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5 Shows like Farscape: Strange New Faces & Places

James Thomas itcherI like my science fiction with as much weirdness as possible, and if I can get some puppets in there, so much the better. I enjoy TV shows like ‘Farscape’ because the idea that alien life would resemble us in any way is preposterous. The many creatures that may populate this universe could make the cantina bar in Star Wars look like a congressional session. If you, too, enjoy science fiction featuring strange beings with fully developed cultures, check out ‘Lexx,’ ‘Defiance,’ and ‘Babylon 5’. ~ James Thomas

What a Strange Trip

The world of ‘Farscape’ is special because it asserts the fact that in a practically endless universe, there are potentially endless variations on how many limbs, posteriors, or frontal lobes an alien species can have.

The aliens that make up the show’s cast are a mix of different species, each with unique forms and cultures, making for some really awkward situations when it comes to designing a proper door, much more a bathroom. I mean, how would you know which hand to shake or if it actually was a hand you were shaking?

Thanks to the work of Jim Henson, this parliament of the strange is handled with elegance, insight, and an appreciation for form, beauty, and the stranger things in life.


Shows Similar to ‘Farscape’…

‘Lexx’ (Global Television Network, 1997-2002)

I can safely say that the show ‘Lexx’ did for “weird” what the show ‘Lost’ did for ambiguity and frustrating conclusions. Aside from the fact that the ship is designed like a giant dragonfly with functional wings, most of the time, death seems like nothing but a temporary inconvenience on this show.  

And yes, one of the main characters (and apparently the male heartthrob), Kai, is an undead alien hitman and one of the most talkative zombies I’ve ever seen.

Kai and the ship’s captain, a former delivery boy, Stanley Tweedle, run into all manner of strange creatures, including one of the most competent members of the crew: Zev, a renegade sex slave, and Lyekka, a people-eating plant.

Similarity Match: 95%
The show ‘Lexx’ has a hapless captain surrounded by aliens, in a situation he is not prepared for, just like ‘Farscape’. However, life on the Lexx is as strange as an acid trip inside of an elf’s small intestine.

‘Defiance’ (Syfy, 2013-2015)

I’m convinced that ‘Defiance’ was greenlit so that some very talented people could create interesting alien critters with beautiful and terrifying faces.

Everything in this show is gritty and fully realized, making it a veritable playground for the virtuosos of the make-up and design industry. ‘Defiance’ and many other TV series like ‘Farscape’ are feeder programs for the contestants and fans of ‘Face Off’.

When it comes to the general look of ‘Defiance’, the SyFy channel blew their budget on effects and eye candy, as these alien species try to live together in dystopian harmony. Additionally, it’s really fun to watch, it’s well written, and very engaging. But, if you get overly attached to any of the characters, this show will break you.

Similarity Match: 90%
The population of the town of ‘Defiance’ is filled with as many weird personalities and strange species as there are in the quixotic crew on ‘Farscape’. But in ‘Defiance’, they try and keep the crazy interactions terrestrial, which makes it harder for one species to eat another…mostly.

‘Babylon 5’ (PTEN, 1993-1998)

‘Babylon 5’ is one of the best intergalactic Sci-Fi shows I’ve ever seen. What makes this show work is the glut of alien species on board the space station. In fact, it is the politics of the station that’s complex and entertaining.

Between the Vorlons, the Centauri, the Minbari and all the other species, I’m pretty sure I know exactly what the creative effort was devoted to in this show, as every inch of the set’s fabrication and alien make-up is intricate and inventive. And that’s not even counting the Shadows and the other CGI characters.

I’m sure the fictional people who built the Babylon 5 station had to make a lot of design considerations in order to accommodate the strange physiology of each species. And how could they be sure everyone could breathe oxygen?

Similarity Match: 90%
Like the ship in ‘Farscape’ the space station in ‘Babylon 5’ is ironically peopled with all manner of strange organisms, however on this show they march to the beat of a collectively organized drum.


If You Like ‘Farscape’, You Will Like…

‘Farscape’ explores space, the dramatic tension that exists between hilariously mismatched archetypes, and the chaos wrought by individuals who think that incarceration is something better avoided.

The next two shows differ slightly from ‘Farscape’, with the first featuring an organized military effort to discover strange new worlds, and the other showcasing a group of rogues attempting to impose order on the galaxy.

‘Stargate: SG 1’ (Syndication, 1993-1999)

Creating an opportunity for Sci-Fi writers to introduce something new to the world is what the creators of ‘Stargate: SG 1’ had in mind when they adopted the popular film into a television show. I think they created something compelling, entertaining and filled with bizarre lifeforms, some of which made me reconsider taking a trip through a forest without a taser and animal control on speed dial anytime soon.

But I enjoyed the character designs so much that the occasional nightmare inducing, forty eyed monsters didn’t put me off.

The aliens on the show come from nearly every branch of human mythology, including Greek mythology, Arthurian mythology, Egyptian mythology, and Norse mythology. Depressingly, this does mean that in this show’s universe, early humans had limited imaginations.

While both ‘Stargate: SG 1’ and ‘Farscape’ find strange creatures on worlds that would be better off bombed from orbit, the Stargate team deals with threats that are more terrestrial and bizarrely familiar.

‘Andromeda’ (Global, 2000-2005)

I think that one of the best assets series similar to ‘Farscape’ have is their ability to start from a blank slate, without having to worry about irritating things like continuity or common sense. The best example I’ve seen of this phenomenon is ‘Andromeda’. In this show, Gene Roddenberry founded a fictional universe where humankind’s bureaucracy spread like a disease, extending itself to new species.

The most compelling aliens on the show are the Magog. These things basically look like a Muppet mixed with a dog, having the face of a flea.

Of course, there are some crazier examples of strange organisms and bizarre creations on ‘Andromeda’ that are less grotesque, such as the purple skinned Trance Gemini.

‘Andromeda’ deals with a ship full of bizarre aliens, attempting to coexist and work toward a common goal, similar to ‘Farscape’. However, the crew of the Andromeda Ascendant wants to reintroduce the iron grip of a galactic government into the universe, because that’s what good guys do, right?


Space Menagerie

The universe is a strange place in our very own reality, and scientists have concluded that the question is no longer if there is alien life, but what that life might look like.

Which of these shows do you think might be closest to the truth?

Let me know in the comments down below.

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