Two years ago, the Sci Fi Channel announced the cancellation of its critically acclaimed series “Farscape” – and reaped the greatest whirlwind of outraged fan reaction since NBC pulled the plug on Star Trek after three seasons in 1969. At least “Farscape” outlasted its space-operatic antecedent, although season four was a bit truncated, not to mention meandering and confused.

Now Sci Fi wraps up the story of “Farscape” with a two-night miniseries that once again spotlights the cable network’s aptitude for satisfying long-form programming and an inability to produce a decent regular series. Apart from “Farscape,” Sci Fi has never come up with an exceptional weekly show, yet its miniseries – “Dune,” “Taken,” last year’s remake of “Battlestar Galactica,” and now this – have been sterling.

As a series, “Farscape” was by far the best Sci Fi has ever come up with. Filmed in Australia with a largely Australian cast, the show starred American actor Ben Browder as the brash earthling astronaut John Crichton, who fell into a wormhole while testing a new spacecraft and came out in the middle of an interplanetary war on the other side of the galaxy.

Distrusted by both the fascist Peacekeepers and the saurian Scarrans, Crichton hooked up with other outcasts, including leonine warrior Ka D’Argo (Anthony Simcoe), deposed alien emperor Rygel (voice of Jonathan Hardy), gray-skinned pixie thief Chiana (Gigi Edgley), and the hardened, bitter soldier-babe Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black). Together they evaded their pursuers aboard a living transport ship called Moya, with its symbiotic Pilot (voiced by Lani John Tupu).

Crichton and his motley, sometimes unreliable crew endured weekly tribulations while foiling the mutant Peacekeeper warlord Scorpius (Wayne Pygram, exhibiting a capacity for mixing menace with comedy not seen since the departure of “Buffy”). Scorpius was desperate for the wormhole technology hidden somewhere in Crichton’s brain during a brief encounter with the Ancients, a primordial and godlike race of aliens.

Many adventures ensued, some smarter and more compelling than others. The effects by the Jim Henson Creature Shop sometimes made the program look like a “Muppet Show” outtake, but at its best “Farscape” was witty, suspenseful, and full of self-conscious ironic humor, with Crichton sometimes overtly invoking the spirit of Captain Kirk. It could also be astonishingly inventive; one episode involved a conflict between best pals Crichton and D’Argo in the animated style of the Road Runner cartoons.

Happy to say, “The Peacekeeper Wars” finds the show’s actors, directors, producers and writers in tip-top shape.

But you need not be a fanatical follower of the show in order to relish this miniseries. All you need is a taste for science fiction.

Production values and special effects are near big-screen in quality. The script, by David Kemper and series creator Rockne S. O’Bannon, is full of wit, irony and sexy jokes. (When an alien reveals an eye on a rather phallic stalk, Chiana asks a companion if the creature is making a pass at her.) A scene involving Scorpius, now an ally of Crichton’s, is a brilliant, hilarious visual quote from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

“The Peacekeeper Wars” takes “Farscape” out in a blaze of glory. It will long be remembered as one of the finest science fiction productions to grace the small screen. Die-hard fans may weep at its conclusive end – there seems nowhere for the story to go after this, and at least one key character doesn’t survive – but here’s hoping we see these talented and agreeable people in other productions in the near future.


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