Would C.S. Lewis love "Serenity"?

Would C.S. Lewis love “Serenity”?

Is there a connection between Captain Malcolm Reynolds and Ransom?

Bruce Edwards thinks so, and tells us why.

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  • Adam Walter

    Re: Lewis over-rated.

    Wow, I can’t think of a single Lewis book that I’ve managed to exhaust. His fiction, with its imagery and imagination, always leaves me breathless, and his non-fiction always challenges me to examine myself and reach both higher and deeper. The Four Loves and The Abolition of Man have been two books, in particular, that I haven’t been able to shake off in the past decade; I’m always thinking about them. As for Narnia, 9 times out of 10 when I read a modern young adult novel, I find myself dissatisfied and wonder why these authors can’t achieve what Narnia does… or The Hobbit, or the Oz books.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    I’ve never been a big fan of LW&W either. A Lewis fan? Yes, but more of his non-fiction than his fiction.

    Hmmm. I went through a period about a decade ago where I began to grow dissatisfied with a lot of Lewis’s non-fiction; I remember reading The Four Loves while I was in England in the summer of 1994 and thinking it wasn’t all that, so the process began a while ago.

    I do remember greatly enjoying Till We Have Faces at the time, though, and of course I have read The Screwtape Letters more often than any other book, and I find it both immensely entertaining and immensely edifying. (Is that book fiction or non-fiction…?)

    And Peter, “Serenity” is “brains on” entertianment when compared to most television.

    Ah, well, I don’t watch television. :)

    Except for those Babylon 5 DVDs that friends have been giving me as wedding presents. That’s definitely more my cuppa tea.

    Or, at least it shows evidence of a good deal of intelligence engineering the entertainment. It aspires to be more than just a genre exercise…

    Perhaps. But I was rather disappointed with the way this movie failed to deliver on so many of the show’s more promising aspects.

    I won’t get into certain spoilers, but I will say that the film did nothing to justify all the attention the Alliance had been giving River all this time; it definitely left me with a sense of “So that’s all they’ve been worried about, all this time?”

    And the whole “let’s broadcast the truth” convention is a hoary old cliche; a lot of people out there would probably yawn and turn the channel.

    And again, one of the main reasons I enjoy it so much is that I feel it recaptures and surpasses that delicate chemistry that made me love the first two Star Wars films, a quality very few entertainments have managed to conjure.

    Well, even Star Wars — the original film, I mean, not the prequels — doesn’t recapture the delicate chemistry that I remember it having! Empire still does the trick, though.

    But suffice to say this movie (and the series before it) didn’t have that quality, for me. As Han Solo almost told Princess Leia, “There’s no accounting for taste.” :)

  • sg

    Ok. You didn’t like LW&W as Lewis fiction…but how ’bout, Till We Have Faces? Or George MacDonald’s Lilith or Phantastes?

    Curious I am.

  • The Cubicle Reverend

    I just really like Doctor Who. I want those things to be recognized as well as remembering the good and the cheesy. I didn’t realize it’d set off such a storm. Man, this is me saying I don’t like Woody Allen all over again.

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    No, Peter, I don’t think you’re being merely contrary. I’ve never been a big fan of LW&W either. A Lewis fan? Yes, but more of his non-fiction than his fiction. Even as a kid, when I read TLW&W, I had the sense that I was *supposed* to love it, like a good Christian kid, but it never drew me in the way Tolkien’s work did… or many other writers, Christian and otherwise.

    And Peter, “Serenity” is “brains on” entertianment when compared to most television. Or, at least it shows evidence of a good deal of intelligence engineering the entertainment. It aspires to be more than just a genre exercise, and almost every episode deals in intriguing ethical dilemmas and interesting character conflicts and tensions… more than any adventure series I’ve enjoyed since… gosh, no competitors spring to mind.

    And again, one of the main reasons I enjoy it so much is that I feel it recaptures and surpasses that delicate chemistry that made me love the first two Star Wars films, a quality very few entertainments have managed to conjure.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Oh, and sticking to this thread’s topic, I guess I should say, in the spirit of full disclosure, that I’m working on a blog post about why I think Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is over-rated. Alas, I have had to put it aside to get some actual paying work done, but I will post it eventually.

    Am I just being contrarian again? Or am I just turning my brain on? You be the judge! :)

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Jeff, you keep contrasting “brains off” and “Serenity” as though these were mutually contradictory things.

    I’m not the Whedonite that some people are, but one of the things I liked about Serenity was that I didn’t have to turn my brain “on” for it. It was just a fun romp. It has its problems, but it’s fun.

    It’s only when I turn my brain “on” that I begin to want to point out things that didn’t work as well as I think they could have.

    But maybe that’s the contrarian in me. A part of me resists the notion that, if I don’t like a piece of pulp fantasy like Serenity, it might be because I wouldn’t let it turn my brain “on”.

    Anyway, the film has definite flaws, and since I was never a big fan of the TV series to begin with, the movie did nothing to make me a fan. My brain’s got nowt to do with this.

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    This site is about “looking closer” in search of excellence, meaning, and artistry. All are in evidence in “Firefly” and “Serenity” more than in most action-adventure films, so I’m making a point to celebrate it. And more, I’m striving to make a big noise about it, to do what I can to help ensure there will be more of the good stuff, rather than just watching another great idea go overlooked and fade into oblivion. That gets to the very reason why I created the site in the first place. Over the Rhine. “The Return.” Ron Sexsmith. “Yi-Yi.” Sam Phillips. Add “Firefly” to the list of “the good stuff” that I hope more people will discover.

    But I don’t hear anybody saying there isn’t more to life than that. Good grief.

    And by the way, Adam, you crack me up.

  • The Cubicle Reverend

    And yet they managed to keep going without a budget. It had longevity. I’m not downing Serenity, I actually really want to see it and think I’ll be able to enjoy it. It’s just, there’s more to life than Serenity, or Star Trek. Isn’t this sight called Looking Closer? Look closer at this. You might be suprised.

  • Adam Walter

    Jeff said: Of course, maybe I just watched the wrong season of Doctor Who.

    Well, some of it is very good. And then some is laughably bad, unwatchable even.

  • Adam Walter

    TCR said: But Doctor Who has been going for over 25 years.

    I know a guy who has had a really weird skin disease for that long. Coincidence?

    Considering Van Gogh wasn’t popular in his day says something doesn’t it?

    But neither was the poetry of Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings–and it remains unpopular to this day.

    Remember Twin Peaks?

    Yes, indeedy. Someone was just telling me the R1 DVD set of Season 2 is getting released shortly. Oh, and check out this:

    http://www.twinpeaksfestival.com/

    Now, I’m not saying anything against Doctor Who, but I don’t see why Whovians should have a monopoly on the fanboy thing.

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    WHERE’S TWIN PEAKS? Man, it’s on the all-time-top-ten lists of almost every television viewer I know who cares about craftsmanship and art. The Season Two DVD set is highly-anticipated. And many influential television-makers AND, I might add, filmmakers list it as one of their most influential experiences.

    But no, it’s certainly not popular with viewers who turn their brains OFF when watching television.

    Yes, I’ve heard kudos for Doctor Who from the more intellectual varieties of TV-watchers out there. But I’ve never heard it praised as highly as “Firefly” for the writing, the characterizations, or the narrative. Personally, I tried to get Doctor Who for a while, but it didn’t hold my interest. I suspect Doctor Who was popular because it was one of the only things going to tantalize viewers who were interested in something unconventional and ambitious. But since then, we’ve had far richer resources to enjoy. (I feel the same way about Red Dwarf, which is enjoyably diverting, but it doesn’t leave me clamoring for them to please make more episodes.)

    (Of course, maybe I just watched the wrong season of Doctor Who.)

  • The Cubicle Reverend

    Considering Van Gogh wasn’t popular in his day says something doesn’t it? How about Kafka? Hasn’t been a best seller lately, but they still keep publishing his books.

    So can Serenity stand the test of time? Remember Twin Peaks? Where’s that? Star Trek, got cancelled in 2 years and is still popular.

  • BethR

    And yet after 25 years, still without the massive critical and academic acclaim. One of those things that make you go “hmm”?

  • The Cubicle Reverend

    But Doctor Who has been going for over 25 years.

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    I don’t remember Doctor Who getting responses like THIS:

    http://slidersweb.net/serenity/

  • The Cubicle Reverend

    You are a bit obsessed with Serenity! Try some Doctor Who.


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