Thursday, December 29, 2005

Go west, young man. Go 7 light years west.

To recap. Joss Whedon got me to watch a cowboys-in-space movie. Name of Serenity. And make me like it. I watched his cowboys-in-space TV series. Name of Firefly. Liked that, too. I even bought the damn thing. And I don't regret it.

Getting back to the original question: How the hell did he do it?

Let's start with the premise.

Assume humanity turns the earth into a dead fish tank. We have the tech to go to a nearby star system with shitloads of planets and moons, terraform those babies, and resettle there. So we do.

It's your pioneer situation. I.e.: it ain't fun.

Chances are, the pioneers would speak some garbled, rough-and-ready lingo.

M'luv, obaachan wen bungie jump dis ohio. Wat!?! Azfoo!

A mash-up of tongues a la Gaff's "Cityspeak" in Blade Runner.

Of course, nobody in the 21st century would understand a solitary slovo.

So, substituting some screenwriterish approximation of cowpie-kicking oldwesternese and Chinese stand for the future slang is the next best thing. That's what the man did.

OK, Joss. I'll buy it.

He gets away with it because -- making allowances for the fudge factor substituting comprehensible movie-type Old West talk for incomprehensible future space frontier jibberish -- his premise is believeable and self-consistent. Within that premise, he created gripping, universal human stories. The mofo's funny. Smart, too. You think he's going one way -- Pow! Zoom! He goes a different way. One surprise after another. And he can write dialog like a sumbitch.

All the clever writing in the world won't save you if your premise is shit.
The mother of all premises won't save you if your writing is shit.
His premise was golden. His writing was golden.
That's how he did it, OK.

But the rest of you.

For the love of God ... Joss Whedon is a freaking genius. Don't try to follow his example.

No more cowboys-in-space movies.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Rufus T. Firefly

OK. Have purchased aborted first season of Joss Whedon's Firefly after falling in love with Serenity a few weeks ago.

Just to be clear ...

When I saw the movie, I didn't know the movie was picking up where a dead TV series had left off. I hadn't watched the gorram series. I knew it was a cowboys in space show. Thus, I knew it would suck intergalatic donkey dong. In advance. So didn't watch it.

See, here's the deal.

I hate "cowboys in space" on a basic conceptual level.

Science fiction (SF) should be science fiction. I.e.: SOMETHING OTHER. Something outside human experience. Not the same everyday crap blown up against the hurricane fence of our everyday, shitty lives, only projected into space or other dimensions.

Which is basically all Lost in Space did ...

Department stores in space! Hippies in space! Juvenile delinquents in space! Pirates in space! Cowboys in space!

Fuck that shit. You want another shitty example of cowboys in space? Do we need another fucking Outland? The abomination of desolation itself?

Gee, High Noon was a great western movie. Here's an original fucking idea. Let's adapt it as a shitty science fiction movie! Yeah! Howzabout we set it in SPACE? With bounty hunters running around with six-shooters blasting holes in pressurized glass with an asteroid -- AND PURE VACUUM -- on the other side.

Outland Peter Hyams says "Behold, nothing up my sleeve. I will now pull a science fiction movie -- out of my ass!"

The audience gasps ...

It's High Noon in Space! Wow! How did he do that?


There is nothing, nothing that could possibly EVER get me to watch a cowboys in space movie or TV show without projectile vomiting.

But Joss Whedon did. He created a fucking WESTERN IN SPACE. And I actually liked the bloody thing. How the hell did he do it?

I don't know you. So far, I've just seen the movie. I'll get back to you on that one.

After I watch the gorram TV series.