Its been a difficult couple of weeks for me, as I’ve been involved in saying all manners of farewell. As much as I meditate on the “one door closes, another one opens” theory, I’m not built to dispatch with this breed of sorrow the instant some good sense reaches my reason centers. I tend to play with it like vegetables on a plate before I reluctantly shovel the first helping into my maw. Once that happens, it’s not long before I’m scraping the plate, incredulous that I ever doubted their nutritional, crunchy goodness. But I’m not quite there at the moment, and the rain that greeted me this morning seemed to support whatever masochistic need I had for mourning the setting of my various suns just a wee but longer.
There was a death in my extended family that seemed unnecessary. A great person and creative mind had passed and even though I only really spent a small amount of time with her, it was always inspiring and special. Rest your gentle soul, and damn to hell the state who made inheriting that beautiful place where you lived untenable due to the taxes. Getting close to her has been made that much harder for her loved ones, and it’s made me sick.
Add to that the loss of a great player from my beloved Arsenal FC, done in a very “Dear John” manor swollen with half-truths and forced platitudes, and each drop of rain that hit my head this morning felt like it weighed a stone. But as obviously devastating as this sort of thing can be, it too is not really the goodbye that has me out of sorts this morning.
No, today I mourn the long past ending of “Firefly”, the series. It came to a close most unceremoniously back in 2003, only to resurface with a final episode shot as a feature called Serenity in 2005. But I’ve only just completed the viewing of the series in full on DVD, and having squeezed out every last bit of Whedonesque magic from the special features, I find myself deeply solicitous. Now, I’ve more recently suffered the lamenting of the final “Sopranos” episode, the remnants of a “Rome” hangover, and even the wonderfully warm and sunny weekend that had me feeling relaxed for large portions of time. Those things are trivial to many and I can’t argue that, but in collection, their passing can be taxing in their own way all the same. Still, the dimming of the Firefly light has me especially reeling, and I think I may have figured out why.
Firefly was under intense scrutiny and criticism by Fox from the very beginning, who were trying to cash in on Joss Whedon’s contractual obligation to give them another show. For those who aren’t famliar with the it, Wiki’s description of the series is more than serviceable:
The series is set in the year 2517, after humans have arrived at a new star system, and follows the adventures of the renegade crew of Serenity, a Firefly-class spaceship. The ensemble cast portrays the nine characters who live on Serenity. Whedon pitched the show as “nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things”.
What that description is missing, however, is key to why I’m a little more depressed than maybe the average fan of the show. Firefly was a hybrid of the sci-fi genre and the western, complete with spaceships flying over stampeding horses, and even gunfights with holstered laser pistols. The dialogue had an O.K. Corral cadence and syntax, and there were several archytypal characters floating about the ship including the polarly opposing yet soulfully kindred whore and preacher. Also, the series onfolded with a simmer, forcing us to slowly get under the skin of his characters until they were as funny and real as our neighbors (only, a lot cooler), and allowing the action sequences to be significantly poignant and loaded with character based dread. Whedon was excited at the marrying of this old world and new world perspective that would create a wide, universal berth for his humanly rich storylines. It was daring, fresh, and brilliant – and it made FOX as downright fidgety as to be expected. Spit.
Having explained my penchant for blending genres and going against the grain, the poor treatment of Firefly, now relegated to DVD parties and perhaps the occasional convention appearance, makes me feel as if another wall has been erected between me and my dreams. If they could so readily close the door on Whedon’s kilowatt star power, what would they do with my dim twinkle? And even though Rome’s Kevin McKidd is scheduled to return to television this fall on Fox with “Journeyman”, about a time-traveling family man, I’m not encouraged by how my vision for storytelling doesn’t seem to be aligning with what is selling. I know, old news, but it’s my news and this is my blog so I have to purge.
After a cup of coffee and some more thinking, I’m sure I’ll fall into some familiar headspace about the whole thing; I need to write what interests me, even if it requires that I remain a loitering rebel told in no uncertain terms to remain a reasonable distance from TV and film’s hallowed inner circle. I’ll take that and I’ll use it to fuel my determination, so that Firefly and its special group of 9 would not have vanished into the cosmos in vain.