A Quiet Night In…

Tuesday nights have always traditionally been visiting night at our house, something which we all look forward to eagerly. Several friends arrive shortly after tea-time, and we spend the entire evening until 2 or 3am watching DVDs and stuffing our faces. This has been going on for almost twenty years now, and is one of the most enjoyable nights of the week.

This week, we had a bumper session of DVDs for our viewing pleasure. We started off with several episodes from Season 3 of the classic British sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf, which is always guaranteed to have us laughing our heads off. After that, we stopped for “refreshments”, before sitting back to enjoy The Animatrix, which showcases half a dozen excellent animated stories, each one closely tied in with, and helping to flesh out, the background universe of the three Matrix films. The style of animation in all of the stories varies widely, from ultra-realistic (in the style of Final Fantasy), through animé, to more “comic booky” and cartoonish. All of the stories have excellent scripts, and, to be honest, I prefer The Animatrix to any of the Matrix films, especially the second and third movies, which I thought were a big disappointment after the first film.

Another break for refreshments, and we were on to the climax of the evening, Serenity. I think that this is a very good film, but, then, I’ve always enjoyed Firefly, an excellent sci-fi series which was shamefully cut short by the networks after only thirteen episodes. The series was never really given a chance to fulfill its considerable potential, a fate that has befallen far too many good sci-fi series over the years.

The US network ratings system is grossly unfair and inefficient. It doesn’t give any real chance for a new TV series to warm up and gain an audience, and the network execs have always been prejudiced against sci-fi anyway. Most new sci-fi series are given little chance to succeed, and if they aren’t a big ratings success right from the start, they get the chop almost immediately.

So many potentially great sci-fi series have never really got out of the starting blocks because of this pathetically short-sighted approach to producing TV series, as can be seen as most of them pick up large audiences of faithful fans in re-runs, long after production has stopped on the show. Firefly was killed before it had a chance to really show us what it could do.

Overall, a great night was had by all. Here’s hoping that next Tuesday is as good. 🙂

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