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We watched our first ever episode of Firefly the other day. I think it was way near the end of the series (the episode was called Serenity part 2) so we knew there was a lot of stuff that just wasn't going to make any sense. But it was on so we just wanted to get some sense of the show since its got so many screaming fan boys and girls.

First of all - I really really dislike Nathan Fillion. I saw him in a (pretty bad) movie well before seeing him in this and he was unlikeable and stiff and sort of "bad actory" even in that. He's worse in Firefly. Much worse. Like... 1/2 the time he spoke it was eyerollingly bad.

But beyond that - I just accept that I don't really get what's going on and that's fine. I was just interested in seeing the tone.

One huge question - WHY IS IT THE OLD WEST? Leather? 500 years in the future everyone is wearing leather chaps and vests and fringe? Really? Cowboy hats and horses with bedrolls and Mexican patterned blankets? WHY THE FUCK?

If you're going to make everyone speak vaguely as if they're all in the wild west they've got to commit. No random "ain't"s thrown in to the middle of an otherwise completely unaffected, unaccented monologue. Is the western flavor just so they could appeal to the steampunk crowd? Or is there some explanation and reason for it that is explained at the start of the series? I get that they're supposed to be outlaws, probably scrounging and building things on their own outside of the control of the central government. But why does that give them poor english skills and cowboy clothes?

someone explain please

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
mjfgates
Apr. 10th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
You already mentioned the thematic stuff, but it *does* make sense. The other half of is prob'ly budget. Would the show have been better if they'd fired one of the writers and spent the money creating a new "futuristic" costume theme? I suspect not. Besides, when you let costume designers loose on "futuristic", you always end up with coveralls. I already have ENOUGH trouble telling Firefly and Stargate apart, I don't need that.

And now my brain is riffing on the phrase "color-coded control coveralls." Bother.
maddening
Apr. 10th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
It was more the "why the wild west?" than "they don't look like every other scifi show ever.
I LIKE that it isn't star trek or battlestar galactica or whatever other show looks exactly the same. It's just that the direction they chose is so... contrived.
hadtobegoo
Apr. 10th, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
The simple answer regarding the style choice of the old west is because Whedon wanted to mix the two genres together. He was inspired by the American Civil War and how life was affected for those who fought on the losing side. Basically he wanted to do a western set in space. Yes, it seems slightly silly on the surface, but I think if you allow yourself to go along with the conceit it really is an enjoyable show

The episode you were watching was the second half of the intended two hour pilot episode. I say "intended" because Fox actually broadcast a lot of the episodes out of the intended running order the Whedon conceived. This, along with the network moving the show all over the schedule never allowed it to gain an audience, and the show was scuttled after 14 episodes. It really didn't reach that creepy "fan boy/girl" status until it came out on DVD.

It was a good show, but I never went OMG!!!!! crazy for it, like many people have. It does have some scary fans though...oh so scary.

But give the show a shot. It's only 14 episodes and a movie. I'm sure you can drag yourself away for a little bit from whatever obscure Japanese horror movies you have on your horizon...:)

Now, if you had said the same thing about, Freaks and Geeks, well then we would have had some issues...
maddening
Apr. 11th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
Alright - none of that sounds crazy.

My problem with the western in space thing? It could have been done really well without it coming down to costuming. Yojimbo/ A Fist Full of Dollars is a great example. Totally different time periods, settings, costumes, etc. But the story works just as well in either setting. Whedon could have easily set classic "western" stories about outlaws and renegades and the sort of situational morality that comes out of being on the wrong side of "The Man" in space without having to fall back on leathers, twangy accents, and horse wrangling. I'm not sure that I'd say it's lazy... but it certainly feels like he's talking down to the audience - assuming they won't GET it without the clothes and the occasional "I reckon".

Now - I've always disliked Buffy. I've been told I just don't "get it". But I was never into 90210 and Buffy just felt like 90210 with rubber masks to me. That said - I absolutely loved Xena. Its first season was cheesy as all hell. But allowed to get into its own stride it really developed into a fantastic show. So - loving a complete cult show like that I can guarantee you that I totally understand just liking something that you know other people feel is awful and cheesy and all that. I had to be convinced to give Xena a shot. And I did. And it was totally worth it.

And I will definitely try to see all the Firefly stuff (in the intended order) and the movie. It helps that Summer Glau is in it and I know her from the Sarah Conner Chronicles (which is fantastic by the way). And the cast doesn't bug me (outside of Nathan Fillion who's awful). And the bad guy cop in the episode I saw was in one of my favorite movies (Kicking and Screaming.. the one from '95).


Also : don't pigeon hole my movie watching habits, dude. I resent that! It's been... *weeks* since I've seen a Japanese horror film... ;)

hadtobegoo
Apr. 11th, 2008 04:19 am (UTC)
I completely see what you mean by being more honest to the subject matter. I think the problem could stem from the fact that Whedon did Firefly because he was enthralled with the idea doing a "western in space" and not because he was enthralled western genre.

Now, I adore Buffy, and it's one of my favorite shows ever, but I can totally see why someone would not be a fan. It's a campy genre show and that isn't everyones cup of tea. But, it has nothing to do with "getting it". That's just nerd code for "Please don't make me feel more insecure than I already am! Set phasers to stun!" I just really dug the writing and the characters. Also, I think the musical episode is my favorite 48 minutes on television ever.


The new Terminator show is awesome and as long as it doesn't turn into the, "new evil Terminator villain of the week" I'll be really happy with it.


Now to end this ramble I have to post my favorite bit of dialog from Kicking and Screaming because it is so awesome and needs to be repeated often:

Otis: It was arousing. Violently arousing.
Chet: Otis, did you even read the book?
Otis: Yes...no.
maddening
Apr. 11th, 2008 05:40 am (UTC)
There was a musical episode of Xena. I expect everyone to hate it - but it's just awesome. So we're nerding out on the same level in different directions.

I agree about the Terminator show.

And- The freaky thing was I had said "I'm just testy" and my husband replied with "You have two moods... antsy and testy"..." well now I'm antsy". Which is an Otis thing. And then not an hour later we see him on Firefly.

So it was creepy/awesome

...words, and roots of words.. and sometimes in LATIN....

seriously I think half my brain works solely on Kicking and Screaming quotes. You're Mr. Surprising, Goo.



And yes - I still think of you as "Goo"
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