Saw Serenity with Gwen yesterday. I’m a fan of the original TV series “Firefly” (though I only became one after it was cancelled), so it’s impossible for me to know how the movie plays to a newcomer audience. It’s also impossible for me to discuss the movie without spoilers, so this will continue after the jump

Making a movie that will please both die-hard fans and newcomers is a tightrope act. I think the crew did a good job, filling in just enough backstory to get newcomers up to speed, while building on the original series in ways that will be interesting to fans. The movie does not rehash the series, although in several places it obliquely quotes the series: the Operative seems like an alternate version of Jubal Early from Objects in Space; the knife/swordfight evokes the swordfight in Shindig. And so on. Nice touch.

The movie was unquestionably more cinematic than the TV series: in terms of everything from camera angles to the scope of the plot. In general, this is a good thing–if you’re making a movie, it should feel like a movie, not a TV show with an outsize budget. In one respect, though, it is regrettable. Serenity is much more action-oriented than the series, which was more character- and dialog-oriented. And while the action sequences are well-done–and sometimes agonizing to watch–it’s the characters that drew in Firefly fans in the first place, and what we naturally want to see more of in the movies.

One thing is certain about Joss Whedon: he must hate the reset button. And in this movie, some characters genuinely make progress, and other ones genuinely die. Joss Whedon isn’t afraid to piss off his fans, either. He had to fucking kill Wash?!? 渾蛋.