30 January 2011

Review - Firefly + Serenity

I've never really been a major party animal, but when my wife and I were invited to a new-year's party we decided to take the invitation -- there were other kids there, and that would allow my wife and I to have a bit of downtime and enjoy ourselves a bit more. It was not exactly a raucous party, the loudest we got was when we trotted out the karaoke machine and essentially had a sing-along. At the party though, our hosts also showed an older television series that neither I nor my wife had seen before: Firefly

Firefly was a show on Fox back in 2002, a "blink and you'll miss it" type that endured more than one preemption and an out-of-order broadcast, which included two episodes of the fourteen not being shown on original broadcast. We watched the pilot and second episode, and were about halfway through the third when midnight struck. After midnight, we needed to get the little ones home... at 12:30, they were pretty tired and we didn't want to deal with too-tired kids in the morning.

Anyway, we enjoyed Firefly quite a bit and when we realized that we were able to get it through Netflix Instant Queue, we eagerly watched through the end of the series. The series is an odd duck, it combines sci-fi and Old West-type settings. While there are spaceships, futuristic weapons, and tons of planets to look through, there are many elements of aging and oldness in the plot -- the spaceship itself, the captain who was an unsuccessful fighter in a war (yet allowed to remain free), all the characters that seemed to have a backstory including the teenaged girl, six-shooters, horses, and the towns themselves. The second story actually concerns a train robbery; there's a train, alright, but it's an anti-gravity setup rather than traditional rails. Other than the anti-grav, which enables it to float a couple feet off the ground, it's a traditional train the rest of the way.

There were more than a few things that detracted from the show, which included how cheaply it was made as well as what seemed like a few of the inconsistencies that it raised. However, I was extremely thrilled about the characters that the show drew and the wild, sprawling universe that it spawned. This was a place that I may not have wanted to live in, but I absolutely would have loved to explore. The characters felt real, and the writing was superb. At times it did feel that all characters were informed by the same writer, but then on the other hand I have seen more than a few situations where people do act similarly even while making pains to show how independent they are. I think the element that I enjoyed most about the series was that all emotions were in play; lots of humor, some sadness, quite a bit of drama, and none of it really felt contrived.

Serenity came out three years later into theaters. It was intended as a sort of epilogue to the series, as there are more than a few plot points that show that the crew will not be the same following the movie. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit because of the way that it was able to show the characters, for its higher budget as well as the pacing... two hours passed by, but it was a very quick two hours. My only complaint is that as the stakes were raised leading to the climax, it felt almost as if the screenwriters managed to back themselves into the same corner that the characters occupied, and that the finale was a bit implausible if stared at long enough. With that being said, this universe was a brilliant setting and the characters were well-developed, and if this idea happens to receive more attention in the future I will be glad to check it out.

Thankfully, as far as I know, both the series and movie are available through Netflix Instant Queue, I would recommend anyone who likes character-driven sci-fi or westerns to check both Firefly and Serenity out.

In other quick news, the AMFAS frontpage has been updated. The quote generator has all 88 old quotes but it also has new quotes from the MSTings that Megane 6.7 and I have completed through the last couple years, and I have also made the frontpage a bit more current with the times. Thanks for your support.

17 January 2011

New MSTing: "[None yet Suggestions welcome in Review!]"

Hey folks,

Megane 6.7 and I have finished our latest MSTing, to a Sailor Moon 'fic that went strangely untitled. There's a chess tournament, Canada, tons of senshi, and even more Sailor Mercury. It can be found at the top of our Recent Projects page on the main site, or at the direct links below:

Part 1: http://www.nabiki.com/mst/recent/none3k11.txt
Part 2: http://www.nabiki.com/mst/recent/none3k12.txt
Part 3: http://www.nabiki.com/mst/recent/none3k13.txt

Within the next couple days I'll have another blog post as well. Thanks for your patience and we hope you enjoy the MSTing!