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Firefly: Attempt #5

I missed Firefly when it was originally on the air.  In fact, I didn’t hear anything about it until well after the show was cancelled.  Almost everything I know about it, I learned second-hand.  Friends who have watched it.  Bulletin Boards.  Things like that.

So many people tell me it was one of the greatest shows ever, and this it was a shame they cancelled it so early.  I’ve played in RPG campaigns based on that setting, run by fanboys who would just gush about the setting.  But I never ‘got’ it.

I’ve tried, a few times in the past.  Thanks to Netflix, I can get all of the episodes.  I forget where I first got the first few episodes, but every time I watched it, I thought it was slow, it was dull.

It has a pretty interesting premise.  It’s a sci-fi show about scavengers trying to make a living in a post-war universe.  Captain, ship and crew, just trying to survive from day to day on the outside of the law.  The law in this case being the government that they fought against in that war.  But it’s also a western.  You could say that is really is “Wagon Train To The Stars”*

And I think that’s why I didn’t get it.  I never really watched a lot of westerns.  I’ve watched several, of course, just not enough for a truly representative sample of the genre.  “The Quick and the Dead”, “Unforgiven”, a handful of Clint Eastwood movies, “Lightning Jack”, even fewer TV shows that are westerns, most of them in the last year or so as my wife discovered all the old westerns on the retro network.

It was the clash in visuals I think that really did it in.  Spaceships with cowboys on board?  We can fly from planet to planet, but we still have to use six-shooters?

But I just re-watched the pilot.  Now I think I understand.  It doesn’t hurt that I’ve seen virtually all of the cast in other things, and am more familiar with their acting styles.  It’s a good cast.  And if any of their acting is a bit wooden, well this is just a pilot.  They need time to iron out their issues.  More than that, though, is I think now I can empathize with one of the characters.  Captain Mal Reynolds.  He fought against the alliance, when his side lost.  He’s an outlaw, forced to find a living in whatever way he can, which means illegal scavenge.  Of course, that just makes things worse for him with the Alliance.  He has a crew of people he would give his life for, but he can’t really trust any of them.  He’s just doing the best he can.

Once I was able to get lost in the story, I started to enjoy it more.  I don’t know where the rest of the series is headed.  I know that the movie “Serenity” was intended to wrap up a few loose ends to give the show some closure, but I don’t want any spoilers.  Feel free to discuss it in the comments, just remember that I haven’t watched them all.  I don’t know where the show is going, but maybe this time I’ll make it to the end of the ride.

So let me know why you like the show.  I’ll see you in the comments.

* For those who may not know, “Wagon Train To The Stars” is how Gene Rodennberry pitched Star Trek to the studios, since westerns were big back then, and he needed them to be willing to take a chance.

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