Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 13ish: A Fan of Firefly

Yes, I recognize that I’m running a day behind. Assuming I don’t pass out (again), I’ll post again this evening.

Since I’m attempting to catch up, I figured I’d write an easy post on the good things about Firefly, as determined by The Nerd.

1. The characters. From Captain Mal to Shepard Book, each character is unique, mysterious, and very       likely to subvert expectations. There are no true heroes in the show, instead they are people put into extreme situations that generally come up with extreme answers.
a. My favorite character, though there isn’t a single one I dislike, would be Captain Mal. He is a true outlaw, which many shows try to make a “white knight.” Captain Mal isn’t afraid to kill an enemy, but he isn’t without a personal honor code that he will never break. His history as a soldier on the losing side is the perfect cowboy dossier, and it is refreshing to see the cowboy shtick outside of a Western. More so when it is done well, which it was here.

2. The setting. Set in the future with space travel, new frontiers, and a very Western air in regards to settling new territory while still being under the yoke of an over-sized government. It’s well-crafted and amazingly diverse. Being set after a giant civil war adds to the cowboy setting but it never restricted what we would see on the show. Many of the characters felt contemporary, even while working alongside obvious cowboy-types. Also, the technology was refreshing – old-looking slug shooters firing off next to lasers almost gave the show a steampunk feel which wasn’t overdone, as most ‘punk pieces are wont to do.

"War's long done. We're all just folk now."
3. The cast. Before this show, I’d never heard of any of these actors. True, they had been in other things (Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured at least one of them), but these were all relatively new faces. And they absolutely killed their roles. I do not doubt that the characters would have been much less successful if not cast just so. Success being measured on how much I like them, of course…

4. Revealing of backgrounds. There was no expose to introduce us to characters. We got them in the present and learned about their current personas as they were. Many we would eventually catch glimpses of, be is flashbacks with Mal, insightful comments from Book, or realizing that Jane really has always been a scum bag. Even the archetypes in the show were made compelling, possibly because punches weren’t pulled. It’s a very “Han shot first” universe, and the characters’ pasts are gritty, not idealized.

5. The potential. While the show was incredibly short lived, every coming episode was a hidden treasure because the show wasn’t restricted to being on thing. It ranged from your standard Western fare to a more high-tech heist scheme, to an emotional rollercoaster. Each character had unexplored stories and none of them truly got their personal desires for the future recognized or revealed, something that could have carried the show in any setting, much less one with nearly infinite potential.
This image tells so much...

In an effort to post this quicker, I’ll submit it as is. These were some of the most important reasons why I watched and enjoyed the show. Someday I’d like to do a character break down because, truly, each character was interesting and a concrete example of how to use archetypes to extreme advantage. I’ll make a week of it soon, I think.
Ah, curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

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