19 May 2007

So, I'm finally watching Firefly

Yeah, that's right.

Me, who "doesn't like Sci-fi or westerns"; me who has previously stated (amongst other things) "Whedon is an overrated hack"; me who just does not get the slavish (or even non-slavish) praise thrown at Buffy or Angel (and no, no way that is going to change; I've seen enough to remain thoroughly unconvinced).

I was shown the pilot and the first episode a few weeks ago. Neither really captured me, and indeed the former rather played to my preconceptions by trying to do too much (unnecessarily introducing each and every one of the ensemble) whilst actually achieving very little. However there was enough there to hint at what everyone [on RPGnet] was banging on about for years; spots of brightness in the dull gloom, if you will.

So I've borrowed the discs, and I'm ploughing through it. Mainly it's making me laugh - both through genuine "yes that is funny" moments, and "oh my god, could that be any more corny?" moments - but there is more to it to my continued watching. Visually it does not work for me (two stunning beauties aside); the planetside sets make me cringe, the camera work and cuts leave a lot to be desired (YMMV etc.); this more than cancels the humour.

I thus grudgingly have to admit, stepping back a little from my "hack" remark in the process (though his other two big shows still support it, damnit! ), that the reason I am still watching is well written characters. Some more-so than others, granted, but there is something about all of them to hold interest. That said, I don't really like Mal; sure he's a little interesting (they all are a little), but - and I'm not sure if it's performance or writing - something leaves me a bit cold there.

For me Simon is proving the heart of the show - his relationship with River, Kaylee's crush on him and the edginess between him and (most of) the rest of the crew is the primary dramatic force holding my attention.

So, um, yeah; nothing more. I'm less than half way through so far and opinions may change yet further, but I'm finally getting hints as to what all the fuss was about.


Anonymous said...

I think the key thing for me is it's ALL about the character relationships, just the simplest of scenes, characters talking in a cargo compartment is enthralling - or at least it is for me.

At times the Simon and River stuff nearly makes me cry. As does Mal's issues over being a man of old fashined morales, and his 'relationship' with Anara (especially an episode very late in the season). There is also an episode called The Message - if that doesn't nearly make you cry you're a hard hearted bastard :)

I also find it incredibly funny, in a good way.

If you like Simon/River stuff...watch the movie when the you're done with the series.


Graham said...

Yeah, the intentional humour is coming across more than the corny stuff now I'm a little further in and, by and large, I think it is genuinely funny.

I do still feel that perhaps the balance of scenes is not quite there - at times it plays to identifiable issues and then seems to resolve them in a scene that is over before it begins. This could just be perception though.

Yes, relationships other than Simon and Rivers are well done but given my continued distaste for Mal (regardless of how good the hooks are, and they are good) means I do not feel as engaged by them. Zoe and Wash just have no impact on me at all (other than humour value) so their relationship may as well not be there as yet.

Still, I shall certainly finish the series, and until I do all opinions are subject to change!