You Can't Take the Sky From Me
Kaylee: Everyone's got somebody. Wash, tell me I'm pretty.
Wash: Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion.
Kaylee: 'Cause I'm pretty?
--Firefly, television series.
I never thought I would do this—blog about a television show. A sci-fi western, no less. But here I am...a self-branded brown-coat, sci-fi nut. And I don’t even like sci-fi all that much! Voted as the best sci-fi show on television by New Scientist Space, Firefly was ruthlessly canceled by FOX after less than a season on air due to low ratings a few years ago. Due to its dedicated fan-base, the show was recently released on DVD, and a major motion picture made called Serenity. Until two weeks ago, I had never heard of the show and the only reason I did was because I happened to walk in on my roommate watching the DVD. I fell in love instantly with the rich, wonderfully developed characters and the fresh, sharply witty dialogue and story-telling.
I watched Serenity last night. It’s a fine movie, but it’s a little like watching the film-adaptation of a great book. The movie simply doesn’t have the time and space to allow the characters to breathe and stretch out and become a person. There is so much joy and pleasure in the television series that gets lost in the sleeker, darker version of the same on big screen. It’s the subtlety and elegance with which characters are fleshed out, that makes Firefly so unbelievably good. The movie loses a lot of this subtlety; instead it brings traits and motivations into sharp, glaring relief. For example, when Zoe questions the Captain’s motivation for not helping someone escape death early on in the movie, and wonders if the “war had changed us”. Meh. It’s such a packaged answer—so predictable and bland. Ditto with the whole “you must believe in something, doesn’t have to be God” wisdom that Shepherd gives to Mal. The original Firefly series simply never pins down and boxes its characters like the movie is forced to do. It was a great show (and a decent enough movie) that could have flourished into the brilliance it promised in its first season, but was never given a chance. A show that makes FOX producers look like puppy-killing, suited up trolls with chubby, hoofed fists of cash.
There's a couple of petitions for the show that you can sign. They are here and here. I really don't know how legit they are, or how effective they will be, if at all. But I figure, I'd do my part to grease the wheels of capitalism for the underdog. Or something.