Something scary happened to me the other day. Now, I get disturbing and unsettling things fairly often, and I get irritating things every single day, but scary? Not so much.
I was talking with an acquaintance. Arguing, really. It was a discussion about the best sci-fi TV series of all time. Nothing unusual for me in a debate like; while I have strong opinions on shows I love and hate, I am always looking for ways to get another perspective, always willing to talk about shows and movies.
In addition to writing and music, I am also — if you haven’t guessed — a movie and TV nerd. We all have regrets from when we we were young. We all have those annoyingly nostalgic memories and thoughts of paths not taken. Well, my biggest regret, my worst missed path, was in not following my love of cinematography and directing. I worked in film/TV in high school, even did some in college, but I never trusted myself enough to pursue it. Of course, I didn’t trust myself to pursue anything in that first stint in college…which is probably why I drank my way through it rather than study…
Ahem. Never mind. That particular little bit of random regret is most definitely not what I sat down to write about…
I’ll spare you all the gory details of the debate itself. I mean, you already KNEW Deep Space 9 was the best of the Star Trek series, that the (relatively) recent re-make of V was muddled garbage, and that HBO’s Game of Thrones is better than the actual books right? Right?!? Of course you knew all that.
None of that was the scary part, anyway. Want to know what the scary part was? Firefly.
Not just one of my favorite sci-fi shows, it’s one of my favorite shows of any genre and any time period. I mean, crap, it’s on my list with Twilight Zone, I Love Lucy, M*A*S*H and Cheers, for God’s sake…
And it’s better than fifteen years old.
Holy shit…it feels like that thing just came out! I mean…crap…I can still remember watching it when it when it was new! Hell, I still binge-watch it at least once a year…
Fifteen years old.
The damned show can almost drive. Pretty soon it’ll get married and have little baby shows!* Crap, a barrel of scotch made when it premiered is just about ready to drink!
*Don’t I wish — Firefly’s tiny fourteen episode run is still far-too heartbreakingly short.
By the way, if you want a good lesson in the use of flashbacks and seemingly-random jumps in sequence and timing to tell a story, and to build pathos, watch the episode Out of Gas. I’ve written before about learning from everything when it comes to writing, and I meant it. Some of the most important lessons on writing and storytelling I’ve ever learned came from movies: Spielberg on foreshadowing, Hitchcock on tension and suspense, Scorsese on symbolism, Scott on mood and atmosphere, Singer on manipulating perception and expectations…I could go on for a long time, but I think I’ll save that digression for another time.
The original Star Trek is over fifty…Star Wars over forty…Blade Runner thirty-five…and none of that is quite so depressing as Firefly being fifteen.
Crap, I don’t do memory (when I can help it), and I avoid nostalgia like the plague…this is no freaking way to start a day…
Random musical interlude — nothing really to do with Firefly or the post I just wrote, nothing other than the fact that this particular song is one of the most evocative pieces I have ever heard. I know it’s the key and the progression and the rhythm that all combine to evoke memory and nostalgia…I know that, but still it works: