A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I've been a scifi fan for yonks. Probably since I was old enough to watch spaceships explode and rubber suited monsters chase beautiful blondes around cardboard boxes while they try their darndest to look terrified and terrifying.

My favourite piece of scifi television has to be "Firefly", the brainchild of Joss Whedon, famous for his "Buffy" series. There's no doubt in my mind that "Firefly" could have been a contender for the title of  best scifi show ever except that there weren't more than 13 eps made.

In "Firefly", there are no rubber-suited monsters. There are monsters... but they're existential and political. The premise is simple: A motley crew of pirates, prostitute, priest and physician wander across the galaxy on the run from something or other. The running, it seems, is the fun part but it's the relationships that gives depth to the characters and their stories.
Simply speaking, it's a Western in space. There are guns... lots of guns... and dust, boots, horses, cows, civil war patois and ugly bad guys. There's romance too... spoken and unspoken... And best of all... fantastic storytelling and great dialogue.

And then, it got cancelled... boo hiss... by Fox. Because apparently nobody wants to watch a scifi western.

A movie was made a few years later... a follow-up called Serenity (the ship's name). A darker, bleaker crew, captained by a dispirited Mal Reynolds (played by Nathan Fillion from Castle) who has lost his lady love to her unfortunate profession (so he thinks). That has got to be the most frustrating romance in the universe. So much back and forth but no admission, confession and other "sion" words.
As the story unfolds we see palpable tension among the crew who are living on a wing and a prayer. Its youngest member has a frightening secret that could see them all very dead. But it's more than that... it's about freedom... against totalitarianism...
Human beings of every stripe are a screwed up bunch... and throughout history, there have been all kinds of know-it-alls who think they know what's best for all of us. So they get into power to try and fix human nature. You know what I mean, dictators... when they're benevolent, they're okay but when they're not... we get Hitler and Stalin.

I'm not sure why we don't get it after several thousand years of recorded history... the persistent belief that we can somehow change humans... force them to "be better" through the political process. It seems that every time that happens, a lot of people die.

I don't think we're about to stop people from warring anytime soon. Certainly not by talking or negotiations. Restrain and deterrence is all we can hope for.

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