So please accept this meta title instead.
The Western is a genre that is as worn as the Man With No Name’s boots. We all know the story. A mysterious stranger rides into town on a Tuesday, stays for a week to clear out the riffraff and save the town, then rides out on Friday. He’s always gruff, stoic, and cold, but only is as such because some action in the past that he needs to move past. He saves the woman, who is typically harassed by men (whether or not she is paid for it) and treats her with respect. The characters are two dimensional and easily predictable. The villain is suitably evil, and there’s always (read) always a idiosyncratic bartender or the like that aids the hero. Furthermore, the hero goes through some tribulation during the film, be it a kidnapping, or breaking of hands, etc. Despite this repetition, the genre still has classics: Anything by Sergio Leone, Django, Django Unchained (Set in the South, yes, but I’ll get to that) are all great movies and easily worth viewing.
The fascinating thing about Westerns, though, is that the genre has transcended the setting. There are plenty of great Westerns that aren’t set in the American West, yet still contain all the hallmarks of the genre. Django Unchained is the most recent example, but my favourite is easily Joss Whedon’s Firefly. Set in space in the far future, it contains elements of the classic Western: there are horses and guns, yes, but also spaceships and lasers. And still, Malcolm Reynolds, the protagonist, is a stoic and cold character with crushed ideals. There’s a… lady of the night with a heart of gold, and tons of trials and tribulations. For all intents and purposes, it is a Western. In space. A Space Western.
Good show. Definitely watch it.