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Farscape is genre television at its most ambitious, inspired both by the cult appeal of Babylon 5 and by the continuing success of the Star Trek franchise, but taking a visual and conceptual leap beyond those shows. Making extensive use of CGI, prosthetics, and state-of-the-art puppetry, courtesy of Jim Henson's Creature Shop, the Farscape concept has a freshness that makes it look and feel completely original. Among the first season's 22 episodes, "Premiere" introduces the characters and the basic premise: American astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) is flung through a wormhole and comes out in the midst of an interstellar prison escape on the other side of the universe. When the galactic cops (called "Peacekeepers") mark him as the new public enemy number one, Crichton is forced to ally himself with the convicts: hulking warrior D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe), blue-skinned priest Zhaan (Virginia Hey), fugitive peacekeeper Aeryn (Claudia Black), exiled king Rygel (Jonathan Hardy), and Pilot, the giant insectlike nerve center of their living ship, Moya.

In the action-packed and stylishly directed "Throne for a Loss," a race of mercenary criminals called the Tavleks kidnap the imperious Rygel. "PK Tech Girl" and "That Old Black Magic" feature a peek into the pasts of Rygel and Zhaan as they hide from the fleets of Peacekeeper soldiers in the galactic frontier known as the Uncharted Territories. Leading toward the climax of the show's first season, "Nerve" and "The Hidden Memory" make for a bold two-parter that reunites Crichton with his Peacekeeper Tech girlfriend, Gilina, and introduces the dreaded Scorpius, who uses his Aurora Chair torture device to extract what he mistakenly believes is vital knowledge from Crichton. The final episode, "Family Ties," ends with a cliffhanger guaranteed to bring viewers back for more, as the duplicitous Rygel plans to turn traitor, which eventually leaves the fates of Crichton and D'Argo up for grabs and Moya's young offspring under the control of the conflicted villain Crais, among other developments.

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Special Features

22 episodes on six discs

Two archival documentaries: "In the Beginning: A Look Back with Brian Henson" and "Making of a Space Opera"

14 audio commentaries

Farscape in the Raw: director's cut scenes

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AAE169390 Farscape Complete 1st Season DVD (1999/Ben Browder) $49.99 $39.99