Lesson #6: Sci-Fi has a complex relationship to black leather.

John Crichton in all black leather by Season 3 of Farscape.

John Crichton in Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. He was in all black leather by Season 3 of Farscape.

This lesson is hard to explain, as it is nuanced and complex. Often, the longer a sci fi show has been on the air, the more black leather is involved. John Crichton (Ben Browder) on Farscape began the series in a U.S. space suit. However, he gradually wore more and more black leather as the series went on until he was completely in black leather by the end of the series. Similarly, Jeremiah (Luke Perry) in Jeremiah was eventually in black leather pants. It is another question how those black leather pants were made in this post-apocalyptic world. In Stargate Atlantis, Dr. Jennifer Keller (Jewel Staite) wears a black-leather fitted jacket, almost at all times. These are all “good” people (if sci-fi teaches anything, it’s that it’s very easy to tell the difference between “good” and “evil”) and also “hot” people. Only good characters played by hot people are eventually wardrobed in black leather (they weren’t wearing black leather previously but are costumed in it later). A non-hot person in black leather is a strong signifier that the audience should consider that character a “bad” person.

There are also plenty of “bad” people who wear black leather. While the hero in Farscape eventually wore more and more black leather (perhaps he became badder and badder and also hotter and hotter), the villains or potential villains came decked out in it, such as Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black) and Scorpius (Wayne Pygram). However, Aeryn Sun was also a hot person, not just a bad person. Therefore, the relationship between goodness, badness, hotness, and black leather becomes even more complicated. The Wraith, the first villains in Stargate Atlantis, wear head-to-toe black leather. They’re very bad, and not very hot. So I’ll summarize this complex relationship with the following equations:

Black leather + not hot = bad.
Black leather + hot = good or bad.
Good + (now in black leather but not previously in black leather) = hot

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5 responses to “Lesson #6: Sci-Fi has a complex relationship to black leather.

  1. Just one thing… that picture of John Crichton in leather is from the mini-series PK Wars. Not season three.

    Mind you John Crichton was wearing a whole lotta leather by season 3.

    Very hot. 😉

  2. Yeah. I didn’t mean to imply the picture was from Season 3, just that he was decked out in full leather by Season 3. Sorry, I should have made that more clear. Thanks so much for the comment and for reading! I hope you keep reading!

  3. Jeremiah wasn’t eventually in black leather pants: he wore them already in the first scene of the first episode of the first season. Thus, your theory about a character eventually wearing black leather seems to rely on John Crichton alone. However, I’m sure scientific soundness wasn’t your primary goal when writing about leather in science fiction . 🙂

  4. Pingback: DS9 Stories/News: Sci-Fi Lessons – Crazy things I’ve learned from years of Sci-Fi | My Daily Deep Space Nine Notes

  5. Pingback: DS9 Stories/News: Sci-Fi Lessons – Crazy things I’ve learned from years of Sci-Fi | My Daily Deep Space Nine Notes

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