I finished watching Serenity and watched the Done the Impossible documentary at lunch this week. It’s interesting and pretty well done, but I sure would have liked to have heard more from the actors and crew than the fans. It feels like it’s about 3/4 fan, 1/4 pro focussed and I’d rather see that about even. I didn’t peruse the special features, but maybe there are extended interview sections with Ron Glass (who I particularly wanted to hear from) and the other first parties. I know they subtitle it a “Fan’s tale” but it didn’t have to be. I like fans, I am a fan and I grew up in SF fandom but I still would have rather heard more from the cast.
The other big thing that was confirmed for me that I had alluded to in other recent Serenity posts is that I really and truly am not a Joss Whedon fan. I like this show, but even listening to him talk I found irksome. Remember when I said I found Buffy too cutesy and precious? Just the way he answered questions was really cutesy and precious, the way he’d answer the opposite first and then say “No wait, it was the other thing.” Yes sir, you are a hyper-ironic laugh machine. I think this show and movie were brilliant work but I still find the Whedon stamp a barrier to entry rather than a seal of approval.
I especially liked Alan Tudyk in the documentary saying that while they were filming these shows in their mind, when they talked about fighting the Alliance they were really talking about taking on the Fox Network. Funny stuff.
As I think about what I like about the show, I have to say the Civil War aspects are more and more appealing. There is something compelling in watching these beaten characters refuse to bend the knee and bow the head. Dialog like this reeally rings with me:
Harken: Seems odd you’d name your ship after a battle you were on the wrong side of.
Mal: May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.
In my final analysis, what I find compelling about the show is that it is about the defeated. There is so much modern American emphasis on competition and winning, and I loved that this show is about those who have lost it all, got back up and lost again. They regularly have their asses handed to them and yet they continue to keep at it, to be true to their beliefs and keep their own faith. Even the theme song emphasizes that with the repeated lyric “You can’t take the sky from me.” Forget the winners, I find the losers interesting.