I live in one of the European countries that Vlad Putin wants to take back under Russia’s orbit. So, his invasion of Ukraine is way too close and too real.
It makes me think about how Farscape portrays war. In fiction, you need conflict, as I discussed in an earlier video. Many TV shows concentrate on hospitals, police, and law courts because they provide easy conflict. Science fiction tends to find easy conflict in war. After all, the biggest science fiction franchise is not called “Star Hospitals.”
Farscape certainly employs the war trope. Of course, as it does with every trope, Farscape handles war intelligently and creatively. A typical science fiction show would have stuck with Crais’s revenge obsession for years. Farscape is smarter than that. Part of the genius of Farscape’s writers is that they reveal to viewers the reality of an impending war only gradually, as Crichton slowly becomes aware of the galactic political situation.
The threat of war is a major theme of Farscape’s first four seasons, and the actual war is the dominant theme of the abbreviated Season 5—The Peacekeeper Wars—and a new war is the major theme of the comics—the never filmed Season 6. I will stick with my policy of not revealing the grand story arc in the comics to not spoil them for those yet to read them.
Farscape isn’t a show about war, but everything that happens occurs under the shadow of an approaching war between the Peacekeepers and the Scarran Empire. Some have suggested that Farscape is an allegory for the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. I don’t entirely agree with that but Farscape probably drew some inspiration from Earth’s Cold War.
I think Farscape’s writers are more interested in looking at how war affects people. It’s not an anti-war show per se, it’s sending a message that some things are worth fighting for, especially the chance to live in peace.
<our son will be raised in peace clip>
Aeryn Sun, the soldier who fights for peace. Some would say that fighting for peace is an oxymoron, but when you are dealing with aggressors like the Scarrans, you fight to preserve the peace.
<when someone holds a gun to your head clip>
John Crichton is not a soldier, but circumstances force him to become one, a topic I have explored in other videos. He fights for his friends.
<are you willing to die clip (1.16)>
As does Aeryn.
<to fight and die clip (2.01)>
If war is ever justified, it would be to defend the innocent. Our heroes in Farscape are not aggressors, at least once D’Argo outgrows giving into his temper. Farscape doesn’t shove it at us, but its moral is clear: war is evil.
<Rygel explains charrids clip>
<this is madness clip>
<wormhole weapons don’t make peace clip>
The wormhole weapon probably is an allegory for nuclear weapons and one could argue that this is the ultimate message of Farscape. I still say that the main message is to do Big Things, and that includes fighting for peace for those you love.
Farscape never glorifies war or being a warrior, another way that Farscape differs from some other more famous science fiction shows. It deals honestly with the moral problem of violence.
<Crais-Aeryn clip (2.21)>
Farscape deals honestly with the effects of war. It seldom shows violence graphically but it doesn’t sugar-coat it either.
Is it too simplistic to say that bad people start wars and good people resist them? Farscape never settles for simple answers, but its moral compass is clear.
<some things you die for clip (3.19)>
And some things, you live for.