It's the unexplained stuff that counts...
Monday, October 31, 2005

It’s the little details that get to me sometimes. Stories can be as realistic, or not, as the writers choose. But it’s how they treat their viewers/readers that matters more.

Did Joss ever find the need to explain how the engine (that makes the firefly glowish thing) work? If he did… I missed it. But we mostly picked up on it being used to push the ship into high speed for long travel.

Was it ever explained why Chinese and English are the predominant languages/culture? Nope. The series began with what we did needed to know Malcom’s experience at Serenity Valley.

Or the Cortex. What is that? I don’t have the Movie Visual Companion yet, I’m sure its explained there. But during the show, did someone say, "I’ll look it up on Cortex, which is basically this huge internet/communication system spread over the solar system, you click here on the display and…" I think we figured that out ourselves. It doesn’t need explaining. The audience will figure it out sooner or later. Besides… knowing the characters, Zoe would have probably shot anyone who talked like a ‘walking dictionary’ to her. At least she would have shot 'politely.'

Sometimes, the subtle stuff is also nicely researched. Consider this scene from the Firefly pilot Serenity . Near the end of the episode when the Reaver ship begins its entry into Whitefall. We see the ship flying backwards (tail first) with its 3 main engines firing. This serves to slow the vessel down enough that it begins to fall towards the planet. Then the engines shutdown and the ship rotates back to a “nose ahead” flight and continue fall through atmo. NASA Space Shuttles do something very similar to this at the beginning of the reentry sequence.

How did the crew know each other? What’s their story? Except for hints and things we, the viewers, pick up on, it’s almost eight episodes into the series before we get any back story on the characters. That is truly a display of faith for the viewers.

And, on Firefly, how did we cope with ships doing flybys in space, yet no noise? That took daring to do on TV. But it provided some of the most powerful moments too. Think of the end of Bushwhacked when an Alliance Cruiser fires missiles at the derelict transport ship. No noise as the missiles streak toward the transport. No noise as the transport is torn to pieces in an explosion. The only thing we hear, during that whole sequence, is a violin piece from the soundtrack. Even with gigantic cruiser nearby, you still feel an immense loneliness for our crew.

As I’ve seen the movie, and watched the DVD a couple of times, I keep getting more impressed, on how Whedon treated his viewers with intelligence. He let the story tell itself. He felt it was strong enough for people to understand without being spoon fed every little detail. Sometimes, not all the detail is necessary.

And I, at least, appreciate being given the benefit of the doubt. This is truly a story.

Just had this in my head for a while. Figured I’d finally write it somewhere.


Monday, October 31, 2005 4:13 PM


there isn't any noise because whedon seems to have remembered somthin' lucas forgot- there is no noise like that in space. personally im glad someone finally got it right


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