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FOX must have the greatest talent scouts in the world, but the worst
executives. "Firefly" is the best example. It was simultaneously the
new show, the best western series in decades, and the best sci-fi show on
(and coming from a die-hard Trekkie, placing them above "Enterprise" is
saying something). They didn't have a single bad episode, and some were
spectacular. The premise, the characters, the plots and the dialogue were
all top-notch. And FOX cancelled it without even really giving it a
Maybe the show couldn't stand in the end. Maybe I'm alone in this, and there aren't enough fans to justify what the show cost. But making that call after half a season, with half of the episodes pre-empted for baseball playoffs was a phenomenally stupid thing to do. That show should have been here to stay, and it got axed without a chance to prove itself. I only pray the movie works out. At least we'll have something.
As with BtVS, the world is divided into people who get Firefly and
people who don't. In this series Joss Whedon created one of the most
realistic post-war visions of the future ever committed to tape, that
at the same time spoke about yesterday and today. Maybe a little too
much today for its own good.
The series is anti-corporate, anti-government and, while it takes the stand that some things are worth fighting for, it is largely anti-war. No wonder FOX did everything in its power to kill it off, including airing episodes out of order, skipping weeks after airing only three eps and, inevitably canceling the show without even airing episodes 12, 13 and 14 (out of 15). This was particularly damaging, as Firefly had a greater sense of ongoing plot than any other Whedon series in its first year. Viewers were left wondering, on more than one occasion, when a character would reference something we hadn't seen yet.
The backstage dramatics aside, Firefly is intelligent and, like Buffy, mythic - except this time Whedon is dealing with the myth of America: the Frontier, the Civil War, the rise of the Corporation, etc . . .
Firefly is a demanding show. It asks its audience to appreciate the shades of grey in its characters' moral scale. The villains are not comfortingly dressed as an alien race. In 500 years mankind will still be its own worst enemy. Technology will be in the hands of a privileged few, and others will in "The Black" - Whedon's frontier third world - where it is possible to exist without the interference (or benefit) of civilization and government. Things will be dirty, and used. Firefly creates a universe that almost totally opposes that of (that bastion of television sci-fi) Star Trek: its Federation-like central power (the Alliance) is interpreted as being oppressive and dystopic. We are on the side of those who resisted (like the Maqui) and lost.
The acting is strong, the writing as excellent, funny and moving as on any Whedon show, and the effects and sets create a consistent, believable world. It is a shame the series didn't have a more hospitable environment in which to grow and become all it could have been.
I felt I had to comment on this show because of another persons
negative opinion on it(target audience of 8 or 9 years). I find this
show addicting and the characters far more interesting than many sci-fi
shows that have gained far more publicity because of their special
effects. Each character is very well developed and entices the audience
to want to find out more about them. As a personal response as to why
weapons haven't developed beyond the space western....several of the
episodes show scenes of past and current technology far more advanced
than the weapons used in the show on a regular basis.laser
guns,magnetic grapplers,floating cities,multiple brain surgeries
involving nerve manipulation,killer sonic tech,and much more. The show
is set on the frontier of known space with characters that are not
rich. A regular western gun is all that can be safely used on a
spaceship. Another gun, whether laser or high caliber projectile weapon
will pierce the hull and cause major problems for the crew..if not kill
The social intricacies of the companions and the "Houses" they come from, the military training of the "shepherd" preacher, the developing psionic powers of "the crazy sister-river" and all the others leads me to believe that Whedon put a lot of planning and thought into each character and the personal world they live in. They all seem to have a substantial, believable past. They all seem to have personal goals that are not necessarily tied to the show...as if they could leave at any time if their lives and beliefs take them that way. This comes across as very believable.
While others are entitled to their own opinion, all of this, in my opinion, makes me think this show is worth every penny spent to produce it. I also own it.
This show blew me away. The beauty of the production, the detail in the sets, the well written characters, the intelligent stories and concepts, the fun, the drama, and the excitement all amazed me. I don't usually spend time watching TV, but I honestly hated having to wait until the next show! :)
The special effects are seamlessly integrated and beautifully detailed. The manner in which the show was presented - the hand-held cameras, the use of zooms, and the occasional off-focus effect - was very intriguing, giving it a look of a show that was real and gritty, something that really caught your attention but didn't distract you from what was being presented. It made you feel like you were really there, like it was believable.
While there was a Western attitude and flavor to some of the episodes, I always felt that it was more about the lack of authority, the fact that people were just dropped out on these planets without the kinds of support that you would expect. It's presented very well and makes sense to me, although I've heard others take a different approach to it.
If you have the opportunity to get the DVDs, I would highly suggest it. It is well worth the money!
There is one big premise that you have to swallow in order to like this
show. If you can't cope with it, you won't like it, because it will smack
you in the face in every episode.
It is like the James Bond movies, if you don't accept, as a premise, that Bond, James Bond, can do everything, fly, drive, shoot, use *every* piece of machinery on the planet, that he can shoot better than all his adversaries (who all miss, all the time) and gets *all* the babes, if you don't accept this, you have to hate James Bond movies, because they are ridiculous. We talk about suspense of disbelief.
The one thing you have to swallow, without thinking about it, is, that in this particular science fiction universe, the future looks like this:
You have core planets, which are like one would imagine future worlds: Big, beautiful buildings, hight tech gadgets, spaceships and shuttles, modern weapons (some that don't kill by using some kind of sonic boom), flat displays, a modern, digital credit system instead of localised currency, a totally diverse people influenced by every imaginable culture, heavily influenced by the chinese society, the only remaining superpower besides the USA and so forth.
But, and this is a capitalized BUT: There are also the outer rim planets. They don't have a developed infrastructure and such. Settlers are dumped on planets with next to nothing, exploited to recover raw materials, used as cheap labor, trying to survive. Still sounds reasonable, no? The catch is: all these outer rim worlds look like you have been thrown into a cheap spaghetti WESTERN movie.
They trade cows, they use old revolvers, drive horses and dress in western-style garments. You have little, old, dirty small villages with a saloon and stuff. These outer rim planets, out of reach of the civilised Alliance, are a no-mans-land, with superstitious, uneducated fools, where the strong fist rules - if you have the most men and guns behind you, you are the law. The poor grunt is like the cowboy in a typical western movie.
Hard to accept? Partially yes, of course. But there is logic in almost everything: there are future references everywhere! Real food (as opposed to synthesized proteins) is a rare commodity, the RICH guys have laser guns or state of the art display devices.
And - they stay true to this premise throughout the show, which is a rare thing in today's entertainment.
But apart from this (for some) hard to accept premise, this show is the most entertaining, clever, realistic(!), funny, imaginative, creative, thrilling piece of entertainment I had the pleasure of viewing (by downloading it from the internet) in years (don't get me wrong: I downloaded it because I live in Germany and the show was never aired here, and I asked my brother, who lives in the USA, to get me the DVD as a christmas present - and he did)
As for realism: Why do they still use guns to kill people, why not lasers like in Star Trek (which i am avid fan of)? I say: guns kill people, bullets are cheap. Guns get the killing done. (And there are modern (bullet) guns and lasers in the show, they exist, they are simply not widespread and only available to the rich.
No sound in space - a little thing with big impact. Not only is it realistic, but it adds to the atmosphere. Instead of ridiculous sound effects the scenes in space are underlaid with vivid music, only emphasising the vastness and nothingness of space.
The basics of the universe comply with our world. In the outer rim, where modern civilization hasn't gotten a foothold yet, things - which are to us - common, are valuable merchandise! Just imagine the third world... How much worth are medicine, guns, food there? There are (to us) barbaric customs in uncivilised areas of the world and all this is being portrayed in the show.
The Plots are great, not like in Enterprise where you seem to have seen everything somewhere before, these plots are unique, thrilling and exciting. I have seen episodes where I thought "ok, I get it" and then *wham* the story turns into a totally different direction. Surprises at every corner.
The show is so refreshingly politically incorrect, I don't want to give away plot details, but there are situations you know from your movie/series experience and think OMG there we go again (Hostage situations someone?) and then*boom* - the protagonist does EXACTLY what WE would wish to do but which every movie/series is afraid of doing because it is not PC.
The characters are three dimensional and so well laid out. This "family" on board a little spaceship, a confined space(!), with all their motivations, quirks and problems, trying to get along and achieve their goals, are so believable and make for a hell of a ride.
The creators of this show have, in the first 14 episodes, established plots, characters and atmosphere that other science fiction series have only managed to achieve - if ever - in the last seasons of their time on air.
Such a pity that most American viewers couldn't see behind a bold, unique, hilarious - if difficult to accept at first glance - premise... and see the beautiful gem of a show behind it.
This series is an excellent series. However, like other high quality shows, this one was cancelled prematurely. Science fiction often takes time for people to warm upto it, but in the end, the fanbase makes up for the time lost. (Stargate SG-1 was tossed around from HBO to Fox and now to SciFi where it is now the hottest scifi show on television) The magnitude of Star Trek: The Original Series was not realized until it was prematurely cancelled. Look at the money Paramount is making off of the franchise. This show is like many others who deserve recognition in science fiction. I recommend anyone who appreciates science fiction to watch this series, however, I must warn you that the ending is exceptionally disappointing. It is unfinished... an abrupt ending with so many lose ends, it may leave you with a feeling of grave disappointment when you realize there's no more episodes to watch... when everything that has been building up in suspense comes to nothing. Networks sure know how to get people to stop watching TV... cancel anything of any value.
Never heard of Firefly? Get your hands on the DVD.
Saw some, weren't that impressed? Get your hands on the DVD.
Loved it? Well, you don't need convincing.
Fox did an incredible disservice to this show by showing the episodes out of order. They still made sense on a very low level, i.e., there weren't a lot of plot points that were part of the continuing arc that ended up being out of order in the order they were aired, but this show is so much better if you see it in the order intended. In the aired episodes, characters would sometimes do things that either seemed out of character or really weird, or sometimes even just boring, that make so much more sense on the DVDs, even though there's a grand total of one scene (and only about 3 lines of that scene) that's different between the DVD and the aired version.
That said, this show is the most innovative thing I've ever seen on TV, even despite its mistreatment. It has nine main characters, all of which are fairly well developed in the pilot episode, who then grow and change but remain true to their characters as originally conceived throughout the rest of the series. I could talk about the incredible attention to detail for the special effects, etc., but special effects are getting really good, so that doesn't really set this apart from a lot of movies out there. The concept seems odd at first, but is amazingly well done, with each world they go to having its own quirks, charms and dangers, but it always comes back to the characters and their relationships with each other.
Firefly was easily the best sci fi show Fox developed aside from the X-Files. It had science fiction staples spaceships, laser pistols, and tech, but also a nice retro quality of frontier western speech, horses, and guns. The humor alone made this one of the best shows on television. The Joss Whedon ability to spin a familiar plot convention/line in a surprising direction and the top notch cast of talented and charismatic actors help make this cancelled science fiction Fox casualty a cult favorite and upcoming movie. While the discussion about why it was cancelled and who was to blame is up for debate, no one can argue 200,000 in DVD secondary market sales to date. Clearly, Firefly was a show that deserved a chance to shine and with it's incarnation next year as a film, will allow this phoenix to rise again.
I have to admit, I had serious doubts about this show. I hate westerns, and a sci-fi/western combination sounded like a really bad show concept--especially since the most recognizable actor in the show was a guy who had a minor part in Two Guys, A Girl, and A Pizza Place (itself a pretty forgettable show). But I found myself getting drawn into this series very quickly. It is very witty, as well as suspenseful. The characters are a lot of fun, too. It is definitely a little quirkier than most of the shows out there, but is that really a bad thing? I loved the banter, loved the acting, and was very disappointed to watch the last episode last night. This show deserved better than to be canceled in the middle of its first run. I'm guessing that the humor was too high-brow for most of the TV watchers of the world.
Comparable in flavor to critically-acclaimed Cowboy Bebop. If you're one
the many people that enjoy a good, character-driven show, with a decent
plotline and writing hand-crafted by some of the finest in the business,
then this is the show for you. Apparently so for the Fox network, but only
for a few weeks. Thankfully, the show was released in its entirety on DVD,
in all of its glory. Also, as if the brilliant episodes weren't enough to
satisfy, there are great, insightful commentaries on most episodes, by
creator Joss Whedon and others, and lots of other extras. I can't say
about this show. Everyone was sad to see this show go, especially the
***** out of *****
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