Saturday, February 23, 2013

Joss Whedon's Firefly

After reading Fred Erisman's article "Stagecoach in Space" please choose ONE of the following questions to address in your post. You only need to speak to the first episode that we watched, Serenity, but if you have more familiarity of the series you are welcome to bring up other episodes. Please be specific with any examples, and as always if you quote the reading make sure to cite it.

1) What are some of the specific conventions of the western and the science fiction genres that show up in Firefly, and how are these conventions handled (are they a continuation of the genre, do they put a new twist on things, etc)? Make sure you think about setting, character types, specific iconography, audience expectations and even thematic questions. You do not need to bring up every single convention, but you should speak to both genres in this mixed genre piece.

2) According to Erisman Malcolm Reynolds is a prime example of the Fordian Community's leader. What are some specific examples from Firefly (not brought up in the reading) that help to illustrate this point? How does Mal compare as the western hero to Ethan and Josey or any other western heroes you are familiar with?

3) Although Firefly heavily borrows from the western genre, it is not a story that could be told in the old west. How do the setting (time period included), the use of technology, and the concern for "the social chaos, the man-made disruption of social order, and threat to the harmony of civilized society going about it's business" affect the film as a part of the western genre?

Your original post is due by end of block Friday, March 1st. You should respond (using the ladder of feedback) to at least two other blog posts by Tuesday, March 5th.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Many have called Outland a film that is basically High Noon in outer space, borrowing key elements from the classic western and placing them in a futuristic space mining station. In fact, at one point the doctor says "here comes the calvary." What elements, if any, do you see as correlating to the western genre? How are the science fiction aspects handled in the film - in particular how is the space station (in lieu of the space ship) treated and what does it represent in this film? How is this film a part of the science fiction lexicon, and how are other aspects of technology handled? What conventions of either genre help to build suspense in the film?

For your post please make sure to address all questions, though do so in a complete and cohesive manner (please do not just answer them without explaining the questions somehow).  You should also note that for your blog posts for this class, you are welcome to do half of them in an more untraditional manner - for example as Vlog posts instead, though you should make sure that their content is still equal to the requirements of a written out post.

As always 400 words is the minimum. Post is due by Friday, Feb 22nd.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Western

Before you write this post please make sure you've read the article "Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales" by Robert C. Sickles, which is posted up in our Aspen page.

In his article, Sickles argues that The Searchers' Ethan and Josey can be compared as two very different versions of the western hero, and through examination tries to prove that the two characters and films therefore reflect the cultural values of the time periods they were made in.

Having watched both films do you agree with Sickles' points, and do you find his evidence compelling? Why or why not? Please be specific (and remember if you quote anything to be sure to cite accordingly). What other conventions, characters or iconography of the western can you compare/contrast between the two films, and how would these affect his argument? What about considering the comedic elements in both films and how they are handled?

Please be sure to write your post as best you can so that someone who has not seen the films or read the article could still follow your post.

Minimum word count is 400 and the post is due by end of block on Friday, February 15th. You need to read and respond using the ladder of feedback (Clarify, Value, Concerns, Suggestions) to at least two other blog posts by end of block on Tues, Feb 19th. Please also make sure to only respond to blog posts that have two or fewer responses already (so don't be the third to add a comment).