Monday, February 11, 2008

WESTERNS and OUTER SPACE

This isn't cutting edge news to many of you, but we've discovered a new genre of film-making: The Sci Fi Western.

When you think about it, the two were born for each other.

We've just finished watching, via Netflicks, the FIREFLY series, which is just simply delicious. Its only problem is it comes to an end. It features a gang of very nice, polite rumrunners, the sort we've come to associate with the Wild West. Except they fly around in a flea-bitten old space cargo ship, trying to stay under the radar of the Federales; nearly broke at all times and running one transmuter short of a full deck. They DO have a state of the art medical lab, which comes in handy when one of them inevitably gets shot up, and a respectable doctor. The series is very funny and imaginative. And its a Western!

The anime version of Firefly, sort of, is COWBOY BEBOP
My son Jeremy brought back a set of these from Korea. Once here, Robin discovered it and has been showing me sessions. This is a Japanese creation, but whoever produced it has spent some serious time studying old American films, John Ford movies, and has read his Dashiell Hammett to boot. Add the spicy culture of the Orient, and animate the sucker: presto! Very bizarre, funny, and fun to watch.

7 comments:

Joe Abrahamson said...

Bruce,
I think Firefly is one of the best Sci-fi tv shows ever made. Pity it was too complex and textured for the studio big-whigs to continue it.

Serenity is a good, though sad, conclusion to the series. [except for Joss Whedon's penchant for fragile weak heroines as the ultimate savior-think of River Tam as another Buffy or Angel.]

I like to sing the ballad of Jane every once in a while.

joe

Ethan said...

Ha, I love Firefly. I... kind of don't want to count the time I've spent watching it. Try the length of the series times, maybe, five. I thought Serenity could have been a lot better, but it was good anyway.

I've been meaning to watch some of Cowboy Bepop for a while; I'll get to it sometime.

I like advising people, "If someone ever tries to kill you... you try to kill them right back."

Bruce Gee said...

Yeah, the Firefly series will be on our "watch once a year list" along with Pride and Prejudice and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Did you know the actor who played Mal in Firefly was in Saving Private Ryan? He was the first "Ryan" the company came across. When Tom Hank's character told him he'd lost his brothers, he fell apart. When it became clear they were talking about the wrong Ryan ("But my brothers are in GRADE school!"), they all backed off, but the guy was completely whacked by the war, just sat there sobbing, "I gotta go home to see my brothers!" Really funny scene in a really brutal movie.

Lutheran Lucciola said...

The Firefly series rocks. We rented the whole series on Netflix, and stayed up for hours on end.

Evan said...

I love both of these series. I've been into Bebop since college, but I just recently got into Firefly. Amazing how well the "wild west" aesthetic transfers to space, no? I guess there's just something about frontier societies.

Mike Baker said...

Both of these titles are great. I own the Firefly series on DvD. Since it was scrubbed during season one it is a cheap investment.

I was furious when "Jericho" was brought back by virtue of fan protest. Fans of Firefly faught long and hard to keep Firefly on the air... and failed despite a much more fervent protest campaign than the fans of silly "Jericho". Grr.

The cast members of Firefly can currently be seen in a variety of Sci-Fi titles: Summer Glau (River Tam) is on the new "Terminator" series on Fox and did a stent on "The Unit". Jewel Staite (Kaylee Frye) is now on "Stargate: Atlantis" on SciFi.

Those who like "Firefly" should catch the movie: "Serenity" which attempted to tie up many of the series loose ends.

Those who liked "Cowboy Bebop" might like the steam-punk anime series "Last Exile" or the movie "Spirited Away". They are similar in animation style and thematic storytelling method. Many of the American voice talent is used in all three titles.

Bruce Gee said...

Hey, Mike. Good to hear from you again. Yes, we've seen SERENITY. It was a nice jolt of Firefly at first, but in the end something about it dissatisfied me. All in all, I prefer the series to the movie.
Also thanks for the heads up on some of the actors. The only sci fi we tend to watch is Battlestar Gallactica, and I gotta admit, more and more I think I'm watching a soap opera.