You may have noticed that I posted a disclaimer in the comment thread on my previous Firefly review stating that I would delete comments that were personal attacks. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a theoretical warning. I’d been given good advice — which I full intended to heed — that my comment was sufficient and that I should leave it alone. Unfortunately, here we are and it’s still upsetting me, so one last post to get it off my chest — and then I’ll do my best to avoid ever bringing up the entire sordid episode, or even mentioning Joss Whedon and his properties, ever again.
The biggest reason why I dislike Firefly and Serenity: because they have created a class of passionate fandom who are unwilling to accept “I don’t think I’ll like it” as a acceptable reason for not watching it, and who are willing to drop a friendship (to all appearances) when one finally does watch it and still not like it enough to proclaim that it’s the Greatest Show Evar(tm). It’s not like I couldn’t come up with a list of things I liked; they’re listed right there in black and white. It’s that the list of things that I didn’t like outweighed the things I did like.
A large part of that has to do with the writer. As I’ve been working on creating my own stories and novels, I’ve realized that almost all writers have their specific set of viewpoints and tools that they tend to use on every project they do. I’m not talking things like genre, point of view, and person; I’m talking more intangible qualities like how they approach storytelling, how they balance in-story reasons for why things happen with meta-reasons, and so on. There are damned few writers who can write two different projects so differently that they can’t be identified with a little bit of effort, even when they’re consciously trying to hide these clues. As it so happens, Joss Whedon — while a hella talented guy — is one of those writers whose intangible approaches to storytelling don’t mesh with mine very well. As a result, it’s damned near impossible for me to set aside my own headview, and I argue that it’s completely unrealistic to expect me to. I can’t be objective about these things; no one can.
It’s like trying to argue that two people should be compatible and fall in love madly when they haven’t. No matter how well they match on paper, there’s that intangible something we call “chemistry” that trumps all. After several dates, I’m not ashamed to admit that Firefly and I just don’t have that chemistry. The sin isn’t that I didn’t fall for the show; the sin would be in beating this dead horse any further.
Am I glad I watched it? Yup. It had some neat ideas that I wish had been developed more fully, and I really wish some other talent had been involved in developing those ideas. I had some ideas I didn’t think were so neat, but other people apparently did.
I feel like I got pushed into a corner with no way out except to lie. I gave the show an honest chance; it wasn’t my cuppa tea. Hey, I didn’t watch the pilot and then bag it — I watched all the episodes, I watched some of the extra footage, I watched some of the commentary. If it failed to enage me by that point, that’s life, move on.
I can’t imagine getting so wrapped up in a show — any show! (not even Battlestar Galactica) — that I’d buy hundreds of dollars worth of tickets out of my own pocket and stand in the lobby of the theater accosting random people begging them to see the movie. I can’t imagine getting so wrapped up in a show that if I was having a casual conversation with a stranger in a public space (like a bookstore) and end up yelling at them because they aren’t fans of my show. I’ve seen plenty of reports on the Web of the former; I’ve had the latter happen to me. I’ve read about plenty of other people getting strong-armed by self-identified Browncoats who use tactics that, if they were members of a church, would get that church slapped with harrassment suits faster than Danica Patrick’s driving. That accounts for the tone of my review; I’m still not sure that it was a good idea to spend so much time trying to find reasons to like a show that spawns wide-spread fan behavior that I find that personally repulsive.
I do know that no matter how genius the show might have been (if the chemistry had been there), it wouldn’t have been worth personally attacking someone I call a friend.