Q’s Geek Reputation Saved By Serenity

“…I knew that I had to see Serenity. My geek credentials were on the line, and in a very real danger of being revoked. Finally, due to a few extraordinary events at home, I found myself at the movie rental place du jour and there was Serenity. I had no choice but to take it home.”

What you’ve got to understand first and foremost is that I don’t have cable and rarely watch TV. If I am caught in front of the tube with the control of the remote I’m watching one of the many PBS channels that come over the airwaves for free in glorious HD. Commercials to me are more than an irritant, they’re representative of all that is wrong with society. That having been said, I don’t see commercials for movies or ever really watch any sort of “regularly scheduled programming” unless it happens to be on while I channel surf (because, as much as I love having over a dozen channels of PBS, I can only watch so many hours of documentaries). I pick up news about movies from my daily regiment of websites and it was in this way that I knew that I had to see Serenity. My geek credentials were on the line and in a very real danger of being revoked. Finally, due to a few extraordinary events at home, I found myself at the movie rental place du jour and there was Serenity. I had no choice but to take it home.

You should, by now, have inferred that I did not watch Firefly. I came to Serenity not as a Browncoat but as a Jaded Jedi. (Honestly, good Sci Fi is just getting harder and harder to find these days.) I think I was about fifteen minutes into the movie (just after the four-minute crew introduction cut) that I realized what a fool I’d been for not having seen this already.

A review must be written with the lowest common denominator in mind, I guess, so please ignore my glossing of the history of Firefly and Serenity. The television series was written by Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fame, as well as having written the screenplays to Toy Story, Titan AE, and Alien: Resurrection. (I’m sure that last one is right up top on his resume [yes, I know he feels his screenplay was ruined by the director]). The series was on for one (1) season before it was canceled by Fox. Joss, the crew and the fans fought tooth and nail to continue the franchise in some way resulting in the movie Serenity which I plan to get around to reviewing at some point in this article.

Like now.

Firstly, up front and without any mincing of words or literary ballet, it was amazing. The characters were fully fleshed out and felt real, real in a way that made me care about them. The dialogue and the body language of each actor in the way they interacted was believable. [Note to George Lucas: let your actors know more about their characters and you might get something more than wooden acting.] The villain, simply known as The Operative, is by far one of the most interesting and chilling adversaries I’ve seen. No one is made to be stupid or easily foiled. You won’t see any expendable redshirts or dimwitted stormtroopers in this ‘verse.

The story revolves around a ship (Serenity), its pilot Malcolm Reynolds (a former war volunteer and current space privateer) and its crew of six others. I’ll spare you the bios on all of them, not because they’re not interesting but because I’m in more of a summary mood than a documentary mood.) One of the six, River Tam, happens to be somewhat cookoo for Cocoa Puffs after some governmental testing, leaving her to be not only great for a loopy one-liner, but seriously dangerous to be in the same room with. This is not a girl you want to let channel surf for any extended period of time.

As it turns out, the government (the Alliance) wants River back, and has sent the Operative to get her. Malcolm (henceforth referred to by his standard moniker of Mal) has her on his ship and since she’s a bit of a liability is happy to drop her and her brother off at the next port. As things often go in movies, the drop off doesn’t work out very well and by then the plot is off and running. River has a bit of a secret in her head that’s scrambling her noodle and the Operative is right on their tail.

The movie is somewhat horrifying in short segments, deserving of its PG-13 rating. There are a race of men called Reavers who raid towns and “eat you alive” and “rape you for hours”, which begs the question: If two hundred Reavers get on a ship to raid a small town, how many are alive to exit the ship when they arrive?

Serenity is a Sci-Fi Western, which is a fairly exclusive genre and I’m sure that Back To The Future 3 is thrilled to have some company. I’ve had the DVD in my house since Friday night and I’ve watched it three times. It is nonstop, literally, it will keep you guessing (and worried) all the way to the end.

Now. Which one of you geeks is going to let me borrow the boxed set of the series so that I can honestly and truly get my geek on?

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Anniina

Now a true geek will buy it instantly, to have and to hold, and to support the browncoats’ efforts to bring it back 😛

Anniina

http://alaydhien.blogspot.com

chris

Yeah, Anniina, normally I would agree, but times are tight for me right now as well. I have decided that I will buy Firefly and Serenity, but only if I find them in the same store at the same time. This keeps me from shopping online, which I do NOT need to get in the habit of doing.

On the other hand, I’ve seen the series several times over, but Q hasn’t seen ANY of the episodes yet. If he doesn’t buy it soon, I’m gonna have to buy it myself, just to loan it to him. He NEEDS to see this show.

Anniina

Hey guys,

Point taken on the finances department. Kudos for spreading the word and the great stuff on your site 🙂 ~A

[Quick question… at least on my screen it shows my email address vividly though the form says “will not be published.” Not fearful for any other reason, but I’d like to keep that email address from getting the “buy this ink cartridge for your inkjet”, “buy this XXX”, and so forth.Thanks!]

chris

‘Infactuation’? Let’s see how Webster’s defines that:

infactuation: being completely and totally owned and transmuted to a state of ultimate you’re-my-bitchhood by someone who uses the phrase “in fact” followed by a set of contradtictory and more correct facts in response to the ones which have been previously proffered. Example:

Quentin: “‘The Return Of The Jedi’ is the worst Star Wars movie of all six.”
Chris: “Not even close. In fact, ‘Phantom Menace’ and ‘Attack Of The Clones’ were far worse, even after you factor in Leia’s idiotic speech to Luke in the Ewok villiage that makes her sound like that little molested girl in ‘Forrest Gump.’”

Owned! You’re my bitch! 🙂

IN FACT, dear Q, I am moved beyond XXXenu. I have just paid $90 billion to have the elder council clear more of my toxic engrams, and I now enjoy Theta Omicron level Scienpornographic clarity. I now know the greater truth: the all being through which I shall become one with the pornographic universe is named XXXenuthulhu, and when the stars are right, he shall descend upon the earth with his billion penises and billion vaginas, and those who are not eaten will be brought together to be part of the Omniorgy, which shall mark the End Times.

And while I’m thinking of all this religio-sexual stuff; Anniina, you’re pretty cute. I don’t want to jump the gun here, but I think I may be infactuated. 😉

chris

Anniina, I forgot to mention that you should keep a watch out for our upcoming reviews of Firefly, and cast and character bios. Mandy, our resident Firefly/Serenity expert and all-around wonderful chick, is planning a whole slew of shiny reading that will bring the ‘verse to our little website.

You can’t stop the signal!

chris

No, its not a quote, its a paraphrase, and you said it on Episode 5, dumb ass! You said it out loud and very clearly on your VERY FIRST FUCKING APPEARANCE ON THE SHOW! Remember, the episode where you went on and on about Revenge Of The Sith, like it was the second coming? You said that ‘Return Of The Jedi’ was Lucas’s downfall, and ‘Revenge Of The Sith’ was his redemption, or some such nonsense. You said more disparaging things about ‘Jedi’ being awful, and then you proceeded to give ole Georgey boy a verbal rimjob and teabagging. You were his whore. It was like he was your boyfriend, and you were buttering him up for a good night of assplay. Why do you think we were all looking at you like you were crazy when you said it? It made us all a little uncomfortable, quite frankly. You know, ’cause you’re a WHORE.

Oh, man, I live for days like this! I knew this would come back to bite you in the ass, and I knew you would try to weasel your way out of it! HA! The world is my McDonalds, and I’M LOVIN’ IT!! You can’t deny this one, chief. It went on the air! Not only did I and the rest of the Sci-Fi Guys hear you say it, but everyone in the three counties we broadcast to had it piped into their televisions (I’m not saying they were watching, mind you, but it was piped in none the less).

I’m the pelican, and you’re the little Asian boy. It is not my fault that your little head looks so delicious. And it is not my fault that you have no capacity to remember the things you say. Think before you speak next time, wise ass! Especially when the cameras are rolling! Ha ha HA!!! Look at me, ma! I’m the king of the world!!

AND QUENTIN IS MY BITCH

Anniina

after paroxysms of laughter subside somewhat

Chris, thanks for the compliment – it isn’t every day one reads “speaking of religio-sexual stuff” and one’s own name in the same sentence (note to self: start cult with self as Aphrodite-like goddess, adopt name like Anithulhu).

Also, thanks for the heads-up on the shiny things to come – will keep an eye out for those.

And wow, Quentin – “Phantom Menace” easily takes the galactic cake for being the most atrocious. I still think “Episode IV: A New Hope” was where the bar was set and none of the others since have met it, even though I do have a tender spot for all three of the original trilogy.

Mrs. X

This ain’t the kind of Sci-fi western I’m looking for. Can someone explain to me why everyone keeps telling me I will enjoy this since I really like sci-fi set in the old west? If anyone can explain this to me I would be eternally greatful. So the next time someone asks me what I am into and I tell them the old west with a sci-fi twist and they say oh you should check out Serinty/Firefly I can tell them why they are completely wrong.

Mandy

If anyone would like the “throw down” about Firefly/Serenity…I’m your girl.

Try and not make me mad….you won’t like me when I’m angry.

Anniina

Yeah I can’t tell you why you wouldn’t like it – it’s like asking someone who loves chocolate for reasons not to like chocolate – I sure can’t think of any reasons.