Carlos has been calling me every two hours from Burbank.
It's the weekend before Thanksgiving, and Iím on the phone with Linda. We're talking strategy for the next few weeks, as we approach the holiday movie season and our proposed publicity blitz. This time, the plan has come from the Watch Farscape Web site, whoíve organized a national campaign in conjunction with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Their plan is to secure donations and raffle off items to theatergoers waiting to see the second installment in Peter Jacksonís Lord of the Rings films, The Two Towers. As of this writing, the Chicago Scapers are the only group in the nation to have successfully gotten permission from a theater chain.
Jeff's new Web site for the group has turned out to be quite impressive. We still have about 1500 pens to give away with the old Web site's address, but as the former URL redirects browsers to our new dot-com site, this does not bother us.
These pens, as well as more of the character buttons, are to be distributed during the continuing convention season. So far, the Chicago Scapers have planned to attend the Chicago TARDIS Doctor Who convention at the end of November, send a detachment to the ConFusion in Detroit in late January, and hold another room party at CapriCon in the Chicago area the first weekend of February.
The parties are now becoming a central function of our group. As Linda relates it to me, Carlos has been besieged by admirers in Burbank, where he is attending the official Farscape fan-club convention. It seems that fans around the country have heard of the now-legendary WindyCon party, and are expressing their esteem for the Chicago Scapers by pelting our representatives with praise. Carlos accepts it all with dignity and goes on to tell Linda about how Number 96, the Aussie rock band featuring Farscape actors Anthony Simcoe and Wayne Pygram, totally rocks! He has also managed to get one of our pens into the hands of David Kemper, who he hopes will visit the site and see the effort we're putting forth on his behalf.
A very heartening bit of news has also come from the Watch Farscape site. It seems that the organizers have established a non-profit organization called the Viewer Consortium. Its stated purpose is to give viewing audiences a voice and more control over their viewing choices; a major focus is, naturally, on rescuing popular shows threatened with cancellation. (Right now, of course, these resources are being directed almost exclusively to help return Farscape to the airwaves, but the government doesnít need to know that.)
Finally, the dream to get our message across the airwaves is at last coming true. The national movement, San Francisco chapter, has crafted a homemade TV ad for the cause. The thirty-second spot is called I Am Farscape, a riff on Sci Fiís own I Am Sci Fi celebrity-plug campaign. The movementís commercial features fans of various walks of life declaring their love for the show; it was produced using some of the campaignís pledged money, and is slated to run on cable outlets in 24 cities across the nation.
In short, things are going well. Morale is at an all-time high, in both Chicago and the rest of the country. I personally am so giddy that I don't even mind completely compromising any journalistic objectivity I might have had. Like the rest of the members of our group, I'm proud to be part of an organization with such clear ideas for achieving its goal.
We have not succeeded yet. But we have hope. And for the moment, that's good enough.
As of press time, there had been no further statements from the Sci Fi Channel, the Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Entertainment, USA/Vivendi, or EM.TV regarding any change in the status of Farscape. The series' fourth season is still slated to be its last.
The final eleven episodes of Farscape's fourth season are scheduled to run on cable on the Sci Fi Channel, beginning Friday, January 10, 2003, at 8:00 PM EST (7:00 PM CST).