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“Farscape”: The Complete Skip It/Watch It Guide

[I’ve wanted to do a SI/WI for this show for ages, but it’s been a while since I really dug into the Henson Company’s insane combination of puppets, sci-fi and attractive people in leather pants. Fortunately, I happen to know a bonafide “Farscape” expert, and she was willing to step in and perform this valuable public service! Andreanna Ditton, take it away… –Liz]

Farscape is, as one character says, “Disneyland on Acid.” It’s a roller-coaster of sci-fi and bad decisions when the human is always wrong, but that doesn’t stop him from having a plan. Our protagonists are all escaped criminals, from the big blue priest (Zhaan), who orgasms in the light, to the tentacled warrior masquerading as a Klingon rip-off (D’Argo), who turns out to be funny, young, romantic and ragey. There’s a soldier (Aeryn Sun), raised by a fascist military race that look human, who accidentally goes against her training and gets exiled for it. And then there’s the deposed dictator with the worst case of swamp gas in history (Rygel). Couple all that with a living ship (Moya), her snarktastic Pilot (Pilot), and John Crichton, All-American boy wonder who got shot through a wormhole into the ass-end of a universe that considers him expendable, problematic, and eventually marked for death — and you have a television show.

This is science fiction for people who like their comedy in turns black and snot-filled, their love stories fraught and full of sex, their action-sequences big, the consequences bigger, and the actual science…best left unexplored. It’s space opera on an epic scale.

Farscape tackles all the traditional tropes, then turns them on their collective heads. Continuity matters. Story matters. This is the Odyssey — a man lost in the universe, trying to get home. In the meantime, home changes. Decisions don’t get undone in Farscape, for any of the characters — heroes or villains. It helps that the cast is uniformly stellar, that crazy is not pretty but terrifying, that space is vast, and villains cruel but multi-faceted, and that everyone is capable of doing bad all by themselves.

And yes, there are puppets. If those puppets don’t make you cry at some point, you have no heart. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas”

Dear Frank,

So I have been trying like crazy to get in the Christmas spirit, and that’s meant watching a lot of holiday specials and so forth. Thus, I attempt to retreat to a pure state of childhood, by watching a Muppets Christmas adventure that neither you or I have seen before — in fact, I had never heard of it until a week ago. Turns out, though, that the 1977 TV special Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas is beloved by many, so that is what you are getting told about today.

First off: I borrowed my friend Mike‘s tape of this to watch, and VHS is weird, man. It’s been so long since I used the remote for the VCR that the batteries had exploded, and I had to use it because the alternative is watching commercials for Columbia children’s classics from the 1990s. We’re talking direct-to-video sequels to The Swan Princess here.

But then, Emmet Otter finally begins and OHMIGOD I LOVE KERMIT THE FROG SO MUCH! SO FREAKING MUCH. He’s just riding around on his bike and saying “Hi ho!” to us and I’m grinning so big…

Oh no! Some assholes called the Riverbottom Gang just drove by and stole Kermit’s scarf! ASSHOLES. Read the rest of this entry

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