Human-Centric Diversity in Science Fiction: Farscape
Hello everyone! I am back to Comparative Geeks with a couple of blog series. This first one will focus on human-centric diversity in Science Fiction screen production, primarily TV shows. I am starting this week with a look at Farscape and human-looking alien in its universe.
Farscape was a TV show that gave strong room to diversity of characters, with multiple compelling characters of different genders. This heterogeneity ranged from characters portrayed by regular actors, to ones handled by puppeteers to computer-generated ones. The numerous outstanding female characters are also to be praised in this show.
So what might have been problematic and thus done differently?
The main character, human male John Crichton was often mistaken for a member of a dominant alien species in the area of space he found himself transported to. Their military prominent group, the Peacekeepers, was the most portrayed in the series. A totalitarian and xenophobic civilization, their hatred for otherness was a recurring pattern in the show, even when some then former Peacekeepers learned to think for themselves and evolved in their beliefs.
The human-looking Peacekeepers didn’t only provide the main female character, Aeryn Sun, but also the first main antagonist, Bialar Crais.
Other members of the main casts were from multiple alien species, including the later additions over the seasons. Another strong enemy emerged in the second half of the show, with the Scarran species. Another main cast member’s people was also depicted as a potential threat: Chiana’s species, the Nebari appeared in a couple of episodes and their wrath and power were mentioned. Yet the show never got to investigate this narrative path.
The narrative worked well with the choices the writers made. With such a vast choice of alien species to draw from, it would still have been an interesting angle to mix things up some more and not necessarily let the Peacekeepers be as dominant as they were in much of the story.
I personally am a die-hard John Crichton/Aeryn Sun fan and their romantic relationship is a favorite of mine. Yet I can’t help wonder what greatness other options could have brought as well. The show never shied away from building strong cross-species friendships, and even built a strong alien romantic relationship between two other main cast members: d’Argo and Chiana, so why was there the need to keep the lead and the main couple so human looking?
What about you? Was there any other alien species you would have liked to see developed in greater details in Farscape?