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Old 01-29-05, 11:40 AM   #1
jayntampa
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DVD Talk review of 'Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars'

I read Holly E. Ordway's DVD review of Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=14256 and...

wow ... this is the first review on here that I felt was way, way, way off base -- I just watched the show a couple days ago, and I thought it did exactly what it was supposed to. The creators were clear from the beginning that the purpose of the mini-series was to conclude the series ... I think it did it wonderfully.

What does everyone else think?
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Old 01-29-05, 11:56 AM   #2
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Old 01-29-05, 01:44 PM   #3
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Whoa, that that review was odd, I generally love the mini-series.....it beats the turds out of Earthsea at least
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Old 01-29-05, 02:27 PM   #4
Eric F
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It was OK. I didn't particularly love it, and felt it was rushed in parts (which was to be expected I guess).

What particularly annoyed me was the production (especially the sound) is so different from the TV series it just seemed "wrong" to me somehow. That and the mediocre PQ of the DVD turned me off.

Why does S4 and Peacekeeper Wars looked so "blah" on DVD compared to the 4:3 seasons? Most of ADV's other anamorphic transfers are stellar, even the low-budget stuff like Beastmaster.
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Old 01-29-05, 03:51 PM   #5
Dmacsg1
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Did the reviewer watch the same mini-series I did?

I thought that this was a superb ending to a fantastic series!! We got great performances, heart felt losses and nonstop action!! I was not disappointed in the least!!

Take care all!!
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Old 01-29-05, 05:46 PM   #6
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I understand that a review is a personal opinion, but this is so off-base it's like an LA Times review. Sometimes I disagree with a review, but Damn, there has to be some accountability. A pan like that for a show that kicked so much ass, her other reviews have totally lost crediblity with me.
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Old 01-29-05, 07:21 PM   #7
Holly E. Ordway
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I'm genuinely glad others seem to have liked it - I certainly wanted to! I am surprised, though - even if I had a particularly bad reaction to it (mindless action *really* rubs me the wrong way) I'd have expected more people to have opinions like Erik's, along the "eh" part of the spectrum.

In many ways PKW felt very *different* to me from the Farscape series, or at least the Farscape episodes that I've seen (Season 4 and about 1/3 of Season 1). It's possible that it's a love-it-or-hate-it proposition, but in a sufficiently different way than the original series that for at least a subset of viewers, it provoked a very different reaction.

That's possibly the most useful observation that could be drawn from my review, independently of whether or not you agree with my final evaluation: that PKW may wrap up FS in terms of plot, but liking one doesn't mean you'll like the other (in either direction). If you know ahead of time that it's not going to be in the same style (and I really don't think it is), and you don't have your expectations high, it's entirely possible that you'd have a whole lot better reaction to it than I did.
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Old 01-30-05, 12:56 AM   #8
Pyronics
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How can you possibly review this mini-series in good conscience without having seen the prior episodes that PK Wars wraps up? It doesn't just finish the cliff-hanger for season 4, it draws on and works based on knowing and following the plight of John Crichton from beginning to end. Knowing everything that John and Aeryn went through (not just knowing, but watching it unfold) is a crucial point in getting the pay-off that some of the greatest moments the mini-series offers. The mini-series is, in my opinion, a good stand-alone story for the uninitiated, but for someone who knows the show from beginning to end, it is masterful. It did everything I could ever have hoped it would do, and it felt perfectly Farscape every second of the way. It's shameful to put such an uninformed, one-sided review up on a reputable site.
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Old 01-30-05, 10:49 AM   #9
Holly E. Ordway
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyronics
How can you possibly review this mini-series in good conscience without having seen the prior episodes that PK Wars wraps up? It doesn't just finish the cliff-hanger for season 4, it draws on and works based on knowing and following the plight of John Crichton from beginning to end. Knowing everything that John and Aeryn went through (not just knowing, but watching it unfold) is a crucial point in getting the pay-off that some of the greatest moments the mini-series offers.
That's a valid point, but the reality of watching TV shows and reviewing DVDs means that we're not in a perfect world where everyone can have the ideal background coming in to a viewing experience. If I'd seen Seasons 2 and 3, it's possible I would have enjoyed PKW more... but I doubt it; after all, the criticisms that I have of the miniseries are not based on an insufficient appreciation of the backstory, but rather on the simplistic story and the way that story was presented. In contrast, you can take something like Babylon 5 and see the difference: if you missed a season or two, the finale of the Shadow War, etc., will not be as powerful, but it'll still be, as a minimum, *good*. If "having seen every single episode" is a prerequisite for enjoying the miniseries *at all*, then that's a flaw in the miniseries.

In any case, by your argument I shouldn't have reviewed Season 4 of Farscape, since at that point I'd not seen a single episode. However, I loved the show even starting from that late point!

(I swear, there's a curse on TV miniseries of great SF TV shows. I mean, look at the TV movies of Babylon 5 - I thought those were mostly dreadful too, the difference being that most everyone agrees with me on that count.)
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Old 01-30-05, 11:05 AM   #10
Sessa17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyM
I understand that a review is a personal opinion, but this is so off-base it's like an LA Times review. Sometimes I disagree with a review, but Damn, there has to be some accountability. A pan like that for a show that kicked so much ass, her other reviews have totally lost crediblity with me.
Couldn't agree more, this review reads like a little child who is angy at what they did in the latest issue of a Spider-man comic. "Sounds great.. except that The Peacekeeper Wars is complete crap". "I don't normally get angry when I watch a crappy sci-fi miniseries. . . " This reads like a pre-pubescent teenager who has a limited vocabulary. Words like "crappy" just seem so juvenile in a review.

IMO reviewers are suppose to be objective in their reviews. There are so many good things about this mini-series for someone who has been watching the show from the beginning that I find it attrocious that a reviewer cannot put their feelings aside & see them. I don't think these DVDTALK reviewers get paid or will lose their gig if they don't review a certain DVD, so if this person did not see the episodes that this DVD directly ties up, then they should pass on reviewing this DVD & give it to somebody else. The production value, & depth of story that has to be put into this one mini-series is so far ahead of 95% of what is on TV & especially most sci-fi programming that t's really just a joke at how off the mark this review was. I have no problem with someone being dissapointed in this mini-series, but the reasoning behind this review is just clueless.
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Old 01-30-05, 03:40 PM   #11
Holly E. Ordway
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It's a very good thing that after 700+ reviews here, I have a pretty cast-iron skin when it comes to feedback on my reviews since man, some of you guys are laying it on pretty thick! But... and here's where the cast-iron skin helps me see things objectively... I've been re-reading my review and it's true that I expressed myself in perhaps too strong terms. It did accurately capture my reaction to the show ("UGH!") but I think that the heightened style I expressed myself in made it less useful as a review for you, the readers.

Do me a favor and re-read the review. I've made a couple of edits of phrases that I think probably rubbed Farscape fans the wrong way, because I was rather wound up when I wrote those parts. Now, you may or may not agree with the criticisms I made of the miniseries, but I hope you'll be able to calm down enough to see the reasons WHY I didn't care for it. After all, you don't have to agree with a reviewer to find a review worth reading or useful - if I complain that there's too much action, but the action sequences have always been your favorite part, then you can probably safely assume that you'll like it more than I did, for instance.

At that point, if you still think I'm a raving lunatic nutcase, that's fine but I do remind you that I really enjoyed Farscape and gave high recommendations for all of Season 4, for instance, so I'm not totally talking out of my hat here. And even if you don't agree with my opinion of the miniseries, I hope that my review of the technical specs and extras will help you decide whether or not to buy the DVD.
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Old 01-30-05, 05:26 PM   #12
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You know, just once I would like to see someone literally talking out of their hat.
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Old 01-30-05, 07:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyronics
How can you possibly review this mini-series in good conscience without having seen the prior episodes that PK Wars wraps up? It doesn't just finish the cliff-hanger for season 4, it draws on and works based on knowing and following the plight of John Crichton from beginning to end. Knowing everything that John and Aeryn went through (not just knowing, but watching it unfold) is a crucial point in getting the pay-off that some of the greatest moments the mini-series offers. The mini-series is, in my opinion, a good stand-alone story for the uninitiated, but for someone who knows the show from beginning to end, it is masterful. It did everything I could ever have hoped it would do, and it felt perfectly Farscape every second of the way. It's shameful to put such an uninformed, one-sided review up on a reputable site.
I've read this thread with some degree of interest but stayed on the sidelines far too long. I've seen the entire Farscape series, mostly on the Sci-Fi Channel but most of the DVDs too, and I liked PKW for what it was, not what it should've been. I'm going to make a few general observations based on some of what was written here so please keep in mind that I'm not an unbiased party.

1) Reviewers don't always get every related DVD to a show and to expect this is unfair. Of course a fanatic (aka: a fan) is going to like a show better than the general public; doesn't that go without saying? Holly liked the original series (what she saw of it) and if she found PKW less inspiring than us fans did, is that truly a surprise? Personally, I think she'd have enjoyed PKW even less if she watched the rest of the series (because as much as I enjoyed the mini-series, it was full of cut corners, plot devices unworthy of such a fantastic show) but that's a guess from a guy that has read a lot of her reviews over the last two years. Oh, and PKW wasn't "far ahead of 95%" of other science fiction on television (just because I think the original series was better than most such programming doesn't mean I left on my rose colored glasses).

2) PKW was the substitute for a full season and came off that way to more than a few fans. I'm not an apologist for the Sci-Fi Channel but I was glad they helped fund PKW; that doesn't mean the show was able to do what it COULD HAVE done though. I think Holly picked up on that vibe and wasn't afraid to say it in her review. Could she have been more diplomatic in the review? Sure! Should she have been more diplomatic? I don't think that's a fair expectation. She called it like she saw it; something every review worth reading will have (otherwise, it's not a review but a report that might as well have been written by the production company).

3) There's no such thing as an objective review and to kid yourselves into thinking otherwise is sheer folly. I don't see a single unbiased, objective response in this thread yet and to suggest, as Pyronics did when he said it was a "good stand-alone story" makes little sense (sorry Pyronics but as others point out, the context of PKW makes a difference to the show and I fail to see how anyone that has watched the show could do anything short of project their impression of stand alone value). As far as the "there has to be some accountability" statement by Randy; let's face it, if you don't like her reviews, don't read them (she isn't paid to write them and I'm willing to bet most people would be far less generous with their free time than Holly has been on DVDTalk).

4) Holly has enough background on science fiction shows that even though I disagree with her assessment (of the show, not the DVD that I have yet to get in the mail), there aren't many reviewers, here or elsewhere, that have as good credentials to review the title. On a lark, I went to several other websites and noticed that the glowing praise for the show was as generic as could be in most cases (making me wonder if those reviewers had actually watched the DVD and/or if the fans were simply glossing over the show's weaknesses based on their fond memories of the original series).

Holly and I have been at odds over reviews in the past; either in terms of what one of us wrote or stylish differences but rather than attack her in apublic forum, wouldn't a well reasoned email or two have worked better at trying to accomplish something positive (unless venting was the sole purpose of the thread)? Well, that covers some of it but just keep in mind that reviews are written for the general readership in most cases, not the slavering fanboys dedicated to the movie or show. As such, PKW wouldn't be the best choice for the uninitiated, as interesting as it was for some of us (I now fully expect to be flamed, by the SFB's and Holly for my grammatical errors).
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Old 01-31-05, 06:23 AM   #14
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^That was very well written, and looking back, I agree with a lot of it. What I said was a pretty brash response to what I still wholeheartedly think is an unfair review. I really don't expect a reviewer to have seen every episode in order to review one mini-series. It would have been nice, but it shouldn't be necessary.

I also take back that the mini-series works completely as a stand-alone story; that first half hour would be a little jarring for newbs, but I still think a newb could enjoy it without necessarily having seen the show before once the dust settles on tying up season four's loose ends. It has more than enough merits on its own to appeal to a new fan: great action sequences, emotional punch, and an epic feel few productions are able to equal.

What I will not take back is the fact that I think this reviewer did a very poor job of reviewing the mini. Making a broad statement that the mini didn't 'feel like Farscape' when the only basis for comparison she has are seasons four and some of season one. Both those seasons weren't Farscape at its absolute prime and felt less like Farscape than the rest. Season one had the show looking for a direction and a completely different feel, and season four was trying to build a new direction for the show after the masterful work of season 2 and 3. It's not necessarily the reviewer's fault for not knowing this, but I'd think she would show a little restraint from making broad generalizations when she is aware that she hasn't seen the whole story before.

Matt Roush's Opinion

Last edited by Pyronics; 01-31-05 at 06:26 AM.
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Old 02-01-05, 09:51 AM   #15
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I'll just chime in to say that I disagree with the review... one star? no replay value? 'skip it'? The miniseries isn't perfect, but that doesn't accurately represent it, in my opinion.

Since opinions is what we're talking about, there's no 'wrong' answer. But I was very surprised at how negative this review was. I could nitpick a bit about the show and point to flaws and things I didn't like. But it still 'felt like' Farscape and was probably the best conclusion we could hope for, after the idiots at Sci-Fi pulled the plug. I can't imagine many Farscape fans being upset with it... which is why the review surprises me.
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Old 02-01-05, 02:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Houstondon
[...] rather than attack her in a public forum, wouldn't a well reasoned email or two have worked better at trying to accomplish something positive (unless venting was the sole purpose of the thread)?
Oh, come on, Don. Nearly every single thread in this subforum is now dedicated to discussing the review section of DVD Talk. Strong responses to the reviews are *exactly* appropriate in these threads--or else the threads serve no purpose but advertisement.

As for the review in question, I have to admit I was quite surprised as well. Not since The Chronicles of Narnia has one of her reviews seemed so far off the mark as to change the way I view her opinions. That said, I support her work, think she has grown as a reviewer, and am glad she's here.
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Old 02-02-05, 10:01 AM   #17
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[quote=adamblast]Oh, come on, Don. Nearly every single thread in this subforum is now dedicated to discussing the review section of DVD Talk. Strong responses to the reviews are *exactly* appropriate in these threads--or else the threads serve no purpose but advertisement.
[quote]

I suppose I was looking at it from the point of view that a reasoned response rather than an emotional, and public, outburst would work better. There is a line between constructive criticism and outright bashing (of which some have accused Holly here) and while I might agree with the general consensus about the show having more merit that the given rating, I can't condone the way the message was delivered. If readers want reviews to improve, and make no mistake that they have improved a lot over the years (from all of the reviewers), the input is going to have to be better than a childish, if well meaning, rant.

On a positive note, Holly listened to some of the more constructive comments given her and addressed some of the concerns by editing the review. It's still not favorable (after all, that'd open her up to claims that she was merely advertising the product) but it toned down some of her own response to the DVD (maintaining her credibility but accepting that her choice of words could've been better; believe me, she's quite a wordsmith and would continually play with reviews if given half the chance).

If my copy had come to me in a timely manner (DDD is cheap but slow), I'd have offered up a review too. It might've been lacking in the finesse dept but it would probably have been substantially more positive too. I'm not a believer that only someone guaranteed to like a movie should review it, although that's the trend all over the internet (especially adult sites where companies will stop sending titles if you don't kiss their backsides), and DVD Talk is one to buck that trend as it has for years. I still thank you all for your input though; it's something each of us needs (although sometimes begrudgingly).
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Old 02-26-05, 03:46 PM   #18
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Hmmmm . . .

I agree that The Peacekeeper Wars was a little disappointing, but I put some of that down to my fannish expectations. Still, 1 star? I thought the pacing seemed rushed (to be expected) and that Rigel's pregnancy was ridiculous, but I'd still give it somewhere between 3 and 4 stars.

Between this and the MI-5 season 2 review, I'm thinking I just have very different tastes from Holly.
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