Rockne S. O’Bannon and his show on Netflix I haven’t watched

Rockne S. O’Bannon and I have a surprisingly long history with each other. Who is Rockne S. O’Bannon? Probably one of the most important people in television I like. What did he create (that’s available on Netflix)?

#1. Farscape

My favorite sci-fi tv show. This show is amazing only, the trick is that you have to have people watch the first episode or two, then skip to the last two episodes of the first season. It’s the only way I’ve ever successfully converted someone to this show. There are so many great things about this show, for one thing it’s a weird show that plays with sci-fi tropes in a way that I think is done better than Firefly, but also the Jim Henson Company does all the aliens. Puppet aliens. It’s like Dark Crystal in Spaaaaaace.

The show is about an astronaut named Criton who falls into a wormhole which drops him off in a different part of the universe. There he joins a band of escaped prisoners who have hijacked their prison ship. The rest of the show involves him and the prisoners trying to escape from the people who imprisoned them. Also Criton goes kind of nuts and can’t stop making pop culture references to people who have no idea what he’s talking about. And Criton cries. A LOT. His alien girlfriend gets really annoyed by that.

It’s awesome. The show makers have said that they were influenced by Blake’s 7, another of my favorite sci-fi shows. Blake’s 7 was about a band of (by modern standards) terrorists who are fighting against a corrupt government. Blake, the titular character, escapes with some prisoners onto a space ship and fights against the Man basically.

#2. SeaQuest

My girlfriend’s favorite tv show. It’s about a super-submarine that goes on adventures in the ocean with a talking dolphin and a teen heartthrob.

Behind the scenes there was a lot of conflict between the cast and producers and NBC over what the show was supposed to be and it shows. SeaQuest wanted to be a hard sci-fi show, but then had an episode about ghosts and ESP, then wanted to be a political drama, but then had a romance with a psychic woman and the captain. I don’t know, it was kind of a mess.

#3. Cult

Which leads me to Cult, an O’Bannon show available on Netflix that I haven’t seen. Obviously I must watch it. O’Bannon’s earned that from me at least but I’m hesitant if only because it’s not set in space.

It’s also set on… Earth. Ugh. Not even in the ocean. But ok Rockne, you’ve earned a pass from me.

I was thinking about seaQuest and Farscape and I realized that there is a lot of progressive elements, gender representation wise in Rockne’s work. I think Farscape actually has more female characters than male, and Criton, the protagonist, is way more emotional than the main love interest, who actually has many more of the traditionally masculine traits. Her name is Aeryn and she just wants (a) to go home and do her job and (b) for Criton to shut up, but he just wants to keep blabbing about his feelings. It’s kind of awesome on just that part alone.

I remember seaQuest also has some prominent female characters, a la the Doctor and the Engineer. Which are probably two characters that will appear in my Doctor Who fanfiction.

Rockne, like his shows, aren’t perfect, but I do admire that they try for some weird stuff and sometimes succeed.

Honorable mention: Defiance. This is not on Netflix. It’s a show with a MMORPG tie-in, and it shows sometimes, but I like it. It’s post-apocalyptic Earth crossed with Alien Nation.


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