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May 13 2010

Serenity in Rotten Tomatoes' "Top Ten Movies You Didn't Know Were Westerns". "The film chronicles the adventures of a roving band of outcasts, who traverse the galaxy aboard the Serenity, which is essentially a stagecoach in space."

What if I knew it was a western?
Then you're not allowed to read the list, space-time could tear ;).

"The film chronicles the adventures of a roving band of outcasts, who traverse the galaxy aboard the Serenity, which is essentially a stagecoach in space."

In fact IIRC Joss hizzownself has actually said it's effectively a "Stagecoach" (proper noun) in space, or at least that the ensemble nature of the show was heavily inspired by it.

(I appreciate them including 'Serenity' but can anyone honestly say they watched it and didn't know it was a Western ? Thinking not)

The others in the list make a lot of sense although 'Jaws' is a bit left-field and interesting. Hadn't occurred to me before but it's basically 'True Grit' (except "Rooster" doesn't make out quite so well ;) and i'm surprised they mentioned 'Pale Rider' (in the 'Gran Torino' blurb) without also pointing out that that's quite a close remake of Western classic 'Shane'.

'Aliens' fits quite well (in the 'Seven Samurai' mold) though that's also a fair fit for a Vietnam war movie. What else ?
Well, that explains why there had to be a prostitute.
That's a ridiculous article.

EVERYONE knows that "Seven Samurai" is a Western.
At their core, westerns have a lot in common with science fiction. Intrusion of technology (trains, rifled guns, etc) on the frontier is a pretty standard theme.
Westerns tend to be based on the underlying concept of societal expansion into territories, as yet, unknown. Science fiction tends to be the same thing, just that it's usually either space or new technological concepts where the exploration is happening.
Did anyone else prefer the scifi aspects of the 'Verse to the Western aspects?
I did. Never was big on westerns, but throw in a spaceship and I'm there!
Saje: _Pale Rider_ has almost as much of _High Noon_ in it as it does _Shane._ Plus some _Heaven With a Gun_.

It was said flat-out when Outland came out that it was meant as a Western. Like with "Serenifly."

"Western" is a category which ahs inflated. A book about TV, How Sweet It Was lumped the World War II series in with the Westerns, while having separate chapters for action-adventure shows and another for detective shows.
I like 'em both.

I'm also glad that Star Wars (the original, that is) got at least a passing reference, since there are a lot of elements that Lucas pulled out of his favorite westerns. There's a reason everyone compares Mal to Han Solo.
I actually can't stand sci-fi for the most part and I've never liked westerns. However, I fell in love with Firefly from the first episode. It mixed the good parts of both genres and made an intriguing mix. For the most part, it's the characters that truly drew me in though.
Saw this article earlier and meant to post it on here, but you beat me to it.

It is a really weird article though. They clearly couldn't find many films that were actually westerns without you knowing it. 'Seven Samurai' is well known to be one, everyone has made the 'Avatar' is 'Dancing with Wolves' with Smurfs joke, Serenity is clearly a Western from its look and dialogue, and Gran Torino is obviously a play on Clint Eastwood's back catalogue.

The surprising ones ('A Bug's Life' and 'Jaws') sounded more like jokes in their write up too, so they clearly weren't serious suggestions.
Clint Eastwood's back catalogue includes a lot more than Westerns. To me Kowalski is closer to an aged Harry Callahan than most of his Western characters but it's in the eye of the beholder.

(the 'Jaws' inclusion is meant to be one you wouldn't think of, maybe even deliberately reachy to provoke discussion but i'm pretty sure it's serious. Likewise "A Bug's Life". Only they know for sure of course)

Saje: _Pale Rider_ has almost as much of _High Noon_ in it as it does _Shane._ Plus some _Heaven With a Gun_.

Hmm, not really (to me anyway). Eastwood's character isn't a lawman, he isn't initially tempted to leave or in any way portrayed as anything other than a very dangerous, tough gunslinger from start to finish, he doesn't ask for or particularly need the help of the "townsfolk" (would probably even rather they stayed out of it) and there's no particular time pressure involved in the telling. Then there's the family dynamic (the "wife" fancies him, as in 'Shane' and neither of them act on it because the "husband" is a good, honourable man, as in 'Shane'). The child being a girl adds a sexual element to her adoration of him but she's still pretty much Brandon De Wilde (down to calling after him as he rides off at the end). Add to that the drunken miner who hits gold and gets mouthy (and killed for his trouble) and the awkward tree stump - an awkward rock in 'Pale Rider' - that the male protagonists "defeat" together and bond over.

Emotionally it's slightly more complex (as befits a more modern film) but it's basically 'Shane' remade (IMO). Not 100% on this but i'm fairly sure Eastwood's said as much himself.

[ edited by Saje on 2010-05-13 19:06 ]
Did anyone else prefer the scifi aspects of the 'Verse to the Western aspects?


Never, nope, nowai =p Technology seemed contrary to the show's premise, in the sense that, if you had too much technology, the show wouldn't be possible. It takes place in a world where there is still the struggle of man vs nature, and man vs man, in a way that wouldn't be possible if they had an easy technological fix to their problems. They gots to solve their problems like men. *spits chewing tobacco on the ground and eyes a harlot hanging out in front of the barber shop*.

Also, I really hated the sound of the guns, which was surely added to make them more "technoligy-y". It would have been so much cooler if Mal, Zoe and Jayne's bigass guns actually sounded like bigass guns.
Everybody knew Serenity was a Western.

And I highly doubt that someone who watched Seven fucking Samurai knowing the definition of "Western" didn't realise that it was a Western.
One reason why I liked Serenity so much was since it was a bit less heavy-handed with the western angle. I mean even with the level of tech they had available, there were just little iffy moments like if they had the tech available for holographic windows why would they bother having a dim wooden shanty built in the middle of nowhere by a cliffside in sweltering heat?

Or the whorehouse being covered in foil compared to the companion retreat in Serenity. Or every dustheap being terraformed just enough for wildly inefficient uses of frontier.

Then again I guess just visually I prefer the idea that there's all this neat technology but it's oldhat and people still deal with it in the world-worn way like even in the higher-tech areas like Ariel.

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