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Jay Lake
Date: 2007-05-21 18:29
Subject: [writing|movies] "You can't take the sky from me" — What I've learned from Firefly
Security: Public
Tags:movies, process, writing
Finally finished watching the Firefly DVDs loaned to me by kenscholes. I have enjoyed them greatly. (I think Jayne gets the best lines, but of course that's all about the characters in context.) While performing this morning's ablutions I was thinking over what I've been seeing and what I liked and didn't like about it. I had an epiphanette.

Firefly is mythmaking, telling us stories about the world. I compare this with, for example, westerns such as the Shadow books, or the television show Bonanza. They are at best incidentally historical, and often quite ahistorical, serving instead as mythic storytelling cloaked in Western tropes. Firefly is incidentally science fictional, and often quite ascientific, but it is mythic storytelling cloaked in SFnal tropes. This observation of course touches on the Pandora's box of "what is science fiction, anyway?"

For what it's worth, it was the theme song that finally cued me in. Listening to that over and over, I got it.

Naturally this old news to almost everyone reading this, but, hey, give me time. I catch up eventually.
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User: blzblack
Date: 2007-05-22 02:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When's the last time you revisited Bonanza? I recently watched two episodes and they were horrible--at least in the Western mythmaking dept.

I watched/rewatched El Dorado--the second viewing was a strange experience. The first was a regular Western. Good enough mythmaking. But the second was strange--as if the characters had acted this dozens of times and were reuniting for one more finale. They tease one another with story lines. People seemed slightly unsure of their lines but were having a lark with it, anyway. At the end, the sheriff teases John Wayne that the crutch was under the wrong arm. It wasn't. But in the next (the last) scene, it was.

Very strange.
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User: oubliet
Date: 2007-05-22 02:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Some films does not "age" well.

When "Buckaroo Banzai" first came out, it made a splash and seemed so New Wave-ish.

I re-watched it a couple of years ago and found that it looks horribly dated.

And yet, I rewatched "Blade Runner", which came out roughly t the same time, and it still had the impact that it did years ago when I first viewed it. That's a tip of the hat to the designer in charge of the "look".
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User: jeanineers
Date: 2007-05-22 02:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My I borrow the word "epiphanette"? It's lovely and evocative.

I may need to watch the series from beginning to end over the next week or so. I missed it when it was on the telly. Fortunately dear friends insisted we borrow the DVDs and we fell hard for the whole darn crew.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-05-22 02:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The word, she is yours. Wear it in good health!
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User: scarlettina
Date: 2007-05-22 05:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
...hey, give me time. I catch up eventually.

We've been waiting for you. Look, we even saved you a seat!
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User: etcet
Date: 2007-05-22 14:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
... along with a purple robe and some Nikes?

[friends have been trying to get me to drink this particular kool-aid pretty passionately - to the point where there is an "archival copy" of the movie DVD and a legitimate copy of the TV series DVD sitting on my coffee table.]
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Josh English: wizard
User: joshenglish
Date: 2007-05-22 16:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Would you consider Firefly character-driven or plot-driven? I've thought about this before, but realized while reading your post that Firefly (and all serialized television) isn't character-driven, but more like character sketches. I'm not sure I've got the right phrase here, but I'm searching.

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thecrimsony: Wash
User: thecrimsony
Date: 2007-05-22 21:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Glad to hear you finally caught up.
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