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"One of my imprints was an Eagle Scout. Another one was a sailor. There's a dirty joke in there somewhere."
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March 31 2008

Jane Espenson on Firefly/Battlestar differences. She explains the differences between the two shows over at

Will have to wait till I get home after work to read this, but let me take a wild guess right now...

One is funny, the other is not? [/snark] ;)

[ edited by Haunt on 2008-03-31 18:41 ]
It's pretty obvious that Firefly stole the girl-in-a-box storyline from Battlestar.
Does evolution think about a deer while it's making a llama?

Hmmmm, interesting, so FF is a llama and BSG is a deer. It all makes sense now.
I have never compared these two shows, while I love them both ardently. They are so different from one another, and I think Jane is right. The humor is what makes the difference. The humor in BSG is, indeed, very dark.

While both shows have wonderful characters and good development, I think that the only real comparison (IMHO) is that they are set in outer space. And the creators are high-larious!! That being said, I can not wait for Friday!!!!
It's interesting to see how perspectives differ. The interviewer seems to consider Firefly "gritty" and "less heroic" in tone, when I see it as exactly the opposite of both of those (unless "gritty" suddenly means puttering about in a tumbledown freighter, in which case suddenly Star Wars is "gritty" for having Han and the Falcon ... or "gritty" means showing a galaxy that's worn and faded with peeling paint and rusty metal ... in which case Star Wars is once again "gritty" all of a sudden) ...

I guess it has a less-heroic tone if you consider Jayne Cobb the main character ... (and there are days when I guess I do!) ... But Mal Reynolds is 100% hero, even if he 95% denies it and 50% tries to bury it :) To the extent that characters like Mal and Kaylee and Wash and the Doc and Book set the tone (while Jayne provides more of a counterpoint) I see Firefly's tone as overtly heroic in a very celebratory way.

That aside: groovy interview, Espenson rocks, and I don't want a Cylon bible, but I -do- want the Life-on-Galactica document ..

[ edited by Ghalev on 2008-03-31 21:29 ]
Her explaination about how the different members of the same model share memories is really interesting.
The interviewer seems to consider Firefly "gritty" and "less heroic" in tone, when I see it as exactly the opposite of both of those [...] But Mal Reynolds is 100% hero

Well, he does have a tendency to shoot unarmed people.

But yeah, I never really saw much comparison between the shows, besides the fact that they were set in space, and they were awesome.

Although, as a sidenote, coming off Firefly and watching the BSG miniseries, I was momentarily pulled out of the action when you saw the shuttle approach the Armistice Station, and suddenly you heard the jets adjusting the trajectory. After having gotten used to the silence of space in Firefly, that just seemed so... wrong.

Of course, this lasted all of two seconds before I was drawn back in, and it's not something I ever think about now when I watch BSG. By the way... Only a couple of days till Friday! Cannot. Friggin'. WAIT.
Girl in a Box is all about OUTLAW STAR for me.
Anyways...I really have been wondering about that last question that was asked in that interview. Its good to get an answer.
I'm also glad to have that memory question answered. I've wondered about that. And I would love to see the Cylon bible.

As for comparing the two shows--never occurred to me. But I don't think it's only the humor and the episodic-ness that make them feel different. I love watching the characters on BSG, but I don't love the characters--not like I do Mal & crew.
The llama returns!
Those bastards are like cockroaches, they'll be here when we (and Deer) have all snuffed it ;).

'Firefly' shows a dirty, dangerous, hard-scrabble future with a huge gap between the haves and have nots, sounds pretty gritty to me.

And Mal definitely had what you might call a "pragmatic" approach to morality - he pushed a helpless man into an engine, stole from folk that, as far as we knew, had done nothing wrong and shot unarmed people when it made sense, in his view, to do so. I don't think i'd say he was 100% hero, he was too human for that (though I would say he was basically a good man - well, he was alright ;).

So it's nothing like as dark as BSG (probably at least partly because it was a network show) and it has a lot more humour (sorry, I don't care how dark BSG's humour is, 'Firefly' had more in 14 episodes than we've seen in BSG's 50-60) but it had its share of grit and in some ways i'd even say BSG is more about hope - even the brittle, manufactured kind - whereas 'Firefly' was about how you continue without any ("Yeah, we win").
Saje, as I said, it's interesting (and I mean that sincerely, not in an ironic way) to see how perspectives differ.
I enjoyed this interview - well, I always enjoy Jane, and llamas - and the only thing missing for me was a pie spoiler. And yeah, this rang so true:

"Both shows reflect the souls of their creators and not each other."

Any similarities in the two shows have always seemed to me to be beliefs and tastes that Joss and Ron happen to share, and would naturally be expressed in their creations (or be a case like Zoic for special effects, whom/which they literally share.) I did always notice the musical similarities, and a few other things, but it never seemed to me that the shows were reflecting each other, 'zackly, more like Ron and Joss were just alike in some important ways, and bound to hit it off...

Le Bible de Cylones and Life on Ye Olde Galactica would be great to read after the series is finally - and sadly - over. I await the beginning of season four with bated breath, trepidation and much love in my heart...

ET: fix typo...

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-04-01 01:19 ]

You're welcome, QG ;)
When I saw the name of the link, I wondered how long the linked story would be - given that the two shows have almost nothing in common. Of course, the article might have also just been Jane saying "They have nothing in common"... which she basically did say.

But, of course, you can see a Firefly class ship in the BSG Mini-Series. So that's something.

[ edited by crossoverman on 2008-04-01 01:06 ]
Maybe I'm dreaming, but I thought Ron Moore said early on that he'd seen Firefly and admired the camera work and the effects?
jcs, I'm with you in that assessment. I'd say I'm more interested in the events happening in BSG. Will these guys (human race) make it against these guys (cylons). I'm reading Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat!" and he makes a point concerning James Bond that I think is quite fitting: "What makes James Bond a super spy isn't the gadgets or the girls or the car. What makes him James Bond is Goldfinger, Blofeld, and Dr. No." In this vein I think part of what makes BSG so compelling is the antagonists are spectacular! And this elevates the heroes that face them. The BSG journey is grand and epic.

While Firefly features The Alliance as the Big Bad it feels, to me, like Life Itself is also part of the Big Bad in Firefly. To be certain, the same can be said of BSG - for merely remaining alive is a chore...but this is tied directly to the strength of BSG's antagonist. It feels like Firefly deals with issues more closely related to trials and tribulations I face everyday, though writ large of course. It's like Firefly has two Big Bads: The Alliance and Life. Both, in the words of Walter Sobchak, "Are worthy f'n adversaries!"

So while Firefly and BSG both have compelling Big Bads, I think it’s the scale of the predicament that really starts to differentiate these two excellent stories. The nature of the Big Bads in Firefly I think lends itself to a style of storytelling I find more enthralling: authentic characters tackling authentic issues. This supposition shouldn’t be taken too rigidly; for both stories are equally un-authentic under a pedant’s cross-examination. Or, conversely, both are equally authentic if it’s true the root of good stories are embedded in the metaphor-stripped soil of our reality, our experience.

Whatever the reason ultimately is, I am more enthralled with the characters of Firefly than I am those of BSG. This isn’t a slight on BSG’s characters, they’re fantastic; most especially, for me, Dr. Baltar of season one. Yet I’m not, how to say it, ”attached”, I guess is an okay word, to him like I am with any single member of the Firefly crew. He’s a great character but he’s not a friend. I don’t really know him because he’s removed from me in some minor way the Firefly crew isn’t.

And when it comes right down to it, I’ve bought into and am sold on the notion that great stories are those involving characters we want to be with as they go through their struggles. Firefly edges BSG simply because I care more for and want to spend more time with her characters. Obviously BSG’s characters are great because I like the story so much but it ain’t no Firefly.

This summary is probably not gonna “nail” it but here it goes anyway: BSG will be more appealing to viewers who want to experience an epic tale with great characters and Firefly will be more appealing to viewers who want to experience truly excellent characters tackling less epic “realities” of life. This is not like deciding which rock you want to get hit in the head with, not like picking a political candidate to back, both of these story styles are completely enjoyable and I’m solidly, rather than phantasmally, a fan of both. But the edge goes to Firefly.
First-class analysis, Rhaegar, which manages to capture most of my own feelings about the shows.

And bonus points for the Sobchak quote.
Yep, nice analysis. To be honest RhaegarTargaryen, I suspect a lot of what you're saying boils down to the fact that the characters on BSG just aren't as likeable and that's one of the things I really love about it (just to be clear, choosing between BSG and 'Firefly' would be like choosing my favourite arm in the certain knowledge that the other was being lopped off ;).

Apollo can be smug and self-righteous, likewise Roslin, Starbuck is incredibly selfish and screwed up but unable or even unwilling to help herself, Adama can be autocratic and overbearing, Baltar is a magnificently tragic loser - sort of BSG's Wesley in some ways. Every one of them has been nasty or petty or weak or cowardly in different ways at different times and that, to me, rocks because it's true, they're "real".

When I first saw 'Serenity Pts I and II' I thought Mal might actually be kind of a wanker in a lot of ways and that was really interesting to me, to see a show's main character be someone that has qualities you can't stand but do anyway - that to me, is more akin to true friendship. Might be wrong but comments Joss has made suggest that the network kept pushing for him to be funnier and generally lighter and I think that's a shame (or would be, if we hadn't seen a lot of Dark Mal in 'Serenity').

People have talked about how unrelentingly dark BSG is but the thing is, life is dark, if you stop and look at it for too long (even without being on the brink of extinction ;) but it's still worth being involved in and to me BSG has always been more about the single ray of sunshine on a cloudy day (the Chief's ship or '33' where they first do the head count and Roslin/Apollo/Starbuck have been forced to destroy the civvy ship and people are still dying and there only seems to be darkness and pain and a slow dwindling death ahead and then, at the end of the episode, we see the number go up by one when a new life arrives - on one hand the notion of people being numbers that can be wiped off a board is horrible, on the other the metaphor is perfect and wonderful. None of us are written in permanent marker, y'know ? ;). Moments like those make me wonder if the "doom and gloom, it's all bleak" crowd and I are watching the same show.
*shivers* 33 is one of my all time favorite episodes Saje !! Precisely for all of the reasons you stated. I agree, I think that yes, BSG is "dark" but it is appropriately so. I think that a musical episode in the middle of genocide would be.. um...unsettling.. ;)

I love seeing the journey the characters are on, how the Adams went from not even looking at each other, to hugging, to not even looking at each other..

It also makes me wonder (read: ache for) what we could have seen if Fox did not have their heads rooted so firmly up their... behinds. Because you know that Joss would have given us as much as Moore and Eick have. Possibly more..
Saje and Rhaegar, thanks. I think Firefly shows us a universe crowded with characters and subcultures pursuing their own interests; BSG follows a single epic conflict across many backgrounds. They're both great, but my heart is/was with Firefly and its band of brothers/sisters. In scripting, "Out of Gas" may be the single best episode of anything, anywhere, anytime.

And dreamlogic, I'm sure Ron Moore said that about admiring the FX on Firefly, I remember it too.
Okay, while I have no interest in being a member of Inarra's profession, can I say how jealous I am that she gets to wear clothes like that for work.
Barboo, I'm watching Firefly with a friend recovering from chemo. My friend is a quilter, and we often look at Inara and her shuttle and coo, "Wow, look at that fabric!"

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