Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Of course, ten years on I am sure they are very different than they would have been at the time. These ten years have provided us with some of the best TV there has ever been: THE WIRE, DEADWOOD, THE SOPRANOS, MAD MEN, BREAKING BAD, JUSTIFIED, THE GOOD WIFE to name but a few. Of course, these are almost all cable shows and that allows them more freedom, more time, and more money to produce fewer episodes. The best comparison might be to Whedon's earlier series, BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. And I think it has many commonalities with that although I only saw the first two seasons. Also I have found seeing a show daily rather than weekly diminishes it for me. Anticipation heightens enjoyment.
The strengths in the show are big: the cast, the humor, the concept of a western and a space opera yoked together, the inventiveness of the language, the heart Whedon imbues his characters with, and the initial concept of each show. There is always an interesting idea presented early on. Perhaps too often that idea is not developed fully and the show ends with the typical fist fights, space fights--a flaw we also found in Buffy. Our heroes often save the day through fairly conventional means and not always very convincingly. The characters are rarely clever if that is an important trait.
A few episodes particularly stand out and my favorite was"Jaynestown," which was fun and brilliantly conceived. The strongest episodes were ones with a comic intentions for us. "Our Mrs. Reynolds" was also a winner, the great Christina Hendricks made it so.
I found the character of River tedious. Shepherd was similarly underdeveloped. Would either have been less so after time? I don't know. Although I liked the unpredictability of Jayne I found it hard to believe he would have been kept onboard after his betrayal in Ariel.
All in all, we enjoyed this series and I would have liked to follow it another year or two. Too bad.