There have been a number of reviews for Pay Me, Bug! that have compared it to Firefly. I love those reviews, because a) Firefly is awesome, b) I wrote PMB! a year after Firefly’s painfully short-lived run (it came out in 2002, I wrote PMB! in 2003) and yes, the show did leave its mark on me so some comparison is apt, and c) Firefly did a lot of things, story-wise, that I want to do when I write—so being compared to it is a good sign.
(Though I should note that while I was writing PMB! I found myself more influenced by Farscape, and I specifically took inspiration for Grif and Amys’ relationship from an episode where John Crichton and Aeryn Sun impersonate bounty hunters and go by the names “Butch” and “Sundance.”)
There is one part of the comparison that fascinates me, which is when Grif gets compared to Malcom Reynolds. Superficially it’s a good fit: they’re both mavericks, they’re both smartasses, they’re both loyal to their crew, they’re both always getting into trouble. But I think the comparison can really be ONLY superficial. Fundamentally their characters are so different that I don’t think, at the end of the day, they would ever really get along.
The more I thought about this, the more I thought it would be fun to write about why I see it that way, and it mostly has to do with how I view Mal, who has become one of my favorite characters on television and, I think, is the proper heir to Han Solo’s Mantle of Scruffy Nerf-Herder Awesome. So without further ado, here are my Reasons Why Grif and Mal Aren’t the Same, and Why They Probably Wouldn’t Get Along.