Serenity is a movie based on a TV show that I first heard about here on Gamegrene, and it's a must-see for all gamers, since it accurately depicts (in my opinion, anyway) the role-playing atmosphere we've come to love and enjoy. Here is a review of the movie, the show, and the roleplaying game.
This is exactly how my friends and I act in-game whenever we play.
Serenity is based off of a sci-fi TV show called Firefly that was cancelled after 14 episodes. I first heard about it from several people posting comments here at Gamegrene. Even though it was a critically acclaimed show with thousands of devoted fans and was written and directed by Joss Whedon, the OscarÂ®- and Emmy-nominated writer/director behind the global phenomena of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, the FOX TV Network cancelled the show during its first season in the fall of 2002. This was the result of horrible ad campaigning and the Network's complete and utter idiocy. FOX didn't even air the pilot episode until the end of the season!
Set in a futuristic, post-Earth universe dominated by a planetary Alliance, the series chronicled the adventures of the ragtag spaceship Serenity and her eclectic crew of outcasts, led by Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, played by NATHAN FILLION. Although FOX TV cancelled the show after only 11 of the 14 produced episodes had aired, Firefly's quirky mix of humor, complex characters and sci-fi had attracted a loyal and passionate following as many people here at Gamegrene can attest.
Luckily, using money earned from the release of the series on DVD, which was a huge hit, Whedon was able to gather the cast and crew (who love the show) and make a low budget (not that you can tell) movie based on the series.
Let me tell you right now, I am extremely critical of movies. I pick apart movies, even the ones that I like. There are only a handful that I can't pick apart: Meet Joe Black, Cellular, and the Shawshank Redemption, off the top of my head. I think that I can safely add Serenity to that list. Now granted, I only saw this movie one time, but it rocked. And I don't say that lightly, as my friends and family can attest. One thing that I truly loved was the humor and fun that the characters exhibited ALL THE TIME. This is exactly how my friends and I act in-game whenever we play. It's brilliant!
The universe presented in this show is realistic, fun, and so prone to adventure that there is already a roleplaying game out based on the movie that I may buy just for shits and giggles. Margaret Weis (of DragonLance fame) Productions, Ltd. announced its agreement with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group to produce roleplaying game products based on Universal Pictures' upcoming film Serenity on April 16th, 2005. The film was released September 30th, 2005 and is now out on DVD as is the entire 14 episodes of the series.
It is a prime example of a roleplaying group in the middle of a really good campaign.
Like the film, the roleplaying game book is set in the future and allows players to either re-create the action of the movie or experience new tales of adventure. The core book, the Serenity Roleplaying Game, is a self-contained roleplaying game using a new game system specially created for the line. The game book will be a full-color, hardcover book featuring still images from the film as well as original artwork. It will provide rules for play, character creation, and a short adventure along with information about the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship, Serenity.
"The universe created for Serenity is amazing," says Margaret Weis, New York Times best-selling author and game publisher. "The movie presents a fascinating and intriguing view of the future. Serenity combines the best conventions of science fiction and westerns in a unique way, and is a natural fit for a roleplaying game."
Vice President of Margaret Weis Productions, Jamie Chambers (who leads a team of game designers and writers including Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, James M. Ward, Tony Lee, and Andrew Peregrine) commented, "I could not be more enthusiastic about the new game. Everyone involved on this project has an excitement and passion for the material, one that shows in the quality of their work and the fun we're having in early playtests. Our goal is provide a game that is easy to learn, fast to play, and encourages the kind of fast-paced action, fun, and character development that fans will see in theaters."
Please watch this movie. It is PG-13 and suitable for 13 years and up. This is due to some sci-fi violence, a few scenes with some blood, and the Reavers, which are cool but would be VERY SCARY for any kids. They are nasty... but still cool. There is no language, nudity, sex, or anything else. It IS extremely funny in a understated sort of way. It is also a prime example of a roleplaying group in the middle of a really good campaign.
Even better, get the movie and the game. That way you are not only supported a great show and the writer/director with the creativity and guts to make it, you'll also be supporting the gaming industry that we all know and love. It's the best of both worlds!