In a little while I'll set off for the theater to watch Sex and the City. I've never seen more than a minute of the HBO show, and everything that I've heard about it has seemed vaguely repulsive. I don't know who the characters are, what they're known for doing or not doing, what story arcs fans are expecting to pop up or get resolved, or what's supposed to surprise me. In short: I am not part of Sex and the City's target audience. Were it not for an obligation to keep up with major cinematic developments, I'd probably skip the film. But as it stands, and though I'm committed to sitting through it, I can't help but wonder: is there any point in my watching it?

This won't the first time I've watched a movie based on a show without ever having seen the source material. Mission: Impossible, Charlie's Angels, Miami Vice, Starsky & Hutch -- I went into all of them cold, but none were made specifically for fans of the program and meant to be a continuation of same. The closest I've come to watching a movie like that without having seen the show is, I think, Joss Whedon's Serenity. I liked it well enough, though I'm sure I was nonplussed by things that would have delighted a fan of Firefly.