When I had to reset my students' passwords for our lab management system, I chose "RiverTam" to give out to the class. An unsecure practice, I know, but it was a temporary throwaway password in a limited environment -- but I digress. I wanted something catchy to show them how cool I was. I mean, come on! It's a scifi show! From Joss Whedon! At the very least I wanted some chuckles and winks.
On a lark, I asked if any of them recognized who River Tam was. I got blank looks. "Five points to anyone who can tell me who River Tam is...in the next five seconds!" I shouted. True to form, the kids started searching on Google. I suppose this in itself is a commentary on the nature of curiosity today: people substitute the quick unearned answer from a search engine for the pleasure and the experience of the real thing. Again, I digress.
(If you must know, no one came up with the answer fast enough. No extra five points. Hah!)
Out of that stray unbidden thought, I decided to dust off my Firefly collection and review the adventures of Mal Reynolds and company. How long has it been since I last watched it? Four years? Five?
I started with the pilot episode, "Serenity." Would it feel old? Would it look silly? Would I kick myself for following a juvenile show? But no, I'm happy to report the show has aged quite well, and still holds up against newer series. In many cases, it's still better than most. The world Whedon built still looks and feels fresh, the action and the wit still manage to catch me, and the banter, oh, yes, the banter. "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"
But all that came second place to seeing some familiar faces, once more made new by long absence. Watching "Firefly" again is like meeting old friends. What made this show so great was its solid cast and memorable characterization. And dang it all, I still have a crush on Kaylee after all these years.
Out of that little exercise in laboratory management, one of my students did pick up enough interest to delve further into "Firefly." I lent her a few episodes to check out. Let's see if it'll click. I hope it will.