Apparently, the pilot episode of Battlestar Galactica featured a firefly-class ship in the background at some point, as a tribute to the Firefly series. And I thought nothing of it. I was unimpressed by the fact that there were science fiction TV show makers out there that would think highly of what I thought was a groundbreakingly good series. And I didn't think much of Battlestar Galactica either - I thought its shooting style was slow and annoying, just as I thought about the Firefly pilot itself.
But now I'm truly a convert. My friend Ted ("Have you met Ted?" - that's a How I Met Your Mother reference for you TV series and Whedon allumni illiterates) who runs the greek USTV website and "knows his poo" on the subject, urged me to watch two episodes of it a short while ago in a brilliantly suggestive manner (expressed as "sit your ass down and watch it"), and I did, and I was illuminated by a flaring torchlight in the middle of my soul.
We're talking about a science fiction series that uses its genre as a metaphor to portray every interesting philosophy, politics, sociology and ethics subject in the book, and about a story that Saint Isaac Asimov - the guy whose photo I keep hanging above my desk so I can see it every day, a Doctor in Biochemical subjects, a Mensa "intellectually combative" member, a patron of scientific accuracy in science fiction writing and president of the American Humanist Organisation until the day he died - would be proud of.
And it makes me think. Here we are, complaining about television studios and film audiences for not acknowledging and supporting Firefly and Serenity and not realising what they were. While Joss Whedon himself is not failing us, he's just riding the tide for the time being, having thousands of fans worshiping the air he breaths and being financially able to pay people to grow beards for him (that's a Warren Ellis blog reference, I don't know how much more obscure I can get with these). And while there's talk of Firefly being reenstated as a TV series at some point in the near future, and the comics are soon to come, there's nothing to scare us Browncoats in that front. The man single-handedly changed the conventions of TV serial storytelling, and now, apparently, he's starting to change people's attitude towards science fiction.
The effects are showing, and I'm not talking SFX here. People expect to see a science fiction series that's full of technobabble and meaningless twists, a series whose plot is all about itself, not about the world we live in. But not anymore. People watched Firefly, and they got the message: it's not supposed to be about stories that could or would never happen. It's supposed to be about humanity and its strengths and weaknesses, about what the real world could or would be like "if" or "when" - to make us see, through the eyes of wiser people, where we go wrong, by putting the same things we love or fear about our lives, our selves and our actualities in a different setting and highlight them.
And if this has indeed started to happen, then my seriously bipolar faith in mankind has just been restored, with that thought alone.