Tuesday, July 17, 2012

brown coats

i've always preferred movies to television shows, because i can watch a movie in two hours and be done with it.
"that's precisely why i prefer a good series," said kirk when we were waiting for our table at a steakhouse in dallas a few months ago. "i get to spend so much more time with the characters i love." and i had to admit, he had a point there.

being home all week, i decided there would be no better time to pull that box set of firefly: the complete series off my shelf and give it a whirl. my brother had shown the pilot a few years ago when i let him host movie night (actually, i thought he showed two episodes, but nothing else looked familiar) and i remember thinking it was pretty good. like most things in entertainment, i'm pretty resistant to people endorsing things to me, even if i fully trust them.

two days later, i am now one of those people who knows that the mid-season cancellation of firefly makes it one of the great cinematic losses, alongside the full-length version of greed or murnau's four devils. i'll never get to fully understand why river said "nothing in the 'verse can stop me," and i'll be forever wondering what shepherd's real history is, or if simon would ever get the courage to ask out kaylee.

i've actually got a few connections to the show. i worked on a movie that starred adam baldwin, who played jayne, and i spent a week of my coldest work ever with david boyd, who was the series cinematographer (and a very cheerful guy.) plus, a pre-hsm zac efron played simon in a flashback, and he and i have spent some time together as well.

but that's not why i liked it. i liked it for all the reasons people love joss whedon (you may have heard of his most recent movie called the avengers), namely the post-modern genre-defying characters. but also for making both an "adventures of han solo" sci-fi story and a western at the time time. for making me genuinely laugh and for knowing only to expect the unexpected: evil henchmen talking as tough as they can, only be to kicked into a jet engine; a wife being forced to choose either the captain with whom she's been through countless battles or her husband and choosing her husband before the question's even finished being asked; and pretty much for everything about jayne and kaylee.
i could have done with less inara, although perhaps not quite in the way you might think.

i saw serentiy years ago when it was in the theaters, long before my brother moved in with me and began extolling the virtues of great but ill-fated tv series. i hardly remember a thing about it, which is fine, as seeing it with an understanding of what it is will be like seeing it anew anyway. so, there's that coda to look forward to. but now i'm nervous to think about what other great series there are out there than i'm missing and how much more time i have to start committing. firefly was only two days. that's just enough time to start getting attached.


The Former 786 said...

Jeff, first of all let me say "Welcome." You've entered the realm of the Browncoats.

Secondly, I am really happy that you gave it a shot and that you enjoyed it. I always get joy out of people liking something I've recommended to them (although you had numerous people recommend this one to you, I'm sure). Thanks for giving in.

Thirdly, I must address the following points:

1. "i'll never get to fully understand why river said 'nothing in the 'verse can stop me' " Yes you will, in Serenity.

2. "i'll be forever wondering what shepherd's really history is" There's a short graphic novel called Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale and it gives his backstory. I own it, if you want to travel up here and borrow it. Or just get it from your local library.

3. "if simon would ever get the courage to ask out kaylee." Serenity addresses this.

Fourthly, I highly recommend reading the short graphic novel called Serenity: Those Left Behind in between your viewing of Firefly and your re-viewing of Serenity. It bridges the gap between the TV series and the movie.

In fact, I recommend all of the Serenity graphic novels. They feel like mini episodes of the TV series.

I, too, watched Serenity before I watched Firefly. And, in fact, it was watching Serenity that convinced me to watch Firefly. And I watched the movie again after I watched the series and it was all the more entertaining.

That's all for now. Long live the browncoats!

LJ said...

YES. Yes. Cap'm Mal forever.

Also, "Our Mrs. Reynolds" was the episode that made me laugh my brains out.