The good guys
get hired by a really bad guy to do a job. But when they realize just what the job is, they change their minds. So when the really bad guy's henchmen show up to collect what the good guys were supposed to steal, there's trouble. The good guys prevail and the chief good guy tells the leader of the captive henchmen,
“Here's the money back. Tell your boss we decided not to do it.” The lead henchman, all steely eyed, says,
“No matter how long it takes, I'll hunt you down and kill you.”
The years of movie and TV storytelling experience in my head told me that this was the beginning of a story arc where the good guys are endlessly pursued by this bad guy, right?
Instead, the chief good guy kicks the lead henchman in the chest, knocking him into an engine intake where he's shredded into a million pieces. Then the chief good guy says to the next henchman,
“Here's the money back. Tell your boss we decided not to do it.”
To which the henchmen eagerly replies,
“No problem, buddy. I totally understand!”
In other words, THEY SURPRISED ME! Me, the most cynical I-can-see-it-coming-down-Fifth-avenue jaded sci-fi/ horror fan there is. I laughed my ass off!
"They" are the writers of the Fox series FIREFLY, the best science fiction show in the history of television. They have –
"Wait just a damn minute!" you say. "The best? What about FARSCAPE? What about STARGATE? What about… you're not implying… better than STAR TREK?"
Just calm down. I'm not putting down any of those shows. I'm a die hard Trekkie, no matter how much the movies suck. But I'm here to tell you that FIREFLY will surprise you. There are a lot of things about the show that makes it excellent and in many ways unique, but it's the writing that will win you over, I promise.
For those who don't know, the story takes place 500 years from now. The title refers to a Firefly class cargo ship named Serenity. Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion: DRACULA 2000, SERENITY, SLITHER, WHITE NOISE 2, DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG) and his first officer Zoë (Gina Torres: THE MATRIX: RELOADED, THE MATRIX: REVOLUTIONS, SERENITY) fought on the losing side in a rebellion against the central worlds. There are no aliens, at least so far (perfectly reasonable: read “Rare Earth” by Ward and Brownlee) and all the inhabited worlds have been terraformed, which is why they all look Earth-like.
Some planets are well developed and “glittery with high tech” and others are dumping grounds for criminals and ne’er-do-wells and thus very poor. Serenity spends most of her time among the outer worlds, where horses make more sense than vehicles because there's no industry to produce spare parts, etc.
The rest of the crew are quirky and flawed enough to be likable, from the sarcastic Wash (Alan Tudyk: I, ROBOT, SERENITY), ship's pilot and Zoë's husband ...
to the thick-skulled tough guy Jayne (Adam Baldwin: PREDATOR 2, SERENITY, THE THIRST, SANDS OF OBLIVION)...
to the innocent ship's engineer Kaylee (Jewel Staite: SERENITY).
In the first episode several passengers become permanent residents:
Shepard Book (Ron Glass: SERENITY, LAKEVIEW TERRACE), the priest with a past he doesn't want to talk about...
Inarra (Morena Baccarin: SERENITY, SANDS OF OBLIVION), the "companion" (sort of a cross between a prostitute and a Buddhist monk)...
Let me put my former aerospace engineer and lifelong space geek hat on for a minute and mention one more thing.
and brother and sister on the run from the government, Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher: SERENITY) and River Tam (Summer Glau: SERENITY, TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES). River is a genius that escaped from a government lab and is both damaged and gifted.
This is the only sci-fi show ever to get the simplest and most obvious detail of space travel right: THERE IS NO SOUND IN SPACE! I mean, it's obvious, isn't it? Space is a vacuum. Empty. Thus there is no medium to transmit sound so no matter how powerful the engines are the space ship will NOT make a whooshing noise as it goes by. In 50 years, when space travel is commonplace and everyone has done it, our great grandchildren will watch episodes of Star Trek (while studying for their Ph.D.'s in Television History) and say, "What's with all the whooshing? There's no sound in space. Were these people stupid?" (and the answer will be, "Yes. They were quite stupid." - Feo).
The first time I saw a scene on FIREFLY that involved an explosion in space and the only sound was hauntingly beautiful background music, that's when the show won my heart forever.
Take my love
take my land
take me where I cannot stand
I don't care
I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me
Take me out
to the black
tell 'em I ain't coming back
burn the land
and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me
Have no place
I can be
since I found Serenity
but you can't take the sky from me
- lyrics and music by Joss Whedon.
Looking for more information on Firefly? These are the top fan sites as listed in the search words
There are lots of other intriguing details, like the way people all seem to speak both English and Chinese for some reason, and the way everyone refers to Earth as "Earth that was". (Why? What happened to it?).
I hope I've told you enough to get you to give the show a try. I have? Great! But now the bad news: Fox has officially cancelled FIREFLY.
Don't panic! It's cancelled but not necessarily dead. Creator Joss Whedon (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER [TV], ALIEN RESURRECTION, ANGEL [TV], SERENITY) is trying to find it a new home and the most likely candidate is UPN. That's where you can help. Fans of FIREFLY have put together a website that's collecting names and demographic data of the fan base to present to UPN. Click on the link below and fill out the survey and keep this great show on the air. It really deserves to stay.
11 Years Later
Nathan Fillion dismisses the idea of more 'Serenity' as 'an impossibility'
When they were shooting "Serenity" at Universal Studios, I got a chance to visit the set and take a walk through the main ship, which had been built to give them a chance to do a full continuous shot from the front of the ship to the back without cutting away or cheating, and I must admit… it's one of the most impressive sets I've seen built. Functional, but completely immersive. It was the ship. I'm so used to seeing things in pieces and in sections that to just step inside something real like that was sort of dizzying.
Continued at HitFlix.
ORIGINALLY POSTED ON DEC. 23, 2002. LINKS AND IMAGES ARE PERODICALLY UPDATED. CONTENT WAS LAST UPDATED JUNE 4, 2013.
ALL FIREFLY IMAGES ON THIS PAGE ARE COPYRIGHT 2002 MUTANT ENEMY, Inc. AND 20TH CENTURY FOX FILMS
FIREFLY BANNERS ARE COPYRIGHT THEIR RESPECTIVE ARTISTS / OWNERS
copyright 2002 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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