Faith and the future

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So I finally got around to watching Serenity last night. Good movie all around, except I think it lost some of the aspects which made me love the series so much. It’s not about the action, it’s about the moral complexities each character faced as they came from diverse approaches to life. It was always about the characters, and the characters can’t get too much coverage in a two hour movie. Personally, I think that’s partially why the movie didn’t do as well in the box office. The show was, above all, about relationships, with the plot giving a context for that. Had Whedon lost some of the action, and put in more of the interaction, I think the movie would have caught on with broader appeal, and introduced the show to a wider audience. As it was I thought Serenity was a lot like the last episode of Angel. The story has been axed by corporate executives, so let’s go out with a blaze of action and glory. Very good, but ultimately unsatisfying as the plot points were not what drew me to the show.

This is all besides the point of this post. Firefly, and Serenity, have a curious aspect I’ve not heard developed overmuch, though as I walk in limited circles I may have missed a whole conversation. The setting of this show is 500 years in the future. As far as I can tell Firefly/Serenity is the only show about the future where Christianity is still existent. It exists much as it exists now, as a way of light amidst the confusions of real life.

Indeed, I would be hard pressed to find a better portrayal of a Christian minister than is found in Firefly/Serenity. Shepherd Book is an absolutely unique character in the annals of television and movie history. I’m curious why Christians didn’t come out and support this show more. Who else assumes Christianity would be a galaxy wide religion 500 years from now, and is willing to wrestle with the complexities of faith in complicated moral situations?

Even though I was among the 4 people who watched the show when it first aired on television I took all this time to watch it because I wanted to absorb it rather than just get through it. I am glad for my patience in this respect. Some stories are worth dwelling on, and extending their influence beyond a few weeks, or a couple of hours. This is one of them. Sadly Whedon (the writer/director) isn’t given the chance to develop the characters. Firefly, in my estimation, could have been the most important show ever on television, and the most important media discussion about Christianity in the last fifty years.


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