After dozens of advance screenings, all of which sold out before I ever heard about them, Serenity is finally in the theaters. This is the movie written and directed by Joss (Buffy, Angel) Whedon, based on his series Firefly.

There were actually 14 episodes filmed, but Fox only ran eleven of them, and those out of order. The two-hour pilot they ran last, for reasons that must have made sense at the time. The whole series can be seen, in order, in the DVD set.

Watching Serenity is like fast-forwarding through the eight episodes that would have completed the first full 22-episode season. That’s asking a lot of a hundred and nineteen minutes. Fortunately, it is one hell of a hundred and nineteen minutes. You’ll laugh. “At last, we can retire and give up this life of crime.” You’ll cry. “I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.” And, yes, you’ll kiss eight-to-ten bucks goodbye, but it’ll be worth it.

(See also this comic strip and interview with Joss Whedon by M. E. Russell, and this review from Locus.)

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