Hyphen's Farscape Ravings

Last Updated 14 February 2008.

This cordened-off area houses my lunatic fringe ravings over Farscape. Enter at your own peril.


Farscape "Thank You" Advert

Farscape was cancelled in early September 2002. It turned out that there were fans all over the world who were even more upset than me, and who had ideas on how to redeem the situation. They purchased -- at great cost -- the following large "thank you" ad in Sydney's Daily Telegraph, dated 13 September 2002. Sorry, I don't have a copy of this ad, although Scorpius has one on his fridge!

Date: 13 September 2002

"To the Farscape Cast and Crew

"We are touched by life and the people we know. In return, we touch the lives of others by the things we do, who we are.

"Occasionally, who we are reaches beyond the ordinary to give a glimpse of the extraordinary. To offer a remarkable vision.

"Farscape is more than a hero's journey. It is the story of each of us. It is an experience of wonder, a quest for family, a renewal of hope. A realization that we are more than we knew.

"Everyone can be their own kind of hero.

"This is your gift: to envision the story and bring it to life. A moving story filled with love, and trials, and tears. You imagine a universe and invite us to believe.

"We do. We believe in you."

At this point, the fans who organised this ad remained anonymous.

My Original TML Farscape Rant

I first ranted and raved about Farscape on the Traveller Mailing List (TML) back in late September 2002. Please note, this has been edited from my original email to remove inaccuracies, reformat existing web links, and to include new links.

Date: 30 September 2002

Dear Folks -

Loren Wiseman and Virginia Hey Thanks to Loren Wiseman showing us a pic of himself with Virginia Hey, I had a trawl thru some Farscape websites. To my horror, I found out that three weeks ago the Sci-Fi Channel decided to exercise an option and NOT pick up the 5th season of Farscape, despite earlier this year trumpeting that they would run seasons 4 and 5.

Needless to say, the cast and crew were shocked at this development, especially since they had just wrapped filming season 4 with the traditional end-of-season cliffhanger.

Apparently, this was simply a business decision. The programmers at Sci-Fi (Mike Jackson and Bonnie Hammer) are actually big fans of the show, but the people with the chequebooks said that the audience base wasn't increasing, and decided that a 5th season wasn't a reasonable proposition.

In an Interstellar Transmissions radio interview two days ago, David Kemper (Executive Producer) said that it costs $10 million for the 12-week pre-production setup (already increased from 8 weeks since they now have to rebuild some things), then they must also have $2 million to tear down the sets at the end, plus another $3 million... um, can't remember what that's for, maybe crew wages. That includes signing everyone on (around 400 people) for one-year contracts. And that's to shoot one minute of film - after that, each episode costs $1.5 million.

[IMNSHO, that's cheap compared to Friends - what, each actor gets $1 mill PER EPISODE??? But I guess it also has a much bigger audience. %-( Some people have no taste. ;-) ;-) ]

The fans have gone into overdrive, setting up multiple "Save Farscape" websites, emailing and writing to Sci-Fi, Hallmark, Henson, etc (sponsors and owners), and organising "5th of Farscape" rallies worldwide for this Saturday - the 5th, duh! There are twenty-two rallies so far, in the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Canada, and Australia. Fans on the SaveFarscapeCentral site are raising money for a Cast 'Gas Money' Fund so that three cast members (Lani Tupu - "Crais", Gigi Edgley - "Chiana", and Paul who plays "Stark" - the guy with the boiler plate bolted to his head) can travel to Atlanta for a rally. Here's an excerpt from their fax:

Dear Fifth of Farscape,

Paul, Gigi and I were delighted to learn about your Fifth of Farscape party on October 5th in Atlanta. We have all been very touched by the tremendous support that all of you have shown and intend to make every effort to accept your invitation to be in attendance.

We look forward to meeting each of you!

Best Regards,
Lani Tupu

For those of you who are fans of the show and want to do something, you might like to consider checking out some of the "Save Farscape" websites out there, such as the one above. Another great site is Save Farscape. This has that radio interview I mentioned above, plus is the home of the Farscape: Beyond Hope Fund, aimed at accruing enough funds to support efforts to renew Farscape or find it a new home ($5871.99 at at 3:35 pm on 29/9; click here for the latest). Also, take a look at this great review by Caitlin R. Kiernan.

For those in Oz, I know Channel 9 was appalling in how it treated the show, but that seems par for the course. It seems to treat all it's good and intelligent shows that way - West Wing was constantly pre-empted, and even Smallville is being bumped by part 2 of Dinotopia tomorrow night. However, I believe we should still support the show, as we Aussies have a vested interest - especially those of you who are Sydneyites. The four seasons of Farscape brought more money into the town than The Matrix did. Now, 700 people will be out of work in Sydney, and things will be a bit lean until next year, since Brad Pitt canned his latest film. Finally, David Kemper admits: "Um, it is an Australian show with a bit of American paprika sprinkled on the top of it". Guest stars have included Angie Milliken, Chris Hayward, Ben Mendelsson, Claudia Karvan, and Alex Dimitriades, not to mention the leads - Anthony Simcoe (the middle brother in The Castle) plays D'Argo, Virginia Hey (born at Coogee!) played Zhaan, Gigi Edgley plays Chiana, etc etc.

FWIW, the Oz rally is at Maroubra Beach, starting at midday this Saturday [5th October, 2002]. Don't know if I'll be able to make it, due to family committments. :-( For more info, check the Oz website of FAM - Farscape Australian Mafia.

Here's their response to an email I sent to FAM:

-----Original Message-----
From: Sue & Don Barrett
Sent: Saturday, September 28, 2002 10:45 PM
To: David Jaques-Watson
Subject: Re: 5th of Farscape rally, Maroubra

> Dear Sue -
> I was given your email from "Apathy" of Adelaide, who says she's bussing it up
> to Sydney for the rally.
> When does it start on the 5th? What part of Maroubra? And will any of the cast
> be there as well? (Not to mention those TV crews reporting on a mass
> world-wide event! ;-)

Dear David,

Sorry I am a bit late in getting back to you, reality bites!

Anyhow - details - 12 noon, Marouba Beach - depends on the weather and the crowd as to where we eventually end up.

Many of the cast will be overseas, Jonathan will be working. Ricky said that it wouldn't look good if the main cast turned up - they have a vested interest. I have put out feelers for guest artist, but as yet, have heard nothing. We are also trying to contact crew - hoping to get a few.

We will be contacting Angelai Bishop, and the Daily Telegraph have expressed interest.

Any more info - please do not hesitate to email, or visit our site - details below.

See you there!



FARSCAPE Aussie Mafia

Sue Barrett - President
Deb Phali - Vice President
Linda Bristow - Publicity
Chelyn Woon - Webmistress

-----Message Ends-----

Finally, you may like to send Sci-Fi a response via their email, or to Mike himself.

You could write to:

Michael Jackson
The SciFi Channel
1230 Avenue of the Americas, F115
New York, NY 10020-1513

or phone Mr. Jackson's extension:

1. Dial 212-413-5000
2. It should give you the option to spell his name.
3. Just keep entering letters until you finish his last name.
5225766 - Jackson. End with a #, then enter his first name.
6424235 - Michael.
4. If you hit # after your message, you can choose to place the call priority.

Just remember to be polite. "Polite" + "angry" = "fan"; "rude" + "angry" = "nutter", they'll just hang up and bin your response.

So, sorry to take up bandwidth like this, but I figure it's worth it - if intelligent s-f is to survive in the entertainment media (including any possible future Trav film in a far, far future ;-), I believe we need to let the people with the chequebooks know that there really is a market out there.

David "Hyphen" Jaques-Watson        Beowulf Down (Tavonni/Vilis/SM 1520)
http://www.tip.net.au/~davidjw                       davidjw@bigpond.net.au
"I file things in historical order, with a hashing algorithm of gravity"

A Follow Up Email

A friend of mine, Carl, sent me the following reply. It turns out that he went to school with the sister of one of the puppeteers who works as part of "Team Rygel"! What Carl didn't know was that I knew Fe, and had given Bel and Fe a lift home at least once (20 years ago, but who's counting? ;-).

To: tml@travellercentral.com
Subject: Re: 5th of Farscape Worldwide Rallies!!

Dear Folks -

A mate of mine wrote back:
>> To my horror, I found out that three weeks ago the Sci-Fi Channel decided
>> to exercise an option and NOT pick up the 5th season of _Farscape_,
>> despite earlier this year trumpeting that they would run seasons 4 and 5.
>AND the sister of someone you know works on the show. Remember Belinda
>Gentle? Her sister Fiona does the puppetry. Save Farscape!

Well now, that's just become personal.

Actually, I know Fiona in her own right. And can picture her doing very well at puppetry.

David "Hyphen" Jaques-Watson        Beowulf Down (Tavonni/Vilis/SM 1520)
http://www.tip.net.au/~davidjw                       davidjw@bigpond.net.au
"I file things in historical order, with a hashing algorithm of gravity"

"Save Farscape" Links

After my ranting and raving, I trawled around the 'net. That was when I found the fan sites, and also found out about the 13 September advert -- the one I had missed getting a copy of (grrr...).

To try to make up, I added some of their Farscape links to my Welcome page:

Signal GK! Signal GK! Fellow travellers, click below to help bring John Crichton home!

Click here to Save Farscape!

Farscape Meetup logo If you're a die-hard 'Scaper and want to meet up with others to party on, try the Farscape Meetup site.

The Crackers Matter: Save Farscape! WebRing
Crackers DO Matter: Save Farscape!
Sign the Petition | Contact Info Join | List | Random | Prev | Next

Flash Traffic

After a huge (and I really mean HUGE!) fan campaign throughout 2003, plus Brian Henson's buy-back of the Jim Henson Company, came the following announcement:

Farscape will return as a four-hour miniseries.

Here's what savefarscape.com had to say:

Date: 19 November 2003

"Congratulations Scapers - You did it!
"Farscape returns as a 4 hour mini-series.

"Savefarscape.com is now free to confirm that the rumors swirling have their basis in fact. Farscape, cancelled last year by the SCI FI Channel, will return as a 4 hour mini-series. Sources report that filming will begin in December and the series is expected to air next year. Ben Browder and Claudia Black will reprise their roles as Commander John Crichton and Officer Aeryn Sun. There is currently no word on distribution.

"A Jim Henson Company production, Farscape was aired for four seasons on the SCI FI Channel before being cancelled in September 2002 with the fourth season finale and last new episode airing at the end of March 2003.

"The fans reacted immediately to news of the cancellation and began one of the most impressive fan campaigns in television history. Through a strength of spirit and ideals of community and family, the fans of Farscape have created something fabulous and achieved something that should have been impossible.

"Take a bow Scapers, you did it. You saved Farscape and don't let anybody tell you differently. This is all yours. You kept the hope alive, you kept Farscape alive, until the people behind Farscape could get back to work on telling us the rest of the tale again.

"This is only the beginning. Farscape will continue because of you and the future of the franchise is in your hands.

"Thank you all. For your time, your ideas, your letters, your hope, your joy, your dogged determination, and your unwavering support.


Conspirators Unmasked

Soon after their announcement above, savefarscape.com finally revealed that they had been the ones behind the purchase of the original Daily Telegraph "thank you" ad, back in September 2002:

Date: 5 December 2003

"After much teasing, here it is!!

"Days after the cancellation of Farscape was announced, a group of Scapers got together. Knowing how shocking the news must have been to its creators, the group wanted to make sure the cast and crew knew how much their work had touched their fans. Those Scapers decided that a "thank you" was in order. That "thank you" became the Beyond Hope project.

"Beyond Hope was one of the first projects that pulled Scapers together in a united cause... to raise funds for the purchase of an ad in a Sydney newspaper. On September 13th, 2002, the Sydney Daily Telegraph printed the following:

"To the Farscape Cast and Crew...
[...etc, rest of newspaper advert snipped; see the version above]
"We do. We believe in you."

That morning, Andrew Prowse sent the fledgling savefarscape.com website an email:

Date: 5 December 2003

"Anthony Simcoe rushed into my office this morning waving the Daily Telegraph, "Look at this, look at this!". I looked and saw your ad, maybe a third of a page: "To the Farscape Cast and Crew". I copied it, handed it round to the post-production crew. Some smiled in appreciation, others shook their heads in disbelief, a couple looked a little red around the eyes: all were touched.

"We know Farscape is a special show; at its best a great show, and hope the hell other people think the same. We know we have fans out there who love what we do. But I don't think any of us could have imagined the passion; the strength and depth of support we've received over the last ten days. It makes us proud, and it makes us humble. We haven't given up yet, and neither should you.

"We believe in you too."

"Now, over a year has passed, the fans have done their job, we believed in the power of good storytelling and had faith in ourselves and the story's creators and now with the knowledge that Farscape is back in production for a mini-series, we've come full circle.

savefarscape.com/Watchfarscape.com would like to purchase another ad in the Sydney Daily Telegraph, this time welcoming our cast and crew back to work and to thank them for keeping their promise of, 'to be continued'."

Hell Yeah!!!

Since that request, savefarscape.com placed another ad in the Telegraph, this time on 8 January 2004. Here is the original image that they sent to the paper, as drawn by mycattoldme:

To the cast and crew of Farscape: Hell Yeah!!! Love, Scapers Worldwide. PS: Tag! You're It!

Here's a picture of my copy of the Daily Telegraph -- the ad is on page 25, and takes up at least the botton right-hand third of the page (click here or on the picture for a larger 192K version):

Farscape Hell Yeah!!! ad - click for larger image

Oh, and in case you're interested, it cost roughly AUD$9,115 (USD$6,670), with all the money having been raised by Farscape fans.

The Response

On the day the advert appeared, I let the show know about it (they were in the middle of filming the miniseries!), and received this message back:

Date: 15 January 2004

"Just a short note to let you know that the advertisement in the Daily Telegraph was put onto the next day's call sheet at work - so it was read by all and appreciated."

I forwarded this to savefarscape.com, with the disclaimer that this was unofficial, and I had to beware the Chair (you know which Chair!). I received two responses, first from Jude/JMax:

Date: 20 January 2004

"Our thanks to you and your source for that info. We were concerned that it wasn't noticed.
"Beware the chair. :D "

And this, from Tom Barclay:

Date: 20 January 2004

"Hyphen, thanks very much for your note. Good to know the communications blackout is official, and that the press in Sydney still has readers."

Google Fanclub

Finally, when the miniseries was about to air, I followed up savefarscape.com's plea to ask Google to create a commemorative Google doodle, and received this response:
Date: 6 October 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: help@google.com
To: "David Hyphen Jaques-Watson"
Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 2004 10:10 AM
Subject: Re: [#15121968] He's Human. She's Not. (Try Googling For That One!)

"Thank you for the Farscape logo suggestion. We really appreciate your thoughtful feedback, and we'll keep it in mind as we work to improve Google. As you may imagine, it is difficult for us to choose which events to celebrate on our site. We have a long list of events that we would like to celebrate in the coming cycles. We have to balance this rotating calendar with the need to maintain the consistency of the Google homepage from arn to arn.

"Please remember you can visit any of our doodles at http://www.google.com/holidaylogos.html.

The Google Team"

From "arn to arn"? I kinda get a kick out of knowing that the Google team are Farscape fans -- don't you?

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