Friday, August 01, 2014

Firefly: gone too soon. Hope Island, gone too soon.

Firefly was a set-in-the-future science fiction cowboy television show. It still pains me to write "was". TV Guide ranked the series #5 on their 2013 list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon", says an article about the show at Wikipedia. A one-hour pilot and thirteen too-few episodes is all we have.

I've deliberately left the last two episodes unseen on Hulu, so I still have the opportunity to anticipate.

I found a great program on Hulu called "Hope Island". A young-ish pastor accepts a call to a little church on a small island off Seattle. The scenery is gorgeous and so are the people, though they are all real looking. The show was on Pax channel, and was their highest rated, most beloved, and best award winning show ever. So they cancelled it right away.

I started watching Hope Island on Hulu and the first episode was a winner for me. Some of the characters were a little broad but the writers solidified them quickly and the story arc over the 22 episode season was the best I've ever seen in terms of character development, plot advancement, and pacing.

The pastor looked to be from a Lutheran or Anglican denomination according to his vestments. The church was called Hope Community Church. The preaching scenes were general, but nothing doctrinally awful, and Jesus, God, and prayer were mentioned, though the show was light on religion but heavy on compassion.

That is what I loved about the show. It built a pretend community of people interacting in love and tolerance and compassion. The show was kind. It was Mayberry of the 1990s, and it was a place I would love to live. For 22 episodes, I did live there.

Some people might take offense at this, but as much as I enjoy Andy Griffith and his fictional town of Mayberry, there were many times I didn't like the overlay of lying on the show. Too often, people lied to one another and performed elaborate pranks to perpetuate the lie. They lied to Aunt Bee about the pickles. They lied to Barney about his operatic voice. The lies were always for a good reason, but the hijinks that ensued were because of the necessity to cover up the lie.

On Hope Island, there was a Catholic priest and though they gave his religion credence, (which I wish they hadn't) the show did not focus on him, and often showed him as a real person. I'm glad they didn't make the focus of the show Catholic, because the British show that Hope Island was based on was the Irish show Ballykissangel.

I looked up Ballykissangel and was prepared to watch, until I learned it was based on a Catholic priest, and worse, this:
The name of the fictional village in which the show was set is derived from Ballykissane, a townland near Killorglin in County Kerry, where the show's creator, Kieran Prendiville, holidayed with his family as a child. The village's name in Irish is shown as "Baile Coisc Aingeal", which means "The town of the fallen angel" on the sign outside the post office. Wikipedia
Town of Fallen Angel?!?! Might as well call it Demon Town. Delete that one from my queue.

Anyway, Hope Island has none of that vibe, it is just a great, GREAT family show. There is no swearing,  no drugs, no adultery ... I was so upset that it was cancelled. You'd have thought it was canceled last week instead of 14 years ago. I miss Hope Island but I'm glad I got to see 22 episodes. I recommend the program. You can watch free here at internet movie database/via Hulu for free. This link is to is episode 1. If you watch, think of Daniel Cooper as Jonah, especially when he falls into the water and the seaweed tries to entangle him.


Watch the elaborate lie set up to save the Mayberry Choir from Barney's bad voice.

Here is the same situation, dealing with Reverend Cooper's non-audition choir and the fact that everyone but Reverend Cooper knew that Brian's voice is awful. But with non-auditions, Cooper must accept all comers. The situation is dealt with compassionately.

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