by Matt Barr
Sky taken from me
Last night I watched the last episode of Firefly I hadn't seen. It was actually the first one I'd ever seen, on TV sometime, but the first three minutes so thoroughly confused me (why is that person who looks like Fiona Apple wandering around hallucinating about what all those attractive people who look like they're in a warehouse converted into a college dorm are saying about her? Is what they're saying about her? Hey, it's Inspector Harris! Who was the cute one with the painted toenails? When does this start getting libertarian?) I changed the channel.
We rented Serenity a couple weeks ago. I was less confused, and immediately hooked. The complete Firefly series on DVD ran a cool $20 at Amazon (looks like it's up to $25 now), so I ordered it. M.E. Russell summed up the series well: "Think of it as Star Wars, if Han Solo were the main character, and he still shot Greedo first." Only 11 of the 14 episodes were shown on Fox before the series was cancelled. So naturally, they made a major motion picture out of it.
Yes, you can definitely watch the movie without having scene a lick (or only the smallest lick) of the series, but I'm anxious to watch it again now that I've seen all 14 episodes. The most intriguing character, Fiona-like River, doesn't get too far into the movie before she comes off as a slightly off kung fu killing machine, but the development in the series of her character from a recently enslaved, tortured 17 year old girl with massive psychological trauma was rich and rewarding.
The kids, 11 and 7, dig the series, too. Last night at dinner Muffin asked, "can we watch a Firefly tonight?" Sure. "Right after dinner?" It helps that the series is 100 percent alien free: Junior has alien phobia. Speaking of Junior, I tell him to pay attention to how devoted Simon is to his sister and act the same way with Muffin. My wife, who thought the movie was confusing and disjointed, got into the series, too.
Given my reaction when I happened to tune in to the beginning of episode 14, some exposition and character introduction is probably necessary (though that's true of a lot of series -- try picking up Battlestar Galactica in the middle) before you can enjoy it. And that may have been part of the series' problem: The two-hour pilot, which put everybody together, was skipped by Fox in favor of a more exciting, hourlong second episode. (In the DVD collection, the pilot comes first.)
Whatever the reason for its early demise, and I concede it could be because there just wasn't anybody watching it and it wasn't any good, though obviously I disagree, we've probably seen the last of the crew of the Serenity. (Even the ones who didn't die in the movie.) So I'm sad today, because I'm out.
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