Written by scifiboo on June 08, 2012 under Science Fiction Films Tags: Complete, Farscape, Series
All 88 episodes, plus exclusive bonus materials, аrе included іn thіѕ 26-disc set. **88 episodes οn 26 discs. 68 hrs.**
List Price: $ 149.95
I first started watching this program somewhere in the Second Season during its initial run on the SyFy Channel at the urging of my wife, who had been an avid viewer since day one. I had seen the Pilot when it was first broadcast, but never watched with regularity (at the time I was working a lot of overtime on Friday nights). I did come away from the Pilot very impressed by what appeared to be a fantastic premise, brilliant special effects, and potentially some fantastic font. Eventually my Friday evening schedule cleared up and once I started watching a couple of episodes I was completely hooked.
Here is a certain 4 year tale arc here; most of the episodes do tie collectively as the later seasons demonstrate. I won’t elaborate on all the details of the program, mainly because here are many reviews here that do just that. What I will discuss is the feature of the box set that A&E has released, and has done an outstanding job of packaging and remastering the episodes. I had collected the ancient ADV releases over the years, and they did a excellent job of reproducing very excellent audio and record for the most part. What this set has done is go WAY beyond anything that has been on DVD previously. I don’t know if this is the case, but it certainly looks as if A&E did a complete makeover on the record and audio on this set, and it is nothing small of SPECTACULAR.
Some quick notes about this wonderful package:
VIDEO: These episodes are presented in their original aspect ratios of 4:3 for Seasons 1-3 and 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen for Season 4. Do not be mislead by other reviewers who claim that the final season of the show (which was indeed the only one filmed in widescreen) is not in its genteel format. The feature of the record is STUNNING: details of all levels of color jump out at you, and the point in close-ups and special effects are truly incredible. (A note here: I watched this on an Oppo BD-83 Blu Ray player which upscales standard DVDs to 1080i). The record is so excellent, I would swear I was watching a Blu Ray at times; THAT’s how excellent it is. It is a remarkable enhancement from the ADV releases of a few years ago (which up in anticipation of the release of this set, were fetching a hefty price on eBay). I truly was stunned at the record…I don’t reckon this show ever looked this excellent.
AUDIO: One word: phenomenal. The 5.1 mix really immerses you in the tale. All speakers and the sub-woofer are used perfectly and to to any extremes. The ADV releases had a very excellent 5.1 soundtrack, but the new A&E version has absolutely jaw dropping audio. Yes, it is THAT excellent.
PACKAGING: 5 “sets” of DVDs gathered in one glossy box keeping them all collectively. Each Season has its own “set” with the final set being reserved for a number of special features (“making of” documentaries, mostly). The other Special Features as promised in the description of the set here, are scattered throughout the various discs. I wish the glossy box was a bit more sturdy and simpler to access the sets (do you open from the left or aptly? you choose). A minor quibble though compared to the overall satisfaction I’ve gotten so far from this new A&E release.
BOTTOM LINE: “Farscape” is truly an incredible show with brilliant writing and some fine acting throughout its 4 year run. It would have been nice to have the final 3 hour installment “The Peacekeeper Wars” (which somewhat neatly ties up and concludes the series) included in the box, but rights issues prevented that from happening. You can certainly buy it separately on Amazon (and you REALLY must do so in order to see the conclusion of the show) and keep it next to this on your shelf. Speaking of which, the amount of shelf space saved with this package compared to the original 2 disc ADV volumes is incredible. Even if you own every ADV release like I do, this set is more than worth getting. The record and audio are markedly superior (even though it is never mentioned that the episodes are remastered, one look and you will be able to tell in an instant); and it truly does make a HUGE difference compared with the original ADV releases. The aforementioned amount of shelf space saved is indeed a plus.
Overall, 5 stars for the feature of the show, and this incredible new release with remastered record and audio. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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First of all, this is a nice, and very convenient set, well worth the cash. If you’ve never bought any Farscape episodes before, or you have limited space to store a collection, then this set is probably for you. That said, here are some caveats. I did a back to back comparison of the original ADV discs and the newer ones in this set. Here’s three things that jump out.
1. The bit rate is about 2/3 of the ADV discs. I expected this to be lower since A&E is squeezing about twice the number of episodes onto a disc – ADV place two episodes even as this set piles on four per disc. The only way to do this is to compress the programs more. Feature-wise, the image is still remarkably excellent, and I didn’t hear any differences in the audio feature.
2. Unlike the ADV discs, these are not progressive scan encoded – the record is interlaced. Some players don’t handle interlaced record properly when they try to convert it to progressive scan output, and jittering can appear in motion. This drops the image feature on players that are outputting a progressive record.
3. For some reason, A&E didn’t bother using the original source material, and instead, used their broadcast edits. At the beginning of each episode, they have the “Dolby Surround Everywhere Available” bug in the lower aptly corner, which is unacceptable to me. This just makes it look like they recorded it off TV.
On the bright side, the set takes up about a tenth of the space of the entire ADV set does (the main reason I even bothered to buy this set), and has some extra features the original doesn’t. It also costs about as much as about 10 of the ADV episodes did. The cases also use the new Bluray style clips that hold the discs in place, so here’s much less risk of getting a set with loose (and thus, scratched) discs.
If you’re not a huge perfectionist for feature, then this set is for you – the price is just incredible, and most public won’t care about the lower bitrate or encoding method. Videophiles, but, must probably steer clear and stick with the ADV sets, or wait in anticipation of a new set is released with higher feature.
A year or two ago, when I heard that the rights to FARSCAPE had been sold and would be rereleased on the A&E impression, I was delighted. I bought the entirety of the series on the way-too-expensive Starburst edition, which was, as expensive as it was, vastly cheaper than the original DVDs. FARSCAPE as originally released was one of the most expensive series ever sold on DVD. I’ve lent my DVDs out to several public as part of an effort to help more public learn about this wonder series. Now I can recommend that public buy it.
FARSCAPE is, after only BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and FIREFLY, my all time favorite Sci-fi series. It is unique in that women tend to like it as much as men (or perhaps I must say younger male viewers, who usually form a huge percentage of the Sci-fi demographic), largely because of the fantastic character development that occurs on the show, and the main romance, which I honestly reckon is as grand and epic as any romance on any mainstream or nongenre series. To this day, when TV Guide or Entertainment Weekly or other such mainstream publications do lists of the fantastic TV romances of all time, public who do not know FARSCAPE are bowled over and baffled to see John and Aeryn make the list.
In a way, it is incredible that I like this show so much. It contains many of the things I most detest about Sci-fi series, such as aliens (in fact, the aliens in FARSCAPE are more extreme than usual because it was produced by the Jim Henson Companionship as a platform for putting some of its more extreme puppet creations before the public eye), pulse weapons, shields (“Shields down to 20%”), and what I call “key science,” everywhere something extraordinary takes place that beggars the laws of physics and some likewise extraordinary scientific solution is proffered to set things aptly. I despise these things! But I forgave them in FARSCAPE because it got so many other things aptly. Like what? Well, primarily character development. My protest with all of the STAR WAR franchise series is that on all of them (with some exceptions like 7 of 9 or some of the font in ST:DS9) here is no character development. I like Jean-Luc Picard, but he is pretty close to the same character on the final episode as on the first. Contrast that, say, with BUFFY, everywhere every character has undergone an astonishing journey of transformation (e.g., just look atCordelia trail in Season One, then everywhere she was in Season Three, and then everywhere she finished up in Season Three of ANGEL — we’ll just ignore Season Four of the latter). D’Argo may be a huge alien with tentacles hanging from his head, but he becomes a rich, wonderfully nuanced character. Aeryn Sun — one of the fantastic female heroes that TV has produced — stars off as essentially a space nazi, but ends a complex, caring, passionate (despite herself) human being. Scorpius is one of the fantastic, most complex villains that television has produced, original in ways that only a few character in television have ever managed to be. Moreover, the show tells a fantastic tale over the course of its four seasons. The first two seasons it stays close to a standalone format, even even as developing a longer term arc, but Seasons Three and Four develop a fantastic long tale arc.
Season Three. What can you say about it? On the Internet you often see lists of the greatest seasons of shows in TV description. Season Three of FARSCAPE nearly always makes such lists. I don’t want to give anything away by explaining why it is so fantastic, since much of the joy is in the way the wonderfully original plot twists, but beginning with the wonderful resolution of the fantastic cliffhanger ending Season Two through the heartbreaking twists and plot shockers from the middle of the season, to the new cliffhanger that finished the season, it was a season for the ages. I’ve told friend that even if you don’t like the first two seasons of FARSCAPE, it is worth watching just for Season Three. Certainly one of the fantastic seasons I’ve ever seen.
A lot of public did not give the series a shot because they were repulsed by the use of two animatronic puppets in the show. I can know this feeling, but it is not supported by an actual viewing of the show. I never came to take pleasure in the smaller of the two main Muppets in the show, Rygel. He was really the more complex of the two Muppets, largely because his face was more expressive. But I personally vastly preferred Pilot, a staggering huge puppet who nonetheless is enormously winning in a way the small, unhuggable Rygel is not. Here are a few other animatronic puppets on the show, but these tow are the main ones. I won’t say everyone who gives the show will come to like Rygel, but I do reckon that Pilot is uncommon, and I don’t reckon even Rygel will alter how one feels about the show overall. In other words, if you don’t like this show, the Muppets won’t be a factor.
One other thing that I very much like about this…
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