13 October 2009

The Best TV Show Ever Made - Part 1

I am MAD !

No not the normal mad that you will already associate me with, no I’m mad about something particular. It’s something that I’ve been unhappy, dismayed and darn right let down by for some time, but something that had been filed in the "forget it and move on" folder in my brain. But it all came back boiling to a head this morning.

The one thing the I hate… ok one of the things that I hate (for there are many), is television. Almost all television is complete and utter brain rotting poison, created and controlled by evil bastards to be the opium of the masses, a government sponsored mind control device, used to suppress free thought and individuality, to coerce and cajole us all into maintaining the status quo of consumerism and capitalism at the expense of all other considerations… wow… went off on a bit of a hardcore rant there didn’t I … another blog on this later methinks, but let’s get back to my original point.

Now don’t get me wrong not ALL television is bad, just a very, Very, VERY large proportion of it.

But there are a few little gems out there, the occasional TV show that proves to have a little more to offer than the average viewer (drones) deserve or can in fact probably even understand. And I guess that this is probably why sometimes shows don't survive.

I’ve been known to get fixated on shows when I find something that I like and to be honest there have been some very good efforts of late. The Sopranos, Lost, 24 (series 1 only) and some others more in the “also ran” stakes but still pretty damn fine watching.

However there is one show, one fantastic, beautiful, glorious show, that is at the core of my rant today or more correctly it is what happened to this show that is at the core of my rant.

But first let me tell you a little background about how I got into viewing this particular piece of televisual artwork (and when I say artwork I really mean it).

Some time back (a few years back in fact) a friend of mine (God bless you Richard) insisted that I borrow his DVD boxed set of this particular TV show under the recommendation that it was “The Best TV Show Ever Made”. Now I generally don’t take other people's opinions on TV shows too seriously. But I took the DVDs with the almost ridiculous recommendation (filed under IGNORE ridiculous recommendation) and one evening I sat down and as there was nothing else of interest on TV (big surprise) I decided to watch the DVDs.

Well I must admit that for the first two or three episode I couldn’t see what he was talking about, I mean yeah the show was quite good and the concepts were interesting but “The Best TV Show Ever Made” seemed like a long way off.

But then over the following nights I found myself sitting down for another couple of episodes and another and it wasn’t long before I started to see where he was coming from with his high praise. This show had depth, and I don’t mean obvious depth, but hidden depth. There was something going on in this show below the surface that was (or should I say “is”) missing from almost all other TV shows I’ve ever seen.

And then it dawned on me… one of the other things that my friend had said about the show was that it had been cancelled! And once you’ve seen this show and once you’ve started to see the mettle it has hidden under its (brown) coat, you will understand the desperation and sadness that follows the realisation that when you get to the end of the DVDs… there is no more. The anger, disappointment and general malaise will sink into your soul as it did with mine and everyone I know who has seen the show in its true light, feels the same. It’s a terrible experience and I’m almost loath to inflict it upon you, but it has to be endured if your curiosity about the show takes you down the viewing path. Sorry.

I guess you are probably straining at the bit now, desperate to know what this gem of a show is, what could possibly be so good that at least two (and I’m sure there are thousands of others) relatively intelligent, media wise, creative folk could stand up and with hand on heart declare that it is “The Best TV Show Ever Made”.

Well ok I’ll tell you. The show in question is Firefly. Yes that’s right Joss Whedon’s Firefly. You may even have seen an episode or two in passing as you flick through the channels. You may have even watched it a couple of times. But that is not enough. To understand what the hell I’m talking about you need to immerse yourself in the entire show series.

Now this is an interesting point I’d like to get cleared up. A lot of people who praise Firefly fall into a particular category of people I like to think of as just a little bit… how can I put this …knobby! They are the “Buffy Fans” (no real offence meant Buffy fans). They can be a bit on the hardcore side and as both shows come from the same creator it is understandable (if a little annoying to Firefly fans who are not into Buffy) that there are an absolute bunch of cross over fans. But I’d just like to make it perfectly clear that I am not one of “them”. Buffy is a show that I never ever “got”. And it must be said that an awful lot of Firefly fans are Buffy fans and this is a shame. Because devoted TV show fans like Buffy fans or Treckies or whatever, are always going to put some people off a show, sorry guys but you are. Personally I’ve got nothing against you or even Buffy (thinks of another blog topic)… I just don’t get it the same way you do.

Anyway I seem to have gotten off thread somewhat and I’d better be getting back to the point.

This morning I started listening to the soundtrack album of the Firefly TV series, and before you start pointing at me a going GEEK I downloaded it after I stumbled across it by accident, it wasn’t something I actively went searching for or anything. Anyway I started listening to it as I walked to the train station and all of my annoyance came rushing back, I’ll admit it’s been a while since I even thought of the show and I was a little surprised to start feeling pissed off about it’s cancellation again after such a long time.

But then I realised something that I’d never thought of before and it was one of those hidden depths that I was talking about in the show. It seemed to me that there is in the show a hint about its own demise. I won’t go into details cos I don’t want to spoil the show for those of you who’ve not seen it yet. I’ll let you work it out yourself (it’s probably the best way to come to an epiphany anyhow). And so now I’m walking around (or sitting around) feeling all agitated and annoyed about the end of Firefly again. And I think that I always will. I think that once you’ve been through this particular experience, you’ll have it locked away in the back of your brain forever and every now and again it’ll just pop out and go “hey you remember Firefly don’t ya” and then you’ll be all pissed off again that it is no more firefly to be had, all afresh.

Go out and buy the Firefly DVD boxed set. Beg, steal or borrow it if you must, but get it.

It doesn't matter if you’ve seen the show on TV before, go and get the DVD set anyway. You have to watch them all and you have to watch them in the right order, that is really important and something the TV networks seem to completely ignore.

Get it and watch it. I guarantee that you'll fall in love with at least one of the characters and almost certainly the whole lot. Get it and watch it… and make time to watch it, don't just fling it on while you're doing the housework for background viewing. Get a bottle of wine or a few beers and some snacks. Make an evening of it, cos you won't be able to just watch one episode, you'll end up watching two or three at a time just like I did.

…a wise man once told me “Firefly is The Best TV Show Ever Made”

…and you know what… he was right… it really is.

To be continued.