Sunday, May 06, 2007

Jay: Firefly Redux

Since I’m on the topic of Firefly, I should comment about some of the mysteries, mechanics and foibles of it.

It’s possible that the most enduring mystery surrounds Book, and Serenity did nothing to help that; if anything making it forever worse, barring a depiction of events after Firefly and before Serenity, or outside exposition subsequently.  Just this morning I came up with an idea that I’d not had before.  Who says everyone associated with the Alliance government is evil or that the viewpoints of those within it are monolithic?  Thus Book could have some association or history with the Alliance, as an operative or whatnot, yet be associated with good guys, or those opposed to rather than working with the mystery corporation.  Alternatively but similarly, he could be part of a “Foundation” that is within yet apart from the Alliance, and opposed to some of their worst as needed.  The world may never know.  Heck, maybe Joss, Tim, Ben et al never fully thought it out.

The fascinating thing about Firefly is the setting.  It takes care of a major “gimme” generally required in the writing of science fiction, which is how to bridge the distances involved.  Normally you have a star system with an inhabited world or two or three, and you have other systems with other worlds, so travel is largely interstellar.  Thus you need to go four, twenty, even thousands of lightyears in human-friendly timescales, while not necessarily suffering time dilation.

Firefly, while they mention “the galaxy” and, in hyperbolic context, the ‘verse, the setting is one solar system.  There just happen to be vast numbers of earth-like planets, and even vaster numbers of terraformable planets and moons.  We don’t get a lot of explanation as the the technology, and that the locations, however small a “rock,” show no signs of recent terraforming, unusual gravity, or difficulty retaining an atmosphere naturally leads to questions.  Not to mention that the wild west trappings and atmosphere (and shaky outer planet economies) are perfectly reasonable, on one level, but make less sense when placed next to the technology required to have made and maintained most of those worlds as habitable.

My biggest question, though, involves how they got there from here.

So this world goes all to hell, right?  Then… eureka!  Someone discovers this other system with mass quantities of usable planets.  Yay, we’re saved!  But… how did they get there?  And if there was the technology to migrate large swaths of humanity to a new star system, why not interstellar travel?  Why not still other systems in which humanity has settled?  Especially given the available technology for terraforming.  And if you can travel between star systems, why fight the Alliance when you can simply flee?  Not that you should have to be flee or be repressed; in current terms that’s why we have the Second Amendment.

There’s probably more, but I need to go now.  And if you haven’t watched the series or the movie, don’t let nitpicks and questions stop you.  There are always those kinds of things with SF, especially on film or TV.  One more point, though.  There are amusing Star Wars-like glimpses in Firefly, and overall the feel is Heinleinesque, more in some places than others.  You have characters really living to their full potential or joy in life, and not just River and Simon (whom I compared yesterday to Valerie and Sadie, respectively).

Okay, leaving now.  Talk among yourselves while I am gone.

02:26 PM | BooksMoviesTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Firefly

We finally finished watching Firefly!

You may recall, we never watched the series on TV, then I got excited about it when Serenity was produced.  We bought Serenity and watched that, which is not the preferable order IMHO, which totally sold us on Firefly.  We ordered Firefly, watched most of it, and when we got to the fourth DVD, it contained a second copy of the second DVD instead.

We eventually ended up buying an entire second copy of the series and checking the contents immediately.  When I get a computer built that has a DVD burner, we can fix the original set from the complete set and loan it out.  It’s “must watch” material for my father, brother, and if she never saw it, my sister.  Heck, it’s must watch for everyone!  It is some of the best television content ever produced.  It’s astonishing that it ever made it onto network television.

I refused to watch it when it first aired.  I was not a Whedon groupie.  I was a big fan of Dark Angel.  While the second season of Dark Angel was not what it could have been, Fox tossed it into the Death Slot in an effort to ditch the series, then canceled it explicitly to make room - oddly, in the same Death Slot right up front - for the Joss Whedon project.  I was irritated, but then the way the premise was phrased made the show sound like Lamest Thing Ever.  My friends loved it.  And despite my snit over Dark Angel, I still thought it was absurd the way they summarily tossed Firefly.

What’s weird is during the run of Firefly, once or twice I caught a couple minutes of some SF show that I thought was Firefly, which only affirmed my notion it was lame.  I have no clue what show I was seeing, but it wasn’t Firefly at all.  Still trying to figure that one out.

Anyway, highly recommended.  I could almost see actually reading Firefly fan fiction, and I’d watch a series or movie in a second if they started it back up or did another one.

Now we have the urge to watch Wonderfalls again… poor Tim Minear.

01:03 PM | MoviesTV • (1) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Jay: Um… Wow

The full Transformers trailer is out.

01:07 AM | Movies • (2) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Jay: Superman Returns

We enjoyed it far more than the reviews led us to expect.  I’m impressed at what the reviews of it didn’t give away.  I’m intrigued at the possibilities for sequels.

Kevin Spacey just rules.

05:12 AM | Movies • (0) CommentsPermalink

Friday, November 03, 2006

Jay: Olly

I went to school with Olly deMacedo, so it’s cool seeing him running for state rep in my the district that covers part of Middleboro.  I didn’t know him, but he was one year ahead of me, class president, all around funny, charismatic, nice guy everyone knew and liked.

This being Massachusetts and it being a mere race for state representative, it’s almost impossible to find mention on the site that he’s the Republican candidate.  Though the endorsement by the minority leader kind of gives it away.

If there’s anywhere in the state he could win, it’s his district.  (The map at that link is of some extra interest because I was born in Middleboro, lived my first two years and a good thirteen years overall in Plympton, grew up and lived for about eighteen years in Halifax, and went to high school in Kingston.)

02:20 AM | Movies • (0) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Jay: X-Men 3

We were disappointed.  Just watched it on DVD, having not seen it in the theater.  It was fun, in its way, but strange too.

I assume they plan no further movies, but it’s interesting to picture how they would dig themselves out of the mess they created if they were to do one.  It would be easy to make the cure a temporary effect, for instance.

The ending was bizarre.  You expect Eric to be shown noticing his power starting to recover.  Or for someone of interest to show up at the table to play chess.  Or one of the opposing pieces to move itself (and maybe that’s the point, was he playing against someone not present, rather than awaiting an opponent?) inexplicably.  But nothing… it just cut off.

We were also disappointed with how insanely hard to navigate and read the menus are on the DVD.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one that bad.  And the extras wouldn’t play.  Going to the features menu and scrolling interminably to the alternate endings, selecting anything from those menus resulted in returning to the beginning of the features menu, rather than playing the choice.

02:03 AM | Movies • (1) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Jay: “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

That’s what this set of excellent questions made me think of.  Silly mind.  It does that kind of thing sometimes.

10:21 PM | Movies • (0) CommentsPermalink
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