Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Serenity



So I finally saw this Sunday after having no interest for months. I've never been a fan of 'Buffy' or 'Angel' and Joss Whedon's run on 'Astonishing X-Men' has been interesting at best.

But it kept getting good reviews. Really good reviews. So I emailed my sister (her Whedon devoteeism is FRIGHTENING) and asked if she had ever seen the tv show 'Firefly' which FOX aired and then cancelled in the same breath. Two days later, she put the dvd box setin my hands.

Renee and I did all 15 episodes in a week. And we were impressed. I've never seen a more natural feeling cast in a sci-fi show. They didn't stand stiffly as archetypes and spout technical jargon that doesn't exist (as my beloved 'Star Trek' does). They didn't hide their feelings under a military exterior, making you work to get to know the characters (like the fantastic new 'Battlestar Galactica'). They existed day to day, worried about small problems, cracked jokes and talked about sex like adults, not teenagers. It was easy to get involved with these characters. It didn't hurt that they got Detective Harris from 'Barney Miller' to play a wise man, either.

But I never loved the show. And I think that's because I was supposed to have more time with it. There was too much unreached potential. The plan was in place for a five season show, not a 15 episode story.

Luckily, thanks to the power of dvd box sets, Universal realized there was an audience and made a feature film. And it's good. It's much better than 'X Files: Fight the Future' which didn't help anyone storywise but managed to pull me into that show. 'Serenity' actually fulfills the potential of the series, wrapping up nearly every thread in one coherent story that doesn't alienate an audience that's never heard of the show.

It tries to be two things at once though; a launch of a film franchise and a final episode. It mainly succeeds as the latter and with the box office it's been doing, that was probably the smartest move.

FOX has been way too trigger happy with their shows over the last five years. 'The Tick.' 'Andy Richter Controls the Universe.' 'Firefly.' 'Family Guy.' All had great potential and none lasted a full season. If 'Futurama' wasn't a spinoff of 'the Simpsons' it wouldn't have lasted as long as it did. Some of these shows have become successes on dvd. Some of these shows have become successes on other networks. One of them FOX even had to bring back.

The quick fix of reality shows has long blurred the network to the fact that a good show needs time to take off. 'Cheers.' 'Seinfeld.' 'Everybody Loves Raymond.' These shows did HORRIBLY in their first season and if they were on FOX, none of them would have survived. It's even hurt syndication since there are less and less shows that have a long enough run to repeat. Come on, FOX, take the hint. I'm tired of feeling nervous about "Arrested Development".

4 comments:

Brian Kunath said...

I know, it's been sad to see shows with potential get the boot over the past couple of years. Let's hope that, as you posted a few days ago, we really are in the end stages of reality TV.

Dave said...

Bottom line is that corporations will do anything to make more money. Keep it in the black. If reality crap TV ratings continue to fall then the network brainiacs will move onto the next style of TV making money. I think we're beginning to see that with LOST, which has launched a variety of bad immitators (using the same what-the-fuck-is-happening storyline). Reality TV is a definitely jumping the shark in the near future. Lets just hope that whatever replaces it is worth watching.

Cromely said...

Come on, FOX, take the hint. I'm tired of feeling nervous about "Arrested Development".

Did anyone else hear the music For "Pierre Bernard's Recliner on-rage" in their heads while reading this? No? Just me, then.

Jon Clarke said...

Bill, I don't even know what that music is.