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-   -   "Serenity"; your thoughts. (

atpollard August 19th, 2014 08:18 AM

I just happened to stumble across the 'Serenity' movie first.
I enjoyed it so much that I bought a DVD of the movie and the entire 'Firefly' series on DVD.
I really enjoyed them.

I found the 'Western' themes applied a little too heavy, but the characters were so rich and likable that I was willing to overlook a lot of technical improbabilities.

[Begin IMO and YMMV]
On a distantly related issue, I think that there might be a slight bias around here to see 'Traveller' in everything.
Star Wars could be described as 'Traveller-like' but is more of an Arthurian 'coming of age' story set in space [farm boy meets wizard and goes on quest to become a man].
Firefly could be described as 'Traveller-like' but is more of a 'Western' set in space [a band of cowboys travel from town to town helping the locals while just trying to survive].
[End IMO and YMMV]

leo knight August 19th, 2014 08:23 AM

I really enjoyed both the TV series and the movie. I remember liking the movie more than "Star Wars Ep.3" which came out earlier that year. I could imagine any of the regulars as PCs in any Traveller adventure I ran.

I always thought someone at Fox just hated the show. Had they run the series in sequence, starting with the 2 hour pilot, I think it would have been a success. However, that summer, "American Idol" hit the air. Huge hit, with production costs a fraction of scripted SF. Suddenly, everything that wasn't instantly huge looked like a complete loser in comparison. Also, Fox had a string of fantasy/ horror/ sci-fi shows that failed. I suspect someone in the executive suite got cold feet.

Blue Ghost August 19th, 2014 08:29 AM

Serenity has a lot of anti-hero stuff going for it, which grabs that niche Han-Solo-esque audience, including rebels who like bad boys with authority, but, as you say, American Idol is cheap by comparison; three or five camera setup, judges, audience, stage talent, roll cameras. No fancy props, SFX, huge sets, green/blue-screen work (I don't think anyone uses blue screen anymore....not regularly at least), and money for writers and talent. Like you say, it's a no brainer.

It's a decent show for what it is. "Jesse James in space....sorta kinda"

Gallowglacht August 19th, 2014 09:28 AM

Most of my friends and peers loved it. I thought it was overrated.
Too much western, not enough Sci-Fi for me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it sucked or anything. I liked the characters and a lot of the banter. I just don't think it was great.
Battlestar/Stargate Universe rocked my socks off, Firefly didn't do it for me.

Enoff August 19th, 2014 09:52 AM

I think a lot of the "western" style episodes were do to a small budget, they were easy and cheap. I think the opposite that TV execs hated the show, someone gave a greenlight, probably because Whedon had been successful producing other TV series and they let him have the chance to experiment. No matter how much an extremely small number of people "browncoats" think different the show was a failure to bring in a larger audience and make money so it was cancelled. Joss Whedon gives an interesting interview before Serenity, here is a copy on youtube,

Supplement Four August 19th, 2014 09:59 AM

I loved Firefly/Serenity. I thought the single-system universe was neat, and I loved all the characters. The crazy chick with all the powers was my favorite (River was her name?). Jane cracked me up, too. The lead is great. The engineer is great. Hell, they're all great.

My only complaint was that I thought the western theme was too heavy handed. From episode one, I felt that it was too "on the nose". The cantina scene in Star Wars is much more to my liking--it resembles a cantina in Mexico but is definitely not exactly that.

I always felt that if Firefly would have backed off a bit on the western theme, and let it be more subtle, that the show would have had higher ratings.

But, that's just a guess. Nobody really knows.

Enoff August 19th, 2014 10:09 AM

The western stuff might have been inspired by Gene Roddenberry's pitch of Star Trek as a "Wagon Train to the Stars" but again I think a lot of that was do to a small budget. It was easy to shoot in the "backlot" of the studio. The same for Star Trek especially the third season, examples with invisible or cloaked ships. If they were invisible or cloaked then you didn't have to spend money to show them lol. "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is a good example of the invisible ship ploy.

Enoff August 19th, 2014 10:23 AM

I could be very wrong but I think some of the idea of the show came from the John Wayne, Rock Hudson film "The Undefeated" 1969

Enoff August 19th, 2014 10:40 AM

Ah here you go

MOVIE REVIEW: “The Undefeated” (1969)

This is not a great film. It’s also not science fiction. Not even remotely. Why am I reviewing it? Well, primarily it’s because Joss Whedon once said that “Firefly” was largely based on (A) the book “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara, and (B) this movie. So while it’s not SF in and of itself, it had some unexpected impact on SF, and is worthy of a look-see just out of curiosity.

whulorigan August 19th, 2014 10:46 AM

The Western-theme likely was an outgrowth of the aspect of American History that was used as inspiration for the background story. The war in which Malcolm Reynolds fought against the Alliance (as a sergeant enlisted with the Rebel forces - the "Browncoats") is a direct analogy to the Confederate "Greycoats" of the American Civil War, who saw themselves as fighting against an aggressor (the Federal Government) who was trying to impose its will upon sovereign states. After the Confederacy lost, many former Confederate soldiers (and others) who did not like the new status quo in the South during the Reconstruction-era migrated west to the frontier to carve out a new life in the undeveloped US Territories, and maintained their hostility (in thought at least) to the Federal Government in the East. The Frontier was a kind of "freedom" for them.

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