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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Watching Firefly For The First Time: Pilot ...

I like what I like. And I like it a lot.

See, I'm a man who likes and takes comfort from repetition.

I watch the same bad movies and the same television shows over and over and over again until I know every line, every beat, every plot point, in much the same way that a music lover will know every inch of their favorite song. Some people know Hotel California by heart. Me? I know Mystery Science Theater, season 3, episode 9, entitled "The Amazing Colossal Man." I know every line, every joke, every skit. I know it almost by heart, both the actual show and the movie that they watch on said show. It is my Hotel California, my Stairway to Heaven, and I love it.

I love all my shows.

For me, repetition is comfort.

Well, it's been about three months now since I have started my new adventure of actually trying to have a life of my own and it's been going pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. I'm being bolder, making friends, trying to be more of a Yes Man and say yes to everything I would normally say no to. I have friends. I have a life. Things have been good.

And so I've decided that part of this adventure will include taking my first steps into the larger worlds of movies and tv shows that I have never bothered to watch.

I'll be starting Dr. Who soon. And by soon I mean from the very beginning.

But for now I'll start here ...

It's a Thursday. It's late morning. I've been up since 5:45 am. Kids off to school, the older ones. My son woke up, had breakfast, and watched a Tinkerbell movie before going back to sleep. He's been really into Disney Fairies lately. And I'm trying to be a caring modern father and allow my son to like girlie things. Hey, he likes what he likes. What's the harm, right?

So, with everyone else asleep, I start watching Joss Whedon's 2002 show Firefly.

I've never seen this show before, not a single episode, but I am assuming I'll like it.

There's a lot of reasons why I assume this.

For starters, I really like the idea of a space western. That's a pretty great concept to me. I never liked or cared about Joss Whedon until I saw Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and fell in love. Since then I've been in absolute love with Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day, so the fact that the captain of the Serenity is Capt. Hammer makes me excited.

Plus, there's the fact that my hero and uber man crush Adam Warrock has made some pretty spectacular Firefly music for free on his blog, including one of my favorite songs right now, so, and I know this might be a sign that I am waaaaaaaay too obsessed with Adam Warrock, but any show this man loves is a show that I know I could love if I just gave it a chance. That's one of the main reasons why Dr. Who and Firefly are topping my list of shows I need to try and watch.

GAWD I'm a nerd.

Ok.

Let's do this ...

Ok. So ...

Trying to watch the pilot of Firefly here.

Wow. This pilot is rough. It's hard to get through.

No offense, Browncoat fans, but there's so much here. Watching this is like taking your first swim not in a kiddie pool but in the goddamn ocean. I thought that the pilots of tv shows gradually introduced you to the characters and the world that it's introducing. But this damn thing starts out straight from the gate with an epic cast and a huge backstory and what seems like Stephen King-sized novels of lush mythology. It starts AS IF you already KNOW all the backstory, all the mythology. It just starts. And so I guess I'm just supposed to guess it all or struggle to play catchup as it goes.

Shit. This is hard.

I shouldn't have to read wikipedia just to understand what a tv show is about.

Plus, you rrrrrrrreally have to pay attention to get what the hell is going on here. This show asks for, nay, violently DEMANDS your complete and undivided attention throughout the program. Shit, I have to pause the thing just to type a single sentence. This show, it's a full story, really rich with details and lush in its script and its characters. I'm not used to that. I could be on Facebook and Twitter and text people and STILL watch Sharknado. But you definitely can't do that with Firefly.

Kaylee the engineer, played by someone I've never heard of named Jewel Staite. Crush. Huge. I'm all in the loves with her.

This is quite an impressive cast. Besides Capt. Hammer there's Alan Tudyk, whom I love, there's Adam Baldwin, whom I recognize from my very brief obsession with the show Chuck, there's Ron Glass from freaking Barney Miller (and if you don't know what that is then DAMN you're young), and I recognize Carlos Jacott from Grosse Pointe Blank, among other things.

Damn good cast. Good people here. Good stuff.

Umm ...

AGAIN, FIREFLY? AGAIN? You keep throwing me curveballs. What is the Alliance and what the hell is a Reaver? Why won't you explain things to me, Firefly? You keep assuming that I am well versed in this fictional world that you exist in. I'm not. Why do you think that I am? Was I supposed to study the mythology of the show before watching the show? Was there homework that I missed out on somehow? Seriously, Joss Whedon! What the hell!

That whole "Kaylee's dead" thing? Really fooled me.

And this planet that they land on near the end to make their deal? I think it's called Whitefall? It looks an awful lot like the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona to me. That's gotta be an awful planet to live in, an entire planet of Tucson. That's Hell to me right there.

Tucson Sucks: The Blog

Corporal Zoe just got shot on Planet Tucson. I hope she stays dead. I just don't like her. She doesn't seem to have a lot going for her. She seems bland to me. Maybe a few episodes in I'll change my mind but right now there's no characterization, no emotion, no nothing. She's just a blank slate.

She lived. Damn.

Now the Reavers are coming. And apparently I'm supposed to know what they are. This show just keeps assuming I am well versed in their mythology when I'm not. And since they keep mentioning the Reavers without doing any explaining, then I'm picturing like the Dementors from Harry Potter but they're wearing cowboy hats on top of their spooky hoods. It's a comforting image to me.

Seriously, why aren't you explaining things to me, Firefly? All they've said by way of explanation about these mysterious Reavers is "If they take the ship, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh and sew our skins into their clothing. And if we're very very lucky, they'll do it in that order." Sooooo ... the Reavers are mysterious Alliance-backed rape monsters? Okay then ... ???

Aaaaand end credits.

This show assumes so much about me, the viewer, that I wouldn't be surprised if the show didn't think I was married to it.

That's a joke. About marriage. Because ... aww, nevermind.

I still have a lot of unanswered questions.

Like, what was the battle at the beginning all about, who were the bad guys they were fighting against, what is the Allance, what are the Reavers, and why does Nathan Fillon like freaking sixteen years old in this show, like, seriously, he looks so babyfaced it's like his balls just dropped. What the hell, man?

And, wait ... soooo, according to wikipedia, the show had TWO pilots? What the hell, Firefly? Why do you keep insisting on fucking with me?

But I have to say, this show has intrigued me. The characterization is pretty amazing, the acting is stellar (except for who I will now be calling "Tucson" Zoe), and the concept is quite interesting. I don't know where this show is going. And I like that. Most shows really telegraph what's going to happen. This one, though, seems to have an overall plot that's about as up in the air as the ship they fly in. And I am interested in sticking this one out and seeing where they go.

Ok. You got me.

I'm watching this now.

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