Unfortunately the network have taken Firefly from us, cancelling it after just 1 series of 14 episodes. This was disappointing partly because there are so many questions left unanswered (particularly about the characters of Shepherd Book and the disturbed psychic girl River), but mainly because it was such a fantastically enjoyable show.
Usually described as a "western in space", the setting is a solar system far from ours populated by two distinct social groups. On the one hand there is the sophisticated and technologically advanced worlds of the Alliance, which are prosperous and civilised but with distinct overtones of a police state wanting to control everything and everyone. On the other hand there are frontier worlds which are much more rough and tumble, where guns are carried and used, call-girls, cattle and low down bars are common, there are many petty (and not so petty) criminals as well as some ordinary hard-working folks who just want to be left alone. Even the upper strata in this society are prone to violence (settling disagreements with formal duels for example), and looking to make money and gain prestige. This is all pretty much a direct take from cowboy culture (at least as portrayed in the movies). Much of the interest in the show is how these two cultures conflict and collide with each other. The action takes place in the aftermath of a war won by the Alliance, but where their hold over the other planets is not terribly strong. Throw in some terrifyingly dangerous psychopathic raiders (Reivers) and you have the basis for a lot of fascinating interactions.
Our heroes are petty criminals / businessmen (depending on how they are feeling that day) trying to make ends meet in a difficult universe. The crew is a disparate one, but one that generally works well together in spite of their different and sometimes unknown motivations. You learn more of their personalities and backgrounds, and how they came to join the crew, throughout the series. None is a stock or cardboard character, and although there are quite a lot, all are important, and importantly you feel for them all. The main character, Captain Malcolm Reynolds, was on the losing side in the war, and has named his cargo/smuggling ship Serenity after a battle in which he felt betrayed by his own side.
Things really kick off when two passengers are picked up, a doctor and his young sister, who turn out to be on the run from the Alliance authorities because she has been the subject of experiments aiming to give her psychic powers. Flashes of these powers appear from time to time but this are often as scary for the rest of the crew (some of whom would rather turn them in for the reward and peace of mind) as to any enemies. Many of the people the crew deal with are highly untrustworthy and suspicion abounds. However, the crew in the main trust and respect each other and this usually means they come out on top. There are many moral dilemmas explored throughout the series, and genuine conlicts of loyalties and interest. Justice and love usually triumph, though not always how you'd expect!
I won't discuss the episode plots here (to avoid spoilers) or the actors (you can look that up if you are interested).
This is one of my favourite TV shows. It has a great cast, an interesting setting, complex and interweaving storylines, with a tense story arc. The dialogue is excellent, with many touches of humour, yet it is also emotionally engrossing - you really care about what happens. One or two of the episodes are less good than others, but overall the standard is astonishingly high, and there really isn't a dud.
Even if you don't like science fiction, if you like snappy dialogue, hard hitting plots and great characters, you will like this. The science fiction element is really kept to a minimum - apart from spaceships there is very little that is futuristic. The guns (apart from one laser pistol) are all rifles and pistols, medicine it still a question of bandages and pills, commerce is about livestock and food.
This DVD set has 4 discs, with the 14 episodes plus some special features. At about £15 is represents seriously good value for money and hours of entertainment. Moreover unlike some shows you will want to watch it again - we did so recently with our two boys and enjoyed it as much, if not more, the second time. They (14 and 12) also loved it, it is rated a 12 and is very suitable viewing for this age group - there are references to sex, and a fair bit of violence, though nothing too graphic.
Above all though it is a great story, well acted and well told. Recommended!
Firefly is a space western TV series that was created by Joss Whedon, well known writer and director of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Set in 2517, the show follows the lives of a group of people who fought on the losing side of a civil war and are now grouped with others to live on the outskirts of society. This group of people live on board a space craft, travelling to different planets trying to make whatever money they can - whether it be legal or not. Captain Mal Reynolds leads his crew through space on a number of adventures trying to avoid the Alliance, the space police who are hunting them (and the secret they carry on board) down.
Nathan Fillion as Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds
Gina Torres as Zoe Alleyne Washburne
Alan Tudyk as Hoban "Wash" Washburne
Morena Baccarin as Inara Serra
Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb
Jewel Staite as Kaywinnet Lee "Kaylee" Frye
Sean Maher as Dr. Simon Tam
Summer Glau as River Tam
Ron Glass as Derrial Book
What I thought
Knowing that I am a fan of Joss Whedon's work, my boyfriend bought me this box set earlier in the year for my birthday. I loved the sound of it and while I had a few days off work, I ended up watching it all in only a couple of days.
Cast and Characters
Leading the ship Serenity is Captain Mal Reynolds, played by Nathan Fillion. As the leader and semi most central character of the show, Fillion gives the character a lot of force and presence. Mal isn't the best leader there ever was though as he has a great temper and only really does what he wants to. He is hard to reckon with and doesn't care too much about anyone else other than the safety of his crew. I loved Fillion as Mal and he was utterly perfect for the role.
As for the rest of the crew, there is a very diverse range of personalities. Gina Torres plays Zoe, Mal's first mate while on screen husband, 'Wash' played by Alan Tudyk navigates the ship. The relationship between these three characters is extremely interesting. Even though Zoe and 'Wash' are married, Zoe tends to side with Mal for the most part which puts some strain on her marriage. I did like the loyalty that she showed for Mal and the crew though so I could see why she decides some of the things that she does throughout the show.
There are nine main characters which make up the crew of Serenity but some are a lot more important than others. Playing River Tam is Summer Glau. River is the secret that the ship is holding although it is not revealed why for a very long time. The mystery and secrets surrounding River and her brother, Simon (Sean Maher) is mostly what makes this show so interesting and kept me wanting more. Instead of being revealed straight away, their secret is kept hidden and I was always left guessing why after each episode. Both of these actors do an amazing job in their roles but Glau is by far the most impressive due to the personality of her character.
I have never seen nor even heard of a space western TV show before so the idea was completely new to me. Mal was in an army during the time of a civil war but was on the losing side. After losing everything that he once knew, Mal knew that he must make a living somehow so buys a beat up ship which he calls Serenity. After hiring some strange and colourful characters, Mal and his crew fly around space making some very bad decisions and working by delivering certain illegal goods.
The show consists of fourteen episodes all of which are about 45 minutes long. During each episode, the crew encounter new and different problems which are storylines all on their own. At the same time, a long running storyline about the crew and River's secret comes into play during each episode, slowly revealing more and more each time. Although it is obviously best to watch these episodes in order, for the most part they call also be watched in any order.
I really enjoyed following the cast and crew on their crazy adventures and discovering what they would be getting up to next. Each episode brings in something completely new and different which makes each one so good. No episode is like another and this keeps the series as a whole fresh and exciting. Even though there is a lot going on, the episode format makes it possible for great character development and for the audience to care about each and every one of them.
My only disappointment with this series is that it left so many unanswered questions due to it being cancelled after only one series. However, a feature length film called Serenity was made to please fans and also to answer most of these questions. Had this series not been cancelled so early on, I would have become a long term fan and I wish it had carried on.
Its hard to believe that such a brilliant show was cancelled after just half a season. Was it bad marketing? who knows, one thing is for sure though and that is it was a bad mistake by FOX to cancel this show. Since being cancelled the show has developed a strong army of supporters through word of mouth alone. The DVD sales alone resulted in further expansion via graphic novels and a blockbusting movie, Serenity.
Well whats it all about? The series is set in the future where the world has expanded across different planets and obviously spaceships have become the norm. The stories focus on the crew of one particular spaceship, a smuggling/transport cargo ship that is classed as a firefly. The captain of the ship, the main protagonist is Malcolm Reynolds, a veteran from a previous war in which he was on the losing side. Captain Reynolds still feels deeply about the war is still strongly against the conquering Alliance. By his side is Zoe. A feisty but loyal friend, she has always stood by Captain Reynolds since they fought side by side in the war. This loyalty often brings conflict to her husband, the pilot of the ship, Hogan "Wash" Washburn. This jealousy eventually takes its toll in one of the episodes. The ship is maintained by Kaylee, a good hearted free-thinker. Kaylee got the job by impressing Captain Reynolds, upstaging the previous mechanic, who was seeing her at the time. The muscles of the ship is a man they call Jayne! None of the ships crew are really heroes, they are after all a band of smugglers, almost pirate-like but Jayne is the ugliest of the lot. He only cares about himself and puts that above everything else. Originally sent to kill Captain Reynolds, he turned on his own crew after the captain offered him more money to join his crew. The crew gain landing privileges at many upmarket places due to the fact that they have a registered companion(basically an upmarket fully trained and licensed prostitute) on board. Innara rents a shuttle onboard Captain Reynolds' ship for a cheap price as she gets them these privileges. You can always sense a tension between her and the captain and there is always a feeling of love between them that sometimes goes out of the window because of her profession. In the first episode, the crew take on 3 new passengers, Shepard Book, a priest with a mysterious past and the Tams, a brother and sister who are on the run from the alliance. The main general story revolves around the alliances pursuit of them and their taking refuge on board this ship. Simon Tam is a successful doctor, who has freed his teenage sister, River, from the Alliance labs where they were performing cruel tests on her.
The series generally has a western feel to it, mostly due to the dusty, undeveloped landscapes of the outer planets and the soundtrack. Each episode goes in a different direction and that is what makes the series unique. There is no linear template where in each episode say for instance they do a job, run into a bit of trouble but work around it and finish the job and bring home the money. This DVD set is fantastic. The sound and picture is excellent for a tv show that is nearly 10 years old. The extras are fantastic, a must watch for any fan of the show.
Firstly let me say I am in no way a Sci Fi fan - I don't get Star Trek or any of the other Sci Fi series that are so adored across the world. So you may wonder why I am so enamoured of a TV show billed as a Space Western. The show is written and directed by Joss Whedon creator of Buffy and Angel - this is not a teen show though.
The show is set in 2517 where the universe is a mish mash of Oriental and American culture. There has been a space war won by the two super powers of China and America and our heroes are the losers of that war. The worlds are governed by the sinister Alliance. It is from these authorities that the protagonists are always at odds. The story begins with a group of people living on a space ship who unwittingly take on board the enigmatic River Tam. The series revolves around the secrets River holds secrets which frustratingly are never quite revealed due to the Fox network cancelling the show.
The fact is that Firefly for me is not really a Sci Fi show. It is a show about a group of characters just trying to get by in life. It is about love, family, friendship, faith, hope, class and struggling to get a job. That it takes place on a spaceship is almost incidental. There is no sign of aliens and the new technology is not stuffed down your throat. Often you forget you are watching a show set in the future as there are many signifiers of the past -duels, stage coaches, witch trials and Nazism. I love the nuances of the show such as prostitutes being part of the elite, swearing in chinese and everyone eating with chopsticks from tin plates.
The characters in the show are well developed and you really get to know and like them. In fact I think I am in love with Malcolm Reynolds (captain tight pants). They will have you in tears both with laughter and sadness.
At the end of the day Firefly is a series of just great stories. It is criminal it was cut so short.
I came across Firefly in around 2005 after it was recommended to me by my brother, what a recommendation it was. It originally came out in 2002-2003 so I only missed it by a couple of years.
Firefly is a sci-fi western program (basically a genre in itself) set 500 years or so in the future, set in a galaxy far, far away. Earth that was had had all its resources depleted and so humans set off and terraformed multiple planets for them to inhabit. During recent years there was unrest and the Alliance (formed mainly from Planets in the core who have money and technology) and the Independents (the Browncoats, not so much money or technology) competed for control of the new system of planets, the Browncoats lost and Mal and Zoe who both battled for this side still hold resentment towards the Alliance.
The main characters in this delightful TV show are:
Serenity - Unusually I am going to start by naming the ship as a main character, the whole of the TV series revolves around the ship, the characters love the ship and the fans come to love the ship. A bit of an old ship but doesn't lack character and suitable for smugglers, a Class code 03-K64--Firefly space ship.
Malcolm Reynolds (Mal) played by Nathan Fillion is the captain of the ship and this is made clear from early on in the first episode where Jayne (not a girl's name - see Jayne in a minute) is acting up at the dinner table and have the following altercation
Mal: You will keep a civil tongue in that mouth or I will sew it shut. Is there an understanding between us?
Jayne: You don't pay me to talk pretty. Just because Kaylee gets lubed-up over some big-city dandy--
Mal: Walk away from this table, right now.
At heart though Mal is a nice guy and this is shown in his taking in of Simon and River and his attitude towards Kaylee to whom he kind of acts like a big brother. Mal only has eyes for one woman, Inara, this relationship unfortunately never really gets the chance to blossom due to the cancellation of the show.
Zoe Washburne played by Gina Torres is a warrior like women who never lets down her guard, that is except in the presence of her husband Wash. She is second in command and fought with Mal in the great war that precedes the start of Firefly.
Hoban Washburne (Wash) played by Alan Tudyk is the husband of Zoe and the ships pilot and "is a leaf on the wind". In complete contrast to Zeo he is the clown of the group and we are introduced to him playing with dinosaurs while the others are out on a job. Wash is keen to start a family with Zoe however I feel that again this was something not explored due to the cancellation of the show.
Jayne Cobb (the Hero of Canton) is played by Adam Baldwin. Jayne is in everything for women and money and he is willing to go to any length to get it (see the episode Ariel, Jaynestown or Heart of Gold). Jayne respects the Captains authority most of the time but has little respect for anyone else on the ship.
Kaywinnit Lee Frye (Kaylee) is played by Jewel Staite. Kaylee brings happiness to the ship, she has a shiny attitude towards everything, she is the ships mechanic and this is not surprising as she is a genius with machines and not shy when it comes to talking about sex. She has a big crush on Simon when he first joins the crew and this just escalates as the series continues and into the movie. However she is too shy to approach him directly though her feelings are clear for all the viewers to see and should really be obvious to Simon.
Inara Serra is played by Morena Baccerin. Inara is the object of Mal's affections and not just his. Inara is a companion which is basically a trained prostitute who gets to pick and choose her clients. Being in her line of work actually brings a bit of respectability to the ship and helps them get to place that they would otherwise probably be denied access to. She rents one of the 2 shuttles that come with Serenity and therefore has a place of her own away from everyone else, there is clear tension between her and Mal throughout the series. Inara is Kaylee's best friend and Inara has even done Kaylee's hair.
Shepard Book is played by Ron Glass. Shepard Book is a religious man with a past that we never get to find out but there are hints that it might have something to do with the alliance which is not revealed but certainly hinted at in the episode Safe. He never really forms a particularly strong bond with any of the crew but does get closer to River in a few episode where he is entrusted with looking after her.
Simon Tam played by Sean Maher. Simon becomes the ships medic in the first episode. Simon lives for his sister, he and River had a very close bond before the events shown in the movie. Simon is very clever and very good at his job, he is not however very good with weapons (which is kind of important when you are on the crew of Serenity). He and Kaylee are very well matched and it is only his devotion for his Sister that stops this relationship from heating up. Simon is very protective of River leading to a few altercations with Mal.
River Tam is played by Summer Glau. River is where things start to get weird, it is a Sci-Fi so you probably saw it coming at some point. To put it in the words of her brother.... "Everything she did, music, Maths, theoretical physics -- even dance -- there was nothing that didn't come as naturally to her as breathing does to us. " At the age of 14 River left her family to attend a government-sponsored academy, which you need to see the move to fully understand. We see bursts of the real river in various episode including Safe where we see her dance and in Objects in Space where we see her brains and in the episode War Stories we get some idea of what was done to her by the government. River cares greatly for her Brother and becomes good friends with Kaylee who acts like an older sister.
Realism is one area of Firefly that I really enjoy. Unlike most other Sci-Fi shows they do not try to play up what is going to happen in the next 500 years, there is no faster than light travel, people still live in poverty, there is no sound in anything set in space, lasers that run out of battery and there are even horses. This is something really refreshing to see as other TV shows such as Star-Trek and the like often use technology to get out of situations.
The stories told throughout this are really good, the characters are developed really well and there so many brilliant moment and one liners that just make this shown fantastic. Shindig is a great episode where we get to see Kaylee get something she really wants and takes the mick out of the captain but we also get to see the care that all the crew have for each other and just how high a regard the captain really has for Inara despite what he often displays.
You join the crew finishing a job and just as they first pick up Simon, River and Shepard book. To summarise they are basically a bunch of I guess crooks but they have standards and morals (see Train Job). They try to stick away from the central planets where they can as these tend to be more heavily populated with Alliance people and this is clearly an issue for them by the end of the pilot. The crew are basically living on the edge trying to by on a day by day basis and often don't get the parts they need (see Out of Gas) and have to try to make do with what they have got and the company that they give each other. By the end of the season a lot of the crew are almost like family to each with some tension clearly on show between certain characters.
Reoccurring guests add to the stories and the entertainment factor, there are 2 in particular, one an evil crook and the other an almost as evil seductress both of which provide us with importantly interesting but also several funny moment as wells.
The music used as the theme is great and actually explains some of the feeling that Mal has, I would also say however that the background music used throughout is always very appropriate and can really add to the tension or happiness or fear or whatever mood they are trying to convey
Filming Quality is really very good, they use a variety of shots to try and get across what they want and to try and add too the occasion. The details they have put into even simple things such as the way that River moves through the ship in Objects in Space to the emotion shown in the funeral scene in The Message (was actually recorded around the time they found out they were getting cancelled so they were actually very sad), everything is just brilliant.
As a continuation of this the film Serenity was made, this was a huge hit and the Browncoats still follow this show with great sadness that it got cancelled but happy that it was made in the first place, sci-fi or western we are not sure but Brilliant it surely is. In the words of Mal "We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty" and that is exactly how many Firefly fans felt when Serenity was announced and released.
So to conclude, this show is amazing, it is so unfortunate that is only had one series and it is surprising how good that one series is, this is only really reflected in the masses that now follow it online and still urge for its return despite the length of time since the movie was released. I think that this is a great way of getting people not that keen on Sci-Fi to give it a try as there are so few episode and what's not to like?? I'd like to finish by showing some of the stats from various website that I think help represent just how good this show is:
IMDB rating: 9.4/10 (approx 41,000 votes)
Amazon.co.uk: 5 stars (447 out of 491 reviews give 5 stars)
Amazon.com: 5 stars (2993 out of 3255 reviews gave 5 stars)
Play.com: 5 stars (97 reviews)
TV.com: 9.1/10 (approx 11,000 votes)
Just wanted to add a quick note on the packaging of this DVD, just saying that it is what I think is a nice cover and the DVDs are all in there securely. There are also some extras on the DVDs for those that get into the show as much as me and want to hear some background from some of the cast and crew.
"Five hundred years in the future there's a whole new frontier, and a crew of the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity is eager to stake a claim on the action. They'll take any job, legal or illegal, to keep fuel in the tanks and food on the table. But things get a bit more complicated after they take on a passenger wanted by the new totalitarian Alliance regime. Now they find themselves on the run, desperate to steer clear of Alliance ships and the flesh-eating Reavers who live on the fringes of space."
Firefly is an American western-space themed tv series created by Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel). The series is set in 500 hundred years time when humans arrive in a new solar system. Whedon follows the lives and insights of nine characters who live on the ship Serenity, they're battling against the 'Alliance'; made up of the two existing superpowers of the future, the United States and China.
Firefly premiered in the US and Canada on Fox Network in September 2002, unfortunately by mid-December 2002, each episode averaged only 4.7 million viewers, thus itwas cancelled after 11 of the 14 produced episodes were aired.
Firefly is a welcome addition to the sci-fi programmes already out there, it brings a whole new edge to the 'space frontier' and is definitely a must-see. It encorporates nine strong characters, led by the trust-worthy Mal Reynolds, a former Independent in the pivotal Battle of Serenity Valley. Together they take on a variety of jobs and meet an array of people, the bond that is shared between the crew makes it an enjoyable watch whilst still having the action wanted but not often found in older sci-fi series.
The box-set includes all 14 episodes, a commentary on selected episodes and 4 deleted scenes. And if that isn't enough for you, Serenity the film will follow on nicely.
Joss Whedons masterpiece was much too short due to under performing with the ratings on TV the show was unwisely cancelled after airing only 11 of 14 episodes. But despite this the show has become a strong cult favourite and the DVD boxset has sold astonishingly well for a show that was cancelled only half way through the first season. The boxset has even been sent into space to the International Space Station. Due to its success Joss Whedon managed to revive the story for a feature film "Serenity" which did well.
The story is based around a group of space thieves who travel round the "Verse" trying to make a living in a society which has become control by a single overpowering government called the Alliance. Captain Malcom Reynolds who fought for the loosing side of the war that saw this regime take power captains serenity a firefly class ship throughout the series with his crew. The main story line is about "River" a 17 year old child prodigy who was tested on by the Alliance escape from captivity by her brother "Simon". They seek refuge on "Serenity" and eventually become part of the crew. Between dodging the Allience and the "Reevers" a cannibalistic group of people who have gone mad (Watch serenity to find out more) it's an exciting ride.
The cast is composed of many Buffy and Angel veterens and many of them go on to be in other Joss Whedon projects such as the brilliant "Dr Horrible sing along blog" and "Dollhouse".
Again its Joss Whedons writing which takes centre stage, in such a short space of time he created one of the most believable and intriguing space mythologies ever created. The way the society is an amalgamation of two of today's most powerful countries America and china is great the mixing of cultures is really believable and that kind of hybridisation is what will probably happen if these countries continue to amass influence over other countries through either control of oil or technology. The mix of Western cowboy themes and Chinese cultures really highlights the class divide in this futuristic society.
The show is on 4 disks with commentaries a gag reel and a few featurettes.
Joss Whedon's scifi-western was a work of true originality that suffered at the hands of the Fox network, being axed midway through it's season. However, the first season of Firefly is still one of the best offerings to recent television out there, with thousands of loyal fans signing petitions to get it back on the air. They partially succeeded when the follow up film Serenity was released in cinemas a year later.
The series follows the crew of the spaceship Serenity, a firefly class space vessel that's pretty much the Ford Focus equivalent of travel. The Captain, Mal Reynolds is a fiercely loyal guy with varying morals when it comes to smuggling. An ex-Browncoat (the guys who started a revolution against The Alliance- Think Star Wars 'Empire') he makes his living with his crew, just trying to get enough money to keep on floating out there in space.
Written in typical Whedon-esque comedy, Firefly's characters and great stories are what captured the hearts of many. A futuristic romp that won't disappoint.
Firefly is perhaps one of televisions great tragedies, cancelled after only one season that wasn't even allowed to air completely. However after watching this you'll wonder how anyone can be that stupid. This show was the product of Joss Whedon creator of Buffy and Angel and features his uncanny ability to write character driven stories with plenty of action. It's a testament to the characters he has created that after less than a season many fans feel so strongly about this show which was the driving power behind the story getting continued in a feature film. Captain Malcolm Reynolds is in my opinion one of the greatest television characters of all time, played to perfection by Nathan Fillion.
The story follows the crew of a firefly class spaceship Serenity, set 500 years in the future when humanity has abandoned planet earth after it became uninhabitable. The planets they eventually settle on become quite varied, with the inner planets being extremely advanced. The outer planets is where most of the action takes place where life is more akin to the frontiers of the wild west.
As a devout Buffy fan, I was delighted to hear of a series that continued the great work of Joss whedon. The movie Serenity was the first time I heard of these characters and I found it to be great, but the series is far better. It's one of those rare things that hits all the right notes.
It follows a group of rag tag travellers (kind of pirates really) on board the ship captained by Mal. They find out that two of the guests they've been transporting are a lot more than they appear and so they end up being fugitives from the law. It mirrors the Old Wild West scenario quite closely, in that the crew are survivors from losing side of the recent civil war and a lot of the themes are similar. But don't let that put you off! I would never normally like Wild West type things, but this is more Steam Punk, with all the gadgets and futuristic elements.
The characters are great (although they fall into the typical JW 'types' i.e- geeky but cute, tough and mean but loveable etc) and the plot lines are not incredibly taxing, but hugely entertaining and involving. I must admit I am only halfway through this boxset, even though I have owned it for more than 2 years, but it's for the simple reason that- I DON'T WANT IT TO END! Because there is only one series (a travesty in my opinion) I find it's too precious to just throw away in one sitting. I treat myself to one every now and again and dread the day I have finished it.
Firefly is one of the best science fiction shows in TV history, a feat all the more amazing when you consider that it only ran for 14 episodes and these episodes were aired out of order by the horrible network FOX, who never gave the show a fair chance and cancelled it far too soon. We did, however, get a film out of it - Serenity - which was brilliant. The show is a strange but excellent mix of the sci-fi and the western, with a band of on-the-fringe space travellers looking to earn a wage by transporting cargo or basically doing whatever. At the same time they try to keep away from the evil Alliance, an autocratic evil organisation, and the Reavers, a much-feared horde of savage monsters. The chief characters are:
Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) = he owns the ship Serenity on which the crew travel. He is witty, fearless and often quite careless. He is a former soldier in the war against the Alliance, and since the war ended, he makes a small living using his ship to transport cargo.
Zoe Alleyne Washburne (Gina Torres) = she is the second in command, and also fought with Mal during the war. She's a strong-minded woman that's married to the pilot, Wash. She is mostly serious but is an extremely powerful fighter and beautiful too.
Hoban "Wash" Washburne (Alan Tudyk) = the pilot and probably the most likeable character, Wash enjoys playing with dinosaur figures that are forever on the mantle of his dashboard. He is a skilled and fearless pilot that's quite sarcastic about their dire circumstances while being a valuable asset and managing to get the crew out of numerous scrapes.
Inara Serra (Morena Baccarin) = a more classy type of prostitute, Inara is extremely attractive but has an unresolved sexual tension with Mal, with the implication being that there was something between them before.
Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin) = the brawn of the ship; he is very strong but none too clever, resulting in some of the more hilarious moments on the ship. He even has a town named after him - Jaynestown - as revealed in one brilliant episode. He is often at odds with the others.
Kaywinnit Lee "Kaylee" Frye (Jewel Staite) = a young mechanic who keeps the ship operational. She is frank and very likeable, and falls for Simon Tam very quickly, in a thread that isn't really resolved well until the film.
Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher) = a doctor who broke his sister, River, out of a facility where she was held, he is a nervous, stuffy type but who is ultimately likeable and has a big crush on Kaylee. He comes to blows with Mal frequently because Mal resents him even being aboard the ship.
River Tam (Summer Glau) = Simon's younger sister, she was previously held by the Alliance who wanted to exploit her genius but wound up causing her to become mentally scarred and susceptible to breakdowns.
Derrial Book (Ron Glass) = the most mysterious member of the clan, Book is a religious man who often offers spiritual advice, but he also has an odd, unexplained past in which he is familiar with the Alliance.
This was a wonderful show that thankfully lives on with this great DVD set. It's a shame we never got more episodes, as it's incredibly witty, playful, poignant and well acted, and for my money was the best thing Joss Whedon ever wrote (TV-wise perhaps, as he DID write Toy Story!).
Why!? Why did have to end?
Firefly was, hands down, the best sci fi show ever. It took all the usual clichés and threw them out the airlock (except it wouldn't actually do that it because that would be a cliché)
Firefly isn't really even Sci fi, it's a western set in space. Malcolm Reynolds and his crew are fugitives on the run from the supposedly benevolent yet controlling Confederates (*cough* federation *cough*). You will cheer as Mal shoots the bad guys. You'll probably cheer as he shoots the good guys, it could go either way. You'll fret every time the loveable Kayleigh looks to be in danger, you'll roll your eyes whenever the socially inept doctor puts his foot in it. You'll laugh whenever the mercenary Jayne opens his mouth, because he will, without fail, always say something dumb.
Firefly is the very best of Joss Whedon. His stuff is mostly good, a bit hit and miss, but this is pure hit. The Sino-American culture of the confederacy makes for a very interesting backdrop, there's not a single bad character among the crew (stop and think how rare that actually is!) and the interplay between them is icredible in its diversity. Even the minor characters can leave you laughing or make your skin crawl in disgust. The show does not want for action either, and the villains can certainly hold their own against the heroes it terms of character.
Expect thrills and laughter a plenty, and a great setting. The shows greatest strength however, is hilariously snappy dialogue throughout. This is Joss Whedon at his very best.
I am a great big Joss Whedon fanboy. This is hardly a confession of guilt, everyone who knows me knows this. If I hear that a Joss Whedon project is in the pipeline then I get excited because his track record shows entertainment excellence that surpasses nearly all rivals. Firefly is possibly my favourite Joss Whedon show.
Set in the future, the show follows the adventures of Mal Reynolds' crew of misfits and runaways in the good ship Serenity as they try to make a living, carve out a life for themselves or escape their pasts. There's Mal the anti-hero captain, Zoe the loyal second-in-command, Jayne the dim and amoral (but oddly loveable) mercenary, Kaylee the cute mechanic, Wash the wise-cracking pilot, Shepard Book the preacher with a mysterious past, Inara the ... er ... 'Registered Companion' and Simon the doctor who, along with his mentally troubled sister River, are fugitives from the law. Together they fight crime! Well, no, they actually commit it. Smuggling and petty theft is the order of the day, yet along the way they become big damn heroes! It's excellent stuff.
The world that the show is set in is fascinating too. There's an amazing space-Western vibe (all the guns, clothing and props are fairly low-tech and dusty) mixed with an oriental theme, as it is set in a future where the two remaining superpowers (the US and China) united and a American-Chinese culture emerged. This is prevalent in the show's music and the style and language of some of the characters. Most interesting of all is the fact that the characters occasionally lapse into Chinese, thus allowing the characters to use some pretty colourful expletives without bothering the TV network censors!
Sadly, you'll get to the end with a whetted appetite and wanting more. It's sad because there isn't any more. The show was cancelled after this single season, and I'm still at a loss to understand why. Some claim ratings weren't high enough, some claim critical reception wasn't as good as Fox wanted. Either way, if you want more of the intrepid crew of Serenity, you'll have to settle for the follow-up film Serenity and the few tie-in comics that are being released.
If you're into science fiction in any way at all, then I defy you not to enjoy this! It's got great action, good stories, fantastic acting (Nathan Fillion as Mal and Alan Tudyk as Wash are standouts), a great space-western world and a huge loyal following. It's great, and only a tenner on Amazon. Give it a try, you may enjoy it!
Being a Trekkie I go to Star Trek message boards from time to time and naturally some of the fans overlap. This is something that has amassed a curious cult following, who call themselves "Browncoats".
Anyhow, browncoats had suggested a see this show so I bought it on DVD some years back. I only recently got around to watching it as the missus wanted to see Serenity and I felt it would be best to watch the show first.
Well, I'm not sure what to make of Firefly. It surely isn't good enough to warrant the following it had. Yet, its not astonishingly bad either. I think I had trouble getting past the idea of western frontiers in space, which to my mind simply isn't plausible. I also think that even on the frontier technology would be such that bullet firing weapons and Victorian dress is a thing of the past, not the future.
The scripts were also pretty weak and did not develop the characters much at all. Its quite possible that had the show survived cancellation this may have happened, but we are reviewing a self contained product here and in that regard Firefly dissapoints, especially as some characters, such as Mal Reynolds himself, had hints of what it takes to be a great character. However, I felt that even he was miles away from being a poor man's Han Solo.
Also the DVD lacks good features. For the cult following I though a better array of special features would have been present but alas they are not. Also, no 5.1 sound. For a TV show that is relatively new, I find the 5.1 omission to be criminal.
The fire still burns...
Bringing back cancelled TV shows seems to be a new phenomenon for
American networks, Family Guy and Jericho being prime examples. While this
is great for giving shows with flagging ratings a second chance, sometimes you can't help but feel this should have been instituted earlier. Firefly came at a time when pressure on the networks was huge, shows were expected to deliver ratings quickly, it wasn't until the last few years that new programs were given some breathing space to develop an audience.
Firefly was the creation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel head
honcho Joss Whedon in 2002, so much was expected of Firefly from the
beginning based off their success, Whedon had and still has to this day has a very vocal and passionate fan base which had formed after Buffy. He had also built a favourable reputation within the entertainment business as someone who could write entertaining, intelligent and funny television.
Looking back now it's easy to say on the surface that Firefly was a
bomb, it lasted only 14 episodes before getting cancelled. In reality the truth is Firefly was never really given a fair shake from the beginning, the pilot episode which introduced the nine main characters and set the groundwork for the strange yet fascinating universe it was set in, was shown as the tenth episode on the FOX network, and the second episode was shown as the pilot. The reasoning was that they believed the main character; the charming Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds played by Nathan Fillion was too dark a character in the original pilot, another reason was that it lacked action. This confused the
audience immensely from the get go, and wasn't the only example of FOX
showing episodes out of order. The advantage of the DVD set is you can see where Whedon meant to go with the series in order. It's inconceivable, having never watching the show in its original run, to watch the episodes out of order. References to previous episodes would have been lost on the viewer. That's not even talking about the plot which had an arc running through the season which must've been all over the place when watching originally.
Firefly has a strange premise, an odd genre mix of sci-fi and western which in theory shouldn't work, but in practise is pulled off extremely well. Set in 2517, the series follow the characters on board Serenity. A dingy spaceship which the captain of the ship Mal Reynolds and the rest of the crew use to transfer goods, fight criminals and cross Alliance forces through the universe. The Alliance is a large part of the thread which runs through the entire series, constantly at odds with them, the crew of Serenity need to avoid them at all costs. Mal and his second in command the feisty Zoe Washburn fought and lost against the Alliance fighting for the Independence years prior. The aftermath leaves them as outcasts, and as a result are a twisted Robin Hood presence of the universe.
The crew is forced to deal with many shady characters to simply keep the ship running. This leaves Mal conflicted, he knows the business they bring is needed not just for themselves, but for the outer planets which are extremely poor and riddled with sickness. His character is full of contradictions, but this isn't poor writing, you are made well aware he is fighting his demons and all the illegal activities he and his crew get up to is just so his ship and get by and stay a flight.
I'd be amiss if I didn't mention my favourite character, the dim-witted
Jayne Cobb. Played by the brilliant Adam Baldwin, Jayne is the hired muscle of the gang. Jayne asks questions no-one else wants to, often while carrying his gun 'Vera', he constantly query's why River and Simon the siblings on the run from the Alliance onboard Serenity are there drawing unnecessary attention upon Serenity. He constantly claims if Zoe and Mal weren't around he'd be in charge much to the indifference of the rest. Quotes he brings such as "Do you know what the chain of command is? It's the chain Jayne gets and beats you with until you realize who's in command" made him a fan favorite. The episode 'Jaynestown' displays the character best. The crew visits a mud village as part of a mission. In the process Jayne recalls he's been there a few years prior and might be seen as an enemy, as he was part of a two man failed looting visit, stealing from the mayor and forced to flee, the money was dropped in the area where the mud people populated, and then subsequently used to rebel against the rich. On his return scared out of his wits, he finds out he's a viewed as a deity. Erected statues and folk songs all dedicated. His reaction his priceless, originally in disbelief, he soon realizes he can use it to his advantage, to procure free liquor and women's services.
While Firefly has been over for six years, it has spawned masses of spin-
offs, the excellent Serenity film which is a follow up to the series and ties a lot of loose ends left from the series. With comics, books and planned video game as well as a Serenity sequel possibly in the works. There's a lot of life left in the Firefly franchise yet. The fan base has grown heavily since the end of the show almost solely through word of mouth and as a result a reputation as an excellent but short-lived series. I'm certain Serenity will be flying high and just making by for years to come.