Monday, February 19, 2007


I read a fun book over the last few days. It was called Finding Serenity. It is a compilation of essays about the short lived Joss Wheden show Firefly. The book was edited by Glenn Yeffeth and Jane Espenson although on my copy at least the cover only lists Jane Espenson.

I liked the show Firefly – it was clever and quirky and odd and seemed to fit me really well. I loved the characters even when I hated the characters because sometimes they drove me nuts. Kaylee was just the cutest engineer ever and Wash was hysterical and Shepherd Book was calm and mysterious and each character had something great going for them.

The real charm of the show for me was the way the characters interacted with each other. It wasn’t exactly a functional crew but they did manage to get by and they did so in a believable way. I loved the essential humanness of each character, they all had flaws and defects but they were also vibrant and good and caring too.

The essays in this book gave me pause to think about the show again. One of the things that struck me most about the essays was how many different positions people could take. One author applauded the show for creating such strong female characters while another ripped on the show for creating such weak female characters. I wasn’t sure for a while which show I had watched after reading those two essays. After consideration I think that both authors were right. It goes back to what I was saying before about humanness.

No person is strong at all times and in all ways – any more than someone is always weak. Each REAL person is a blend of good and bad, strong and weak, brave and cowardly, dumb and smart. That is one of the things that makes us all human – and I think essentially lovable. That is why the characters on this show were loveable. If they were always perfect there would be no opening to love them when they struggle with their problems or overcome a character flaw.

One of the other essays concerned the music of the show. I was surprised to see how much analysis this person was able to pull out of the soundtrack especially since I usually listen to soundtracks and try to find themes for particular characters or situations. Sometimes I get so involved in the music I miss parts of the show and have to mentally or physically rewind to catch the actual dialog. Sometimes the music is more fun than the actual show itself. In any case the essay on the music made me really think about what can be conveyed audibly and yet without words – the next time I catch an episode of Firefly I’m going to listen for these queues.

The highlight essay of the book was done by Jewel Staite in which she picks five memories from each episode to share. The most interesting thing about this essay is that either she was channeling her character Kaylee or she is truly a happy bubbly person since a feeling of that personality type came through very strongly. The memories she shared were almost invariably something that made her laugh out loud or something that she really liked about one of the other actors. She came across as a fun person in the essay much like her character comes across in the show.

In any case – the book was quite enjoyable to read. If you are looking for nostalgia hit from the show this would be a fun book to check out.

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