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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rewatching Firefly: AKA Joss Whedon's Ability to Scare the Hell Out of Me & Still Make Me Love Him

I have strange taste when it comes to television programing. I'm one of those people who love shows that are weird & keep you guessing as to what's next. I get annoyed by sitcom comedies where you know 3 steps ahead of the characters what's going to happen. I'm not saying they are bad or that there is no place for them, clearly the viewers of shows like Two & a Half Men enjoy that sorta shtick, it's just not my cup of tea.  Which is probably why I love the works of JJ Abrams & of course Joss Whedon. I have been a fan of The Whedonverse since back in the day when Buffy still aired on the WB (btws as far as I am concerned it will always be the WB). Let's face it the man is brilliant at creating characters you care about, keeping you guessing, & scaring the CRAP out of the viewer.

Since summer has come & taken most of my beloved shows into reruns I've begun my Rewatch Project. To kick it all off I've begun with Firefly, because with Castle in reruns I need a little Nathan Fillion in my life. Though I love the show, and am still baffled by the stupidity of FOX for canceling it, it had been so long since I had watched it I'd almost forgotten just how insanely strange & wonderful the show truly is, almost.

As I sat down & watched the (tragically only one season) series I was struck by several realizations. First off the cast is fantastical, it is impossible to talk Firefly without making some mention of the dream cast that was assembled. Seriously Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Sean Maher, Morena Baccarin, Summer Glau, Jewel Straite, Ron Glass, & Adam Baldwin, all amazing in their portrayals. To have a cast that large & still manage to make each character interesting & important to the story is a pretty daunting task, however Firefly makes it appear almost  effortless.

Secondly I always forget just how fucking scary Joss's shows can be. Still there I sat, on my big comfy couch clutching Bear-ick Jetter (my NY Yankees pillow pet) in terror, watching "Ariel" as the blue handed men pulled out their little brain explody devise. I felt my stomach drop as River sing-songingly muttered "Two by two hands of blue". And no, this was not the first time I had seen this episode and I still had to stop after it ended for a breather, that is how terrifying I find those men to be.

Still, to me, the scariest moment in, probably, the entire series (& I'm not include Serenity in this) is in "Objects in Space" where Bounty Hunter, Jubel Early, has Kaylee cornered in the engine room and point blank asks "You ever been raped?" Seriously points to Richard Brooks for his deadpan delivery of the line, makes my skin craw. Between that & the look of sheer terror on Jewel Straite' s face, I was done. I've seen the episode before, & clearly knew that Kaylee & her virtue remain intact at the end, but watching it? I felt the same horror, dread & fear for her as I did the first time.

That's what is so truly special about the worlds that Joss Whedon has created. You get lost in them, & despite the fact that they are often have some element of fantasy/sci-fi to them (Buffy slayed Vamps, Firefly happened mostly on a Spaceship) they feel real. Which is probably why the Whedonverse has such die hard fans.

As I rewatched Firefly it reminded me just how much I loved these characters. How much, as much as it is in no way Utopian existence, & I'll admit it, River kinda wigs me out, I almost  wish I could be a part of that world, if for no other reason then to hang out with the inhabitants of Serenity. That to me is the best judge of just how great a show is.

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