07 March 2011

TV Series: Firefly

Firefly http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0303461/

Sci-fi series that is basically a Western in outer space.  Born from the brain of Joss Whedon, the man behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, and the awesome Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. You can read better details and summaries about this series than I could write at the Firefly series wikipedia entry.

There are plenty of fansites out there extolling the greatness of this series, which was rudely canceled before the end of its first season.  I'm not going to point to any of them, just know that they exist, and the fans generally referred to as Browncoats. And they're as rabidly defensive of the series as any hard-core Trekkie or Star Wars (whatevertheycallthemselves) fan.

What is interesting is that Discovery's Science channel, which may or may not be carried by your cable/satellite provider, is running this series right now. They are broadcasting the episodes in the order they were intended to be shown, including the unaired episodes. Leading in to each episode is a small blurb by Dr. Michio Kaku about the science behind the science-fiction in the series. Which pretty much ties into his own Science channel series.

If you've seen the series and don't own a copy of it, and wish to see it again, now is your chance.

If you have never seen this series, and happen to be a fan of other space-faring science fiction TV shows such as any of the Star Trek series, Farscape, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galacticas, you might just want to give this series a watch.

From the start of the pilot through the end this is one of the best science-fiction series made. Sure, it didn't last long enough to give a roller-coaster of good to bad episodes like X-Files or Lost did, but if it had continued on the track it was following it was destined for greatness.  So yes, if you've never seen it, and like space based sci-fi shows, I recommend you watch this series.

Back when Firefly first aired I didn't see it. I knew it existed, but I had other stuff going on, I didn't have a DVR at my disposal, so I didn't watch it.

A couple years later the movie Serenity hit the screens. Again, I didn't plan to see it because at the time I really wasn't in the mood for a space-based science fiction film aimed at the fans of a canceled TV show.  But my wife insisted she wanted to see it, so we watched it.
Boy was I wrong.
The film was greater than I ever imagined it would be. The story, the characters, the special effects, the camera work . . . I was just floored. It was so mature compared to what I expected from a TV to movie leap. And I didn't even have to know the series to appreciate the movie, the unexposed viewer (me) learned quickly who was who and who did what. Granted, the significance of the impact of some plot events was lost on me at the time, but I was just completely impressed by the film. So much so that we watched it again the next night.
And then I went out and bought the complete TV Series "Firefly" on DVD. We sat down and watched multiple episodes of the series nightly until the set was exhausted. Then we watched Serenity again.

And all the praise I had for the movie Serenity was completely applicable to my first impression of watching Firefly. Even from the pilot episode the production was mature, the actors seemed comfortable in their roles already, character personalities were clearly defined and seemed consistently acted from start to finish.  The stories were interesting, the characters were interesting, everything seemed to be working well from the start.

I'm sorry that I had missed watching the series to begin with, that I didn't give it a chance, and that it never got to continue past the movie.  I'm glad DVDs exist and this series is available on them. It is a shame the series was canceled so quickly, it had everything going for it except an audience. But it was stuck in the Friday Night Death Slot thus it didn't have much of a chance.

If you're any sort of sci-fi fan this series and the follow-up movie Serenity are definitely worth the effort to watch at least once, and save Serenity for after watching the series, to keep things in chronological order.

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