One thousand, five hundred and sixty-seven years ago, today…
The Sack of 455 was the third of four ancient sacks of Rome. [It] was conducted by the Vandals, who were then at war with the usurping Western Roman Emperor Petronius Maximus.
In the 440s, the Vandal king Genseric and the Roman Emperor Valentinian III had betrothed their children, Huneric and Eudocia, to strengthen their alliance, reached in 442 with a peace treaty (the marriage was delayed as Eudocia was too young). In 455 Valentinian was killed and Petronius Maximus rose to the throne. Petronius married Valentinian’s widow, Licinia Eudoxia and had his son Palladius marry Eudocia. [In] this way, Petronius was to strengthen his bond with the Theodosian Dynasty. Unhappy, however, with her husband’s murder and the usurpation of Maximus, Eudoxia turned to aid from the Vandals to remove Maximus from his undeserved throne. The overture was favorably met because Maximus’ revolution was damaging to Genseric’s ambitions. The king of the Vandals claimed that the broken betrothal between Huneric and Eudocia invalidated his peace treaty with Valentinian and set sail to attack Rome, landing at Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber.
On this day in 455, the Vandals sacked Rome. It wasn’t too awful, as sackings go, because the Vandal king Genseric agreed to refrain from slaughtering all the inhabitants and burning down the entire city if the Romans didn’t put up any military resistance…which, they didn’t. They just threw the gates right open. So, for the next two weeks, the Vandals merely drank all the wine, stole all the treasure, enslaved an unlucky few thousand locals and generally vandalized the place. A few hundred of the impromptu wine-tastings, as it were, got out of hand and some buildings, or some people, ended up on fire but, hey…relatively speaking, the Romans got off pretty easy.
Ok. I will say it. I am a hopeless Sci-Fi geek. I could easily do this TV Draft with nothing but Sci-Fi. I led with Doctor Who because it, by far, has the longest tapestry in my life. I would venture to say that Firefly was the shortest…and, yes, I am a Browncoat. I had an extensive list of Sci-Fi choices but, chose these two, only, because I also wanted to touch on other genres including law enforcement, drama, comedy and a couple of cartoons. ~Vic
When this came out, it struck me as being very close to the original description given to the first Star Trek series…a western in space. Fox had already scored big with the X-Files, running from September 1993 to May 2002. Firefly debuted September 2002 and, I was front and center. I didn’t find out until later that the first episode that aired was not the first episode of the series. You can thank Fox executives for that mess-up. It went downhill from there.
Created by Joss Whedon (Executive Producer, Writer, Theme Composter & Director of three episodes), it starred:
★ Nathon Fillion as Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, the owner & Captain of Serenity, a Firefly-class, small transport spaceship. He is a former sergeant from the Battle of Serenity Valley, an Independent soldier in the war against the Alliance (a fusion of the last two superpowers, the US & China) in the year 2517.
★ Gina Torres as Zoë Alleyne Washburne, second-in-command aboard Serenity and Mal’s loyal corporal during the war. She is Wash’s wife.
★ Alan Tudyk as Hoban “Wash” Washburne, Serenity’s pilot and a bit jealous over his wife’s attachment to Mal. He is known for cracking jokes, even during horrible situations.
★ Morena Baccarin as Inara Serra, a Companion that is a blending of a courtesan, a geisha & a mistress. She has a very high social status and rents one of Serenity’s small shuttles. She & Mal are attracted to each other, dislike each other’s “jobs” and want to remain professional towards each other.
★ Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb, a 6’4″ mercenary that acts dumber than he really is. He sends much of his income back to his mother. He is excellent in a fight, has an intense fear of Reavers and has an extreme dislike of Simon and his sister, River, as she attacked him with a knife.
★ Jewel Staite as Kaywinnet Lee “Kaylee” Frye, the ship’s adorable mechanic. With no formal training, she intuitively knows mechanical equipment. She routinely talks to Serenity and has a crush on Simon Tam.
★ Sean Maher as Simon Tam, a trauma surgeon (top 3% of his class) that became a fugitive after he snatched his sister, River, out of a government research facility. He struggles with his desire for Kaylee as his life revolves around his sister.
★ Summer Glau as River Tam, an intuitive child prodigy that the Alliance experimented on, leading to psychic abilities and combat training. She suffers from PTSD and has flashbacks from the experiments. She can be delusional, paranoid and violent without warning.
★ Ron Glass as Derrial Book, commonly referred to as Shepherd Book (a 24th century version of a pastor). A devout Christian, his background is unknown but, he has much knowledge that the average pastor would not have. He has a fairly high status with the Alliance and, though he objects to violence, he is skilled in combat. Quote: “…while the Bible is quite specific about killing, it is somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps.” Book is the voice of reason, spirituality and conscience for the crew.
Fourteen episodes, with a two-hour pilot, were produced but, only 11 of them aired before being unceremoniously cancelled. The Browncoat Brigade started a postcard writing campaign to Fox, and UPN but, it ultimately failed. They continued to push for the DVD release and, in 2005, the feature film Serenity was released on September 30.