fantasy: Farscape

Utu-Noranti Pralatong
Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan
War Minister Ahkna
Xhalax Sun

Aliens among us: Farscape

With Babylon 5 and Voyager deceased and Andromeda struggling to improve from abysmal to so-so, Farscape offered arguably the best Sci-Fi and certainly the highest production values and best variety of female alien makeups on TV (not to mention clever episode titles and entertaining references to a whole series of TV shows and movies from Baywatch to Star Wars). And now despite a brief resurrection as a mini-series it is no more.

Sometimes the stories were a bit ropey – and some weird shit was going on in the fourth season – but they tried to get a good balance been the one-off episodes and the arc. And the makeups were excellent for both the regulars and the guests; besides the it’s-not-just-a-forehead prosthetics, it’s the paintwork that really stands out: just compare the paintwork on Virginia Hey (Zhaan) and Gigi Edgley (Chiana) with that on Laura Bertram (any version of Trance Gemini) in Andromeda. Looking at the blu-ray the makeups look even better in HD which is really unusual.

Lesley Vanderwalt (season 1), Paul Pattison (season 2), Jennifer Lamphee (season 3), Annie Single (season 4) and Angela Conte (The Peacekeeper Wars) were the hair and makeup supervisors for straight makeup: Dave Elsey (now of Igor Studios) was the creative supervisor for special effects makeup. Some of the makeups illustrated here were created by the makeup department (eg Chiana); others were initially created by Dave Elsey’s team but handed over to the makeup department (eg Zhaan); while others were designed and applied by Dave Elsey’s team (eg Noranti).

The Creatures of Farscape by Joe Nazzaro is an excellent book on the alien makeups of Farscape though it does not cover the application of any of the makeups in detail. The Farscape Encyclopedia Project is a great online resource for information on Farscape.