There’s almost always an outry when a TV show is cancelled. Even the crappiest piece of tripe crossing airwaves finds a few viewers. But, when a truly quality show is cancelled, the hardcore cult following rises to the challenge…sometimes with success…sometimes without. Unfortunately for us, the supporters of Joss Whedon’s space-western, Firefly failed in their efforts to save this witty, urbane and solid piece of television.
When the show was on the air, I felt – even in my own house – as if I was the only person in the nation watching this show. I was wrong, and I knew, as I plunked down the $50 for the complete Firefly on DVD that a lot of other folks were doing so, too. What a treat its been to watch excellent actors play out excellent parts in excellent scripts. Even the weakest of the stories rise above the majority of the pablum that broadcasts these days.
In case you’re not up on the lore of Whedon’s future, let me give you a brief rundown. Back in the old days…oops…Forward in the future days (500 years or so), the Chinese and the Americans decide to merge themselves, both on Earth and on the farflung worlds to which they’ve staked claim, from the last two remaining superpowers into a single entity. Not everyone is happy about this, and a civil war develops between those who support unification and those who oppose it.
Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), our main character, most definitely has issues with the Alliance, and desiring a life as far from the center of the Alliance universe, buys a Firefly class spaceship that he promptly names Serenity. (I’d tell you why it’s called Serenity, but it’s one of those little trivia gems that’s kind of fun to discover as you watch the show.) Mal and his fellow Browncoat, Zoe (Gina Torres), take command of Serenity as Captain and First Officer, interviewing and hiring a mechanic, Kaylee (Jewel Staite) – a fresh-faced farmgirl who isn’t very innocent – and a pilot named Wash (Alan Tudyk), whose disarming and off-kilter sense of humor soon wins the heart, and hand in marriage, of Zoe. And, held at gunpoint during a robbery, Mal manages to negotiate the hire of one of the robbers, escaping with his life and plunder in tact, along with a piece of muscle called Jayne (Adam Baldwin). Inara Serra (Morena Baccarin) rounds out the initial crew, contracted loosely with Serenity as a sort of ambassador to some very wealthy men and women who seek her out as a “companion.”
In the first episode, Serenity could use a little operating cash, so they take on some passengers, most important of which are Shepherd Meria Book (Ron Glass), fresh out of the monastery, and brother and sister team Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher) and River Tam (Summer Glau). Not much time passes before it becomes obvious that there’s a whole lot more to the good shepherd, not to mention the sister and brother. Shepherd Book seems to know a whole lot about guns and killing, and the good doctor and sister reveal themselves to be fugitives, of the utmost importance, from The Alliance.
Firefly is well worth the price of the DVD set. The extras are nothing special, but it’s all about the stories anyway. One of the key reasons to own the set is to see the episodes in the intended order…not in the network dictated sequence ordered by Fox.
The universe created in the television show will continue to live in the upcoming feature film Serenity, due out September 30th.
On a scale of 1-10, Firefly gets a solid 9.
Copyright 2005 by Greg Hubbard