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I just went and saw Serenity
I don't get it. I mean, there's something I am obviously not getting. I went in expecting to enjoy it. Out of the cinema there were people going on about how brilliant it was and I felt part of the club. Inside the cinema there was palpable excitement and I felt part of the tribe and...

...and I didn't like it. At all. Ok, I haven't seen the series but I doubt it was that. The fact was, I began to get bored about twenty minutes in. There was some cool action, but nothing I haven't seen elsewhere and done better. There were some cool visuals, but nothing to write home about. Granted, I just saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and it's hard to top that as eye candy. It's also true that it's hard to best Dhal at dialogue and Depp at charisma, but... were they even trying?. Yes, there's something I'm missing.

Because everybody I know, people whose taste and intelligence I trust, love Whedon. Love him to pieces and back. And what I saw was a profoundly unexciting, profoundly unoriginal, profoundly reactionary movie. I know I'm missing something. The problem is, I doubt it's something that can be communicated. So I feel very left out. I want in on the fun, but at this point, having tried Buffy several times and now having endured two hours of a pean to rugged individualism and the glorious South with supercool babes in goth clothing kicking ass, I think I'm about ready to give up.

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I've seen one episode of the series, at the behest of a friend who thought I'd like it.


(Mind you, I can't stand most SF/fantasy on TV anyway, so what would I know?)

I've seen a few reasonable episodes of the series, but it did not strike me as the Greatest SF on TV EVAH!

Eh, if you don't like it, you don't like it - no need to apologize or feel left out. It's not like people sit around discussing it all that much (well most people )

I thought it was a reasonable feature-length Star Trek episode. I think I have sufficiently strong negative views of a government doing what the Alliance agent had done that the actions of the group didn't seem too reactionary; but there were nonetheless too many fist-fights.

Maybe I have a higher tolerance level for supercool goth babes; it's a common failing.

I prefer goth guys, hence my much higher tolerance for the stupidities of, and enjoyment of, the whole Riddick shit.

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I though it was enjoyable, but certainly nothing outragously wondrous; parts of it have been done before and done better.

But I thought it was worth the time and money spent.

The nice fellow liked it, but he said he was bored for a long time during it. Mary Kay Kare was pissed off by it. Me, I took my old lady friend to see "An Unfinished Life."

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Weeeeell. That should have alerted me. I don't much like Card either. :-(

If it makes you feel better, I merely think Whedon is OK, and I am not planning on seeing Serenity b/c I suspect my reaction will be similar to yours.

I'm rather a Whedon fan, and liked the series -- although, like the first season of any series, it tended to flounder, not yet having found its groove -- and was only middling on the movie.

I came to a greater understanding of my own reactions to Whedon when I realized that to him, a cool visual or an emotional moment always trumps logic. About 80% of the time, I can go along with that, because the emotion is rewarding or the visual is damn cool. But then suddenly I'm like, No wait, there is such a thing as inertia, people. (Or something to that effect.)

Before it became clear that the series wasn't going to get the chance to develop beyond the basics, there was a lot of discussion about historical patterns, thematic imagery of the cowboys-and-Indians genre (especially if there is no such thing as a native in space), etc. etc. I concluded eventually that Joss had just been pulling exotic and interesting stuff out of his hindparts, and there was no unifying thesis under it all. There was some potential there, at first, but it would have needed a doctoral advisor as well as another season to make any sense of the pretty Jossian retro-future hash.

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I'd hate to see his take on Nick and Nora.
Um. If you've seen Firefly, you may have.

From a 2003 Salon interview, talking about Firefly:
Q: Was that a big change to do a show that was centered on a grown man instead of a young woman?

Whedon: It's so funny, because I have a lot of movie ideas and they all tend to revolve around young adolescent female superheroes. But not "Firefly." This one is about Joe Schmo, everyday life, and then of course I introduce River, the young female superhero. Let's face it, I'm just addicted. But it was nice to have a show that was about different perspectives and to really get to explore all of them. I was excited that I was going to have a happily married couple that was not boring. Because that's just so rare in fiction and it's such an important thing in life. And yet apart from [Dashiell Hammett's] Thin Man series, I think it's never really been adequately represented. And I had a preacher on board, to explore the concept of faith, people who don't have it and people who do. And of course the captain was the me figure because he's very tall and handsome, but cranky and also slim.

Nobody's art is for everyone. And I (famously) haven't seen Serenity yet, because I've been busy teaching a writing workshop for a week.

However, I know this, which is that Firefly is the best SF television show I've ever seen. Also this: that its excellences have nothing to do with "paens to rugged individualism" or (god wot) "the glorious South". And this, too: If 25% of the fiction published in the SF field in this decade were 25% as entertaining as Joss Whedon's TV shows, I tell you, the whole field would be more successful by an order of magnitude.

I recommend you think about this hard.

Yes, but the thing that makes it entertaining is obviously something that is escaping me. It's there in plain sight but I'm not getting it. There's plenty of really popular TV that I perfectly understand why it's popular, and love myself. Sopranos? Great acting, whacky dark humor, great characterization, tight pacing. CSI? Cool visuals, subdued by likeable characters (geeks at that!), the eternal allure of the unraveling of a mystery, and they make the science look sexy, bless them. Lost? Mysteries played very well (alas they don't seem so good with the denouements), very pretty boys and girls, pretty location at that, good characterization, great cast.

Desperate Housewives? I don't get it. I'm sure it's good. I just can't see why. Buffy is the same only I can't see the good parts. To me, it remaines a show about a blonde girl killing vampire in sitting-rooms, with really stupid dialogue. I know I'm missing out. There's obvisously some moment of enlightment that would allow me to get over the silly concept and frankly irksome dialogue (for me) and enjoy the show.

I don't have any problem enjoying cheese. I loved Indipendence Day for Christ's sake. I loved the new Star Wars, and there was no shortage of stupidity or painful dialogue there, but I could forgive everything.

I think Whedon just rubs me up the wrong way. I suspect it's his politics that irritates me enough to stop me from giving him enough slack to capture me. I have a much higher tolerance for cheese than for politics I don't agree with.

I think if I tried watching a whole Buffy series with care and attention I might get it. Maybe not enjoy it, but get it. The question is, do I want it? Just to fit in with the rest of the crowd?

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