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FTN’s Bash retro-reviews Firefly

November 1st, 2012 by bash Comments

Created by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau & Ron Glass

I must confess, Firely is a TV series I knew little about until the film Serenity was released in 2005 and even then I had no inclination to go back to Joss Whedon’s sci-fi western, despite the aforementioned film’s solid production.

While most of you who have watched the show will know, Firefly premiered in September 20, 2002, but was controversially dropped by Fox just 14 episodes into its first season. Rightly or wrongly the studio felt it wasn’t getting the viewing figures it wanted, despite a solid fanbase seemingly growing from nothing very quickly.

Over the past 12 months I’ve been looking to extend my TV viewing catalogue and having plumped for long running series Smallville and The X-Files, I wanted to add something shorter to my watch list. Thus my FTN buddy Marc pestered me to plump for Firefly.

The series is set in the year 2517, after the arrival of humans in a new star system, and follows the adventures of the renegade crew of Serenity, a “Firefly-class” spaceship. The ensemble cast portrays the nine characters who live on Serenity. These characters fight criminals and schemers and generally do any paid work they can get their hands on.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much and truth be told after watching all 14 episodes my life hasn’t changed much. The effects, especially in the final episode Objects in Space, are a little ropey, while some of the storylines are pretty much run of the mill, but what it did have going for it, and this was very much in evidence from Whedon’s Avengers movie this year, was the riveting dialogue and characterisation.

I particularly loved the sexual tension between Mal and Inara and the witty but stupid jibes of Jayne. There was/is also something terribly sexy about Kaylee – perhaps it’s her cutness combined with an ability to fix a spaceship engine!

Whedon is a writer/director who knows how to make these characters interesting. Not many shows have been able to showcase as many leads (nine in this case) never mind the usual two or three and keep the plot moving along nicely. You really do care for them after only a few episodes and by the end of the series run I really wanted to continue on their adventures.

Whedon succeeds here tremendously well and, to be fair to him, things could and would have gotten better if Fox had given the show another season or two. If they had, we would have inevitably seen greater story arcs and even more characterisation. Instead we were left with a two hour movie which was simply not enough room, even for Whedon’s quality writing, to tie up all the loose ends.

As it is, Firefly is a series that holds up well and can be highly recommended to all who haven’t seen it – whether you are a sci-fi fan or not. Let’s hope those yearly rumours that a new series is going to be greenlit really do come true because there are so many potential places for these characters to go.

Four out of five nerds

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Hi all. I'm Bash and love anything and everything to do with Star Wars. Although I've watched hundreds of movies, read dozens of books and played numerous computer games from other genres and franchises since, nothing has come close to seeing George Lucas' epic for the very first time. I hope you all like the site and come back often.