History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Farscape: No One is Nice

We’ve recently finished watching the first season of Farscape, and as we were getting toward the end of the season, a character from earlier on (Gilina) came back. In her previous appearance, she’d helped the crew, but I found myself expecting her to betray them at any moment. I took a step back and thought about this reaction, and realized that in every single episode of the first season, Gilina is the only character who doesn’t use or otherwise wish harm toward the crew. This single season of a show had made me completely unable to trust anyone who wasn’t in the main cast. (And hell, sometimes I don’t trust the ones in the main cast either.) In the first season, literally no one (except Gilina) is nice.

I’m sure that Farscape is not the only show that has used this technique of having the main characters betrayed at every turn, but it really stuck out for me in this case. It makes you begin to wonder why the characters trust anyone at all, when everyone they’ve encountered has been untrustworthy. You could argue that they’re just believers in the inherent goodness of other people, but if you look at the backstories for the characters, there’s absolutely no reason why any of them would believe that. So why do these characters keep falling into the same traps over and over again?

I’m willing to see if the writing improves in the later seasons, if perhaps this first season is just the writers trying to find their feet in what is, in many ways, a really strange show. But I’m definitely taking notes on these weird decisions that the writers made, so I can remember not to make them in my own writing!

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