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posted in Movies and TV on January 20, 2005

I'm beginning to fear my becoming a Joss Whedon uberfan. Who else could pull off a Western Sci-fi adventure drama which utilizes the dreaded JitterCam and extensive TV CGI?


Beautiful sets and filming; fluent, intriguing story and dialogue; steady character development, convincing and tasteful CGI -- and cancelled! Whedon's debut feature-length production, Serenity, is based off the 14-episode television series Firefly, which was cancelled after one season in 2002. Sidenote: from reading the Firefly Wiki, I found that Serenity is being produced by Barry Mendel, who was behind Rushmore, The Royal Tenembaums, and The Life Aquatic.

Also from the wiki, I found that Whedon is the son of TV-writer Tom Whedon (The Dick Cavett Show, Benson, Alice) and grandson of TV-writer John Whedon (The Donna Reed Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show). What, does TV-series writing run in the blood? Were there extensive tutoring sessions as Joss grew up? If this talent-runs-in-the-blood theory holds, what am I defaulted with? Drinking, being poor, and balding! Awesome!

Anyway, what a random-ass review of Firefly, if that's what this is. Let's face it, I'm no reviewer. I just know that TV is riddled with pure crap shows; I've run across two amazing shows recently, and Joss Whedon just happens to be behind both of them.

I've only watched 5 of the episodes, including the 2-hour pilot, and I'm hooked. The show manages to convincingly meld frightening outerspace horror-flick-esque moments with western bar fights, and routinely bounces back and forth from space travel to old world locales. It's apparent Whedon has a love for both westerns and science fiction, and he just happened to have the talent to bring them together onscreen.

There's also obvious homages to Star Wars, mostly in the pilot. I picture some dusty-brained cowpoke dreaming up the future of leather western wear. The town scenes, evoking a Mad Max/Dune desert-world, are lush with detail and inhabited with convincing peoples and buildings. The ships aren't overdone and are well animated. And my favorite detail: no sound in outer space! Granted, the Spielberg Lucas space battles wouldn't be nearly as cool without the sound effects, but I appreciate the nod to realism.

I'll probably add more to this as I watch the rest of the series, but I just wanted to plug this great show. If you find the DVD's or have a fast DSL connection, I highly recommend checking 'em out.

9 comments on this entry

Hey there!!

Yah, Firefly is awesome. We just got the DVD set for Xmas. You should come over and we'll have a Firefly Fest. Or we could come over there... The way the series was aired was completly stupid (and probably the reason it was cancelled). The pilot was never aired, the episodes were not shown in correct order, the time of day it was aired changed repeatedly, etc. The DVD features/extras were nice. It gave you a little more insight on the actors and production of the show.

I highly recommend this series to all who read this. I am hoping the movie will do well enough to convince them to make more episodes (in the same caliber as the originals).

Speaking of more episodes. Does any know if they are going to make more Family Guy episodes? They have been showing old episodes on Fox on Sunday's.

Yay TV!!! Or, at least the few shows worth watching that don't insult your intelligence.

Shawn and Bec 1/22/05

I love me some Firefly. I'd avoided it forever because I dislike Buffy, but damn... good stuff. Devoured the DVD's in a week of watching (thanks to Netflix). Tried to get tickets to the advance showing in Portland in May... but they sold out faster than I could refresh the webpage.

Sidenote, I just rented "My Bodyguard" (the 1980 movie) just because it co-stars Adam Baldwin (no relation to THE Baldwins), who plays Jayne on Firefly. He also plays Animal Mother in "Full Metal Jacket".

I'm down for any Portland Firefly geekouts.

Ed S. 8/21/05

Yeah, we should all go to the midnight showing when the movie comes out.

I got the first two issues of the Serenity comic book last week. It takes place in between the end of the series and the beginning of the movie. It's pretty good.

Clutch 8/21/05

Yeesh, I can't believe none of my dork friends caught me mistaking Spielberg for Lucas in my comment on space battles with sound. What's wrong with you people? How could I get away with that?

I just noticed Adam Baldwin was also in Predator. He seems to excel in meathead roles relating to war/violence. How was "My Bodyguard"?

I'm down with a midnight showing. And Greig, we should go see that new Jim Jarmusch movie -- have you seen it yet?

nate 8/21/05

I saw the sneak preview of "Serenity". It was disappointing due to characters that were just seemingly rewritten. There's more but I can't just wreck that shit.

Joe 8/21/05

I really think Adam Baldwins' character is my favorite on Firefly because he plays it so well that I actually get irritated with him and dislike him.

Joe 8/21/05

Definitely, he pulls it off. Though he was the (almost endearing) dickhead in Full Metal Jacket, too.

Random lateral brain connections -- at first I thought this was the same actor who proclaims "GAME OVER MAN!" in Aliens (cracked me up last time I saw that movie) -- and now I want to go rent Alien. I've been in the mood for a scary movie and couldn't find anything at Videorama last night. Any suggestions?

nate 8/21/05

That's Bill Paxton in "Aliens" (Alien 2). You should see him in "Near Dark", the vampire movie with Lance Henrickson. "Finger lickin' good!"

I got the Alien Quadrilogy for some birthday or xmas or something. One of the best damn DVD sets ever put together, in my opinion.

If you're looking for a scary movie, I recommend the original "Exorcist". No one else seems to agree, but I still find "Blair Witch Project" one of the scariest movies ever.

Ed S. 8/21/05

I have to admit, I was freaked out when I saw Blair Witch Project. Although I was living on Orcas Island, hadn't heard any of the hype at all, and was living in the woods at the time.

And we're talking off-the-grid, in the middle of nowhere, NO sounds, NO lights, NO traffic, out-in-the-woods. Needless to say, when I had to go out to piss (you guessed it, NO toilet), I was freeeeaked out. I grew up in the country, too, and I've always been spooked going out at night -- coming in the door, I always feel like something's right behind me and it scares the hell outta me.

Nate 8/22/05

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