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May 13, 2004

{     Firefly- The Complete Series     }    

Say what you will about Joss Whedon’s other television projects, (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) but spare me your criticism when it comes to Firefly- I won’t hear any trash-talk. If you’d told me I’d fall in love with this doomed series when it first premiered I would have thought you an insane crazy-person. Looking back now, I wish I’d jumped on the bandwagon a little sooner and done my part to save one of the best TV shows ever made. I’m not going to try and convert you to sci-fi geekdom with technical gibberish and some crap about the underlying message behind the show- and part of the charm of Firefly is that it doesn’t present itself that way either. There’s no bumpy-headed aliens (or any aliens at all), no dilythium crystals or Prime Directives- just some extremely endearing characters, straight-forward storylines, and a unique vision of the universe in which it all plays out. It calls to mind the best elements of Cowboy Bebop, and the grit and harshness of an old Sergio Leone spaghetti western. People get shot (a lot) and people die. There’s plenty of double-crossing and triple-crossing, and when you finally encounter moments of loyalty and the sense of family that’s developed between the characters, it is hard-won and extremely believable. The crew of the Serenity are the most diverse and well-rounded characters in sci-fi TV history, and their interaction is what gives each episode it’s heart, and what keeps you watching. These are familiar archetypes- the gunslinging anti-hero Captain, his unshakably loyal first-mate, the money-hungry mercenary, the exotic and beautiful prostitute, the cowardly pilot, the goofy mechanic, the young doctor, the troubled priest and the mysterious young woman. What’s so refreshing about them though is the personality they are each imbued with, and the ways in which they are indelibly connected. Much of what is exciting about the series results from the unexpected behavior of these characters, their moral and ethical dynamic, and the harsh realities they continually confront. There are little touches too that make Firefly so exceptional. The set of the Serenity alone is a marvel to behold, a lot closer to what you’d expect from a big-budget feature film than a network TV show. There are several unique filming techniques used to give the computer-generated scenes a more organic feel- lens flares, blurred focus, intentional over-pans, odd camera placement, and zoom shots from a wide angle. Gone are the sterile sets, bombastic musical scores and clean production values we normally associate with sci-fi on TV, there is real grit here and a sense of movement that brings you along for the ride. Maybe you can blame part of my love for Firefly on it’s tragic “one-season wonder” status (I have a soft-spot for the underappreciated), but I think even the most unsentimental viewer will question the removal of this one from the network roster. It works on so many levels that it’s a bitter irony to realize it didn’t survive because so many assumed this was “just another one of those goofy sci-fi shows”. I would trade a hundred seasons each of Andromeda, Stargate SG-1, Lexx, Enterprise, Roswell, Mutant X, Babylon 5 and the rest of that crap for one more season of Firefly. In a reversal of the “one bad apple” theory, this singularly wonderful show seems to have been brought down by an ocean of mediocrity. 14 episodes (3 of which never aired), a nice helping of extras including deleted scenes and a gag reel, and the best sci-fi series to ever grace the small screen- Amazon is hawking the set for only $35, which is almost an insult given the caliber of this program.

     » Buy it...

Comments

Works for me! I'll put it on "the list."

The massive, ever-expanding list of TV on DVD titles I need to buy in the nebulous "future time."

I don't get paid well enough.

Posted by: benjamin at May 14, 2004 7:05 PM

I REALLY encourage you to give Buffy another chance. Start at season 1 and you'll be hooked.

And after your hooked, not before, read this:

http://166.70.46.216/2004/May/05012004/Saturday/Saturday.asp

Because this will make you hate it again.

Posted by: Lindsey at May 14, 2004 8:42 PM

You dirty bitch! You knew I couldn't resist checking that link out, and you knew that if there was one thing that would hook me into the series it was an endorsement from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.
Hot damn!
Seriously, after watching Firefly, I'm totally ready to give Buffy another chance. Angel too. I just don't think they're going to do it for me the way this does.

Posted by: Adam at May 14, 2004 8:57 PM

I just started watching this series and you are right. This is the best thing i never saw on tv!
The best show ever canceled since the family guy.

Posted by: Ferno at February 19, 2005 1:50 AM
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