GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Discussion for the subject: What happened to my show, 'cause Serenity wasn't it?!

POSTED BY: CHRISISALL
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 17:51
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 15729
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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 1:35 PM

CHRISISALL


Allow an analogy for a moment:
Star Trek IV. Kirk was a bumbling idiot, Checkov just plain stupid, McCoy giving out 'kidney growth' pills, and Spock was the baby-sitter of the bunch. What happened to my show? Did 'Assignment: Earth' never take place? Save-the-whales, in SPACE??
Now I enjoyed it for the 'Spock's Brain' that it was, but bottom line is that it was pretty dumb, and had little regard for the competant, skilled characters we'd come to know; everything was in service of the comedy.

Now, I've heard similar grumblings about Serenity.
I see it as a logical extention and conclusion to the events begun in Firefly, but to some, it seems to have left our characters behind in service of the big-time action and brutality necessary for a theatrical release, and offers only faint glimmers of 'Firefly-that-was'.

Was this our show, or wasn't it?
I think it'd be interesting to hear all angles on this...

Chrisisall

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 5:35 PM

ROCKETJOCK


Was. But writ large, and for much higher stakes. This time our Big Damn Heroes were fighting for something bigger than mere survival. Something so big even Jayne accepted the risk, with no thought of profit.

Select to view spoiler:


I mourn our lost. The wound is still raw. I've watched the film three times now, and tears still flow.

I can understand why some feel they have to turn away, disown the movie.


But I'm not among them.

"She's tore up plenty. But she'll fly true." -- Zoë Washburn

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 5:43 PM

RAKARR


In my opinion Serenity stayed true to the fans. There wasn't a moment where I thought it didn't feel like a true Firefly movie. Hell it was better than any singel Firefly episode! Just awsome!

Startrek movies never were that great in my opinion.

"I am a leaf in the wind."
Big Damn Fansite - Where the Browncoats gather.
http://www.freewebs.com/bigdamnfansite

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 5:58 PM

EMBERS


well it makes sense that there would be differences
#1 Firefly wasn't entirely Joss' vision, it was a Big Damn compromise with Fox... Joss said many times that he wanted Mal to be angrier and more bitter.

#2 Firefly was a TV show and they thought they would have 22 episodes to slowly enjoy the characters, their relationships and developing and revealing elements about things

Select to view spoiler:


things like where Reavers really came from



with Serenity we are dealing with a movie, where we don't have the luxury of wasting any time...
characters have to be sketched out quickly so that we can get to the story.
But at least the characters and the story can be what Joss intended,
without anyone trying to tell him what he should or should not do.

I think the comic book was supposed to bridge the gap,
explain changes that had happened on board...
at least it did for me.
But personally I don't have any problems with the movie as compared to the TV show....
I would like to have 22 episodes per year,
instead of one two hour movie every 3 years....
but there is nothing we can do about that.

Heck, I'll just be happy to have more comic books.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 5:58 PM

MACBAKER


Quote:

Originally posted by Rakarr:
In my opinion Serenity stayed true to the fans. There wasn't a moment where I thought it didn't feel like a true Firefly movie. Hell it was better than any single Firefly episode! Just awesome!



Agreed! Sometimes it wasn't fun, and certain scenes broke my heart, but no doubt about it, IT WAS FIREFLY! Yes, it had more anguish than any episode of the show, but it also had far more at stake and far more excitement than the series ever did!

Select to view spoiler:


I'll continue to morn the dead, but I still have to smile cuz in the end, Mal's ship Serenity is "Still Flying!"



I'd given some thought to movin' off the edge -- not an ideal location -- thinkin' a place in the middle.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 6:29 PM

CANTTAKESKY


I have seen the movie 3 times. And each time I walk away amazed at new layers I hadn't seen before.

It is easy to see shortcomings of too many crowd-pleasing compromises, or not enough. But each time I see the movie again, I see something grander than theatrics. Serenity has a story to tell, and at heart, it doesn't much matter if the crowd is pleased or not. And the story is this: each character, even the Alliance, is more complicated and flawed than what we saw in Firefly.

No, it wasn't Out of Gas or Objects in Space, or even Jaynestown. Firefly had the luxury of intimacy. We miss that in Serenity--there simply wasn't enough time. But what Serenity offers is perspective, the bigger picture. We pull away from the beauty of each tree to look at the majesty of the forest, if you will.

For me, it took repeated viewings to shift gears. I was confused and disappointed too the first time around. My initial reaction was, I hate to say it but Constantine was a better movie. By the 3rd time, I saw what Orson Scott Card and the New York Times/New York Magazine saw. Serenity has a depth and complexity that rivals the best plays out there.

Perhaps Joss' mistake was he is too intelligent and ambitious for his own good. It is hard for an average person like myself to get it the first time around.

Can't Take My Gorram Sky

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 6:34 PM

CANTTAKESKY


MacBaker,

Can you edit your post to hide the spoilers, please? Thanks.

Can't Take My Gorram Sky

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 8:19 PM

R1Z


Free associating here--

Didn't plan to, but that's how this post is turning out.

I'm just back from my third viewing, and I'm still conflicted. There are a few plot glitches I'm working through. If Serenity is 5 years past Firefly, why does Mal talk about the 8 months Simon and River have been on board? Did they get off for 4 years?

I was in shock after you-know-what in the first viewing, but I'm coming to grips with it. I suppose we can still explore the plot threads that would seem to be ended.

It stands to reason that Mal would be grimmer when dealing with system-wide injustice, as opposed to a threat to just his little crew.

I think what I miss is slipping back into the Firefly 'verse I know, kind of like coming home from the office and taking off the shiny shoes that hurt and slipping into the ratty old sneakers that are only good for painting the garage in. Serenity is shiny and slick and it's not HOME yet.

I get all misty at one point in the movie--did anyone else notice that they used the spacesuits from the tv series? Jayne in yellow and Mal and Zoe in military surplus. It's the only thing I've noticed brought forward from the series.

And I HATE Mal's black suspenders, and he's not wearing the tan-mit-brown-stripe pants that I always assumed were leftover from his uniforms.

Maybe eventually, Serenity will feel like home, too, but not yet.

Thomas Wolfe said it: You can't go home again. I'm afraid he's right. I wish he wasn't.

To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks. --Robt. Heinlein

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 8:46 PM

HKCAVALIER


Aw, Chris...unfortunately, I think I'm the guy you wanna hear from. I've been sitting on posting this because I had a very negative experience with the BDM and I'm too down-hearted about it to get in a fight with anyone over it. By the same token, I can't seem to contribute to any of the other threads until I get all this off my chest. I don't think I have ever been so disappointed in a movie. I'm by no means saying that this is the worst movie I've ever seen. It's a good movie. But I had really high hopes. Higher hopes than I would ever allow myself if I didn't have 14 near perfect to utterly perfect episodes of Firefly to fuel them. So the ratio of hopes to actual outcome is greater than any other movie I can think of. Ouch.

(Warning: this is absolutely the longest post I’ve ever written--and I’ve written some long posts! Sorry in advance. This is prolly the hardest post I’ve ever written as well. I’m very disappointed on a lot of levels. Part of me hopes I’m alone in that, but part of me hopes I’m not. I’ve been visiting this site since before the show even got cancelled. I consider a lot of people here friends--as far as this awkward, flimsy internet intimacy can foster such. I’m not looking for a fight; not calling anybody out. I need to put my thoughts together and share my sadness and frustration with people who’ve been where I've been. I know a lot of you loved the movie and I’m glad. I’m overjoyed, really. I didn’t hate it. It was good seeing everybody again; good to get at least one more episode of the best t.v. show ever. I liked how Mal turned the tables on the Operative. In time, I think I’ll come not to mind the movie quite as much as I do right now. Even so, I don’t think it’ll ever climb above “least favorite episode” status. Be warned, once I get rolling there are constant spoilers, and I don’t soft peddle. But first, a little aesthetics. )

Up to now I’ve thought the two main forces in popular art were plot and character; stories were either plot driven or character driven. There are other less reputable forces that get involved, of course; nowadays, there’s “effects driven,” and sex and/or violence will keep plenty of people entertained in spite of the most incoherent plots and non-existent characterization.

I’ve been thinking about how these different drives engage us emotionally. The plot driven story engages us on a direct, visceral level with the circumstances. There’s a certain impersonal quality; we watch a gun fight, for instance, and imagine what it would be like to be in a gun fight. We’re not thinking about what would motivate us as individuals to get in a gun fight, we’re not thinking about how our gun fighting would affect the people we love, we’re just in it and that’s enough. We don’t think about the characters overmuch; hopefully they’re generic enough not to interfere with our fantasy. Our emotions are personal and primal. Most genre fiction is plot driven (genre driven?) in this way. Most "event movies" for that matter.

A character driven story is very different, primarily on an emotional level. Compelling characters bring us into the story on their terms. We’re not watching “a gun fight” we’re watching the Alliance mole panic and shoot Kaylee in the gut. We’re not thinking, “Youch, that musta hurt!” so much as we’re thinking, “Simon wouldn’t really let Kaylee die, he’s bluffing!” In a character driven story, the stakes for each character take center stage. Our emotions project forward and look backward constantly, looking to consequence and motive. We compare the characters’ reactions to what we imagine we would do under the same circumstances. The characters are not merely vehicles for our vicarious enjoyment, but guides and even fellow participants.

In Firefly, character always trumped plot, even when the plot was at its most intense, we never forgot what it meant for the people involved. But in Serenity there's a thing that trumps character.

Serenity has clarified a third force that’s flown just under my radar for a long while which, in the works of Joss Whedon in particular, can overwhelm these two forces completely: fandom. Before Joss, fan driven art in my mind was largely the province of, well, fans (I can think of other fan driven art, much of super hero comix for example, but nobody engages the “fan drive” as quickly or as expertly as Joss Whedon). Fan fiction is not so much about compelling plot or coherent characters; it’s about putting already beloved characters, about whom we need no further information, in situations which will be uniquely harrowing or gratifying to fans. To non-fans of Firefly, a story about Jayne and Kaylee having sex would be pretty meaningless, but to the fan it can be anything from sublime to obscene, if not both--anything but meaningless. It’s hard to imagine a plot which a Jayne/Kaylee liaison would serve, and in the light of day, it ain’t exactly in character, but fans eat this stuff up nonetheless.

As I think about it, really, most popular television gets this way eventually, but then we call it “jumping the shark.” To a hardcore fan of “Fonzie” jumping the shark had intrinsic value, “Whoa, man! The Fonz just jumped a shark! I knew the Fonz was cool, but I didn’t know he was that cool!” We tend to see it as a result of the writers running out of fresh material, but I think it may be more a matter of the writers bowing to the fan drive and giving the people what they want.

I’ve never been fond of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and now I know why. Buffy is fan fiction. If you don’t love Buffy, the stories are pretty arbitrary and often silly. The grounded realities of characters, even the coherent metaphysics of the universe they inhabit, take a back seat to the gratification of seeing Buffy & co. in amazing situations. Buffy is a quip-fest; it’s just so cool to see our favorite characters say the coolest things. The fight choreography is totally silly, but it doesn’t matter, because the action in fan fiction is mainly symbolic--something cool for our heroes to be doing; like the splash page of a classic comic book where the hero and the villain collide with explosive force. The subsequent pages of “pow” and “krrrrunch,” the exchange of identifying banter have no bearing on the inevitable victory for the hero.

Until, of course, that becomes too predictable and the professional makers of fan fiction have to shake things up and kill a beloved character to reboot the fan drive. Superman has to die, Buffy has to die. The circumstances can be trumped up as you please, doesn’t matter, the fans will eat it up. At this level, fans don’t so much love the characters, as they love that they love the characters. It’s gratifying in a paradoxical way that they grieve as if the character were a real friend they’ve lost. Their awe for the artist is only increased by this rare feat of creative prowess.

The closest thing to a fan driven episode of Firefly was Trash which was largely an excuse to see Saffron again. Never mind that none of the crew would have gone along with Saffron’s plan after what they’d all been through at her hands, seeing Mal and Saffron reunited is more important; coherent character and continuity are often the first casualties of the fan drive. I know, it all turned out to be a double cross; but why Saffron would have believed that these people whom she nearly, so coldly, vaporized would ever trust her again I cannot fathom (yes, many people who think they’re very clever are actually deeply stupid, particularly about the cleverness of others--the episode cleverly escapes jumped shark status, but it made me wary).

(**Last chance to get out of here, if you don't want to read the big damn spoilers**)

For me, Serenity represents the Buffy-fication of Firefly. Still has a diverting plot, still pleases the vast majority of Firefly fans who also adore Buffy, but character driven sci-fi it ain’t. The opening scene with Simon is an exemplum. Forget about the fact that Simon is given info he never had until Ariel, the problem with the scene is his kick-ass portrayal of an Alliance Officer. Acting is pretty hard for non-actors and acting undercover when your life is on the line staggeringly so. But here’s Simon all steely-eyed and balls-to-the-wall cool fooling the feds. Remember Jaynestown? Remember when Mal asked him to pretend to be a buyer, as in the totally unsmooth “I’m a buyer” line? In Firefly, Simon’s steeliness developed slowly, painfully, realistically over many episodes, but he never became a good liar--just look at every dumb thing he ever told Kaylee. The Simon in the Alliance uniform is smoooooooth, and the Simon of Firefly is anything but smooth. As fan-fiction though, Simon’s impersonation is awesome--Go Simon!

Simon’s whole trajectory in the movie is fan driven. After Objects in Space, he and his sister are fully members of the crew. It makes sense that his sister would be involved with missions, helping her crew to survive. Simon would have known and accepted this. But whoa, when Simon clocked the captain, boyeeeee! After 14 episodes of Mal being so hard on our beloved Simon, Simon gets a little of his own back. In your face, Malcolm Reynolds! Senseless pandering. Gee, I sure wish Simon would tell Kaylee how he really feels--wish granted! Well, gee, then how ‘bout they have sex? Granted as well! Never mind that there was plenty of evidence that Simon disapproved of Kaylee, was deeply classist and repressed; in fan fiction every character is as cool as they wanna be.

The sense of family and intimacy between all nine characters which was painstakingly developed episode by episode in Firefly is dumped in favor of cheap thrills, constant banter and superfluous exposition. Whatever coherence as a family or a crew which these people in the movie have is granted them by the fans. It’s just not there otherwise. Zoe would never have questioned Mal’s shooting that man when the reavers attacked. Blink and you'll miss the bottle pass--and only a fan would make anything of it. Mal wouldn’t have had to do half the yelling he did in this movie with the crew he built over the course of the series. Remember, War Stories? Every last one of these people would die for him.

If Joss wanted to spend so much of the opening 20 minutes of the movie on exposition, why didn’t he give us any exposition showing what kind of a cohesive amazing family the crew of Serenity is? The loss of the heat shield [?] would have been a perfect opportunity to show how the crew works together under stress. Instead, we get Kaylee dithering around the engine room like a transplanted Willow. What happened to my Firefly?

Joss didn’t get to tell the story the way he wanted, the way he needed to tell it. He needed the years of slow development to realize this stuff--sometimes it’s just too soon to tell a really big story. I think he got panicky and went with what he knew. And what he knows better than anything else is Buffy. So we get the quip-a-minute structure. Characters reduced to charming two dimensional versions of themselves; Kaylee reduced to a series of sex jokes; since nobody trusts Mal, Jayne looking better than ever; Zoe being stoical and taciturn even when her reason for living has been pole-axed by fate--Baby? What baby?; Inara wearing an evening gown to go planet-side on the home world of the reavers. We get those “They Live!” style fights between the Operative and Mal. We even get what I’ve realized is for me the definitive Buffy scene thrown in: you know the scene, it’s really between Buffy and some guy, but the entire rest of the cast is just hanging around in the background for no known reason. Pure fan physics. Fans want to see all their favorite characters as much as possible, they love seeing their reaction shots and hearing their clever asides, so Joss puts the whole gang on screen. And since most of them are teenagers (or thereabouts) and most of what they do is “hang” anyway, it flies. So why didn’t anyone stay on Serenity when they got to Miranda? Fan physics, Buffy-fication. So they’d all be in on the big scene and we wouldn’t miss anybody.

The Firefly I remember had quiet parts, lots of negative space, strange interludes. The silence of space was a big part of that. The folkie guitar riffs were part of that. Characters doing and saying little unexpected “out of character” things was part of that--“He’s my hewo.” Heck, now, the entire character arcs of Book and Wash are part of the lost quiet that made Firefly what it was.

And Book’s and Wash’s deaths were just plain mishandled. Neither death was of great consequence--except to fans, of course. Neither man was killed deliberately or specifically. Neither man’s death was a necessary means to the ends of their killers who killed them anonymously. Book’s survival alone wouldn’t have granted Mal a place to hide; Wash’s death was purely random, could have been anyone (again, only meaningful as a way to shake up genre-cynical hardcore fans).

Book’s death has a motivational consequence for Mal, at least; but Wash’s death is virtually without consequence. I’m sorry, a couple tired double entendres from Zoe don’t cut it for me. On another thread someone suggested a brief scene of Zoe crying in Mal’s arms. That’s the kind of scene we might have gotten near the end of an episode of Firefly--quiet, unexpected, slightly out of character, but so meaningful.

Serenity has no time for that kind of thing. If Joss had killed Wash off in the first episode of the new series, say, he could have really made it count over the course of the pursuing episodes. This way, it’s just a sucker punch to his adoring fans. Within the world of the movie, neither death amounts to much in terms of the surviving characters. (I want to make myself clear: I don’t object to the deaths themselves. After all, Wash’s death has been foreshadowed from the beginning of the series in the opening credits--“Take me out to the black/tell them I ain’t comin’ back”--but Joss just threw these guys away. If we don’t get a sequel, everybody dies anyway. It’s just gratuitous. Random death in a narrative only has meaning in its affect upon the living and without a sequel, there will be no affect.)

What’s most galling to me is that it never should have been this way. If Joss had been able to tell his story as it was meant to be told, over the course of several seasons of television, these deaths would have been rich with meaning; the quip-a-minute structure of the movie could have slowed to a manageable four or five an hour. Plot holes and silly expediencies like Simon’s super spy act could have been avoided. It’s all got me worried about Joss for the first time. What really went wrong? It’s got me wondering if he’s got any friends he can trust to show his scripts to that don’t worship all things Whedonesque. He’s obviously a big old genius and such folk can feel pretty alone when it’s all said and done, even without being a card carrying existentialist like Joss here is. Killing off the Good Father and the Loyal and Loving Husband in one sitting? Is that any way to end a series (‘cause if we don’t get a sequel, that’s how it’s gonna be)? Does that seem right to you?

The supreme irony in all of this is that three years ago the Fox network thought they were getting “Buffy in Space” and now, with Serenity, Joss has finally delivered.

HKCavalier

Hey, hey, hey, don't be mean. We don't have to be mean, because, remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 8:59 PM

RAKARR


Quote:

Originally posted by embers:
well it makes sense that there would be differences
#1 Firefly wasn't entirely Joss' vision, it was a Big Damn compromise with Fox... Joss said many times that he wanted Mal to be angrier and more bitter.

#2 Firefly was a TV show and they thought they would have 22 episodes to slowly enjoy the characters, their relationships and developing and revealing elements about things

Select to view spoiler:


things like where Reavers really came from



with Serenity we are dealing with a movie, where we don't have the luxury of wasting any time...
characters have to be sketched out quickly so that we can get to the story.
But at least the characters and the story can be what Joss intended,
without anyone trying to tell him what he should or should not do.

I think the comic book was supposed to bridge the gap,
explain changes that had happened on board...
at least it did for me.
But personally I don't have any problems with the movie as compared to the TV show....
I would like to have 22 episodes per year,
instead of one two hour movie every 3 years....
but there is nothing we can do about that.

Heck, I'll just be happy to have more comic books.



It was 14 episodes I believe. I can't remember the last show I saw that had more than 14 episodes to it in a single season. So yeah pretty sure it's 14...

"I am a leaf in the wind."
Big Damn Fansite - Where the Browncoats gather.
http://www.freewebs.com/bigdamnfansite

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 9:05 PM

EMBERS


Quote:

Originally posted by Rakarr:
So yeah pretty sure it's 14...


yes
obviously
I was talking about what it should have been
which is 22 episodes
and what I would want if I was given my preference:
22 episodes a year.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 9:10 PM

RAKARR


I don't understand what you mean it "should have been" 22 episodes? The season was going to be 22 episodes long? Or you just wish it was? or what? No way it was going to be 22 episodes and I highly doubt any show will have a 22 episode season. Atleast not any time soon.

"I am a leaf in the wind."
Big Damn Fansite - Where the Browncoats gather.
http://www.freewebs.com/bigdamnfansite

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 9:16 PM

EMBERS


Quote:

Originally posted by R1Z:
If Serenity is 5 years past Firefly, why does Mal talk about the 8 months Simon and River have been on board? Did they get off for 4 years?
--Robt. Heinlein


no no, the movie takes place 5-6 MONTHS after the ending of Firefly...
not years, months.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 9:18 PM

EMBERS


yeah, they all do...
Buffy always (well, not the first season) had 22 episodes per year
Angel always had 22 episodes per year...
Enterprise got cut to only 18 but they had been more

I understood that that was standard for most shows in the USA...at least most network shows.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 9:26 PM

RAKARR


22 being the standard? Hmmm.... I believe 13 or 14 is the standard. That's what its been for most shows recently that I watch. Like The Shield, Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, Lost was around 14 eps, Prison Break's first season isn't over yet but seems to be comeing really close to an end, Law & Order I believe... I'm pretty sure the standard is about 14 episodes for a season. I think Firefly was going to be just a 14 episode season cause they only produced 14 episodes.

"I am a leaf in the wind."
Big Damn Fansite - Where the Browncoats gather.
http://www.freewebs.com/bigdamnfansite

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 9:27 PM

EMBERS


Quote:

Originally posted by HKCavalier:

Select to view spoiler:


Neither man was killed deliberately or specifically. Neither man’s death was a necessary means to the ends of their killers who killed them anonymously. Book’s survival alone wouldn’t have granted Mal a place to hide; Wash’s death was purely random, could have been anyone (again, only meaningful as a way to shake up genre-cynical hardcore fans).

Book’s death has a motivational consequence for Mal, at least; but Wash’s death is virtually without consequence. I’m sorry, a couple tired double entendres from Zoe don’t cut it for me. On another thread someone suggested a brief scene of Zoe crying in Mal’s arms. That’s the kind of scene we might have gotten near the end of an episode of Firefly--quiet, unexpected, slightly out of character, but so meaningful.





you complain that 'Serenity' was written to please the fans,
but in fact you are complaining that it didn't suit YOUR needs.....
you wanted movie deaths with meaning, and speeches, and time to mourn...
but in RL death is senseless, random, and sudden...
and I think Joss is a fan of the RL arbitary death.

And Zoe would NEVER have cried in Mal's arms, she never did during war and there is no way their formal relationship (she always calls him 'Sir') would allow her to do it...
ever

Select to view spoiler:



She could have cried in Wash's arms,
that is part of the reason her repression of all emotion is so emotional...IMO



it is very true that we had quiet time, down time on Firefly,
but that is the thing about TV...you have unlimited time to take your time to tell a story,
that will never ever happen in a movie.
Movies have to keep to the point.
well, at least action movies do.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 9:30 PM

EMBERS


oh Rakaar, you are comparing cable station's original programming
(which is always done on the cheap, w/fewer episodes per season)
I had noticed that w/HBO & Showtime too,
they ran VERY short seasons....
BUT
with a network show...
Firefly would have been like Angel & Buffy
and Friends and West Wing and Law & Order and Desperate Housewives and Lost and and and
it would have had 22

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 9:39 PM

RAKARR


If it were to have 22 episodes, then why doesn't it on the DVD Set? Or why haven't those episodes been made?

There isn't need to argue over this. there isn't 22 episodes. Just 14. What could of been doesn't matter. What matters is what can be.

"I am a leaf in the wind."
Big Damn Fansite - Where the Browncoats gather.
http://www.freewebs.com/bigdamnfansite

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 9:54 PM

R1Z


Quote:

If it were to have 22 episodes, then why doesn't it on the DVD Set? Or why haven't those episodes been made?

Because the show was cancelled mid-season. The Christmas party became the "wrap" party.

To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks. --Robt. Heinlein

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005 11:54 PM

CANTTAKESKY


Rakarr,

Network TV usually has 22 episodes per season. When new series are produced, they usually order about half a season's worth to start, like 10 or 11. In Firefly's case, they ordered 11, then 3 more (probably the 3 that weren't aired). So Firefly the complete series is really half a season's worth...and people can't help but wonder what Joss could have done with a full season's worth to tell the story. That's all. No need to get into a wad over it.

Can't Take My Gorram Sky

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 12:36 AM

EMMA


HKCavalier, I enjoyed the film but I wouldn't have done if I hadn't have been a fan. I think the nature of Serenity is different to the nature of Firefly but not because of the reasons you stated. I think it is an extremely violent film and what Joss would have done on television if he could have gotten away with it. I for one am glad he didn't because I wouldn't have enjoyed it.

I do agree with you about fan-led art though. Buffy and Angel are pure fan-fiction, a soap opera of the nth degree but I love it because of that. Joss writes a fantastic story because it is a fully rounded soap opera and he gives the fans what they want, and then takes it away from them. This is where I disagree with you though, it is the taking away which makes him so popular.

Select to view spoiler:


Tara's relationship with Willow was wonderful, but better because Tara died. Angel and Buffy were fantastic when they finally got together but better when he turned into Angelus



Serenity is good because it will have 1 or 2 sequels and there will be consequences

Select to view spoiler:


Simon and Kaylee will fail, Inara and Mal will struggle, eventually get together and then fail, Zoe will breakdown - I imagine a mental killing spree. Joss is fantastic but increasingly predictable. There will never be a happy relationship and people always go mad after death of loved ones. The sex-bot made me cringe because it is obviously a plot device and was stolen from Buffy, granted he was plagiarising himself but still!

If there aren't sequels then these consequences won't take place and there I can see your point. Especially with

Select to view spoiler:


Wash's death

. We shall see though.

I liked your exposition and found it inciteful and intelligent. It is more articulate than many of the negative responses I have seen which concentrate on 'oh now, how could he do that'. These things happen, but debating the reasons they are written and who for, now that is interesting.

Personally, I enjoyed the film but I enjoyed it because of all of the 'fan-led' elements, not the 'cinematic-led' elements. But then, I am a Buffy and Angel addict for exactly the same reasons.

extremely dimensionally transcendental

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 1:44 AM

DUCESTECUM


TO HKCavilier:

Your insight regarding Serenity is totally remarkable and as far as I am concerned right on the money. Someone needs to send Joss a copy. I thought it was extremely thought-provoking and intelligent, so much so that I printed it for a fellow Browncoat here at work. I'm just jealous that I couldn't have said it myself.

"And that's not incense!"

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 1:54 AM

CANTTAKESKY


Quote:

Originally posted by HKCavalier:
In Firefly, character always trumped plot,... But in Serenity there's a thing that trumps character... character driven sci-fi it ain’t.

Very insightful analysis. I agree--partially. As someone else pointed out, the sex-bot was an obvious wink to Buffy fans. As you pointed out, Zoe or anyone else wouldn't have questioned Mal the way they did. I agree that Buffy was mostly fan pleasing and "jumping the shark," as you say. I think Angel was less so, and by Firefly, Joss had enough confidence and clout to move past fan-tweaking and tell an independently creative story.

Then Firefly got cancelled (that's what you get for moving past fandom). He gets one last shot at resurrecting Firefly. The pressure is enormous. I can't blame him for returning to what he knows works--pleasing the fans. There are deeply compelling pragmatic issues here. Maybe he didn't panic. Maybe it was a deliberate move to produce what he knows sells.

I don't think Joss sold out entirely though. That's where the layers come in. He did develop character. Just one--Mal's. If you look past the gratuitous fan throwaways, you see that the whole movie is about Mal. Struggling with his loneliness. Unleashing his bitterness. Finding his faith again. That, in the end, was what this whole story is about.

The way I see it, the fan tickles were just a disguise to sell his character-driven drama to a sci-fi action crowd. Maybe that was the mistake. It was too character driven for the action crowd, and too action driven for the character crowd. Most people seem to be able to see only one layer at a time. Those who see the wrong layer hate it, and those who find the right layer for them love it--that is why the disparate reviews. But I understand why he did it, and I applaud him for being ingenious enough to find a way to squeeze 2 movies onto the same screen.
Quote:

I’m sorry, a couple tired double entendres from Zoe don’t cut it for me. On another thread someone suggested a brief scene of Zoe crying in Mal’s arms.
This is where the fan-fic upsets me most. Instead of River-turned-Buffy at the end, I wanted to see Zoe in that room. I think that would have been more in character for a hardened war veteran who just lost the love of her life.

Chrisisall and HKC, watch the movie again. For me at least, I saw a completely different movie the second time around.

Can't Take My Gorram Sky

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 2:56 AM

MITHEL


Unfortunately Serenity was not "Firefly". Good movie, maybe a great movie (at least for some of the fans - but I find it hard to believe a non-fan would think of it as anything more than passing entertainment) but Firefly the series was special.

Never liked Buffy or Angel, but with Firefly it seemed that Joss Whedon showed incredible talent. I'm not sure what went wrong with Serenity but I think it was Joss!

I do also agree that Serenity gets better on repeat viewings. I'm not happy with how Serenity was made but I do hope for more of the Firefly 'verse.

Maybe some of us were holding Joss to too high of a standard by expecting more of Firefly? Maybe Joss let the "BDM" go to his head? Maybe the real Joss (of Buffy) was revealed?

We all love to hate Fox for killing the best series I've ever seen. But it may have been Fox toning down the "darker" side of Joss that actually made Firefly fantastic.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 3:08 AM

EMMA


Quote:

Originally posted by Mithel:

We all love to hate Fox for killing the best series I've ever seen. But it may have been Fox toning down the "darker" side of Joss that actually made Firefly fantastic.



You are a brave person for saying so but you might have a point there.

extremely dimensionally transcendental

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 3:16 AM

SAFEAT2ND


HKCAVALIER, Ummm....wow.

You put in words what I think a lot of others have tried AND you did it with being abrasive or confrontational. WELL DONE!

Joss himself said it was the hardest thing he's had to do, write this script. And I think you are bang on the money when you said he reverted back to what he knew. Hell, we've all done that under pressure. And here's an added wrinkle, when was the last time a studio stayed hands off a project and let director do things his own way?

I don't believe for a moment that Serenity was Joss's true vision. Plus, the arguement that Firefly wasn't what Joss had envisioned has me thinking then, that Fox tempered his vision and inadvertently make a good show but were too stupid to realize it. And that's the show I loved.

So HK, I'm with you. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either.

Safeat2nd, Chief Handyman of Destiny

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 4:29 AM

ROCKETJOCK


Quote:

Originally posted by HKCavalier:

For me, Serenity represents the Buffy-fication of Firefly. Still has a diverting plot, still pleases the vast majority of Firefly fans who also adore Buffy, but character driven sci-fi it ain’t. The opening scene with Simon is an exemplum. Forget about the fact that Simon is given info he never had until Ariel, the problem with the scene is his kick-ass portrayal of an Alliance Officer. Acting is pretty hard for non-actors and acting undercover when your life is on the line staggeringly so. But here’s Simon all steely-eyed and balls-to-the-wall cool fooling the feds. Remember Jaynestown? Remember when Mal asked him to pretend to be a buyer, as in the totally unsmooth “I’m a buyer” line? In Firefly, Simon’s steeliness developed slowly, painfully, realistically over many episodes, but he never became a good liar--just look at every dumb thing he ever told Kaylee. The Simon in the Alliance uniform is smoooooooth, and the Simon of Firefly is anything but smooth. As fan-fiction though, Simon’s impersonation is awesome--Go Simon!



Nitpick time. Okay, Simon is informed of the goal of River's treatment -- but not the specifics. The administrator refers to "Stripping" the subject's brain, but Simon needed medical specifics. That's what he was after on Ariel.

Speaking of Ariel, check out Simon's performance there. Within the hospital, he is smooth, professional, and calm -- a good actor. Simon is nervous as "the buyer" because he's out of his element -- but disguise him as an authority figure in a "civilized" context, and he's able to handle it--it's familar turf.

And as to why Simon didn't tell the rest of the crew that River had been trained/tortured to be a human killing machine, it's probably because he didn't want them to toss her off the freaking ship! His goal, as the movie pointed out, was to keep River safe.

And by the time he clocks Mal, he's had a lot more time on the frontier. He's become more confident in his new role.

IMHO.

"She's tore up plenty. But she'll fly true." -- Zoë Washburn

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 4:31 AM

CANTTAKESKY


Quote:

Originally posted by Mithel:
Unfortunately Serenity was not "Firefly".

That's the root of the problem. Serenity was not "Firefly." But I do believe that the special Firefly we know and love is not absent, just hidden. Maybe well hidden, but it's there.

For the record, I am not a Joss apologist or fanboy. I used to think of Joss as an entertaining soap opera writer, nothing more. Even with Firefly, I expected him to unravel the series after a season or two with his three predictable "shockers": 1) turning good people evil, and evil people good; 2) switching sex partners within his little pseudo-incestuous family; and 3) killing off main and auxiliary characters, and resurrecting them again.

But Serenity changed my mind. Underneath all that soap opera is some brilliant playwrighting that tackles moral ambiguities, unconditional love, loyalty, faith, redemption, freedom, identity, pain, vengeance, survival--and relationships. Looking back, these themes were there all along in Buffy and Angel, but I think they found their full, mature voice in Firefly. That Joss could bring that maturity to the big screen when there was so much pressure crank out yet another formulaic movie tells me that maybe Joss isn't just a soap opera writer after all. Sure, he has room to grow. Maybe with Serenity 2, he will drop the fan-pleasing trappings altogether.

Well, that's just me.

Can't Take My Gorram Sky

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 5:16 AM

EMMA


Can I just be very girly and say how fantastic it is that this thread hasn't degenerated into the usual slanging match that seems to happen when Browncoats disagree about the BDM.



extremely dimensionally transcendental

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 5:41 AM

SAFEAT2ND


Quote:

Originally posted by canttakesky:
Sure, he has room to grow. Maybe with Serenity 2, he will drop the fan-pleasing trappings altogether.



I think for the majority of the people that had a problem with Serenity, you summed it up well. And if they feel the way I do, the same excitement and anticipation won't be there for the second one. Maybe that'll be an advantage. It's akin to being punched or dumped by a loved one, you're wary the second time around, less wide eyed so to speak.

Emma, go right ahead I agree with you wholeheartedly!

Safeat2nd, Chief Handyman of Destiny

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 5:50 AM

HKCAVALIER


Quote:

Originally posted by embers:
...you complain that 'Serenity' was written to please the fans,
but in fact you are complaining that it didn't suit YOUR needs.....

Hey there Em. You might have noticed that my post was getting a little long, so I really tried to streamline the thing and didn't get to qualify everything near as much as I wanted, but I did think I was pretty clear about what I was calling "fan driven" in art, namely: stuff only fans would care about or even in some cases notice. With Serenity, we're not talking about a couple harmless in-jokes, but major events that are cheated of meaning unless you are in love with the characters before you walk in the theater.

In the pilot of the show, after less than an hour of setting up Kaylee's character, Kaylee nearly dies, might have died, and for a few astonishing moments seems to have died. It was masterfully handled, painful, sudden and real--and would be if you'd never seen the show before. And then, o'course, it was really psychotically funny.
Quote:

...you wanted movie deaths with meaning, and speeches, and time to mourn...
but in RL death is senseless, random, and sudden...
and I think Joss is a fan of the RL arbitary death.

I saw this coming. I honestly don't need you to be schooling me about death, believe me. Didn't we all read Flowers for Algernon? Do we really need to learn these things from Firefly? And besides, you're only half right. IRL death is indead senseless, random, and sudden except when it's not and there is always time to grieve. If you live long enough, you'll learn that without the movies. Sorry to be so blunt, but I've read so much of this hogwash about this kind of "lesson" to be learned from the BDM and it makes me nauseous.
Quote:

And Zoe would NEVER have cried in Mal's arms, she never did during war and there is no way their formal relationship (she always calls him 'Sir') would allow her to do it...
ever

Yeah, I didn't think the Zoe in Mal's arms idea was the best either frankly, but it was exactly the kind of scene I was missing in the BDM. I would have liked just one scene where a character surprised me with their choices, you know what I mean?
Quote:

Movies have to keep to the point.
well, at least action movies do.

And I say the point of Firefly was the characters and the action. Not saying Joss didn't have his work cut out for him, but I don't for a second think it was impossible. As I said, the family that he'd taken 14 episodes to build should have been shared with the general public so non-fans would have a chance of falling in love like the rest of us; he should have had the guts to continue from where he left off with Objects in Space--a new audience doesn't need to get a refresher of the series; they just need to know who these people are now. I think he could have squeezed it in. Serenity is not a movie any stranger is gonna fall in love with--they'll think it kicks ass, that Joss has got guts and style, but they'll never know or care who the BDH's are. The way I see it, the plot alone, with the operative, the reavers, River's climactic action scene was plenty of action for any movie and Joss could have filled up the rest of the movie's running time with heart.

HKCavalier

Hey, hey, hey, don't be mean. We don't have to be mean, because, remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 6:03 AM

THELURKER


Quote:

Originally posted by Rakarr:
Lost was around 14 eps


Just to be anal and nitpicky ( ), Lost had 24 episodes the first season and Season 2 is scheduled for 23 eps.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 6:19 AM

BLACKOUTNIGHTS


*SPOILER FREE*

Good topic, Chrisisall. Serenity was Not our show, Firefly. But that's OK. It wasn't supposed to be.

That's also not saying I didn't love every minute of it. After my first viewing, I was struck by how different the movie was. There was so much happening that there wasn't enough time to emotionally reconnect with any of the characters. I walked in expecting a bigger version of the TV Show. While I was a little disappointed leaving the theater, I felt — assuming other movies aren't made (and I sincerely hope we do get more stories) — it was a good closer to the story. My wife said afterward, "I'm not sure how I feel about that." I said, "I thought it was great." She responded, "I liked it too, but it was so different."

I enjoyed my second viewing better. Got a bigger sense of the scope of it. It IS a movie, and it felt like it. I especially loved Mal's speech in Miranda, "You all got on this boat for different reasons." Felt like he was talking to us Browncoats as well as his crew.

Just thinking about it makes me want to see the movie again. And I plan on it.

I hope all browncoats in every state will work to organize further meetups each weekend to keep Serenity in the top three grossing movies for as long as we can. I can't imagine what Joss has in store for them next.

"You're either in or you're out, and I'm playing to the in."—Greg Dulli.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 6:23 AM

REAVERMADNESS


HKCAVALIER-
Amen. You put it so well. Thank you.

When I die I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandpa. Not screaming and yelling like everyone else in the car he was driving.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 7:05 AM

DRROB


I think it's fair to say that the characters that remained true to the show the most were Wash, Zoe, Mal, Jayne, River and Simon.

Book wasn't there enough to really say if he was 'true to form' but mostly I'd say yes.

Inara definitely wasn't... she seemed more like the 'lost little girl' at the end of "Heart of Gold" rather than the strong character she's always been.

Kaylee really got washed over. She's providing comic relief through nost of the film. That whole "love will keep us together" theme is something near and dear to Kaylee's heart... as expressed through her love of Serenity, before Simon is even an issue.

Honestly though, Joss only has 2 hours to get all this character interaction that we are all used to out to an audience who had never seen the show... I think he did a bang-up job.

Really, launching any feature with an ensemble cast is tough enough... which characters are 'main' which are secondary? Other than Mal, that question was open-ended with Firefly... everyone has their little moments of brilliance.

You can't really do that in a 2 hr movie.

Things they had to change: Simon's breaking River out... for the movie it's simpler to re-write that and show Simon isn't without some guts, where his sis is involved. The safety word. Book provides a Physical 'safe place' in the form of Haven, rather than a philisophical discussion in the galley (a good change I think). Inara being away gives a chance for the Operative to escalate what he will do to get River (Again, plot-wise it works)

Now how it WASN'T Firefly: not as western as the series... ie cows, horses, gritty guitar playing low in the background. Not enough cussin' in Chinese.

How it was cooler: wow those reaver were kinda scary after all. Big special effects. Bigger guns.

How it can continue: That's not the only secret River knows, just one of many... hidden programming even Simon is unaware of. Re-ignition of the Independent movement... but rather than all out civil war with big ships and armies a clandestine 'rebellion' fought by our BDH's.



"Guess you broke into the wrong rec room."

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 7:11 AM

NXOJKT


I wouldn't agree that either death in the movie was either pointless or random. It has nothing to do with learning lessons, and all to do with storytelling:

Book - Book seems to be the only character (both in the show and the movie) that Mal will talk to on a personal level... about things beyond "ship matters." The conversations that they have in the movie cut directly to the "faith" issue that has been a large part of Mal's character from the first scene in the pilot when he kisses a cross before going in to battle. As Book points out in the movie, though, faith isn't just about God. His last request is that Mal believe in something, anything. Book's death isn't random or pointless. His death is the one death that could center Mal on a purpose. The death of Kaylee or Inara would have damaged Mal on a different emotional level. Book's death focused him on finding a way out of the hole they had been put in... it hammered home that this wasn't going to be something that they could get out of by running away or even standing and fighting. Mal was going to have to be willing to push himself and his crew to the verge of death to avoid them, and all of those that they cared about, being hunted down and killed. The faith thing works on two levels - 1)Mal has to believe that getting the message about the Reavers out is worth dieing for. 2)Mal has to believe enough in himself that he can get it done. There are constant jokes, in both the show and the movie, about how Mal's plans usually don't work out so well. Mal knows this, but he also knows it's up to him to keep coming up with them. He has to believe that he can get it done. Book's death is the only character death that would have driven Mal to the place he had to be in order for the events of the rest of the movie to take place.

Wash - Wash's death is necessary for a different reason. Its purpose is to alert all of us, and all of the characters, that no one is safe. Zoe even asks if they think any of them will make it out alive. After Wash is killed, there is genuine fear from the audience when Zoe is stabbed, Kaylee is hit with darts, Jayne is shot, and especially when Simon is shot. For the uninitiated, it serves notice that Whedon will kill off a central character. If you haven't seen the show, you probably don't know that Book was a central character, and killing side characters is not a big deal. But a central character being killed? That's a different story. For folks who have seen a lot of Joss's work, especially the finale of Angel, there's definite fear that more than 1 of the BDH's will be killed in the final battle. And for those that are veteran Sci-Fi viewers, that know that Firefly is a tip of the cap to Blake's 7, there's a real fear that they all might die. Wash's death hightens the tension and suspense for the rest of the film.

Now, having said all of that... I do agree that there probably was too much catering to the fans. I didn't need to see Simon and Kaylee together at the end of the film. I would guess Joss felt he needed something positive to happen at the end, something to counterbalance the funeral. There were a lot of in-jokes, a lot of things that could have been done better. A lot of that, I think, can be placed squarely on the fact that film is different than television. Could the opening have told a different story? Sure. But that's not the story Whedon wanted to tell. He has said from the beginning that he wanted Firefly to be darker and more grim. I don't think making it so dark that he killed to "family members" was catering to the fans. If Jayne had broken into "The Hero of Canton" while playing guitar in the crew's 1st visit to Haven, that would have been catering to the fans.

Basically, I understand where you're coming from. I think there probably was some catering to the fans, but not to the level that you've asserted. No, the movie isn't as character driven. That's tough to do in a 2-hour span, as a opposed to a 14-hour span. Sure, some movies manage it. Typically those are movies being directed by veteran film makers, not guys making their feature debuts.

I enjoyed the movie. I think Firefly is better as a tv show than Serenity is as a movie. But I'm not disappointed. The movie works, both as an extension of something I love, and as a real film. And that's all I asked for.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 7:19 AM

XEROGRAVITY


KHCavalier...

I disagree with little of what you've said. Some points are "debateable", but then ALL points are debateable. You're psychoanalyzing the film. Sorry it's just too much to chew on. Kind of like a debate on a religious book (bible, koran, torah, baghavadgida, etc.). It's endlessly involving, and hence endless.

There are political and philosophical dimensions to your entire analysis. You should tear apart each issue and get the point. Get to the point on each separate issue in a separate post. Too few people can wrap their minds around that much information, regardless of how interconnected each issue is.

Just a thought.

XG


No such thing as gravity. The Earth just sucks.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 7:20 AM

DECLAN


Still keeping within the subject matter of this thread, I would like to compare the BDM and the TV Series to literary forms.

The BDM is like a novel: it is the story of the single most important thing in the character's life. This is one reason why sequels are hard to do, either in movies or novels, because how many "most important" things can one have in one's life?

Each episode of the TV Series was like a short story. A short story is interesting and important but it is not the most important event in the character's life. We were used to this type of story and the BDM is simply on a bigger scale.

The novella (short-novel, AROUND 20-40,000 words) although very rare in general literature, and increasing rare in SF literature, is considered by some to be the perfect length for SF. It gives you the extra needed space to introduce your SF idea without the extra scale and development needed for a full novel. The TV Pilot Serenity 1 & 2 is the equivalent of a novella. It's running time is between 1:20 and 1:30, compared to :42 of an episode and the 1:59 of the BDM.

The TV Pilot Serenity is one of my favorite episodes and it may be because of the scale: bigger than an ordinary episode but smaller than the BDM. In another thread, I've speculated about the possibilities of Made-for-TV movies if the Serenity box office is not good enough for sequels. How does anyone feel about Made-for-TV movies of our show?

***************
"'Course, there are other schools of thought."

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 7:20 AM

DECLAN


Still keeping within the subject matter of this thread, I would like to compare the BDM and the TV Series to literary forms.

The BDM is like a novel: it is the story of the single most important thing in the character's life. This is one reason why sequels are hard to do, either in movies or novels, because how many "most important" things can one have in one's life?

Each episode of the TV Series was like a short story. A short story is interesting and important but it is not the most important event in the character's life. We were used to this type of story and the BDM is simply on a bigger scale.

The novella (short-novel, AROUND 20-40,000 words) although very rare in general literature, and increasing rare in SF literature, is considered by some to be the perfect length for SF. It gives you the extra needed space to introduce your SF idea without the extra scale and development needed for a full novel. The TV Pilot Serenity 1 & 2 is the equivalent of a novella. It's running time is between 1:20 and 1:30, compared to :42 of an episode and the 1:59 of the BDM.

The TV Pilot Serenity is one of my favorite episodes and it may be because of the scale: bigger than an ordinary episode but smaller than the BDM. In another thread, I've speculated about the possibilities of Made-for-TV movies if the Serenity box office is not good enough for sequels. How does anyone feel about Made-for-TV movies of our show?

***************
"'Course, there are other schools of thought."

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 7:21 AM

REAVERMADNESS


I wish I could know what Joss is thinking about all of this. (How the movie is doing and what loyal fans are saying.) Is he saying:

1)"Yes! It worked just as I wanted. Some loved the movie some are hurt by it. Just as I planned."

2)"What's wronge with these people? Can't they see what I was doing? If they can't see it then they just don't get it and I don't care."

3)"OMG. I didn't know it would have this sort of impact. Should I start practicing 'Would you like fires with that?'?"

4)"Take that you SOBs!" (Now does he mean the FFFans, Fox, The 'Verse in gerneral?)

5)"I should have stuck to the small screen."

6) a combination of the above.

When I die I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandpa. Not screaming and yelling like everyone else in the car he was driving.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 7:25 AM

XEROGRAVITY


err... HKCavalier... sorry for typo

XG


No such thing as gravity. The Earth just sucks.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 8:16 AM

JASONZZZ


Quote:

Originally posted by TheLurker:
Quote:

Originally posted by Rakarr:
Lost was around 14 eps


Just to be anal and nitpicky ( ), Lost had 24 episodes the first season and Season 2 is scheduled for 23 eps.



and Jack's "24" had w.... well, 24 eps.



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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 8:24 AM

PATSRULE


And Prison Break will have 22 episodes this year as well. It may seem like it is close to over, but it isn't. Also, they just announced today that My Name is Earl will have 22 episodes this season, too.

Prison Break and My Name is Earl are the two home runs of the season to me; with reunion being a triple; Threshold and Supernatural being doubles; and Invasion, Surface, and Killer Instinct being singles. None of the other new shows get a hit for me, but Nightstalker is still at the plate.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 8:36 AM

HKCAVALIER


Quote:

Originally posted by XeroGravity:
There are political and philosophical dimensions to your entire analysis. You should tear apart each issue and get the point. Get to the point on each separate issue in a separate post. Too few people can wrap their minds around that much information, regardless of how interconnected each issue is.

Thanks for the compliments, XeroG. Yeah, it was a long post. Having had no idea how it would be received, I really didn't know if I'd have the stumach to split it up and deal with a potential fire storm on each and every point. As my dentist once told me, better to have the whole thing out at once.

But my worries were unfounded, I see. Thanks everyone, for being so decent and understanding. I'm glad it gave voice to some folks' disquiet over the BDM.

I'd like to speak to the idea floating around that we can't expect the BDM to be as character driven as the show. For one thing, Firefly was always an action show--it weren't no Masterpiece Theatre! Of course there are character arcs in t.v. that just aren't possible in a movie, but character arcs aren't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the story taking it's cue from what the characters know and feel about their world, rather than what we know and feel about their world.

(**Big damn spoilerific example**)

Select to view spoiler:


When Mal finds Book we have no idea how badly hurt he really is. We don't really find out until he dies, because his visible symptoms are consistent with any number of non-leathal though thoroughly debilitating injuries. Mal calls for the doctor whom we seem to have seen mere moments ago maybe 30 yards away. Where the hell was Simon? Answer: exactly the distance it would take for him to get to Mal just as Book passed away. Bad story telling, bad.

Here's my imperfect thumbnail of a character driven version. This is the kind of storytelling I observed in Firefly, episode after episode. The storytelling on that show was tight.

First of all, there are three character's points of view we need to be clear on, not just one. In the film version we only know as much as Mal gleans from the scene; what's really wrong with Book and what's taking Simon so long are distracting holes in the storytelling.

So anyway, here's my version of the scene. First of all, Serenity doesn't go to Book first. They go to, say, Whitefall. Everybody's dead. Then there's the scene with the Operative on the visiphone. That's when Mal realizes that Book could very easily be dead and they race to find out. Now we're worried about Book, wondering if he's okay.

And the next shot answers this with the scene he only describes in the movie. It's terrible, it's Serenity Valley all over again, the sky is black with violence, death is everywhere. Book is mortally wounded and then he shoots his killer out of the sky and falls. (How many times in the show did one shot end with a question that the next shot answered? That's good story telling.)

Now there's a time lapse (of course, the scene with Book is slightly out of sequence, a flash back really, because by the time Mal's talked to the Operative, the damage is done). Whedon magic. Something on the ship, maybe River being psychic, she looks at the captain and he sees in her face what he never wants to see. All she says is, "Mal." (You know, as if Book were saying it, kinda.)

Now we're on the ground with the crew and Mal sends everybody in teams to search for survivors. We're all so worried about Book at this point that the next few minutes are agony.

Then Book calls to Mal and we see him. He's in terrible shape. Mal calls for the Doctor and we know that he's a ways off. Of course, the scene is much shorter and pithier now that the heroic bit was shown instead of told, so we're not stuck with the coincidental timing snafu. Maybe there's a chance to give us a shot of Simon hearing Mal's call and tearing over to him as fast as his legs can carry him. Maybe a shot of him and Jayne running, both. Book dies. They arrive. And the scene is done.

Would have added maybe 5 minutes to the running time, if that. At an hour and 58 minutes the the BDM could have afforded to be a little longer anyway.



HKCavalier

Hey, hey, hey, don't be mean. We don't have to be mean, because, remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 8:52 AM

CAPTAINCDC


Well for starters I could not disagree with you more about Star Trek IV, I loved that movie.

Without getting into spoilers I thought Serenity was very true to the series and the fans. This is a movie not a television series. Certain things have to happen to advance the story along, to get from point A to point B to point C. If you don't have events happening that acts as a motor driving the story along then it comes off as forced and out of character. I think some of the more shocking events in the movie would have happened in the series, but probably more toward the middle to end of the second season.

---------------------------------------

The only sovereign you can allow to rule you is reason!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 8:59 AM

JONQUILL


Were Firefly and Serenity wildly different?

Abso-friggin-loutely.

I've got to say I miss Firefly as well. The small insular world of that ship just trying to get from today to tomorrow and the simple struggles of that. We were allowed so much time alone with the thoughts of these characters. It was lovely.

Serenity is entirely different, but I don't believe it is so for the sheer benefit of fans.

Just to cover the Simon arc. A few points, first in Serenity the pilot, Simon was pretty slick and controlled, so much so he had Mal fooled into thinking he was the Alliance mole. He's no coward, and with time to prepare, esspecially months, I believe Simon could have pulled that one off. The whole "Stripping" line. That was a mistake. Plain and simple.

Do I believe Simon could crack and haul out to hit Mal? Absolutely Yes. Simon's been trying to hide her forever, and keep her out of danger. Mal throws her out into the spotlight, and puts her within arms reach of reavers, he might just get snippy.

Simon and Kaylee getting together. How is this pandering when they were setting it up for the ENTIRE run of firefly. However inept Simon was at wooing Kaylee, there was no doubt he had a good amount of desire to head that way. He thinks he's going to die, he spews out the one thought he wishes he had expressed. Cliche? Yes. Fan-Driven? Ehh...Did you really want these two to Ross and Rachel it for couple years, masterfully avoiding each others arms?

Still, your main point, I think is true. This movie is plot driven, rather than character driven. Plain and simple.

But i think the reason for that is because it's a movie, not because he tried to placate the fans. If anything, what may have been damaging to the movie was Joss's need to get everyone in. Browncoats would have loved a quiet film with slow revelations and lots of character development, but that wouldn't have been the franchise builder that Universal, and Joss were looking for.

Joss needed an accessable epic for the flick. The stakes got ramped up, and did the revelations. You could claim that Universal nudged Joss in this direction, but he himself said, "Television is about the question. Movies are about the answer." There was no time to set up mysteries, when he had so many answers to make with.

The nature of it being a movie, or at least, this kind of movie, an sci-fi adventure, dictated that there be an immediate problem and a delayed resolution. There isn't as much time available to mull and explore both the situation and the characters, there's just to much exposition and story that needs to come out.

If anything could really be pointed to as the main the source of Serenity's woes it's the fact that it derived from a television show that only went half a season. There are a lot of mysteries out there that needed tending to. River, the Reavers, the Alliance...all were left as open threads, all needing to be tied up in the movie. All this plot, and you need to set up the world, and the characters for the first time viewer. It's a clustermuck of work this movie needed to do. There's a reason why Spiderman 2 is better than the original, and X-Men 2 is better than the original. THese sequels don't have to do as much work. The world is set, the characters familiar. All they need to busy themselves with is a good story.

For another example, look at the Train Job, probably the closest analog to Serenity you will find in Firefly. That episode is rife with rushed characterization, because, well, that's exactly what Joss was at the time...rushed. Rushed to introduce the world, and the characters, and the intangeables, all again, all with a lot of FOX demanded action.

I don't think Joss is a rarified genius, but I do think he's a smart guy. He's also notorious for planning years of his fictional worlds into the future. If Joss is given the chance, another entry the story of the 'Verse will show the consequences of Serenity that I'm sure he's already dreamed up.

Am I a little dissappointed by Serenity. Yeah! It's not our beautiful T.V. show. Its something else now, and unfortunately that means compromise with the medium. I'm not sure what will become of it, even if Whedon gets take 2, but I'll be in line if he does.


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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 9:10 AM

MONGER


Quote:

Originally posted by RocketJock:
Quote:

Originally posted by HKCavalier:

Acting is pretty hard for non-actors and acting undercover when your life is on the line staggeringly so. But here’s Simon all steely-eyed and balls-to-the-wall cool fooling the feds. Remember Jaynestown? Remember when Mal asked him to pretend to be a buyer, as in the totally unsmooth “I’m a buyer” line? In Firefly, Simon’s steeliness developed slowly, painfully, realistically over many episodes, but he never became a good liar--just look at every dumb thing he ever told Kaylee. The Simon in the Alliance uniform is smoooooooth, and the Simon of Firefly is anything but smooth. As fan-fiction though, Simon’s impersonation is awesome--Go Simon!




Speaking of Ariel, check out Simon's performance there. Within the hospital, he is smooth, professional, and calm -- a good actor. Simon is nervous as "the buyer" because he's out of his element -- but disguise him as an authority figure in a "civilized" context, and he's able to handle it--it's familar turf.





Simon is definitely in his element, having grown up on Osiris in a seemingly aristocratic family and working as a surgeon in a prestigious Alliance hospital. He would have no problem playing the cold, intimidating authority figure to a sniveling underling because he would have grown up in that environment.

Also, keep in mind that in back story Simon has spent his fortune, and about two years, working to get River back. He had plenty of time to pick up all the skills necessary to do what he did. However, take him outside of the core worlds and he becomes a babe in the woods. That makes plenty of sense to me.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 10:03 AM

ARAWAEN


Lost was 24 episodes, I have it on DVD.
Battlestar Galactica (remake, 1st season) is 13 episodes but it was essentially a mid-season replacement. Stargate SG1 and Atlantis are usually 22, but Sci-Fi splits them into two sections (one in the summer and the second starting in January), as they don't want to compete with new shows on other networks.

22 episodes is the new standard except for cable networks. Older shows like Star Trek (TNG, DS9 and Voyager) were always 26 (except 2nd season of TNG).

Knowledge is sorrow; they who know the most
Must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth,
The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life.
-- Byron

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 10:17 AM

REAVERMADNESS


HKCavalier -
I wish there were a way to do a phantom edit and see your version of the BDM. I'm sure I'd like it much better.

When I die I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandpa. Not screaming and yelling like everyone else in the car he was driving.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 10:19 AM

FINNMCKOOL


Mayhap its just me, but I did get a small taste of not quite right with the movie. But the second time I saw it, I figured out what it was missing. It was all high-tension, high-strung moments. We never had a "dinner table", "Uncle Natty story-telling," faux basketball game moment. And really the only spot we could have, because after which and even a bit before everyone was so tense about the Simon/River/Mal fight, was on Haven around the campfire, with Jayne playing guitar of all things. That could have been a good "Hey we're all a family here" moment, which is what the show was missing.

Of course is if there is more Firefly goodness to come it will be interesting to see how the dynamica changes and if the franchise survives that change.

I aim to misbehave.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 10:28 AM

FREMDFIRMA


HKCav's nailed it solid, cause that was prettymuch my exact response to the film, but no way no how could I have worded it that well.

That being said...
*Spoilerrific Parts Here*

Select to view spoiler:



Zoe does display a somewhat out of character emotional response to Wash's death, but I am kinda guessin you'd have to be a military type to catch it.

She loses her cool, leaves the defense line and goes berserk on the Reavers - which is a bad, bad idea from their tactical situation, and she very nearly paid for it with her life... normally levelheaded Zoe would have NEVER given up tactical advantage like that if she wasn't really torn up inside over Wash.

That's Zoe's way.. not break down and bawl, but start whuppin serious ass, and she wanted reaver blood right then and it overcame her normal frosty cool.



Anyhow, it's a rockin flick, but it ain't my Firefly.

-Frem

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