Monday, July 16, 2007

Cue Incoherent Squealing

Sci Fi Wire reports:
SCI FI Channel will revive its popular original show Farscape as a Web-based series of short films on SCIFI.COM's SCI FI Pulse broadband network, part of a slate of new original online programming.

SCI FI has ordered 10 webisodes of Farscape, to be produced by Brian Henson and Robert Halmi Jr. and produced by The Jim Henson Co.
Exciting as this news is, it's best to keep in mind that the webisode concept didn't work out so well for Battlestar Galactica, what with the killer celery and all (if you haven't watched Resistance, I just made it sound a hell of a lot more exciting than it actually was). That said, I trust the people involved a hell of a lot more than I trust the Galactica folks these days, and unlike Resistance and the upcoming Razor web-series (more info here) this series is probably not primarily intended to build up anticipation for traditional programming, which gives it a better chance of working as its own piece of storytelling.

Whatever the result, I think this is yet another demonstration of the Sci Fi Channel's admirable commitment to providing non-traditional, net-based content. I have a lot of problems with Sci Fi, but in this respect they've always been remarkably right-headed, and more power to them for it.

6 comments:

David said...

Abigail,

This is great news. New Farscape? Consider me excited for one. Do you know if the original cast is coming back for this?

Dave

David said...

Nevermind...jumped the gun a bit there. Read the actual article now and answered my own question.

Iain said...

Potentially very good news. Ironically Sci-Fi did of course cancel Farscape in the first place, although they at least aired the wrap-up TV movie. I could see the oddness that is Farscape working as webisodes to an extent, even though I generally find the format a little restrictive.

Razor will apparently have webisodes too, but these aren't so much a side venture as flashback scenes excised for length (when will they learn to write to their timeslot?) and due for reinstatement on DVD.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

these aren't so much a side venture as flashback scenes excised for length

Oh, for crying out loud.

Above and beyond my general disillusionment with BSG, I'm dubious about the whole Razor concept - flashbacks to Admiral Cain's tenure as the Pegasus commander interspersed with Lee's period commanding the ship. These don't seem like stories that need to be told. There's been a trend towards completism in television and films - the whole prequel concept, basically - that I think has only rarely proven itself viable. I don't know if you've been watching it, but the latest episode of Jekyll is a perfect illustration. All it does is elaborate on things we've already been told about, while the present day storyline stalls.

David said...

It's too bad that Farscape and BSG won't be airing at the same time (if Farscape is actually revived). The juxtaposition of two shows' writing quality would be pretty funny.

I wonder about BSG not being able to write for its time slot. A problem it's had since the Pegasus arrived I think... It just seems to me that the extraneous material might be intentional: it spurs completists on to buy DVDs. I mean, you can't be a BSG fan and have missed *that* scene that everyone online is talking about.

Meh...on the upside, maybe we'll see exactly how Lee got so fat while commanding the Pegasus. Not having that expicitly depicted has always been troubling for me.

Pragmatically speaking, I think the show must be under funded and that it defaults to using those nice Pegasus sets when i tcan't afford to create new ones.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

The Pegasus arc in the middle of the second season was the first time deleted scenes showed up in the 'previously on' segment, but the writers' problem with writing to their time slot goes back to the show's beginning. Sci Fi's official site used to upload deleted scenes after each episode aired. The difference between those scenes and the ones that were being deleted and dumped in the previouslies after "Pegasus" is that the earlier deleted scenes weren't necessary.

The flashbacks to the young Adama and Tigh in "Scattered", for example, were originally a great deal more extensive, and cutting them back to the brief, impressionistic glimpses we ultimately got was absolutely the right decision - the episode ended up conveying the information it needed to without getting bogged down in minutiae. After "Pegasus", the scenes getting cut were vital ones - Starbuck begging to be allowed to mount a rescue mission to Caprica, insight into Gina's character - which is clearly something the writers themselves recognized given their decision to insert them into the previouslies.

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