Since the alphabet is the building block of our language, the Powet Alphabet is the building block of what makes us geeks.

Before the Sci Fi Channel (or “SyFy”, as it’s now known) decided it hated science fiction fans, it was dedicated to bringing original science fiction content to the masses. The network didn’t always do this well (see Mission: Genesis), but in the late ’90s it would do this often. The first original series to catch my eye that wasn’t a total bomb was Farscape.

Farscape tells the story of IASA scientist and astronaut John Crichton, who is flung unwittingly across space via wormhole to try to survive in a much more advanced society that, due to his many other misfortunes, finds excuses to seek his complete and utter destruction. In true Douglas Adams fashion, we quickly find that Earth (“never heard of it”) is a truly backwater planet, leaving our hero stuck in the middle just trying to figure out what’s going on. Unlike other protagonists stuck in this situation, however, Crichton is able to bring his full knowledge of year 2000-era science fiction pop culture to bear in order to make sense of the things happening around him, to him, and without him.

For these and many other reasons that we are about to explore, Farscape wasn’t just another run-of-the-mill low budget hack writer’s fantasy. It was a hack writer’s fantasy with heart, drama, love, death, and re-death. And lots of sci-fi in-jokes. Come with us as we explore the Powet Alphabet’s “F”.

…what, you expecting Famicom?

Farscape was the brainchild of Rockne S. O’bannon — creator of other familiar sci-fi properties such as Alien Nation and SeaQuest DSV — and Brian Henson — son to the late Jim Henson, and heir to his Creature Shop. The younger Henson used this company to particular effect in Farscape, creating virtually every alien species in the show, whether prosthetics on live actors or, more entertainingly the various muppets that tended to be much larger or smaller than the average person. These aren’t your daddy’s felt sock puppets, though — these creatures were wet, slimy, and usually not all that nice.

This look and feel wins high praise from this fan in particular, but also the actors who had the pleasure of interacting with the march of creatures that would grace the Farscape set. It was much easier to interact with a physical object than a piece of paper on a stick, or a guy in a green leotard covered in golf balls. They got plenty of practice, as two of these aliens were also main characters: Rygel the XVI, deposed leader of Hyneria with a penchant for larceny and overeating, and the largely-immobile (and simply LARGE) slug-like creature that pilots their (computer-generated) Leviation spaceship, Moya. Who is also alive, by the way.


The Characters

Everyone onboard, the ship included, is or was a prisoner. Well, almost everyone. After protagonist John Crichton emerges from his short wormhole trip, he finds himself in the middle of a heated space battle where Moya and her “cargo” are attempting an escape (given how the rest of the show goes, Crichton’s mere presence may have made this extraordinary feat possible). He is towed into the escaping ship, where we get our first glance at these otherwordly forms.


One is D’Argo, a Luxan warrior who (we would find out later) was falsely imprisoned for the murder of his wife (not a Luxan).


The aforementioned Rygel was deposed as Dominar of the Hynerian empire before your grandaddy was even born.