In his role as John Crichton, the astronaut-turned-action hero of Sci Fi Channel's cult hit, Farscape, Ben Browder frequently struggled to keep his emotions in check. In real life, the actor doesn't always feel the need to hold back. In fact, he was downright verklempt when he arrived on the set of Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, a four-hour miniseries that will air in October — and pick up where the prematurely canceled show left off!
"I got tears in my eyes walking back onto the set," Browder tells TV Guide Online. "To walk back onto Moya [the living leviathin which housed Crichton and his band of interstellar fugitives] was like seeing an old friend you never thought you'd see again. There were minor differences [in the set], but for the most part, it was like a time warp. A year and a half had passed since they had dismantled it, and there it was again.
"It actually leads you to believe that you could go back to high school if you really thought about it — and had a really good set designer."
The last time we saw Crichton, he had just proposed to his on-again, off-again lover, Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black). Aeryn responded with her own surprise: She was pregnant with their child. Thirty seconds later, the happy couple was reduced to thousands of crystals by an alien laser blast!
"When we come back to the story, they're still in 275,000 pieces," Browder laughs. "But I don't think I'm giving much away to say that Crichton and Aeryn return. However, it may not be the Crichton that people remember...."
Browder is naturally sworn to secrecy on plot specifics, but he promises fans a wild ride. "The big question is: Where is Crichton going to end up? Is he mentally, physically and emotionally prepared to survive his journey, and how many people are going to die in the process? People change and do things in the course of hard times that they would not normally do. Had Crichton never entered that wormhole, he would have just been a regular astronaut. Now the stakes have been raised one more time."
In between wrapping the series and starting work on the miniseries, Browder popped up in several roles, including a guest appearance on CSI: Miami and a cameo as Lee Majors in NBC's Charlie's Angels movie. (Sci-Fi Geek Alert! Tricia Helfer, the actress who played Farrah Fawcett, Majors' former wife, in that film also stars as a sexy Cylon robot on the new Battlestar Galactica series.)
Browder also starred in an independent feature called A Killer Within, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival back in May. "I'm always looking for work," he says. "Even when I'm working, I'm looking for work! It's my job and I love what I do, but it can be a crapshoot sometimes."
And don't think that his status as a sci-fi hero gives him a swelled head. "I'm a fan of certain actors and directors and writers, but I cannot see a single reason why anyone would feel that way about me," he offers humbly. "I've never been comfortable with that idea in regard to what I do. I'm part of a process to which thousands of people have put input and millions have watched. I love it when people enjoy the show and get something from it, but I can't ask for much more as a performer."