Firefly - The Complete Series  -
Much praised and much missed after its premature cancellation, Firefly is the first SF TV series to be conceived by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy and cocreator of Angel. Set five centuries in the future, it is a show where the mysterious personal pasts of the crew of the tramp spaceship Serenity continually surface. In fact, it's a Western in space where the losers in a Civil War are heading out to a barren frontier. Mal Reynolds is a man embittered by the war, yet whose love of his comrades perpetually dents his cynicism--even in the 14 episodes that exist we see him warm to the bubbly young mechanic Kaylee, the preacher Book, the idealistic doctor Simon, even to the often demented River, Simon's sister, the psychic result of malign experiments.
Firefly is also about adult emotional relationships, for example Kaylee's crush on Simon, the happy marriage of Mal's second officer Zoe and the pilot Wash, the disastrous erotic stalemate between Mal and the courtesan Inara. Individual episodes deal with capers going vaguely wrong, or threats narrowly circumvented; character and plot arcs were starting to emerge when the show was cancelled. Fortunately, the spin-off movie Serenity ties up some of the ends; and in the meantime, what there is of Firefly is a show to marvel at, both for its tight writing and ensemble acting, and the idiocy of the executives who cancelled it.
On the DVD: Firefly on DVD is presented in anamorphic 1.78:1 with Dolby Surround Sound. It includes commentaries on six episodes by various writers, directors, designers and cast members as well as featurettes on the conception of the show and the design of the spaceship Serenity, four deleted scenes, a gag reel, and Joss Whedon singing the show's theme tune, more or less. One of the things that emerges from all of this is how committed to the project everyone involved with it was, and is--unusually, you end up caring as much for the cast and crew as for the characters.
Customer reviews (av rating: 5.0):
Lost Classic : Sort of on a downer - writer/director Joss Whedon leveraged his huge Buffy success to make the most personal, effecting and engaging sci-fi TV ever. But even wearing his dollar-strength as a shining halo, Whedon never completely convinced Fox who choked-off Firefly before it ever fully hit its stride. Geek-power provided the momentum for an, ultimately disappointing, Firefly return in film form but ignore that and instead love what's here. We will rule the world, eventually.
Somehow this really works - I'm hooked! : I was looking for a cheap sci-fi DVD on play.com and found the Serenity movie. Reading all the 5 star reviews I discovered there was a complete TV series, Firefly. I was intrigued, so on a whim I went out and bought it.
What can I say; imagine a mixture of Sharpe, Red Dwarf and The Magnificent Seven, and this sums up Firefly for me. It's 2057 and the weapons of choice are six shooters not lasers, dress code is frontierland America, not Star Trek lycra, cash is wads of notes not digital credits. Yet you've still got hyperdrive, shuttles, heads up displays and cryogenic chambers. On paper there is no way this should work, but it does, it's the most compelling, entertaining series I've seen for a long time. Buy it and you won't be dissapointed.
Excellent : A great series, with interesting characters and plot. My brother bought the series and lent it to me, thought it was so good I bought it myself. Special effects are brilliant as well - just as good as the new Battlestar Galactica series.
Here's how it was... One of the greatest series of all time : I've been a somewhat cautious fan of science fiction for a while, and passed this over at first assuming it's early cancellation to have signaled poor quality. The fact that it was made by Joss Whedon didn't help it since I'd not seen the appeal in Buffy or Angel. But a friend lent me the first disk of this box set, and I realized my mistake. This is genius, every single episode. I bought it right away.
Early cancellation turns out to have been a symptom of ruthless and blind money making on the part of fox, the more I found out how fox screwed this series over the more I'm amazed.
So; self-indulgence over, review beginning. This is a blend of two seemingly incompatible genres - sci-fi and western. It does this stunningly well, basically the whole thing's set in a future where everyone flies round in spaceships but all the most remote planets on the edge of civilization are basically the old American west, they don't have enough food or medicine or much else for that matter. Just like the old west there are all kinds of lawless activities out here and the show follows the crew of one ship who's main way to survive is to smuggle, steal, kill and do whatever else they need to in order to just keep flying. They aren't bad guys, but they're not quite good guys either. By the end of the series you really feel like you know all the characters in the crew, and what's so brilliant is they feel like characters not stereotypes, and the complex relationships between them are completely believable.
The whole series really sucks you into its world, it's a world that makes sense (everyone's English/Mandarin bilingual) and's a million miles from the squeaky-clean world of shows like star trek. The music is equally instrumental in this, blending Chinese, American, eastern European, and many other completely different styles into a believable blend that feels very improvised and very much like the music these people would be playing, nothing orchestral or operatic, just some guys with an old guitar or two sitting round playing the blues.
From a visual standpoint the series is equally impressive. The CGI is stunning, on par with the best Hollywood can throw at us, and utilizing unusual CGI techniques like zooms and rapid unfocused turns of the camera to give it a style similar to documentary, news or reality programming where the cameraman doesn't quite catch everything perfectly. The same technique of calculated roughness is applied to the live-action camera-work so that the characters aren't always perfectly in shot and walk in from odd angles. It feels like this is all happening, you just happen to be watching it.
The writing is absolutely brilliant. The plots are vary between really good, great, and jaw-dropingly awesome. The dialog is cool, quick, funny and reminds me of Elmore Leonard in it's easy but always-snappy flow.
Basically this is genius. It's a strangely believable story of ordinary people on the frontiers of civilization just trying to make a living and get by, and in the end that's the the most involving story of all - one that makes us feel.
Here's to serenity, hoping she'll fly again.
Firefly please fly again... : A true gem, this show has everything and a lot more besides. I did see this after I saw Serenity which wasnt the best thing so my advice is see this series before watching the Serenity movie as this concludes the sadly ill fated series. This isnt a Star Trek ripoff not does it try to be anything like that, Joss Wheadon creator of this and Buffy, Angel takes sci-fi adventure and makes it his own, a western in space! Great stuff I recommend it.
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