I spent most of this week watching the 14 episodes of Firefly for the second time in my life, and I think I appreciated it even more this time around. The TV show was cancelled before all of the Season 1 episodes were shown, although they ultimately aired on The Science Channel.
The series failed for a number of reasons; the main one being that the episodes were not shown in the correct order, which was a stupid decision because the feature-length opening episode introduces all of the characters.
So why do I like it?
Firefly is a mix of action, drama, romance, and adventure. Although it's science fiction, the characters often talk like cowboys. Josh Whedon (Buffy, The Avengers) created the series, as well as directing three episodes and being involved as a writer.
The characters have real depth, but the development isn't rushed. The origin of the relationships and character traits are explained gradually as the series progresses. Many of the characters are mysterious, and will make you question their true motivations. But, through it all, each character always seems real. You'll meet a married couple, war veterans, a preacher, a doctor, a psychologically damaged girl, a genius engineer, an apparently dumb mercenary, and a high-class prostitute. It's fascinating to see the existing bonds between some of the characters, and the development of new bonds.
Episodes often show the crew taking on a task of some kind to earn their living. These assignments are often illegal, but can also become somewhat noble. If you are a fan of Whedon, you'll know that he uses humor regularly, and it's often present in Firefly. It can be pretty campy at times, but the writing is strong and it never comes across as stupid. Jaynestown is probably the funniest episode, and you'll understand why if you watch the episodes in the correct sequence.
I would have to say that I like every character, and that's rare for me with a cast of this size. The biggest mystery in the series surrounds River (Summer Glau), who plays the sister of the ship's doctor, Simon (Sean Maher). Their relationship is arguably the strongest within the group, and there's always a sense that River's story drives the entire series.
The Blu-ray includes all of the episodes, and the picture quality is good for the most part. Some of the darker images have lower quality, but the series is so good that you won't sit there criticizing the image. The special features include plenty of commentaries, as well as a making of feature, deleted scenes, and other assorted goodies.
If you do become hooked on the series, you'll need to watch Serenity (2005), which was a two-hour movie wrapping up the main story. That's a fantastic science fiction movie, but you'll appreciate it more if you know the characters well. Firefly runs for almost 11 hours, and you'll end up wishing for more. The movie gives the show a proper ending, and won't leave you hanging.
Buy it if you like Whedon, science fiction, or well-written characters. Incidentally, the set is housed in a regular Blu-ray case with room for the three discs, so it won't look out of place on your shelf.
Well,I may have missed the initial party,but it's never too late to become a Browncoat.I am proudly displaying my Browncoat beside the suits of The Federation,Earth Alliance and the Commonwealth(I will let you savvy TV Sci Fi fans figure out which show belongs to what suit!).This Joss Whedon treasure is as surefire winner,from the brilliant writing to the direction to the wonderful ensemble cast,as any of the aforementioned shows were.The only difference between those and this show is this one was cut off in its prime.After only 11 eps(including the 2 hour pilot) the show faded to black.Three shows were filmed and left unaired,but have thankfully found a home in this set.
Star Trek was originally compared to being a Wagon Train-like show set in the future.Well Firefly takes the Wagon Train element and brings it more literally to life than Star trek ever did.There are horses,wagons,six shooters,rifles,cattle,cowboys;all the things a good western needs and more.The shows premise harkens back to the US Civil War where the Union fought the Confederacy,here referred to as the Alliance against the Independents.The lead characters consider themselves all members of the latter.The Firefly class ship(it actually is reminiscent of said insect)is called Serenity,so named after the famous battle of Serenity Valley which two of the lead characters fought through and barely survived.It was the battle that ended the war between the two factions.The ship and crew now do odd jobs for odd characters,going where the pay takes them and generally trying to steer clear of the Alliance.What sets this Sci Fi series apart from its competitors is the decided lack of aliens.This series focuses more on the human factor;that is our own progression out into the galaxy and our colonization of it.Goodness knows there is enough writing fodder to be had concentrating solely on humans,without having to add the alien dynamic into the mix.And Joss Whedon successfully does just that.
The cast was a dream cast.Everything gelled perfectly.They were:Nathan Fillion as Malcolm Reynolds,Gina Torres as Zoe,Alan Tudyk as Wash,Morena Baccarin as Innara,Adam Baldwin as Jayne,Jewel Staite as Kaylee,Sean Maher as the Dr Tam,Summer Glau as River and finally Ron Glass as Book.Glass is well known from Barney Miller and Gina Torres is one of my fave kick butt-type characters from Xena,Hercules and Cleopatra 2020.The characters were brought vividly to life by each actor,and each had their own back story to tell,which fleshed out the entire feel of the show.
The entire set of eps in this DVD set are in w/s format,clear and crisp for the most part,and there are oodles of extras for all those dedicated Browncoats out there such as:a featurette on the making of the series,the ship,deleted scenes,a gag reel,and more.
I never saw the original series in its original airing(the only one out of the aforementioned others-if you have successfully guessed by now which ones they are-I didn't).But I heard alot about it and its' premature demise.The first thing I ever saw of Firefly was the movie Serenity(see my review on that)and loved it.I did not know then about the back story but now having viewed the original series,it all comes beautifully into focus.This set of four single sided discs is da bomb,believe me.This series will show you what intelligent TV writing can do and Whedon is to commended for his vision on this project.Whedon killed off some of the shows characters in the movie but there is no reason a renewed series couldn't just pick up where the original left off,with all the same people and have the movie as the final fade out of the series once it is done.But that takes vision and guts on the part of TV execs,which unfortunately is sadly lacking when they see shows that don't neatly fit within their prescribed parameters.
Well,the ever swelling ranks of Browncoats just added one more enthusiastic member.I urge you to buy this set and guarantee after you watch it,you will be joining up too!
on December 23, 2011
I've heard amazing things about Firefly, and I am so glad that I bought the Complete Series on DVD. It's amazing! I was pretty sure I'd like it because it sounds like it's right up my alley, but I didn't think that I would become hooked so fast! I watched all 14 episodes in one day...and I was ready to watch them all again right again afterwards (and that's after having watched Serenity the following day!).
This series is addictive, it's funny, and the characters are fantastic! Through each episode the characters grew on me more and more...even the one's that I wasn't sure of at first, like Jayne, I loved. They grow on you, and you definitely won't forget them anytime soon. I plan on watching this series over-and-over because I don't think I will ever be ready to let them, or their story go. :)
The fact that an amazing show like this was cancelled just makes me want to roll up into the fetal position and sob because if amazing shows like this can't stay on the air, pretty soon all we'll be left with are the crappy ones that go on for way too long. The one thing that brings me solace is that Serenity, the movie, at least gave me a bit more closure than just watching the series did. So, I totally recommend Firefly...completely, irrevocably, and enthusiastically...but you definitely want to get yourself a copy of Serenity, too because that movie is awesome and it'll help ease the pain from realizing that this is in fact the "complete" series, and that there really isn't any more...expect for the movie. ;)
on October 31, 2011
My roomate first introduced me to Firefly, and I have become a commited browncoat ever since!
This is an excellent series that died long before it's time. In contrast to so many shows in the sci-fi genre, Firefly incorperates both the ancient past and the distant future-- space travel and cowboys, a winning combination. Recounting the voyages/adventures of the Firefly class ship(Serenity) captained by Malcom Renyolds and a crew from several walks of life, the show sets a more realistic conception(at least in my opinion) as to what life would be like for mankind if they were to leave this rock and explore/settle various planets in the galexy. One thing I love about this series is the fact that there are no far fetched stories of alien beings or other species(unless if you count people turned savage, cannibalistic and sadistic- aka Reavers). Laying aside the many cliches so prevalent in the science fiction world, Joss Wheaton created a truly unique work about real people struggling to make a living on the far reaches of space, far from the many luxuries that civalization has to offer. I could delve deeper into the plotline, conflicts, personality clashes and character profiles that make Firefly a truly worthy addition to one's video collection(or at least one worth checking out) but as I am confident that this info is readily available to the common man, let it be sufficiant to say that as a fan of the sci-fi genre and one who appreciates cleaver writing(unlike much of the drivel being passed of as entertainment today), I would highly reccomend the series. Let me add that I am quite perplexed and somewhat saddened by the fact that Fox discontinued such a rare gem. If only a diffrent station was interested in picking it up we may have gained the answers to a number of questions and seen the resolution to several loose ends... Still, as stated in the commentary- "You can't take the sky from me". Perhaps someday They may have the chances and resources to continue the series(wishful thinking on my part)!
on March 27, 2006
A friend of mine had been extolling the virtues of this short-lived series for years, but I thought to myself, "A Western in space? Not my thing." Even after I watched (and hugely enjoyed) Joss Whedon's other creations, _Buffy the Vampire Slayer_ and _Angel_, I still thought the premise uninteresting to me. But we ran out of other things to watch (we finished renting all available episodes of _The Sopranos_ and _The Shield_ from our local video store), so I thought it was worth at least a look on an otherwise unoccupied weekend.
I am now willing to admit that I was completely, criminally wrong. _Firefly_ is actually better than _Buffy_, which I wouldn't have thought possible. The environment (human settlements on other planetoid surfaces, five hundred years in the future, post-all-Earth political unification), is well-thought-out and complex, the characters are wonderfully intriguing, the dialogue absolutely note-perfect. We watched all fourteen episodes over a two week span and greatly resent the show's premature cancellation.
Which, actually, explains why I'm here. This is the first DVD I've ever bought -- I just ordered it now -- partly because I need to watch it again at least a few times and this is cheaper than continuing to rent it; and partly because I'm hoping to add to the DVD sales which might convince some television company somewhere to bankroll the return of _Firefly_ to the small screen.
In short -- yes, yes, by all means, buy this DVD!
"You can't take the sky from me..."
on March 13, 2006
Great, great show (one of the few in my opinion). In fact, I don't think a show has ever taken me away like this one has. I really love it. I have never seen a sci-fi show like this: the character development is central, unlike much of the silly sci-fi out there. I think firefly is a mature expression of the sci-fi genre. As cool as the sci-fi scenes and ideas are on firefly, you realize that they are simply the backdrop for a wonderful story, once you get to know the characters and how much they need each other. Loads of suspense, authentic and thoroughly interesting characters (played so well might i add), great stories, and great comedy when you least expect it (I had to pause and rewind a few times because I missed dialogue over my laughter).
Question: Have you ever watched the characters in the recent star wars films try to be funny or romantic, and you end up cringing because it is so out of balance and feel with the rest of the film? Firefly succeeded where star wars has struggled.
on January 4, 2006
The Irony of a network that began by scrambling for ratings canceling this particular series dumbfounds me . This at a Time when Voyager , Star Trek TNG, Deep Space 9, and Babylon 5 had all either suffered the fate of the Dodo or were well on their way too it makes the lack of foresight at fox only more so peculiar. Infact , it makes me think those at the fox network really have no clue and ought not to be in broadcasting at all.
This series had the potential to realy give Paramount something to whine about other than " The ratings on the trekkie series aren't good enough".
The series itself is very well written and has charectors that everyone can easily follow and Identify with. ( Now compair that with trying to identify with Paris Hilton or anyone else fox has spat at us on the reality binge they have paraded on with for far too long.)
The cast in this series is actually a believable fit to a storyline which takes us away from the " oh god the world is going to ... " and back into the "What if" that realy makes A good Sci Fi interesting.
In spite of the grungy and often plain sets Firefly pushes a good story onto some good "OHH AHH" special effects ... another quality of a good Sci Fi that has been lacking in the last ... oh ... 10 years ... Save for the current Battlestar Galactica... (* HINT HINT SCI FI & Space ! THIS IS YOUR CHANCE!*)
It's really too bad that Fox and a Host of other networks have chosen to walk a path where a good program isnt what they care about ... instead , they Bombard us with the likes of the afore mentioned reality Tv.
Perhalps looking at the numbers on the sales of the DVD package will show them what good Sci fi .. and perhalps ENTERTAINMENT (* Which was supposed to be their goal*) really is ...
on April 25, 2005
I remember seeing the ads for this innovative program when it was first being aired and thinking it was something I wanted to watch. However, due to work committments, I missed the first couple episodes and never found it again. Then, I heard it was cancelled after a half season. Well, soon reports of a fan following of this program developed (similar to Star Trek) and when I saw the complete series on dvd, I decided to buy it. Boy, am I glad I did.
Firefly unfortunately came out during the reality tv craze. It is a fine program with excellent characters and stories, a wonderful premise, superb acting and cast, fine effects, and a great production team. Watching the 2 hour pilot on dvd and the shows in order certainly built the characters and the plot. Apparently, Fox, when originally airing this, didn't air the episodes in the order that made sense losing a fair number of viewers along the way. This program is one of the best sci-fi series ever aired. Unfortunately, it died too soon. But, like the Phoenix, it is rising from the ashes and I am eagerly anticipating the feature movie Serenity in the fall.
One thousand plus reviews can't be wrong: if you enjoy good stories, action, humor, and a little science fiction, delve into Firefly. You may be pleasantly surprised.
on April 14, 2005
Okay, another reviewer here suggests that if you don't believe the almost ONE THOUSAND positive reviews on amazon for this show, rent it first. you'll come back to purchase it. i am here to tell you he was right. i rented the 1st 2 discs (1st 8 episodes) from my local video store on a whim. I watched them in a single weekend, then decided to just purchase the whole set instead of renting the last 2 discs, even though i would have saved $40 by doing that.
This show is so excellent it makes me sad there are only 14 episodes. i am now counting the days to the movie premiere in september (2005). the acting, the writing, the effects are all so excellent. the humour just kills me. when was the last time you didn't know whether to laugh or gasp while watching a torture scene? that's right -- laugh! a comic torture scene! one of so many excellent scenes that i am delighted i splurged on this DVD set.
The characters are so well developed, and i love how little things in latter episodes connect to former ones. i hope the movie is so successful the series comes back to TV. someone else wrote that Firefly seems like a love letter from Joss Whedon. I'm inclined to agree. This whole series is a love letter to storytelling. And don't you jus twonder why 999 people took the time to write reviews for this show on amazon? And it keeps the 4.5 star rating. that's impressive. i love this show so much this is my 1st review for amazon.
on February 28, 2005
The only bad thing about this series is that you'll be left wanting more, as Firefly was undeservedly prematurely cancelled by shortsighted TV execs (Now that's never happened before!!!), but the 14 episodes in existence are total gems. Excellent writing, witty dialogue, great characters that you really care about, humorous and dramatic storylines...and the list goes on!
An intriguing and entertaining blend of western and sci-fi, but even if you're not particularly a fan of either of those genres, you're sure to enjoy it.
Buy it now...you won't regret it! (Just look how many people have taken the trouble to submit reviews (this is the first time I've ever cared enough to submit one), we can't all be wrong!)
And don't despair...a film is now on the way (Serenity), due out in September 2005. (Hopefully to be followed by sequels, and, in a perfect world, resumption of the TV series!) Mark it in your diaries, and go along to your local cinema (with as many family members and friends as possible!!) and show your support for Serenity, Captain Tight-pants and the rest of the crew!!