A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Saturday Fun Stuff, On Sunday

We had guests yesterday and spent the day gaming with them (Mage: The Ascension, for anyone who's interested in RPGs) so this week's fun stuff had to be delayed by a day. It's a long weekend anyway, so today is kind of like Saturday, right?

First fun thing: Runes! Runes are an ancient Nordic method of divining one's fortune. As other cultures read tarot cards or tea leaves, pagan mystics of northern Europe cast rune-marked bones to discover what the future held. Here in the information age we've done away with those dirty, dirty bones and replaced them with more sanitary (but still very mystical) HTML code. So forget reason, logic, and Dr. Phil; make your next decision according to what the runes say!

Second fun thing is a plug for my new Favorite. Show. Ever.

First of all, I have to make a confession: I'm a Buffy fan. A fairly big one. My opinion is that Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were pretty much the best shows on TV during the late 90s / early 00s. I also think that the creative force behind those shows, Joss Whedon, is the best script writer doing TV today. For everyone who's groaning in disbelief, let me tell you something: I thought the exact same way. I mocked my friends who watched Buffy. I was like "It's just a showcase of cheesy horror and good-looking teenagers. What a joke." But I was wrong.

Buffy was a great show. Funny, smart, and, at times, amazingly dramatic. Two episodes were nominated for an Emmy, and both should have won. But I'm not here to talk about Buffy; that show ran seven seasons and it's spinoff, Angel, ran five. They had their time in the spotlight and were retired, more or less, with dignity.

The show I want to tell you guys about is Joss Whedon's latest project, Firefly. I guarantee you it's the best show you've never seen. Fox cancelled it last season (they didn't even air all the episodes they bought) but the entire series is out on DVD now. And a theatrical movie, Serenity, is in production as we speak. If you are a fan of science fiction - and I mean a real fan, one who expects a lot from the genre - then you're missing out if you've never seen Firefly. It is the most creatively written, wonderfully acted, and perfectly paced sci-fi television since Babylon 5. I'm floored that Fox, a network known for taking big risks on new shows, canceled it so quickly. But that's network TV today - if it's not 1) some brainless reality show, or 2) ranked in Neilson's top 20 then it's head is on the chopping block. Sci-Fi Channel, if they were smart, would have picked up Firefly instead of Andromeda (but with some of the show selections they've made lately I doubt anyone is going to be accusing them of brain cell overabundance).

Anyway, serious sci-fi fans should check out Firefly on DVD. They should also make it a point to see Serenity when it hits the theaters next year. You won't be disappointed.


Update: Neil and I are obviously not alone in our enthrallment with all things Buffy.