shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


the joys of sleeping in on Sunday and Firefly rage

I managed to sleep in until 10:30 this morning, and Christopher roused me to the half-awakeness that provides the best, most vivid dreams while bashing around in preparation to attempt to ride 40 miles within the perimeter of New Circle Road, a bypass that encircles our downtown and its surrounding environs. (I yanked my shoulders into a little unhappiness at the gym doing shoulder raises with dumbbells yesterday and so will probably be doing any movements that require the raising of my arms very rarely today. Not to mention 13 miles is the most I've managed on the new bike.) I had a leisurely and healthy breakfast and figured I'd quickly work my way through the blogroll, since no one really updates over the weekend. And yet all sorts of interesting stuff abounds. (This can only be the psychic fallout from Terry's wise decision to stop blogging on weekends.)

I actually find it easier to update on weekends, though with little of substance and never any news. I tend to get hyper-saturated by news during the week and have extremely limited contact with it on Saturdays and Sundays. Our weekends are so jam-packed these days, blogging is one of the only permissible forms of procrastination I have left. (Would that it took up more time...)

Sadly, this Guardian piece on cocktail movie classics (via the cinetrix) leaves out my favorite one (or close to it, since I don't play favorites). THE BLUE GARDENIA is a wonderful picture by Fritz Lang that plays with our expectations watching a murder mystery from that time, and from our remote-controlled now. "For drinks, Polynesian Pearl Divers, and don't spare the rum!" Any drink that obscures a murder has to be a classic.

And now on "Firefly"...

I have to qualify everything I'm about to say here with the admission that I have not historically watched a lot of science fiction television (that being the specific SF definition and not the way we usually use it as a catch-all for SF/F) besides Buck Rodgers and V when I was a kid. Oh and Flash Gordon. But I was way more of a "Twilight Zone" girl than a "Star Trek" one. I've attempted to watch a few other series as an adult, most recently "Farscape" and "Odyssey 5," but ultimately just haven't gotten caught up in them the way I expect to in TV shows I'm going to follow. I'm not saying that all the shows I haven't seen are bad: I'm just copping to the fact that I haven't seen them. Mostly, I find there's a sort of stilted quality to the episodes I have seen that just doesn't work for me. Boy, "Firefly" couldn't be further from that. This is intelligent, vigorous science fiction that accomplishes its task of making the future feel like now, despite its differences from our world.

Christopher and I have been working our way through the DVD boxed set of all the episodes that were made for Fox. And despite the fact that I know Fox is evil and stupid and, well, evil and stupid, the conflicting emotions of wonder, anger and sadness were flying fast and furious as we watched this. Damn, it was good.

We only watched a few episodes when it was on (yes, guilt), and I have to admit, watching them in that way, out of order, I wasn't hooked. I wasn't sure I liked the casting or the western stuff. I thought it was a good show, but I wasn't sold. I'm sold now. From the pilot on, every single episode is gold. How many shows can you name where every single episode from their first season is excellent? I'm having trouble naming any. Even "Buffy" had some flawed or eh episodes in its first season.

The cast is unbelievably perfect and its a marvel to see how a NINE CHARACTER ENSEMBLE still works in a very personal and real way, without anyone ever getting forgotten or left behind. The set design and world-building are top class. The writing is wonderful -- equal measures poignant, hilarious, salty or sweet. It's so good. Christopher said last night, "This is one of the best things that's ever been on TV. If I were Bill Gates I would give them the money to make it and just put it out on DVD." Yeah, it's that good. And it ends in mid-arc. Mid a bunch of arcs. Which is damn unsatisfying and why Fox executives' babies should be fed to wolves to stop the propagation of what is clearly a new mutation of humanity. How anyone could be stupid enough to have been watching these episodes and think this wouldn't end up making a ton of money is beyond me. And that's using their measure of success and not the artistic one this show managed to achieve.

The good news, of course, is that the "Firefly" movie SERENITY is scheduled to start filming within the next few weeks, with the original cast. If it does well, and I can't imagine it won't, there will be sequels AND the possibility for a return of the TV series (though apparently Fox and Universal have some kind of rights issues which prevent that from happening until at least 5 years from now). But anyway, this is all by way of saying that you should pick up the box set and watch it. You should get excited about the movie and go see it when it comes out.

This show deserves it.

worm: "Lifeline," Catherine Wheel

check out: Chicha's entry on forgetting meds at her new mental illness blog Another -- it's one of the best things I've ever read on a blog (& she should publish a novel already)

namecheck: Robert "Glue" Rosenberg


  • At 12:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I hear you on the Firefly rage. When I look at what does get picked up by the networks while quality stuff gets dropped, my head does that explode-with-screaming-fury thing.

    Thanks for the Blue Gardenia recommendation! It's on my netflix queue now.

    Karen (M)

  • At 2:53 PM , Blogger Alan said...

    What was great about Firefly was that the cast and crew understood worldbuilding. Which might be elementary, but not on TV. Even something as simple as having NO SOUND IN SPACE was a strong cue. The Western aspects are no less silly than any Star Trek pseudoscience, and in fact gave a real economic consistency to the show, with all sorts of class-based fractures. The swearing in Manadrin was superb. Little touches that I remember--like Inara carrying the doorknob to click into her hotel door. Wash's 2-3 brilliant one liners per episode. Nearly everything held together.


  • At 5:31 PM , Blogger gwenda said...

    Yeah, it was all the teeny idiosyncrasies that really endeared Firefly to me (plus great,complex characterization -- especially with the relationships between the male and female characters). The Mandarin was an inspired choice, and according to the making of DVD actually was actual cursing, etc., though the actors must have brutally mispronounced a lot of it.

    Sigh, indeed. I did think of two other shows with almost perfect first seasons -- Freaks and Geeks and My So-Called Life, about two seconds after I posted that. Which made me realize one of the other things I loved about Firefly without realizing it: it wasn't about teenagers!

    I hope you like BLUE GARDENIA, Karen. It's classy and kitschy all at once.


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