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Blogger compares Firefly & Serenity with Gilgamesh for a grade

Thursday 13 December 2007, by Webmaster

In a world of cookie-cutter movies, and cliché climaxes, it’s difficult, if at all possible, to do something new and spiffy. But as with anything else, this need had to be filled— and Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) was just the man for the job. Noone else would do; the father of the metrosexual mage and ambiguously homoerotic vampire would refuse to fall back to the old favorites of Black and White, most famously portrayed in the world of science fiction by Lucas’ Star Wars. He would paint Firefly and Serenity with all the shades and colors other directors dared not touch. By showing us that the Good Guy’s aren’t always good, and the Bad Guy’s rarely perform evil for evil’s sake, Whedon’s work takes a fundamentally real feel to it, even if the trappings are fantasy, or science fiction.

Firefly was an American science fiction television series created by Joss Whedon, under his Mutant Enemy Productions. Its naturalistic future setting, modeled after traditional western movie motifs, presents an atypical science fiction backdrop for the narrative.

The series is set in the year 2517, after humans have arrived at a new star system, and follows the adventures of the renegade crew of Serenity, a Firefly-class spaceship. The ensemble cast portrays the nine characters who live on Serenity. Whedon pitched the show as "nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things". The show explores the vicissitudes of people who fought on the losing side of a civil war, as well as the pioneer culture that exists on the fringes of their star system. In addition, it is a future where the only two surviving superpowers, the United States and China, fused to form the central federal government, called the Alliance, resulting in the fusion of the two cultures as well. According to Whedon’s vision, nothing will change in the future: technology will advance, but we will still have the same political, moral, and ethical problems as today.

Firefly premiered in the United States and Canada on the FOX network on September 20, 2002. It was cancelled after only eleven of the fourteen produced episodes were aired. Despite the series’ short life span, it received strong sales when released on DVD, and has impressive fan support campaigns.

They can’t stop the signal, Mal. They can never stop the signal. - Mr. Universe

With Firefly’s unexpected success (even in the face of its apparent failure), Whedon was given a second chance. He had to deliver his message in one final blow; even in the deepest recesses of our mind, even in the furthest reaches of space, people will not change. There are no ‘easy answers’ today, and there never will be. How to best stress this concept, though, an idea that (despite it’s omnipresence in people since the dawn of time) was nigh impossible to communicate? With the carefully engineered use of subtle cliché’s— in all the wrong places —and the most relied-upon plot since its inception, more than a millennia in the past: Gilgamesh.

The story of Gilgamesh is a recognizable one, if only for its overshadowing, almost archetypal omnipresence in today’s stories, ranging from the banal and trite to the epic and amazing. The story starts with an introduction of Gilgamesh of Uruk, the greatest king on earth, two-thirds god and one-third human, as the strongest King-God who ever existed. The introduction describes his glory and praises the city walls of Uruk. Gilgamesh’s people, however, are not happy. They complain that he is too harsh, and abuses his power by sleeping with women before their husbands do. The goddess of creation, Aruru, hears their pleas, and creates the wild-man Enkidu. After Enkidu bothers the shepherds, Gilgamesh ‘tames’ the man— the two soon become inseparable friends.

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