I completely missed out on Firefly when it was on the air. I was in college at the time and wasn’t watching much television. Years later, I remember seeing Serenity in the DVD section of Best Buy ads, but I didn’t know what it was. Something about the DVD cover made me suspicious. It looked like bad sci-fi: cheap special effects, bad storytelling, possibly campy, but in a bad way. The spaceship looked like a giant metal Cornish hen. So I avoided it. Until about three months ago. I was flipping through Netflix, trying to find a good movie, and came across Serenity. I figured I’d give it five minutes and then I was hooked.
After finishing the movie, I remembered that there was a television show, too. Which, of course, was a terrible way to experience this universe, but I didn’t have much of a choice. If I were to pitch it to a newcomer, here is how I’d sell it:
Imagine if Star Wars were a television show. And Han Solo were the main character. Also, imagine if George Lucas really, really liked horses and put them in every episode he could. That’s Firefly, and I mean the Star Wars reference as a compliment.
At any rate, I finished watching the series a couple weeks ago and wanted to post some of the things I liked most about the show. This list doesn’t really contain any spoilers, but you might want to skip it if you haven’t seen the show and want to be surprised.
I didn’t realize this until Wikipedia pointed it out, but the producers get authenticity points for not adding sound effects during the space scenes. Because space is a vacuum. The producers lose authenticity points, however, for the sheer number of lever-action rifles people are still using 500 years in the future.
What did the casting call for River look like? “Hey, how are you at wandering around and mumbling? Also, here’s a Bible. We’d like to see you destroy it, please. With style.”
Halfway through the season, and for no apparent reason, the characters start swearing in Chinese. Or using Chinese to express regret or strong opinions.
The clever dialogue. It’s even better in Serenity.
Remember Christina Hendricks? From Mad Men? She appears in two of the best episodes of this series.
Some of the best episodes played with the viewer’s expectations and were unpredictable in a way that’s simply delightful.
The theme song. Whedon wrote the lyrics, and I kind of wish he’d sang them as well. Like Chuck Norris in Walker, Texas Ranger.
The fact that Mark Sheppard, AKA Romo Lampkin, makes a couple brief appearances as a surly criminal named Badger.
I could go on and rattle off several lines of my favorite dialogue and talk about my favorite character (Kaylee). But I guess I’ll just sign off by saying it’s a great show. I miss it already, and I highly recommend it. If the fact that it’s by the director of The Avengers gets people to see it, that’s fine by me. That was a pretty good movie as well.
cast photo by Flickr user RavenU