Wednesday, May 23, 2007


CD in Play: Wilco, Sky Blue Sky

I had a chance to see all 14 episodes of Firefly and the film Serenity this past weekend. I had seen maybe half the episodes in their totality and others in snippets. When I initially tried to watch the show it didn't grab me, which may be because Fox had decided to air the series out of its intended broadcast order. The show wasn't always on when I went to watch it, having been pre-empted for sporting events. Fox apparently had problems with characterization and the shows tone, so I have to wonder if Fox wanted to scuttle the show from the outset. No other network was willing to pick the show up. This would have been around the time of Farscape's cancellation, when there was talk about the death of space-bound science fiction on the small screen.
I remember reading how networks wanted to stick with earth-bound sci-fi, where they could use real locations, cut-costs on wardrobe, make-up, sets and special effects. That idea was short lived and a show like the new Battlestar Galactica showed how space-bound sci-fi was still viable when it was supported and done right. (Stargate was a hit too, but I never liked the show) It is easy to see the cancellation of Firefly as bad decision as the show only had 14 episodes and hadn't had the chance to screw things up, or "jump the shark". But the writing and characterizations were tight and the effects were extremely well done. The show avoided Star Trek-style techno-babble, but did have a very interesting take on the way we would use language in the future: the characters often used Mandarin curse words while coversing in English.
The film, Serenity, may not have been a "real" film as such, but it certainly was handled better than the X-Files movie and holds its own against the majority of the films in the Star Trek franchise. The film leaves things open for a return to the screen (big or small) but also offers a certain sense of finality, having resolved two issues (The Reavers and River) that arose out of the shows limited run. With networks, apparently, clamouring for high-end concept shows to run in between their commercials, (shows like Lost, Hereos, 24, BSG, etc have opened the doors for things other than "reality" TV) a comeback for Firefly would seem to be a natural. It has a cult fan base that has been expanding since the show's release on DVD and did respectable business at the box office. Still, I wonder if there is anywhere left to go after Serenity? I'd like to see these characters return, but would writers have anything worthwhile for them to do?


Blogger Trent said...

The censored of the two most interesting censored in the movie certainly makes one worry about a second season, but I'm pretty sure there's enough stuff there to mine a couple great seasons out of.

Like you say, it never had time to get its legs, so one never knows how good, or bad, it could have been. If it would have kept pace with those first few episodes, it would have easily become my favourite show. As it is, Bab 5 still is my favourite all time show. It had it's low spots, certainly (Gray 13? Oh, please), but it took its time and told its story right.

23 May, 2007 16:41  
Blogger Trent said...

...which is to say that it quite quickly found its place at #2 on my favourite list of shows.

23 May, 2007 16:42  
Blogger Magnus said...

I agree with you, I just think Serenity took the story arc they were developing and fairly settled it.
If they did bring the series back I hope they don't automatically bring in cheap replacements for their two lost characters.
I don't recall Gray 13.

23 May, 2007 17:13  
Blogger Trent said...

Sorry. Gray 17. As in, it's missing. Oh, look, Freddy Kruger's down there, playing a bit of a religious nut, while there's a guy in a rubber suit playing the role of freddy kruger. It's the most dangerous creature in the universe, and....

We'll shoot it with steam pipe powered bullets.

It was the one stinker in Season 3.

23 May, 2007 18:30  
Blogger Geosomin said...

Ah...Firefly is one of my top favorites shows of all. I too misses it when it was on and saw one episode after it's cancellation and thought - "wow I love this show - finally a show I enjoy is on again"...but then I learned I'd have to buy the box set to watch them all. I think with the movie it was a "well we may only get one shot at this, let's do it right". It was such a real show for me...they had character dialog and interaction right..something that can be so stilted in scifi sometimes. It's one of the same reasons I like the new BSG so much. Real people in plausable situations...and not all of them acting "right" and "good"...and enough scifi to keep it believable. And strong realistic women characters...that's lacking in scifi sometimes. It was a version of the future that made sense - very plausable.

We recently picked up the Babylon 5 sets when they are on sale, but are waiting for the snowbound winter to wade through them all...

24 May, 2007 08:59  
Blogger Glen McKay said...

Just finished watching my B5 DVD set. Love that show. Season 1 was a bit of a challenge to wade through but Season 3 & 4 were some of the best sci-fi made for television (with the exception of the aforementioned Gray 17 episode, which was on par with many of the dumb Season 1 episodes). Never watched Firely though.

26 May, 2007 23:52  
Blogger Magnus said...

There was another short-lived show that I didn't mind called Odyssey 5. It started Peter Weller. It lasted 7 episodes, I think.

28 May, 2007 12:08  

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