on 13 April 2015
I seriously considered not posting a review of this product, as I'm all too aware that - because I had the audacity to not give it five stars - there's a distinct possibility that I'll be insulted, trolled, and probably hunted down and killed with sticks.
You see, in my experience, and as a general rule, the people who like Firefly really, really, REALLY like it, and don't take kindly to anyone who doesn't feel the same.
So with that said, I'd like to make a couple of points clear before beginning my review.
Firstly, I 'get' Firefly, so please don't post patronising comments to suggest otherwise.
Secondly, I know the history of the show, and the cancellation of it, as well as anyone, and am not interesting in hearing the eight zillion reasons (read: excuses) why it flopped. I know all that.
Okay, the review:
Firefly tells the story of a ship's captain and crew, and the whacky adventures and scrapes they find themselves in. It melds the "seemingly incompatible" western and sci-fi genres, with varying degrees of effectiveness. (NOTE: "seemingly incompatible?" Really? Firefly cannot take the credit for this - the two genres are essentially one and the same, and anybody who tells you otherwise knows nothing about films and television.)
Anyhow: the scripts are taut and well-structured, and most episodes move along at a swift pace. The dialogue is sharp, but some of the one-liners feel forced.
The sets are excellent and the props range from 'outstanding' to 'that oxygen tube is clearly just a vacuum cleaner pipe'.
The main actors have good chemistry, but most of the characters are flat and unrealistic; there's the brute, the wisecracker, the worrier, the kooky one, etc.
Nathan Fillion's Mal Reynolds is your basic Han Solo rip-off, only not as charismatic, funny or likeable. His character seems to ricochet from 'tortured war veteran' to 'gormless buffoon' with a complete absence of logic.
Zoe, played by Gina Torres, is the weakest of all the leads, and may as well be called 'Generic Tough Chick A' for all the depth of character she displays. Then again, this is as much the writers' faults as hers.
Plastic-faced Sean Maher plays the doctor, and seems out of place. Surely this guy belongs in Beverly Hills 90210?
Alan Tudyk as 'Wash', is excellent, and not only the best actor, but the strongest character in the show.
An honourable mention should go to Adam Baldwin too; he usually plays 'stupid thug', but here he gets to play a stupid thug who says funny stuff. His is the most consistently entertaining character in the show.
Ron Glass does credit to his role as Shepherd Book, and Jewel Staite is equally strong as Kaylee Frye, though her weird, piggy eyes do freak me out a bit.
The bland Morena Baccarin adds nothing as Inara Serra - a 'companion' (whore) who seems just a tad judgemental for my taste, particularly for someone who earns her living on her back. She glides around, disapproving of everything and everyone, ever so slightly. For someone so technically attractive, Baccarin isn't remotely sexually alluring, so she's miscast here.
Summer Glau rounds out the cast as the deranged River Tam, and does an admirable job here, considering it was her first big acting gig.
How did I feel about Firefly? I enjoyed it - often for the wrong reasons as well as the right - and don't feel that I wasted my money. It has a lot of positive qualities, but isn't the seminal, unsung masterpiece that the OMG! OMG! OMG! THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!!! brigade would have you believe. Nor is it "the best sci-fi television show ever made", and to claim it as such actually does Firefly a disservice, because such a gushing statement does not come from objective appraisal, but from blinkered, zealotish fandom.
Whether or not you like Firefly may depend heavily on how much you like Joss Whedon as a writer. Personally, I don't care for him; I find his work cheesy and insubstantial, and his obsession with sexualising scarily young looking girls creeps me out. Plus, I'm still waiting for him to write a show for adults.
Perhaps Firefly came along five years too late. It was aired in an age when monsters like The Sopranos stalked the earth. People wanted intrigue, sex, violence - something cutting edge. Firefly simply couldn't compete.
Okay, I've dared disagree with the masses, so bring on the hate. . .or just give me negative votes anonymously because you know I'm right.
EDIT: Ha! That didn't take long. "He's dared have an opinion of his own - down vote him!"
on 23 February 2015
So, here's the thing.
The whole sci-fi meets the wild west thing is an interesting concept and the script is pretty much top notch.
My only criticiscm being the constant sexual references and the subliminal glamourisation of prostitution. Not the kind of thing you'd want to watch in front of the kids, being that it's a cert 12!
Would have given it at least 4 stars if this hadn't been and issue.
on 7 September 2014
Bought this back in may 2013 and only watched this recently, had the DVD set before this.
Nice steel book but I was surprised and disappointed when 2 of the episodes on disc 3 froze for almost a minute each on 'The Message' and 'Heart of Gold' half way though with stills and blurred images appearing.
Inspected the disc and there appears to be a very tiny scratch on it which I didn't cause, not sure there is much I can do about it now though.
on 28 December 2008
When I first saw this series on Sci-Fi on it's original airing I have to say I switched off part way through the second episiode as it was pure rubbish. One had to wonder just what Whedon was thinking - gunslingers in space perhaps? At least Gene Rodenberry created 'Star Trek' on the premise of 'Wagon Train in space' and it worked for him.
A friend of mine recently loaned me a copy of Firefly and I forced myself to sit through the series, yes the entire series. What did I find? Not a good series and certainly not a bad one. It appears that the series did get better towrds the end, but, as some have pointed out, the science fiction audience had switched off well before this point and the Whedon fans stayed faithful, hence why the series was cancelled. It's a shame, for if the SF audience, and myself, had stayed with the series then perhaps it would have gone from strength to strength.
I never saw Serenity when it came out at the cinema but I have now seen it on DVD and I have to say I love it! It was far better than I expected. Give this series a chance and watch beyond episode 2!
on 11 February 2014
well it finally came today on the very last delivery date I prefer them to be early the condition is good but all the disks were in the wrong order I guess that doesn't matter but it bothers me a little apart from that im happy
on 22 May 2007
I am a Sci Fi and a Western fan so I cannot possibly dislike Firefly. I watched Serenity and I really like it. It developed strong characters, it was exciting to watch, the pace was relentless and the plot stitched together to make a good yarn. It was grande in scale and it punched with the movie heavy weights and came out good. The reason I watched Firefly was because on the Serenity DVD it promotes the series and that sold it to me.
Where Firefly differs from Serenity is that while Serenity has a start, a middle and an end that all link up wonderfully, Firefly as a series is very slow in building up momentum. I think the reason for his is because the writer though he would have more time to develop his characters and plot further but it was axed after series one.
I can see why Firefly was not a great success. Although the ideas are novel (a western and a sci fi) they do not allways pan out coherently. For example they are in the middle of space but they can locate a target in the middle of no where. It also gets a bit silly with the whole Western theme. The idea is linked to the Wild West and how settlers tamed new land in the Wild West the parallel is made to settlers on new outer planets. Why some people can fly in huge space ships but others ride on horses, pull carts and fire smith and wessons does not make sense.
I think another flaw was the choice of actor for the doctor. In Serenity for some reason he fills the role perfectly, slightly awkward, brave, selfless and heroic. However in Firefly they try to cast a different role of an intellectual, a snob, well educated and used to the comfortable life, and the character does not fit that role at all. he comes across as being far too average a person putting on a daft English accent to portray intelligence.
All I have done is critisice but I have done that to try and establish why the series may have been axed. Sweep aside these comments and concentrate on my original comment. It is a Sci Fi and Western and because of that I like it. Every other actor other than the doctor is superb, well developed, individul and likeable. The plots for each episode are entertaining and exciting. You are pulled into relationships and events and want to know more about them and what is going to happen.
It is a treat to watch this series, whether your a Sci Fi fan or a Western fan then give it a go. I rented it on Amazon and i think its the best way to do it.
oh and if you haven't seen Serenity yet then I recommend you give it a go :)
on 9 January 2016
Mediocre sci-fi series which falls into the typical US trap of projecting their own 'wild west' onto all space frontier situations, and thus becomes a minimally sci-fi parody of Alias Smith & Jones. Ironically, the film eventually made is significantly better.
on 12 January 2015
Although I had not heard of this series previously, as Nathan Fillion was appearing in it, in the lead role, I felt it should be good. However, when I first put it on, everything was so dark that I could hardly see what was happening; also the sound was not brilliant. I will persevere as I have now bought it, but I certainly wouldn't buy any further seasons, if any.
on 30 June 2005
A science fiction adventure which is fast gaining the reputation as a lost, cult classic - inspired by Joss Whedon, it failed to secure the network imprimatur and progress to a second series. "Firefly" follows the adventures of a mixed bag of space travellers ... their captain a renegade soldier from a lost war who steadfastly refuses to surrender, emotionally at least.
This is space with a Western theme. The war has been between the blue-coated unionists and the brown-coated separatists. Human beings have spilled out from Earth to colonise (and terraform) planets, turning them into Dodge Cities in space, so somebody needs to impose order. We get echoes of the old South, with slaves and ball gowns; we get parodies of the old West, with men totting six guns strapped to their thighs. We get lots of guys in funny hats!
And the Firefly's crew carry out a bit of smuggling, a bit of salvage, a bit of Robin Hood crime, a bit of legitimate trade and transport. They are a mixed bag - a priest, a doctor, a fractured genius, a macho man, a cute engineer, a courtesan, a female sidekick and her husband, the pilot. And, of course, their captain.
"Firefly" tries to be very stylish - and there are superb moments, like the pursuit by the Reiver craft. It indulges in a bit of deadpan humour - sometimes very funny, but not always nicely judged, and sometimes gratuitous. It's a series with potential, but you begin to understand why the network dropped it. It doesn't quite gel.
The blend of hi-tech and Western-retro simply does not work beyond a comic book level. Much of the series seems derivative - you inevitably think of "Star Wars", you think of "Indiana Jones", you think of Harrison Ford not John Ford. Captain Reynolds never emerges as anything other than a pastiche of characters gone before.
Some of the special effects are neatly done ... most appear run-of-the-mill. There's very little that rocks you back in your seat and takes your breath away. The storylines are a bit derivative. There's nothing you haven't seen before, nothing to hold you in suspense. It can be quite funny, it can be quite sexy, but if you're thinking Joss Whedon, you're thinking about someone who can create and build an entire fantasy world, drawing you deeper and deeper into suspended disbelief as the characters and situations expand and take unexpected directions. In "Firefly", you never quite lose yourself in the fantasy, it never quite achieves the sophistication and magnetism "Buffy" or "Angel" generated.
It's entertaining. You can watch it more than once and still enjoy the experience. But it never quite gets off the launch pad. There's enough might-have-been for it to build a cult status over the next few years, but you come away thinking that the cowboys in space theme might have worked for one episode, but it is clawingly restrictive and inflexible as the backbone of an entire series.
Sustaining the Western analogy makes it too slow, too predictable in places. Action moves from cliché to cliché. You sense the restrictions, the failure to escape from influences. It's difficult enough to write a science fiction series which is not derivative; it's difficult enough to write a Western series which is not derivative: to combine the two imposes a creative claustrophobia from which "Firefly" never quite achieves escape velocity.
And the DVD extras? You get commentaries which are interesting, but a touch contrived ... and perhaps a bit cynical given the series has been cut. There's a touch of, "Well, we had fun making it ... but it's time to up-up-and-away!" There could have been room to speculate why it didn't make it commercially, what the politics and decision-making was like, what actors and writers thought went wrong. But nobody wants to irritate or alarm the network or the money men, so the extras are bland.
And that's perhaps the key to it. Take away the blind alley of slavishly following a Western analogy, and there was some potential in the series. It could have been more 'adult' in its themes, a bit more risqué in its humour. If it had been made in Europe, it would have been pushed, would have been given greater edge, would have had a more philosophical eroticism and political violence to it. "Firefly" is neutered, is just a touch too bland ... has just the suggestion that it was determined by a committee rather than by a creative vision. Not bad, but not good enough.
on 12 January 2012
As a big fan of buffy, angel and dollhouse i can only assume this show was going to get a lot better and the plot certainly had a lot of potential. But this potential remained unrealised, the show being cancelled before anything interesting happened. I do not know why so many people seem to rave about it. I see little point in watching a show that was only ever a shadow of what it could have been. There is very little here to commend.