Wednesday, August 02, 2006

On a lighter note...

I recently watched the DVD of all 14 episodes of the cancelled television show "Firefly" and was completely overjoyed and saddened at the same time. I was blown away at the chemistry of the cast as well as the way each episode pulled you in and made a sci-fi/Western seem fairly believable. I am saddened by the fact that it was cancelled after 14 episodes despite massive fan protest. Again that seems to prove that FOX TV has absolutely no idea what the have on their hands (see Family Guy, Undeclared, etc) and cancel anything that isn't completely T&A or American Idol. Not that I have a problem with a little T&A every once in a while ;)

For those of you that haven't seen this show I highly recommend it. The premise is a space crew set in the future where Earth is overpopulated and other planets have been colonized or terraformed to support human life. The most recent events are the after affects of a Civil War between the Alliance (The Union) and the Independents (Confederacy) which is similar to the War of Northern Agression (what we in the South call the Civil War lol) back in the 1860's in the U.S. The two main characters were member of the Independents who were present at the Battle of Serenity which essentially broke the back of the Independents and ended the war in the favor of the Alliance. Years later the Captain and First Mate are crewing a firefly class transport ship know as Serenity which engages in illegal activity (Smuggling, petty theivery, etc) on the outer worlds (the old west so to speak) away from the watchful eyes of the Core Planets which are more apt to give them trouble. The crew of 5 eventually becomes a crew of 9 in which all play a part in each episode of either being a part of the con, providing the moral compass or simply stirring up trouble of their own.

As I mentioned before, the parts of this show that really sell it to the viewer is the sense of family established by the chemistry of the characters and the actors that play them. You feel this was a troupe that LOVED to come to work on this show and it shows. The Captain is pretty much a caricature of Han Solo only less cool. He's funny and flawed but overall confident enough to keep control of the crew and eventually come out ahead in the end. The marriage of the pilot to the first mate cause plenty of friction as the first mate as a female soldier and the pilot is a hawaiian shirt wearing wise cracker that play with his action figures when he's not flying his ship. Then there is the big stupid muscle aptly name Jayne (oftened reminded of his effeminate name when he gets out of hand) wonderfully played by Adam (not related to those idiots brothers) Baldwin who I fondly remember in the movie "My Body Guard". Kaylee is a young woman who is the engineer and the one person on the ship who always sees the bright side of life. She even writes with hearts and flowers and constantly has a smile if this gives you an idea of how sickening it can get.

That rounds out the crew of smugglers. Now was move on to the 4 passengers. First is Inara who is a companion which is pretty much a Geisha in the era this show is set in. She is considered an Amabassador of her order and has the ability to bring a "respectable" presence to the ship. She is quite beautiful and is probably the closest thing to a mother on the ship. Next is Book who is a Shepard, or what passes for a priest. He is played by Ron Glass who you might remember from Barney Miller. He has a secret past that creeps up from time to time but overall his ability to try and spread the word of faith and keep a cool head in a heated situation garners the respect of the otherwise surly shipmates. Finally there is the brother and sister combo of Simon and River. Simon is a brilliant young doctor who rescues his sister from a secret lab in which she was experimented on physically and mentally. According to Simon, He's brilliant, but she makes him look like the village idiot in comparison. They are wanted fugitives from the law since he broke her out of the lab and are constantly a threat to the crew of the ship because of this. However, Simon's status as a doctor is in constant demand due to the dangerous nature of their jobs and thus he and sister are dangerous yet indespensible.

I believe Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) originally intended for this to be a drama, but as with many of his shows, his cast tend to put a smile on your face as well because of the underlying human element that we can all relate too. In all episodes nothing goes to plan and the events make the crew sure to lose your clothes or wind up with a ship full of cattle as to actually make the big score. However, you realize that they are still fighting against the alliance in their own way because all the want to do is be free for their own reasons. It makes you focus more on whether or not the loser of a war was really a bad person or just someone that didn't have the stronger army. It's a David and Goliath struggle every episode but in the end they always seem to make the best of the situation and come away learning something new about themselves.

So if you have a few days I highly suggest renting the DVD's and if you're hooked I highly suggest renting the follow up feature film Serenity which was released last fall and picked up where the cancelled show left off.


Blogger Connie said...

Hey, I just bought Firefly! I'm so excited to watch it!!!

10:41 AM  
Blogger Pamela said...

Hmmm sounds like something to do when the weather changes ,,& I actually WANT to be inside!!

Hope the moving hoopla is all settled soon!

1:48 PM  
Blogger Karenna said...

Jeremy, I have to get my hubby to read this, it will put a big, fat smile on his face. He's a ridiculously huge fan of that show -- he's even in a documentary about the fans and how their love helped J.W. make a movie ("Serenity") out of the show.

7:32 PM  
Blogger -Josh said...

Congratulations! It's a great show with a hugely loyal fan base, even today. (Welcome to being a Browncoat.)

7:42 PM  

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