Firefly: The Series
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
Iím beginning to think that Made-For-DVD television series are the way of the future. While the reality craze and the procedural drama craze take turns eliminating all other existing television, most of the good, more imaginative shows are being thrown by the wayside. (Although, the surprise hits Lost and Desperate Housewives are huge scores on the board against my ďInteresting Drama Extinction TheoryĒ but I am grateful to that.) There have been many victims of this phase-Angel, Farscape, Wonderfalls, Point Pleasant and, quite possibly the soon to be slaughtered The Inside. But the first death in this cavalcade of quickly dead, well-written shows, was a show created by the very makers of Angel, Wonderfalls and The Inside. That show was called Firefly and it was created by Joss Whedon and Tim Minear. Thank God for DVDís.
Firefly was a series that was crippled by itís network before it even hit the ground. A space western with nine major characters, Firefly was to be aired on Fox starting with a two hour pilot. But something didnít sit well with the network and they yanked the airing of the pilot, starting instead with the second episode, and thus, no introduction to any of the characters. The series still survived, gaining a loyal fan base mostly comprised of Whedon fans who knew Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel and wanted to fight for the vision that Whedon and Minear fought to create. It didnít work, and it didnít seem that Fox wanted it to. The show died after filming fourteen episodes, with only ten aired, and those ten aired out of order. Hell, even the rabidest of Buffy and Angel fans just couldnít follow-I was one of them. I watched two episodes and gave up. Until I bought the DVD. It was on a whim, but it was a damn good whim!
Firefly is a show that takes place in the future where the Alliance (a cross-breed of Star Trekís Federation and Star Warsí Empire) has moved into position after a large war with The Independents, and have colonized all the known planets. A Sergeant in the war, but on the losing side, our hero Malcolm Reynolds, played by Nathan Fillion, purchases a transport Firefly class ship that he names Serenity after the battle that lost him the war and begins using it to take any job he can get-from transporting tourists to smuggling goods, Captain Mal will do anything that pays. His crew, consists of his old war friend Zoe, played by Gina Torres, her husband and pilot of Serenity, Wash, played by Alan Tudyk, ship engineer, sweet and innocent Kaylie, played by Jewel Staite, and the rough and burly mercenary Jayne, played by Adam Baldwin. Along the way, they pick up Inara, played by Morena Baccarin, a companion (or paid escort, but at this point, such a business is legal) who Mal harbors secret feelings for, Book, played by Ron Glass, a Preacher who becomes the conscience of the ship, and a brother and sister team. The brother and sister team, Simon and River Tam, played by Sean Maher and Summer Glau, just happen to be fugitives who are wanted by the Alliance because River is super intelligent and the Government has been running tests on her, making her psychic, violent, and quite insane. Together, this crew becomes a family that protects each other and, funny enough, does crime together-and who can beat that?
The series has the wit and wisdom of any Joss Whedon/Tim Minear creation and that alone is astounding to watch. All of their products are amazingly brilliant, perfectly meshing action, comedy, horror, and romance into hour after hour.
As I completed the DVD of the series which included all fourteen episodes, a featurette containing a guided tour of Serenity with Joss Whedon, a behind the scenes featurette, a featurette about the creation of Serenity, a Gag Reel, four deleted scenes, Alan Tudykís audition, and Joss singing the Firefly theme, I was sorely disappointed. Just when I started to pout at my loss, even though I knew exactly what I was getting into, I was granted a reprieve.
Firefly is an excellent vision, and apparently I am not the only one to notice. After a long enough wait, the series, which aired and died in 2002, is being made into a movie. The movie, entitled Serenity will pick up where the series left off, but will apparently include enough information to woo old fans and new fans alike. So stay tuned - Serenity is set to be released on September 30th of 2005. In the meantime, get your fix-check out the trailer at www.serenitymovie.com. Believe me-this movie will be worth it.