GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Investigating the Death of 'Agent Dubson'

POSTED BY: THESOMNAMBULIST
UPDATED: Friday, October 15, 2010 13:25
SHORT URL:
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Sunday, October 10, 2010 6:27 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


I have a question.

During Firefly, was there ever mention of an investigation for finding Lawrence Dubson's body and or his killers after the initial episode - I can't quite remember? And when the crew are questioned during Bushwacked by the Alliance officer should there not have been mention that the last known where abouts of Agent Dobson was aboard a Firefly class ship....?

Even in the film when the Operative views Mal's files -should his name not have lit up all sorts of lights saying 'possible involvement in the death of a federal agent!' or sume such?

Just wondering....?


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Sunday, October 10, 2010 6:57 AM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


This should answer your question.

Select to view spoiler:


Dobson didn't die.







wo men ren ran zai fei xing.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010 7:04 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Quote:

Originally posted by ecgordon:
This should answer your question.

Select to view spoiler:


Dobson didn't die.







wo men ren ran zai fei xing.



BUGGER! Really. When was that said? I missed it entirely


Cartoons - http://cirqusartsandmusic.blogspot.com

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Sunday, October 10, 2010 7:12 AM

RAHLMACLAREN

"Damn yokels, can't even tell a transport ship ain't got no guns on it." - Jayne Cobb


Sadly, since Serenity didn't air first, Joss didn't feel the need.

Carrying fugee's + killed Fed would have up'd the tentions even more. More Alliance. More drama. More narrow escapes.

Gorramit.

*depressed again*



--------------------------------------------------
Find here the Serenity you seek. -Tara Maclay

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Sunday, October 10, 2010 7:17 AM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:
Quote:

Originally posted by ecgordon:
This should answer your question.

Select to view spoiler:


Dobson didn't die.







wo men ren ran zai fei xing.



BUGGER! Really. When was that said? I missed it entirely


In the first comic series, "Those Left Behind."





wo men ren ran zai fei xing.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010 7:30 AM

RAHLMACLAREN

"Damn yokels, can't even tell a transport ship ain't got no guns on it." - Jayne Cobb


I'll see your...
Quote:

Originally posted by ecgordon:
This should answer your question.

Select to view spoiler:


Dobson didn't die.





And raise you a...

Select to view spoiler:


After Mal shot Dobson, didn't he check him to make sure. Even Jayne thought Dobson was buzzard food. (Yes, I read the comic.) If it's canon that he didn't die (the first time), I'll go with it. But my rule is: if Dobson gets to live, then so does Wash.




--------------------------------------------------
Find here the Serenity you seek. -Tara Maclay

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Sunday, October 10, 2010 7:33 AM

WHOZIT


In "Those left behind" (the comic) Dubson wasn't killed, my guess is if "Firefly" had lasted that story would have been an episode.



Those arn't boobs, they're lies! - Stewie Griffin

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Sunday, October 10, 2010 8:00 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Originally posted by ecgordon:
Quote:

In the first comic series, "Those Left Behind."


Ah righto. Must say it wouldn't be like Joss to leave a huge story plot like that just floating around - so figures he'd resolve it somehow...

Well thanks EC.



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Sunday, October 10, 2010 8:03 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


RahlMaclaren wrote:

Select to view spoiler:


After Mal shot Dobson, didn't he check him to make sure. Even Jayne thought Dobson was buzzard food. (Yes, I read the comic.) If it's canon that he didn't die (the first time), I'll go with it. But my rule is: if Dobson gets to live, then so does Wash.



Rahl. You realise Joss would probably have killed Wash off and maybe one or two more anyhow had the show gone on... Least this way we've only lost two. It doesn't bare thinking about what he'd have done to Inara or Kaylee!!!


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Sunday, October 10, 2010 2:58 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!


I cant find my copy of Those Left Behind...

Select to view spoiler:


...but it's my information and belief that although Dobson lived, didn't Mal kill him "again" at the end?

In which case, yes that might show up on the Cortex.

Except by then Dobson was just another outlaw working with Blue Sun, which can never be admitted due to plausible deniability. So Dobson's demise might not show up on the Cortex, even for the Operative.



That's my story and I'm stickin to it.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010 5:34 PM

GWEK


Yes, you're correct about the content of "Those Left Behind" (and I agree with your assessment of the impact).

As for Wash not being dead: He's dead and gone. Get over it.

Joss wrote Wash's death in SERENITY.

He and Tudyk have both said in interviews that Wash was always slated to die.

He even approved Wash's wake (as depicted in FLOATOUT).

WASH.

IS.

DEAD.

End of story.



www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Sunday, October 10, 2010 5:40 PM

RAHLMACLAREN

"Damn yokels, can't even tell a transport ship ain't got no guns on it." - Jayne Cobb


My point.

And so was Dobson dead at the end of Serenity (pilot).


--------------------------------------------------
Find here the Serenity you seek. -Tara Maclay

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Sunday, October 10, 2010 5:46 PM

GWEK


Except, clearly, he wasn't.

(If you haven't already, check out THOSE LEFT BEHIND to see how he survived. Incidentally, the miniseries serves as a great season finale and bridge to the movie.)

Appearance isn't everything, but I'll take the word of Joss Whedon for canon here.

Joss has stated that his intention was always to bring Dobson back.

He has also stated that his intention was always to kill off Wash.

As he has supported both of these statements by actually DOING them, I don't think there's much to dispute.

www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Sunday, October 10, 2010 6:29 PM

RAHLMACLAREN

"Damn yokels, can't even tell a transport ship ain't got no guns on it." - Jayne Cobb


*digs out my THOSE LEFT BEHIND*

Select to view spoiler:


Fair Warning.

Dobson: "You tried to kill me - you shot my freaking eye out - and dumped me to die.

I might as well have - the Law marked me as dead without so much as a search, and so I decided to stay that way."



Doesn't tell HOW he survived, only that he did.


--------------------------------------------------
Find here the Serenity you seek. -Tara Maclay

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Monday, October 11, 2010 1:03 AM

MUTT999



Mal did kill Dobson, per Joss' script in Firefly The Official Companion Volume One:

'Mal walks in behind Simon...and shoots Dobson in the face. He flies back, letting go of River and dead before he lands.'

Joss brings Dobson back, not so dead, in Those Left Behind Part 2.





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Monday, October 11, 2010 3:57 AM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Joss brings back Dobson from a bullet to the head,
(fired from a gun that DROPPED a HORSE in ONE SHOT)
in a story where ANYBODY with a grudge could have been that character.

Joss killed a beloved character to artificially create "peril" and a sense of "realism"
in a fictional world that isn't "real"
(Criminals, who are good guys and beautiful people, commit crimes without repercussions for the innocent
and without getting tossed in jail for years-long sentences).

Both are bad story-telling and both took away from the quality of the 'verse.

I'd also note that I'm surprised ya'll are trying to hold a spoiler-free discussion about a franchise that is 5 to 8 years old.
Be like trying to discuss original Star Trek without saying that Kirk defeated the Gorn...

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Monday, October 11, 2010 5:04 AM

BRUCEPLUTO


Ok, guess I’m going to have to break down and spill the beans here….. Joss and I are very close friends. I got a phone call from him just before Serenity the BDM began at the theaters. My ‘ol friend Joss was in a bit of a pickle. He asked if I had any ideas for a sequel. He was a bit distraught after having killed off Wash and Book in Serenity the movie and said if he had to do it over again he wouldn’t have done it.

‘Here’s what you do….” I told him, “So Wash and Book return for Serenity 2!”

“First of all it’s a movie Joss!” I said, “ You can do anything you damn well please! Second, it’s a science fiction movie, and if a 15 year old girl can destroy an army of reavers don’t you think you have the power to bring Wash and Book back?”

“Here’s the set-up!”

“The whole return trip back through reaver territory was made by a Serenity hologram. Mal Wash and the rest of the crew were just vapors of deception. Once they landed on Mr. Universe’s world then Mr. Universe activated his Serenity fake bots (see Lenore) and they put up the best gorram fight on the movie screen that year.”

“After the smoke settled and the dust cleared, and the Alliance went home, the real Serenity left Miranda and broadcast the second verse alert wave because the first had been intercepted by the “ Hands of Blue” guys.”

“ So in retrospect this would have been the sequel to Serenity. Wash, Book and Mr. Universe all alive and well. Joss loved the idea ( He loves happy endings) but as we all know there was no sequel.”

“So this is what happened. I will stake my million dollar yacht on it!”

I’m glad to have cleared up all the crazy speculation…and I think I just ruined my idea for my next fan-fic storyline….BP, out.

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Monday, October 11, 2010 5:05 AM

BRUCEPLUTO



PS: Book never went to Haven. He remained on Serenity the whole time.

BP

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Monday, October 11, 2010 1:56 PM

MOOSE


Actually, Mal didn't survive Serenity Valley.

The events of Firefly and Serenity are delusions of his dying mind as he lays mortally wounded at the onset of the battle
That's why he can never "leave"...
(Hopefully someone gets the reference...)

I really do hate that Dobson survived.
He got shot through the eye by a gun that killed a horse with one shot. Then he was dumped in the middle of nowhere on a shitty litte moon then there is the possibility of a crashed Reaver ship nearby...I can usually suspend my disbelief, but c'mon!!!



Its like something outta Science Fiction!

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Monday, October 11, 2010 2:23 PM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by pennausamike:
Joss brings back Dobson from a bullet to the head,
(fired from a gun that DROPPED a HORSE in ONE SHOT)
in a story where ANYBODY with a grudge could have been that character.

Joss killed a beloved character to artificially create "peril" and a sense of "realism"
in a fictional world that isn't "real"
(Criminals, who are good guys and beautiful people, commit crimes without repercussions for the innocent
and without getting tossed in jail for years-long sentences).

Both are bad story-telling and both took away from the quality of the 'verse.





I'll agree with the first, it was a bit of sloppy storytelling.

I'll disagree on the second. Found it to be a brilliant storytelling move, even if it hurt many people's feelings.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Monday, October 11, 2010 3:21 PM

AURAPTOR

America loves a winner!


Quote:

Originally posted by RahlMaclaren:
My point.

And so was Dobson dead at the end of Serenity (pilot).



Select to view spoiler:




Tara

Cordy

Wesley

Fred

Jenny

Joyce




Do I really need to go on ? This IS Joss, after all.



"The modern definition of 'racist' is someone who is winning an argument with a liberal."


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 7:50 AM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by Storymark:
Quote:

Originally posted by pennausamike:
Joss brings back Dobson from a bullet to the head,
(fired from a gun that DROPPED a HORSE in ONE SHOT)
in a story where ANYBODY with a grudge could have been that character.

Joss killed a beloved character to artificially create "peril" and a sense of "realism"
in a fictional world that isn't "real"
(Criminals, who are good guys and beautiful people, commit crimes without repercussions for the innocent
and without getting tossed in jail for years-long sentences).

Both are bad story-telling and both took away from the quality of the 'verse.





I'll agree with the first, it was a bit of sloppy storytelling.

I'll disagree on the second. Found it to be a brilliant storytelling move, even if it hurt many people's feelings.




I found Wash's death in Serenity to be gratuitous.
What makes you feel it was a brilliant storytelling move?

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 8:02 AM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by pennausamike:
Quote:

Originally posted by Storymark:
Quote:

Originally posted by pennausamike:
Joss brings back Dobson from a bullet to the head,
(fired from a gun that DROPPED a HORSE in ONE SHOT)
in a story where ANYBODY with a grudge could have been that character.

Joss killed a beloved character to artificially create "peril" and a sense of "realism"
in a fictional world that isn't "real"
(Criminals, who are good guys and beautiful people, commit crimes without repercussions for the innocent
and without getting tossed in jail for years-long sentences).

Both are bad story-telling and both took away from the quality of the 'verse.





I'll agree with the first, it was a bit of sloppy storytelling.

I'll disagree on the second. Found it to be a brilliant storytelling move, even if it hurt many people's feelings.




I found Wash's death in Serenity to be gratuitous.
What makes you feel it was a brilliant storytelling move?



Well, as you yourself mentioned, it ratcheted up the tension and the stakes, making the final act of the film much more intense than it would have been if they all got away.

Which is good storytelling - making the most out of the story at hand, bringing the greatest emotional punch. It's not just about giving everyone a happy ending so that no one goes away sad.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 10:23 AM

TWO

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


I've heard Firefly called the Anti-Star Trek, but I believe Joss Whedon could learn storytelling tricks from Gene Roddenberry. There has to be reasons, which Joss Whedon can control, why Star Trek movies and TV were big commercial successes while Serenity and Firefly were not.

What follows is a transcript of 5 actors (Jonathan Frakes, Host Whoopi Goldberg, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Patrick Stewart) explaining why Trek was successful. It is from Star Trek The Captains Summit - [2009]. I dream there is some ingredient in Trek that Joss doesn't use enough of in his own shows. I know that is the same as believing in happily ever after fairy tales. Were it that easy, every show would be a commercial success.

www.subtitlesource.org/title/tt1394315
www.subtitlesource.org/subs/62212/Star.Trek.The.Captains.Summit.720p.B
luRay.DD2.0.x264


The best thing that ever happened to me in terms of contacts, as we're being serious now, was a letter I got from a police sergeant in the Las Vegas police force. And he'd said that he enjoyed the show, but most particularly he said, "There are bad days in the job that I do, really bad days when my view of humanity and of the world is low. I see some awful things. When that happens, when that day comes to an end, my response to it is to go home and put in a tape of Star Trek. And I feel that things will get better."
Yeah, that's great.

Is that Gene [Roddenberry's] legacy? That he actually left us with something, some great possibility of what mankind could be?

He had a great belief in mankind's capabilities. He had great...
He had real belief that the future was going to be the way Star Trek was.
Yeah, he had a great vision.

His vision of hope was exactly what drove... You know, when we started doing this show, there were stories about the Chariots of the Gods, the whole concept that maybe we have been visited by a previous incarnation of some kind and had built the pyramids and then gone away or whatever, and he said, "That's rubbish." He said, "These wonderful things were all done by mankind, not by any ancient astronauts that came here from some other planet. They were all done by mankind and mankind should take the credit for it and move forward and continue to do wonderful things."

I'm sure that's true about Gene. But also there is a real commercial aspect to that view. And that is when I was doing a show involving EMTs and it was called Rescue 911, we found and ultimately built on that, that the shows that were most successful were the ones where people were saved. You had a positive note. Here comes the EMTs, and you're gonna be okay. Whereas in fact about 80% of the calls result in death, but we didn't dramatize those.

How awful it was, it is. And subsequently it was proved by another show that Gene did, was if the view of the future was bad, people didn't wanna see that. But to know that we would exist 300 years from now, that we will overcome this environmental crisis that we're facing, this catastrophe that we're all hurtling towards, that will be cured by the very technology that is doing it. To know that that is true and to know that people will evolve and become better, even though there's a great deal of evidence to the contrary, that's a positive note and people want to see that.

Because, ultimately, we all want to have faith.
It's fundamentally the reason for the success of the series.
-Don't you think? That argument.
-Absolutely.

I think people are inspired by the anti-sexism and anti-racism that was practiced on all the shows for the last 40 years. And the hope of that possibility, given what's going on in the world. I hear it from people every day. The same thing that you hear from this Vegas cop. That when things go bad, I go back to the show where something...

The Joss Whedon script for "Serenity", where Wash lives, is
Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/two

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 10:49 AM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by two:
I've heard Firefly called the Anti-Star Trek, but I believe Joss Whedon could learn storytelling tricks from Gene Roddenberry. There has to be reasons, which Joss Whedon can control, why Star Trek movies and TV were big commercial successes while Serenity and Firefly were not.




Challenging material is rarely widely popular. The term "lowest common denominator" exists for a reason, beyond math.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:22 AM

ZEEK


Star Trek has it's place and all, but it's not an even remotely believable future IMO. Firefly made the point that even in the future we are still humans with the same basic problems we face today. That seems spot on to me. It made the show seem grounded in a way that Trek just doesn't.

Talk of changing something to make it more like Trek sounds like what Fox executives were probably thinking. "Can we get 20% more klingons?" We already have Star Trek. Can't hurt to try something new.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:30 AM

BYTEMITE


Well, I've been in this argument before, and I also found Wash's death gratuitous and unnecessary. It's not about oh no, he died, a story can't end SAD. People really need to stop making this accusation, it's a strawman. Some of my favourite stories are tragedies. I'm not upset because Wash died, frankly I didn't identify much with Wash as a character, and wasn't affected by his death.

My complaint is that Wash's death was poorly executed in my opinion PERIOD. It's about the impact and the use of the death as a story telling device. Even Zoe isn't allowed much of a reaction over his death. Are we supposed to be feeling this? Because I didn't feel it.

Select to view spoiler:


Quick comparison: I felt more of a reaction over Ballard's death in Dollhouse because of Echo's speech afterwards than I did Wash's death... And I HATED Ballard, and I HATED the Ballard/Echo pairing. Joss can do a good death scene, but he copped out with Wash.



Also, I argue Joss is regretting it now, because all the comic books so far have been written so Wash can still be in them. Wash was the author avatar, after all, the character Joss could channel his sense of humour and commentary on situations into. Writing yourself into a CORNER is a mistake, not good storytelling. Wash's death added nothing to the movie, and it probably didn't do the franchise any favours.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:34 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by pennausamike:
I'd also note that I'm surprised ya'll are trying to hold a spoiler-free discussion about a franchise that is 5 to 8 years old.



My oh my. QFT, needs to be signature quoted.

Regarding the original TV series Star Trek: it was not successful, it cancellation was attempted during and after it's first season, but was fought against by the studio head which produced TOS (Desilu Studios). At that time, Lucille Ball was one of the most powerful women in Television.
TOS was eventually cancelled after the third season, due to perpetually dismal ratings.
Try not to reinvent history, that's what the looney lefties do in RWED.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:41 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:
I have a question.

During Firefly, was there ever mention of an investigation for finding Lawrence Dubson's body and or his killers after the initial episode - I can't quite remember? And when the crew are questioned during Bushwacked by the Alliance officer should there not have been mention that the last known where abouts of Agent Dobson was aboard a Firefly class ship....?

Even in the film when the Operative views Mal's files -should his name not have lit up all sorts of lights saying 'possible involvement in the death of a federal agent!' or sume such?

Just wondering....?




Back to the original question, assuming the discussion is still desired.
1. Dobson's assignment was to tail River and bring in the Alliance. Therefore, if Dobson was known to have disappeared in connection to Mal or Serenity, then the show would have ended by the second episode - unlikely in Joss' scripts. It then follows that the Alliance did not have knowledge that Dobson was connected with Mal or Serenity. Not to give out spoilers, but this means that Alliance did not know which ship Dobson departed Eavesdown Docks on, did not get enough of his signal from Serenity before Wash scrambled it, and/or did not get an ID on Serenity before she rabbited right after KayLee was shot, and did not know Dobsons last expected repository on Whitefall.

Maybe that is the only point I'll make.
But in support of it, Dobson was under cover, so not in constant communication with his unit.
You also forget that they went to an Alliance ship in Safe, to save Book.

However, that does remind me of a problem I keep forgetting.
How does Serenity outrun The Alliance ship(s) after KayLee is shot? It's a slow ancient transport ship. They knew during the Salvage job for Badger, that they needed the decoys deployed in order fort he Alliance to choose to not chase them. Whenever they go up against the Alliance directly, they need the decoys or other tricks. Cry Baby, Pulse Beacon, multiple Nav Beacons, they know they cannot outrun Alliance ships in their 14-year-old medium cargo ship.
When Simon directs they rabbit after kayLee is shot, they have no props pre-set, so how do they evade the Alliance.
Anybody know?

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:57 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

ow does Serenity outrun The Alliance ship(s) after KayLee is shot? It's a slow ancient transport ship. They knew during the Salvage job for Badger, that they needed the decoys deployed in order fort he Alliance to choose to not chase them. Whenever they go up against the Alliance directly, they need the decoys or other tricks. Cry Baby, Pulse Beacon, multiple Nav Beacons, they know they cannot outrun Alliance ships in their 14-year-old medium cargo ship.
When Simon directs they rabbit after kayLee is shot, they have no props pre-set, so how do they evade the Alliance.
Anybody know?



During the salvage operation when they use the crybaby to distract the Alliance cruise, that's to get them to redirect the compliment of much faster ASREVs waiting in the hanger.

Cruisers are very slow. ASREVs deployed in the defense of cruisers and interception are not.

An ASREV was the ship that the corrupt Fed Womack was chasing Serenity with in The Message.

My assumption is the cruiser was not yet close enough to get a good bearing off Serenity to deploy it's ASREVs to the location. Not good enough triangulation = miles off the mark.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 12:21 PM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by Storymark:
Quote:

Originally posted by pennausamike:
Quote:

Originally posted by Storymark:
Quote:

Originally posted by pennausamike:
Joss brings back Dobson from a bullet to the head,
(fired from a gun that DROPPED a HORSE in ONE SHOT)
in a story where ANYBODY with a grudge could have been that character.

Joss killed a beloved character to artificially create "peril" and a sense of "realism"
in a fictional world that isn't "real"
(Criminals, who are good guys and beautiful people, commit crimes without repercussions for the innocent
and without getting tossed in jail for years-long sentences).

Both are bad story-telling and both took away from the quality of the 'verse.





I'll agree with the first, it was a bit of sloppy storytelling.

I'll disagree on the second. Found it to be a brilliant storytelling move, even if it hurt many people's feelings.




I found Wash's death in Serenity to be gratuitous.
What makes you feel it was a brilliant storytelling move?



Well, as you yourself mentioned, it ratcheted up the tension and the stakes, making the final act of the film much more intense than it would have been if they all got away.

Which is good storytelling - making the most out of the story at hand, bringing the greatest emotional punch. It's not just about giving everyone a happy ending so that no one goes away sad.



My point was, in using the quotes around "peril" and "realism" and the word artificially, that killing Wash out of nowhere DIDN'T ratchet anything up.
The peril was already there.
The chase was on, both Reavers and Alliance in hot pursuit;
Wash's death was a throwaway author's trick.
A gratuitous trick that, for me, brought nothing to the story being told and cut off an important line of story telling were the franchise to continue.

When I first saw the movie, having never seen Firefly, Wash's death didn't really register beyond, "what a waste".
After I saw and emotionally invested in the Firefly characters,
I felt betrayed by the creator for no reason.
Now that I find that investing audiences in his characters,
then randomly killing them is a Joss trademark,
I find myself increasingly less interested in Joss' work.

The fact that Joss would approve bringing back a NON-character like Dobson,
but kill a meaningful character like Wash;
is nonsensical to my storytelling sensibilities.

Mike

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 12:36 PM

STORYMARK


Well, that's great for you. But when I saw it, I did know the characters already, and his death did greatly increase the tension.

Maybe you would have thought they were in just as much danger had no one been hurt, but I don't. What you say is cheap and artificial, I saw as necessary.

And your use of words like "betrayed" is pretty much exactly what I'm talking about with the hurt feelings comment. What you see as "random" I see as very deliberate and calculated - and feel that the writing on display reflects this.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 2:10 PM

TWO

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by pennausamike:
After I saw and emotionally invested in the Firefly characters,
I felt betrayed by the creator for no reason.
Now that I find that investing audiences in his characters,
then randomly killing them is a Joss trademark,
I find myself increasingly less interested in Joss' work.

The fact that Joss would approve bringing back a NON-character like Dobson,
but kill a meaningful character like Wash;
is nonsensical to my storytelling sensibilities.

Mike

Leonard Nimoy has a story about the killing of his character, Spock, in Star Trek II. Gene Roddenberry had not thought about it clearly, analogous to Joss Whedon killing Wash. Spock must die but there was an escape clause appended on the very last day Nimoy is on the set.

Leonard Nimoy explains how a major screw-up in a screenplay is repaired. Joss' producer on Serenity should have ordered Joss to fix Wash's death, somehow, someway. This is one example of how that is done in Hollywood, according to Nimoy:
We really had planned to be finished with the Spock character. And I was depressed because the film was going so well, and I thought, "We're making a big mistake here." I mean, Star Trek II was being made and being made very, very well. It was a good script, well directed, well acted. And here we came down to my last day.

And... Anyway, fortunately, just before the final death scene, where I'm going into this chamber to save the ship and die, out comes the producer and says to me, "Is there anything you can do or say that would leave a thread for the future?"

I thought, "Whoa!" That's... Wow. This is momentous. So I said I could do a mind meld on DeForest Kelley, who was lying there unconscious, or semi-conscious, and I could just say a word to him, and he said, "What would the word be?"

And I said, "I'll say, 'Remember.'" That's ambiguous enough to be picked up as a thread to anything. And that's exactly what happened. I said, "Remember," and we built the next film on that word.

The above quote is from Star Trek The Captains Summit - [2009] - www.subtitlesource.org/title/tt1394315

The Joss Whedon script for "Serenity", where Wash lives, is
Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/two

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 2:18 PM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by Storymark:

Well, that's great for you. But when I saw it, I did know the characters already, and his death did greatly increase the tension.

Maybe you would have thought they were in just as much danger had no one been hurt, but I don't. What you say is cheap and artificial, I saw as necessary.



Right...
Quote:


When I first saw the movie, having never seen Firefly, Wash's death didn't really register beyond, "what a waste".



...and I don't know how a storyteller reconciles two such divergent audience viewpoints.

But...

Quote:

Originally posted by Storymark:

And your use of words like "betrayed" is pretty much exactly what I'm talking about with the hurt feelings comment. What you see as "random" I see as very deliberate and calculated - and feel that the writing on display reflects this.



Quote:


After I saw and emotionally invested in the Firefly characters,
I felt betrayed by the creator for no reason.



...The sense of betrayal comes from deeper investment in the story and characters.

I see such writing as self-destructive within the context of the story being told.
If Firefly/Serenity were some heavy drama, grounded in reality, random killing of characters might make sense.
But Firefly especially is NOT real; it is a fantasy where pretty, fun people play at being bad guys without killing innocents or getting caught.
Investing the audience in characters only to eliminate them is out-of-place storytelling and drives audiences from investing further.

While obviously not the only thing, the out-of-place dark elements contributed to BDM Serenity's poor box office showing.
The happy ending brings audiences back for repeat viewings, the downer ending only works in weepers like "Terms of Endearment" or "Titanic".

I'm glad BDM Serenity was a satisfying experience for some folks, but the fact that the death of Wash aligns with the death of the franchise is more than coincidence for me.

Mike



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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:52 PM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Quote:

...The sense of betrayal comes from deeper investment in the story and characters.

I see such writing as self-destructive within the context of the story being told.
If Firefly/Serenity were some heavy drama, grounded in reality, random killing of characters might make sense.
But Firefly especially is NOT real; it is a fantasy where pretty, fun people play at being bad guys without killing innocents or getting caught.
Investing the audience in characters only to eliminate them is out-of-place storytelling and drives audiences from investing further.

While obviously not the only thing, the out-of-place dark elements contributed to BDM Serenity's poor box office showing.
The happy ending brings audiences back for repeat viewings, the downer ending only works in weepers like "Terms of Endearment" or "Titanic".

I'm glad BDM Serenity was a satisfying experience for some folks, but the fact that the death of Wash aligns with the death of the franchise is more than coincidence for me.

Mike



Thing is though Mike that Joss as a creative individual has to tell the story that he wants to tell. I don't believe he would want to compromise the narrative he had in order to possibly receive the green light for a sequel. Given the cancellation of the show the chances Universal would also give him a sequel were unlikely, therefore better to tell the story he wants (as he was given a second chance) than to settle for something he would not entirely be happy with, and have that out there for the rest of his career.

I personally don't see the dark as out of place. And while Firefly was based on a fantasy premise it's characters were very much routed in reality, and that's why we liked them.

The poor box office need not ncessarily be down to this either (and I realise you mention it as a contributing factor and that may well be) but one of the highest grossing films of all time (TITANIC) didn't have a happy ending.

Therefore you have to produce the work in an honset way and from the heart. And I believe that's exactly what Joss does. Can you really ask for more from an artist?


Cartoons - http://cirqusartsandmusic.blogspot.com

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 3:52 AM

ZEEK


Quote:

Originally posted by pennausamike:
...The sense of betrayal comes from deeper investment in the story and characters.

I see such writing as self-destructive within the context of the story being told.
If Firefly/Serenity were some heavy drama, grounded in reality, random killing of characters might make sense.
But Firefly especially is NOT real; it is a fantasy where pretty, fun people play at being bad guys without killing innocents or getting caught.
Investing the audience in characters only to eliminate them is out-of-place storytelling and drives audiences from investing further.

While obviously not the only thing, the out-of-place dark elements contributed to BDM Serenity's poor box office showing.
The happy ending brings audiences back for repeat viewings, the downer ending only works in weepers like "Terms of Endearment" or "Titanic".

I'm glad BDM Serenity was a satisfying experience for some folks, but the fact that the death of Wash aligns with the death of the franchise is more than coincidence for me.

Mike


I understand that those are your impressions of the film, but they definitely do not apply to everyone. I didn't feel betrayed at all by Wash's death. I actually felt more betrayed that Book died without revealing his backstory. I think both of their deaths were absolutely essential to making the final battle feel very intense. One death feels like a token death these days. Killing 2 of the main characters really starts to make you wonder.

When Zoe got sliced, Kaylee got hit by darts, Simon got shot, River got pulled away by reavers and Mal got impaled I really did believe that any one of them could die if not all of the crew. When Simon got shot I turned to my friend and whispered "is he really going to kill them all?".

The deaths left the door open that the crew really might not make it. If no one had died it would feel like any other movie where the protagonists are in situations where they shouldn't survive but it's a movie so you don't really think anything bad will happen to them. Joss thoroughly took away that safety blanket for me. He did that by killing well established characters that we're invested in. If he killed Fanty and Mingo it wouldn't have had any impact. Sorta like how no one complains that Joss killed Mr. Universe. It had no emotional impact because we aren't invested in the character.

I saw the movie at least 4 times in theaters (that I can remember). I've gone to CSTS screenings every year since. I don't think the movie needed a happy ending to get repeat customers.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 4:18 AM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:

Thing is though Mike that Joss as a creative individual has to tell the story that he wants to tell. I don't believe he would want to compromise the narrative he had in order to possibly receive the green light for a sequel.



Joss did it with the original Firefly pilot.
The changes he made to appease the FOX creative heads are some of the fans' favorite elements of the show.

Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:

Given the cancellation of the show the chances Universal would also give him a sequel were unlikely, therefore better to tell the story he wants (as he was given a second chance) than to settle for something he would not entirely be happy with, and have that out there for the rest of his career.



And I'd agree, except the story was so compressed, I'm not sure it was really told.
I don't know that Joss didn't metaphorically kill Firefly/Serenity by killing himself/Wash...

Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:

I personally don't see the dark as out of place. And while Firefly was based on a fantasy premise it's characters were very much routed in reality, and that's why we liked them.



That's a whole 'nother discussion!
I would define what Joss did was to create VERY unrealistic characters that,
by speaking to the audiences' psyche,
FEEL realistic, even tho' they aren't, really.
I could write a character by character analysis about the unrealities of each character, and yet, why they touch our hearts.
The "hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold", the "loveable-thug", the "farm-girl-nuclear-spaceship-engineer", the "bitter-but-honorable-criminal-captain"....these are "REAL" characters?
Only in fiction, but I loved them, too.

Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:

The poor box office need not ncessarily be down to this either (and I realise you mention it as a contributing factor and that may well be) but one of the highest grossing films of all time (TITANIC) didn't have a happy ending.



Titanic was a weeper about the most famous shipwreck in history.
Totally different audience.
BDM Serenity is a sci-fi action flick.
I think it would have helped to stay true to that milieu.

Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:

Therefore you have to produce the work in an honset way and from the heart. And I believe that's exactly what Joss does. Can you really ask for more from an artist?



As mentioned about the Firefly pilot, Joss "compromised" his vision for commercial reasons.
Those compromises improved the final product/story.
FOX Entertainment made Firefly better.
They GOT Firefly.

The short-sighted executives at FOX Broadcasting killed Firefly.
They didn't GET anything that wasn't "American Idol".

Point is, Joss is in a business to please his audience.
Firefly is standing up to long-term examination better than the BDM Serenity.
Even at the post showing Q&A in Australia, the audience stated that they wanted more Firefly more than they wanted more BDM Serenity.

Not sure it really matters.
With the new movie deal, I think life has carried Joss beyond Firefly.

Mike

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 4:58 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:
Thing is though Mike that Joss as a creative individual has to tell the story that he wants to tell. I don't believe he would want to compromise the narrative he had in order to possibly receive the green light for a sequel. Given the cancellation of the show the chances Universal would also give him a sequel were unlikely, therefore better to tell the story he wants (as he was given a second chance) than to settle for something he would not entirely be happy with, and have that out there for the rest of his career.



Agreed, however, I don't think the movie Serenity was the story he wanted to tell. He wanted to tell a 7-year series, where secrets about Wash and Book would have come out before they died (and they would have, I have enough faith in Joss to acknowledge he probably did plan to kill them).

Compressed into the time frame of the movie, Joss didn't get to tell us things about the characters he wanted to. He was trying to wrap things up, and in the end he did something that it now seems like he regrets, but can't admit he regrets because of artistic integrity.

Quote:

I personally don't see the dark as out of place. And while Firefly was based on a fantasy premise it's characters were very much routed in reality, and that's why we liked them.


The dark wasn't out of place. Wash and Book were going to die eventually, and Kaylee, River, Mal, or Inara are probably going to die next.

The movie was just not the most optimal setting to tell the story Joss wanted to tell.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:02 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:
And when the crew are questioned during Bushwacked by the Alliance officer should there not have been mention that the last known where abouts of Agent Dobson was aboard a Firefly class ship....?


Could be that his failure (and death/disappearance) in a non-Parliament-sanctioned black bag op resulted in the permanent dumping of all info on the mission to keep things simple.

I wasn't a fan of bringing him back myself. In my mind, Mal ended him with that shot.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:15 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

"is he really going to kill them all?".


There's no way he would have killed all the crew; the point of the movie was sending out a big damn hail mary.

If Firefly/Serenity were a dystopian drama, If Joss were the Orwellian type, maybe it would have ended that way, with the Operative crushing the recording file underfoot without ever looking at it. That's called a "Shoot the Shaggy Dog Story," where nothing is accomplished and the futility of the efforts of the main characters is emphasized. In Orwellian stories, this works, because the message is "these people are scary, don't let them take power."

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ShootTheShaggyDog

Despite a penchant for killing off his characters, Joss is not this writer. Joss believes these people HAVE taken power, the endings he writes are "hey! wake up! It's still possible to win!" He finished Angel and Buffy by STOPPING The End Of The World As We Know It, not having it happen anyway. This is the series he loved that broke his heart, the story he would tell if he got a chance to. For an ending, he's not going to be going for the message "nothing in this story mattered."

I admit that Book's death would not be sufficient to raise concerns that everyone might die. Too much of a time gap between that and the end battle.

Although... Heh. You're right. One death is a cop-out. But maybe two is a cop-out too, if the purpose is to ratchet up tension. Desensitization of the audience and darkness induced apathy. There's a losing battle if I saw one. This is a trope that seriously needs to be deconstructed, and soon, for the sake of storytelling everywhere.

I can accept Book's death if only because within the context of the movie, it worked, and there was a story-related reason for it. He gives Mal the push to do what needs doing.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:49 AM

ZEEK


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Quote:

"is he really going to kill them all?".


There's no way he would have killed all the crew; the point of the movie was sending out a big damn hail mary.

If Firefly/Serenity were a dystopian drama, If Joss were the Orwellian type, maybe it would have ended that way, with the Operative crushing the recording file underfoot without ever looking at it. That's called a "Shoot the Shaggy Dog Story," where nothing is accomplished and the futility of the efforts of the main characters is emphasized. In Orwellian stories, this works, because the message is "these people are scary, don't let them take power."

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ShootTheShaggyDog

Despite a penchant for killing off his characters, Joss is not this writer. Joss believes these people HAVE taken power, the endings he writes are "hey! wake up! It's still possible to win!" He finished Angel and Buffy by STOPPING The End Of The World As We Know It, not having it happen anyway. This is the series he loved that broke his heart, the story he would tell if he got a chance to. For an ending, he's not going to be going for the message "nothing in this story mattered."

I admit that Book's death would not be sufficient to raise concerns that everyone might die. Too much of a time gap between that and the end battle.

Although... Heh. You're right. One death is a cop-out. But maybe two is a cop-out too, if the purpose is to ratchet up tension. Desensitization of the audience and darkness induced apathy. There's a losing battle if I saw one. This is a trope that seriously needs to be deconstructed, and soon, for the sake of storytelling everywhere.


Why isn't Joss that type of writer? He already "broke the rules" apparently by killing established characters and not providing a happy ending. I think Joss is very capable of giving us the emotional story that he decides to give us.

I actually didn't think that they'd utterly fail even if they all died. I figured the operative would watch the recording and they'd convert him. It would be a tragic victory.

I could see the audience being desensitized to the character deaths if they hadn't seen Firefly. However, for those who had seen Firefly I think every death would have a very real impact. Even if Jayne was the last man standing fans of Firefly would still hope he'd survive and start a crew of his own. I don't see any character as being expendable.

Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
I can accept Book's death if only because within the context of the movie, it worked, and there was a story-related reason for it. He gives Mal the push to do what needs doing.


We're just totally different people then. Book's death was annoying because he got to put in his last words. It was scripted garbage that stands out like a sore thumb. Wash just died. He didn't get to say goodbye. Zoe didn't get time to cry out in pain. It was shocking and more realistic.

Joss's works are interesting to me for just that reason. He doesn't follow the predictable plot lines we've seen over and over again. Even when I expect the story to be going a certain direction I'm often surprised by the twists and turns. That's entertaining to me.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:58 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Why isn't Joss that type of writer? He already "broke the rules" apparently by killing established characters and not providing a happy ending. I think Joss is very capable of giving us the emotional story that he decides to give us.


The term you're looking for is "bittersweet victory," which is what Serenity ends up being, and is what Joss writes. (Which itself is not exactly "breaking the rules" but pretty much expected nowadays, really. Lucky for us, tropes are not bad)

He doesn't write downer endings where everyone dies. YET. >_>

<_<

Let's hope he doesn't read this thread and get IDEAS. XD

But yes, I also think Joss is more than capable of bringing the emotional pain, which is why I was disappointed by Wash's death. To me, the death fell flat. However, I still trust him because of his previous successes in the emotional arena, and I believe that he can and will do a good job with the rest of Firefly/Serenity. Plenty more tearjerkers and schadenfreude to come.

Quote:

We're just totally different people then. Book's death was annoying because he got to put in his last words. It was scripted garbage that stands out like a sore thumb. Wash just died. He didn't get to say goodbye. Zoe didn't get time to cry out in pain. It was shocking and more realistic.

Joss's works are interesting to me for just that reason. He doesn't follow the predictable plot lines we've seen over and over again. Even when I expect the story to be going a certain direction I'm often surprised by the twists and turns. That's entertaining to me.



No, you're still mischaracterizing me. I like unpredictable as well. When Saffron was first introduced in OMR, I was playing a game with someone online, and stopping to watch a few minutes, and pausing Firefly to go back to my game and exclaim in delight when each new twist happened. Saffron becoming the Vamp was BRILLIANCE and I loved it, never saw it coming. The morning after the wedding had me in tears I was laughing so hard.

Unfortunately, killing people for shock value, despite causing shock, is not new, edgy, or unpredictable in a storytelling sense.

What I don't like is flawed storytelling. Killing Wash was flawed storytelling, IMO.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 6:08 AM

STORYMARK


Why do people keep saying it was a "random" death when it happens as part of a huge extended chase/action scene. Seriously, whould they have put out a memo first?

I still have yet to see any explaination or rationale as to why it was such a terrible storytelling choice beyond variations of "I really didn't want Wash to die".


"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 6:19 AM

ZEEK


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
The term you're looking for is "bittersweet victory," which is what Serenity ends up being, and is what Joss writes. (Which itself is not exactly "breaking the rules" but pretty much expected nowadays, really. Lucky for us, tropes are not bad)

He doesn't write downer endings where everyone dies. YET. >_>

<_<

Let's hope he doesn't read this thread and get IDEAS. XD


So, now he is capable of it? So confusing.


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:

But yes, I also think Joss is more than capable of bringing the emotional pain, which is why I was disappointed by Wash's death. To me, the death fell flat. However, I still trust him because of his previous successes in the emotional arena, and I believe that he can and will do a good job with the rest of Firefly/Serenity. Plenty more tearjerkers and schadenfreude to come.

Quote:

We're just totally different people then. Book's death was annoying because he got to put in his last words. It was scripted garbage that stands out like a sore thumb. Wash just died. He didn't get to say goodbye. Zoe didn't get time to cry out in pain. It was shocking and more realistic.

Joss's works are interesting to me for just that reason. He doesn't follow the predictable plot lines we've seen over and over again. Even when I expect the story to be going a certain direction I'm often surprised by the twists and turns. That's entertaining to me.



No, you're still mischaracterizing me. I like unpredictable as well. When Saffron was first introduced in OMR, I was playing a game with someone online, and stopping to watch a few minutes, and pausing Firefly to go back to my game and exclaim in delight when each new twist happened. Saffron becoming the Red Sonja was BRILLIANCE and I loved it, never saw it coming. The morning after the wedding had me in tears I was laughing so hard.

Unfortunately, killing people for shock value, despite causing shock, is not new, edgy, or unpredictable in a storytelling sense.

What I don't like is flawed storytelling. Killing Wash was flawed storytelling, IMO.


I say agree to disagree. It was the best part of the whole movie to me.

And how can something be shocking and predictable other than getting an actual electric shock that is planned?

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 6:45 AM

CHRISISALL


LOL, good one Story.

I hated that Wash died, I wouldn't have done it myself. But Joss has a vision of his tale.
You wanna tell God, "Dude, you suck for flooding the Earth that one time..."?



Like it or not, it's THE STORY.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 6:51 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

And how can something be shocking and predictable other than getting an actual electric shock that is planned?


*points*

Quote:

Why do people keep saying it was a "random" death when it happens as part of a huge extended chase/action scene. Seriously, whould they have put out a memo first?


And besides, we're talking in terms of story telling, where killing someone to ratchet up tension has become SO common place that the audience doesn't even get worried unless TWO characters die.

Seriously, there's a problem here with this trope. I don't think this trope is actually shocking at all. Which is why I was utterly unaffected by Wash's death.

Furthermore, I can continue to think someone is a good writer even if I think they've written themselves into a corner. Joss Whedon is a good writer. What caused the writing into a corner was trying to use a trope that's hit or miss in application in order to add more angst, as is his want. The problem I am complaining about here is the "Anyone can Die" TROPE, not Joss Whedon.

We are not discussing Joss Whedon's skill, he clearly has it, and I, at least, am not arguing that Joss Whedon should compromise his artistic vision and principles by being less angsty. I am discussing specifically whether Wash's death at this point was useful in terms of the storyline. Seeing as Joss Whedon has indirectly indicated he would like to keep writing stories where Wash is still around... *shrug* It doesn't seem like it to me.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 6:56 AM

BYTEMITE


I see people are going to continue trying to mischaracterize me as "trying to tell Joss what to do" rather than me just trying to have a discussion about the effectiveness of Wash's death.

Also that the battlelines are being drawn with the true Joss fans amassing to attack the evil heretic. I suppose it is definitely time to agree to disagree.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 7:00 AM

ZEEK


I don't see this as a "true Joss fan" thing. We just disagree. You think killing Wash didn't work. Others think it worked really well. What's left to discuss?

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 7:07 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:

Also that the battlelines are being drawn with the true Joss fans amassing to attack the evil heretic.

Not at all, Byte!
You are a very nice heretic!

JK- it all comes down to the individual. I hate that Wash died, but I still love Serenity. I can see why those that wanted Wash to live, for emotional, or storytelling reasons have their opinions. And mostly, I respect them. But it's Joss' 'Verse.
Just sayin'.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 7:12 AM

TWO

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
We are not discussing Joss Whedon's skill, he clearly has it, and I, at least, am not arguing that Joss Whedon should compromise his artistic vision and principles by being less angsty. I am discussing specifically whether Wash's death at this point was useful in terms of the storyline. Seeing as Joss Whedon has indirectly indicated he would like to keep writing stories where Wash is still around... *shrug* It doesn't seem like it to me.

I've got to be rude about Joss' skill in setting a scene.

Nobody noticed since we've never been shot by a firing squad, but Wash's death was random bullshit because Wash was looking straight out the window at the Reaver ship. He could see the projectile coming! The Reaver ship was big as a house and in his face! How could Wash not see!? Because Joss wouldn't let him look.

In the mechanics of Wash's death, it's obvious Joss just did not think it through. Quick fix: turn Serenity sideways to the Reavers then Wash couldn't see death coming straight at his head. Serenity was computer graphics - Joss could do it, if he had planned ahead. I guess that Joss thinks it is sufficient to place the movie camera where only the audience can't see the Reavers.

The Joss Whedon script for "Serenity", where Wash lives, is
Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/two

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