Last Thursday I went to a showing of Serenity at the Alamo Drafthouse. I never saw Serenity in the theater when it came out in 2005. At that point in time I didn’t know what Firefly was (it’s the TV series that Serenity concludes), or discovered the world of Joss Whedon at all.
I came upon Firefly because I watched Battlestar Galactica a few years ago. When I finished Battlestar I went through crazy withdrawals. Battlestar is such a good story with great characters and I missed it. I’d never been into science fiction before BSG, but afterwards I was searching for a Battlestar methadone. Something similar to sooth the withdrawal, if only a little bit. I looked up lists of best science ficiton TV shows. Enter Firefly.
I’d be lying if I said it was love at first sight. The first time I hit play on Firefly I only made it about a minute in before deciding it wasn’t for me, and I moved on in my search. I then watched ten episodes of Doctor Who before I stopped watching that as well.
Before you Doctor Who fans freak the F out, I do plan on going back to the Doctor eventually. Too many people I know and trust love it, so I know I must be missing something. The main reason I stopped watching is that the show is based on a ship that can go anywhere in space and time, infinite possibilities, yet every episode was set on Earth or just outside Earth’s orbit. I kept waiting for them to go to the far reaches of space or something, but it never happened and I lost interest. This post is about how I didn’t like Firefly at first either, but it soon became a favorite, so don’t lose faith in me yet.
I believe that I went back to Firefly at this point and tried again to no avail. I made it a few more minutes into the show than the first attempt. I then tried Farscape. Meh. I even started watching the original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation from their beginnings. That lasted maybe a week and then the search continued.
Firefly was near the top, if not number one, on every list I read, so I decided I at least had to watch a full episode before passing judgement. On the third attempt I watched the entire pilot episode, and then was immediately angry with myself because it was exactly what I’d been looking for. I loved it. Actually, I liked it. This is the moment, in the second episode, where I came to love it:
Although I should have paced myself due to there only being fourteen episodes, I didn’t. I blew through the series and watched Serenity, and then started over. I’ve gone through the series a few times since. The dang story gets me every time.
I can see why paying to watch old movies in a theater is not everyone’s thing, but I’m glad I went. I think it’s safe to assume that everyone in the theater had seen it already and loved it as much as I do. In a way, watching old movies in a theater is cooler than watching a new release because everyone there likes the movie already. Something I like about going to concerts and sporting events is it’s a gathering of people that at least have one thing in common, the band or the team. Even if you’re an anti-social disaster like me, being in a crowd of like minded people is always fun and comforting (you know, in smallish doses).
My wife was kind enough to watch Firefly and Serenity with me once, but other than that I had never experienced the show with other people. Hearing a theater full of people laugh at my favorite lines, and groan audibly at the saddest part in the whole story, even though we all knew it was going to happen (those who’ve seen it know *sniffle*) was more satisfying than I ever thought it could be. It was a blast.
After the house lights came on around midnight, I got back on I-35 out of Austin wondering how this story sticks with me so well, and feeling another Firefly binge coming on.
Required Reading: I want to be Malcolm Reynolds
Extra Credit: Serenity in Battlestar Galactica
I’m sure that Mal and the crew were up to no good.