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Date Posted: 10:50:52 06/24/03 Tue
Author: shambleau
Subject: Re: Unspoiled Serenity Cruise: The Train Job
In reply to: CW 's message, "Re: Unspoiled Serenity Cruise: The Train Job" on 07:37:24 06/24/03 Tue

As an old timer myself, I'm gonna have to take exception to the classic westerns comment. Joss loves westerns and it shows. Since he was intimately involved in this show, I'm sure any unfamiliarity with the genre by other writers would have been corrected by him.

The only area where I can see your comment having validity is in the stylized dialog, which can jar, but that's because of it's contrast to the futuristic setting. However, in and of itself, in a western, I'd have no problem with the dialog. And within the show, as a dramatic choice, I find it fascinating. Characters five hundred years in the future mixing Chinese and frontier dialects is at least more adventurous than what you'd find on other shows, where, barring technobabble, English is exactly the same as it is now.

As for the rest of the western genre, I see elements taken from most of the great western directors. Look at the homage to "Red River" in Serenity. Mal killing the fed is straight out of John Wayne shooting John Ireland. Elements in the series are taken from Howard Hawks (the professionalism and camaraderie of the crew, some of the banter), from Anthony Mann (James Stewart's embittered characters remind me of Mal, as does Ethan in "The Searchers" for that matter), from Robert Aldrich ("Ulzana's Raid is a Joss favorite) and so on.

I also don't see ME as being out of their element in sci-fi so much as not caring that much about it. Joss picks genre television because he can leapfrog the conventions of realism to get at emotional truth in fresh ways. He could give a rat's ass about making the universes he creates totally consistent. You could see that on Angel and Buffy. He isn't interested in demons and the demon world except as metaphors or plot devices to get the characters where he wants them to go. It just has to work well enough for him to delve into his characters' psyches. Same with Firefly.

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