Sometimes it's hard to explain what gets into your system.
And it can be harder yet to own up to it. You get the raised eyebrow from those superior people when you mention a TV show has you hooked. And you never quite believe they do not have a guilty TV pleasure of their own that does not have Masterpiece Theatre in the title.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the Discovery Channel a lot. But it is not what I start counting my week down by. You know you are hooked when you start regaling friends with plot twists and character descriptions. You plan gatherings around show times.
Friday has become that day for me. In fact, my friends now call it "Firefly" Friday.
Enthusiasm for a special TV show can be a quirk of your personality only good friends are able to take in stride. The good friends accept the constant chatter about a quirky sci-fi show about a futuristic transport ship without passing judgment and without much more than a sigh and an eye roll or two.
In fact, on a short Minnesota autumn day when the sun makes an exit uncomfortably closer to 4 p.m., the television can be seen providing a comforting flicker behind many a closed door.
It's not just that I could imagine being stranded on a ice floe on Hudson Bay with actor Nathan Fillion, but that I think I would enjoy the time -- with the proper supply of Tab and maybe a space heater, of course.
But what's more is the show is worth watching. It's entertaining and witty with charismatic main characters who are not made of whole cloth as either purely good or bad. And, helpfully, I'm not alone in thinking so. Entertainment Weekly gave it a B plus and urged Fox to let the show grow its viewership as word-of-mouth buzz spread.
The show had an uneven opening. Viewership was not helped by Fox's decision not to show the original two-hour pilot as the first dose of "Firefly." The two-hour pilot is now scheduled to air Dec. 20. There were World Series baseball interruptions when the show was not on the air at all in its 7 p.m. Friday time slot. Some viewers didn't come back. But the episodes have gotten better and better as the series developed.
For the uninitiated, "Firefly" is set 500 years into the future in a post civil war solar system. There are no aliens. Just regular people. The show's creator is Joss Whedon, of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fame.
Fillion's lead character, Mal, is Firefly's captain, and might I add, a good dose of eye candy. A survivor of a losing fight for independence in the civil war, the captain bought a transport ship that equated to freedom. He transformed a role in a greater conflict to a narrower focus of keeping ship and crew together and moving to the future's frontier to do so. What's past is present and future is certainly a theme as our own bloody Civil War had survivors heading West in hopes of leaving the past on the very ground behind them.
In a USA Today interview Whedon said he wanted to do a show about people who were just working-class people. No super heroes. No aliens. Just people who can rise to a challenge when heroic measures are called for. The cast doesn't have to grow on you, they made an immediate connection without having to be broken in and equated -- on a comfort level -- to that beat-up pair of favorite sneakers.
I start counting down for the next episode about 10 minutes after "Firefly" ends on Friday. C'mon Fox give a girl a little help here. Don't give up on this show yet. Let more viewers find it and be totally hooked to uber-nerdom. I need to see where the crew is headed in the future and I'm interested in what got them to this point from their past.
Amy Amatangelo said it in her Zap2it TV Gal column that Whedon "assembled a motley crew that I want to follow."
Fox initially committed to air 13 episodes of the new show. But when rumors began circulating the show's future could be in doubt, fans started raising funds to buy a full-page Variety ad and mobilized an online petition to urge Fox to keep the series.
I signed it.
A search on the Internet reveals numerous sites and Web chat opportunities. "Firefly" also earned mention in a variety of tech and entertainment columns for setting up a running commentary of what's going on behind the scenes like a daily insider's journal.
One online site lists memorable quotes from the series. Another offers a quiz to test a fan's knowledge. It may not be the Issac Asimov test, but the quiz masters offer to tell you a few hilarious trends about yourself once you've completed the quiz.
Yes, I took it.
Fox is expected to make a decision early this week on whether the next nine "Firefly" episodes will be ordered to create a full 22-show first season.
I've done my best by spreading the word about "Firefly" Fridays to family and friends from Minneapolis to Denver. I've got friends searching the Net for updates like people hunt for water in the desert.
The stress of thinking Fox can't see the promise in this quirky series is making me crazy. Fridays will be barren without it.
But I've got my fingers crossed.
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