Take my love. Take my land. Take me where I cannot
stand. Don’t forget, I’m still free. You can’t take
the sky from me.

Cast

href="http://www.imdb.com/Name?Fillion,+Nathan">Nathan
Fillion
as Malcolm Reynolds

Gina
Torres
as Zoe

Alan
Tudyk
as Wash

href="http://www.imdb.com/Name?Baccarin,+Morena">Morena
Baccarin as Inara

href="http://www.imdb.com/Name?Staite,+Jewel">Jewel
Staite as Kaylee

Adam
Baldwin
as Jayne

Sean
Maher
as
Dr. Simon Tam

href="http://www.imdb.com/Name?Glau,+Summer">Summer
Glau as
River Tam

Ron
Glass
as Book

Crew

Created by href="http://www.imdb.com/Name?Whedon,+Joss">Joss
Whedon.

The complete IMDB listings can be found href="http://us.imdb.com/Credits?0303461">here.

The official website can be found href="http://www.fox.com/firefly">here.

Buy the series. You can buy it from href="http://www.bureau42.com/amazon/B0000AQS0F">this
Amazon.com
link if you feel like supporting this site, or
you can buy it
somewhere else. Not buying it just isn’t an option.
(Unless, of
course, you’ve bought it already.)

Original Airdate


Firefly
originally aired in the fall of 2002.

Premise

People who fought on the losing side of a war put
together a ship and
crew to perform various illegal smuggling operations.
Apart from the
two vets, there’s a nutty pilot, a strong but simple
workhorse, a
mighty cute mechanic, a professional companion, a man
who booked
passage using Shepherd credentials, a doctor, and a
victim of
experimentation by the winning side of the war.

15 broadcast hours were produced. It appears that
Fox network
executives then decided to throw them all into a
giant hat, reach in
while blindfolded, pull out twelve entirely at
random, and broadcast
them in the order they were pulled. The DVD release
fixes this, by
putting all of the episodes in their proper order.
In addition, it
has extras that include a gag reel, deleted scenes, a
tour of the set,
Joss Whedon singing the theme song, a “Making of”
special, Alan
Tudyk’s Audition, a segment on the ship itself, and
commentaries on
Serenity (by Joss Whedon and Nathan
Fillion), The Train
Job
(by Joss Whedon and Tim Minear),
Shindig (by Jane
Espenson, Morena Baccarin, and Shawna Trpcic),
Out of Gas (by
Tim Minear and David Solomon), War Stories
(by Nathan Fillion
and Alan Tudyk), The Message (by Alan Tudyk
and Jewel
Staite), and Objects in Space (by Joss
Whedon).

High Point

Trash is an excellent episode. Of course,
Fox never aired
it, possibly because it was a highly entertaining and
action-filled
hour with violence and nudity that included elements
to reward
long-time viewers and draw them deeper into the
series.

Low Point

This is the complete series. Fifteen broadcast
hours, twelve of which
were actually broadcast on the home network. This DVD
set I have
should have two more disks, and it should be marked
“The Complete
First Season.”

The Review

This is the most mainstream use of the western/sci-fi
hybrid structure
I’m aware of. It’s funny, it’s got strong character
and story driven
portions, it has a complex but believable world, and
it’s extremely
well made. Past events often impact the behaviour of
characters in
any subsequent episode. There were some elements of
the show that
have been used elsewhere, but it never once felt like
a rehash. I
give it 6 out of 6 for originality.

The effects were very well done. Physical
effects are
frequently used instead of CGI, and I think that’s
the way it should
be until CGI artists figure out the laws of physics
and find surface
textures that don’t make everything look shiny. I
give it 6 out of 6.

The story being told was an excellent
set-up. However, when
reviewing this as an entire series, I just can’t
justify giving it
full marks. The writers did a fantastic job, but the
network cut them
off too early. Watching this as a complete series is
like reading the
first fifty pages of compelling thousand page novel
and then
stopping. I can only justify giving it 5 out of 6.

The acting has no learning curve. There are
nine central
characters, all of whom seem to have been completely
defined by their
actors before the cameras began to roll. Any change
in the behaviour
of the actors in the course of the series is a result
of character
growth and development. Sean Maher as Simon Tam never
seems to belong.
Summer Glau as River Tam exudes Cassandra Syndrome.
Nathan Fillion as
Malcolm Reynolds is always competant and guarded,
falling only for
situations that demand sympathy of others. Adam
Baldwin’s Jayne Cobb
is generally pretty stupid, crude, and violent, but
even he has his
moments of clarity (such as when he was the only
crewmember to
recognize the name “Lasseter,” or the first
crewmember to pick up on
inconsistencies in Shepherd Book’s cover story.)
Every actor had his
or her role laid out and performed from the start. I
give it 6 out of
6.

The emotional response this produced was
excellent. It sucks
the viewer in, and plays us all. My father has
fallen asleep in every
show I’ve seen him watch for the last two years,
except this one. He
gets tired of any show if he sees more than two or
three episodes in a
week, except this one. We watched the first 6
broadcast hours with
my mother in a 24 hour span. Neither of them has
watched any single
show that much before, but for this show, they’ll do
it and love it.
Keep in mind that these are two people who don’t
watch sci-fi. In
fact, this is the only science fiction they’ve ever
expressed interest
in. Their general distaste for the genre is overcome
by everything
else about it, particularly the style of humour. I
have to give it 6
out of 6.

The production is by Mutant Enemy. If they
had budget
limitations, they masked them well. We’ve got more
than just a well
made show, here. We’ve got a show that combines
action blockbuster
styles with French New Wave surrealism and Soviet
montage elements
seamlessly, still somehow producing a coherent,
individual style.
This may, in fact, be the best produced television
series I’ve ever
seen. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this is a fantastic show. In my
opinion, it’s the
second greatest television series of all time (behind
American
Gothic
), and it deserved far, far better
treatment than it was
given. Find it. Buy it. Watch it. I give it 6 out
of 6.

In total, Firefly: The Complete Series
receives 41 out of 42.

Forthcoming Reviews

Potential forthcoming
reviews are listed href="http://www.ualberta.ca/~wdowler/upcoming.html">here.
If you have any preferences, href="mailto:fiziko@bureau42.com">let me know. The
Babylon 5 reviews of seasons three and four will
likely wait until April, as I won’t have time to watch a
full season of TV in a short enough span to review it
until then. The good news is, seasons three, four and
five should be reviewed by the end of May. In the
meantime, there should be enough books and movies on that
list to keep things interesting.