Firefly and Serenity

Spring of last year when the Serenity DVD was released, I picked it up as well as the Firefly box set. Around the same time I placed a preorder for the Done the Impossible documentary. My original plan was to watch all the episodes of the TV show, then rewatch the movie (which I saw in the theater), then to watch the documentary. After all that, I’d go back and watch TV episodes with the commentary, then the film commentary and call the project good. That was the plan, which I guess is still alive. However, the timetable is suspect.

Almost 18 months later, I have finished the TV series. In fact, most of that was in the last few weeks. I don’t know why I had such a slow ramp up. I enjoyed the film, I loved the pilot TV episode and then I just sort of tapered off. I never had anything but positive feelings about the show but for some reason had no urgency in the watching process. For no real reason, I started watching the show over my lunch hour and really kicked it in.

When I hit the “Jaynestown” episode is when I got really enthusiastic. What started out as hilarious slapstick at the beginning of the episode had me weeping actual tears by the end. That’s some good TV. I’d say that the series improved continually as it ran. I think the latter half was even stronger than the front half. I’m looking forward to rewatching the film, reading the comic book series and then watching the documentary. As much as I’m enjoying this, I know that I remain less than a total fan because I still can’t listen to any of the podcasts. I tried the Signal and Firefly Talk but I found them too cutesy for my tastes. That pretty much defines the level of my involvement. I dig the show but can’t buy into the full immersion.

Here’s my one big problem with the ‘Verse milieu: If the future is so Sino-centric that all the characters know Mandarin and use it frequently, how come there are so few Chinese characters? Are you telling me that China did a lot of the expansion into space but then the people all disappeared?

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

6 thoughts on “Firefly and Serenity”

  1. darkmoon says:

    The Chinese evolved into super human beings and left all their worldly spaceships behind. Uhh… maybe? heheh.

    I own the boxset and the movie too. Very dry humor, so it’s not for everyone, but definitely good. I’m still waiting for Battlestar Galactica’s next series of boxsets.

  2. Bryce Moore says:

    Believe it or not I have never seen any of the Firefly episodes or the Serenity movie. I feel like I should turn in my Geek Card.

    I’m thinking I should sign back up for Netflix and get this and several other things I’ve missed off the list.

  3. Mark Forman says:

    Interesting comments. I have the series on DVD but haven’t seen the movie yet. Looks like local HBO will be solving that next week.

    Chinese comment-funny. FYI-I am fluent in Mandarin Chinese, living in Taiwan for the better part of 20 years. Half of the Mandarin used in the show(mainly for accent) is unintelligible.

    Sad how intelligent TV seems doomed. Still pining over Frank’s Place with Time Reid from WKRP-the best TV comedy ever-no laugh track.

  4. Derek Coward says:

    I took a different path than you. I tried watching Firefly when it first aired and was totally unimpressed. Then I found out about the documentary and how the producers wanted it to be torrented. In fact I have had it torrenting for months and still haven’t watched it. I decided to review the movie for Movie Noise and liked it so much that I decided to give the series another try and I liked it.

    I agree with you about the podcasts. I tried listening to them, but I got a sense of radio polish and I just decided that they weren’t for me. There is a fanfic podcast out there called Firely: Old Wounds that I am going to check out.

    As for the lack of Chinese characters, I thought that it was like the Black Vulcans. They were at the top caste of society and therefore wouldn’t associate themselves with people like the characters in the show/movie. (Just joking about the Black Vulcans, but that’s the rationale I used to give back during the “controversy” about Tuvok back when Voyager started up.)

  5. “…how come there are so few Chinese characters? Are you telling me that China did a lot of the expansion into space but then the people all disappeared?”

    Can it be argued that we only see such a small percentage of Whedon’s ‘Verse, and it is much, much larger than we imagine it to be? Only makes it more frustrating that it was cancelled – knowing how much more is potentially out there…

  6. dave says:

    darkmoon/Ben, what’s interesting to me that in reading the comic book the humor is about the same but on the page it does not play as well. It’s too dry for the medium, I think.

    Bryce, the list of TV SF that I either have never seen or don’t like is huge, and includes most of the things people seem to love. I don’t like BSG or Buffy or most Star Treak, barely saw X-Files, never saw Hercules or Xena, etc etc.

    Mark, interesting but not hard to believe that the Mandarin is nonsense or so mangled as to be unrecognizable. I vaguely remember that show with Tim Reid.

    Derek, That is actually the best explanation I’ve heard yet. The Chinese of the future are the brahmins and not on the frontier worlds, instead being only in the core Alliance worlds that Serenity never ventured.

    Jim, that can certainly be. It would have been nice for more, but really the show seemed born to die.

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