|In Short:||Are you crazy?! It’s Firefly! Go watch it! If you’ve already seen it, go watch it again! Buy copies for your friends and then watch it with them! Start watching it while reading this review! I am on a horse right now!|
|MALCOLM REYNOLDS:||A captain's goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying.|
Well, gosh, what more can possibly be
said about Firefly that hasn't already been said?
Amusing as it would be to say "nothing" and leave it at that, I
am going under the assumption that you are reading this because
either a) you know nothing about Firefly and are
curious to learn about it (which, admittedly, is a little hard
to fathom, but as a genre fan, it means I am open to that which
is strange and inconceivable [even if that word doesn't mean
what I think it means]), or b) you are a fellow Browncoat and
enjoy reading anything and everything you can find about this
wondrous-yet-short-lived show. In either case (and I do not
believe there are any other options -- you are among one of
those two categories... if you don't think you personally fall
into either, that just means you belong to category "b" and just
don't realize it yet), more commentary is mandated. Therefore,
presented here to you, dear reader, are my top 5 reasons why I
1. The Premise: I won't go into details about the premise of the show, as that has been covered brilliantly elsewhere (such as on this very magazine, found here), but suffice to say that as a Space Western with an emphasis on the "Western", it is admittedly a little hard to wrap one's head around. But as someone who likes to contort my head into odd, wrapping-capable shapes, I liked the premise. One issue many shows encounter is that they have a single hook to them that quickly runs its course leaving the writers in a corner without an easy out. Firefly, however, had so many potential avenues to explore - life on the ship and character interactions, life on the frontier, life on the Alliance planets, etc. - that one never knew where the things would go; an intriguing prospect to be sure, particularly when considering the…
2. Writing: In my opinion, this show epitomizes the excellence of writing found in Joss Whedon shows. It helps that Joss himself wrote or co-wrote 5 of the 14 episodes, and most of the others were written by Those Who Always Kick Writing Ass (TWAKWA… err... my acronyms might need some work) -- Whedon show favorites such as Tim Minear and Jane Espenson along with Whedon newcomer Ben Edlund (how can you go wrong with the creater of The Tick?! Spoon!). Each episode expertly weaves drama and comedy, along with so many quips that even the most anti-quippy person on the block (they take polls for such, don't they?) is soon found to be quoting the show. The writing is just tight, plain and simple. That fact leads directly to how...
3. A large number of characters are handled exceptionally well. Many TV shows start with a small core group of characters and then add more characters as time goes on and the need for future plot devices are required: for example, Buffy had only the core Scooby Gang to begin with, while Angel really only had three main characters when it started. On the flip side, shows that start with a large number of characters will regularly (and occasionally inexplicably) write one or more characters out when they realize the writers can't handle that large of a cast - two examples that come immediately to mind are the character of Cat from the first season of Lois and Clark, and -- if I may leave the genre-world for a second-- the character of Mandy from the first season of The West Wing. [Let’s consider The West Wing genre under the Alternate History statute, shall we? - Ed.] Firefly, however, had a core of nine characters, and it didn't feel too large or unwieldy of a cast. Everyone had their role, was part of the group, and while some characters may not be as prevalent in some episodes as others, was always present. The audience cared about all nine of the characters, which I've always considered particularly impressive. And one reason for that is...
4. No first season jitters. The entire show gelled immediately; it is rare to find a show that finds its feet as quickly and easily as Firefly did. The extent to which the actors, the writing, the vision all meshed makes each episode feel like the middle of, say, the third season, and not a show just starting out. This is even more noticeable when watching the entire series in the proper order, and not in the well-documented-yet-never-fully-explained order in which Fox aired them. And all of these reasons lead to my 5th (and main) reason for liking Firefly...
5) "Our Mrs Reynolds" (01.06). This is, hands down, one of my all-time favorite TV episodes. Heck, have your hands up and/or to the side, it doesn’t matter -- this is still one of my favorite all-time episodes. Nearly the entire episode is quotable (the episode is written by Joss), we get some great character interaction and development, we get Jayne offering a gun in trade for a wife, and we are treated to an entire episode (one of two!) featuring the hotness that is Christina Hendricks! There is absolutely no down side! This episode, despite being episode 6, was the third episode aired by Fox, and is what sealed my fate as a life-long Firefly fan (life-long? I’m going to be a Browncoat well into the afterlife!). This episode rocks so much that I’m tempted to break out in song. I really like this episode! (Smithers: “I gathered that, sir.”)
And those, my friends, are the reasons why I like Firefly, and why I think you should like it, too (yeah, as if you don’t already. Whatever. Not buying it.). But in honor of this being the inaugural issue of Geek Speak Magazine, I present to you, at no extra charge, two bonus reasons:
Bonus Reason #1: No sound in space!
Bonus Reason #2: You get to learn Chinese!