Joss Whedon has pulled it off, going where No One was able to Go Before. He's taken a canceled SF TV series, Firefly, brought back the entire cast and made a movie which can actually appeal to those who've never seen the movie. Star Trek: The Motion Picture existed solely as a Christmas card for the faithful -- they forget to get a new plot and those who didn't know the show were left baffled and confused.
Serenity gives us a whirlwind first reel which will leave everyone baffled and confused and loving it. He's also had the guts to make a MOVIE and not just an extended TV episode. And that means all bets are on the table and everyone's going to get hurt. Some really bad. As in irrevocable. That's all I'm gonna say.
I would say that Serenity suffers from being dark, except these space refugees are on a budget, so it works. I'd say that Serenity suffers from not having quite the humor of the series, except the storyline is pretty deadly serious. I might comment that Serenity goes through the motions of introducing all of the characters we've grown to love without explaining any of their backgrounds much, except that the beauty of the few episodes is that this is a crew comfortable enough with each other already and Everybody Has Great Gobs Of Major Secrets.
I have one thing to say about Serenity: shiny!
Dare We Hope?
John Serba, the younger movie critic for The Grand Rapids Press gave Serenity three out of four stars -- and he'd never seen the show. That's praise. And he's saying that what was done in the movie is not only worthy, it begs for a sequel. That's outstanding. Perhaps it'll inspire a TV show (grin). Or Serenity II -- I was so disappointed not to see a trailer for Serenity II already (double-grin). As long as Joss Whedon keeps the quality up -- and our remaining intrepid travelers (or all of them in a prequel flashback) are up for the adventure -- I am so for green lighting this. IMHO the Firefly faithful should be filled with dark bittersweet happiness with Serenity. (Hint: GO see it on the big screen. Buy the DVD when it comes out. Hollywood Idiots-In-Charge like things with a strong fan base which spends money. No more Serenity/Firefly, no more gravy train dollars.)
I hoped for a Dr. Phil Special at the end and got a piece of one. There's a cute joke to finish the last few frames before the credits roll. And if you are a fan of the show and dying for the guitar themesong, you'll have to wait for the end of the credits -- though no words. To quote one of the reviews of the series DVD on Amazon.com:
Come on, sing it with me: "Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand. But I don't care--I'm still free. You can't take the skies from me..."
The Call of the Fans
That Serenity made it to the big screen at all is due to the "Browncoats", the growning legion of fans who didn't take FOX-TV's rejection and cancellation of the series as the final word. They spread the word and made the DVD sales take off.
Is Charlize Theron the right girl for Aeon Flux? My wife says she's not endowed enough. I say the heels of the boots are too low. And not nearly enough bullets and blood, but this is a nice little preview, so maybe there's hope. Hey, we're talking about one really bizarre anime on MTV. Yet there is a look and style to the trailer -- and I'll go.
The Battle of Michigan
The annual Michigan vs Michigan State football game is BIG, even amongst those who have no vested interests, having neither attended or sent children to either. Saturday's game didn't go the way the scripts were written on Friday -- to the benefit of all those who actually like to watch football. State was expected to come in and beat up a U-of-M who'd dropped out of the Top 25 national rankings for the first time in a long time.
I bopped back and forth between the game and other things. Late in the 4th quarter, MSU's Damata Peko, a 6' 2" 320 lb. defensive linesman, "The Big Guy" from American Samoan, grabs a ball fumbled by the Michigan quarterback and runs a long way for a TD. You've got to love this in a college game. A huge defensive guy having to pick up the ball and run with it. What a stat for a senior in the rivalry game of the season!
Those who follow the green-and-white of East Lansing saw a come-from-behind tie to take it to overtime. Those who follow the maize-and-blue of Ann Arbor saw a gutsy and unexpected lead dribble away. Both saw their kickers miss. One saw their kicker redeem themselves at the very end. Michigan-34 Michigan State-31 (OT).
There'll be arguments all week. No matter the stats or the published line, sometimes you just have to play the game.
Our strange local UPN station, WXSP, has begun to syndicate the series Farscape and I've actually now seen the first episode. If I remember to watch (or tape) on Saturday nights at 9pm, assuming they keep the same schedule, I may actually begin to figure out WTF is going on. (grin) I only ever saw occasional episodes on SciFi Channel in the first season or two, more later.
Anyway, the first episode was pretty good, except for the "blasting" out of the payload bay of a space shuttle. Just don't think you'd want great gushing flames aimed into the shuttle or any spacecraft like that.