Communion Of Dreams

Dimly, I begin to understand…

I watch almost no TV these days. Frankly, I’ve watched very little TV in the last decade. Yes, I know that this is the ‘new golden age’ of TV, with the many diverse and creative outlets, brilliant writers, et cetera. Sorry – it doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle. Now, don’t misunderstand me – I do sit in front of the TV set almost every evening these days. It’s one way we can help to make sure that my mother-in-law has companionship and gets through her dinner OK (she, like many people with Alzheimer’s, has a tendency to ‘sundown’ and lose what little mental acuity she has in the evening. So she needs more help.) But we watch something we have on DVD (or get from NetFlix).

So, it is usually only after a show has gotten established and I hear enough good things about it from friends that I am willing to put it in my queue to watch. And that’s how it has come to pass that I haven’t seen any of Firefly or Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Yes, I know that I am an uncultured lout. Sue me.

Anyway, because of the love that a number of my friends have for Joss Whedon’s work, I did get the DVD of Serenity a few weeks back. Watched it, thought “Well, it’s OK.” But didn’t really see what the big deal was – decent SF, but nothing to go crazy over. Maybe it was my mood.

My friends said that I should give it another chance, dig around in some of the bonus material on the DVD. Last night I did that. And I think what made a difference for me was watching the stuff with Whedon himself, talking about what he went through in having the series cancelled and then setting out to make the movie. It all gelled when he said “I am a fan” – meaning that he is a fan of the genre in general, and wanted to produce something that other fans would recognize and appreciate.

I watched the movie again after that. Huh. OK, this time I picked up on a lot of the stuff he did which was an homage to other works which had come before. The nitty-gritty setting of the ship echoing Alien. The rain, soundtrack and violence of Blade Runner. I could go on. Stuff that I at first attributed to just some film-maker lifting without respect from earlier movies.

And dimly, I started to understand why his work is so popular. Every artist steals from others. There are few truly original ideas out there. But to choose your source material wisely, and integrate it to say something new and interesting – that takes talent. To have that talent, to exercise it, and to do so out of a love of the craft and the history of your art is rare.

I think it is time for me to put Firefly in my queue. Then maybe even Buffy.

Jim Downey

6 Comments so far
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Sorry to hear about the mother-in-law’s Alzheimer’s, I have a very good friend who is slowly slipping in to that.
As for the Joss Whedon love, he will be well worth the time you invest, if you find yourself at the end of “Firefly” without cursing out the executives at Fox who canceled the show I will be very much surprised! 😉

Comment by StevieB

Danke, StevieB – I had a similar experience with Farscape, which a number of friends told me I needed to plug into on pain of beating.

I was just really intrigued when the light went on. Watching Joss talk about his love of this kind of SF resonated greatly – it was very much a “oh, he *gets* it” type of moment.

What part of the UK are you in, if you don’t mind sayin’?

Jim Downey

Comment by Communion of Dreams

I am still working my way through “Farscape”, I am about half-way through Season 4 at the moment.
It took me a while to adjust to the idea of aliens with Australian accents, aren’t they all supposed to speak American? 😉
As for my whereabouts in the UK, I am just down the Thames from London, near where Princess Pocahontas was buried.

Comment by StevieB

It took me a while to adjust to the idea of aliens with Australian accents, aren’t they all supposed to speak American?

It’s called the “down under” universe.

Ah, yes, I know the general area where you are, have been there a couple of times. London is one of the few large cities that I can really enjoy…for a few days. 😉

Jim Downey

Comment by Communion of Dreams

[…] to be the pilot, the 90-minute piece titled (somewhat confusingly, since there’s also the feature film of the same name) […]

Pingback by It only took 20 minutes. « Communion Of Dreams

[…] Martha Sr. to bed, see if there was anything interesting, but for the most part I relied on friends recommending stuff. And besides, I was busy working on Communion of Dreams, or blogging here or there, or writing a […]

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