Mea maxima culpa.
I watched Firefly when it first hit the airwaves. As some of you may recall from past JR discussions... hated it. To me, didn't make sense, not good sci-fi, just a weak western being marketed as something else, felt forced. Not at all the Buffy in Space I was expecting. Not even a continuation of JW's work in Alien Resurrection and Titan A.E. Gave up after three shows, wasn't surprised when it was cancelled, didn't care.
But SO DAMN MANY OF YOU kept on going on and on about how great it was, and how Fox screwed it by showing it out of order, and that a great injustice had therefore been done. Yeah, sure, right. "Star Trek" is shown out of order, and that doesn't suddenly cause the show to be tedious and dull. You're all full of it, thinketh I.
Yet in the back of my mind I wondered if all of you could really be THAT deluded. Even adjusting for varying taste, it's hard to conceive that so many people could be naught but slavish Whedon fanpeople.
So I saw the Blu-ray on sale one day, and thought, "what the hell. Give it another chance. All I've got to lose is a little time and a little money."
I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO FREAKING WRONG ABOUT A SHOW IN MY LIFE.
Things I learned:
(1) Fox screwed this show -- BADLY -- by showing it out of order.
(2) A great injustice had been done.
When viewed in the original, intended order, the show makes MUCH more sense, and develops its feel and universe more organically. It's not perfect, but it's certainly not the semi-coherent failure that I saw on Fox. I honestly didn't think that a good show could be made into a bad show merely through running order. But Firefly just doesn't work right if you don't start with "Serenity"* and work forward. I can't put my finger on why specifically this is, but that's how it works.
I think there's another factor at work here, too -- Admittedly, I was primed for a sci-fi show, not a western, when Firefly debuted. (After all, that's how Fox promoted it, right?) Being confronted by a western -- and a western that, due to its dual nature, was never going to be as good a western as Deadwood, which was also airing at that time -- was off-putting in and of itself. Thanks for the bait-and-switch, Fox. I don't think I ever really got over that smack in the face right off the bat. Now, going in knowing that this is a sci-fi western, and not purely a sci-fi show, it's much easier to accept it on its own terms and allow it to draw you in.
So let me be the first to admit: I was dead wrong about Firefly.
/prepares for endless and deserved "I told you so, moron" replies
*EDIT: That's the episode "Serenity", not the movie Serenity. Don't start with that. It'll ruin the fun.
"Your average Russki doesn't take a dump without a plan, son."