Saturday, August 20, 2005

Good day

Today was very pleasant ... I was up relatively early (9:30 is early for a saturday, for me), did some reading while having my coffee, and then wandered downtown for a while. I'm starting to get into the habit of having brunch at Nautical Nellie's on saturdays (they have an amazing English breakfast), and then hiking the Signal Hill paths. My goal is to be able to do the insane stair section heading from North Head to Cabot Tower (pictured in a previous post) without getting winded. Not quite there yet. But it's excellent exercise. My calves are getting some kinda scary definition to them -- would that climbing stairs had the same effect on abs!

And now I'm settling in the have some wine, some dinner, and watch the rest of the second DVD of Firefly. I have to say, I'm loving Joss Whedon's post-Buffy series, and cursing the nimrods at FOX for cancelling such a good show. It takes all the best elements of SF and Westerns, and has the kind of dialogue and characters that made Buffy and Angel such good shows.

But, like Buffy and Angel, what I like most about it is that it is very, very smart ... in figuring a future 500 years from now in which the planetary frontier is essentially the same as the American frontier of Hollywood westerns, Joss does two things: (1) makes literal the truism that SF is, as a genre, displaced romance narratives, and (2) completely trashes the sickly-sweet utopianism of the various Star Trek series that assumes human beings will all evolve to a higher moral consciousness. In Joss' future, humans are still venal, greedy, treacherous and, well, assholes. Which makes them that much more interesting, and makes for much more nuanced and textured characters. Further, instead of being a high-ranking officer in the principal galactic force a la Picard, Captain Mal Reynolds in Firefly is a brigand, whose ship seems held together by duct tape and willpower. Very Han Solo ... except that Chewie here is the beautiful Gina Torres, who Buffy/Angel fans will recognize as Jasmine (and 24 fans will recognize as Julia Milliken from season 3). And Mal Reynolds had a great run on Buffy in the final season as the scary-psycho preacher Caleb. It's nice that Joss looks after his own ...

In short, I do recommend it ... it makes me think there's a great MIT course in there somewhere looking at the conflation of the SF and western genres of film and TV: "Final Frontiers" or something. You could do Star Wars, Aliens, Firefly, Mad Max ...

But I wax nostalgic again.

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