Radiation by Fiona Rae

Don't fear the Reavers

Followers of Joss, I hope you’re watching Firefly, the most fun to be had on television since, well, Angel. Last week’s episode, written by Whedon, contained many excellent lines and general amusement. My favourite: “If you take sexual advantage of her you’re going to burn in a very special level of Hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theatre.”

Or how about: “I couldn’t help it! She was all naked and … and … articulate!” Heh. (More quotes here.) There is some fan talk that Firefly is a little Angel-like. You know, there’s a lot of fun to be had making the brooding vampire/captain uncomfortable and the Firefly characters are roughly parallel to the Angel characters. We’ll never really know how Angel-y or otherwise it was going to get, owing to the fact that is was cancelled by Fox. But, depending on how well Serenity the movie goes, there might be a trilogy – here’s an interview with Alan Tudyk, who plays Wash, and was also the robot in I, Robot. Also, Whedon and the entire cast of Serenity turned up at the San Diego Comic Con and there’s lots of geek fun to be had here.

The amazing thing is the level of adulation that Whedon inspires – not just the fans. Casts and crew invariably rave about his genius/how they’ll never have another role like this one/how much they cried when the show ended. Like Peter Jackson, Whedon seems to be very good at picking ensemble casts and he inspires loyalty of Jackson-like proportions. Peter Jackson and Joss Whedon at a dinner party – now there’s a conversation I’d chew off my arm to hear.

You have to be on your toes to be a fan, you know. Tape at the ready every Tuesday night at 11.00pm (TV3). I can also recommend The Wire – that’s Wednesday night at 11.30pm (TV2) or so. Warning: your intelligence not be insulted, so you may not immediately get all the characters/language/plot etc if you’re coming into it cold. This Salon.com story gives a good explanation and also creator David Simon talks about the perpetual “war on drugs” in the US that he says has become a war on the underclass. He has some fascinating insights into what real cops think as well.

The writing is brilliant; according to Simon the show is a “sort of visual novel”, a couple of weeks back there was a scene where the detectives investigated an old crime scene and the only word they uttered was “fuck” or variants of it (“Fuckity fuck fuck fuck”). I had a “what the hell did I just see?” moment, which is pretty rare.

So there’s not a lot else on the box right now – but there’s going to be. The big US series start soon, you know, ER, Nip/Tuck, Cold Case etc and some Brit ones like Spooks. TV3 has started promo-ing CSI: NY as well. Can’t wait for Lost and also Deadwood, another HBO series, is starting on Prime soon. Here’s an interesting interview with Dominic Monaghan, who fell into a bit of a depression after Lord of the Rings, but was saved by surfing. A part on one of the top-rating shows in the US can’t have hurt either.

I guess Campbell’s Gamble wasn’t good enough for TV3 which is, according to the Sunday Star Times, having trouble deciding on a name for the 7pm John Campbell show. The paper asked an ad agency come up with a few others – including On the John – but feel free to make suggestions to Radiation. How about just The John? It has a certain Donald Trump feel to it. Or what about Marvellous? How about Flipside? No-one’s using that these days. Dear God, please let the show be better than the confused nonsense on Close Up and please make the government ban those stupid phone polls that are really only a poll of the people who bothered ringing and were willing to spend the money.

Millsy writes that he saw a stage version of Mr Gormsby (which is being made into Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby for TV) some years ago and:

Quite frankly it was superb. One of the amazing things about it was that it entertained both a right winger like me and my very left wing friend. If they do it properly, it could be a breakout hit. But they will have to keep it's edge.

Don’t forget there’s some actual local drama starting this week – Mataku (TV1, Wednesday, 9.40pm). Extraordinary.