It's hard to believe that it's been almost ten years since Joss Whedon's Firefly, the short-lived but much loved show first aired on television. What's even more surprising, though, is the fact that for a 14-episode program, its fan base is still expanding, seemingly growing even more passionate as time passes. There are certainly comparisons to be made to Star Trek, a sci-fi show that suffered from low ratings and network bungling only to grow in popularity until its eventual return (fingers crossed in the case of Firefly).
Even if Firefly never makes it back to television, it still holds a place in my heart and stands, to me, as one of the best productions I've ever had the chance to experience. It has all the elements of a good space opera, but the characters - so real, complex and engrossing - separate this from other properties, science fiction or otherwise. Every episode is just a masterpiece.
2005's Serenity movie, then, was an unexpected and delightful treat to all the fans of the show; even if I'd like to story to continue for years and year, Serenity allowed closure for much of the story. The few comics produced for Dark Horse over the last several years, then, have been almost as satisfying, though none more than Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale, the original graphic novel that's been out for a few months now. The story answers many of the lingering questions about the character Shepherd Book, which is extremely fulfilling, but even more than that, it shows me that Joss Whedon and the production crew are still passionate about the property and still have stories left to tell. If you are a fan of Firefly/Serenity, even if you didn't pick up the previous comics from Dark Horse, this book is an absolute must have.
Serenity, as it turns out, is screened annually in many cities across the country, and 2011 marks the sixth show here in Pittsburgh. On Friday, July 8th the movie will play at the Orpheus Singing Society at 6301 Butler Street in Pittsburgh; there'll be games and prizes given away starting at 4:00, with the movie being shown at 8:00. Tickets are $10 in advance, and here's the best part - all proceeds go to benefit the charity Equality Now, which (as per its website) is "dedicated to action for the civil, political, economic and social rights of girls and women."
I am goin' and I'm really excited! I'll be wearing my Jayne Cobb hat, and I'm sure that about 50 percent of everyone else there will be, too. But I don't care because it's a damn cool hat. And hey, if anyone living near Pittsburgh reading this wants to come, too, even better. I have it on good authority that "Teddy and the Yeti" co-creator Jeff McClelland will be there too, available for pictures, autographs and swift punches to the face, in the event that you hate him.
You can buy tickets in advance and get more info at the official Can't Stop the Serenity Pittsburgh homepage. Hope to see you there! Except for the punching part!