EPISODE 5,000: ATTACK OF THE FANDOM

(Liya Rechtman)– In high school we called it “senioritis,” the inflammation of the free period. During the second semester of one’s senior year in high school, the free period becomes inflamed and starts to envelope class time. The result of senioritis being that seniors stop attending class and become bizarrely obsessed with something random and/or their own social life. Once infected, senioritis takes over from all other possible desires. Graduation is the only cure.

Unfortunately, there are other strains of the same disease that affect a wide variety of demographics. One summer, during a particularly rainy vacation in Maine, my younger brother and I happened upon a new site called Hulu. Bear in mind that this was several years ago, or, like, at least before everyone knew what Hulu was. To us it seemed like a magical portal away from our comically dreary vacation house situated between an electricity grid thingy and a marsh. (to be fair, the rancid bacteria-fungus-marsh smells could only penetrate the house during low tide, so in mid-morning and mid-afternoon we were safe.)

After a couple of mediocre episodes of SNL and some Adam’s Family, fate touched us once again and we found ourselves face-to-face with the masterpiece of our new God: FIREFLY. What more can you ask for in life than pioneer-cowboys in space on the run from an evil government in a post-apocalyptic universe? Um, how about a really safe, ethical, religious prostitute, a crazy genius girl in an ice crate, and a really really hot doctor?

In 2002, after producing Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Whedon went on to create what many believe is his masterpiece and magnum opus: Firefly. The funny thing about Firefly, and, come to think of it, most of Whedon’s most genius work, is that while it aired, no one really liked it. The show that I consider the best thing in the history of science fiction television was cancelled after 14 episodes were shot. They didn’t even let them air the last 3 before the show went off of WB. (Fuckers!) However, in spite of the misinformed cancellation of the show, Firefly still enjoys a HUGE fan base of the little people, like my brother and I, who just happen upon it while really bored on family vacations.

Let me go back and clarify what I mean by “happened upon.” My brother and I didn’t just watch an episode and move on with our lives. 14 episodes x 45 minutes = 10.5 hours of watching. We spent a whole day cramped in on a couch together, holding onto my computer while we sailed through the ‘verse on Serenity at FTL speed, avoiding Reavers, the Alliance, and almost everything in between. When it was all over, we took a power nap, and promptly proceeded to watch all 14 episodes again, this time capping it off with the semi-related movie titled Serenity. Needless to say, our parents were annoyed.

Take my love.
Take my land.
Take me where I cannot stand.
I don’t care,
I’m still free.
You can’t take the sky from me.

Since cancellation in 2002, there has been a three comic book miniseries called Serenity: Those Left Behind, and five short videos of interviews with River Tam (a crazy smart girl captured by the government because and eventually stolen back by her brother, the hot doctor) conducted by Joss Whedon himself. Descending farther into the dark bowels of scifi nerd-fandom, fans have created a role-playing game (not me! no worries! Ha. #toomuch) and… um, a convention, which, um, my brother and I very seriously considered going to until we discovered that a) you’re supposed to dress up and pretend to be the characters and b) for some reason most of the conventions were in Australia, or on cruise ships leaving Florida… I for one wasn’t really prepared to take a three-day cruise filled with Firefly fans.

This interterm, my brother came up and we spent 7 hours watching season one of Battlestar Gallactica. There isn’t much more we can do with Firefly, but clearly our days of scifi-induced comatose are not over. Last night, my anxiety dreams about the start of next semester and the workload I haven’t yet finished in preparation for classes took place in flight school. I had the honor of being yelled at by Starbuck (not the shitty coffee chain that you’re picturing, but the really hot, talented, possibly lesbian pilot) over the airwaves while I was attacked by a whole fleet of Cylon ships.

In senior year style, my free period has expanded once again. Luckily, I have very few obligations this interterm, so Battlestar has only taken over from reading for my Buddhism seminar, and figuring out how to use Zotero on a macbook. I am not yet in search of the Battlestar writer, after having surrendered my job and electricity to the overwhelming powers of science fiction television.

Happy watching!

<3 ConstantLy