Glenn Walker On… Firefly

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Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.

I’ll be talking about Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” and its cinematic sequel Serenity. Meet me after the jump, for some of my favorite stuff.

It may sound odd, but “Firefly” reminds me of dialysis, a type of hell I usually wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. The fact is I was pretty sick when the show began airing on Fox, and Friday nights (yeah, the death slot for scifi programming) were dialysis nights. I won’t go into detail, but it’s hard to watch TV while being dialyzed, possible, but difficult. The concentration just isn’t there. When confronted by a show about space cowboys talking Chinese slang with multiple subplots flying by like errant meteors – “Firefly” is not a show for the weak of mind.

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The show’s intellectual density, and of course the Friday night time slot may have contributed to its early demise. I got better, but “Firefly” sadly got cancelled. And like many Fox TV series cancelled after only one season, it faded from my view, for a while at least. The thing is, the fandom of “Firefly” is crazy passionate, as is most Joss Whedon fandom. I remember going to conventions and seeing costumes I did not recognize and being told it was from the show. Everyone talked about it, everyone quoted it, so I decided to give it another try.

I was never a regular viewer of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Angel,” but the dirt I had heard from other Whedonites was that his universes were complex and continuities complicated. When I didn’t catch on right away on my second attempt to this cool western dressed as a space opera, I panicked and gave up. I forgot about “Firefly” until its fervent fandom allowed a major motion picture to be made from it. By pure luck, I ended up in the theater the week when Serenity premiered.

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I had no connection to the characters, I didn’t know the universe, but not only did Joss Whedon guide me flawlessly into this world, he showed me the best damn movie I saw all year. A western in space, with zombies, and super powers – does it get much cooler than that? Yes, yes, it does. This movie has the best, the best chase scene ever.

And the characters. In one hour and fifty-nine minutes, Whedon made me care about these characters. I loved them, I laughed with them, cried with them, cheered with them. The problem is that Serenity is the end of the story. It’s over after this, all over. There is more after this, this is the end. I was heartbroken, especially when I realized that there was more to see, but that it had all taken place before this final ending. Oh yeah, I should have watched the show first.

How hard is it to forget a fantastic movie? Really really hard. But I tried, gave it a couple months, and then made my third attempt to watch “Firefly.” This time it stuck. Although some details of the end haunted me and spoiled some parts, I have to say this, it is one of my favorite TV series, and one of my favorite films. Now that I know the whole story, I love these characters and these stories all the more.

“Firefly” and Serenity are why I knew when Whedon was assigned to the Avengers film that it would be amazing as well. I have still not tackled the Buffyverse, but I know that when I do, it will be awesome. I highly recommend checking this series and film out, but remember, “Firefly” first, then Serenity.

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2 Replies to “Glenn Walker On… Firefly”

  1. I caught on well after its demise as well. And like you, I saw the movie first. My ex-wife and I had rented it, and somewhere during the course of the movie I somehow realized it was from the show, which I’d heard about and not seen.

    It was many years later, flipping through channels, that I caught it in reruns on T.V. I got hooked. But I began to wonder why it was always the same episodes I was seeing, unaware that there were only 14 of them (11 of which were aired during its original run). Like you, I had to try to un-know what I knew from the film, but the series was so good that the spoilers were able to be transcended.

    It’s still a favorite of mine today, and well-deserving of the fervor it has generated.

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