Friday, November 13, 2009

Faith in Serenity

Then there's some of these things that just seemto come completely out of left field. I barely remember writing this, but I like it nonetheless.

Published Oct. 7, 2005, in the Keizertimes

The mission was simple.

Find a job. Keep flying.

The only problem was Serenity didn’t.

You may have seen recent commercials for the release of the “Serenity” motion picture.

If you’re like most, those ads have nearly – but not quite – piqued your interest.

That’s a shame.

For those who don’t know, “Serenity” is the feature film reincarnation of the short-lived FOX television show “Firefly.”

“Firefly” began airing in 2002 and was canceled after only 11 of the 14 episodes aired. Since it’s inception the story’s labels have dogged it. It’s a sci-fi western and most people will either tune it in or they won’t.

That’s a shame.

The science fiction and western bits only serve to enhance the story of Capt. Malcom Reynolds, a soldier who fought on the losing side of a rebellion against an oppressive government. He now makes his living on the fringes of society accepting jobs from the seediest of characters, but staying true to himself and his principle of doing what’s right no matter the cost to him.

He commands a crew of rag-tag misfits whose only home is the ship known as Serenity. On television, the cast and writers melded almost magically, but the show’s life was so short it left many fans craving more.

The Firefly/Serenity universe is the brainchild of Joss Whedon; others might know him from his “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” creations.

“Serenity,” which opened in two Salem theaters last weekend, is Whedon’s chance to wrap up many of the lingering threads from the Firefly series, but in the process he spins a decent yarn that stands alone as a fun movie.

Only most people didn’t see it.

That’s a shame.

When I finally got over the act of watching a show titled “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” I was inextricably hooked on Whedon’s shows.

You can ask my wife, I don’t generally watch a whole lot of television because I’m insufferable when it comes to bad writing, but contrary to any expectation, the original and unique voice of his characters is precisely what drew me to Whedon’s worlds.

“Firefly” was no different. I was heartbroken when it was canceled. I actually wrote a letter to the studio requesting they bring it back. In retrospect, I still have a hard time believing I did that. Nonetheless, I’m glad I did.

When “Firefly” was released on DVD it sold incredibly well, which – coupled with rabid fan support – got the “Serenity” movie greenlit at Universal Studios. Rejoicing ensued.

Since it was announced that the movie would be produced, I’ve worn fan-made T-shirts promoting it. Others were even more exuberant in their support. Whedon’s name may appear at the beginning, but all of the Firefly/Serenity fans feel a sense of ownership in this film.

When last week’s box office numbers rolled in, I was crushed. The movie made only $10.1 million, claiming second at the box office. As fans, we worked harder than that to make this movie a success, and for some reason no one heard us.

For me, “Serenity” is more than a movie. It’s proof that talent is more powerful than the almighty dollar (or lack of them).

In a sense, fans of “Firefly” and “Serenity” already won the war, but I’d sure like other people to see the battle.

If not, that would be the biggest shame.

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