Saturday, February 5, 2011

Classics: Farscape 1:14 - Jeremiah Crichton

Overall: 3.0

I had to watch this one in fits and starts because I kept falling asleep. This episode is just that boring and stupid.


Plot Synopsis:

The wandering story in this heap of dren is summarized at Farscape World here.

The Skinny:

How many ways can I say that this episode is boring? Let's see:

  • This episode's so boring, I spent the fifty-odd minutes longing to watch paint dry instead.
  • This episode's so boring, the FDA should approve it as a treatment for insomnia.
  • This episode's so boring, it makes reading the Yellow Pages look fun.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Sometimes, writing an entire episode around a goofy idea works. We and several other reviewers are pretty sure that DS9's In the Cards was written just so the line "Lions and Geigers and bears. Oh my!" could be uttered on screen -- but as far as SABR Matt and I are concerned, In the Cards is a slam-dunk feature. It is also possible that an obviously bad episode can be so bad that it cycles around and becomes good again. That's pretty much how I feel about Spock's Brain, for example; Spock's Brain is universally considered to be TOS's absolute worst episode, but the last time I watched the uncut version, I laughed for hours.

Unfortunately, Jeremiah Crichton is neither an effective take on a goofy idea ("You know what I want? A shot of Crichton, in a beard, sitting on his module." "Yes! That's awesome! Let's do that!") nor an episode so bad that it can be classified as glorious camp. It is, as I said, just stunningly dull. The basic story here has been done time and time again, and it hasn't gotten any more interesting with repeated treatments. Let's see: Our hero is stranded on a back-water planet and encounters an aboriginal culture. Check. The daughter of the chief decides to take our hero for her mate. Check. A native suitor gets insanely jealous. Check. When our hero's friends finally come to his rescue, the natives mistake one among their number for a god. Check. Our hero and his companions must convince this "backward" culture that their religion is a lie. Check, check, check. Have we missed any check boxes here?

There is good news, though: the actors and the production team all recognize that this one is a dud. As a matter of fact, in the DVD commentary, Ben Browder, Claudia Black, and the show runners spend the entire time bashing the hell out of this complete failure of an episode -- and personally, I think that's something every show should do. If you don't learn from your mistakes, you will only repeat them.

Writing: 2.0

From the moment Crichton has his temper tantrum and goes off for his "cleansing drive", the poor screen writer doesn't seem to know where to take the story -- and, alas, in his casting about for an actual plot, he falls back on a tired old cliche. Awful. Just awful.

Acting: 5.0

The actors also largely fail to transcend the script despite their valiant efforts.

Message: 2.0

I'm not the most "sensitive" person in the world, but even I can see that this episode is vaguely offensive in its portrayal of the "natives." Ick!

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