Shout! Releasing 25th Anniversary ‘Farscape’ Blu-ray Nov. 21

Shout! Studios will release Farscape: The Complete Series — 25th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray Disc Nov. 21.

The 22-disc set includes all 88 episodes, the miniseries “Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars,” and hours of new and previously released extras.

The show follows the adventures of astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder), a test pilot whose experimental spacecraft is flung through a wormhole to a galaxy on the other side of the universe. Hunted by the relentless Peacekeepers, Crichton allies himself with a group of alien refugees on the living spaceship Moya while searching for a way home.

“Farscape” was produced originally for the Nine Network and on the Sci-Fi Channel in March 1999. It was produced by The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment. The Henson Company provided the alien make-up and prosthetics.

The series was canceled after four seasons, ending on a cliffhanger. Rights to the series were later acquired by co-producer Brian Henson, who directed the three-hour ”Peacekeeper Wars” as a finale.

Legacy extras include 30 audio commentaries, the “Memories of Moya” retrospective documentary; archival featurettes “In The Beginning: A Look Back With Brian Henson,” “Making of a Space Opera,” “Farscape Undressed,” “Farscape: The Story So Far,” “Zhaan Forever” With Virginia Hey, composer Guy Gross discussesing the season three theme, and a look back at season three; “Inside Farscape” Featurettes “Villains,” “Visual Effects” and “Save Farscape”; 12 “Listening In With Composer Guy Gross” featurettes; behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and creative team; deleted scenes, director’s cut scenes, and an alternate version of the season two premiere; video profiles of creator/executive producer Rockne O’Bannon and executive producer/writer David Kemper; season two bloopers; and original TV promos.

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Fans who order from the ShoutFactory.com store can receive an exclusive bundle of the Blu-ray set with a limited-edition 18×24-inch poster featuring a newly illustrated design by artist Joe Corroney, and three 2.5×3.5-inch retro prism stickers featuring artwork by Matthew Skiff.

In addition, ShoutFactory.com and Gutter Garbs have teamed to create the official Farscape Collectible Enamel Pin Set, exclusive to ShoutFactory.com and limited to 500 units. The set includes five enamel pins and a 6×5-inch backer card, with art by Matthew Skiff.

 

Farscape: The Complete Series — 20th Anniversary

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Sony Pictures;
Sci-Fi;
$95.99 Blu-ray — 21 Discs;
Not rated.
Stars Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Virginia Hey, Anthony Simcoe, Gigi Edgley, Paul Goddard, Lani Tupu, Wayne Pygram, Jonathan Hardy, Tammy MacIntosh, Raelee Hill, Melissa Jaffer, David Franklin, Rebecca Riggs.

This new 20th anniversary re-release of the complete “Farscape” offers a convenient way for fans who haven’t bought the show already to finally add it to their collections, or to gift it to sci-fi fans who haven’t seen it yet.

The series, which ran for 88 episodes from 1999 to 2003, starred Ben Browder as an American astronaut whose experiment in low-Earth orbit caused him to get flung by a wormhole to the far reaches of the universe, where he allies himself with strange aliens being pursued by the militaristic Peacekeepers. The series was co-produced by the Jim Henson Company, with many of the creatures being created by the famed Creature Shop.

The show was presented in the pre-HD standard 1.33:1 ratio for its first three seasons before switching to widescreen in its fourth, so the bulk of the episodes are presented with the black bars on the sides and upscaled to HD. The image quality is fine and the Blu-ray offers a nice showcase for the series’ imaginative palette of visual effects and alien designs. The space shots were accomplished with CGI and thus are marked by the unmistakable sheen that was typical of the technology available to television in the mid to late 1990s.

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The new Blu-ray set can be had for about $60 on Amazon. However, there are a few quirks to the release that might disincentive anyone who already has the earlier DVDs or Blu-rays from replacing them with this new set.

All the bonus material from the previous Blu-ray complete series sets has been carried over here — a healthy mix of commentaries, deleted scenes and making-of featurettes.

A noticeable and possibly detrimental difference is that the episodes are presented in their airdate order, in contrast to previous DVD and Blu-ray releases in which they were presented in their production order to match the intended timeline of the show. This really only affects the first half of the first season, but given how all the bonus content from the previous season releases was maintained, it’s a bit baffling why the decision was made to go with the airdate order and thus throw the early storylines out of continuity for new viewers. (The episode order apparently follows the same pattern as Netflix, which also ignored the previous DVD/Blu-ray order.)

The key distinguishing feature of this new release is the inclusion of the finale miniseries The Peacekeeper Wars, available for the first time on Blu-ray in the United States.

The miniseries was produced in 2004 to wrap up the show’s storylines in lieu of a fifth season, as the show, while popular, had been abruptly canceled by the Sci-Fi Channel in the middle of its fourth season for being too expensive to produce.

Due to licensing issues, Peacekeeper Wars has always been available separately from the series (with A&E releasing the series, and Lionsgate the miniseries) in the United States. The exception to this was a Best Buy-exclusive DVD set from about 10 years ago in which the retailer was able to pair the disparate releases.

While the bonus material from previous season sets has been preserved here, some extras from earlier Peacekeeper Wars DVD has not been. The Blu-ray version of the miniseries offers deleted scenes and a trailer. Lionsgate’s 2004 DVD had a 30-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, storyboards, concept art and spacecraft galleries, so fans who want all the material available won’t want to discard that old DVD just yet.

‘Farscape’ Complete Series to Hit Blu-ray Disc on Nov. 19

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on Nov. 19 will release on Blu-ray Disc the complete “Farscape” TV series, in time for the science-fiction series’ 20th anniversary.

The Blu-ray Disc set includes all 88 episodes, more than 15 hours of archival special features, and the series finale miniseries “Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.”

“Farscape” was produced originally for the Nine Network and on the Sci-Fi Channel in March 1999. It was produced by The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment. The Henson Company provided the alien make-up and prosthetics.

The series was supposed to last for five seasons, but was canceled after four, ending on a cliffhanger. Rights to the series were later acquired by co-producer Brian Henson, who directed a three-hour miniseries finale, “Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.”

Earlier this year, in March, all four seasons of “Farscape” as well as “Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars” were made available on Amazon Prime Video in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Nordics, and several other countries.