Twenty years ago, Rockne S. O’Bannon and the Jim Henson Company took us on a journey deep into the Uncharted Territories aboard a living ship full of escaped prisoners. Farscape followed the adventures of astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) whose experimental spacecraft, Farscape 1, was sucked into a wormhole and blasted into the unknown. Hunted by a military junta on the verge of war and trying desperately to make his way home, Crichton and the disparate crew of Moya find wonder and danger around every star.

I watched from episode one all the way to the series concluding film, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, and I can safely say that this is easily one of the most overlooked and underrated science fiction series of the early 2000s. For this very special edition of Beautiful Creatures we’re going to take a look at some of the coolest aliens introduced to us by Farscape.

5.  Scarrans

Scarrans are a reptilian hominid species whose continued evolution is dependent on a rare plant. The more of this plant matter that is ingested, the more their DNA changes. Low ranking agents of the Scarran Empire are bulky, brutish, and more reptilian than the ruling cast which has an almost sapient appearance. The Scarrans have a gland that allows them to generate an intensely focused heat beam that doubles as a method of extracting truth from its victims.

Constructed by the Jim Henson Creature Shop, the low-ranking Scarrans are 100% practical effect creatures combining suit actors and puppeteers to articulate their evil, dinosauroid features. Meanwhile, the more human like upper class Scarrans are again, constructed bodies with actors in make-up and appliances. For cable television circa 1999-2000, it was pretty impressive.

4.  Diagnosan/Diagnosian

They can smell your disease… literally. Diagnosans (sometimes Diagnosians) are biped creatures with bulbous heads reminiscent of cattle or sheep. Wearing a facemask at all times because their sensitivity to disease is both a blessing and a curse, they are the best doctors in the Uncharted Territories.

The Diagnosan is a performer in make-up and appliances with an animatronic head. The Diagnosans on screen are males but are always performed in a way that makes them exceedingly feminine and delicate. On a scale of 1 to 10 the Diagnosan is a solid 9 in terms of design, construction, and performance.

3.  Pilot

Pilot, a crustacean like being whose backstory and culture are incredibly interesting, though underexplored, is a servicer being whose body and mind are integrated into the Leviathan ship Moya.

The build is a full-on puppet and animatronic piece who, thanks to his character’s backstory, remains largely stationary in the heart of the ship. Pilot is classic Jim Henson with soft, rounded edges and a sort of earth organic feel. There is never a doubt as you look at him that this is a puppet but, at the same time suspending disbelief is easy to do.

2.  Vorc

The meth addicted cousin of Mac from Mac and Me, Vorc is simultaneously adorable and disgusting. A dualistic creature, Vorc vomits out a Buddha looking insect monster that hunts alien parasites.

As I said, this Jim Henson Co. puppet looks like Mac with a serious substance problem. Equal parts ridiculous and ingenious, Vorc warrants a mention.

1.  Scorpius/Harvey

The Scarran/Sebbaccean hybrid Scorpius is a crazed military genius bent on creating wormhole weapons that will destroy everyone who opposes him. Played by Wayne Pygram, Scorpius imbeds a neural clone of himself in Crichton’s mind to unlock the secret of wormhole technology. This clone is eventually named Harvey by the astronaut, a nod to the Jimmy Stewart film about a man plagued by a giant rabbit only he can see.

Scorpius is all make-up and appliances with CGI used to show scenes in which he changes out a cooling system in his skull to regulate the temperature differences caused by his fused anatomy. The design blends the different species masterfully while allowing Pygram the chance to deliver some powerful performances that bring the character to life.

Farscape is littered with a menagerie of unique, incredible creatures that will thrill, terrify, and even disgust you at time. Coupled with fun, adventurous stories and a sharp sense of humor, the series holds up exceptionally well after 2 decades and is still the same sort of inclusive family fun that it was in 1999. You can find the entire series streaming on Amazon.

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