I finally bought the Firefly comics. Any Browncoats out there?
BOOM! Studios launched a Legacy series with all the original comics in two large color volumes, and I just had to have them. The first strips throw you right into the action, with all your favourite characters working together to get screwed on yet another job. It's Firefly at its best, with the entire crew working together to escape with their lives - and some money, if possible - from a dustbowl of a planet teeming with unfriendlies.
I wish I could write like this. I think I'm going to try my hand at fan-fic. I've never done it before, it somehow seems a bit much. I like my franchises how I like my apples: fresh, clean and untouched (what a weird thing to say!). There's something about these characters though... something magical, that draws you in and keeps you there. They're the forever underdogs, always scraping by, always on the run. Mal, the tough-but-fair captain with a heart of gold; Jayne, the shady rough guy who's all mushy inside; Wash, the funny familist/dreamer; Zoe, a fierce and loyal warrior, always torn between her husband and her captain; Kaylee, an ever-cheerful mechanic out to seek love and fortune among the stars; Inara, the courtesan who offers company to others, but seldom finds it for herself; Simon and River, a pair of siblings that fight for each other despite all odds; and Shepherd Book, a priest testing the practical side of faith and morality in the wide unforgiving 'verse.
What do these characters have that makes them special? And more, how is it that they work together so well? Not in the story sense, but as building blocks of the narrative. Because they sure build the narrative: the best scenes emerge from their interaction alone, without any other elements. Their one-to-one relationships are so well-defined and so different, so antagonistic in the smallest of details, that it's enough to take any two characters and put them in a room, and something interesting will happen. Actually, I think that might make up half the scenes in Firefly.
Every character has a strong relationship with the other, even the most unlikely characters to ever be in a scene together. Take River and Jayne. She seems crazy to him; he's terrifying to her. He doesn't want to hurt her; she craves a normal interaction. They misunderstand each other all the time, right from the start. Their first meeting, when River is sleeping in the cryo-pod, is electric: Jayne goes mental, and River is filled with dread and panic. It that moment, Jayne truly is terrifying, and she really goes crazy. All of their interactions have this first meeting embedded within them. As they try to understand each other, their first impressions loom large.
Mal and Kaylee met while she was doing the ship's new mechanic. A simple girl, she doesn't mind that Mal stumbles upon her having sex. Instead, she persuades him to hire her on the spot. Mal gains instant respect for little Kaylee, and takes her under his wing. He trusts her with his ship and with his crew, and she's grateful for being received into their little family. This trust is powerful and never waivers. Mal becomes a father figure to Kaylee, but she's not afraid to speak up when she disagrees with his authority. Kaylee may be little, but she's no child.
Another unlikely pair is Wash and Inara. I don't remember ever seeing them alone in a room, but they share a strong connection through the importance of family. They both know Mal is cold, but lonely, and they call him out on it, each in their own way. I'd love to see these characters interact. Wash is a loyal husband, and he'd be terrified of being alone with a Companion. He respects women, and he shows respect and reverence for Inara in ways that others don't. However, he doesn't fully approve of her ways. Wash is a family man: he wants kids and a house on the beach; Inara wants this as well, but is afraid of her desire.
I wonder if that's why Inara avoids Wash and Zoe. She would never spend time with Zoe. The two women are both strong and independent, but they are diametrically opposed. Even though each one secretly wants what the other has, they don't acknowledge that. They barely acknowledge one another. The one spectacular exception is when Mal is in trouble. That's when Inara and Zoe are like mothers, and would risk everything to protect their child.
Seems there's a lot to learn here. I think a rewatch is in order. See how I justified binging a whole series? It's true that it's only 10 episodes, but still.