Browncoats
By Dwip April 1, 2009, 9:52 pm Comments (4) RSS Feed for this post

So, Sarah and I sat down and watched all of Firefly, and then we watched Serenity, courtesy of the Collector’s Edition of it I bought her at (not really) random, because I am a devious bastard like that. She’d like me to tell you all what I thought about it, so I will do so.

Short Version: Well, yeah, it was pretty good. Not All That, but pretty good.

Long Version:

Well, arright. I’ll skip the recap stuff, since if you don’t know what Firefly is by now, where the hell have you been living? Like I said, it’s pretty good. It is what it is, which is the first season of a TV show with a pretty good premise, which means that it’s going to be pleasantly uneven in places – mostly in the plot. For the most part, it’s episodic television at its finest. There’s an arc of sorts, mostly with River, but it never actually goes anywhere, and I was beginning to tire of it by the time we ran out of episodes. The plots in general were pretty obvious, I felt, and I’d seen most of them before in various permutations. Sort of like the first season of Highlander, you can tell it’s pretty good, but it’ll definitely get better in the next season, which was very true of Highlander, and if you count Serenity as season 2 of Firefly, true there, too.

OTOH, Firefly, like Highlander, gets saved from eternal enh by the characters, who are badass in the case of Highlander, and Shiny in the case of Firefly. I have not a bad word to say about any of them. They’re funny, they’re entertaining, and I’d watch them sit around a table any day, which in fact I have. In particular, River was intriguing (her arc just needed to go somewhere), the Mal/Inara subplot was great, Jayne stole every scene he was in, and Kaylee was, well, shiny.

Too, the worldbuilding was neat. Because it’s a space western, it is of course a huge ripoff of the post-American Civil War West, with the Alliance playing the Union, the Independents as more palatable Confederates turned random Western folk, and the Reavers as a rather more gruesome band of Indians. That said, it’s the details – the Chinese, the Guild, and what have you – that are really interesting.

As to Serenity, well… it’s a movie trying to be the second season of a TV show, and you can tell. On the one hand, the plot’s better, and it’s actually good and I didn’t see the reveal coming, which was great. We got see River hit some sort of brief conclusion, which was great. The bad guy was cool. OTOH, to get all of those, all the awesome character development stuff got cut ruthlessly in favor of moving the plot. Which sucked a whole lot.

So, yknow, it was pretty good. I’d wish there’d been more of it, because I think it could’ve really gone places, and surely anything that involves more good SF television is worth doing. That said, it’s a little hard for me to get worked up about there not being more of it. Maybe if I actually watched American TV (Firefly and Highlander are the only things I’ve seen this decade, and they’re on DVD), I’d care more. As it is, I can assuage my proto-anguish by watching some more Cowboy Bebop. Or Ghost in the Shell. Shows that have everything Firefly had, except they actually finished.

So, yeah. Worth the watch, but don’t (don’t don’t don’t) believe the hype.


Movies and Television Comments (4) RSS Feed for this post
Comments on Browncoats
avatar Comment by Samson #1
April 3, 2009 at 3:04 am

Bah. Serenity had to be one of the best sci-fi movies I’ve seen in a long time. And being built on one of the best TV shows of all time helped it immensely. However, as with most things on Fox, the network mysteriously canceled it and left the fans hanging. Bastards. The Fox Network needs to burn in hell.

avatar Comment by Regina #2
April 3, 2009 at 10:23 am

Serenity is a really cool movie, and I’d far rather have it than no follow-up to Firefly at all, but I don’t think there’s any way it could have gotten the show resurrected unless it were really engaging and comprehensible to a first-time viewer. And unfortunately, Firefly’s strength lies in its having a great ensemble cast, which is the very strength the movie couldn’t make use of.

This does not mean that Fox does not need to pay dearly for canceling the show in the first place, but hey.

avatar Comment by Samson #3
April 3, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Sci-Fi wanted to resurrect it but Fox said no. The fans were highly upset by this because Fox is evil. The movie was obviously intended to try and kickstart things again but with Fox being who they are that ended the plan.

avatar Comment by Dwip #4
April 4, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Let us savor the moment where Samson says bad things about any arm of Fox. ;)

(that said, I agree – WTF, guys? Are you all high?)

As far as Serenity goes, I liked it, don’t get me wrong, but like Sarah said, you need to see it _in the context of Firefly,_ and it doesn’t work particularly well on its own, IMHO.

Even then, if you’ve seen the TV show, Serenity breaks chracterization in some ways that make sense if you listen to Joss Whedon in the commentary, and not so much otherwise. Mal, in particular, was acting fairly incomprehensibly until I heard what Whedon was going for, and then it made sense.

The short of it was that Serenity made itself ok by making somewhat better the part of the show that was kind of enh, namely the plot, but at the sacrifice of what I thought was great about the show, which was the characterization.

Would’ve made for a damn cool second season, though, and I think that shows.