Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Serenity: Those Left Behind, Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad

Serenity: Those Left Behind
Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad

Get out your email clients and send me all the "you're a total fanboy" messages you want, but I will contend it isn't entirely true. Yes, I like Firefly and Serenity, and yes I've purchased some of the related extra material available. But that doesn't make me a total dweeb. Or so I will continue to claim.

Here's a way to divide people into four groups:
  1. People who don't know about Firefly and Serenity. If you're a part of this group and like science fiction at all, you owe it to yourself to borrow or Netflix the Firefly and Serenity DVDs (in that order) and catch up.
  2. People who don't 't like Firefly and Serenity. I can't help you. Sorry.
  3. People who caught on early and saw Firefly when it was being broadcast.
  4. People (like me) who found out about these things too late, when the show had been canceled. In my case it was even after the movie had come and gone. But I live under a very large rock that keeps out most of the popular media.
If you were in group 3 and never saw the DVD release of the TV show for some reason, you might have seen the movie and said something like: "Wait a minute. Why are Inara and Book not on the crew anymore? What happened to them?"

Those of you who've seen the DVDs of Firefly will know the beginning of the answer to that question, but not all of it. This short, graphic novel provides more of the answer, and goes beyond that to introduce the opponent that features so strongly in the movie Serenity.

It amounts to another episode of Firefly in comic book form. And it's nice, with good art and a typical story line that could never have happened in Star Trek. We see Badger again, and former agent Dobson. (Yes, I thought he was dead too. Apparently not, as you'll see if you read it.)

If I have a gripe it's that there's not enough here. I can't compare this format to a TV script, so I don't know if what's here could have made another hour long episode of the show, but it's probably close. And that's part of what made Firefly so much fun. It's well written and believable (within the world it creates), so an episode never lasts long enough. I always finish an episode wanting more. (I feel the same way about Red Dwarf and Monty Python's Flying Circus, by the way.)

I won't call this great literature. It's science fiction, and it's fun, but it's not likely to change someone's life in any particularly critical way. If the genre appeals to you, particularly if you've seen the TV show or the movie and wanted more, then this book needs to get added to your collection. It won't end world hunger. It won't even explain all the loose ends in the series, but it will give you another dose of Firefly and that's a good thing.