Sunday, March 19, 2006

I found Serenity

Actually, a kind friend loaned it to me...

Firefly was an odd-ball American TV sci-fi series devised by the talented Joss Whedon, who had a big hit with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Cancelled after 14 episodes, in it's short production run it managed to pick up quite a cult following although it's never been shown on mainstream TV in the UK.

Slipping the first of the four DVDs into the player, it took me a while to get into.

Set at some point in the future (the box says 500 years), humanity has left earth and colonised/terra-formed a series of planets, at least 70. The inner worlds are technologically and socially quite advanced, the outer worlds much less so, a sort of cosmic third world where people still ride horses and live in a sort of 19th century poverty and society. It's hard to cope with all this, especially when it's such an obvious excuse for doing lots of Western type scenes with horses and gunfights (groan).

And yet... once I'd endured the sheer awfulness of Episode 3, I started to get it. The Serenity is the name of the Firefly class of cargo ship that is home and business to our heroes. She's unarmed, which in the staunchly conservative world of TV sci fi might make her unique. There's no teleport technology so the crew have to land everywhere they go. And what a crew it is - nine very different characters, of which at least five are quite interesting and complex.

The acting is pretty good, too and it's not that easy, as the language of the time is weird mixture of 19th century demotic American "You're not the only one who shares that notion..." and Chinese, which (bravely) is never translated. Nathan Fillion brings a suitable gravitas to the role of the captain, while the improbably named Jewel Staite is perfect playing a character who, in the hands of another actress, might be truly irritating. Only the wooden Morena Baccarin lets the side down.

Far from perfect then - but a nice way to spend a few cold evenings in front of the telly.


Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The movie is quite good, too. Have you seen it? Entitled "Serenity", it's production was a miraculous convergence of Whedon's talents and U.S. fans' obsession. Watch it on DVD if you can, so you can watch the special features.

7:39 PM  
Blogger roGER said...

No, I deliberately waited until I'd seen the TV series before looking for the film.

But thanks for the recommendation - I'll have a look for it in the local DVD rental shop soon.

10:28 AM  

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