(Originally posted Aug 06, 2005 on my older blog)
Sci-fi western with an attitude, and a healthy dose of mystery and character building.
I am catching Firefly on DVD. I didn’t watch more than a few minutes of it when it aired a couple years ago. It didn’t grab me then, but I really didn’t give it a chance. Now that I’m paying attention… this show is pretty impressive.
At first the mixture of “wild west” and science-fiction seemed too reminiscent of other shows (Wild Wild West and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., to be specific), but I’ve been won over by superior writing and an excellent ensemble cast. Plus it has one thing that always sucks me in: an overarching plot.
In this case, that plot is primarily about two of the ships passengers. Simon, the genius doctor who gave up everything to break his sister out of a high security “medical” facility, and his even more genius sister, River, who was being subjected to horrific and torturous experiments (and probably conditioning) at said facility. She has been rendered into an unpredictable enigma, at times docile and scared, and at others violent and uncontrollable. As we learn more, it is becoming clear that the experiments were meant to shape her into something, though I haven’t finished watching the series yet, so I’m not sure what that something is.
The characters’ attitude on the show is mostly “noble theives flying by the seat of their pants” with a bit of Star Wars rebellion thrown in (mostly in the person of Captain Reynolds, who is reminiscent of Han Solo). It’s not only an engrossing story, but it’s fun to watch.
The intent here is not to present a synopsis of the show, though I am tempted, but to simply say this: this is a show worth watching that was canceled unfairly (much like Babylon 5: Crusade). I’m glad the story is getting its chance to be told in the new movie Serenity.
[Update: Hopefully I'll review Serenity at some point. Here's the short version: GREAT FLICK!!!) ]