This is a great, well-thought-out post by Melbourne writer Jay Kristoff about the characters of Firefly. He mounts a pretty compelling argument that the crew of Serenity – particularly Mal, Zoe and Jayne – are the villains of the piece, rather than the plucky heroes.
The post is worth a read, because it’s a great example of the idea “every character thinks they are the hero”. Joss Whedon is the master at creating the sympathetic bad guy. The folks in Dollhouse – except for the dolls themselves – are almost all villains too. Not to mention Doctor Horrible!
So. This started as an idle tweet a few days back and devolved into a drunken conversation in which me and a buddy both proved we’ve spent waaaaaaaay too much time watching Firefly. And I’ll preface this waaaaaaay too long blog post by stressing that I lurrrrrrrve the Firefly series and Serenity movie. I love them in the pants. Were I unwed, I would take my Collector’s Edition Boxed Set in a manly fashion.
I genuinely believe Firefly is the best thing Mr Whedon has ever given us, up against some stiff competition. So I don’t want anyone thinking I’m a Whedon hater or this comes from a place of anything but love for the dude’s work. I’m just a nerd who likes to spitball about this stuff. And while, like many of you, I’ve got nothing for lurrrrve for Firefly and the crew of…
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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is the top ten favourite movies or television shows. I’ve gone for the latter, although I only have five shows that I really love. I just don’t watch that much television; there are shows I’ve enjoyed that I haven’t managed to keep up on (like True Blood, Dexter or Once Upon a Time), and I figure if I haven’t seen all of a show, or I lost track of it, I must not love it that much.
Of the ones I have, let’s be honest, most of them are by Joss Whedon. (I could have also added Dollhouse to the below, but I decided to stick to my two Joss favourites, instead of three!)
Buffy: the Vampire Slayer. I actually just re-watched some Buffy the other day, because a friend wanted to pull out Once More With Feeling, the musical episode. We ended up seeing a few other episodes from season six as well, which if you’ve seen the entire series you’ll know is the darkest. Some people write off this show as pure teen angst with wrinkly-faced vampires, but it explores some deep issues while still making you care about the characters. For example, season six explores self-harm as a major theme, via Buffy’s relationship with Spike, and looks at rape, misogyny and drugs. Wow.
Firefly. Another Joss Whedon show, this one ended too soon…although at least we got the follow-on movie, Serenity, to give us a little bit of closure. Firefly is part sci-fi, part western, and has a delightful mix of Chinese and American culture because this future society is a melting pot of the two. Love it. My favourite episodes are the two where you really get to see how dark the lead character, Mal (played by Nathan Fillion), can be. If you’re curious, they are War Stories and Ariel.
Doctor Who. The reboot doesn’t have the charm of dodgy special effects that the original did, but what it does have is clever writing. I’ve heard people criticise the later episodes for trying to be too clever but I haven’t felt that way (although I am partway through re-watching season five to see if I can unravel things better the second time around). Some episodes fall a little flat — unfortunately I felt the last Matt Smith episode was one of these — but for the most part this is a great show. My favourite episodes are Midnight and Waters of Mars (both David Tennant episodes).
Castle. I don’t mind the old whodunit cop show (although I lean more toward Law and Order than CSI). I confess I started watching Castle because it had Nathan Fillion in it, but I love the nerdy banter. Clever dialogue wins every time. I don’t really have a favourite episode, although the one where Beckett and Castle finally got together was a highlight, as is any episode where the scriptwriters make a Firefly in-joke.
The West Wing. Speaking of clever dialogue… everything I know about US politics I learned from The West Wing. This is probably the cleverest show I’ve ever seen. It’s got an interesting style in that it doesn’t follow the details of the characters’ lives, just dips in and out as they intersect with their jobs. I guess in that way it’s more like a cop show, where you are mostly focused on the job, not the people. My favourite episode is the cliffhanger, from the end of the first season (What Kind of Day Has It Been) to the start of the second (In the Shadow of Two Gunmen). Mostly because of the scene in the hospital, and getting to see a limousine do a handbrake turn on a highway.
In the title of the blog I promised you a confession, and it’s this: I really, really can’t get into Game of Thrones. I mean, on paper I should love it: an epic fantasy TV series that has ANIMATED DRAGONS IN IT! But I didn’t really like the first book (it was a DNF for me), and when I tried to watch the TV show I didn’t get past the end of the first episode. I wasn’t really okay with them pushing a small boy out a tower window. Yes, I know they’re the bad guys, but that’s NOT THE POINT. It may be because I have a small boy who loves to climb, but I just couldn’t get on board.
What are your favourite TV shows — the ones you’ve seen every episode of?