Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas TV

We watched several episodes of Firefly last night. It reminded me a LOT of Cowboy Bebop. I knew they were going for the whole "futuristic western" feel, but it just seemed to stand out.

Duane commented on Book (the preacher) - he thought the writers were very kind to him and to the Christian faith. Not making him look like a fool, and all. I don't know that I agree. Teh clear parallel between him and the workers in "Jaynestown" is that they both cling to what they believe not because it is real, or has any lasting effect, but because they like the story. They "need to believe it," I think, was the exact phrase.

Maybe I'm being too hard on what is, after all, a secular television show. Book's persistent "narrow-mindedness" doesn't put the group in any danger, nor is he ever forced to choose between them and his faith. But that's partially because it's a faith that doesn't matter, because it's nothing more than a Snugli. The other characters do not respect him for his faith -- in fact, they seem to like him in spite of it, because he's a good man (even though he's so stubbornly backward). The one whose beliefs are actually allowed to make a difference and can change others' lives is Inara.

The cultists in another episode (they kidnap the doctor to help on their settlement, and his weird sister comes with him) are presented as another flavor of Christian. In fact, only those who know the Bible well would recognize that they are cultists rather than Christian. After seeing evidence of the sister's telepathy, the village nurse starts spouting "Scripture" -- only most of it isn't. But to complicate matters, she finishes up with a verse that actually is in Leviticus. The instructions about witches in the Bible refer to professionals, not sick people, otherwise there wouldn't be anybody for the prophets to heal of demon-possession. I mean, DUH.

Anyway, this sort of reflects what I see as one of the weaknesses of the series: the characters are not completely flat, but they're extremely narrow. This seems to be somewhat by design; each of them is as archetypal as a role on a sitcom. It is frustrating enough that it almost -- almost -- makes me want to fanfic it to see if I couldn't do better.

See you later, Space Cowboy.


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