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"Firefly" Browncoats unite! - Page 2

post #31 of 78
Ok, Firefly experts. What's the deal with Preacher? Has it been revealed as to what his back story was or what other possible motives he may have had for joining the group? The hints were dropped left and right throughout the "series" (in quotes because it was barely a season let alone a series biggrin.gif).

Perhaps something more about him was revealed in the movie Serenity but I haven't gotten around to seeing it yet. Just caught up to watching the series last year.
post #32 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post

Now that I think about it...Whedon's strength IS characters and wit, rather than pure plot.

Likeable characters that have terrible things happen to them, usually told in a glibly humorous manner. Its the clash of dark substance with light hearted style that marks his best work.

VisionOn, I like your analysis. Outside of the 2nd season the Big Bads are very much like you describe. But the story arcs aren't really about the Big Bads. Its more about the emotional cost and changes caused by confronting them. At its core, Buffy was always about the proper way to live life and what it means to be human. The Big Bads are more an illustration of the inner journey of the characters than an external threat.
post #33 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

The last episode - "Objects in Space" - was as great an hour of television as I've ever seen. In the sci-fi world, I'd rank only the BSG opener "33" above it for sheer brilliance.

Well, I don't know about as great as I've ever seen but I liked that one very much.

On balance, for the series as a whole, you can definitely put me in the "fan" camp but not quite in the, "oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, don't you just love it!" camp.
post #34 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

In contrast to most of the genre shows I watch, I find a lot of Whedon's best work is in the episode that wraps in an hour and ignores the arcs in play. Nearly all the most appreciated episodes of Buffy are character episodes or just one concept executed well. That's when he can keep the writing tight and focused. The longer stories or overall mythos I always found weak and the "Big Bad" somewhat silly or ineffectual.

I agree! I have always thought Buffy was at its best with its transcendently wonderful individual episodes, for example, Once More With Feeling, the musical episode, Hush, the mostly silent episode, and Chosen, the series finale.

I appreciated the heads up about this documentary. I didn't find the thread until this evening but soon discovered that the show will be rerun on the Science Channel several times, the first tomorrow night, 8/14'2012.
post #35 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post

Now that I think about it...Whedon's strength IS characters and wit, rather than pure plot.

I would add his dialogue is just great. In Objects in Space you get this exchange:

Simon: Are you Alliance?
Jubal Early: Am I a lion?
Simon: What?
Jubal Early: I don't think of myself as a lion. You might as well though, I have a mighty roar.
Simon: I said "Alliance."
Jubal Early: Oh, I thought...
Simon: No, I was...
Jubal Early: That's weird.

Its just great and it is a misunderstanding that reveals the character and yet you don't get that type of great dialogue in shows because everyone speaks precisely and miles above their stations.
post #36 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

Great characters, poorly though-out premise. But Whedon has always had a problem with the overarching plot. The wrappers have never been as tight as the characters.

I would disagree with the "poorly thought out premise". Whedon spent years crafting the Firefly universe. It was extremely well thought out and logically imagined, from a giant solar system with a number of habitable planets and moons in the "Goldilocks Zone" (similar systems are out there) to the relative poverty and "frontier lifestyle" of the outer worlds to the mystery of the Blue Sun corporation and the Blue Hand guys. The problem is we never got to see where he could have gone with the overarching Alliance plotline had he had several seasons to explore those concepts.
post #37 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by CruelInventions View Post

Ok, Firefly experts. What's the deal with Preacher? Has it been revealed as to what his back story was or what other possible motives he may have had for joining the group? The hints were dropped left and right throughout the "series" (in quotes because it was barely a season let alone a series biggrin.gif).
Perhaps something more about him was revealed in the movie Serenity but I haven't gotten around to seeing it yet. Just caught up to watching the series last year.
If you're talking about Book, my impression was that he was a former badass Alliance operative who figured out that they were evil and dropped off the grid/turned to religion instead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepherd_Book
post #38 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

I would disagree with the "poorly thought out premise". Whedon spent years crafting the Firefly universe. It was extremely well thought out and logically imagined, from a giant solar system with a number of habitable planets and moons in the "Goldilocks Zone" (similar systems are out there) to the relative poverty and "frontier lifestyle" of the outer worlds to the mystery of the Blue Sun corporation and the Blue Hand guys. The problem is we never got to see where he could have gone with the overarching Alliance plotline had he had several seasons to explore those concepts.

Loved his characters. Loved them in Buffy too. Just strikes me that personally Whedon would fit in better with the Alliance than the Browncoats.
post #39 of 78

There is a graphic novel that explores Book's background.

post #40 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by daryl zero View Post

I would add his dialogue is just great. In Objects in Space you get this exchange:
Simon: Are you Alliance?
Jubal Early: Am I a lion?
Simon: What?
Jubal Early: I don't think of myself as a lion. You might as well though, I have a mighty roar.
Simon: I said "Alliance."
Jubal Early: Oh, I thought...
Simon: No, I was...
Jubal Early: That's weird.
Its just great and it is a misunderstanding that reveals the character and yet you don't get that type of great dialogue in shows because everyone speaks precisely and miles above their stations.

What I liked best about that episode, was that Jubal seemed to act crazy as a way to intimidate others. Then when River started talking in circle over the com, she totally out-crazied him.
post #41 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonscott87 View Post

There is a graphic novel that explores Book's background.

It would have been better if there were not. The stories we were all imagining were much cooler. My main thought after reading it was "I wish I could UN-read that!".
post #42 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

I would disagree with the "poorly thought out premise". Whedon spent years crafting the Firefly universe. It was extremely well thought out and logically imagined, from a giant solar system with a number of habitable planets and moons in the "Goldilocks Zone" (similar systems are out there) to the relative poverty and "frontier lifestyle" of the outer worlds to the mystery of the Blue Sun corporation and the Blue Hand guys. The problem is we never got to see where he could have gone with the overarching Alliance plotline had he had several seasons to explore those concepts.

As we've been through this before in detail elsewhere, I'll summarize.

Horses - purely cosmetic and not practical choices for a future colony. Especially one that has developed FLT travel and harnessed gravity. Horses are not even a cheap or practical choice in this century for most countries.

No reason frontier worlds all decide to emulate the one period of history of one country on the entire planet Earth.

They've just had a major war. They should be using military relics and surplus, as the majority of poor countries do after a major conflict. Not custom designed old west weapons.

Houses all emulating one period again, when they should be prefab, terraforming leftovers or made from surplus materials of that age. Or even using contemporary design that was suitable for another world.

Unless one of the graphic novels explains that during the war the history of earth was wiped out (along with bicycles or any recent tech or construction innovations) and the only thing left was a copy of Bonanza for reference, the idea that "Everyone on the frontier dresses like a cowboy and lives in old west towns" is just silly science-fiction. As silly as going to Italy now and finding every house there looks just like an old west town and they all dress in clothes from the John Wayne Fashion Catalog or going to the dirt poor villages of Africa and finding that the only way to survive with no materials and limited resources is to dress like a cowboy.

Thankfully the show dropped a lot of that superfluous aesthetic as it went on (except for the whorehouse that looked just like it had escaped from Deadwood, because nobody else in history has ever made a whorehouse) but Whedon started with an image in his mind and didn't think it through at all.
post #43 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

As we've been through this before in detail elsewhere, I'll summarize.
Horses - purely cosmetic and not practical choices for a future colony. Especially one that has developed FLT travel and harnessed gravity. Horses are not even a cheap or practical choice in this century for most countries.
No reason frontier worlds all decide to emulate the one period of history of one country on the entire planet Earth.
They've just had a major war. They should be using military relics and surplus, as the majority of poor countries do after a major conflict. Not custom designed old west weapons.
Houses all emulating one period again, when they should be prefab, terraforming leftovers or made from surplus materials of that age. Or even using contemporary design that was suitable for another world.
Unless one of the graphic novels explains that during the war the history of earth was wiped out (along with bicycles or any recent tech or construction innovations) and the only thing left was a copy of Bonanza for reference, the idea that "Everyone on the frontier dresses like a cowboy and lives in old west towns" is just silly science-fiction. As silly as going to Italy now and finding every house there looks just like an old west town and they all dress in clothes from the John Wayne Fashion Catalog or going to the dirt poor villages of Africa and finding that the only way to survive with no materials and limited resources is to dress like a cowboy.
Thankfully the show dropped a lot of that superfluous aesthetic as it went on (except for the whorehouse that looked just like it had escaped from Deadwood, because nobody else in history has ever made a whorehouse) but Whedon started with an image in his mind and didn't think it through at all.

I brought up many of these points years ago and the browncoats screamed and held their breath until their eyes popped out.tongue.gif
No amount of logic from me worked on 'em.

Oh well, time heals everything...biggrin.gif
post #44 of 78
Um it's fun to be a cowboy. And it is analogous to the American west after the civil war. Even if it may be too literal it's still a fun show...
post #45 of 78
Thread Starter 
I'm not going to criticize Whedon for his artistic choices. A space western was a fun idea with lots of possibilities. Ditto on the Civil War comment above. I don't get too wound up about the scientific accuracy of what such a civilization might look like. It's all speculation anyway.

I bought his explanation and understood that he was making an episode of television with those inherent limitations on production design. I'm not going to quibble about whether six shooters would have been the weapon of choice. Jayne had a number of other types of guns including Vera the sniper rifle. And the animals made sense to me - wherever man terraforms, he'll bring all his domestic animals with him. We'll still want our accustomed steaks with their accustomed taste wherever we go and horses can fuel up by simply grazing. And it's not like there weren't other mechanical means of transport; there were. If you didn't like the show because of those creative choices, you were cheating yourself out of some good TV.

The particular style and cadence of the dialog and the imagination of mixing in Chinese with English made sense to me (it's inevitable) and was as clever and witty as I've ever heard. I thought it was all quite shiny. smile.gif
post #46 of 78
As long as the show follows its own rules, I'm good with space cowboys. It's not the "real" world, so as long as basic physics are right, I don't have a problem with anything.
Edited by sirjonsnow - 11/14/12 at 5:13pm
post #47 of 78
We only saw a handful of colonies. For all we know, most of the other ones used different cultural templates on which to base their essentially pre-industrial cultures. Certainly we saw at least two colonial worlds that were not particularly "western." And there were supposedly hundreds of terraformed worlds.

It was established that these colonies were basically formed by tossing the colonists off the transports with only the wherewithal to establish a self-sustaining agricultural society. Animals are self-replicating: Fifty years later you still have horses while your tractor is rusted junk.

Is this picture full of holes? Sure. But they're holes because they're empty, unexplained, untold stories, not because they're impossible. There's not enough information to determine what's possible and what's not in the Firefly universe.

So much possibility, never to be explored.
post #48 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

As we've been through this before in detail elsewhere, I'll summarize.
Horses - purely cosmetic and not practical choices for a future colony. Especially one that has developed FLT travel and harnessed gravity. Horses are not even a cheap or practical choice in this century for most countries.
No reason frontier worlds all decide to emulate the one period of history of one country on the entire planet Earth.
They've just had a major war. They should be using military relics and surplus, as the majority of poor countries do after a major conflict. Not custom designed old west weapons.
Houses all emulating one period again, when they should be prefab, terraforming leftovers or made from surplus materials of that age. Or even using contemporary design that was suitable for another world.
Unless one of the graphic novels explains that during the war the history of earth was wiped out (along with bicycles or any recent tech or construction innovations) and the only thing left was a copy of Bonanza for reference, the idea that "Everyone on the frontier dresses like a cowboy and lives in old west towns" is just silly science-fiction. As silly as going to Italy now and finding every house there looks just like an old west town and they all dress in clothes from the John Wayne Fashion Catalog or going to the dirt poor villages of Africa and finding that the only way to survive with no materials and limited resources is to dress like a cowboy.
Thankfully the show dropped a lot of that superfluous aesthetic as it went on (except for the whorehouse that looked just like it had escaped from Deadwood, because nobody else in history has ever made a whorehouse) but Whedon started with an image in his mind and didn't think it through at all.
Well, everyone gets to have their own opinion. But it was far more varied than you are painting. Yes, cowboy was a recurring theme. But there was plenty of scifi and various genres. The USA + China universe was quite interesting, imo.

I thought they did a good job of showing the difference between poor, middle class, and the elite. In clothes, buildings, possessions, etc. There weren't any cowboys around the high-tech hospital, or the abandoned world in the movie, etc. In the first episode, the poor areas of an inner planet were also far from the old west, it was cargo containers and smog. Like a cross between Jersey and Shanghai. (actually, thinking about it, it was almost too much variety, but I still love it)

You said "horses...not practical". That was the point. Big, fancy, rich govt does a crap job of throwing people out there on "lesser" planets just to keep them out of the way of the rich, who cares if they starve? Those planets didn't have money, they were lesser colonies than the British made.
post #49 of 78
To me, it almost seems Whedon likes to start by painting himself in a corner and then use his talent to get out of it. Almost seems like he needs the challenge, So we don't get "Slayer", a pretty cool name in itself, but "Buffy the..." instead, making the show sound like a lighthearted parody. Or dollhouse, whose premise seemed a lot more longwinded and complicated than it needed to be. Or Firefly, whose basic concept seemed almost surreal, for the reasons VisionOn so well states. In Buffy's case the series lasted long enough for us to see the irony of the title, Dollhouse and Firefly didn't last long enough to get past the jarring disconnect that the early episodes caused in the viewer, In both cases the shows improved as they went, but not quick enough to cancel the initial impression formed in the early episodes.
post #50 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiky View Post

You said "horses...not practical". That was the point. Big, fancy, rich govt does a crap job of throwing people out there on "lesser" planets just to keep them out of the way of the rich, who cares if they starve? Those planets didn't have money, they were lesser colonies than the British made.

No, not my point at all. It costs more money and time to keep a horse alive than a vehicle. If your space-truck dies you don't need to grow a new one, just find a spare part. Or make one.

Not to mention they have to transport the horses there. What did they do? Spend a lot of money on horse-sized stasis pods? Spend money to give the settlers genetic sampling so they could grow horses real fast on new planets? If anything the richest members of society should have had horses given the extensive care, support and treatment they need. Future civs settling on new worlds would be tech-driven and regardless of how recent or cutting-edge it might be (and for that time even the basic would be leaps ahead) it would still be tech. Just as it is now.
post #51 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdclark View Post

We only saw a handful of colonies. For all we know, most of the other ones used different cultural templates on which to base their essentially pre-industrial cultures. Certainly we saw at least two colonial worlds that were not particularly "western." And there were supposedly hundreds of terraformed worlds.
It was established that these colonies were basically formed by tossing the colonists off the transports with only the wherewithal to establish a self-sustaining agricultural society. Animals are self-replicating: Fifty years later you still have horses while your tractor is rusted junk.

See above about why horses are inherently stupid in a science-fiction conceit like Firefly. When present-day Earth demonstrates more practical notions of survival or even culture as a whole, then there has to be a good enough reason why humans in the future ignore it.

There are plenty of countries where fifty-year old vehicles are in use. Horses don't live to be fifty without a lot of care and cost. The basis of any poor culture is old technology because it's readily available, works and it's cheap. That's why you see poor African nations on television driving beat-up vehicles held together by bolts and luck and planes and weapons from WW2 still in use. What you don't see is everyone using horses as mass transit.

Firefly could have even sold the premise if it was just a couple of people with a predilection for 1800's America but more than one town and it being a fashion trend makes it implausible, especially if it's to the detriment of common sense or practicality. The same could be said of the revolutionary palace they ended up in for the duel, but at least that was only one place so you could chalk that up to the eccentricities of the bourgeoisie.

Thankfully as I mentioned the show got a lot better when they started to ditch that gimmick. And it was just a gimmick, because as a basis for a science-fiction setting it's ridiculous. Whedon pushed it real hard when the show started, even down to the title music, and forcing the gimmick was probably it's undoing. You don't need to have everyone dressing like cowboys to make a western and if you do it had better be a western. Otherwise to the mass audience Firefly was another silly show with space ships and now cowboys in space too.
post #52 of 78
He didn't say that horses live to be 50. He said animals are self-replicating.

Even with junk vehicles, you need fuel and the question is whether there is any fuel available. Since the planets had no life before it, it may have no source of gas, coal or oil. Getting fuel from other planets may have been prohibitive. The logical thing would be to have self-sustaining sources such as horses that procreate and eat grass which is part of the planet's ecosystem. The point of Firefly was that Mal and his crew could make it by being a transport ship for legal or illegal supplies including medicine and livestock. The planets that needed that help were the outlying colonies and the indication was that the inner planets (Alliance) were very wealthy and technologically advanced where as there were other folks who wanted to be more on their own in advanced and outlying places which the clear analogy was pioneers.
post #53 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by daryl zero View Post

He didn't say that horses live to be 50. He said animals are self-replicating.
Even with junk vehicles, you need fuel and the question is whether there is any fuel available. Since the planets had no life before it, it may have no source of gas, coal or oil. Getting fuel from other planets may have been prohibitive.

It's the far future. They harness gravity, terraform entire planets, travel between star systems and have laser and sonic pulse weapons. Fossil fuels are not a requirement. Especially since they are not a requirement to provide propulsion in this century. If they haven't come up with a way to provide energy to power a bicycle or light vehicle then they must have missed a massive technological evolutionary step.

And again, horses are far more fallible and expensive to maintain than any machine. They require medical treatment, animal doctors, constant care and attention, suffer from disease, injure and die easily, require food crops to sustain them which could be used for humans, etc. etc. etc.

Machines just require parts and fuel which can be made or obtained from any number of sources (as Kaylee often proved to keep the ship in the air) and last a long time. Mechanics are easy to train by comparison to veterinarians. Especially when it comes to simple vehicles and daily maintenance.

A vehicle can last for fifty years very easily. Getting horses to breed without issue for that long, especially when supplies and expertise are apparently very limited, is far more problematic.

But as Oink said above, arguing logic is apparently pointless because most Firefly fans are too zealous to acknowledge that the premise was inherently flawed, so this ends the discussion from me. I think my points have been made pretty clear.
post #54 of 78
horses are far more fallible and expensive to maintain than any machine. They require medical treatment, animal doctors, constant care and attention, suffer from disease, injure and die easily, require food crops to sustain them which could be used for humans, etc. etc. etc.

Horses got away from the conquistadors and they bred like rabbits in the American West. The bigger question is why vegetative life forms on other planets would be edible for earth creatures. But it was a TV show. They did a lot of things so they could make a TV show.

The worst thing about western-in-outer-space was that it enabled them to make enough of these sort of shows that FOX could show mainly them, making viewers of the original run (of which I was one) to lose patience with the show. When I finally bought the boxed set I was amazed at the complexity of the show, which was barely hinted at by what they televised.

Let alone showing it Friday nights, generally a kiss of death (Grimm notwithstanding).
post #55 of 78
Sorry, VisionOn. Didn't know you had a degree in future colonizationology from Alliance State University. I'll go to the little kids' table now. smile.gif
post #56 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaded Dogfood View Post

horses are far more fallible and expensive to maintain than any machine. They require medical treatment, animal doctors, constant care and attention, suffer from disease, injure and die easily, require food crops to sustain them which could be used for humans, etc. etc. etc.
Horses got away from the conquistadors and they bred like rabbits in the American West. The bigger question is why vegetative life forms on other planets would be edible for earth creatures. But it was a TV show. They did a lot of things so they could make a TV show.
The worst thing about western-in-outer-space was that it enabled them to make enough of these sort of shows that FOX could show mainly them, making viewers of the original run (of which I was one) to lose patience with the show. When I finally bought the boxed set I was amazed at the complexity of the show, which was barely hinted at by what they televised.
Let alone showing it Friday nights, generally a kiss of death (Grimm notwithstanding).

Not that I want to spend a lot more time talking about pure fiction, but I would assume that there would be no natural vegetation and it would all be part of the terraforming process and imported from earth ultimately or indirectly. Of course, any closed system is going to have its own adjustments. I'm wondering why horses on some planets haven't evolved to be able to fly.
post #57 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaded Dogfood View Post

Horses got away from the conquistadors and they bred like rabbits in the American West. The bigger question is why vegetative life forms on other planets would be edible for earth creatures. But it was a TV show. They did a lot of things so they could make a TV show.

Thank you, for thou art the Voice of Reason. smile.gif And they made a good TV show, didn't they?

When humans finally venture out into the cosmos and begin terraforming planets, we'll be taking our own genetic material from our earthly stock to do it with. We'll be trying to create little earths spread throughout the galaxy. To get a handle on how this might happen right next door, read the Red Mars series where uber-smart author Kim Stanley Robinson describes the process of terraforming Mars in exquisit (some might say excruciating) detail.
post #58 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by daryl zero View Post

but I would assume that there would be no natural vegetation and it would all be part of the terraforming process and imported from earth ultimately or indirectly.
Why do you think there isn't indigenous flora outside of earth?confused.gif

Quote:
I'm wondering why horses on some planets haven't evolved to be able to fly.
That's an easy one....trying to teach equines to obey a central Air Traffic Control would be cost prohibitive.tongue.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

Thank you, for thou art the Voice of Reason. smile.gif And they made a good TV show, didn't they?
When humans finally venture out into the cosmos and begin terraforming planets, we'll be taking our own genetic material from our earthly stock to do it with. We'll be trying to create little earths spread throughout the galaxy.
I am not so sure about that.

If humans DO actually try to terraform someday, HARD decisions will have to made based upon the economics of the time.
Luxuries found on earth may not make the cut (flora, fauna, etc.).
Of course, I am assuming there won't be mind-blowing, physics-bending technological advances in the future that would make this point moot....wink.gif
post #59 of 78
I watched the 10th anniversary special and loved it. It was a reminder of just what a wonderful show Firefly was.

Speaking of the 19th Century old west theme of a lot of the sets, costumes, and the use of horses, it didn't bother me much. One of the best aspects of the culture Whedon created in Firefly was the mixture of the west, both the old west and western civilization, and China, including the use of many Chinese expressions. What wonderful stuff! What can I say? Joss does good work.smile.gif
post #60 of 78
The point being missed here is that this is a post-apocalyptic universe where the home planet (Earth) was devastated, and the colonization was a "survival of humanity" thing. Resources were scarce. Installing an industrial infrastructure for each colony was not possible. They were left to fend for themselves, using what they could scavenge and grow using the supplies they were left with.

There are many details missing, far more than were shown. But I have no trouble envisioning multiple scenarios that could produce colonies similar to those shown. As for horses, well, animal power has been fundamental to many pre-industrial cultures throughout our history, including America's. Well into the 20th Century, small farmers used horses for power and transportation because machines were too expensive, too difficult to maintain. I had some trouble myself with the idea that transporting fully-grown horses in a spaceship would be workable (I would have expected frozen embryos and artificial wombs or something), but the use of horses itself rings true. And is a common scenario in classic science fiction (eg Heinlein) about interstellar colonization.
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