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What a great show! A sci-fi crossed with a western, ok a strange concept I
know, but it really couldn't work any better. Its well written, well
directed and well cast Led by Nathan Fillion as Captain Malcolm Reynolds,
ex-solider turn smuggler. Fillion also pops up in one of Joss Whedon's
creations, BUFFY as the evil Caleb. And Angels evil adversary Jasmine
Torres) also co-stars. There's comedy muscle provided by Adam Baldwin and
even Ron Glass as a religious shepherd.
I must confess that when I saw this show advertised I wasn't really very excited, I looked like another stuck on an old spaceship lost in deep space type of show, if it didn't have Joss Whedon name in front of it I'd never have watched it and discovered just how good it is. As it turns out its travelling around a solar system, finding smuggling jobs, hiding from the law and just trying to survive! along with a different story in each episode and one long running story line to connect them all.
Once again Whedon has proved his writing guineas there's Action, intrigue, comedy and Romance combined with excellent special effects and great stories. I'd recommend Firefly to anyone and everyone its one of the best Sci-fi shows to come out in a while.
Firefly, which ran for less than a season before it was pulled by Fox, is
easily the best TV series I have ever seen. It features detailed
great scripting and plots that are never just 'issue of the week'
A lot of people have been put off because it's set in space - don't be, this series is more than just science fiction, and way more than the average science fiction series. If you're a fan of well-scripted shows, with characters that aren't cardboard cut-outs made to fit the plot, then this show is most definitely for you.
Check it out, you won't be disappointed! I know I wasn't.
I started by forcing myself to watch this show and in that vein it
continued for the opening few episodes. To my knowledge it has never
screened on TV in Australia, network, satellite or cable, so my
pre-awareness was purely from what I'd gleaned about it from websites
or Internet chatrooms which is basically what sparked my interest in
seeing it. So I happened to come across the box set while lin the DVD
section of a downtown HMV store one-day and decide then and there to
buy it, knowing full well the risk I take in not knowing whether I'll
actually like it. I mean, I find Joss Whedon has an interesting
creative mind, even tho I wasn't really a fan of Buffy I still liked
the plot twists and ongoing character development they managed to
maintain during the course of that shows run. Admittedly I was a huge
fan of Angel, despite missing a lot of episodes due to the ungodly hour
Channel 7 played it. I do lament that shows passing. It needed another
season or 2 and unlike Buffy (but like Firefly) was ended prematurely.
I like the way Whedon manages to make the core casts of each of his shows into a family unit. You had it with Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Spike etc; you had it with Angel, Wesley, Cordelia, Gunn, Fred etc; and you have it here, in Firefly. These are characters who care about each other and which you the viewer, in turn, begin to care for and empathize with as well. Too bad that just as the show was starting to hit its stride it was terminated because it wasn't fast-paced or urgent enough to deliver the numbers Fox wanted, preferring instead to slowly (and admittedly I found the early pace a little too languid until later on I appreciated knowing the unique characteristics and foibles of each character which helped me enjoy the show even more) build the characters and introduce them to the audience properly. You sense Whedon had a lot in store for each of them in future episodes and I'm stunned at the thematic possibilities and the directions this show could've taken if it had only been given more time to reach its full potential. There was so much raw material here, the possibilities were truly endless.
Nathan Fillion was truly a joy as the Captain/Sarge. To see such a n emotionally withdrawn man who had a (albeit darkly) humorous side to him. All he was interested in was surviving and moving on. No ambitions, no grand plans. Just doing enough, and maybe a little more, for he and his crew, who were essentially the only family he had. We knew about his military career but here was a man with a lot of dark secrets locked away. Some that, I believe, would have come back to haunt him later on. Also his relationship with Inari, a woman who's profession he despised and in a sense he desired to save her from.
The marriage between Zoe and Wash and how Zoes unfailing loyalty to Mal could cause disruption to it. The husband-wife role-reversal at work in how she was the tough gunfighter/ex-soldier while he was basically a cowardly pilot with a fondness for loud Hawaiian shirts. Alan Tudyks interpretation of the marvelous scriptwriting was often enough hysterical. Zoe also had more than a few secrets locked in her own closet. It was great to see the interplay of these 2 characters whenever they got together.
I think Jewel Staite was magical. She has the biggest most beautiful smile and she's the heart of this ensemble. She plays it like a child given free-run in the coolest toy store in the world. She's fascinating and fantastic, and I probably have a crush on her. It's interesting that you assume her to be rather simple and innocent yet later on in flashback you actually learn that Mal met her by bumping into her and his then mechanic having energetic & rather noisy sex in the engine room.
Adam Baldwins character, Jayne is one of the most lowdown, untrustworthy, funniest characters ever put on film. You can never really figure him out, but you do know that in the back of your mind, at some stage in the future, Jayne would betray one (or all) of the other characters eventually (maybe once, maybe many times over). There were so many directions his character could've gone, possibly even working for the Alliance or becoming Mals nemesis in seasons to come. Then again, Joss could've surprised us all and completely turned the whole thing on its head as far as Jayne went; we know from the episode 'Jaynestown' that there was another facet to him and that he could show empathy for others.
River & her brother represented the biggest ongoing plot thread in the series. This would've have taken the longest to develop and Whedon teased us with hints and brief glimpses of what was in the off-ing. The corporation that was after her. The 'blue men'. The experiments. What they had done to her? Her parents involvement and disassociation. Her seemingly extraordinary abilities and reluctantly discovered ones. Her relationship with her brother, Kaylee, and the other crewmembers. How she fit into the grand picture? Who will ever know. Probably only Joss.
To be honest, probably the most fascinating character for me was The Shepherd, In the 12 episodes he was the least dwelt upon, but when he was you would find out things, some rather disturbing. What was his relationship to the Alliance that he could get medical care without question? How come he was such a great shot (ie the kneecapping thing)? Where did he come from? What was his past? Could he have been a spy or some sort of high official? Along with River, his was the most fascinating character. I really wanted to see where Whedon went with him. In fact, where he went with them all. I like the very last episode where the doctor can't believe the bounty hunter holding them all prisoner has just knocked Shepherd unconscious, and the bounty hunter replies matter-of-factly, 'Shepherd? He's not a Shepherd.'. Very classy, and extremely open ended and frustrating.
At first I was scratching my head. I kept referencing the cheesiest 1970s Battlestar Galactica episodes (ie the ones that had Cylons in steel cowboy hats) and thinking 'how cheap is this?' and 'this doesn't look like science fiction?'. I mean, where's the laser guns? Why are they riding horses? Why does a lot of the day to day technology look retro, even from today's p.o.v (ie swipe cards, bullets, no robots, wooden furniture)? In fact, technology looks to have gone backwards, shouldn't we be in Star Trek mode 300 years from now?
I was also thinking that there wasn't a huge amount of action and that the initial plots seemed to be about rather ordinary humdrum events. Where's the space opera? Some of the early episodes I wondered at the need for. 'Shindig' especially. Later on I realized that what they were doing was teaching me about the universe these people live in; about the characters and the hierarchal society. Valuable for what happens later on. Yes, some of the sets are shoddy and cheap looking, but they live in a spare parts world, in many ways more primitive than our own. Today in Africa you can live a primitive existence in a mudhut village, yet fly 7000kms away, and you're in New York, one of the most technologically advanced cities on our planet today. Same time, different places. That's the kind of universe Firefly inhabits. On the outer fringes of colonisation, humans have reverted to the basics. Yet on inner core planets like Ariel, we see modern high-tech cities and super-advanced technology.
I harbor the somewhat tenuous desire that the movie currently in pre-production becomes a smash hit and either respawns the TV series that gave birth to it, or allows Whedon to continue his story and plans in ongoing sequels. This is one of the best ensemble casts I've ever seen and there are more magnificent stories yet to be told involving them. Needless to say, I reached the last episode of this boxed set just loving this show. Not at all the way I felt when I started it.
It's was insanity for Fox to cancel such a well written, produced and
directed piece of televisual entertainment. The best Sci-Fi to hit any
form of screen since 'that' movie Mr Lucas gave the world in 1977, in
many ways it even surpasses 'that' movie - certainly scripting and 3
dimensional characters wise it wipes the floor with it. Oh and the
subject of the cast, it was perfect, simply perfect. Bring it back
people or we will send you all to the 'Special Hell'.
Thank God the people at Universal decided to take the helm and have now brought Firefly to the big screen in the form the feature film 'Serenity'. Just goes to prove that if something is written and visualised VERY well for the small screen it will work well on the big screen. The movie may paint a slightly darker side to the crew, especially Nathan Fillion as he has a lot less humour in his portrayal of Captain Malcolm Reynolds, but his character is actually better for this added darkness. He still has several funny moments though - "Dear Bhudda, I would like a pony and a plastic rocket!" This man is going to be BIG - wait and see, he is already being hailed as the new 'Han Solo' by some!
What more can I say, If you want original, witty and intelligent Sci-Fi with a hint of the Old West. Get the DVD's watch the series and then watch the flick - you will not be disappointed. Rumour has it that we will be seeing more of Serenity and her crew at a theatre near you soon!
Another one bites the dust! What's with Fox and the other Networks? They repeatedly kill good, sometimes, great series before they even get a chance to get up and running. Firefly unfortunately fell into this category, with a handful of other dearly missed shows, given the ax because Ratings weren't "Instant Hits". I recently purchased the Box Set of the series after giving up trying to figure out Fox's scheduling when it was originally on, because between work and never being on at a consistent time, it just wasn't worth the effort. To those of you thinking it might be a good buy, DO IT!!! It's well worth your money and one of the best done sci-fi programs in recent years, I'd group it with the new BattleStar Galatica as far as characters, story, and visual effects, not to mention just plain fun. Wit, humor, good old fashion wild west gunfights, and a clever amount of morality with a healthy dash of sci-fi to spice things up. Only hope the movie this September sparks some new life in this fan favorite!
I admit, that's quite a strong thing to say, but I have an example for
you to illustrate what I mean. You see, I'm very fond of science
fiction. I'm one of those folk who think that SF tells us a lot about
who we are and why we are. On a deeper level SF productions (films,
novels, series) tell us something about the time and civilisation we
live in, e.g. what can "Aliens" in retrospect tell us about the
eighties. Of course, a lot of rubbish has been produced over the last
few years, Firefly not being one of those. Who
Firefly? Of course,
you've probably never heard of Firefly. Well, that's just my point. You
see, Firefly is that great series created by Josh Whedon, the man
behind Buffy and Angel, the man who perfected the idea of telling
stories about vampires whilst actually telling us about family,
friendship, well, life actually. By telling stories about the dead, he
upheld the living a mirror. Well, this man made a SF series about a
crew on board the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity.
Captain Malcom Reynolds is a former galactic war veteran who is the captain of the Firefly class transport ship "Serenity". The other people on the crew list are: ensign Zoe Warren, Zoe's husband pilot Hoban Washburne, muscular former combat soldier Jayne Cobb (Buffy viewers may recognize him for being one of Whedon's favourite vampires), young engineer Kaylee Frye, former Alliance medical officer Simon Tamm, his teenage sister River, priest Shepard Book and companion Inara Serra. They all have their reasons for being on board Serenity, as the spaceship crew travels across the outskirts of outer space looking for food, money and anything to make a living on.
Main concern for the Serenity crew is to keep out of reach of the Alliance, an interplanetary organisation controlling the human inhabited part of space. The Alliance didn't get control until a bloody war was waged on the resistance, the latter consisting mainly of the so called brown coats, captain Malcolm Reynolds being one of them. It was at Serenity that a last stand of the rebels was crushed by the Alliance, leaving the rebels either dead or on the run.
Whedons universe is a melting pot of cultures, non of them being alien. It is a relief to watch a SF series without prosthetics. Indeed, Firefly is best subscribed as a western in space. It is the language that lets us know that we're not in the now; only a few factions have survived the struggles for power, China and America being the most dominant. As a result everybody speaks with a strong southern American accent mixed with Chinese. This Chinese can be pretty handy since it is a great way to avoid sensor ship. Now, "Gao yang jong duh goo yang" (Motherless goats of all motherless goats) is a curse no network will find offensive. Nor is "Ai ya, wo mun wan luh" (We're in big trouble!). However, the often used "gorram" is a good example; it can be used either as "goddamn" or "shit", like in the sentence "This here gorram ship ain't worth a dime", or "You keep talking that gorram in ma face will turn your skin blue!".
What makes Firefly really good though is the cast and characters. They're all very good actors, and the characters are developed very well. To establish this Whedon took his time in setting up the story line. It is because of this that the network got reserved. They wanted an easy action packed funny series where viewers could hook on to right from the first episode. Firefly is just that, but at the same time it brings a quality and originality that is unparalleled, and that may take some time to get used to. And that is what the network got really nervous about. So what did they do? Pull the plug. Just like that. Therefore Firefly didn't even make it one season. It's only 14 episodes, leaving the viewer with tantalizing questions like, why is that little girl River so dangerous, who is this priest, what's with the "hands of blue", how solid is the marriage between Zoe and Hoban? Of course, you don't have a clue as to what I'm talking about here. So please: watch the series and tell people about it. Let them know that networks can be very, very stupid.
PS: please don't copy the Firefly DVD's. Every DVD sold will prove Josh Whedon right!
Another example of the reality tv takeover, and the networks refusing to spend any money to support their own shows. They gave this show no chance, much like the excellent John Doe. Fox deserves to fail completely as a network, and I will laud their fall for choosing to air only reality shows and typical run of the mill fare rather than engrossing, script and acting driven gems like Firefly. Joss Whedon worked so hard, only to have everything thrown in his face. No wonder he's taking a break and not taking a chance on a Buffy spin-off yet, no matter how badly I miss Buffy (My wife and I feel like one of my best friends have died). Everyone in Firefly was amazing, and now that the DVD is selling like hotcakes, I hope that somewhere at Fox they are kicking themselves for not allowing the show to find its audience. I can only in reality hope that Whedon and the cast and crew of Firefly can take some measure of happiness at the excellent sales of the DVD, knowing that they were making TV history for many a fan.... am I bitter! Yes. And here's to Ron Glass, what a brilliant actor!
This innovative sci-fi features fantastic special effects and costuming, and you'll grow to love the characters - it's brilliantly written and acted. After watching this DVD set you'll be screaming for more (and don't worry, the movie is coming soon)!
It has skulduggery. It has daring do. It has romance. It has humor. It has danger. It has the archetypal folk hero, an outlaw smuggler and thief, Capt. Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds as the space western "Cisco Kid" (O'Henry's famous Robin Hood of the Old West). It is a Space SciFi Western Robin Hood with dusty trails, gunslingers, and warp drives. Mal's "Merry Men" include Zoe Washburne is his Little John and second-in-command. Inara Serra is Mal's strong willed, beautiful, exotic, and sensual Maid Marian. Shepherd Book is Mal's Friar Tuck with hidden fight and semi-spiritual guidance. Kaylee Frye is Mal's Alan-a-Dale with a taste for the fancy that is just out of her reach. Jayne Cobb is Mal's Much the Miller's Son and equally violent and strong enough to behead a monk's page. Dr. Simon Tam is Mal's Will Scarlett and like Will, dressed with almost foppish daintiness and has the law out to arrest and execute him. River Tam is Will Scarlett's sister Cecily. In the movie version of Firefly, Chiwetel Ejiofor portrays "The Operative" or Sheriff of Nottingham enforcing a corrupt law. As a senior citizen, I generally don't watch SciFi, but this series turned me, my husband, our sons, my in-laws into fans. Yes, we did see Serenity on the first day of release, and the next day. The stories are about the people (characters) and not just special effects. Firefly the series could have surpassed "Star Trek" and "Gunsmoke" combined with fans. Hopefully there will be more films and novels. In the meantime, we are lucky that the series is on DVD and not hidden is some network vault. Push "PLAY" for heart pounding excitement and knee slapping laughter.
For a man who makes a living out of developing series that cause such
intense devotion, Joss Whedon smacked this one out of the park. In staying
away from laser guns and hokey-looking aliens, he kept control of an
impressive ideology of expansionism. Basically this show was a perfect
re-imagining of post Civil-War America and how the South had to learn to
acclimate themselves to the Northerner's ideas of how to live. The
Independents v. The Alliance is a perfect reconstruction of this. The fact
that he uses bullets and human characters instead of lasers and massive
layers of make-up makes this show much more accessible to the masses
of making it "just" a sci-fi viewer's show. The characters themselves were
fleshed out and definitely ended up being the crowning jewel of the entire
Fox Television dropped the ball BIG-TIME when they pulled "Firefly" after a handful of episodes only to surrender its time slot to the much-worse (and also eventually-canceled) "Fastlane." If you want to see a storyteller at his best, rent the Complete Series on DVD.
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