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A slightly random observation, but I watched the first episode of Firefly last night and liked it much, much better than I did the first time I'd seen it. The key is that the storytelling is brilliantly subtle about revealing what's going on. As the second scene begins, you're already in the thick of things and nobody's stepped back to explain "Earth That War," why the outer planets are so poor, that the Alliance won the war, what a Brownshirt is, or anything. The storytelling just proceeds. When you first watch, though, you're so taken in by trying to "figure it out" that it's a little hard to appreciate how delicately the whole contraption's been constructed.

It's something one must keep in mind when dealing with any sophisticated TV show. I've seen the first three seasons of The Wire all at least three times, and my relative rating of them shifts over time (in particular, season two is superficially seductive but starts to look clumsy compared to the other two, while season three has a lot of hidden resonances) in a way that makes me believe the current month's worth of Sopranos-talk will all need to be revised once people finally have the chance to watch the entire run on DVD.

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