Sunday, April 23, 2006
of pancakes and serenity
Normally, after a week of getting up early to go to work and teach at the school, I'd be allergic to waking up early on Saturday, but my friends "The Leongs" (aka Dave and Chris) had a small morning get-together / brunch at their house to celebrate the finished remodeling of their kitchen. Eating good food and spending time with good friends is a good enough motivator to wake early I suppose, eh?
While our hosts provided some delicious homemade cinnamon rolls, eggs, and OJ, everybody brought a little something: wholegrain pancakes (Shiv and I made 'em), quiche, banana bread, hashbrowns, bacon, etc. Everything was cooked fresh, and I ate my fair share of it.
So these past couple of weeks, I finally got around to watching the sci-fi TV series, Firefly and the follow-up movie, Serenity. I've been hearing the buzz about the show for awhile now, but I didn't really have the motivation to watch the DVDs or the movies until had some spare time during my spring break a couple of weeks ago. Anyways, my impressions of the series:
Interesting. Risk-taking. Thought provoking. Fun to watch.
While the whole "cowboys in space" concept may be be new to American audiences, the idea was first well executed by one of the greatest anime series of all time, Cowboy Bebop back in 1998 (my first year in college!). Still, Firefly does an excellent job putting their own spin on the idea, a distant future in space (2517) where humanity's greatest enemy is still itself, and where the same problems of our age still remain - totalitarian governments, war, organized crime, drugs, slavery, etc.
Granted, none of these issues are explored in a conventional, academic way, but the ugly future of humanity that Firefly shows seems much more realistic to me than the quasi-utopia shown in Star Trek. In the universe of Firefly, there exists a strong unified core of planets called "The Alliance", which in a bloody war set years before the story of the series, united the outlying border planets under its government. While the core planets are technologically advanced and sophisticated, the outlying border worlds are chaotic places resembling the American West in the 19th century.
Did I also mention this series also has quite the active fanbase? A couple of sites:
Despite the cancellation of the TV series after just a short 11 episodes, strong DVD sales and guerilla marketing by the fans caused the Hollywood bigwigs to take note and fund the creation of the movie Serenity. Hurray for the little guy, and I hope everyone checks out the series at least once, especially if like sci-fi.
My one and only complaint about the series though, is the lack of any Asian characters, despite the fact that supposedly, Chinese people are among the original settlers in space and Chinese is frequently spoken in the show. One of the "quirks" of the Firefly universe, is that everybody speaks English with phrases of Mandarin Chinese thrown in. The explanation for this is according to the backstory, the United States and China, the two superpowers of old Earth, formed the original "Alliance" to start colonizing known space (being the only country wealthy enough to do so). Two of the main characters of the series come from a wealthy family and have a Chinese last name ("Tam"), but they're both played by... white people. Doh.
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