My Own Kind of Freedom

Steven Brust wrote an entire Firefly novel to tie in with the film Serenity. The bad news is that he wrote it on spec and they decided not to do any Firefly novels. The good news is that he’s released it online under a creative commons licence. You can download it here.

I had no intention of reading it right now and I’m a bit ambivalent about reading novels on a computer screen, but having got sucked into the prologue I think he’s captured the feel and voices of the series extremely well. I’m intrigued.

(I’ve never read any of Brust’s novels but Janet’s read quite a few and is a big fan of To Reign in Hell in particular.)


I’m not normally one for fan-made videos setting TV clips to music but this one of Firefly/Serenity to the music of Wicked has Joss Whedonian and Tim Minearian endorsement, so I went to look. It’s extremely well done.

< insert obligatory *sob* for Firefly here >

While I’m here, the 2007 in Review piece in Strange Horizons has a very small contribution by yours truly, in which I inexplicably can’t find anything better on TV last year than Doctor Who. Three times in a row. It’s just wrong. Fortunately everyone else is very erudite and reads books and stuff. Also pikelet is insane but you knew that.

Of course The Wire is far better than any SF-related TV currently airing but that doesn’t count for Strange Horizons. My Season 4 DVD arrived today, and Season 5 has just started in the US. It’s just so very satisfying, layered and intelligent and you should all be watching it but will you lot listen? *Will you*?

In lieu of any other good TV and with anyone who could potentially write some being on strike, we’ve resorted to DVDs. We’ve been hugely enjoying Cracker on DVD, a series we missed in its entirety when it was on TV. Robbie Coltrane is fantastic, and the writing is incredibly sharp, with a real interest in psychology and themes rather than just the surface process of investigation. This definitely puts it a notch above most other ostensibly ‘crime’ related television which seems more formulaic with each passing year. We’ve only the final one-off special and the more recent Cracker reunion TV movie to go.

We’ve also been bingeing on old Doctor Who. The Time Warrior is splendid, and gives me my fix of Sontarans in a way that The Sontaran Experiment just didn’t accomplish. The Claws of Axos is, sadly, complete rubbish despite featuring some iconic images that have stuck with me since childhood. In contrast, Tom Baker’s debut story Robot is great. Yes, even the rubbish FX are great. All of this has made me so nostalgic that I’ve rashly ordered the Beneath the Surface box set, despite it having the really terrible Warriors of the Deep in it.


Some sparkly things that have captured my ever-drifting attention:

Everbody’s favourite transporter chief1, Colm Meaney, says he’s filmed the pilot episode of David E Kelley’s U.S. version of Life on Mars. He’s in the Gene Hunt role. I’m extremely interested to see what it’s like. The original BBC show, especially the first series, was excellent but there’s room for a different take on the concept. Relocating it to LA could just be enough of a difference.

Ben Goldacre’s seminal explanation in The Guardian of why homeopathy doesn’t make sense (it’s really good–read it) has won high praise from James Randi. Which is nice.

Galactica showrunner (and Trek alumnus) Ronald D Moore has a shiny new blog replacing his moribund one on the Sci-Fi Channel site. At present there are musings about Galactica and the Writer’s Guild of America strike.

Speaking of the shiny, in the wake of the terrifying number of Trek fan series underway on the internet, there’s now a Firefly fan series named Into the Black in production. As with most things in modern fandom, the production values are surprisingly decent. The cast… not so much. At least, not if the YouTube trailer is anything to go by. Also the song is quite scary.

Lastly, for the woman who has everything except a talking Stephen Fry clock: a talking Stephen Fry clock. Cool, but not quite as cool as Lego Batman: The Videogame.

1 Unless you favour Mr Kyle but, really, how geeky would that be?

Pretty pretty

Not much happening here lately except work, work and work, not necessarily in that order. There’s nothing much to say, therefore, so in the meantime, as Tony Hart used to say, let’s take a look at the gallery.

An ILM employee is making a CGI short film of an Arthur C Clarke short story as a side project. Looks interesting.

I was also browsing for the pretteh the other day and happened across the forums of the CG Society where the cream of the CGI images are displayed. There are some truly stunning works to be found here, ranging from the nearly photo real (that second one–seriously?) to space opera that wouldn’t disgrace a book cover, and the wildly imaginative. Worth a browse.

Lastly there’s some official Firefly CGI work here.

Everything old is new again

Lots of snippets of news from the New York Comic Con. The B5 Direct-to-DVD release is proceeding apace and may be slated for a July release. Now it turns out that we may also be getting some Direct-to-DVD side-stories from Battlestar Galactica. Maybe they figured they had so many vital bits of plot left over from the actual episodes that they’d cobble together a movie from the missing scenes. Cough.

Meanwhile we’re getting another Serenity comic from Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews, again set between the series and the film. The first one was okay, I guess, but not quite the same as watching more Firefly proper.

And lastly, Paramount has finally confirmed that a new Star Trek prequel movie has been officially greenlit, with JJ Abrams (Alias, M:I3) at the helm. It’s clearly way too soon to resurrect Trek, but if they’re going to insist then a brand new set of writers and actors milking nostalgia in a fresh way is probably the best bet. More bizarrely, silly casting rumours abound. How about Matt Damon as Kirk (Hmmm), Adrian Brody as Spock (Hmmmmm) and Gary Sinise as McCoy (Genius!)

The Idiot’s Lantern

Studio 60 near cancellation. Sorkin’s frustratingly misfiring series is seeing a massive ratings drop-off from Heroes, and looks to be not long for this world. As the article says: “There’s nothing wrong with the acting, directing, or dialogue writing. But the premise is faulty. No one cares whether a bunch of over caffeinated, well off yuppies, some with expensive drug habits, put on a weekly comedy sketch show from Los Angeles.” Disappointing, but true.

Spoilers for Heroes Episodes 1 to 5

On being a sucker

Much as I hate to be sold the same thing twice, so far all the evidence shows that I’m a complete sucker when it comes to reissued DVDs. It’s particularly difficult when the temptation is more than any mortal could resist. For example, the Firefly TV Series being remastered in High-Definition. Sob.

Of course, there’s the small matter of not owning an HD-Ready TV or DVD player, but these are mere trifles. It will be mine. Oh yes.

What’s heartening is that there’s felt to be market for this kind of thing. It looks like the remastering is for a TV airing initially, but no doubt the DVD will follow. It’s easy to imagine some of the older shows that were shot on film, such as the original Trek, being remastered and reissued on DVD in similar quality. Where we’ll lose out is with the generation of shows that were shot and edited on videotape, where the potential for seeing them in high quality doesn’t really exist (barring the invention of CSI-like levels of image enhancement technology.) So ironically we may well end up with classic older series being more future-proof than TV of the late 80s and 1990s, including the later iterations of Star Trek. (If memory serves, TNG was shot on film but transferred to video for the effects work).


It has Whedon. It has Joss. It has Interview. It’s a Joss Whedon interview.

Yes, another one. This time being interviewed by fellow comics scribe Brian Michael Bendis. Less insanity and more content than usual, with a slant towards comics which may fly over some people’s heads, but also plenty of Buffy and Firefly stuff and the revelation that he loved the Battlestar Galactica miniseries.

Take me out to the Black, and shoot me

Oh my god. I’m older than Nathan Fillion. I’m not sure why this upsets me, but it does.

In other news, I’m not Tony Blair’s biggest fan but surely this is a complete non-story. It’s been all over News 24 today. It seems to me like a classic example of the press arbitrarily deciding that something trivial is ‘news’ simply because it’s pure pundit fodder.

Captain, there’s a cascade failure in the antimatter injectors

This subspace hyperdrive theory reported in New Scientist is clearly bollocks. Right?

More plausibly, Deadwood may get a fourth season before the third has even aired. One of the few times a renewal causes more swearing than a cancellation.

EDIT: The Screen Actors Guild have their own awards and they’ve nominated Ian McShane in the “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series” category. Other nominees include Alan Alda, Hugh Laurie and Kiefer Sutherland. All the nominations are here.

And Universal will be releasing a High-Definition DVD version of Serenity.

Keep taking the tablets

An interview with Joss Whedon about the usual: Serenity, Wonder Woman, Spike and Buffy comics. He seems to have taken his medication for this one.

Which is more than can be said for this one, as Joss prognosticates hilariously about what TV will be like in the future.

And this one, in which he’s clearly lost it entirely as he mourns the passing of the Universal Serenity message board.

Meanwhile this 2004-ish interview with David Fury talks at some length about the end of Buffy and Angel.1

1I found this one during a deeply unwise low-level fly-by of umtbvs. I’ve learned my lesson, and will henceforth leave the trolls to simmer gently in their own juices, icundell excepted of course. 🙂

The Joss

An incredibly hyper Joss Whedon post is here. Some good stuff about a Buffy comic and the Serenity DVD, but mainly it made me laugh lots. He so crazy.

Sample quote:

Well, first of all, what a blast I’ve had with the release of Serenity! $267 million at the box office — in Des Moines alone! Ten sequels lined up, March declared “National Serenity Awesomeness Month”, Nathan made President for Life of Canada AND Greece (his will be a bloody and righteous rule), and Summer’s feet to be exhibited at the Tate, when she has time to stand around at the Tate. (She should bring a book.)

In Which I Spam You

Joss Whedon’s letter to Angel fans from the DVD box-set, for those like me that don’t own it but want to know what he said anyway.

Meanwhile Serenity (remember that old thing?) continues to creep towards earning back its budget. Which still puts it miles away from recouping all its costs, but still…. And 26% of its box office came from overseas, most of which was personally accounted for by my friends list.

Two films that I had no interest in seeing until recently, but which the trailers have successfully turned me around on:

An “inside look” at King Kong featuring some interview footage of a Peter Jackson who has lost an incredible amount of weight but failed to have his hair trimmed accordingly, resulting in an appearance which I can only describe as a disturbingly insane gnome. More importantly there’s plenty of Giant T-Rex on Giant Ape action. The wisest decision they ever made was setting ths remake back in the 1930s, an era when (my brain insists) they really did have spooky jungle islands filled with dinosaurs.

And The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of books that never agreed with me, but which the trailer cannily paints as a mixture of Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings to fairly spectacular effect. In a brave casting decision it features Liam “Wise Old Mentor” Neeson as a wise old talking lion.

Lastly, but not leastly, and certainly most randomly, an interesting optical illusion involving spinning lights that will almost certainly not make you go blind, but I’m taking no legal responsibility just in case. Fear my spam!

All Whedon all the time

Drooling Firefly fanboy (and grrl) linkage:

A Firefly soundtrack album is available to buy online, but only to download.

There’s a decent and lengthy Joss Whedon interview here, but if you haven’t seen Serenity yet I’d steer clear as there are some big read-between-the-lines spoilers.

There’s a nifty and lengthy conversation with both Joss Wedon (sic) and Neil Gaiman here. Spoiler free banter ensues.

And finally, one Mr Joss Whedon Esq. has posted on the official Serenity message board ahead of the official US release date on Friday, and I’m too lazy to register and read it but luckily someone has quoted it here.


A couple of things someone left carelessly lying around the internet where anyone could step on them:

A dog ate the just completed Iraqi constitution reveals author Peter David.

Coalescent not asked to do commentary track on Doctor Who box set. Paul Cornell celebrates.

Lastly, Serenity now has a (seemingly unofficial) podcast of interviews and other material, which I haven’t sampled.

Me again

There is a really deeply spiffy interview with Joss Whedon here which is worth your time. Lots of in depth discussion about his contribution to films in general, including Toy Story, Speed, Wonder Woman and of course Serenity, with no significant spoilers that I’ve noticed.

EDIT: …and Batman, and Global Frequency, and Iron Man, and Powers, and….

EDIT 2: …and House, and Veronica Mars… phew! Long interview.

The people history stepped on

The official poster for Serenity is out and… I’m just not sure about it.

Beautiful woman with f***-off big gun, cool spaceship, broody hero. Tick, tick, tick. It’s just not exciting me in the way that (let’s face it) more or less everything about the movie has done to date. There’s nothing about it that makes it stand out, and with that grainy shot of Mal it looks worryingly like a straight-to-video DVD cover, albeit a reasonably up-market one.

EDIT: the closer you get to it, the better it looks, but still…

Mutant Enemies

There’s a brief, but interesting, Joss Whedon interview up on Part one focuses on Serenity (in a non-spoilery way.)

Part One – Serenity
Part Two – Buffy and Angel
Part Three – er, Shaun of the Dead

Nothing too revelatory, but worth a look.

There’s also a brief-but-interesting walk and talk interview with Tim Minear about his new show The Inside, which manages to make me quite excited about it without revealing anything whatsoever about it. I’m easily led, that way.

EDIT: Continuing the “people who make TV” theme, Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica blog currently has a Q&A on various aspects of the show’s first season. Towards the end he touches on the moral and political aspects including Adama’s behaviour in the first season tribunal episode, which pleases me because he’s clearly aware of the issues at play.

Angels in the Architecture

Cinescape Online have a more concrete rumour than usual, in the form of an inside scoop that WB wants more Angel in some form or other, despite most of the cast and writers being off doing other things.

Hmmm… If they wanted more Angel maybe they should have thought about that when they were pulling the rug out from under it last year. As it stands I feel quite ambivalent about the idea. After all, the show finished on a high note (IMO) and any attempt to continue it risks completely undermining the finale.

Maybe spin off TV Movies could work, especially if they were broader Buffyverse ones and not just direct Angel continuations. And as long as they didn’t get in the way of the most important thing anyone could possibly be doing for Society right now, which is MAKING MORE FIREFLY. 😉