September 2010


So why hadn't anyone told me to watch Firefly earlier? Ever since I finished watching Lost (can we just pretend like that series finale never happened?), there was a big hole in my life. OK, maybe that's overstating it, but I was totally caught up in the characters. So along comes Firefly in my Netflix queue and I start watching it. And I couldn't stop.

Captain Malcolm Reynolds

It's got lots of bits that I love - smart, witty dialogue, good special effects, some sweet action scenes, a brooding captain, strong female characters, spaceships, sexual tension. Even after a few episodes I felt like I knew them. I got totally obsessed with their world - I think because the show did such a good job of creating this universe and populating it with such interesting characters. If anything, I wanted most to find out more about Shepherd Book, a man who appeared to be a preacher but evidence pointed to something else.

It's the kind of show where you feel like there are worlds beyond the edges of the camera frame. It's so tangible that you could poke it. It's all in the details - the dialogue is sprinkled with Chinese phrases and alternate slang words, the costumes look like a cross between Young Guns and Oliver Twist, and the scenes on the ship have this grungy, lived in feel. And there is no wooshing sound when the ship passes by BECAUSE THERE IS NO SOUND IN A VACUUM.

It's also billed as a Western, which in the past I haven't been fond of, but the genre's really grown on me. In the past I sort of assumed that Westerns were just hokey period action films with very little substance and ridiculous stereotypes. But recently I watched the Big Country, Stagecoach, Jeremiah Johnson and the Magnificent Seven and they really got me asking why I've been so against watching them. They're so much more nuanced than I thought, with main characters facing Big Moral Dilemmas while traversing the hinterlands. They also have that "larger than the camera frame" feel that I love so much. And you can totally see the influence that those movies have had on shows like Firefly.

Gregory Peck in The Big Country

Firefly was canceled barely after a season on the air back in 2002, and now I'm left with a big fat hole in my life again. I'll never find out Shepherd Book's past nor if Mal and Inara ever get together. I'm a loser for letting eight years pass before I actually got to watch it but a nerd for liking it so much.

And just because I'm admitting that I enjoy Westerns, please do not tell me under any circumstances to fill it with Walker, Texas Ranger.