Update on ‘Firefly’ and geekhood

Alt text

I’ve been enjoying the “Firefly” screenings at Portland’s Mission Theater these last few Tuesdays. It turns out I’d only seen five episodes of the series, so most of it is brand-new to me.

I’m not generally a sci-fi sort of person, and I admit some of the people at these screenings are far geekier than I tend to associate with. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) But it’s been interesting to discover that “Firefly,” while surrounded by sci-fi trappings (outer space, the future, etc.), is not always strictly a “sci-fi” show. Many of the stories could just as easily be used in a straightforward action series like “The A-Team” or “MacGyver” or whatever.

For that matter, the show is set on the frontiers of space 500 years hence, and a lot of the frontier resembles the American Old West. Because of that, a lot of what goes on could happen in a Western series, too. Replace “going to visit this planet” with “going to visit this town,” and everything else is the same.

The point is, if you’re generally averse to science-fiction, you might like “Firefly” anyway. Did I mention it’s also very, very funny, often exciting, and full of lively, interesting characters? Well it is!

The free screenings at the Mission have been very well attended, so much so that people are lining up outside an hour early in order to get a seat. And some people have gone even further: They’ve been buying tickets to whatever movie is playing beforehand and sticking around. Since the “Firefly” showings are free, the theater doesn’t care if people come to the movie and then just stay in their seats for “Firefly.”

Of course, this means they have to sit through whatever the movie is. A few weeks ago, it was “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.” Remember, these are hardcore sci-fi/comic book geeks. Forcing someone like that to watch “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” before they can watch “Firefly” is like taking an art enthusiast to a Picasso exhibit but making him walk through a Thomas Kincaid gallery first.

Sometimes it works out. Last night, the movie was “Waitress.” Apart from being a delightful film, it also co-stars Nathan Fillion, who plays the lead in “Firefly.” So that was much better for those people.

On the subject of geekdom, there was a flier going around last week from AM 970’s Rick Emerson, one of the sponsors of the “Firefly” screenings. Here’s what it said:

What a geek believes
According to Rick Emerson

I believe that Han shot first. I believe that Ally Sheedy was hotter before Molly Ringwald cleaned her up. I believe in miniatures, models, claymation, and not revealing the shark until you absolutely have to. I believe that George Lucas, for better or for worse, change the way we see the world, each other, and ourselves. And I believe that we will someday reach those stars that he himself made visible. I believe that George Lucas is also a narrow-minded, money-grubbing pig-headed slave to the now, who ought to be locked away from his own creations, lest he do them further harm. I believe that Jean-Luc Picard is the better Starship Captain, but I also believe that James Tiberius Kirk is infinitely cooler. I believe that a child standing in line to buy a book at midnight is fantastic; I believe that reading makes you smart — it’s schools that make you dumb. I believe that any episode of Futurama is better than any program featuring a precocious teenager who’s wise beyond their years. I also believe Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the sole exception that proves this rule. I believe that comic books are an art form, and will someday be recognized as such. I believe that good shows die too young; and crap shows last too long. I believe that Eddie Izzard is the funniest man alive, an dI don’t care whether you’ve ever heard of him or not — it’s still true. I believe that a girl who likes movies about zombies is hotter than whoever is on the cover of Maxim this month. I believe that Belloch ate that fly, I swear to God that I heard Luke call Leia “Carrie,” and I believe that Samwise Gamgee never quite got the credit he really deserved. I believe in magic, I believe in dreams, I believe in the power of music, movies, and the untold worlds inside an everyday library card. And I do not believe that geeks will inherit the earth; I believe that we already have.

I know what 90 percent of those things mean, but I only have opinions one way or the other on a few of them. I guess I’m not much of a geek. But I sure love me some “Firefly”!