Firefly: Clever Every Step of the Way
Phil Davetas
1/24/2004 3:40:20 PM

A captain, a pilot, a mechanic, a doctor, a chaplain, a wife, a mercenary, a fugitive, and a whore. Meet the crew of the Serenity. Much like Cowboy Bebop, it’s all about the money—heroes, scavengers, pirates and bounty hunters. It’s not easy creating an original sci-fi concept especially for TV. Firefly is far from original; but it sure is entertaining something fierce. It may not be as amusing as Buffy or Angel, but it’s clever every step of the way—even in Chinese. It’s created by people that know and love sci-fi and transcend the genre in key areas. It’s also very bloody for them younglings. It’s also got some nudity in it that you wouldn’t expect. And it’s got some of the best FX TV can crank out—in widescreen and hand-held even.

Right off the bat, Firefly is a great show in a way that only Joss Whedon can do. For all those who haven’t heard why the show never caught on, it is because of the network’s irresponsible hopscotch and scatterbrained airing of episodes (Air dates are listed below). The audience couldn’t follow what was going on. Hence, the show’s cancellation and not even being allowed to air three of the show’s episodes. Given enough time, I’m sure the show would’ve taken off like Joss’ predecessors. Because what’s left are tens of questions of who the chaplain really is. And what’s gonna happen to Inara and Mal? As if we don’t already know, anyway. And what about the mysterious Blue Sun corporation? What do they have to do with River? And what’s gonna happen with Jayne? Is he gonna sell out the Serenity when the money gets huge? With a rumored feature milling about in fanboy archives there is a gleam of hope that the show might be resurrected. But as Joss said in many a Starlog and CFQ, it’s time to go on to something new. But didn’t Marlon Brando say he wasn’t gonna make anymore flicks?

As far as special features go it’s a bit on the lame side. The only thing noteworthy is the 30- minute featurette on the life and death of Firefly: Here’s How It Was: The Making of Firefly. While there is a gag reel, it’s about 2 minutes and actors screwing up their lines and everyone laughs like it’s the funniest thing they ever heard. There are only 4 deleted scenes and only one being really good which is an Our Mrs. Reynolds scene. Alan Tudyk may be a funny guy, but the minute-long audition is hardly worth being mentioned. Joss Whedon wrote The Ballad for Serenity, but personally, he should stick to his day job. And it’s not a music video either. They just roll the opening credits and slap his crappy voice in there. Then there’s a barely minute-long mini featurette of a tour of Serenity which they already covered in another 10 minute featurette on the very same subject. As far as the commentaries, while some are all technical, others are just damn fun. One commentary in particular stands out: Joss Whedon on Objects in Space. I understand that Joss has gone through some rough times in his life and sometimes uses Buffy and Angel as his outlets, and his commentary on Objects in Space expands on his issues and will make the fans of his shows come together as he’s done so many times before.

Joss Whedon’s Firefly: The Complete Series
NR, 2002, 675 min. (Four Disks), Fox Home Entertainment.

Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, Ron Glass, Music by Greg Edmonson, Main Title Song by Joss Whedon and Sonny Rhodes, Created by Joss Whedon.
Special Features:

3 Behind the Scenes Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Alan Tudyk’s Audition, Joss Singing the “Firefly” Theme, Gag Reel.

High Tech Frontiersmen and Swashbucklers:

Space Truckers, Cowboy Bebop, Hardware, Enemy Mine, Pitch Black, Screamers, Cherry 2000, Wild Wild West, Wildside, Soldier, Titan AE, Alien Battlestar Galactica, Resurrection, The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai: Across the 8th Dimension, The Ghosts of Mars, Red Planet, Mission to Mars, Westworld, MegaForce, Metalstorm 3-D, Ice Pirates, Dust Devils, Riders on the Storm, Bravestar, Space Cowboys, Time Rider, Zardoz, Treasure Planet, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, Back to the Future Part III, Return of the Jedi, Krull, Event Horizon and the opening scene of TimeCop…

Episode List:

Serenity Parts 1 and 2
Written and Directed by Joss Whedon. Air Date: 12-20-02
The crew of firefly class craft, Serenity, are scheduled to drop medical supplies on a space port, but someone has brought aboard an even more dangerous cargo.

Special Feature: Commentary with Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion.

The Train Job
Written by Joss Whedon and Tim Minear and Directed by Joss Whedon. Air Date: 9-12-02
Mal and company pull off a train heist and then find out that the booty is a bundle of medicine for a dying glob of people.

Special Feature: Commentary with Joss Whedon and Tim Minear.

Written and Directed by Tim Minear. Air Date: 9-27-02
Mal and friends find a ghost spaceship floating around with bodies dangling from the ceiling a la Reaver madness, but wait! There’s one survivor. Since everyone else on this ghost ship has been killed mysteriously, Mal brings the survivor on to the Serenity.

Written by Jane Espensen and Directed by Vern Gillum. Air Date: 11-1-02
Looks like it’s to Persephone (no, not the one from The Matrix) for a little R & R for the crew of the Serenity. So what is there to do? Play cards, go to a big, fat, juicy ball, have monster sex, get into a sword fight with the local rich boy… the usual etcetera.

Special Feature: Commentary with Jane Espenson, Morena Baccarin and Costume Designer Shawna Trpcic.

Written by Drew Z. Greenberg and Directed by Michael Grossman. Air Date: 11-8-02
Shepard is shot during a cattle-smuggling deal while Simon is kidnapped by a gang of poachers. River becomes the subject of a witch hunt.

Our Mrs. Reynolds
Written by Joss Whedon and Directed by Vondie Curtis Hall. Air Date: 10-4-02
After saving a planet’s small village from a horde of banditos, Mal gets married to the village’s fair maiden, Saffron. While Mal figures out what to do with her, Jayne barters his most prized possession (no, not his rainstick)—Clitvera.

Written by Ben Edlund and Directed by Marita Grabiak. Air Date: 10-18-02
Shepard and Zoe baby-sit River—she fixes Shepard’s bible. The others land on a mudderfucking planet where Jayne Cobb is a Robin Hood-esque hero after a piracy heist gone bad years prior. Drink up, me hearties! Yee-ha!

Out of Gas
Written by Tim Minear and Directed by David Solomon. Air Date: 10-25-02
An explosion takes out the life supports while the others abandon ship. Mal goes down with the ship while flashbacks bring up what exactly happened before the explosion and how the crew first met.

Special Feature: Commentary with Tim Minear and David Solomon.

Written by Jose Molina and Directed by Allan Kroeker. Air Date: 11-15-02
Jayne plays his merc card while Simon smuggles River into Ariel’s medical facility to find out what they did to her.

War Stories
Written by Cheryl Cain and Directed by James A. Contner. Air Date: 12-6-02
Will often be thought of the lezbo episode—Jayne goes to his bunk. Wash and Mal go on a milk run while Zoe stays aboard the Serenity.

Special Feature: Commentary with Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk.

Written by Ben Edlund & Jose Molina and Directed by Vern Gillum. Air Date: Never Aired
That big-breasted Saffron is back and she’s got a little something up her girdle. And for all the girlies and gay dudes, you actually get to see Mal’s bare ass several times. Maybe that’s why this one was never aired.

The Message
Written by Joss Whedon & Tim Minear and Directed by Tim Minear. Air Date: Never Aired
You got mail. Zoe and Mal get a corpse in the mail and everyone wants it. Jayne gets a hat from his mommy.

Special Feature: Commentary by Alan Tudyk and Jewel Staite.

Heart of Gold
Written by Brett Matthews and Directed by Thomas J. Wright. Air Date: Never Aired
The crew of the Serenity plot a course to save a planet of non-registered whores from a pissed off daddy-o who wants his fetus spoon out a whore’s uterus.

Objects in Space
Written and Directed by Joss Whedon. Air Date: 12-13-02
A bounty hunter sneaks on board the Serenity in search for Simon and River. Nausea.

Special Feature: Commentary by Joss Whedon.


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