In a tale with very little to it, Farscape manages to be at its most evocative yet.
Laid-back and atmospheric, A Prefect Murder managed the difficult trick of fleshing out a whole society and its situation in just a few telling scenes and lines of dialogue. By halfway in, you understand the problems of the Gashaak's people and their arduous battle to sublimate violent urges into political negotiation. Thanks to Chiana, you even know quite a lot about their sexual morals. All this is achieved without any recourse to the sort of clunking exposition so typical of most sci-fi, including Farscape in its weaker moments.
Beautiful direction and fantastic CGI work helped to make this alien planet really seem like somewhere a long, long, way from home, Aussie-accented extras notwithstanding. The cut-up manner in which the story was told, each event being seen from many angles, also added to its wistful power.
All of which is a good thing, considering that really, not very much happened. This strange whodunnit gave away the game halfway through, and the final resolution didn't feel as if it had anything much to do with our heroes. The innovative, multi-viewpoint storytelling also tailed off, leaving us with a denoument that will have warmed the hearts of John/Aeryn shippers, and left everyone else a trifle disappointed.
Despite its faults A Prefect Murder must be commended for creating one of the few convincing alien worlds seen on the screen - and in only forty-five minutes, too. It's just a pity more writers can't be bothered to work out their backstories as thoroughly as Mark Saraceni obviously did.
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