I’m ready for a little bit more light-hearted chatter around these blog parts. I’m a little overburdened with the serious and the solemn and the politics and the arguing. So I’m going to tell you about my recent forays getting back in touch with my nerdly roots.
So my first adventure was into the realm of the Firefly. I know this is a nerd favorite, and I had never seen it. Netflix has all 14 episodes and the movie that followed, Serenity, available on instant streaming, so I devoted some time in my usual nightly alone TV time to watching it all. I watched it all the way through. I enjoyed it, too – it was engaging and compelling, and most of the actors were better than I expected them to be. Many of them have gone on to more lucrative roles, too – Richard Castle from Castle, John Casey from Chuck, Joan Holloway from Mad Men…there are probably others too, but that’s who I can think of at the moment. The theme song was truly terribly, but the storyline was interesting and a somewhat new concept to me, and it was true science fiction. By that I mean it didn’t just have spaceships and aliens to call itself sci-fi; it had an actual message relevant to our current society told through the medium of what might happen if we keep on our same path. I thought the follow-up movie, Serenity, neatly wrapped up the story and was as fun to watch as the TV show was.
I liked it that much…and I am still baffled by the utter obsession nerds have with this cast of characters. I understand liking it. I even understand wishing it had been longer. But it was a 14-episode show that ended in 2003; Serenity came out 2005. So six years ago, it was all over. And yet there are still blogs and forums and podcasts – ACTIVE ones – devoted to this series. When I was first planning to watch, I really knew nothing about it other than there was a devoted following, it was from Joss Whedon, and it was sci-fi. So I tweeted a question – intended for my friends who had seen the series – asking if the movie or the TV show came first. I had responses from complete strangers within seconds, with “helpful” links for deciphering and discussing everything. These people were trolling Twitter just looking for random mentions of Firefly. WHOA. I’ve never been that obsessed with anything in my life.
Next nerdlet obsession is one I’m just starting with, and that would be Doctor Who. Now, I certainly did not grow up watching the original series; we didn’t even get cable at my house until after it had gone off the air, and even if it had still been on, we didn’t get any BBC channels. There are bajillions of the episodes anyway, so even if they were all available (which they’re not – apparently there are lost episodes), I don’t know if I would have the attention span to watch them all. So I’ve started with the recent series, which began in 2005. I’m only partway through the first season and…it’s a bit cheesy. But a lot of people I know are really, really obsessed, so I’m trying to give it a fair shake. I’m hoping it gets better – less cheese, better production quality – but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.
Certainly these are not the only two shows that have taken possession of the brains of my nerdly friends, but I’ve been watching them recently, so they’re on the brain. I’ve had many shows I like. Two of the best shows ever made were The Wire and Arrested Development. I also have a deep dark secret love of a few terrible TV shows, namely La Femme Nikita (oh yes, the one with Peta Wilson – I know, terrible). But I have never, ever had an obsession with anything the way some folks seem to be obsessed with Firefly and Doctor Who. What is it? What keeps people on discussion forums to talk about a show that was over six years ago or pumped with crazy excitement over the debut of a new season of a very cheeseball British sci-fi show that’s technically nearly 50 years old? Help me to understand, ‘cuz I don’t get it.