Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Bringing Back Firefly

I don't think the odds are great, but I'll throw in my two cents anyway.

I'll start by warning off plot devices that would stretch credibility to monumental proportions.

Do not make the conspiracy too large. Secret conspiracies may employ vast resources, but to protect the secret those in the know will always be few. Viewers won't buy it if hundreds or even dozens of people were aware on the human experimentation on River and at Miranda. We know from the film that top members of Parliament were aware of the former (and the latter, I think).

Besides them, the Operative, Dr. Mathias, the head of the project using River as a guinea pig, and the "blue gloves" guys from the series, the cabal better not go much further. The military doesn't have to know the real reason why the Tams are wanted or why Miranda is under quarantine; it just needs to hunt for the fugitives and blockade the planet. If the full body of Parliament approved Mathias' project, aside from the top leaders they don't necessarily know what's really going on behind closed doors. The project probably employed a number of people who had no access to the top-secret experimentation room.

Do not, I repeat, do not create a romance between River and Jayne. There is simply no way to make it credible. The brainy psycho teenager and the boorish redneck are sorta like combative siblings. The script should keep it that way.

Do not let River heal completely, or too quickly. She's just beginning to recover from the trauma related to the victims of the Miranda experiment, including the Reavers. That kind of healing doesn't come rapidly. In addition, physical damage was done to her brain. The Wikipedia article on the amygdala states:

In the television series Firefly, the fictional character of River Tam is portrayed as having had her amygdalae 'stripped'. This operation, according to characters on the show, has caused her to be unable to suppress emotions, giving her a hypersensitivity that can come across as creepy and unsettling. She also exhibits possible signs of autism, a condition that has been proposed by some to be linked to amygdalae malfunctioning.

Here are a few things I'd like to see:

  • A map of the Alliance solar system.
  • Episodes introducing the Serenity crew's family members, which would enhance character development and tell us which planets they're from.
  • Reveal Derrial Book's background. He's dead, but psychic River knows all. And someone who knows about Book's past could show up in an episode.
  • Bring back Niska, Saffron, Badger, and (from the "Shindig" episode) Sir Warrick.
  • Let Mal start to actually make some decent money. That weaponry he had mounted on Serenity in the film should fetch a decent price.

The top item on my to-do list is for the show to take its time exonerating the Tams. The Miranda broadcast revealed to all the experiment that killed off most of the planet's colonists and transformed the remainder into the Reavers. Logically, Parliament would launch an immediate investigation, and while its top leaders who are in on the Conspiracy would not be able to stop it, they would be scheming to set up fall guys and to hide evidence incriminating themselves.

The experiment that imprisoned River is still a secret, but it is related to the Miranda project and investigation into the latter should turn up evidence of the former. For the government to exonerate the Tams, it must have evidence that the criminal charges are bogus. This won't turn up overnight. Standard law enforcement will still be out to arrest them, and Simon and River are still a threat to the Conspiracy.

If I were to script the show, he would not fall on his sword for failing his original mission - because he would have a Plan B. He could not preserve the secrecy of the Miranda project, so now he should work behind the scenes, without the knowledge of either Parliament or the Conspiracy, to ensure that the incriminating evidence (other than that pointing to himself) surfaces. The Operative's ultimate mission is to preserve the State. The mother of all scandals is out, so now he must ensure that Parliament holds people accountable, so as not to give citizens a reason to revolt.

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