Watching "Firefly" for the first time
I've been meaning to watch Firefly for ages. I'd watched some Buffy and all of Angel when they were on TV and I knew that I liked Joss's writing (if not his propensity for killing off the characters we love the most). Friends have been telling me to watch it for years--a few even tried, and I can say that I've seen the first few episodes more times than you'd expect--but it just never seemed to take.
Then I picked up the DVD for sale one Boxing Day. It still took me almost 6 months to get to it but once I did, I was hooked.
All the things I love about Joss from Buffy and Angel are made better by adding "space," "cowboys," and "Nathan Fillion" into the mix. (Did I mention that I still have the Dr. Horrible Soundtrack on my MP3 player?)
Firefly is everything you didn't know you wanted from a space western--it's strong, complicated characters, great actors, and snappy dialogue that will have you trying to explain it to friends before eventually giving up and making them watch it. Even the fact that it's a western makes it more fun, by informing the vague, hidden honour code that Mal seems to follow. Sometimes. It also explains why people keep getting shot...
I truly fell in love with these characters as the show went along, from Kaylee's innocent joy and Inara's grace, to Mal's bad attitude masking a marshmallow-y inside (now where have we seen that before, Spike?) and Jayne's propensity for making a good plan end so badly. I grew to love them like family over only 14 episodes and it breaks my heart all over again whenever I realise that there will never be a second season.
But we do have a few extras to soften the blow. There are the Serenity comics--which were fun as a continuation of the characters but fell a little flat for me without the actors to deliver the dialogue--and the Serenity movie.
Now, I haven't watched the movie yet but I'm excited to, even having been spoiled for parts of it already. I'm going into it reminding myself that Joss likes to kill off characters, especially your favourite and it's okay to cry, right?
So I'm going to leave you with the suggestion that if you can't stomach shelling out another $20 to see The Avengers in 3D for the 7th time, call a friend and sit down for a Firefly marathon. You'll be glad you did, for the first or the 100th time.
And always, always keep flying.
I've watched Serenity since writing this blog and I was right in thinking that I should have watched it by myself (I like the privacy to cry when Whedon wants me to).
The movie itself felt a little jumpy overall and almost more like an extended episode than a movie, which makes sense given that they made each episode like a movie. But at the same time, it's great to see how it all comes together. We're given more detail into Simon and River's escape from the hospital (I do feel that the scenario given in Serenity is a little at odds with how it's described in the pilot, but I might need to rewatch that). There isn't much additional backstory given but we are shown more of what happens after the conclusion of the Firefly season.
Serenity is a good conclusion to the series (Joss does love his kick-ass and ass-kicking ladies, doesn't he?) and it’s a good permanent send-off to the characters. It's a much darker story, more rapid-paced, grittier and gorier. It might be some time until I sit down for a rewatch, for all that I’ve watched episodes again almost immediately after the first viewing. While I can see myself rewatching different Firefly episodes into perpetuity, I think Serenity is going to be a rarer creature. I just wish I'd learned more of Shepherd Book's backstory (but I’ve heard talk of a Book-centric graphic novel that I might just have to pick up).
If and when you (re)watch Serenity, I'm going to warn you of what I told my friend (and myself) throughout our viewing: "Joss likes to kill people but he also likes successful endings."
So keep that in mind, eh? And enjoy. I'm sure that you will.