Monday, February 28, 2011

I watched Firefly

It's not like I waited 10 years.  Only 9.

I liked it.  I like ensemble casts and mysterious pasts and space cowboys and space pirates.  I love good music (and this show had some outstanding music).

With its themes of hardship, personal freedom and responsibility, frontier, and family, Firefly had a lot going for it.  It reminded me of a lot of things.  It wasn't really like any of those things, but there were some similarities.
  • Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy: I'm not totally sure why this one.  Maybe it was the world/universe?
  • Outlaw Star and Black Lagoon: Blond, Hawaiian-shirt wearing  pilots, mysterious girls in boxes, fish out of water, running from the powers that be, women fighters who could kill you with their pinkies, bounty hunters, space courtesans, and more.
  • Cowboy Bebop: It had a bit of that scruffy, rough-and-tumble, mercenary, dark past, ragtag crew of misfits vibe.
It wasn't all great, though.  There were some very wooden acting moments, occasional continuity issues, and big, honking plot holes that yanked me out of otherwise good stories. 

To be fair:
  • This is a huge, sprawling story, and they had to build the world from the ground up.  I would guess that their percentage of continuity errors was lower than most shows; it was just more noticeable because of the sheer volume of things that had to be created and could thus be messed up.  
  • Also, sci-fi shows always have wooden acting moments.  Sometimes, due to script revisions (or last minute scripts), things don't make enough sense for the actors to spin them right.  These kinds of errors are particularly obvious when everything else is crafted and pulls together (in post-production and editing).  These errors must be forgiven because, dudes, this is a weekly show.  Can you imagine doing all this stuff in that short of a time period?  Really?  When you're building a future world from ground zero?
  • Even though they must be forgiven for the above reasons, the plot holes were the worst distraction for me.  There was one episode that could have been amazing had one gaping plot hole been smoothed over.  Because it wasn't, the end was dramatic but ridiculous and totally preventable, and thus I couldn't really feel as bad about it as I was supposed to.

I'm pretty bummed it got cancelled.  Its cancellation seemed partly like a self-fulfilling prophecy made by network folks who "wanted a Joss Whedon show" but didn't really, you know, want a show created and controlled by Joss Whedon.  Playing it out of its intended order and making stupid demands that alienated casual fans were probably not smart choices made by the network.  The people who suffer are the actual fans and the people who loved and created the show, and that seems a shame.  I bet the executives are still making money off the more than decent DVD sales.  They could have made more, I'd bet, if they'd just believed in the project and its creators.  Alas.

On to the movie, eventually.  I'll like that, too, and then it will be more of a bummer that the show didn't get to last 2 or 3 seasons.  In the presentNow fans own the internet even more, and I think if the show were to happen now, the fans would've been able to save it for at least a whole season or two.  It worked with Chuck, right?

When did you first see this show?  What did you think then?  Seen it recently?  What are your thoughts on it now?

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