So I went and rewatched. While reading all kinds of things about Firefly.
Including this personal post by a fan who tried to ask Joss at a con about the lack of actual Asian characters in his ensemble even though the entire verse was explicitly about a future that had been heavily influenced by Chinese culture. Racism, or white privilege, or whatever you want to call it when Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, etc. traditions are coopted as the site of the "future" without actually including representation of the people who actually live in and create those cultures is something of an interest of mine.
Because you could say that part of my interest in Japan actually came from cyberpunk. And lord knows, from Blade Runner to Neuromancer, there are any number of writers and directors who are incredibly happy to use these cultures as window dressing. Hell, living in Tokyo this summer while it was raining and thunder storming, I could absolutely see exactly where Ridley Scott created the atmosphere of perpetually rainy future-LA with it's glowing signs and pyramid buildings. It was uncanny how close I felt to Harrison Ford's flight through the city standing in the rain waiting for a friend to come and meet me for dinner at Yoyogi station, watching the night sky electrified with a blue haze as the lightning flashed flicker-fast through the sky, and the thunder drummed and grumbled in the distance until it slammed down on our heads in percussive waves.
But that's no reason for Joss to keep doing what Ridley Scott did, or for me to be comfortable with it when he does. A rewatch reminded me of so many of the things that were added in the individual episodes that they bothered to get ... right? or wrong? From the Buddha sculptures in the foyer of the great hall in Shindig, to the Chinese shadow play in Heart of Gold.
And then I went and read the wiki.
Did you guys know that Inara was terminally ill??????
AND THAT MAL'S PART WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR XANDER???
or, at least, that was the intended canon?
BRAIN BLOWN. Like ten years and three or four Firefly/Serenity rewatches later too late. but wow.
also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there