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Rabe
10-01-2005, 08:22 AM
This movie, based on the maligned and aborted Fox series "Firefly" (and really, creators of television entertainment out there, stop trying to put your great sci-fi shows on Fox...they're just going to screw them around and then cancel them citing lack of interest from fans that didn't realize the time slot had been moved to dark o'thirty on the second tuesday of the thirteenth month).

What did I think of the movie, having just seen it?

Joss Whedon is a bastard.

preyer
10-01-2005, 04:50 PM
why's he a bastard?

hey, you never know, some other network may pick up the 'firefly' series if the movie does well. stranger things have happened. i think it ended after, what, about eleven episodes?

heard somewhere where the big thing this coming television season will be science fiction.

fans of 'head cases' are pretty much screwed, though: it got the axe after two episodes. way to develop a series, fox, really letting people have a big chance there.

Captain_Campion
10-01-2005, 05:36 PM
Personally, I do look forward to seeing Serenity. Love to know what you thought of it.

The original 'Firefly' lasted 13 episodes.

Aspiring writers should look to Firefly as a template for writing dialogue and developing characters. Whedon did a magnificient job in that regard with this series, IMHO, particularly when you watch the episodes in the order they were meant to be seen (Fox not only pulled the plug too fast, they went against Whedon's designs and did not show the 'first' episode first.

Leanan-Sidhe
10-01-2005, 11:08 PM
I've never seen the series firefly, but I saw Serenity last night and it was awesome. Plot, characterization, special effects, humor--everything was fantastic. Definately a well-spent $7 at the over-priced movie theaters.

Rabe
10-01-2005, 11:11 PM
why's he a bastard?

hey, you never know, some other network may pick up the 'firefly' series if the movie does well. stranger things have happened. i think it ended after, what, about eleven episodes?



In order to reveal why I think he's such a bastard, I'd have to reveal movie spoilers that Shall Not Be Revealed. Let's just say that an excellent movie overall, but Whedon is a bastard in the best possible way.

Serenity becomes a worthy sucessor ot 'Farscape' as the sucessor to the 'Star Wars' throne.

Rabe...

ChunkyC
10-02-2005, 12:12 AM
I'm reviewing Serenity for my column, I thought it was great fun. Watch for a space battle to rival anything in a Star Wars movie.

mdin
10-02-2005, 01:46 AM
[/hijack]


Definately a well-spent $7 at the over-priced movie theaters.

I haven't seen a $7 movie ticket in these parts in ages. Full-price around here is $8.50. I know our friends in NYC pay quite a bit more than that.

Saanen
10-02-2005, 03:10 AM
I saw it this afternoon and really enjoyed it. I liked the show Firefly too, all three episodes I was able to catch.

Has anyone else noticed that Fox does its "shuffle the showtimes, cancel the show" act constantly, with any genre? I really loathe that station. The only Fox program I bother to watch anymore is The Simpsons--the only show they daren't touch.

Jamesaritchie
10-02-2005, 03:52 AM
why's he a bastard?

hey, you never know, some other network may pick up the 'firefly' series if the movie does well. stranger things have happened. i think it ended after, what, about eleven episodes?

heard somewhere where the big thing this coming television season will be science fiction.

fans of 'head cases' are pretty much screwed, though: it got the axe after two episodes. way to develop a series, fox, really letting people have a big chance there.

Those first episodes run every Friday on the scifi Channel. I thought the show was decent, watchable, but not great in any way. I think I'm just really tired of seeing the powers in charge be the bad guy, and some rinky-dink rebels being the good guys. Still, it was watchable, and I wouldn't mind seeing it make a comeback.

Rabe
10-02-2005, 09:57 AM
I think I'm just really tired of seeing the powers in charge be the bad guy, and some rinky-dink rebels being the good guys.

Happens for a variety of reasons:

1> It's not fun watching Goliath constantly squashing David.

2> In 'Firefly' the Alliance isn't so much the 'bad guy' as they are the nemesis of the Independant loving Malcom and Zoe - plus the rest of the crew. It's made pretty clear that the crew of Serenity are crooks, thieves, criminals and all around ne'erdowells. Except, maybe, for Shephard Book. But then again, they hinted at some pretting interesting past history for him as well.

3> It wasn't the whole of the Alliance that became their enemies, just those who were messing and trying to retrieve River and Simon Tam.

4> Governments seem to be so easy to corrupt with the powermad. Look at our own world for the greatest enemy of our country is. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the entire government. Just some who are housed in the white.

Rabe...

preyer
10-02-2005, 08:29 PM
'firefly' would have been a great syndicated show.

are the networks the bad guys? yes and no. it's great to give a show like this a chance, but it's utterly unsane to move it around and create viewing chaos with it.

Rabe
10-02-2005, 10:23 PM
'firefly' would have been a great syndicated show.

are the networks the bad guys? yes and no. it's great to give a show like this a chance, but it's utterly unsane to move it around and create viewing chaos with it.

The problem isn't 'networks' but Fox in particular. They do this all the time with their spec fic shows.

C'mon, think off the top of your head just how many spec fic shows they've had on Fox that have been successful, and then think of all the others shows that died an aborted death at the whims of Fox Powers That Be.

Look at the history of "Firefly" for that example. They constantly reordered the show to make the storyline have no sense whatsoever (the pilot episodes were aired like third and fourth - which is giving the origin of the show halfway through the season when the characters are already established), pre-empted, delayed and in general treated it like the bastard stepkids of the hated neighbors.

Which is par for the Fox spec fic market. To them, if they're not getting the HUGE numbers from episode the first, they cancel it.

Oh, as for how many spec fic shows were successful on Fox, I can think of only two:

X-Files and Futurama. Though, Futurama, I believe, was only given as much of a chance as it got to keep Matt Groening happy and not kill off the cash cow that is the Simpsons.

So, is the Fox network the bad guys? Definitely.

Jamesaritchie
10-03-2005, 05:20 PM
Happens for a variety of reasons:

1> It's not fun watching Goliath constantly squashing David.

2> In 'Firefly' the Alliance isn't so much the 'bad guy' as they are the nemesis of the Independant loving Malcom and Zoe - plus the rest of the crew. It's made pretty clear that the crew of Serenity are crooks, thieves, criminals and all around ne'erdowells. Except, maybe, for Shephard Book. But then again, they hinted at some pretting interesting past history for him as well.

3> It wasn't the whole of the Alliance that became their enemies, just those who were messing and trying to retrieve River and Simon Tam.

4> Governments seem to be so easy to corrupt with the powermad. Look at our own world for the greatest enemy of our country is. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the entire government. Just some who are housed in the white.

Rabe...

No, those in the White House are not the bad guys in any sense of the word. And The entire government in Firefly was bad, it's just that the only reason Serenity was worth messing with was because of Rover and Simon Tan. Had it not been for them, Serenity and it's crew would have been a bunch of minor thieves not worth worrying about.

Goliath and David have nothing to do with it. There's no rule that says the government has to be huge and all-powerful, or that it's enemies must be small and weak.

Just once, I'd like to see the good guys actually be good guys. No matter what the government in Firefly was like as a whole, the crew of Serenity would still be the bad guys.

For me, Firefly remains old hat, tired cliches, and highly unrealistic.

Birol
10-03-2005, 06:03 PM
James, if that's what you want to see or read, then you should write it.


Rabe, I know what you mean about Joss Whedon being a bastard. I saw Serenity on opening day. After it was over, it took the person I went to see the movie with and I at least a good half-day to pick our jaws up off the ground and stop saying.... Well, I can't say what we were saying. But, yes. It was great and horrible at the same time.

Axler
10-03-2005, 06:38 PM
Like anything else, some people get Firefly/Serenity, some people don't. James don't.

When Firefly first aired, I was prepared to be unimpressed by it, simply because combining western themes with space opera seemed old and tiresome...not to mention a way of cutting production costs.

However, it didn't take me long to realize that Joss Whedon had accomplished something very special.

Not only did he manage to evoke the atmosphere of the old pulp western/space opera form (reminiscent of Leigh Brackett's Eric John Stark, Catherine Moore's Northwest Smith and Edmond Hamilton's Starwolf), he did it in a way that came off as very believable within context.

But he also knew to overcome the shortcomings of weekly TV production, the characters would have to carry the series.

The Firefly/Serenity cast of characters are multi-layered, eccentric and certainly not presented as paragons of virtue...however, they also have senses of humor about themselves, which seperates them from the grim-as-death delivery and bare-tooth grimacing of the new Battlestar Galactica cast.

Not to mention the way space scenes were shot in Firefly was "borrowed" for BSG.

I have a little experience in crafting and maintaining an ongoing series and so maybe I'm able to recognize some of the more subtle elements Whedon worked in that kept the stories from falling into formula.

The driving force of the characters and therefore the series itself was not survival, or revenge or adventure. It was love...Simon's love for River, Mal's love for his ship and crew and their love for him.

In my opinion, Whedon pulled off what he was trying accomplish...otherwise, there wouldn't have been a Serenity.

maestrowork
10-03-2005, 07:16 PM
I've never seen the show (Firefly), but I enjoyed the movie. It got a little disorienting in the beginning because I wasn't familiar with the show -- so the war, and everything seems a little murky for me. But I like the characters and the humor. The action and special effects are not bad either. Not entirely my cup of tea, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I find the "futuristic" Asian references (including the title "Serenity") interesting. Apparently, there's a nice cult following.

But as far as space operas go, I still prefer the new Battlestar Galactica.

Birol
10-03-2005, 07:26 PM
I'm reviewing Serenity for my column, I thought it was great fun. Watch for a space battle to rival anything in a Star Wars movie.

Charlie, I'd be interested in seeing your review of the movie.

Sheryl Nantus
10-03-2005, 07:33 PM
saw it yesterday, didn't care much for it.

jmo, of course, but it seems that Whedon goes in for the cheap shock value where he can - oh, look at what's happening to HIM or HER!!! without any resolution afterwards - no spoilers, but I felt rather robbed of seeing anyone's reaction to anything. The characters aren't anything like the series and I missed that a whole lot as we got dazzled by special effects and illogical plot twists.

not a bad DVD rental, but I think it's almost a cheap ripoff of Firefly, to be brutally honest.

:(

Rabe
10-03-2005, 09:35 PM
James, if that's what you want to see or read, then you should write it.


Rabe, I know what you mean about Joss Whedon being a bastard. I saw Serenity on opening day. After it was over, it took the person I went to see the movie with and I at least a good half-day to pick our jaws up off the ground and stop saying.... Well, I can't say what we were saying. But, yes. It was great and horrible at the same time.

HA! I know *exactly* what you mean!

Right before the Can't Talk About Part I was in the theatre, amazed, loving it and thinking to myself "now, THIS is the legacy that Lucas is leaving us!" And how Serenity/Firefly is the prince to the crown prince of Sci-Fi that Farscape has become. And with the passing of Star Wars, Farscape and Serenity (most likely as well) we'll be subjected to more sci-fi crapola as we always get.

Really saddening that.

Rabe...

Birol
10-03-2005, 09:43 PM
I think there will either be a second Serenity movie or else it will be picked up as a series again on another network.

Lyra Jean
10-03-2005, 09:55 PM
I saw the series and the movie. I thought they were both excellent. I liked it better than Star Wars. Eh Star Wars was so unrealistic to me. I mean in Star Wars the bad guys can shoot 30,000 times and not hit anyone. When the good guys fire one shot 3 bad guys die. I don't think I'm exxagerating at all. So how realistic is that.

I really loved the characters and how when they were outside in space there was no sound like it was supposed to be. I have yet to see another space movie that does this. I think the point of the movie was to see the interaction of the characters on the ship and less of the David/Goliath rebel/bad government scenario. I'm going to be buying both the series and movie. And yay I finally have a DVD player.

So call me a follower everything still shiny to me.

badducky
10-14-2005, 09:09 PM
I saw the film, and have seen some of the episodes.

Joss Whedon has a very "TV" aesthetic. The movie felt like one season of a TV show slammed into a couple hours. (Heck, reminds me of this one Escaflowne movie I had rented once.) However, I always applaud visionary leadership of large artistic projects. This one could have been utterly awful. Instead, he kept all the actors, did his own writing and directing, and did a fine job of tightening down a series into a couple hours.

I often feel, when I am reading the latest graduate of an MFA-program's book, and when I am watching mainstream cinema, that I am witnessing an art made by a committee. It's not that such art can't be very good. It can. However, it doesn't taste the same in your mind as art guided and directed by one strong personality.

Joss has a distinctive style, and the strength-of-personality to push it across the field of suits. I look forward to his future projects. He's only getting better as he goes.

The fact that I like really hot women beating the stuffing out of bad guys has nothing to do with it... I swear!

sassandgroove
10-14-2005, 10:12 PM
I saw the film, and have seen some of the episodes.

Joss Whedon has a very "TV" aesthetic. The movie felt like one season of a TV show slammed into a couple hours.

THat's because it was. THe show was very pre-maturely cancelled so with the film he took it to the point the show would have been after TWO (2) Seasons.

Sage
10-16-2005, 08:05 AM
Wow, you really can't stop the signal. I finally get off the Serenity boards to go somewhere to help with writing, & you guys are talking about Serenity too. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smilehooray.gif

Dawno
10-16-2005, 08:11 AM
You all probably know exactly when I turned to my SO and said "That's not what Kirk would have said to Spock, now is it?" :)

I loved the movie (saw it today) and I love how Joss keeps his characters real. The humor isn't forced, it's the way some people actually respond to pressure.

I never saw Firefox on TV (although I try, now, to catch the repeats). I wish there was more good SF on TV.

Lyra Jean
10-16-2005, 09:13 AM
"Firefly" it's showing on Sci-Fi on Saturday nights, last I knew
or you can buy the whole season for $30.00 or $40.00 at Circuit City or Best Buy.

aboyd
10-16-2005, 01:36 PM
jmo, of course, but it seems that Whedon goes in for the cheap shock value where he can - oh, look at what's happening to HIM or HER!!! without any resolution afterwards - no spoilers, but I felt rather robbed of seeing anyone's reaction to anything.
You know, I kinda felt that way too. However, I thought Zoe nearly throwing herself at the Reavers was a strong statement for her character. They may not have shown her grieving over one of the Unmentionable Events, but the idea that she, as a military leader, would completely lose it in battle struck a chord with me. It seemed like a fair way for her to express her distress. However, I expect more from her in the future. If you've read the comic books, you know they're setting her up for a meltdown.

I think the other Unmentionable Event was also handled so-so -- not awful, after all, Mal's reaction was to basically go ape-**** and pick a fight with half the galaxy. Again, no crying, no grief, but it definitely affected somebody's decision-making process. However, if Joss doesn't address the mystery behind the Unmentionable Person in the future, I'll be more upset.

I want the next Firefly movie/comic/episode to look back and show us some history. Of course, having done miserably at the box office, I suspect that there won't be any more of it, ever. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/mad.gif

It's too bad. If Firefly and BSG could both be successful, I might have my sci-fi needs fully met for the first time in a long, long time.

(Also, one more side-note: I think the Serenity movie did one thing right -- it made me feel good about wanting more of it. This is the opposite of Farscape -- the 2-hour miniseries endcap made me say "well, I'm done with that.")

-Tony

black winged fighter
10-16-2005, 06:21 PM
Own the series, and watched Serenity opening day. What can I say? Joss Whedon creates the kinds of characters and relationships that I strive for in my writing. That sense of closeness and familiarity - so unforced and natural - is what brings Firefly to antoher level.
There's nothing for it: i <3 Firefly

azbikergirl
10-16-2005, 06:38 PM
I've never seen the TV show, but I saw the movie yesterday. I liked it a lot -- enough to maybe get the first season on DVD. I'd love to see more movies like this.

Irysangel
10-16-2005, 09:58 PM
I'm another one of the 'meh' viewers. Never saw the show, but heard everyone praising it highly. Haven't bought it on DVD yet because I loathe all of Joss Whedon's other stuff (Buffy/Angel/crap-on-a-stick/JMO) and was afraid to throw down $50 on something I'd never watch. Hubby wanted to go to the movies and I suggested 'Serenity' to see what it was all about.

He didn't want to see it because he thought it was about 'some hot ninja chick' because all they show in the commercials is River busting heads. When I told him it was based off of 'Firefly' he was shocked. We both agreed the commercials suck major league.

The movie was very 'meh' for me. I didn't know who was who going in, so the first hour was a little too 'fast' for me as it jumped around, and we didn't get to really know any of the characters except River. I have to say I really enjoyed the last hour, but overall it still felt like the 'X-Files Movie' to me -- I'd just paid $7.00 to watch a long TV show in an uncomfortable chair.

As for a second movie? Unless it's straight to video, I doubt it. Serenity is TANKING in the theater. After 3 weeks in release, it hasn't even brought in $20 million, and cost $45 million to make. People may love SF when it's on TV, but unless it's got a Jedi in it, it usually doesn't make much at the theater.

Saanen
10-16-2005, 10:22 PM
Serenity is TANKING in the theater. After 3 weeks in release, it hasn't even brought in $20 million, and cost $45 million to make. People may love SF when it's on TV, but unless it's got a Jedi in it, it usually doesn't make much at the theater.

Actually, by that estimate right now everything is tanking at the theater. Box Office Mojo's weekend estimates show the top two movies (The Fog and Wallace & Gromit, in weeks 1 and 2 respectively) taking in right around $12 million each, which is not exactly blockbuster box office. Serenity took in just over $10 million in its opening weekend. I also see that BOMojo reports Serenity cost $39 million to make and last weekend (its second) it had made $18 million total; estimates for this weekend show it having passed the $22 million mark total in domestic release. It'll make a tidy profit in the overseas markets, video/DVD release, and toys/tie-in merchandise.

I liked the movie, although it's not one I'd want to watch again. But it's certainly not a flop.

aboyd
10-16-2005, 11:49 PM
I liked the movie, although it's not one I'd want to watch again. But it's certainly not a flop.The movie company backing it said it needs to make 80 million for them to consider it "worthy" of a sequel. Even with DVD purchases, it won't make 80 million.

I'm not even sure it will break even. The 40 million amount that people mention is only the production costs. The market costs haven't been mentioned, as they're ongoing. But if the final number is 10 or 20 million more, I wouldn't be surprised. I don't see the movie pulling down 60 million even with DVD and international, unless it became a hit in a few countries. So far, I haven't heard of that happening.

Anyone in another country want to comment? Do you know what the box office take was for your area?

-Tony

Axler
10-17-2005, 04:35 AM
From BBC News, October 11



Sci-fi beats Pride in film chart

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40898000/jpg/_40898518_serenityap_203.jpg

Sci-fi film Serenity has ended Pride and Prejudice's four-week reign at the top of the UK film chart. Serenity, created by Buffy the Vampire Slayer mastermind Joss Whedon, took almost 960,000 in its first weekend.

astonwest
02-18-2007, 05:46 PM
I was told I needed to watch the movie and the series after some friends read my book and WIP.


Aspiring writers should look to Firefly as a template for writing dialogue and developing characters. Whedon did a magnificient job in that regard with this series, IMHO, particularly when you watch the episodes in the order they were meant to be seen (Fox not only pulled the plug too fast, they went against Whedon's designs and did not show the 'first' episode first.

Oddly enough, Firefly bears a lot of similarities to my own work (which I blogged about the other day), especially between the Captain and my main character. Dialogue and character development are two things people have commented are strengths of my work as well.

I'd encourage anyone who's planning to watch, though, to watch the series first. I watched the movie first, and was confused to no end about everything that was going on. In the middle of watching the series on DVD now, and things are making a lot more sense. I'll probably go back and watch the movie too.

Unfortunately, it meant making a name change in my WIP...oops.

(I'd also agree that Fox is no place for a decent sci-fi series)

PeeDee
02-19-2007, 10:39 AM
Fox is no place for anything. I despise Fox. I was really enjoying "Standoff" and then after their looney mid-season break (when the hell did that start happening on TV?) they havent' brought it back or mentioned it.

And they killed Firefly.

Fox tends to just throw tv shows at the wall and see what sticks. If they didn't have House (and, I guess, American Idol, I guess) then I would avoid that silly network altogether.

I was hoping Sci-fi Channel would pick up Firefly and continue it, the way they did with Babylon 5's fifth season, back in the day. But nothing, alas.

However, Joss Whedon is continuing the Firefly storyline in comic books, which I'm happily looking forward to. The man knows how to write dialog. His work on Astonishing X-Men has been the best X-Men I've read since Chris Claremont's work, back in the day (before he too puttered out).

alaskamatt17
02-19-2007, 01:28 PM
I didn't even know House was on Fox. My roommate has the first two seasons on DVD, so we just watch those.

I thought (hope) I heard somewhere that Serenity might get a sequel after all, and that long-term DVD sales were making up for less than stellar initial release numbers.

When I went to watch it on the big screen, I had never seen an episode of Firefly. After watching it, I had to find the complete series and watch it multiple times. What everyone here says about the dialogue, I find absolutely true. The dialogue is the reason to watch the show. Everything else is okay, but the dialogue always seems to outshine the other elements.

Jamesaritchie
02-19-2007, 05:42 PM
Like anything else, some people get Firefly/Serenity, some people don't. James don't.

When Firefly first aired, I was prepared to be unimpressed by it, simply because combining western themes with space opera seemed old and tiresome...not to mention a way of cutting production costs.

However, it didn't take me long to realize that Joss Whedon had accomplished something very special.

Not only did he manage to evoke the atmosphere of the old pulp western/space opera form (reminiscent of Leigh Brackett's Eric John Stark, Catherine Moore's Northwest Smith and Edmond Hamilton's Starwolf), he did it in a way that came off as very believable within context.

But he also knew to overcome the shortcomings of weekly TV production, the characters would have to carry the series.

The Firefly/Serenity cast of characters are multi-layered, eccentric and certainly not presented as paragons of virtue...however, they also have senses of humor about themselves, which seperates them from the grim-as-death delivery and bare-tooth grimacing of the new Battlestar Galactica cast.

Not to mention the way space scenes were shot in Firefly was "borrowed" for BSG.

I have a little experience in crafting and maintaining an ongoing series and so maybe I'm able to recognize some of the more subtle elements Whedon worked in that kept the stories from falling into formula.

The driving force of the characters and therefore the series itself was not survival, or revenge or adventure. It was love...Simon's love for River, Mal's love for his ship and crew and their love for him.

In my opinion, Whedon pulled off what he was trying accomplish...otherwise, there wouldn't have been a Serenity.

I got it, I just thought it was bad. I still think it was bad. Nothing new in any way. And love? Wow, what a new and original concept! I'm amazed no one ever built a series around love before.

There's a reason that series didn't last, and it wasn't Fox screwing with the schedule. Purely and simply, not enough people thought it was good enough to give up an hour of their lives for. They were right.

The movie was better, but only because the movie was more exciting.

greglondon
02-19-2007, 06:14 PM
I got it, I just thought it was bad. I still think it was bad. Nothing new in any way. And love? Wow, what a new and original concept! I'm amazed no one ever built a series around love before.

There's a reason that series didn't last, and it wasn't Fox screwing with the schedule. Purely and simply, not enough people thought it was good enough to give up an hour of their lives for. They were right.

The movie was better, but only because the movie was more exciting.

Here endeth the reading...

PeeDee
02-19-2007, 06:48 PM
There's a reason that series didn't last, and it wasn't Fox screwing with the schedule. Purely and simply, not enough people thought it was good enough to give up an hour of their lives for. They were right. \


I could accept that being true, to an extent, in that show (even good ones like this. Hah!) don't live or die based on how well they're written. But Fox has a history already behind it of making shows, waving it around for twenty minutes, then vanishing it because they dream up something better for the time slot. The only time they don't do this are shows that get a big amount of public noise that make them untouchable, like House, like AI.

But the network's hardly faultless. For one thing, I bet if they gave a show a time slot and left it there, it would help viewing and viewership immensely.

Fox is a screwy network.

sassandgroove
02-19-2007, 06:49 PM
It was a very good show and the reason it didn't go on is because Fox only gave it half a season. that is not enough time for a show to build a good audience.

icerose
02-19-2007, 06:58 PM
I hate Fox, because they put out good shows. One springs to mind Dark Angel. They keep it in a good slot for two weeks, then suddenly it's on reruns for another two weeks, then it's in a new time slot showing the reruns again. Then they make two new weeks. Then a new time slot, reruns for four weeks.

It's like come on, get it together! So irritating.

sassandgroove
02-19-2007, 07:06 PM
I hate Fox, because they put out good shows. One springs to mind Dark Angel. They keep it in a good slot for two weeks, then suddenly it's on reruns for another two weeks, then it's in a new time slot showing the reruns again. Then they make two new weeks. Then a new time slot, reruns for four weeks.

It's like come on, get it together! So irritating.
Exactly. I don't care how good a show is, when you jerk it around like that it won't build an audience.

sassandgroove
02-19-2007, 07:15 PM
Did you all see Nathan Fillion is going to be on a new show called Drive. Shiny.

ChaosTitan
02-19-2007, 08:19 PM
I could accept that being true, to an extent, in that show (even good ones like this. Hah!) don't live or die based on how well they're written. But Fox has a history already behind it of making shows, waving it around for twenty minutes, then vanishing it because they dream up something better for the time slot.

Let's not forget the first two nails in the coffin before the show even premiered:

1) They didn't air the original pilot. It was shot as a two-hour pilot and gave us all the backstory we needed to meet the characters, the ship, and the Verse. FOX wanted action. Joss wrote a new pilot and shot it after several eps were already in the can (anyone else notice how Jayne's beard changed over those first few eps?).

2) Crappy ads. *tries to remember the exact phrasing of the voice overs* A captain on the run, an intergalactic hooker, and a girl in a box. *something like that, grumbles* The ads made the show out to be some sort of Lexx-like space romp, which it clearly wasn't. I remember watching the "pilot" and thinking it wasn't much like what the trailers made it out to be (not to mention being confused about the whole "girl in a box" thing because they didn't air the original gorram pilot!).

*sigh*

Zoombie
02-19-2007, 08:50 PM
I'm a firefly fanatic, so all the guys here who've said they didn't like it make me go...huh?

No really, I'm scratching my head here. Whats not to like about the show? It's funny, it's got things that happen, it's got characterization stuff.

Then again, different strokes for different folks. But nothing made me hate Fox more than when they canceled Firefly. Not only did they cancel Firefly (and Futurama...and Arrested Development) but they kept CRAP like Jon Doe running for three more seasons.

Imagine what the world would be like if Firefly had three seasons?

<Imagines a world with world peace, no hunger, contentment for everyone>

Yeah...that'd be a nice place.

merper
02-19-2007, 09:41 PM
There's a reason that series didn't last, and it wasn't Fox screwing with the schedule. Purely and simply, not enough people thought it was good enough to give up an hour of their lives for. They were right.

That would make sense if they didn't start out by airing the second episode instead of the first one. The second episode made sense on its own, but was mostly actionless and boring without understanding the characters through the first episode.

PeeDee
02-20-2007, 05:38 AM
2) Crappy ads. *tries to remember the exact phrasing of the voice overs* A captain on the run, an intergalactic hooker, and a girl in a box. *something like that, grumbles* The ads made the show out to be some sort of Lexx-like space romp, which it clearly wasn't. I remember watching the "pilot" and thinking it wasn't much like what the trailers made it out to be (not to mention being confused about the whole "girl in a box" thing because they didn't air the original gorram pilot!).

*sigh*

Not to hijack...but I watched every episode of L.E.X.X. in a state of absolute confusion. From beginning to end, I had NO idea what I was watching or what was happening. But I kept coming back, thinking that it had to make sense eventually.

I still know what it was that I watched all those years. But I watched it anyway.

Lyra Jean
02-20-2007, 07:44 AM
I think LEXX had it's own set of movies called Tales from a parallel universe. If you see those first the series will probably make more sense.

LEXX is also the only show that made me believe in necrophilia.

Rabe
02-20-2007, 07:50 AM
There's a reason that series didn't last, and it wasn't Fox screwing with the schedule. Purely and simply, not enough people thought it was good enough to give up an hour of their lives for. They were right.

Y'know, it's kind of HARD to give up an hour of your life to watch it when you DON'T KNOW WHEN THE FRELL IT'S ON!!!

Y'know, just saying for clarity's sake.

I still have a few 'Firefly' tapes that were set up to record the show (since I was working swings at the time) that are full of other shows because the time slot it was SUPPOSED to be on was something else.

P.S. to PeeDee it was TBS or some other Turner Broadcasting station that picked up Babylon 5 and ran with it for the horribly aborted fifth season, not the Sci-Fi channel. Which is why JMS has such a mad on for destroying Atlanta every chance he gets.

Rabe...

sassandgroove
02-22-2007, 10:45 PM
There's a reason that series didn't last, and it wasn't Fox screwing with the schedule. Purely and simply, not enough people thought it was good enough to give up an hour of their lives for. They were right.
It did well enough in DVD sales and there was enough of fan feedback that they were able to make a movie. That, to me, doesn't sound like a show that wasn't "good enough."

What is LEXX?

MidnightMuse
02-22-2007, 10:47 PM
Ooh, LEXX is . . . . well, it's . . . Wow.

Funky, strange, offensive, hilarious, stupid - all the qualities you look for in a show :D If you can Netflix it, definitely do so.

PeeDee
02-22-2007, 10:48 PM
P.S. to PeeDee it was TBS or some other Turner Broadcasting station that picked up Babylon 5 and ran with it for the horribly aborted fifth season, not the Sci-Fi channel. Which is why JMS has such a mad on for destroying Atlanta every chance he gets.

It was TNT. Sorry. Sci-fi syndicated the series later on.

PeeDee
02-22-2007, 10:49 PM
Ooh, LEXX is . . . . well, it's . . . Wow.

Yeah, that's LEXX in a nutshell. Strangest thing ever, since The Prisoner. And yet....it's still somewhere on my list of shows I love, and I will never forget it. Although there are bits I wouldn't mind getting out of my head.

MidnightMuse
02-22-2007, 11:00 PM
I find LEXX impossible to adequately describe, but I also found it impossible to NOT watch (until that last season). Yes, parts of it made me want to wash my brain out with soap.

But dang - it was memorable!

PeeDee
02-22-2007, 11:21 PM
Adequately describe? I can't even inadequately describe it.

"Kay, so there's these folks on a ship? Except it's not a ship, it's a space dragonflyand it's going to, like, blow up everything...but first it has some stops to make on these weird planets, kay? And they're like, populated by weird people? And necrophiliacs? And there's a giant high-pressure, um, penis, and....and....."

(was that LEXX? I thought that was LEXX....great, I have the image of a giant high pressure penis in my head and I don't know where it's from. This is a plea for help.)

MidnightMuse
02-22-2007, 11:51 PM
Well the weapon was in it's eyes, but there was a . . . ah . . . That is to say, the ship was anatomically correct.


As it were.

I liked the dead guy. And the brain-eating bug that thought the dead guy was his daddy. Squish was its name.

Then there's the whole love slave/horny aspect.

PeeDee
02-22-2007, 11:58 PM
It *was* LEXX then! Because that episode, with the....adult...entertainer....and the Dragonfly ship thing was.......................

*brain shorts out*

Anyway, I think I'd like to watch that series again. Maybe. Actually, I might just like it better in hindsight.

MidnightMuse
02-23-2007, 12:08 AM
'xactly

MattW
02-23-2007, 06:28 AM
Can I complain about Serenity for a moment? Not the movie itself, or the Firefly TV series, but what it has spawned.

Because people can't fill the empty spot left by the early termination of this series, every other story I read seems populated with space desperados, interstellar hombres, and gallactic gunslingers.

Or maybe it has nothing to do with anything, but I'm fixin for a gripin.

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 06:31 AM
Because people can't fill the empty spot left by the early termination of this series, every other story I read seems populated with space desperados, interstellar hombres, and gallactic gunslingers.


Hell, you get the same thing from people who grew up gobbling up Star Wars.

Rabe
02-23-2007, 06:55 AM
Can I complain about Serenity for a moment? Not the movie itself, or the Firefly TV series, but what it has spawned.

Because people can't fill the empty spot left by the early termination of this series, every other story I read seems populated with space desperados, interstellar hombres, and gallactic gunslingers.

Or maybe it has nothing to do with anything, but I'm fixin for a gripin.

And would still probably have a whole bunch more of this even if Firefly were the huge "Friends" like phenomena. Only a whole slew more of it!

It is unfortunate, though, for those who thought of 'space westerns' and then Joss Whedon came out with Firefly. But yeah, those who came after, in order to fill the void, very bad form.

Kinda like if I were to ever create a series based on a ship...a living ship...full of escaped...somethings.

Rabe...

Michael Dracon
02-23-2007, 09:49 PM
Joss Whedon did a fantastic job juggling around 9 people in a space ship and making every single one of them interesting within less that one season. Non of the Star Trek series managed to do that, and they only went up to about 7 main characters. Some of them managed to get most characters to become interesting later on though, but hardly ever all of them. But I do have to give them credit for Deep Space 9. Now there is a large crew and secondary cast where just about all of them were interesting even though some needed some time to get there (the enhanced Bashir was awesome!). Heck, some of the side-characters were even better than the main characters.

Edit: I just have to add this one. Walter Koenig did an excelent Alfred Bester on Babylon 5. To me he's Bester and not Chekov from Star Trek, even though he did 3x as many episodes and 7 movies.

It just shows you that some people have the proper skill to make a good and interesting character in just a short amount of time.

When the Operative in Serenity pulled out his sword in the beginning of the movie I actually said to my friend in the theater that I liked that character a lot. And that's just a few minutes of screen time.

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 09:59 PM
Alfred Bester was a wonderfully evil, terrific character. Brilliant. Not to mention having a really great namesake. :)

I wouldn't be surprised if, eventually, we get another Serenity movie.

MidnightMuse
02-23-2007, 10:18 PM
That's what sets Joss apart from all the others, in my book. His writing is brilliant (99.9% of the time) his character development is spot-on and quirky enough in ways that make everyone interesting AND individual, and his dialogue leaves me kicking myself for not having come up with something so fantastic myself.

He's off the Wonder Woman project, so I'd love to see him try for another Serenity, but I'm not fool enough to hold my breath.

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 10:34 PM
I'm glad he's off Wonder Woman. I would have gone to see it if Joss were at the helm, but otherwise, I'm not terribly interested. I'll be curious to see whre he goes from there.

MidnightMuse
02-23-2007, 11:11 PM
I recently read this: Whedon is still working on the comic series Runaway for Marvel, as well as a new Buffy comic, and is readying Goners, a supernatural thriller he is writing and directing.

here: http://www.tv.com/joss-whedon/person/402/story/8565.html

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 11:16 PM
Plus he has his upcoming Firefly comic series, which will be delightful. Buffy, Season "8" in comics, and Firefly-the-rest-of-season-one.

Bliss!

I'm looking forward to "Goners" for the title if nothing else.

MidnightMuse
02-23-2007, 11:46 PM
http://www.gonersmovie.com

Not much there yet.

dclary
02-24-2007, 02:00 AM
In order to reveal why I think he's such a bastard, I'd have to reveal movie spoilers that Shall Not Be Revealed. Let's just say that an excellent movie overall, but Whedon is a bastard in the best possible way.

Serenity becomes a worthy sucessor ot 'Farscape' as the sucessor to the 'Star Wars' throne.

Rabe...

I was listening to Whedon's commentary track on the DVD, and he said he had to kill one of them, so that for the rest of the climax, we knew this was serious -- and that any of them could die. It was a hard, cold decision, but a necessary one.

sassandgroove
02-24-2007, 02:34 AM
I was listening to Whedon's commentary track on the DVD, and he said he had to kill one of them, so that for the rest of the climax, we knew this was serious -- and that any of them could die. It was a hard, cold decision, but a necessary one.
How much of this thread did you read before you responded, 'cause I think we covered that already. Joss also said he had planned for somthing like that at the end of - oh- season two, and bascically had to cram 1.5 seasons into a movie.

dclary
02-24-2007, 03:08 AM
I read like the first 3 posts.

You expect me to read everything before posting?

/flounce!

sassandgroove
02-24-2007, 08:09 PM
It saves on redundancy.

Michael Dracon
02-24-2007, 11:22 PM
How much of this thread did you read before you responded, 'cause I think we covered that already. Joss also said he had planned for somthing like that at the end of - oh- season two, and bascically had to cram 1.5 seasons into a movie.

1.5 Season into 1 movie? Wow! Another reason to put him on top in favor of Farscape, which needed a whole miniseries to compact a single season. That or Farscape had more story to tell.

Sage
02-24-2007, 11:30 PM
I read somewhere that when he first started the script for Serenity, it was insanely long. I want to say somewhere around 40 hours. He had plenty of story to tell. But when all you have are 2 hours, sacrifices have to be made.

PeeDee
02-25-2007, 12:02 AM
I read somewhere that when he first started the script for Serenity, it was insanely long. I want to say somewhere around 40 hours. He had plenty of story to tell. But when all you have are 2 hours, sacrifices have to be made.

There's no easy way to take a long, long story like that (in serial form, really) and then tell the important bits in one, two hour story. It's a bloody, bloody mess.

Joss worked it out. I will sire him sons, someday.

My-Immortal
02-28-2007, 09:57 AM
I just watched it again over the weekend....I really love the character interactions/dialogue.

:)

PeeDee
02-28-2007, 10:09 AM
I just watched it again over the weekend....I really love the character interactions/dialogue.

:)

I did too. It was on TV.

"I swallowed a bug."

My-Immortal
02-28-2007, 10:20 AM
I did too. It was on TV.

"I swallowed a bug."

I watched in on DVD - and then watched the gag reel and a bunch of the extras.....

LOL

PeeDee
02-28-2007, 10:39 AM
"Do you want to be captain!?"

"YES."

"Well.......you can't...."

Rabe
02-28-2007, 02:50 PM
1.5 Season into 1 movie? Wow! Another reason to put him on top in favor of Farscape, which needed a whole miniseries to compact a single season. That or Farscape had more story to tell.

<i>Farscape: Peacekeeper Wars</i> was way too short, as far as I'm concerned. There were things that should have been developed far more than they were and - as some others have said - left us unsatisfied. Not in the 'poor quality' way but rather in the 'not enough' way.

The pregnancy alone should have been played out more, the idea of Rygel carrying the fetus should have had six or seven sps in and of itself.

DCLARY: yes, the death of the character was necessary and shocking and wonderful but that doesn't change the fact that he's a bastard in the best way. And makes it that much more stupefying that "Serenity" isn't that much better regarded.

Rabe...

Michael Dracon
02-28-2007, 05:03 PM
With Peacekeeper Wars you could really notice where the regular episodes would have begun and ended. That was a clear indication to me that they were quite far ahead in making new episodes for Farscape.

Serenity was made more from ideas on where to go to rather than a clearly layed-out plan. Keep in mind though that Peacekeeper Wars replace season 5, while Serenity replace the remainder of season 1 and 2 of Firefly. Firefly didn't really have a clear direction yet.


Anyway, the dialogue in Firefly/Serenity is absolutely top notch. It's the little things like the way 'I swallowed a bug' is said that make it fantastic. But it's also the way that the characters know what each of them are like. Take for instance the episode where Jayne finds that statue that's made for him. No-one believes it's for him. The movie had another great example of that with the 'it is trap because we were not fighting' scene.

My-Immortal
02-28-2007, 05:09 PM
The movie had another great example of that with the 'it is trap because we were not fighting' scene.

If you get the chance -- I think it's on the gag reel section -- watch the take on that scene with Nathan overacting. LOL

Rabe
03-03-2007, 07:33 PM
With Peacekeeper Wars you could really notice where the regular episodes would have begun and ended. That was a clear indication to me that they were quite far ahead in making new episodes for Farscape.


Probably because Henson Co and Kemper were given a commitment by the Sci-Fi channel at the end of series three for series four and five. So they felt they had the latitude to begin stories in series four that wouldn't see fruition until the end of season five. Such as the pregnancy of Aeryn and who was the father of the baby. The Idolans were introduced very quickly and were meant to play a larger part (obviously) - probably with the apprentice Idolans becoming part of the crew for a bit.

They may have even explored the link between the Sebaceans, Humans and Interons (Jool's species).

And yes, I think dialogue has *always* been one of Whedon's strong points. To this day I find myself speaking in Buffy-speak. I think my most widely used line is "bored now".

Rabe...

PeeDee
03-03-2007, 08:23 PM
I don't know who here reads Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men, but the man is an absolute god of comic book script writing.

He's made an X-Men team interesting, really really interesting, for the first time in thirty or forty years. As far as I'm concerned, he's the only one who can write Wolverine without making garbage out of it.

You have a three page sequence, during a fight with a monster, where each character thinks angstful-thoughts about their relationships with other X-Men, and each one ends with I really should concentrate on fighting here...

And then Wolverine's page has no dialogue, just him beating up the creature, until the last panel, where he thinks I really like beer.

Stuff like that.

Michael Dracon
03-03-2007, 10:26 PM
I don't know who here reads Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men, but the man is an absolute god of comic book script writing.

He's made an X-Men team interesting, really really interesting, for the first time in thirty or forty years. As far as I'm concerned, he's the only one who can write Wolverine without making garbage out of it.

You have a three page sequence, during a fight with a monster, where each character thinks angstful-thoughts about their relationships with other X-Men, and each one ends with I really should concentrate on fighting here...

And then Wolverine's page has no dialogue, just him beating up the creature, until the last panel, where he thinks I really like beer.

Stuff like that.


Oh yeah, that's classic Whedon right there.

Though with Whedon it also depends on how you deliver the lines. For instance, Whedon helped with the first X-Men movie. In there Storm asks someone what happens with toads of they are struck by lightning. The following "I guess it's the same as anything else" line (not the exact quote) is not delivered in the typical Whedon 'I am actually not very surprised by this' way. This completely ruins the scene. But if you put Spike or Mal in there and have one of them utter those words in one of their typical 'yeah whatever' moods then the scene suddenly becomes awesome.

PeeDee
03-03-2007, 10:30 PM
Oh yeah, that's classic Whedon right there.

Though with Whedon it also depends on how you deliver the lines. For instance, Whedon helped with the first X-Men movie. In there Storm asks someone what happens with toads of they are struck by lightning. The following "I guess it's the same as anything else" line (not the exact quote) is not delivered in the typical Whedon 'I am actually not very surprised by this' way. This completely ruins the scene. But if you put Spike or Mal in there and have one of them utter those words in one of their typical 'yeah whatever' moods then the scene suddenly becomes awesome.

If they had just let Whedon DO the X-Men movies, they would be cinematic history by now, instead of a bit sketchy. The X-Men movies were fun, but they were typical Bryan Singer heavy-handed crap in a lot of places.

And yeah, scenes like that with Storm would have been wonderful and not only if they'd had Spike or Mal in them, but if they'd been written and directed by Whedon himself. The problem is, you're getting Joss Whedon humor translated through Bryan "I'm an artist, damn it" Singer and Halle "I make gooder movies" Berry, and that's enough to kill any wit right there.

Rabe
03-04-2007, 08:46 PM
The next company that allows Singer to direct anything related to a spec fic movie had better have damned good security!

Is all I'm saying. How many more characters can he *ruin* for the screen?

Rabe...

PeeDee
03-05-2007, 01:49 AM
The next company that allows Singer to direct anything related to a spec fic movie had better have damned good security!

Is all I'm saying. How many more characters can he *ruin* for the screen?

Rabe...

I knew something was wrong when production photos started surfacing for Superman.....and they were all carefully set up photos of Bryan Singer posing for the camera, or looking artistic. I thought, "Ah, there he goes. "

Pthom
03-07-2007, 12:57 PM
This thread is once again open for discussion. Please remember, though, that although the title of it is the title of a movie, the discussion is primarily about how that movie exemplifies the writing skills of Joss Whedon (or, depending on your opinion, the lack there of), and how the analysis of it is usefull to us writers of SF and/or Fantasy. This thread is not about the movie itself.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

My-Immortal
03-08-2007, 07:39 AM
What I think I like most about this movie and the series in general is the writing. Yes, I like the acting and the actors too, but it is the dialogue IMO that really makes this movie/series work for me. So much is said about these characters with just snippets of dialogue. I think there is a script of the movie somewhere on the internet but to paraphrase a couple of examples (and forgive me if the quotes aren't 'exact'!):

Near the end of the movie (I don't think this is really SPOILER material) the assassin asks Malcolm: Do you know what your sin is? and Malcolm replies, I'm pretty much a fan of all seven, but right now I'm partial to rage.

So often it seems that the 'hero' of a story (especially the typical white hat fantasy hero) might have a singular flaw but this character openly admits that he's a fan of all the seven deadly sins. This flawed character is revealed with just a handful of words and the viewer is hopeful that his rage is enough to see him through.

As someone else pointed out...River's line early on: I ate a bug. Funny line delivered after a close encounter with reavers shows that even though a part of her is a lethal killing machine, another part of her is still a naive little girl. Those four words endear her to the viewer.

It's these little things that I look for in movies, books etc that I think give these creative fantasy/scifi worlds a sense of realism and allow the viewer/reader to connect with these characters.

Thanks for opening this thread again. :)

Take care all -

Sage
03-08-2007, 07:44 AM
"I swallowed a bug" also is a metaphor for Serenity having "swallowed" the Reaver along with the crew on the mule. There's a lot of nice metaphor in what River says in the movie & the show.

dclary
03-09-2007, 12:56 AM
"I swallowed a bug" also is a metaphor for Serenity having "swallowed" the Reaver along with the crew on the mule. There's a lot of nice metaphor in what River says in the movie & the show.


From a screenwriter's point of view, I especially like the commentary track on Serenity. Few movie commentary tracks discuss the actual script and screenwriting problems (LotR's writer/director-specific track an obvious exception) the script presented.

Whedon spends a great deal of the Serenity commentary track discussing specific goals or problems he had while writing the script, and how he solved them. This type of insight is invaluable, because you can go back and look at your own scripts and see them with new eyes.

PeeDee
03-09-2007, 01:00 AM
A useful lesson to garner from Serenity is the absolute importance of really good dialogue and characterization in your stories. I mean, even if you haven't seen the TV show (what little there is of it) and have only seen the movies, these characters are fully built and fleshed out, with relationships and problems and lives by the time you're twenty minutes into the movie.

"This is the Captain. We may experience some slight turbulence...and then explode."

"We're gonna crash? I don't wanna crash!"

I mean, fromthe opening walk through the ship, when we follow Mal and meet all of the crew, we see how each crew member works, what they think, how they talk.

That's important, smoothly and flawlessly done in the movie and the series. It's the power of good writing.

Your average Star Trek series (much though I may love Star Trek) takes about three or four seasons before we have deeper characters worth investing in.

Serenity took about twenty minutes.

Michael Dracon
03-09-2007, 01:43 AM
"This is a good death" was to me the best example of this. Here you have a brand new character in this universe (who on top of it all doesn't even have a proper name) and by the time he utters those words just a few minutes into the movie you know exactly what he's like.


Another great example of explaining a relation with just a few words was just after the communication between Mal and Inara:
"Did you see us fight?"
"No."
"Trap!"

I would be happy if I was half as good as that with my writing.

PeeDee
03-09-2007, 08:45 AM
That said, the reason it's so important and powerful when Joss Whedon does it is that a lot of writers do indeed try to explain their characters and relationships through dialogue, and if you don't do it right, it comes off as forced and a bit contrived. At worse, it comes off as "as you know, Bob..." sort of sentences.

Joss Whedon walks the fine line between realistic dialogue and constant witty banter and makes it work. They aren't quite people, in that they're frequently more clever and have better quips than real people...but they're real people enough for the mind. Provide the important details and let the mind fill in the rest. Joss does that wonderfully. It's s a fine line, like I said.

Etola
03-09-2007, 07:21 PM
That said, the reason it's so important and powerful when Joss Whedon does it is that a lot of writers do indeed try to explain their characters and relationships through dialogue, and if you don't do it right, it comes off as forced and a bit contrived. At worse, it comes off as "as you know, Bob..." sort of sentences.

Joss Whedon walks the fine line between realistic dialogue and constant witty banter and makes it work. They aren't quite people, in that they're frequently more clever and have better quips than real people...but they're real people enough for the mind. Provide the important details and let the mind fill in the rest. Joss does that wonderfully. It's s a fine line, like I said.

I'm thinking here more about the series Firefly and less about Serenity in particular. Whedon can characterize the characters through dialogue, but he never relies on "information dump." We are able to find out about the characters' pasts, personalities, etc. in reasonable bits and pieces, as it fits. Yes, it makes sense for Simon to explain what's going on with him and his sister to Mal in the first episode, because hey, Mal doesn't know what's going on and he has a good reason to ask.

As for the movie, we are given just enough information that we need. I actually saw the movie before the series, but by the end of it, despite being a little shaky on character names, I felt like I really knew the characters. Whedon had a rich background of information to draw on for the movie if he chose, but he streamlined it and really gave us the essentials.

PeeDee
03-09-2007, 07:28 PM
Between the two, I prefer Firefly (because I enjoyed when it meandered sometimes, I like that it had more 'elbow room' to tell stories, something that appeals naturally to my serial instincts) but the reason I was talking about Serenity in particular was it really interested me that in Mal's walk back through the ship, we meet every character and we get the gist of their personalities. That's all we need, a gist, and then we build from there.

By the end of the movie, you don't know that Jayne has a statue to him on some planet...but by the end of the movie, you don't doubt it and you want to find out about it... :)

ETA: Another powerful thing Whedon managed was the character of River, who could have wound up being a Mary Sue sort of thing (she's all powerful, she can defeat all the Reavers...) but with hsi writing and his sheer character ability, she becomes neurotic, delicate, and even more breakable than the rest of the crew...despite the fact that she can mow down Reavers.

and Reavers, for the record, scare the crap outta me.

Etola
03-09-2007, 07:43 PM
ETA: Another powerful thing Whedon managed was the character of River, who could have wound up being a Mary Sue sort of thing (she's all powerful, she can defeat all the Reavers...) but with hsi writing and his sheer character ability, she becomes neurotic, delicate, and even more breakable than the rest of the crew...despite the fact that she can mow down Reavers.

and Reavers, for the record, scare the crap outta me.

Oh God yes, the Reavers horrify me. O.o

But yeah, River is a great example of how to create a powerful trump card of a character who can save everyone's butts but not be a Mary Sue. 'Fragile' is an excellent word for her. No matter what strange abilities she can seemingly pull out of nowhere, she still can't take care of herself.

MidnightMuse
03-09-2007, 08:06 PM
Speaking to the 'information dump' trap we can sometimes let ourselves fall in - and Joss Whedon's uncanny dialogue and obvious writing ability - do you think Firefly and/or Serenity would have worked as well, and come through as clearly, if it weren't a tv show?

If Joss was a writer of books (not graphic novels, just books) do you think these characterizations would come through as well? Would the snappy one-liners and smart dialogue be as snappy if we weren't seeing these actors and their expressions?

I'm not saying he couldn't do it - for the record, I worship Joss's abilities and think he's genius. And a great writer can bring all these visuals to light in our minds as readers. But to a certain extent, do you think as written works, Firefly would have required an amount of info dumping in strategic points?

I think what I'm trying to muse is the differences between writing for a visual medium and writing for a non-visual medium, and how differently we might view Firefly if we'd never had the pleasure of seeing it. There's so much more leeway when relying on the actors to convey expressions and imply deeper meanings, and so much more work to bring that across ourselves on paper. Have you ever watched a really great scene, then in your mind (or on paper) tried to write that same scene so that someone who hasn't seen it could get the same from it? It's tough when that scene has serious emotional impact or implications.

That's why I love Joss's characterizations so much - they're simply complex, and complicatedly simple, and a frustrating/fascinating/challenging and rewarding thing to try and learn from as a writer. I think character trumps setting every time.

That and I haven't had my coffee yet this morning. I'm babbling like a brook.

PeeDee
03-09-2007, 08:10 PM
It hink if he wrote books instead of comics and TV shows, it would still come across just fine. For one thing, I think you'd get his trademark easy-flowing dialogue and method of speaking not only in the character dialogue, but in his prose as well.

But no matter what, he tells people stories, and I think those flow the mediums very well.

MidnightMuse
03-09-2007, 08:25 PM
That's (one of the many things) that make him so good - his characters are center stage, and have been given depth and consideration. They're not just dressing for the story, they are the story.

Etola
03-10-2007, 12:12 AM
I would think that it would be difficult to switch from writing comics and screenplays to writing novels, especially if one had never written anything but comics and screenplays before, and had been working in that form for many years, professionally. However, given enough time to master the novel form, I have a feeling Joss Whedon's writing would excel in getting a lot across with few words--since, if anything, writing comics and screenplays teaches you to "trim the fat."

And of course, his characters would be running the show. But that's a given :)

astonwest
03-10-2007, 06:02 AM
I made the mistake of watching the movie before the TV series, and found myself terribly confused all over the place. After watching most of the episodes, it's cleared up quite a bit.

I plan on watching the movie again after finishing all the episodes, and will probably enjoy it a lot more.

Cath
03-10-2007, 06:18 AM
I think what I'm trying to muse is the differences between writing for a visual medium and writing for a non-visual medium, and how differently we might view Firefly if we'd never had the pleasure of seeing it. There's so much more leeway when relying on the actors to convey expressions and imply deeper meanings, and so much more work to bring that across ourselves on paper. Have you ever watched a really great scene, then in your mind (or on paper) tried to write that same scene so that someone who hasn't seen it could get the same from it? It's tough when that scene has serious emotional impact or implications.

Touching on what MM says - what can you learn as a fiction writer from TV shows and movies?

I get the character development aspect - but really all I'm getting from this end of the discussion is the importance of dialog reflecting the character's personality. Am I missing something?

There seems to be a huge chasm between the visual and written media. I'm just not convinced it's useful to study films and tv-shows to learn to any more than writing good dialogue.

Sage
03-10-2007, 07:03 AM
Touching on what MM says - what can you learn as a fiction writer from TV shows and movies?

I get the character development aspect - but really all I'm getting from this end of the discussion is the importance of dialog reflecting the character's personality. Am I missing something?

There seems to be a huge chasm between the visual and written media. I'm just not convinced it's useful to study films and tv-shows to learn to any more than writing good dialogue.
You can't learn plot from a television show or movie? You can't learn the use of metaphor? You can't learn foreshadowing?

Granted the visual aspects work differently between novels & movies/tv. In novels, you're relying on the readers' imaginations to see what you see..., but it's your job as the writer to lay the groundwork for their imaginations to see what you expected them to see. Some things won't work--you can't use camera angles, for example. (Serenity, btw, has some excellent foreshadowing by use of camera angle & dialogue in a particular scene. While you couldn't use the same trick, I bet you still can learn about effective foreshadowing from it.)

Sure, characterization is shown through dialogue in both the written & visual media. But certainly it's not exclusively through dialogue. It's also shown through actions. Or clothing. Or, hey, in Firefly, take a look at Kaylee's, Inara's, & Jayne's rooms. Characterization shown through a room. In Kaylee's case, shown from the door to the room, even. Why wouldn't a talented author be able to get the same imagery across? Even I can describe a decorated door, & I personally feel I suck at description.

I fail to understand what harm there is in looking at a movie/show to see what worked & what didn't. If other writers on here regard the writing as "brilliant," how does it make analyzing it any different from analyzing what works & doesn't work in, say, Tolkien? And that's before you even consider the fact that there are screenwriters on AW.

Cath
03-10-2007, 07:09 AM
I fail to understand what harm there is in looking at a movie/show to see what worked & what didn't. If other writers on here regard the writing as "brilliant," how does it make analyzing it any different from analyzing what works & doesn't work in, say, Tolkien? And that's before you even consider the fact that there are screenwriters on AW.
I don't see any harm in it - but I'm not sure it helps me very much to approach it this way. I'm kind of assuming that I know the basics of foreshadowing, characterisation etc. But how it translates to the written word is where I struggle.

I'm interested to know how others find it helpful is all.

And I do know there are screenwriters here - which is why I specified fiction.

Sage
03-10-2007, 07:39 AM
Well, Keith R.A. DeCandido did a pretty good job of creating the novelization based on the script (without the help of the actors' deliveries, the camera angles, etc.), so it would seem, at least to me, that he found a way to translate something meant for a visual medium to the written word.

Why do writers analyze any other piece of fiction? I studied many novels in school (& read many more outside of it) that aren't fantasy or sci-fi, but that doesn't mean that learning how a metaphor works in another genre isn't going to translate to this one. Same with going from one medium to another. Why would a discussion about, say, a dialogue-delivered metaphor mean something different in a television show as opposed to a literary masterpiece as opposed to genre fiction? Or a mention that some imagery had some great symbolism (a white dress used for symbolism, for example, wouldn't change its meaning just because you saw it in a movie instead of reading the description of it)?

Anyway, we're getting off topic, so why don't we let the subject return to the excellence of Joss's writing ;)

Cath
03-10-2007, 05:17 PM
Sorry, I thought relating the to movie to how it helps us as writers was on topic.


skills of Joss Whedon (or, depending on your opinion, the lack there of), and how the analysis of it is usefull to us writers of SF and/or Fantasy.

Sage
03-10-2007, 08:06 PM
Sorry, I thought relating the to movie to how it helps us as writers was on topic.
Right, which is why in my first response to that question, I used examples from the movie/show.

I get the character development aspect - but really all I'm getting from this end of the discussion is the importance of dialog reflecting the character's personality. Am I missing something?

Sure, characterization is shown through dialogue in both the written & visual media. But certainly it's not exclusively through dialogue. It's also shown through actions. Or clothing. Or, hey, in Firefly, take a look at Kaylee's, Inara's, & Jayne's rooms. Characterization shown through a room. In Kaylee's case, shown from the door to the room, even. Why wouldn't a talented author be able to get the same imagery across? Even I can describe a decorated door, & I personally feel I suck at description.
Ask questions about this movie/show specifically, & you'll probably get better answers to the question of how analyzing it might help (& others might have different ideas or examples). But asking how analyzing movies in general can help novelists seems more like a Writing Novels or a AW Roundtable question, instead of a SF/F- or Serenity-related question. Just lookin' to not have this thread derailed or moved.

It is a good question. Just one that probably shouldn't be tackled in large general terms. I think that, just like when analyzing a specific novel, it helps more to say, "Okay, that was a great use of metaphor, but how does it apply to my writing?" instead of, "How does studying another author's novel help me?" Does that make sense?

dclary
03-11-2007, 03:24 AM
Another thing to remember here is we're not just writing short fiction or novels. Some of us are screenwriters. Others are comic book writers. Analyzing another writer's writing (regardless of genre) can help us become better writers (ditto) because we absorb the voice, the cadence, the rhythm of the writing, and how it all fits, and then try to emulate same in ours. Or not...

Someone once wrote "Almost every science fiction writer alive today has been influenced by Asimov. They either try to write just like him, or they specifically try to NOT write just like him."

This is the true measure of a genre writer. How much does his style invite copycatting, and how much does his style force new writers to find different voices?

Whedon, I think, will be viewed in this same way.

PeeDee
03-13-2007, 10:54 PM
This has nothing to do with writing, but made me happy anyway. (http://www.cinematical.com/2007/03/09/hooray-browncoats-serenity-special-edition/)

MidnightMuse
03-13-2007, 11:07 PM
Shiny :D

Sage
03-14-2007, 03:25 AM
This has nothing to do with writing, but made me happy anyway. (http://www.cinematical.com/2007/03/09/hooray-browncoats-serenity-special-edition/)
:snoopy:

A hearty "woo," followed by a "hoo"! I've been waiting for it. And the R. Tam Sessions are on it. (If you haven't seen them, they are an excellent example of writing from Joss, and show off Summer's acting ability more than anything else I've seen her in)! I'm so excited!

PeeDee
03-14-2007, 03:30 AM
To get back to writing-thingummies before someone yells at me....

If you had to pick one element of Joss Whedon's writing to integrate into your own, what would it be? And then, theorize how you'd do that in a perfect world.

(Stealing his soul is not an option.)

MidnightMuse
03-14-2007, 03:57 AM
If stealing his soul is not an option, how's about I lock him in my basement? Well, first I'd need a basement . . .

I love his dialog. I've been told I do really good dialog, but never believe what you're told unless it's from a publisher, eh? I LOVE his knack for dialog - those snappy one-liners and the twists of phrase.

"Let's be bad guys."

or

"My days of underestimating you are definitely coming to a middle."

to name only two of millions. I study those lines, and how well they fit the charactes speaking them, then try to delve deeper into my own characters and the backgrounds we don't write down - to see what quirks they might develop along those (similar) lines.

(suddenly the word dialog sounds silly)

Sage
03-14-2007, 04:54 AM
Mmm, yes, dialogue is definitely a big part of Joss' genius. But I think that even without quips & one-liners, just his ability to get us to identify with the characters & feel for them, even the ones you wouldn't think people would like. I mean, you are even occasionally rooting for the villains, even the evil ones (well, in Buffy & Angel. Very little true evil in Firefly/Serenity). Why do we care if Jayne gets spaced? Why do we care if Angel steals Drusilla from Spike? Jayne & Spike (especially 2nd season Spike) aren't really people you want to be friends with, but you still care about them. Even my personal least favorite main characters in Firefly & Buffy (Simon & Anya, respectively) evoke an emotional response from me when they're having problems. Anya gets left at the altar, I am heartbroken. Simon screws up in front of Kaylee, & I am cringing for him. Of course, one could argue that my emotion could be related to Kaylee (my fave FF/Serenity chara) or Xander, but that's what makes it so good. What effects one character often effects one or more of the others. The character relationships are so realistic & well-integrated that it's hard not to care, even when you don't like the character as much as others.

Axler
03-18-2007, 01:03 AM
Actually, if I so myself (and I do), one of the little known but direct influences on Firefly/Serenity can be found here:

http://www.comicspace.com/markaxlerellis/comics.php?action=gallery&comic_id=3265

PeeDee
03-18-2007, 01:15 AM
Oh my god, they have Death Hawk online...

Axler
03-18-2007, 01:26 AM
Oh my god, they have Death Hawk online...


Well, don't get too excited...yet. It's just a preview until the TPB comes out, hopefully in a couple of months. The two short stories that Adam Hughes and I did can be found in the same place in the "My Favorite Stories" gallery.

Axler
11-10-2007, 09:06 PM
Death Hawk: The Soulworm Saga (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83345)

"Bottom line is this. If you like Serenity, Firefly, Outlanders, stellar adventure with a mystery to boot, then you should give Death Hawk: The Soulworm Saga a read. It'll be worth not only your time, but your money."

Sheryl Nantus
11-11-2007, 03:20 AM
*swoons*

an honor to have you here, sir... I devoured the first Deathlands novels and am thrilled to see you on this board!

*shameless grovelling*

:D

OP: I loved Firefly. I hated Serenity. The needless killing of major characters always annoys me to no end, including plots that make no sense.

:)

Axler
11-13-2007, 07:33 PM
Thanks, Sheryl...but I didn't write the first Deathlands novel. That was an Englishman named Christopher Lowder under the pseudonym of Jack Adrian. The others, up until around the 33rd were written by the late Laurence James.

I picked up where Mr. James left off.

I created the Outlanders series...which in my opinion is vastly superior to Deathlands (big surprise there, huh?).

Sheryl Nantus
11-13-2007, 07:41 PM
Thanks, Sheryl...but I didn't write the first Deathlands novel. That was an Englishman named Christopher Lowder under the pseudonym of Jack Adrian. The others, up until around the 33rd were written by the late Laurence James.

I picked up where Mr. James left off.

I created the Outlanders series...which in my opinion is vastly superior to Deathlands (big surprise there, huh?).

whoops... I mean that I loved the concept and read as many of them as I could manage, including your own glorious contribution to the series! And I've seen your name on the shelves with other titles, including Outlanders, and enjoyed them as well.

:e2smack:

yep, and I'm a writer, eh?

:D

brain cramp!

ProtoMatic
11-13-2007, 07:55 PM
I saw Serenity before I bought the firefly series on DVD, and I must say it still stands out as one of the great sci-fi movies out there. I like Firefly also, but the outrageous action-scenes in Serenity just kicks you inna teef, something that couldn't be done on Firefly's minimal budget (compared to other sci-fi shows.)

One thing that upset me a bit with serenity though (not firefly), is that River Tam is so similar to a character I'm currently writing about myself (and have been for the last couple of years.) Strong, slightly confused and has the ability to prod some serious buttocks.