Firefly, to this day, remains my personal pet peeve. Not the show itself, which I love, but rather its premature end due to, (this is where the peeve comes in,) the Fox Network, which I pretty much dub The Evil Empire. They handled the show horrendously, showing the episodes entirely out of order, and fairly sporadically, and… and…
I’ll just get back to talking about the show itself.
Most of you have probably heard either of Firefly, or the movie that was eventually made for it called Serenity. For those that haven’t, or at least haven’t given it much consideration, this is essentially what you need to know.
The human race, having long ago moved from its pretty-much-screwed home planet and to an entirely new solar system, has eventually fallen under the control of the Alliance, a bureaucratic institution seeking to spread their idea of civilization to the rest of the galaxy. While the core planets are the sort of utopian paradise you might find on Star Trek, the border worlds are typically dusty, barren, and sparsely populated, usually swarming with hoodlums and crooks.
Firefly follows such a band of crooks, (mostly honorable crooks, as much of an oxymoron as that might sound,) a crew aboard a Firefly-class transport called Serenity. The single season pretty much consists of the crew performing one heist after another, and occasionally landing in some very sticky spots because of the acts of daring-do. To describe the entire set of main characters, (there are 9,) would take all day, so instead I’ll focus on the general aspects of the show.
Created by Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, Firefly basically has a lot of character. The settings are well-designed, especially the cramped, yet strangely comforting interior of Serenity, and the CGI scenes are nothing short of breathtaking, some of the best I’ve seen in sci-fi, let alone television sci-fi. The culture portrayed within the series, a blend of western American and Chinese, makes the viewer feel almost nostalgic for tales of the Wild West, and the individual episode plots are always plenty entertaining, with a fair amount of action thrown in to keep things interesting. Several traditional concepts are exploited throughout the episodes, including a classical dual at dawn with swords in one particular episode.
The show has plenty of Whedon’s typically wry humor, with a few of the episodes all but built around comedy, but some of the show does follow a much more somber tone, especially given the central protagonist, Malcolm Reynolds, and his jaded history with the Alliance. Dialogue is funny, snappy, and follows a combination of western slang and sometimes even a few phrases of spoke Chinese, and the cast seems to convey a sense of family throughout the show.
Albeit a very, very dysfunctional family.
For those of you wary about trying out the entire Firefly DVD box set, you could always try renting the film Serenity first, to get some idea if you enjoy the plot, (I enjoyed the film quite a bit, but personally still prefer the TV show that spawned it,) and I sincerely think you’ll be cheating yourself if you don’t give at least one episode a chance to win you over.
After all, in how many shows do you hear the heroic protagonist utter such threats as ‘If your hand touches steel, I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you.’?
That’s what I thought.