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"Firefly" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 10/06/2002

Is there any TV producer cooler than Joss Whedon?  The man behind “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” has brought the world his first series outside the Buffyverse, FOX’s new “Firefly,” and it is up to the same quality as the previous two series.  You will have to pay close attention to it though.


Firefly” is a Western set 500 years in the future.  Apparently, the main planet we know as Earth had been used up, so there was a need for new “Earths.”  Other solar systems were found and a central group of planets were put together and named the Alliance.  Leaders in the Alliance felt that every planet everywhere should be under the rule of the Alliance.  Those who opposed this viewpoint were called Independents.  There was a civil war between the Alliance and the Independents, and the Alliance won, being bigger and all.  The Independents who survived drifted along the galaxy and took any job they could to keep going.  That is where we meet our cast of characters.


One group of Independents cruising the galaxy are aboard a ship called Serenity.  Its captain, Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), was a soldier in the war, and now leads this motley crew of renegades on the run from the Alliance.  Mal’s best friend, Zoe (Gina Torres), fought with him in the war and now owes her life to him.  Zoe’s husband, Wash (Alan Tudyk), is the pilot of the Serenity.  There is a little possible love triangle there, because I think Zoe loves Mal but is faithful to Wash.  Other people on the Serenity include characters that have their own agendas.  Inara (Morena Baccarin) is a prostitute, or “companion,” who is very selective of her clients (in the future, “companions” are very highly respected.)  Kaylee (Jewel Staite) is the ship’s mechanic.  Jayne (Adam Baldwin) is the hired muscle who is along for the ride just to survive.  Book (Ron Glass) is a priest just trying to spread the word of God throughout the universe, even though most of the rest don’t believe in God.  The two most recent additions to the Serenity are siblings Simon and River.  Simon (Sean Maher) is a very young doctor who stowed aboard the Serenity with his sister to escape the Alliance.  Kaylee has a little bit of a crush on him.  River (Summer Glau) is a psychic and the reason for the need to escape the Alliance (they need her powers to help them.)


Since the crew is living with just the limited technology they have on the ship, it makes the show feel like a Western.  Mal and crew use guns that look like six-shooters.  The score sounds like a Western score.  I swear I may have seen a tumbleweed or two.  Mal dresses very Western-like.  If it weren’t for the spaceships and special effects, this would be Young Guns.


The thing that “Firefly” shares with Whedon’s previous two series is a continuing storyline in which you have to pay close attention.  Unfortunately, if you don’t catch every episode, you might get lost.  Fortunately, it’s a series you will want to stick with every week.  It shares “Buffy’s” mix of action and comedy.  I have seen the unaired pilot episode, titled “Serenity” (which airs later this season as an “origins” episode) and I see why they delayed it, but if you don’t see it you might not understand the back stories of some of the characters and you might get confused.


Give “Firefly” patience, because as fans of “Buffy” and “Angel” already know, patience is a virtue with a Joss Whedon series.


Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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