Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The brief return of Farscape

Subject: Television
A new piece of gear I got last week finally got put to good use.

The local cable company finally rolled out their hi-def digital video recorder. AKA "DVR", aka "Tivo" -- but without the actual quality of a Tivo, of course. So now I can enter the wonderful world of "time-shifting" TV programs. Of course, I haven't really been watching much TV. Because there's been nothing on!!!

But there are often surprises. Like the fact that there was a special 2-part "return to Farscape" on earlier this week. A pleasant surprise, but enough of a surprise that I wasn't going to be able to catch it. Well, miracle of miracles, I punch a few buttons on the DVR, and I schedule them to be saved for me to watch whenever I want.

And go figure, it actually worked!

I had first caught Farscape pretty much right after it started. I was skeptical at first, but I started recognizing something special about the "creatures" that made up the various characters. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then the credits rolled -- "Directed by Brian Henson". "Jim Henson Productions".

Jim Henson. That man was a genius. He had such a depth of imagination and a command on creativity that is so rare in the mass media. I remember when he died, my housemates and I watched my laserdisc of "Labyrinth" twice that night.

With Farscape, Brian and the company managed to keep the creative spirit going. The show was tremendously entertaining. Silly, serious, action-packed, dramatic, titillating, sobering. Completely absurd yet deeply involving. While I was sorry to see it go, I was glad it managed to end before it went "over the top" one time too many. Because it sure did go "over the top" a lot!

This brief return was a bit odd; I found it hard to get back into sync with it. Everything and everyone seemed a little "rusty" at first. But it was still good. I'm glad I was able to catch it. I hope that it was successful enough in drawing an audience such that more studios take chances on other quality-yet-quirky programs. I might watch more TV (and balance out my anime consumption a tad) if there was more out there that was this creative.

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