Thursday, April 13, 2006
The answer is right in front of them
Posted by Octopunk
All this talk about extending the Trek franchise makes me annoyed that Firefly/Serenity wasn't more successful. I refer to you Jordan's recent comment:
"The basic problem, as I see it: On the one hand, Star Trek is good; Star Trek is great. We all like Star Trek. It's historically significant; it's part of our childhoods; it's a high-water-mark in the history of sci fi because of how it popularized something that previously had a fringe following.
On the other hand, do we really need to keep watching every week as the captain makes a log entry, a spaceship model orbits a planet, everyone falls out of their chairs on a round set with a big phone screen in the front, and all the guys with rubber masks on their faces introduce their phoney-baloney problem (the solution of which involves phasers, transporter, talking a lot, and gizmos that play your heartbeat through a speaker)? Isn't it all, I mean, kind of played at this point?"
And I say yeah! That reminded me of an episode I saw of one of the Babylon 5 spinoffs, one that took place on a roving starship instead of the space station. They bring a barely-alive alien on board, who is possessed by a group of entities that do that; they can cram a ton of themselves into one being and thereby take over a whole ship. When the alien is still in quarantine, the doctor says something about "I'm finding some anomalous brain readings, but I can't figure out what they are." A clue, naturally, to our unfolding plot. However, after countless eps of Trek etc., I say "THAT, right there, that's the THING. The ANSWER. The RED fucking FLAG." And it's not just that there's been a lot of fiction about this; in a real world setting, you'd want that kind of skepticism when you're exploring space. Otherwise they get you.
In other words, right now I feel like Jordan's comment doesn't just apply to Trek.
My overall point? Firefly was something completely different. It had a spaceship and different planets, but instead of a military ship tasked with a "big picture" way of doing things, these guys are just fending for themselves. It provided oodles of opportunities for character and story that the "official space explorers" setup would never even consider. And it's a fairly unique way of doing things. Fairly. Shows like Lexx, Farscape and Andromeda may have an edge of what I'm talking about, plotwise, but they're still trying for a Trek-epic vibe. The closest thing to Firefly is Cowboy Bebop.
Of course, the powers that be wouldn't consider what I'm talking about "the answer," because Firefly never took off with the big cash. But aesthetically, it's what I want from the sci-fi offerings of the near future.
at 1:28 PM