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frogge
Apr 7, 2006




A lot of westerns also use classic Japanese samurai and ronin tales for their structuring especially with the showdowns.

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Aglet56
Sep 1, 2011


As already noted, westerns were popular partially because they could be cheaply made with existing sets, so the genre is diverse enough that many, many different works can have western influences. Star Trek, famously, was "Wagon Train to the stars"; hardly a tale of loners surviving on the wilderness on their own.

Similarly, confederate revanchism is certainly an element of many famous westerns (the searchers comes to mind), but it's definitely not universal or foundational; High Noon, to my knowledge, makes no mention of the civil war at all.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




SlothfulCobra posted:

Weirdly, if you want to dig in deep to the cowboy culture that gave birth to westerns, what you really need to go to Mexico, because that's where the cattle industry in North America got started, that's where a lot of the etymology about cowboy things come from, and that's where the Spanish started up the herds of wild horses that could be captured and broken in.

Also Mexico has a lot of the kinds of conflicts that go into Western stories, especially during the 19th century where Mexico went through a lot of war. It had a weak federal government that had trouble keeping its provinces in line, it had corrupt officials that towns would make stands against, it had native americans raiding towns, it had the government exterminating native tribes (not the ones that did the raids), and it had bandit groups that fluctuated between criminals, vigilantes, wealthy local powers, armies in rebellion, and even official armies not in rebellion. Mexico went through a lot of troubles.

Oh yeah for sure, I've been reading a lot of Mexican and plains Native history for the last month or two, the 19th century Southwest was a very complex multinational quilt. There's no way that you can get an accurate picture of the region from reading any one, or even two or three, countries' perspectives.

SlothfulCobra posted:

What really never gels right with sci-fi spacefaring though is how a whole lot is built up around the idea of solitary drifters who just pass through on their own. There's also the idea of frontiermen who know how to live off the land outside of towns, foraging for food in the wild so they don't have to rely on anyone else. That doesn't really match how usually most spacecraft need a whole crew of people to keep running, and surviving out in space on your own is never really an option.

Logistically, it's more like the age of sail, where captains couldn't afford to be brooding loners and instead had to be rigorously responsible or fall into becoming worthless middlemen or horrible tyrants. I feel like the last thing I read that really tried to have the spirit of the age of sail was Drifting Dragons, which is basically about whaling but in the sky.

This I'm going to disagree with. The logistics of spaceships, particularly if they're interstellar, is fictional and not beholden to reality. I don't think anybody is particularly bothered that in Cowboy Bebop, the Bebop works with 2 crew, of whom 1 is disproportionately responsible for the ship itself, and Faye's ship manages to get around with just 1.

Which I think is only fair if the comparison is to Westerns - the fantasy of Western films, that a single dude with a nice bit of know-how can survive indefinitely in the West, is a fantasy. The historical region portrayed is extremely interdependent, whether that means relying on communities for defense/mass production or because the different economic groups did not produce the full set of goods they needed for survival (realistically anybody living in the region needed bison flesh, maize, clothing, horses, and firearms - no community produced all of those in significant quantities).

So if you want to make a space fantasy where a single dude in his not-really-bigger-than-a-wagon spaceship can readily reach a barely inhabited planet e.g. Luke in Empire Strikes Back, that's really a stylistic choice.

frogge posted:

A lot of westerns also use classic Japanese samurai and ronin tales for their structuring especially with the showdowns.

It's very cool but I also think it's one of the genre trappings that doesn't appeal much these days. Having like 75% of the runtime of a film be "rising tension" that ends with an 8 frame confrontation is appealing to me personally but I know at least my brothers think it's a boring waste of time.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011

STOP BEING EVIL.


I'm not saying that you can't tell a story in spacefaring science fiction with the sort of lone wanderer on the frontier that westerns were big on, I'm just saying that most stories don't choose to flesh out a world where people can just go off on their own. Most stories choose to opt for crews of like 5 instead of having a character hitchhike or ride some single-seater craft long-distance.

And socially, a bunch of people who are working together and living in close quarters is just a very different dynamic. I know that in like a societal sense, most people in the frontier relied on a larger group of people, but there's still a unique feeling to being able to just ride off at any time as opposed to sharing the same bathroom and being unable to disembark for the duration of the journey, and I think a lot of the attempts at sci-fi westerns don't acknowledge that. A loner on the frontier can choose to sleep at a distance from everyone else when they make camp and ride their horse at a distance from the main group; a loner on a small space ship has to put work into staying apart from other people. The ability to just run for it is also part of how bounty hunting got so big, somebody can escape into the wilderness and get lucky and it takes somebody with real know-how to go after and find them.

You're right that Cowboy Bebop is an exception because it goes through the effort of giving everybody their own personal spaceship so they can come and go as they please. Another rare exception is Wander Over Yonder, where interstellar travel is simple and easy so Wander and Sylvia can do the whole drifting from place to place helping people routine.

HUGE SPACEKABLOOIE
Mar 31, 2010

I do believe I may have shit my pants. I hope this accident was worth it for Lowtax' spine.


Part of becoming an adult means accepting that Firefly just wasn't very good at all.

Jazerus
May 24, 2011



Antifa Turkeesian posted:

I liked the Cosby Show when I was a kid, but I sure don't miss it now and I'm glad to see it gone. To each their own, but I don't think I could watch Whedon's shows again because I'd spend the whole time thinking about how they're just an alibi to let him get away with horrible things.

the horrible thing about the cosby show getting memoryholed is that, as anodyne and somewhat boring as it generally could be, it did a lot to raise the profile of HBCUs and touched on a bunch of different corners of mid-20th-century black culture that are often ignored and forgotten. one of the most disgusting things about cosby's crimes, other than the crimes themselves, is how they retroactively ruined a show that has genuine value

unlike firefly, which does not have value. except for train job, that one is just a good self-contained heist story and i've always understood 100% why fox chose to make it the first broadcast episode. it would have failed even harder if the pilot had been the first broadcast lol

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



I think the biggest cultural significance Firefly had was in affirming that in a post 9/11 world the "liberal" culture was feckless, inept, and more hollow than a chocolate rabbit.

twistedmentat
Nov 21, 2003

What's a war hero got to do to get some lubrication around here?



Firefly would be as forgotten as Automan or M.A.N.T.I.S. if it wasn't Whedon at a time when he was king of all nerds. No one cares that Dollhouse didn't last long because it came out after his nerd stock dropped enough that it wasn't considered a amazing classic that was canceled before its time.

Bogus Adventure
Jan 11, 2017

More like "Bulges Adventure"

M.A.N.T.I.S. is not forgotten. M.A.N.T.I.S. loving owned, and it owns that the main character ended up being the voice of J'onn J'onzz.

I loved that show (along with the original VIPER show) back when I was a kid.

Sanguinia
Jan 1, 2012

#RXT REVOLUTION~!
2000





twistedmentat posted:

Firefly would be as forgotten as Automan or M.A.N.T.I.S. if it wasn't Whedon at a time when he was king of all nerds. No one cares that Dollhouse didn't last long because it came out after his nerd stock dropped enough that it wasn't considered a amazing classic that was canceled before its time.

I didn't even know who Joss Whedon was when Firefly got canceled, I'd never watched Buffy and barely even knew it existed. I was still pretty obsessed with it for a long while afterward it stopped appearing.

But maybe that's just because I was Star Trek obsessed at that point in my youth and was overwhelmingly hungry for Space TV Shows.

well why not
Feb 9, 2009





Firefly lasting one season was a blessing. If he managed to really drill into the Companions and Reavers stuff who knows how ugly it could've been. The movie was a pretty big oof, having 12 hours of that would've been excruciating.

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



twistedmentat posted:

Firefly would be as forgotten as Automan or M.A.N.T.I.S. if it wasn't Whedon at a time when he was king of all nerds. No one cares that Dollhouse didn't last long because it came out after his nerd stock dropped enough that it wasn't considered a amazing classic that was canceled before its time.
Eh, I'll be honest and say that part of it is that while Dollhouse's cast had some ringers in Enver Gjokaj and Dichan Lachman, they weren't conventionally white enough and the leads who got the lion's share of screen time were the very definition of "LA C-List." Meanwhile Firefly had Juilliard graduate Alan Tudyk, alongside anchors like Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Summer Glau, Morena Baccharin, and even Adam Baldwin who all had real chemistry on-screen together.

Plus the story of Firefly's cancelation is way more romantic. Dollhouse was always "oh poo poo an Eliza Dushku project... and it's Whedon? Ok I guess. Oh look it's already on the Friday night death slot. Lmao this concept loving sucks and every week Dushku is dressed up like a prostitute." Firefly was pushed as this "wait wtf?" thing with a huge budget in primetime slots and then shunted around the schedule in a way that made for a compelling rumor mill, even decades after the fact.

Antifa Turkeesian
Aug 20, 2006
Probation
Can't post for 57 minutes!


Did we mention that in the episode where Morena Baccarin contemplates what appears to be a suicide pill, Joss is sure to explain in the dvd commentary that itís a special poison that will kill anyone who has sex with her, and that the scene in that episode was meant to set up a later episode where the ship is attacked and the rest of the crew come back to find it full of dead marauders and a weeping Morena Baccarin with her clothes all torn up because she beat them by taking the sex murder pill right before they all raped her, thus selflessly saving the crew by allowing herself to be brutalized to a comical degree?

Antifa Turkeesian
Aug 20, 2006
Probation
Can't post for 57 minutes!


mind the walrus posted:

Eh, I'll be honest and say that part of it is that while Dollhouse's cast had some ringers in Enver Gjokaj and Dichan Lachman, they weren't conventionally white enough and the leads who got the lion's share of screen time were the very definition of "LA C-List." Meanwhile Firefly had Juilliard graduate Alan Tudyk, alongside anchors like Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Summer Glau, Morena Baccharin, and even Adam Baldwin who all had real chemistry on-screen together.

Plus the story of Firefly's cancelation is way more romantic. Dollhouse was always "oh poo poo an Eliza Dushku project... and it's Whedon? Ok I guess. Oh look it's already on the Friday night death slot. Lmao this concept loving sucks and every week Dushku is dressed up like a prostitute." Firefly was pushed as this "wait wtf?" thing with a huge budget in primetime slots and then shunted around the schedule in a way that made for a compelling rumor mill, even decades after the fact.

I will not stand for this Olivia Williams erasure. If only she hadnít been cast as the head pimp in a human trafficking operation.

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



Antifa Turkeesian posted:

I will not stand for this Olivia Williams erasure. If only she hadnít been cast as the head pimp in a human trafficking operation.
Ok Olivia Williams and Amy Acker were the exceptions, but let's be real they didn't get the screen time Dushku and Kranz did.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




twistedmentat posted:

Firefly would be as forgotten as Automan or M.A.N.T.I.S. if it wasn't Whedon at a time when he was king of all nerds. No one cares that Dollhouse didn't last long because it came out after his nerd stock dropped enough that it wasn't considered a amazing classic that was canceled before its time.

This doesn't make sense chronologically. Dollhouse died before Avengers, Age of Ultron, and Justice League. Whedon's general nerd cred was on an absolute rocket upwards.

mind the walrus posted:

Eh, I'll be honest and say that part of it is that while Dollhouse's cast had some ringers in Enver Gjokaj and Dichan Lachman, they weren't conventionally white enough and the leads who got the lion's share of screen time were the very definition of "LA C-List." Meanwhile Firefly had Juilliard graduate Alan Tudyk, alongside anchors like Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Summer Glau, Morena Baccharin, and even Adam Baldwin who all had real chemistry on-screen together.

Plus the story of Firefly's cancelation is way more romantic. Dollhouse was always "oh poo poo an Eliza Dushku project... and it's Whedon? Ok I guess. Oh look it's already on the Friday night death slot. Lmao this concept loving sucks and every week Dushku is dressed up like a prostitute." Firefly was pushed as this "wait wtf?" thing with a huge budget in primetime slots and then shunted around the schedule in a way that made for a compelling rumor mill, even decades after the fact.

As far as I can tell nobody cared about Dollhouse getting cancelled because it just didn't hit the mark for even really dedicated nerds.

My standing theory is that if Firefly didn't get cancelled, or got cancelled in a way that wasn't exploitable for fan war nonsense, Whedon wouldn't have been able to slingshot from "TV director with fans" to "the defining director of a decade plus of hollywood."

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




twistedmentat posted:

People complain about there being too many Superhero movies these days, but there were way, way WAY more westerns produced during its golden age. Which is generally considered what killed it as a major genre.

Which sounds right, and might be why there's a lot of nostalgia but not a lot of demand; if you want to watch a Western, there's probably one that suits your tastes already there, and the only niches left are revisionist westerns that incorporate themes and ideas the originals weren't able to.

well why not
Feb 9, 2009





Antifa Turkeesian posted:

Did we mention that in the episode where Morena Baccarin contemplates what appears to be a suicide pill, Joss is sure to explain in the dvd commentary that itís a special poison that will kill anyone who has sex with her, and that the scene in that episode was meant to set up a later episode where the ship is attacked and the rest of the crew come back to find it full of dead marauders and a weeping Morena Baccarin with her clothes all torn up because she beat them by taking the sex murder pill right before they all raped her, thus selflessly saving the crew by allowing herself to be brutalized to a comical degree?

This is exactly the sort of thing I'm glad we avoided by Season 2 getting cancelled. Seeing Fillion silently swoop up a weepy Baccarin as some radio rock ballad swells would've pushed me over the edge.

Firefly getting cancelled was probably the best thing to ever happen to much of the cast, really. If this show stuck around it could've really become a black mark on them as opinions changed towards Joss and the show itself. Now, they get neat bit parts and convention work at the ready. Pretty sweet gig, getting crystalized as nerd heroes for one season of work.

Sanguinia
Jan 1, 2012

#RXT REVOLUTION~!
2000





well why not posted:

If this show stuck around it could've really become a black mark on them as opinions changed towards Joss and the show itself.

Become a black mark on them when opinions changed toward Joss? So... this year? Joss Whedon was basically bulletproof until the recent scandal, or at least until Justice League was a garbage fire AND a financial disaster. Its why his dirty laundry being exposed is good. Horrible people shouldn't get to be icons, and he has been for a long rear end time.

Not to dispute your other point about it probably being nice to be martyrs for nerd society for such a small effort, but lets not pretend like more seasons of Firefly would have made them fruit of the poisonous tree because of association with Whedon unless those seasons were entirely made up of Last Season of GoT's tier episodes and destroyed his career in a way the bad final season of Angel failed to. Single gagworthy episodes like the one described wouldn't have done it, especially not in the early 00s.

Animal Friend
Sep 7, 2011



Whedon used to stage regular Shakespeare readings at his house and invite all the actors on his shows to them. it's the reason he eventually filmed a version of Much Ado About Nothing at his own home.

I used to think off of Firefly, where the cast apparently got on great it was wierd some skipped out on it.

Now it makes me wonder just how much those who stuck around in Whedon's inner circle knew about his abusive behaviour. Is there a reason so many skipped out? Also important to note that before the current scandal he was famously awful to Charisma Carpenter on Angel, yet still maintained deep ties to some cast members from that.

So yeah, even that long time association, outside of the longevity of Firefly itself is a little questionable.

Antifa Turkeesian
Aug 20, 2006
Probation
Can't post for 57 minutes!


Animal Friend posted:

Whedon used to stage regular Shakespeare readings at his house and invite all the actors on his shows to them. it's the reason he eventually filmed a version of Much Ado About Nothing at his own home.

I used to think off of Firefly, where the cast apparently got on great it was wierd some skipped out on it.

Now it makes me wonder just how much those who stuck around in Whedon's inner circle knew about his abusive behaviour. Is there a reason so many skipped out? Also important to note that before the current scandal he was famously awful to Charisma Carpenter on Angel, yet still maintained deep ties to some cast members from that.

So yeah, even that long time association, outside of the longevity of Firefly itself is a little questionable.

It is kind of telling that none of the name-brand talent from any of his shows ever participated, like maybe that was how he found a pool of people who felt they couldn't afford to refuse from which to draw his victims. It definitely seems like a way to divide a large group of people against each other as well--separate some off and tell them they're special while giving the cold shoulder to others.

I'm sure that if someone has been in Hollywood for a little while, they learn that "come over to my house and we'll read Shakespeare" is more likely than not a sex thing and something to be avoided if they have the star power to not depend on one person for their future work.

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



Yup. the art/media production pipeline is way closer to the pre-Industrial model than anyone wants to admit to and it's loving weird.

You can and will see the people with the highest social/institutional status-- who come from the right families/connections and prebuilt with lots of money, to a one-- form weird social orbits around themselves where people jockey for their attention/approval to advance their careers, and the people who get to stay in said orbit are those who ignore and look the other way on whatever vile poo poo the status holders do. Not only will social climbers get cast out if they call out the nobility, but others of lesser status can and will use dissent as a means to undercut rivals and advance their own agenda.

If that all sounds like dumb medieval Italian bullshit, that's because it is!

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011

STOP BEING EVIL.


I've been revisiting the Firefly board game, and I still like it. It's really neat having a sci-fi game experience where you're actually traveling across a space board instead of building it out and getting mired in your empire like all those 4X games. You can try your luck on crime jobs or you can just scrape by as a legal trader, and there's the story cards to shape the game differently.

It makes a lot of aesthetic choices that I like. The board has scanlines like it's a CRT, the store decks have a kind of art-deco look, the misbehave and setup cards have kind of a cheap carnival look, the money is a kind of elaborate pattern, and the nav deck has yet another look where it's a lot more barebones and stark. It all just kinda works together aesthetically to evoke a cluttered but old world.



I don't remember much of the show, but I feel like the board game designers must've taken some serious liberties to get the amount of content that they did. I looked at some dates and I remember first hearing about Firefly in like 2009 when the show was over by 2003, and then the board game apparently came out in 2013 and had its last expansion in 2017. The franchise is extremely removed from its source material by this point.

I also discovered a board game that tries to follow in the same spirit from a less- dead IP. Outer Rim.



It's definitely trying to do a similar thing, and I like some of the differences like being able to buy a new ship or having 4 NPC factions with ships moving around that will attack you if they run into you while you have negative reputation with them.

Some things I don't like is that the narrower map means you have less of a sense of wandering or charting a course. There's also less emphasis on really building a crew that you have to manage or managing cargo, and there's a lot more emphasis on random adventures. Each planet has a deck of random encounter cards and two face down characters (that you'd have to search through if you wanted to find a bounty, which is a pain).

Weirdly, I also just kinda prefer the way that I don't know who anybody is in the Firefly game (or at least I don't remember) as opposed to how the Star Wars game leans pretty heavily on their relatively small stable of characters in the new canon, and it's a more awkward fit. I guess I hope it does well just on the basis that I'd like more games to borrow from the concept.

twistedmentat
Nov 21, 2003

What's a war hero got to do to get some lubrication around here?



Yea the Firefly board game is the one Firefly related thing I still enjoy. Though it does have some mechanics that can make the game go on forever. Like last time I played we were playing for like 3 hours because one of my friends kept preventing anyone else from winning. We all could win in a single turn but he'd just play I think a reaver card that would prevent it. I literally said I'm just going to leave the game if he did it again. He had zero chance to win but just delighting in screwing us over.

I've looked at Outer Rim but yea, its being pretty much focused on the Disney Era kinda tempers it, mostly because it limits it when Star Wars has so much to take from.

QuarkJets
Sep 8, 2008

It's a handshake in progress


A Star Wars board game cannot be considered legitimate unless it features the EU character Thakwaash, the X-Wing pilot who is also a horse



Apparently Horse Pilot went on to become a mascot for the ROTS concept art room

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


QuarkJets posted:

Apparently Horse Pilot went on to become a mascot for the ROTS concept art room

Has Horse Pilot ever appeared in the background of a film somewhere? If not I'm sad.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011

STOP BEING EVIL.


I doubt it, but I swear if they made A New Hope now on a similar budget, they'd totally slip in a guy in a horse mask just like they had the wolfman mask off a halloween costume.

Antifa Turkeesian
Aug 20, 2006
Probation
Can't post for 57 minutes!


I love that devil mask guy who goes "anna wanna wanga!" Better than anything in Firefly by far.

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SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011

STOP BEING EVIL.


Well, it's no horse pilot, but I did find a fan expansion that adds characters such as Kyle Katarn, Dash Rendar, Talon Karde, and Unkar Plutt.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1882662337&searchtext=hotshot

It also adds HK-47, but as an Exchange thug, which seems like it doesn't fit.

It does seem more dynamic than the fan expansions I've seen for Firefly though,

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2064581/2018-ship-packs-wave-one-thread-under-construction

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2307855/mandalorian

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