It’s one of science fiction’s great miscarriages of justice that Farscape lead Ben Browder hasn’t seen his career absolutely blow up in the aftermath of that beloved series. Don’t get me wrong, there was no shortage of talent filling out that cast, but Browder displayed such charisma and talent in the role of wayward astronaut John Crichton, he deserves much more than occasionally popping up on TV and causing fans to mutter “Why hasn’t he got his own show again?” (And no, Doctor Who absolutely wasting him for an episode doesn’t count.) This is a guy who was Nathan Fillion before Nathan Fillion was Nathan Fillion, but he never got his Castle, if that makes sense. The closest he’s come to getting that second act he deserves is an ongoing role in the later seasons of Stargate SG-1, but he almost landed an even bigger role in the franchise, as one of the leads on Stargate Atlantis.
Back in 2003, after four all-too-short seasons on the Sci-Fi Channel — back before the dark times, before Syfy — Farscape ended its run in truly painful fashion, leaving fans with a heartbreakingly frustrating cliffhanger episode with the on-the-nose title of “Bad Timing.” Around that same time, Stargate producers were putting together the franchise’s second TV spinoff, Stargate Atlantis. Given that Browder had been absolutely killing it as Crichton on Farscape, and the actor had met several of the Stargate producers at conventions, it’s not surprising to learn that the Powers That Be behind Atlantis had Browder on their short list for the lead of Major John Sheppard, eventually played by Joe Flanigan. So why didn’t Browder get the role?
The Peacekeeper Wars.
Yes, Farscape fans were stocking up on torches and pitchforks after the gut-punch of their beloved show’s maddening finale, and lo, did the internet tremble with the force of their fury and lamentations. Proving that there is, on occasion, some justice in the world, all that fan rage actually proved productive: Farscape got a proper send-off courtesy of the 2004 Peacekeeper Wars miniseries.
Eventually Browder found his way back to Stargate after all, landing the role of Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell on Stargate SG-1 beginning in 2005. Appropriately enough, his Farscape compatriot Claudia Black, who played Aeryn Sun, also joined SG-1 in the role of Vala Mal Doran.
It would have been interesting to see an alternate Atlantis with Browder as the lead, but if the price of not getting that was actually getting resolution for Farscape, I think we came out ahead. Do you agree? Vote below!