Serenity in Shades of Gray

September 30. That’s the day for Serenity.
No, not for me. For the release of a movie by the guy who knows how to create seriously unique “shades of gray” characters armed with unexpectedly snappy one-liners and cleverly complex personalities.
Serenity‘s characters emerged in a Fox-nixed series, Firefly — an intelligently crafted mixed-genre saga that obviously rose too high for Fox viewers to understand and enjoy. Except for thousands (maybe millions) of the younger set (under 40) who got it, banded together, and fan-forced interest in getting the movie made.
Joss Whedon, that guy who also created one of my other favorites, the beleaguered Buffy, created a Firefly universe that is absurd in the way that the one in which we live is; a cast of characters as quirky and diverse our best misunderstood friends; and situations that reflect the deepest and most frustrated longings of the human soul.
What, you say? Such verbiage over a sci-fi movie based on a series that lasted one season? Just remember, it was on Fox. We all know how stupid Fox is when it comes to recognizing true talent. Or just truth, for that matter. If Fox says is bad, it must be good. And vice-versa.
Universal’s decision to greenlight “Serenity,” the big-screen sequel to “Firefly,” was said to have been influenced by “Firefly’s” phenomenal post-cancellation DVD sales. An extraordinary 200,000 copies of the “Complete Series” were purchased in the first four months of its release. On July 6 of this year, more than 18 months after the DVD set’s release, it would rise (again) to the number-two spot on’s daily “top seller” list.
I was one of those who bought the DVD. I wish I could be one of those in line on September 30, and maybe I will — depending on how absurd my universe gets on that day.
One of the most intriguing characters on board Serenity (which is the name of the space-faring vessel of Firefly fame) is a girl with telepathic abilities who had undergone some kind of brain tampering before she and her brother make their appearance in the Firefly series. Over the past several weeks, quick video clips of undocumented origin have found their way onto the internet that give eerie glimpses into River Tan’s ordeal before she boards Serenity.
I’m told that the place to go to check these out is where you can watch a few stark River moments.
If this post leads you that far, you should watch the clips in the following order:
Session 416, Second Excerpt
Session 1
Session 22
Session 165
Session 416, First Excerpt
I have no idea what the plot of the movie is because I haven’t been able to get to any of the pre-screenings. But if it’s anything like the Firefly series, the plots (clever as they often are) are really vehicles for the characters to unfold more of themselves and face dilemmas that really have no black and white solutions. Only shades of gray.
Serenity. Not just for the kids. Go see it. And don’t forget to get your senior citizen discount. And then let me know what you think.

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