Friday, March 4, 2011

Firefly, Wonder Woman and live sci-fi


The Star Trek franchise aside, Firefly is THE best ever science fiction series. Argue with me if you want, but not before you've seen it. You have another chance to do just that without the help of your local video store (Do you still have one?) or Netflix. Firefly is returning to the TV on the Science Channel beginning this Sunday, March 6th, at 8PM ET. The show will air on Sundays at 10PM ET thereafter and will follow an encore from the week before. And because it’s the Science Channel, renowned astrophysicist and co-founder of string field theory Dr. Michio Kaku will scrutinize the science of each episode.

In Firefly, Earth has colonized planets outside its solar system. The Alliance had asserted too much authority over the central worlds and rebels (or Browncoats) like Malcolm Reynolds fought back. They didn't win, but the outer worlds are still relatively safe, if rustic. The new frontier.

The crew of the Serenity roam the galaxy looking for any work they can find, staying out of the way of the alliance. The adventures and banter remind me of the Wild Wild West only these guys don't work as government intelligence agents. Mostly, they're smugglers. Mal's Serenity crew includes Wash, a talented pilot and his wife, Zoe (who fought with Mal in the war), innocent Kaylee, their engineer who can fix an engine with bubble gum and toothpicks and Jayne, an opportunistic, uneducated criminal, who doesn't mind risking his life so long as there's something in it for him.

The script is outstanding and the quazi-Southern, military, frontier dialect is infectious.

Here's some examples from Firefly WIki. (And you Browncoats best get over there and add some more!)

"Wash, we got some local color happening. A grand entrance would not go amiss."
"Shouldn't you be off bringing religiousity to the fuzzy wuzzies or some such?"
"Still a little whimsical in the brain pan." [to Shepherd Book about River]

Most women will fall for Nathan Fillian in his role as Malcolm Reynolds the same way they do for Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. Confident, strong, fallible and slightly oblivious. And those crooked smiles that say "oops, my bad".

The ship's complement also includes a preacher who mysteriously knows a lot about alliance tactics and how to fight, a doctor and his crazy, vulnerable (but sometimes deadly - as in a weapon) genius sister River (Summer Glau) and Inara (Morena Baccarin), the government-sanctioned and licensed "companion" who rents one of the ship's two shuttles.

Firefly is space opera at its best in the all new "out west". ;)

If I haven't convinced you to check it out yet, maybe something from the Science Channel press release below will. No, I'm not getting paid for this. ;) But I AM a Browncoat.


The Wait Is Over!
“FIREFLY” Premieres Sunday, March 6 with Two Episodes Beginning @ 8pm ET

New episodes air every Sunday @ 10pm ET only on Science Channel

Renowned Astrophysicist Dr. Michio Kaku also reveals the “Science behind Firefly”


From the creator of the hit TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” sci-fi savant Joss Whedon delves into the final frontier with “Firefly,” which lands exclusively on the Science Channel on Sunday, March 6 @8pm ET with the airing of the original 2-hour pilot. Immediately following, episode one of the 15-part series will air at 10pm ET.

“Firefly” will dominate the airwaves every Sunday with an encore episode of the previous week airing 9pm ET to be followed by the network premiere of the next episode in the series airing at 10pm ET.

As a special treat for “Firefly” fans, star of Science Channel’s “Sci-Fi Science,” and the co-founder of string field theory, Dr. Michio Kaku, will be commentating on the science behind “Firefly” for each episode. From terraforming, to anti-matter, Kaku will be explaining why the science fiction featured in the show really isn't that far from science fact.

When “Firefly” first aired in 2002, Whedon’s sci-fi western quickly became a cult favorite. Set 500 years in the future, in the aftermath of a universal civil war, the story centers on the renegade crew of a small transport spaceship led by “Castle’s” Nathan Fillion, who directs the ragtag team through adventures into unknown parts of the galaxy, as they try to evade warring factions as well as authority agents out to get them.
Pilot- "Serenity" Premieres Sunday, March 6 @ 8pm ET
Set 500 years in the future, we are introduced to the of the spaceship Serenity led by the former soldier Sergeant Mal Reynolds. Part transport ship, part scavenger vessel, the second-in-command is the loyal Zoe who served beside Mal in the war and owes him her life; Wash the ship's easygoing pilot and Zoe's husband; and Kaylee the ship's young and effervescent engineer.

The crew picks up some precious cargo from the hull on an abandoned spaceship. Soon, they realize they are being pursued by the Alliance, the totalitarian army which was formed to hunt down outlaws against the unification of the planets. In order to avoid detection, the Serenity takes on a group of ‘tourists’ to appear to be a passenger transport ship. The passengers include: Inara, a prostitute; Book, a shepherd; Simon, a doctor who has with him a mysterious dark blue box

The story continues as the Serenity tries to outrun double-dealers and savages, ditch the precious cargo all the while trying to hide their newest passenger, River, who’s power the group has yet to realize.


Episode 1- "The Train Job" Premieres Sunday, March 6 @ 10pm ET
Mal and his crew are hired to pull off a train heist…but the cargo turns out to be badly needed medication intended for sufferers of a deadly disease. Meanwhile men are on the hunt for River and won’t stop till they find her.

*****
If comic book characters are your thing, there's a new Wonder Woman TV series in the works. The series is still filling in the cast. Meanwhile, Geekscape lassos in a review of the new Wonder Woman pilot by avid fan, Eric Diaz.

******
How about live science fiction? If you live in the North Bay (that's the San Francisco Bay), you're in luck. The Imaginists are performing plays based on the short stories of sci-fi author Eliot Fintushel.

March 10*, 11, 12 | 17*, 18, 19 | 24*, 25, 26
All Shows at 8 p.m.

*Pay-What-You-Wish Nights: March 10, 17 & 24
Tickets for these shows will only be available at the door.

(Poster art by comic book artist Brent Anderson.)

The Imaginists Theatre Collective
461 Sebastopol Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA. 95401
(707) 528-7554

Talk back with the actors and writer, Eliot Fintushel: Saturday, March 12, 19, 26 immediately following the performance.


Below are Eliot Fintushel's production notes.

WE FROM AFAR: PRODUCTION NOTES
(from, such as he is, the author)

Science Fiction is all about extrapolation. and, oh, honey, are we gonna extrapolate tonight. To the shivering penumbral dimensions I limned in these stories, Brent Lindsay, the god of the theatre of now, of passion, pulse, and power, has added infinitely more. Not to mention my fellow Imaginists, actors, techies--groupies all--who have set sail for these unimagined lands, and are gonna drag you along in steerage, whether you like it or not.

Here at the Imaginists Theatre Collective, everything proceeds by opposites. If Lindsay cocks his head and squints and says, "That's REALLY awful," we know that he means it's a keeper. That's how we keep things hopping, and how we keep our audiences from yawning, clearing their throats, and riffling their damn programs.

Inspirations: "Kukla Boogie" was the result of (1) my learning of actual plans by a major soft drink company to use laser technology to advertise on the lunar surface, and (2) my disgust with anti-Darwinism and other sectarian mishugoss. "Afar" came, of course, out of the years of despair accompanying and following my divorce. (Thanks--I'm better now.) "Santacide" was a response to the annual flood of packaged religiosity--I used to use this story, in 6-point typeface on a folded half-sheet of 20# pink paper, as my Christmas card. "No, Really" is an actual standup routine from the future; I was actually there, via a top-secret time machine that I found during a fly-over of the Bermuda Triangle, and I recorded it word for word, before a squad of Butlers burst in and hosed us.

I was very nearly extrapolated myself.

*****

2 comments:

Emily said...

I say this as an avid fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I think Firefly is Joss Whedon's pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance. It's such a shame it was canceled.

The Cadet said...

An epic show, perhaps it will be taken up again some time in the future.

Battle of Serenity Valley- Never Forget!