Good times for the scifi fan. Galactica is backtica, and it is good. Not too much to say about it; obviously trying times for Colonel Tigh but beyond that, things are rather slow. One thing that does bug me is they've cut back on the intro/theme, that was formerly so evocative. Pity.

The big scifi news for me: Firefly. I'd heard good things about this show, and I like Joss Whedon, so, I've had a "firefly" item set to record on the Replay for over a year now. It's playing now, and to judge by a single hour (half of a two hour episode) seen, it is tremendous. I've just seen "Serenity" (half of).

Galactica is good, but it is still TV aimed at the average viewer, or at least, average scifi fan. Which is to say, that it's easily graspable with a single viewing. I've rarely rewatched any BSG episode, and never more than twice. Firefly is... well, let me put it this way. I watched this episode five times, skipping some 30 second chunks in later viewings, but still mostly five times. I "got" it on the first time, in terms of what happened. One time was deeply satisfying. But there was so much there.

I've posted exemplars of how particular other scifi series hooked me: a smart scene, good dialog will do that. For Farscape, the scene about enslaving horses. For BSG, the cancer diagnosis scene. Well, "Serenity" had that scene for me two minutes in. Malcolm (Our Hero) has been abandoned, and ordered to surrender. He watches as the enemy Alliance forces land in the valley he's been fighting to hold for weeks. It was all for nothing. He stares in shock and disbelief at the huge Alliance ships landing. The noise of the battle fades as all he knows is the end: of his army, of his cause, of his faith. The man watching next to him is shot dead. (Classic Joss.) Fade scene, and we see him again, "six years later", in a spacesuit, upside down. Symbolism! Yes, the world has been turned upside down for poor Mal.

But that's just the first scene that grabbed me. I could go on; five, maybe ten. Wow. Here's a review from one C. A. Bridges that meets my approval.
a veteran of the losing side of a galactic civil war must find a way to survive on his own terms under the government's radar. With a small, quirky crew and a small, quirky ship, Captain Malcolm Reynolds takes on whatever job, legal or otherwise, that he can get.


You won't feel stupider afterward.

Regular television consumption will leave you with the inescapable conclusion that everyone in the world is a moron. People say stupid things, make stupid assumptions, and consistently fail to see obvious solutions because then the show would end 52 minutes too soon. You can actually feel your brain freezing up from vapor lock

The folks in "Firefly," good and bad alike, tend to do the same things you usually scream at television people to do, before you think to scream them, except when they're doing something even better. As it turns out that doesn't always help, but at least then you've got no one to blame but yourself.


You may notice I've said little about the characters. I haven't mentioned Mal's frightening pragmatism, Zoe's loyalty, Wash's sense of humor, Kaylee's sunny nature, Jayne's cheerful violence, Book's wisdom, Inara's sensuality, Simon's sacrifice, or River's peculiarities, and that's because trying to label any of them with a single description is useless. You really should meet them yourself.

So, now's your chance. See the shows as they were meant to be seen -- in order (!), with the three unaired episodes -- and enjoy a truly great science-fiction show.
I'll be watching. Bonus: libertarian applicability!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have the first episode (at least I hope it is the first) saved on the DVR and will watch tonight! I too missed the series the first time around and will not do so this time.