September 5, 2006

Firefly

Posted in Film & Television at 11:18 pm by j128

Firefly boxed DVD set

Firefly DVD boxed set

Firefly was an American Western-style science fiction television show that ran from Sep. 20, 2002 to December 20, 2002, showing eleven episodes and premiering in the US and Canada. It was cancelled by FOX due to its low rating and besides of which, the episodes weren’t even aired in the chronological order the creator, Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) had originally intended.

Summary

The series is set in the year 2517. Prior to the actual show humans went aboard on spaceships and went to find new planets and new moons to populate and terraform, a process that changes the shape, etc. of the planet or moon to resemble Earth. Of course, it is imperfect, suitable for a Western setting. It is implied that Earth was destroyed in one way or another.

The star system, which the humans inhabit, are divided into two catagories: the Core Planets and Moons and the Outer Planets and Moons. The Core Planets are governed by the Alliance (full name: The Union of Allied Planets), which is a goverment that forcibly unified all the colonies under a single government. The Core Planets are taken care of, but the Outer Planets have little government authority and the Outer Planets hence lack the high-tech living the Core Planets do have.

The Alliance’s goal seemed to have been to make a perfect world where everyone and everything was governed by a sole government and part of that was that no one questioned the Alliance’s actions. It is an example of the hopes of creating a utopia, but as with every attempt at making a uptopia, it has failed because it’s not what threatens from the outside, it is from what is happening within.

Characters and forms of communication are set in English and in Chinese Mandarin. Chinese Mandarin is also used for dark swearing, which the characters frequently use as well as common swearing heard today. Joss Whedon says that he got the idea for putting English and Chinese Mandarin together is from the present fact is that America and China are the most powerful countries in the world.

The TV show gets its name from Serenity, a Firefly-class spaceship, which is named after the Unification War that took place in Serenity Valley. Captain Malcom “Mal” Reynolds and his first-mate Zoe fought in the Unification War on the side that was rebelious to Alliance rule, called “Browncoats.” Unfortunately, the Alliance won and Mal and the rest of the crew pick up jobs, legal or otherwise, to support the income to keep Serenity flying and to make sure there is enough food for everyone, mostly protien-rich foods and on occassion fresh fruit.

Serenity’s crew consists of Captain Malcom Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), a war veteran; with his first-mate Zoe (Gina Torres), who fought beside Mal and is the only crew member who addresses Mal as “sir”, the pilot Hoban Washburn (Alan Tudyk), or Wash; Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin), a former space pirate; Kaylee Frye (Jewel Staite) the mechanic; Inara (Morena Baccarin), who’s a Companion; and picked up as guests: Shepherd Book (Ron Glass); Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher), and his sister River Tam (Summer Glau), who is psychic. The Tams are fugitives being searched for by the Alliance, because Simon rescued River from the Alliance. Consequently, with the addition of the Tams, this makes it harder for the Serenity crew to really keep a low profile and their pickings of jobs.

Of course, there are recurring characters throughout the series, which include: Badger, a British businessman, Adelei Niska, an old man who’s a criminal kingpin and tortures smugglers who fail him; and Saffron, a con artist. There are also The Hands of Blue, two anonymous men wearing suits and blue gloves. They are potentially dangerous, seemingly tracking River possibly trying to put her back in the institute where she had been before being rescued by her brother; they kill anyone off, including Alliance personel who have had contact with River, with a hand-held machine that kills a person internally, except for The Hands of Blue.

Cancellation & Aftermath

After Firefly’s cancellation, a DVD boxed set was released on region 1 on 12/09/03, region 2 04/19/04, and region 4 on 08/02/04. It includes four disks with all the episodes in the order they were originally intended plus three episodes that never aired in FOX’s original broadcast, deleted scenes, gag reel, etc.

Firefly had sold 500,000 copies by Sep. 2005 (approx.) and was one of the top movers on Amazon.com for months. As of May 2006, Firefly is the top 25 on DVD sales on Amazon.com, which is notable as the box has been out since 2003.

The TV series has also spawned online videos (R. Tam Sessions), role-playing game, comics, an upcoming book series, and a feature film, which came out last year in 2005, titled Serenity and the whole cast return to reprise their roles.

Firefly at the moment is my favorite science fiction TV series and it is very realistic. One of them is that there is no music at all when we are outside of Serenity, which is notable, as other science fiction TV series and movies have all the loud music even when we aren’t in the spaceship or whatever.

See Also

Serenity – spin-off film

Link

Firefly– A very detailed article about Firefly on Answers.com. Includes plot summary, cast, list of episodes in order of air date, external links, which are analysises of Firefly and fanbase discussion, etc. On the bottom of the page, there is a box with related articles including very detailed articles about every single Firefly episode, music, terminology, biographies about the main characters, spin-offs, and articles about Firefly geography and the Alliance, etc. N.B. The box also contains an article about the R.Tam Sessions, which includes external links.

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