October 2nd, 2005

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01:33 am - on stopping the signal...
Ashlee Simpson
Good ride, but it's over now
Ok, so this one may very well cost me a friend or two.

So there are a lot of readers of this blog who proudly self identify as geeks. I suppose, in some respects, I fit that mold. In others, I really don't. To look at some of my tastes in movies for instance you might assume that I was really into science fiction. I'm actually not. I mean, I love a good movie. But frequently I don't care for a lot of Sci-Fi. Fuck Doctor Who. That's right, I said it. Fuck him. I don't give a damn. (actually, I just found out that the current Dr. Who series stars Billie Piper, who in certain alternate realities could have been the less fucked up Britney Spears, and I'm suddenly almost a little interested. But still, fuck him!) Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Well, at least they blew up the planet earth. I never much cared for it either. Fuck them too. But I loved the series Firefly. Why? Because there are three kinds of movies/tv shows, I have a special place in my heart for. Westerns, Boat Movies, and Babes from outer space. Firefly had all of that. Serenity was the return of that, but on the big screen.

A lot of my LJ friends out there seem to be advocating seeing the film over and over again so that they'll make sequels. I'd like to implore everyone to go out and see the movie once (it really was quite good) and then never again. The only thing that can come of seeing it multiple times is it will make a lot of money and that will make the studios think $EQUEL!!!! And that would be awful, because God forbid they make another one.

I actually saw the movie opening night, but I waited a while to talk about it to give people a chance to see it without me spoiling it. So this is your last chance. Turn back now, if you don't want spoilers.

Ok good.

So yeah, I liked the movie, but I want it to be over now. That may be kind of an unpopular opinion. And to be honest, if there is a Serenity II, I'll probably give it a chance and go see it. But I really don't want there to be. The biggest problem with Firefly was that it ended abruptly. It really didn't end at all in fact. All of a sudden things were just cancelled, and all of those characters and subplots were left out in limbo. Serenity solved that. It let me know the answers to pretty much everything I wanted to know. I know what River was running from. I know how things work out with Simon and Kaylee. I more or less know how things work out with Mal and Inara. I don't know what the deal was with Book, but he's dead now and I can accept that. I got to see the Reavers, and I learned where they came from. All the big questions were answered, and there was a logical end to the series. I am left with a world of possibilities for the crew in the new world they are flying out into. I like the ambiguity of not knowing what's next, but feeling in my heart that everything is going to be ok.

There are some things I would have done differently if it were me. I would have killed Zoe instead of Wash. Not because I like Wash better (though in fact, I find him hilarious), but just because from a storytelling point of view it means more. With Wash dead, we know how Zoe reacts. She moves on. She keeps working with Mal. She's the perfect soldier. With Zoe dead, we'd have to deal with not only what does this do to Wash (he's not as strong as she is) but what does it do to Mal. Mal needs Zoe. She is the one real reminder for him of the Battle of Serenity. She grounds the past for him. However her death would have effectively forced him to let go of that old world. He doesn't need that battle anymore. He is fighting the new fight, he's in the new world now, and he seems to have accepted it. Killing Zoe (hehehehe Killing Zoe, get it!) would have been a great metaphor for the old war being over and the new war beginning. Also, it would have meant that we'd have to reconcile what keeps Wash on the crew now that Zoe is gone. (Zoe just stays with Mal out of loyalty. Wash doesn't have that, so there's chance for character development).

I also would have killed River. But that's just because I'm an ass. Don't get me wrong, River is my favorite character, but as Hilary Masters often taught me. Sometimes you have to kill your darlings. There was no drama in the River/Reavers fight for me. The second she dove through the portal, I knew she was going to be ok. I never doubted it for a second. I was actually much more worried for all the other characters. I knew Mal was going to get the tape broadcast, but I thought he might die in the process. And when Zoe asked Jayne if he thought any of them would get out of this alive, I actually doubted it myself. But when River decides to take the Reavers on alone, I never for a second thought she would fall. If it had been me, I would have let her kill all the Reavers, and then when the troops broke in through the wall just after she won, I would have had them swiss cheese the fuck out of her. That, people, is how you set up a sequel. It gives Simon and the others something to continue to fight for. As it is, I don't need to see another movie. The Reavers were the most feared evil in the universe. River beat them all by her lonesome and with no injury to boot. I have no problem with that. But I now have no doubt that she can't get them out of any jam they encounter in the future, so I don't need to see it again.

I'm a big fan of Joss's. But I'm ready to see him move onto something else. Its for a similar reason that I don't want to see a new Buffy movie. Buffy ended. It ended in exactly the right way. In point of fact, one could argue that it went on a season or two too long. But I was happy with where things were on the final episode. Of Firefly, Buffy and Angel, Angel was actually my least favorite of the three, but at this point its the only one that has questions left open that I'd want to see explored further. Questions that I could easily see wrapped up in a good solid two hours of silver screen time. But even that doesn't really have to happen. I'm ok just letting it go.

What I really want is for this to be it for Serenity. Let it go away. Let it sleep for 20-25 years and become a cult classic. And then in 2028, some UK production company manages to remake it with a with an update look and feel and reversing the genders of half of the crew where suddenly Book is played by some hot asian babe that I can lust after in my naughtiest dreams and sell it to the Sci-Fi channel.

If I've learned anything over the years, its that sometimes you just have to let the characters go. Remember them fondly in the past. And let it end before it gets ruined. Maybe there is another Serenity story to tell. But I'd much rather wait to see it or maybe not see it at all, than have the whole damn thing ruined. It's the difference between being the next Battlestar Galactica and being the next Highlander.

(48 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]From: mokatz Date: October 7th, 2005 - 06:17 pm (Link)
This is the reason why an A-Team movie would be a bad idea, they'd invariably fuck it up. Though I hope the live action Transformers movie will allow for enough of a fresh take that it will still be good.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 06:34 pm (Link)
I dunno... I think Katee Sackhoff is going to make a great Faceman someday.
[User Picture]From: mokatz Date: October 7th, 2005 - 08:20 pm (Link)
Dude, don't even joke about that shit. You are giving my inner child nightmares.
From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 08:24 pm (Link)
From: mokatz Date: October 7th, 2005 - 08:33 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 08:36 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: fizzbang Date: October 7th, 2005 - 06:41 pm (Link)
Book's character is sort of explained, although you have to infer a fair deal. I didn't figure it out until I realized that Book and the Operative are, well, bookends to the same story.

Book has a tremendous amount of mysterious familiarity about how people like the Operative work, and both of their central traits are their faith. The Firefly audience who knows that there's something odd about Book can guess that he used to be an Operative, by the end of the movie, the Operative is practically on his way to becoming a shepherd.

It's a nice, subtle touch for a subtle character. Book and Operative might as well be the same character at different points of his life.

As for the rest... When it's explained like that, I agree. Sure, I really want more Serenity, but it's the same sort of want as when you've just finished a perfect meal. You know you shouldn't because the excess would ruin it all, but it was just so fucking good!

But that sort of want will probably be sated once Joss gets started on his next project. And hopefully, a highly successful movie will provide just the sort of clout he needs to keep studios from killing it in its infancy.
[User Picture]From: vanango Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:03 pm (Link)
I really like Book a lot, the first time I saw the movie I was sad he had a smaller part in the movie, but the 2nd time I came to the same conclusion or at least possibility as you did.

I think the only way a sequel would work is if it were a prequel to Serenity.

Jayne: "One day you're gonna tell us all how a preacher knows so damn much about crime."

(Our Mrs. Reynolds)

I agree another Serenity isn't a good idea though.
[User Picture]From: fizzbang Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:13 pm (Link)
Yeah, I agree that any other Serenity movie would have to be a prequel. I suppose it could be possible to continue forward from there, but, for all the reasons given above, I just couldn't see it working nearly as well. And, of course, without Wash, it wouldn't quite feel right.

Oh, but I will say that I think Wash dying was the right way to go, but only if you're deliberately planning on not making a sequel. The death of a beloved character made me honestly doubt that the other characters would make it, and Wash's death is the one that closes and completes stories, for all the reasons you listed above. It doesn't lead to any new questions about character development, but if you want to finish a setting's story, that's not what you want, is it?

Plus, the funny guy always dies, right?

That said, I saw all of those folks in line for their first viewing of Serenity, dressed as their favorite characters, and I couldn't help but feel a pang of sorrow for the ones who were wearing hawaiian shirts. I wore my black hawaiian shirt the next day in mourning.
From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:24 pm (Link)
From: mokatz Date: October 7th, 2005 - 08:32 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 08:35 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:21 pm (Link)
true. But I don't really need the prequel either. Prequels filmed after the fact often seem rather forced and annoying... see Star Wars I, II and III.

I'm glad you see my points though.
[User Picture]From: jameel Date: October 7th, 2005 - 10:22 pm (Link)
There is a prequel to Serenity, oh Angel of Hardcore. The Serenity three-issue comic book series bridges the gap between Firefly and Serenity
From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 10:39 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:08 pm (Link)
I meant that we never learned exactly what Book's background is. It doesn't matter. That's kind of the point. Mal says "you ever gonna tell me?" Book says "No." That's enough for me.

I'm done with this story. I have everything I need to remember the characters fondly from here on out. If anything, I might rather see something else from the universe (kinda the way Sin City works) and not so much the characters that we met here. And if we're going to do that, then I'm quite fine with just getting something new and different out of Joss. And I'm sure whatever that is will be good.

There's no drama left in Serenity. River can do anything. Good. Let's go somewhere else now.
[User Picture]From: fizzbang Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:15 pm (Link)
Well, I hear Joss is currently the head writer/director for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie...
From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:22 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: akiramich Date: October 7th, 2005 - 06:52 pm (Link)
HEY! When did you have classes with Hilary Masters? When I was at CMU I had a class with him almost every semester from my sophmore year on? Did he invite you to his ham roast?

I liked SERENITY a lot, and am looking forward to the "movies of the week" that they are talking about doing on the WB from the Buffy/Angel characters. Id almost hate to see them do anything to continue from ANGEL [since no matter what it'll mean Angel is dead] but a SPIKE movie, or something with WILLOW and KENNEDY would be good. Hell, Id like to see them do the RIPPER series on the BBC that they said they were going to do...
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:17 pm (Link)
Why do you say Angel has to be dead? See, I'm actually ok with Angel continuing and exploring their new Post Evil underground secret society universe, or just believing they all died valiantly fighting that dragon. EIther way. As opposed to Buffy, where I'm ok just believing the principal characters just went off and lived their new lives, and I don't really need to know the specifics. The possible exception being that I'd probably be irrationally excited about a movie about Faith. It violates all rationality with everything I said above. But I wouldn't really be thinking about any of that, I'd mostly be just drooling over the sexiness. School girl crushes like the one I have on her are seldom rational.

Yeah, I had several classes with Hilary. He was in fact my advisor. And I have in fact also been to his place for dinner. As far as writing goes, he's the best mentor I've ever had, and in some ways the worst teacher. Hilary doesn't really know how to teach. You must simply be a good enough student to absorb some of his greatness and talent when you bask in his presence.
[User Picture]From: akiramich Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:25 pm (Link)
I had no idea you were a CMU grad. Did you ahve class with Jim Daniels? Jerry Costanza? Gary Waller? Paul Smith? Did you ever have a class cancelled because the head of the department had to drive to the Canadien border because a doctoral student got arrested for trying to smuggle Shakespeare text across the border?

What years were you there anyhow?
From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 08:09 pm (Link)
From: akiramich Date: October 7th, 2005 - 08:17 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 08:21 pm (Link)
From: jameel Date: October 7th, 2005 - 10:24 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 10:36 pm (Link)
From: jameel Date: October 7th, 2005 - 10:38 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 10:42 pm (Link)
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From: chrismaverick Date: October 8th, 2005 - 01:34 pm (Link)
From: jameel Date: October 8th, 2005 - 04:07 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 8th, 2005 - 05:42 pm (Link)
From: akiramich Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:26 pm (Link)
From: katieboyd Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:33 pm (Link)
From: akiramich Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:49 pm (Link)
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From: katieboyd Date: October 7th, 2005 - 07:33 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 08:19 pm (Link)
From: jameel Date: October 7th, 2005 - 10:25 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 7th, 2005 - 10:36 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: viscous Date: October 10th, 2005 - 02:27 pm (Link)
I'm more or less satisfied. I wanted to know more about River's deal and the Reavers, and I got both. (Though I specifically wanted more about the blue hand guys too, and they were absent). And I would like more specific details about the shepherd's past, though I was coming to basically the same conclusions as everyone else (former operative).

Actually, I liked Wash a lot but I thought the shepherd was possibly better comedy (particularly in the episode when he doesn't have the ponytail and River freaks out).
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 10th, 2005 - 03:24 pm (Link)
actually, I'm ok just thinking "the blue hand guys are more evil shadow government operatives" and leaving it at that. Other than the interesting tidbit that they happen to have blue hands (or gloves), I don't see anything particularly interesting or unknown about them that begs to be answered beyond just saying "the alliance is evil."

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