening credits and think, “Meh, that sounds like a Star Trek knock-off.”  No.  I still can’t identify half of the sounds in that track.  Heavy brass and vocals, yes, but the rest is so strange as to be incomprehensible.  That is, I think, the show in a nutshell.  Parts are familiar, but the majority is so weird that it throws poor John right off.

Extensive use of muppets, I think, clinched it for me.  This is a universe where the aliens are well and truly alien, from Rygel and Pilot through that… zerg thing in episode one, they’re just not humanoid.  That’s huge.  The makeup department gets huge kudos on a similar note – even the humanoids are sufficiently off that you’re rarely comfortable with all of the characters. 

And I suppose that whole characterization thing.  Maybe character development too.  They helped.
It was cancelled just as Firefly came out on Fox.  2002 was a bad year.


Honestly, I never had much exposure to Farscape while it was still on the air. This isn’t totally my fault since I lived in what could properly be called “the sticks” and didn’t get satellite service for about half of its run. Fast forward a few years, and I discover a science fiction show made by the Jim Henson company. Now anyone that knows me could tell you that I think muppets in general are freaking awesome, having been raised on a steady diet of Muppet Babies, Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. After watching the first couple of episodes I resolve see all of it, but had trouble finding episodes online. And being a poor nerd, buying boxed sets for a series I hadn’t seen yet seemed like a pretty bad idea. So I did what I usually do in situations like this: read about it on Wikipedia. After a while I started to find a few episodes posted on YouTube and the like, and got through most of season one before I ran out of posted episodes. While this probably doesn’t qualify me for a “rewatch” of the series, it DOES qualify me to give some insight as a relative newcomer to the series.

Looks like a pretty fun ride, either way.

Deconstructing Moya will begin Friday, July 9th with the first episode of Season One, “Premiere”.

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  1. CharmedPeacekeeper

     /  October 4, 2011

    I’ve gotta say, it’s always a pleasure to run across intelligent blogs about things that actually interest me, versus the standard whiny bullshit that permeates so much of the internet.

    As a Scaper since the series began (Farscape was something my grandfather and I bonded over), I have steadily fed my addiction to the brilliance and edginess of the series with boxed sets, books (the graphic novels included), fanfiction, and the like over the years. It’s always been something I’ve been able to retreat into when things got rough, and it’s something that has always made me think.

    So naturally, when you run across something that reflects someone else’s passion for the same content, it brings something of a shit-eating grin to your face. (Because let’s face it, few things are more awesome than being able to say “YES, someone else GETS it!”)

    I’ve been reading through Deconstructing Moya for awhile now, and since I’ve been in Afghanistan (currently deployed), it’s given me a break from the crap that goes on out here, while at the same time letting me see my favorite series through someone else’s eyes (which is always a treat). It’s interesting to see alternate viewpoints and fun when I realize that someone else has seen the same thing in the content that I have.

    Keep up the good frelling work, guys, your readers love you!


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