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May 07 2008

Bring your kid up on Firefly! io9 holds a poll asking "What's the best show to get your kid hooked on?" - Firefly is one of the options.

Nothing says "kid friendly" like people getting shot in the face, space hookers, and torture!

I think it was a mature show that had a good moral core, but I'm not about to let my 6 year-old watch it, heh.
Maybe not a 6-year old, but with today's fare, just a little older than that IMHO is ideal if you want them to start being exposed at an early age to intelligent art. I can't think of a better Firefly episode to expose a young thinker to than Jaynestown - or Ariel for that matter. The interactions between Mal and Jayne in both those episodes are priceless.
I loves me some Firefly, but my vote went to Doctor Who. Graphic content aside, the most interesting and humorous storylines would go over most kids heads, I think. DW is a little more accessible.
Oh I agree, shicks. It depends on the age of the kid. I will say that my kid loved watching the trailers for Serenity on my computer when he was just three, and he wanted to be Mal because Mal could fly a space ship. But that's all he'll see of the 'verse until he's a bit older.
I voted for Doctor Who as well, as that's actually appropriate for children.
Someone in the comments added The Tick, and I'm so inclined to agree with them. And hey, Ben Endlund - Firefly/Angel/Point Pleasant Whedon'verse crossover.
Oh, my kid LOVES Doctor Who. And I bet he'd love The Tick as well. I should find that for him as I'm raising him in the Geek faith.

Oh and QuoterGal, no worries on the email thingy. I know you'll get to it when you can.

[ edited by Dizzy on 2008-05-07 20:53 ]
I totally agree with you, Diz. I let my 6 year-old watch some of the spaceship stuff in Firefly and Serenity too, but it's going to be a little while before he gets to enjoy the whole kit-and-caboodle. But my threshhold for that is still pretty low, being the one in my family who objected to letting the kids watch stuff like The Incredibles and Transformers, both of which are good entertainment, but IMO, have way too much violence in them for the young ones.
I really liked Space Cases when I was a kid. I was happy to see it on there. Susie was so awesome.

Edit: Oh no way. I had NO IDEA that Jewel Staite played Catalina on that show! Catalina was my FAVORITE in the first season, and I was always "her" when we played Space Cases. Wow, that is so funny.

[ edited by ailiel on 2008-05-07 21:27 ]
I didn't suggest to my grandson that he watch Firefly/Serenity until he was 13. I believe PG13 to be a fairly close rating of it, considering the violence and sexual content.

That being said, I voted Star Trek in it's various incarnations because my girls grew up watching it. I see that Dr. Who is ahead though and that seems ok to me too. I can definitely see a kid enjoying Dr. Who.
Firefly isn't a kid's show.

Greatest American Hero, all the way!
I actually DID show my kids the original BSG. Haven't let them watch my Firefly, B5, or Farscape DVDs (or Buffy/Angel, for that matter). I voted for The Greatest American Hero, though, purely for nostalgia... hmmm, might Netflix it next. I'm not a Dr. Who fan, though, so I can't disagree with the folks who found it the best option.

I did let my (10 and 7 year old) kids watch LOTR, but I think those are the only PG-13 movies I've shown them. Oh, wait--and X-Men.
I think PG13 is right on the money, FM. A child needs to be mature enough to understand the themes, so they are absorbing more than the violence.

At the same time, I think a lot depends on the child. While Doctor Who is never graphic, I had to wait until my son was mature enough to understand it wasn't real. The first time he watched it at 5, he got really upset any time the Doctor was in danger. Now, a handful of months later, he gets that it's pretend and it doesn't disturb him.

I let my son watch the Simpsons movie, which was rated PG13 for a cartoon penis, two cartoon men kissing, and maybe one or two swears. Sometimes the ratings make no sense and I tend to look into any movie no matter what rating before I take my son. Really, a cartoon penis needs a PG13? My son sees a real one every day, heh.
Lexx for kids? Thats got to be a joke - right? Admittedly i was watching it at like... 13 - but it has a machine called the "Lusticon" for petes sake :D
Dizzy I agree that the ratings system is nuts. "R" can mean that people said "fuck" or that they were chopped into tiny pieces and fed to the pigs. It's ridiculous.

I'm so glad that my daughter is 14 now and old enough to be a Joss fan.
The first time he watched it at 5, he got really upset any time the Doctor was in danger.

Aww, that's part of the fun, I like to think it scarred me forever ;).

It'd be 'Doctor Who' for me too, of the shows I know on there it just seems the most age appropriate. It also "preaches" non-violence wherever possible and the supremacy of knowledge and understanding over might - good message for kids to take home I reckon (and even going back to the early days it's featured female characters that did more than just scream and faint - though admittedly they did that too ;).
ahhh Space Cases! I loooved that show. I too was delighted to see that Jewel played Catalina. I knew she looked familiar.

I voted for Firefly though.
I'll start by raising my kids on Babylon 5, which is pretty clean, pretty noble-minded, and has the right balance of whizbang and good thoughts. Finally, the kids will be more forgiving of the occasionally wince-worthy acting and effects.

I'll raise them further up on Buffy, which to my mind is pretty much required viewing for teenagers.

And I'll show 'em Firefly... later.
METAI, you going to let your kids watch Believers? (Wikipedia Summary) I'm a huge B5 fan, but there are just certain things there that are going to be incomprehensible to kids without a well-developed set of abstract thinking skills.
I have no kids, but I've been a teacher in the past - I'd let kids watch (with some fast forwarding).
I'm with Tabz...I know some fifth graders (age 10) who loved Serenity and are now getting into Firefly. I would have loved it at that age, as well.
Plus, kids know how to shut their eyes for certain scenes. But I really don't find anything objectionable about the show; I'm not entirely sure it warrants a PG-13 rating. Certainly wouldn't have 15 years ago!

I think that it's not so much the show as the child. And, for that matter, your family's values. Here at home, my brother (the youngest of 4 kids, with 15 years separating the oldest and youngest) watched Animal House at age 2. And loved it. My sister's favorite movie at age 8 was Pretty Woman. Sex, violence, etc. just didn't bug us because of how our family reacted to it.

Still, I think that for all kids, I'd have to go with Powerpuff Girls. Damn, I loved that cartoon! It's clever enough to appeal to many age levels, and is pretty hilarious.
...Still not entirely sure why it was on that list, though.
I was 11 when I watched Firefly as it originally aired and I don't see myself as scarred for life.

Although I grew up on Monty Python and Max Headroom, so I was already a pretty strange kid by that point.

It obviously depends on the child but I think mature 10 or 11 year olds would be understand and appreciate most of it.
Heh, this discussion brings me back to the Universal board days when we debated for weeks whether or not Serenity was appropriate for kids. I think we concluded: depends on the age and the kid, but that parents shouldn't take the rugrats until they understood it was a dark, violent movie.
I just want to second what carrine said here. I was watching sci-fi like this when I was very young (Buffy and Farscape in my case) when I was 9/10, and I'm fine now. As strange as it might seem, I think it's better to expose children to the world through television, where the child has control over the 'off' button, than wait for them to discover things on their own in real life and have an unpleasant experience in the process -- provided that they are old enough to be able to understand the complex dialogue/relationships that're in the show.

That all being said, I would be wary of showing any child much television. I'm infinitely thankful to my parents that they helped me enjoy reading and so I spent most of my formative years with my head in a book instead of watching TV.
Actually, I'd just like to add an observation. I think generally, if you're too young, you just won't understand it, and hence it doesn't affect you, whilst if you're old enough to understand what's going on, you're also capable of dealing with it. Thus it's pretty difficult for a child to be exposed to anything damaging, with the obvious exception of graphic violence, which is something you don't need to understand for it to have an effect on you (for the record, I abhor graphic violence in anything that's rated less than NC-17 / 18).

The final thing I'd say on all this, and that's that I'm very glad I got to see horror movies when I was far too young, because I was actually scared. And I enjoyed being scared. By the time I was old enough to watch them properly, I was unable to actually be frightened by anything anymore. So they're really fond memories for me.

[ edited by MattK on 2008-05-08 00:33 ]
MattK, that's not entirely true. Things may go over the head of a child who may not be mature enough for what they're watching, but that can leave them open to getting the wrong message. Firefly is pretty violent, and if a child doesn’t understand the subtle themes behind what’s going on, all they’re going to take away is a lot of violence.

When I was 6, my friend and I found a doll in her crawlspace with eyes that had completely faded to white. That scarred me for years. So yep, you can't always shield children from the horrors of life, hee.
MattK, the reason, perhaps that you are unable to be frightened of anything is because your threshold was set so high, so young. I'm not sure that is a good thing.
We know that some children exposed to real life violence become so inured to it that life seems flat without it - there is a chemical reaction in the body we are only beginning to understand. And a lot more study is needed to know how what we see on the screen affects children. Certainly there are very negative effects on kids the younger they are.
I think Dizzy said it best - it is important that a child be old enough to watch something and absorb more than the violence.
jclemens said:
METAI, you going to let your kids watch Believers? (Wikipedia Summary) I'm a huge B5 fan, but there are just certain things there that are going to be incomprehensible to kids without a well-developed set of abstract thinking skills.


Well, I'm a firm believer in setting high expectations; they'll rise to the level you demand. I might not show kids Believers at age 8, but by age 10, sure.

[ edited by ManEnoughToAdmitIt on 2008-05-08 04:55 ]
Doctor Who, but Firefly as soon as the kid seems ready for it.
I did used to watch Firefly with a kid I babysat. However, he was about 10 months old, and I mainly put it on while we napped, so I could illustrate important lessons about life. In a decade or two, I hope he'll turn down some popular, self-absorbed woman and start dating a smart, cute girl- then I'll know he learned the lessons I (and Kaylee) were trying to teach him.

Man, I miss that kid. He was great.
Lioness, I think it's more that it's difficult to be frightened of something that you know isn't real. I don't think there's anything more to it than that, really.
I remember this discussion from the Uni boards too, and I still think that it depends on the kid.

I've allowed my second child to watch way more television than I did my first one. They're 8 years apart and I got lazy I guess. My little one was still in diapers when he had his first brush with horror, he woke up while I was watching Hush. "Run Buffy, run!" was all he said as he waddled back to bed. I think he was in kindergarten when he first watched Firefly, although he was seven before he really watched without being distracted with Legos or something.

I'm also the mom who took away all of the weapons that came with his Star Wars toys though. I'd much rather have him witness pretend violence on television than act it out. He's 10 now and we just saw Ironman last weekend, had a nice long talk about how a lot of that is taking place around the world right now. He probably sees more than he should but we always discuss it and I think he's mature enough for it. My older son was years behind, wouldn't have been ready for Firefly until he was at least 10 years old and maybe not even then.

That said, I'd never let my little one watch any of it alone. Even The Office, which is his current favorite, isn't allowed unless I'm there to watch with him.
We're going to let our daughter start watching Buffy at 13, though we'll be going slow, probably one episode a week. The subject matter gets more mature as the series goes along, and we'll want her to be a few years older by the time we get to some of the later seasons.

Firefly, we'll probably wait until about 15. It's a little darker and more explicit about sexuality, and I thought Serenity was a pretty hard PG-13. It wouldn't have taken very much to bump it up into an R rating.

[ edited by JesterInACast on 2008-05-08 15:58 ]
voted for other, meaning buffy.
We're going to let our daughter start watching Buffy at 13, though we'll be going slow, probably one episode a week. The subject matter gets more mature as the series goes along, and we'll want her to be a few years older by the time we get to some of the later seasons.

Firefly, we'll probably wait until about 15. It's a little darker and more explicit about sexuality, and I thought Serenity was a pretty hard PG-13. It wouldn't have taken very much to bump it up into an R rating.


Personally speaking, it'd annoy me intensely if my parents decided when I was ready to watch something when I was 12 or so. Generally, as long as it's before the watershed, I can't see why a child shouldn't be given the responsibility to decide to watch what they want to watch. Buffy was on at 6.45pm, after all (in the UK that is).

Just to be clear, I'm not criticising your approach here, just sharing my own experiences.
I voted for Star Trek as that is what I was raised on. It was bright, cheerful, and dealt with issues that were way over my head, but they did it on a starship or a pretty planet! I think it's a great introduction to all the basic sci fi elements that you see over and over (with better packaging) in the more mature shows.

Plus, despite the sometimes negative image of Trekkies, knowing something about Trek is like getting your learners permit before you get your full scifi/fantasy license.
cicatrixtwigs
Lexx for kids? Thats got to be a joke - right? Admittedly i was watching it at like... 13 - but it has a machine called the "Lusticon" for petes sake :D
As soon as I saw Lexx as an option, I knew I had my answer. But then, I never liked kids.
Buffy was on at 6.45pm, after all (in the UK that is).


Which was cut for content at that time because young children might be watching it. And personally I don't think any of Joss' shows shoud be shown to anyone under the age of 12.
I voted for Doctor Who since I grew up with that (although behind the couch, lol)
The old episodes seems hokey to today's standards but it's a good show still, and since they made a new show since 2005 I've been hooked.

[ edited by Krusher on 2008-05-08 19:32 ]
Personally speaking, it'd annoy me intensely if my parents decided when I was ready to watch something when I was 12 or so.


Me too. Fortunately, my parents had a much better grasp on what was appropriate for a twelve-year-old to be exposed to than I did at 12.
JesterInACast, I want to raise my kid on Buffy once a week as well, starting at roughly 12-13 or so. Should make for some nice father-daughter bonding. Of course, stretching it out week after week, especially in the middle of big two-parters, could be considered child abuse.

(I'll also need to go through the small technicalities of actually starting a family. Nothing, really...)

Also, Jester? Awesome handle.
Doctor Who all the way! I introduce this stuff to my little sister (age eight now) and she absolutely adores the Doctor. A year ago we used to skip the scarier episodes, but this series we've watched them all together so far, after I screen them first. She finds some of it a bit scary, but she really gets the themes now and is taking away the important bits. We've also enjoyed random Trek and Stargate episodes since she was six, but I have screened out specific episodes, though I figure the majority are fine now.

She won't be watching Firefly or Buffy for another five years or so, though she loves the "Once More With Feeling" soundtrack. I just didn't watched TV at all until about age 14 because I wasn't allowed to watch the "cool" stuff that my friends watched (at which point I realized that I didn't even like what I had been begging to watch anyway)- the first kid is the guinea pig- my parents lightened up with younger siblings. Though my mum saw me with a "Tudors" DVD yesterday and had a case of "isn't that supposed to be really racy", even though I'm nearly 20. Gotta love parents.

But to put it into another perspective- I'd rather let her watch any of these sci-fi shows than the absolutely awful new "like shooting fish in a barrel" Dairy Queen commercial. Everyone complains about the shows- but I think the place we have to look at is the commercials, because wow- what are they learning from that? That Dairy Queen one really sent me over the edge. :S

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