To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ history and make clear why each winner deserves recognition as a notable pro-freedom work, the Libertarian Futurist Society publishes an ongoing Appreciation series of all award-winners.
Here is the Appreciation by Prometheus-winning novelist Travis Corcoran for writer-director Joss Whedon’s film Serenity, which received a Prometheus Special Award in 2006.
Like almost every science fiction fan, and like almost every libertarian, I was a fan of the TV series Firefly from the first episode of it I saw.
Firefly, and later Serenity, are about several things that are near and dear to the hearts of liberty-lovers: the frontier, voluntary – not coercive – exchange, an uneasy relationship with authority, self-reliance, and the trade-offs that inevitably come from uncompromising moral codes, nonconformism, and a healthy skepticism for the default paths through life.
The Libertarian Futurist Society’s Appreciation series, launched in 2019 to celebrate the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, is an effort to make clear why each work won our award and deserves recognition as a pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian work.
Here’s an appreciation for The Prisoner,” the 2002 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction and the first TV series to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“I am not a number. I am a free man!” Actor Patrick McGoohan utters those defiant words as the heroic individualist at the center of The Prisoner, one of the most unusual, enigmatic and evocative TV series ever broadcast.
Today, that emblematic catchphrase remains well-known in popular culture, and ranks high among the most familiar lines of dialogue from any TV show or movie of the 20th century.
“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own,” McGoohan declared in the first episode – another among many memorable anti-authoritarian and individualist lines of dialogue that he would utter throughout the iconic series.
Such explicit affirmations of individuality, self-determination and resistance to tyranny were highly unusual on television half a century ago – and sadly remain relatively rare today.
The films that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe are an unusual, and possibly unique artistic project: a cinematic series set in a shared fictional universe, one that develops from film to film, with later films referring to earlier.
Of course there have been trilogies and other series of films, but this design not only is at a greater length, but has multiple branches following different groups of characters. There’s a main storyline that began with The Avengers and progressed through Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, and The Black Panther, but other films have told different types of stories: a mock epic in Guardians of the Galaxy, a caper film in Ant-Man, and a story of supernatural initiation in Doctor Strange, for example.