Tag: Firefly

Finally Understanding Star Trek

I like dire fiction.

Battlestar Galactica

Humans driven to near-extinction by their own robotic creations struggling to survive.

The Wire

The War on Drugs in Baltimore, shown equally from the perspectives of the police and the dealers, never depicting either side as overwhelmingly good or evil. It’s just a mess.


Humanity expands to the far reaches of the galaxy, but installs a tyrannical, monolithic government that causes horrible problems for its people.


A pharma-tech company creates a way to program human brains. Terrible, terrible things ensue.


Learning to Love Star Trek

This list could keep going, but the point is that I am typically drawn to dark, gritty, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad-type fiction.

Throughout my decades of love for science fiction and science fantasy, I never enjoyed Star Trek. At different points in my life I thought it was “too cliché,” “too geeky,” “too boring,” or more recently, “I can’t picture actual humans living on the USS Enterprise.”

Too Cliché

Wrong. Most of the stuff I thought was cliché in Star Trek was created by the show.

Too Geeky

No one is perfect. One of my flaws was believing that lines could be drawn, “I may be a geek, but I’m not that big a geek.”

It was dumb, and it took a ton of people recommending the show for me to realize that I should swallow my pride and enjoy it.

Too Boring

It’s true that Star Trek and Star Wars are dramatically different types of stories.

The Enterprise is a research vessel, and most of their conflicts are derived from local planetary politics and scientific discovery. Whereas Star Wars is an epic war story.

But I love politics… So it was enthralling.

“I can’t picture actual humans living on the USS Enterprise”

My crass way of explaining why I couldn’t get into Star Trek was, “I can’t picture anyone taking a dump on the Enterprise. It just doesn’t feel real to me.” I still can’t.

After watching 176 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I finally get it (I got it earlier in the process, I’m just getting around to writing it down).

Star Trek isn’t about the future. It’s about the future that you want. It’s a beautiful future where the sick are easily healed. Where anything you desire exists in abundance. Where people get along with one another regardless of externalities. Where the primary struggle in life is making yourself better as an individual.

It’s a beautiful future, and one that I am happy I experienced.

The Measure of a Man

Season 2, Episode 9 is entitled The Measure of a Man. It features a trial to determine whether the android Commander Data is a sentient being deserving of the same rights as any other citizen.

This is one of the most beautiful hours of television I have ever seen. It’s a masterpiece so fine it made me weep.

Try it. See Star Trek at its best. it’s a hell of a journey.

TGW Review: The Avengers


You know those movies that show all of the best scenes and funniest lines in the trailer? The Avengers is nothing like that.

The Avengers is a funny, action-packed, cohesive love letter to the super hero genre. It also manages to convey a serious sense of danger and urgency, without becoming overwhelmingly dark.

The Basics

Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and Thor must overcome their vast differences and team up to stop Loki and his invading army from conquering the world.

With five years of teasing from Marvel Studios; a huge cast of A-list talent; a collection of characters who shouldn’t be in the same room; and a story too big to tell in a movie, the opportunities for this film to suck were numerous. Fortunately, Joss Whedon & co were up to the challenge.

The Good

Badass Moments All Around!

Every single character has many moments to shine. With a cast this big, it would be easy to push many characters into the scenery. That didn’t happen. I’m hard-pressed to pick a favorite moment because there were so many great moments.

Bringing the Funny

In typical Whedon fashion, this movie is just as humorous as it is intense. In that way it reminds me of my True Lies (one of my all-time favorite action flicks).

Fun with Clichés

One of Whedon’s talents that runs throughout everything he’s ever done is his manipulation of clichés. He is a master of taking what the viewer expects, and then suddenly turning it on its side. Where lesser writers will fallback on “classic” story elements, Whedon works like a magician and always keeps you guessing. That’s one of the things that made Cabin in the Woods (2012) so exceptional.

Nothing is Wasted & Everything is Earned

This story is tight! There’s no fat on it. Every line either establishes a character, or pushes the story forward. Even the post-credit scene is a call-back joke to an earlier line that seemed like an irrelevant throwaway line.


I strongly dislike 3D, but I didn’t mind the 3D in The Avengers. For the most part it added depth like a diorama, instead of flying at the audience like a pop-up book. With the exception of one brief moment, I was cool with the 3D.

Sam Jackson

Mr. Jackson is not known for subtlety. In The Avengers his performance in remarkably understated, and I thought it was exceptional. I’m not sure who made that decision, but whomever made that call deserves a cookie. If I’m remembering correctly, his most badass moment is devoid of dialog (or pretty close to it).

Suspension of Disbelief

The best praise I can give any super hero story (comic, or movie), is that my suspension of disbelief went unbroken throughout. Will that be the case after multiple viewing? I’m not sure. But while I was watching The Avengers, I was completely invested in the story, and it never made me question the narrative.

The Not-So-Good

As much as I loved The Avengers, I do have some minor gripes.

One Big Cliché

I don’t want to give anything away, but there is one big alien movie cliché that Whedon used to wrap up the film, and I found it slightly disappointing… But I also understood why it needed to be that way. I still wish it wasn’t.

3D Serpent Thingie

There was one moment in the third act where the 3D disrupted my viewing experience. That giant metal flying serpent thingie from the trailer flies into the screen (kind of over the camera), and my eyes/ brain were not ok with that at all.

Further Exploring the Idea of Freedom

Early in the film, Loki talks a bit about humans and freedom. It’s a concept that Whedon plays with a lot. In The Avengers, he starts to dig into this idea, but never really does anything with it, other than expand on Loki’s motivation. I think it was a missed opportunity to add extra meaning to the overall story.

The Ugly

Nothing serious to report here…

I Want More!

The DVD is going to have something like 30 minutes of extra footage, and I can’t wait for it.

The Bottom-Line

If you haven’t seen it yet, just go. This is what mainstream comic heroics look like at their very best.

There are two credits scenes.

The mid-credits scene sets up the next film (if you’re interested in who that character is, click here). You have to stay to see this as it explains something that happens in the beginning of the movie.

The post-credits scene isn’t necessary to see, but it is both very funny, and delightfully Whedonesque.

Lastly, if you liked the humor and storytelling in The Avengers, you really ought to watch some of Whedon’s early work. Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible & Dollhouse are exceptional shows that are smart, moving, funny, and very entertaining.

I’m taking a victory lap here because this movie went exactly as I predicted over a year ago: Exceptionally well (and for the same reasons I stated).

(Image via Wikipedia)

Best of The Geek Whisperer (3 Year Blogiversary)

I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for three years (999 posts)! To celebrate, I skimmed through my archive for the first time in three years, and it brought back a lot of memories.

Join me on a brief and mildly narcissistic trip through some of my favorite blogging memories:

  • Arguably my best post, at least from an academic perspective is Wonder Woman: The Super Secret & Kinky Origin of a Feminist Icon. Derived from a portion my undergraduate thesis, this post has been cited in a few academic papers, and according to my web analytics has been frequently referenced on some BDSM discussion boards. I am after-all here to educate and entertain.
  • My most popular single day post dates back to April Fool’s Day 2010. I collaborated with a mystery designer to introduce the world to the iProbe; it’s still my favorite post.
  • In one of TGW’s stranger episodes, guitar legend Peter Frampton stopped by to comment on a post after I berated him for a very disrespectful performance at The Stone Pony.
  • When I first started The Geek Whisperer, I wanted to define the difference between geeks & nerds… But I found the task painfully difficult and subsequently spent two and a half years pondering the question before I wrote Geek vs. Nerd vs. Dork.
  • And last but not least, I was (and still am) cited in a Wikipedia article on Firefly/ Serenity; my favorite scifi universe.

Never forget to practice safe computing.

Arrested Development Returning!

Of the many cancellation atrocities committed by Fox, the termination of Arrested Development is one of the worst (next to Firefly).

After nearly six years off the air, the Bluth family is returning with new television episodes and a movie, with their very specific brand of uncomfortable humor. In doing so Arrested Development will join the ever-growing list of excellent shows that Fox prematurely cancelled, only to bring them back in some form. That list includes:

  • Firefly
  • Futurama
  • Family Guy

“Series star Will Arnett seconded Hurwitz’s pledge on his Twitter feed, @arnettwill, while, er, standing next to co-star Jason Bateman: ‘I’m peeing with @batemanjason at the moment … and we can confirm that we are going to make new AD eps and a movie.'”

Maybe one day we will see new episodes of The Tick, Dollhouse, Human Target & Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles… But I’m not going to hold my breath.

At the moment, Fox isn’t confirming the resurrection of Arrested Development. If this doesn’t happen, I will be pissed.