Monday, September 22, 2014

Blogfest 'Firefly vs Star Trek'

The time to write about our favorite unknown for the Underrated Treasures Blogfest,  MOVIE – BAND/ARTIST – TV SHOW – BOOK has arrived, so here goes!

Firefly vs Star Trek!

Every so often, an ensemble of Hollywood talent unites to create a marvel of science fiction.. I'd like to tell you about Joss Whedon's Firefly. One thing that I look for and enjoy in a work of science fiction are conflict driven characters exploring the scientific and social dimensions taking us to strange new worlds. Star Trek's classic show was unique because of its three-way bond between Kirk, Spock and Dr McCoy. The battle of egos, human scepticism and logic gave it a special edge. I like it when a character does or says something to surprise you but how do you stand out from the crowd when every action hero is so convincing?

Star Trek with all of its official re-incarnations shows humans and aliens working together using futuristic technology exploring the human adventure. Roddenberry's action packed wagon train in space was lucky because its over enthusiastic actors, aliens and cardboard sets produced characters and stories like one seamless magic show fans cared about.

James Cameron understood that if you copy a work of genius like Star Trek, you'll be left with a terrible phony which won't fly. So, he set the trend in Hollywood by re-inventing instead of ripping off the old sci-fi classics.

When Joss Whedon's learned about the secret formula he produced 14 episodes for his sci-fi 'sequel' on a shoestring budget, sound familiar?

Whedon's Firefly 'sequel' simply took Star Trek's followers on a fresh 'spaceship' journey thrilling us with a mirror cast based on Gene Roddenberry's original show. The beauty of Firefly is there are no clean cut uniforms, no energy weapons, no teleportation, no long shots of spaceships warping against a starry backdrop to classical music, no obsession with technology, no robots, no artificial intelligences, not even a clear long-term goal for the protagonists apart from the plot conflict between the Alliance and the Rim, and the bitterness of committed Browncoats. Its all close-up and raw. The characters are flawed and realistic. 

1. Mal is the gruff 'anti-hero' with powerful leadership qualities like Captain Kirk, propelling his crew into the thick of action. Still it has to be said Firefly created its own law and disorder in the galaxy.
2. Zoe and Inara are graceful rational, logical counterparts to Mal, as Spock is to Kirk.
3. Wash has Sulu written all over him, gentle and humorous with a way of articulating intense situations.
4. Kaylee is the cool-headed Scotty full of optimism and the miracle worker.
5. Dr Simon Tam has the same fiery relationship with Mal as Bones has with Kirk.
6. Book has the intelligent saving graces of Dr McCoy.
7. Jayne is a fearless explorer like Chekov often breaking the ice with his cornball humor.

Firefly captured the imagination of sci-fi fans with qualities we can all admire, it provided fresh unpredictable characters in an alternate universe, subtracting the science without ruining the fun or being just a shallow imitation. There certainly are numerous original aspects to Firefly, given River's unnatural insight bordering on the edge of madness providing a mysterious air of intrigue for the show. While Firefly and Star Trek are fashioned on the Western wagon train to the stars, each show is full of emotional depth, adventure with a cast of reverse engineered characters. What do you think?

Which sci-fi show made a distinct impression on you?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Both were amazing for the reasons you stated. Whedon also knew how to inject just the right amount of humor. Firefly is still the best show ever made.
Thanks for participating in my blogfest!

Huntress said...

You sold me. I've never seen an episode of Firefly but that is going to change. Very soon.
Thx for the tip.
Author of Wilder Mage at Spirit Called
Facebook Wilder Mage

Maurice Mitchell said...

A great choice and it was certainly underrated when it was on the air. At least it finally found it's audience like Star Trek.

Margo Kelly said...

My husband and I have been re-watching FIREFLY this last week. We love it. :)

S. L. Hennessy said...

I think the word is out on these two shows. They may not be underrated, but they are DEFINITELY treasures. Great choices. And Firefly all the way!

Birgit said...

I have heard of Firefly but never watched . Now I will have to check it out. I love Star Trek in all forms (except for Deep S*&^ oh sorry Space Nine:)) Sorry I couldn't help myself. I loved "The Prisoner" and almost picked that one for the Blogfest

Unknown said...

what, wait... true so true. I have come to grips with two great things called in their shining moments. May we will get lucky and someone will make FIREFLY a film... and then another one... and another one... and another one...

Jeremy [HWR:OLM]
Howlin' Wolf Records: On-Line Magazine

Anonymous said...

I've heard of Firefly, but never watched it. Thanks for sharing about it for the Underrated Treasures Blogfest.

Chrys Fey said...

That's a tough one! But I never got into Star Trek that much, so I'd have to say Firefly made the biggest impression on me. Great post!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Firefly attracted me because of its science fiction/western theme but it was the characters whom I fell in love with. The quirky story lines always exposed more depths to the characters.

Mina Burrows said...

I grew up watching Star Trek reruns so it kinda holds a special place in my heart. And then on the other hand, I love Firefly.

I can't think of another show that compares. Mork & Mindy? I miss Robin Williams.

Krista McLaughlin said...

I grew up on Star Trek, but I have seen the first episode of Firefly, very good - but I just have to have time to finish it! :)

Loni Townsend said...

I love Firefly. And Star Trek. I love how you compared the two!

D.G. Hudson said...

Star Trek fan, especially of Spock. Kirk and Spock balanced well. I liked the Space network with its obscure titles.

J Lenni Dorner said...

Wow. I never thought about this before, but yes, you are right.

Interesting indeed.

As far as sci-fi shows that impacted me in my youth- I'll say Sliders and Small Wonder.
Oh, sure, Small Wonder doesn't have the same sci-fi elements as so many that could be named. But I ask you... do we have that now? No. Are scientist working on it yet? Yes, pretty sure they are.

I also liked Out of This World. But I was maybe crushing on Maureen Flannigan (Evie) just a little at that point. LOL. Ahhh youth. Crazy memories.

Unknown said...

My spouse and I have been re-watching FIREFLY this a couple weeks ago. We love it. :) Clara Bush

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