1. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Firefly/Serenity

    Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by Uberwatch, Apr 30, 2014.

    Has anyone watched the short-lived Firefly TV series and it's movie follow-up Serenity? If not, allow me to give you some insight on this Sci-Fi show.

    Firefly began in 2002 as a 14 episode season which was created by Joss Whedon, known as the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Recently, he's penned the script for the superhero film The Avengers. But back in 2002 when Fox was airing it, they aired the episodes of out of order and eventually it canceled before the show could even finish airing the entire first season. It stopped at episode 11 but the remaining 3 made it on the DVD set.

    Now what is the story about? It is set in the early 26th century. Earth-that-was (That's what the people refer to Earth as) was used up of resources and suffered from over-population. So humans began to colonize another solar system which suprisingly has so many planets and moons. All were terraformed. Eventually an alliance formed within the Central Planets (the first worlds that were colonized and are home to the wealthy, government, etc). The Alliance which was united by the Anglo-Sino Alliance (Back on Earth, China and the USA were the only two superpowers left) wanted to spread hegemony across the new solar system. The Outer Rim planets, which terraformed differently (akin to desert regions, wild west basically) wanted independence. So the Independent movement began and the system began a civil war. The Independents lost and the Alliance now has control of the entire system.

    So the story focuses on Captain Malcolm Reynolds, an Independent soldier who fought in the "Unification War". He runs a firefly-class spaceship called Serenity, which was named after the valley of the last battle he was in. Reynolds takes his crew along the system to do jobs, legal and illegal. Such as train heists, robbing banks, moving cargo , etc. This is all inspired by your typical westerns. The story arc for Season 1 begins when his ship picks up a young man (who is from the Central Planets). It turns out he brought his sister along secretly who carries a big secret that involves the Alliance government.

    Now before the story arc could be explored enough, the show was canceled as I said before. Despite it's cancellation, the show gained a large following and the fanbase dubbed themselves as Browncoats (named after the name that was given to Independent soldiers in the show's storyline). So it was up to Joss to revive the show. But instead, a movie was chosen to complete the story arc.

    Whedon then gained a 39 million dollar budget by Universal to shoot the movie. It was called Serenity because Fox owned the rights to the Firefly name. Despite it's criticial success, the film flopped even though tickets were sold out at some theaters at the time. The show was never coming back nor another sequel was gonna be made. Instead Firefly is explored in comic book form now at days.

    Firefly is a space western and it is somewhat original. But Reynolds (played by actor Nathan Fillion) kind of gives a Han Solo vibe. Even though I enjoyed some of the show's episodes (sadly I only managed to watch 5 out of 14 and watched Serenity after), there were some obvious scientific inaccuracies that I would never get past my head.

    The series's universe suggests hat the entire solar system had hundreds of earths that were terraformed. First of all, how could a solar system be that big and it seems impossible for every planet and moon to be terraformed. Now while a character on the show states that terraforming has it's "quirks", all planets are really fine for human habitablity. Fortunately Firefly does remind itself that there is no sound in space and FTL isn't shown to be available.

    However it wasn't the science that bothered me, it was just Joss Whedon's vision of this weird future. The technological line doesn't make too many sense. In the 2500's, people are carrying 20th century assault rifles and 19th century six-shooters. Now you could say, well the outer planets are just living off Earth's junk. That would make sense but I still don't know why I saw an Alliance soldier wielding an MP5, another modern-day weapon. The alliance were the ones that had the advanced weapons. It's likely how they win the war.

    Other than that, there's people dressing like cowboys. The fashion is just so weird. But if you think that's weird, what's weird is that Whedon believes that in the future, if chinese and anglos co-existed through a long trek to another solar system, we would be speaking English but only speaking mandarin if he want to curse at someone. So no one really speaks Mandarin regularly as english.

    So honestly Firefly/Serenity is a worth a watch anyway despite it's flaws. The Serenity movie in my opinion makes the whole thing look better (because the TV show had some really tacky prop/set design).
     
  2. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    Are you trying to build up excitement about the shows/movie or start a petition from fans to re-air the series or have Joss Wheddon write more ?

    Gene Roddenberry and a hand full of fans did something like that for Star Trek when it was cancelled and it worked, well it did for a few decades. The series have stopped but the movies are still going full stream ahead.
     
  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Ah, I love Firefly—and own all the episodes on DVD, and watch them frequently—because of the byplay between the characters and the show's deep sense of 'fun.'

    I think that sense of fun was lost in the movie Serenity. Despite the wobbly scenery in the TV series, I much preferred the TV offerings to the movie. The pace was much more leisurely, and two hours per episode gave plenty of time for backstory, characters and overall story arc to develop.

    However, I never took Firefly/Serenity seriously, as serious sci-fi. In fact, Joss Whedon made no bones about the fact that it was simply a 'western' in space. His explanation for why there aren't any aliens in the show really cracked me up. "There aren't any now," was his reply to the question.

    This from a guy who built his reputation and fortune on demons lurking in a high school basement?

    Funny.
     
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  4. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    I would actually like to see a reboot of Firefly where the fictional universe is more enhanced and improved than the original. Nathan Fillion could still play Mal since he's interested but he might need a new crew.
     
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  5. Fronzizzle
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    Fronzizzle Member

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    My wife and I streamed every episode over a couple of days last year - we are fans, obviously. We like Castle (Nathan Fillion) and have enjoyed some other Joss Whedon shows. There is a Halloween episode of Castle in which he dresses up as his character from Firefly, it's pretty funny.

    Regarding the "dress like cowboys" and the old-school guns...wasn't Firefly marketed as a space western? I mean, wasn't that the main idea behind it, that it was a western that took place in outer space?
     
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  6. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I tried. I tried really hard. But I almost walked out of Serenity. I've only ever walked out of one movie in my life. And I've seen a lot of movies.

    I was hopeful about Serenity because the poster was great, but the movie was so incredibly cheesy, lame, boring, silly, and stupid that I had to fight my desperation to escape in order to endure it to the end. It was idiotic. I am stumped at why people like the movie. I truly am. The movie scared me away from the TV show.
     
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  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm with @Selbbin. I really tried to like this show and thought the ensemble was interesting from the start. I felt like it had all the right materials. I watched the first episodes and frankly, though the wild-wild-west in outer space trope chafed me a little, I kept trying, kept telling myself "It could happen! It could!" and then, it just... I just... I stopped watching and didn't even know that I had. It wasn't a conscious choice. I just didn't care anymore.
     
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  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    To a large extent, most science fiction series are an extrapolation of the Western. Firefly was just more obvious about it.

    I wasn't enthralled by Firefly when t aired, although I appreciated it more after viewing the DVD set in its proper order. The acting is cood, the characters are interesting, the science is better than average, but there's just an elusive something that didn't completely click for me.
     
  9. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @KaTrian and I are Brown Coats even though we don't own brown coats.

    When we first tried watching the show, we thought it just sucked: we didn't like the cast, the story didn't grab us etc, so we left it at that. It sucked. Then a couple of years later, we gave it another shot and lo and behold, we loved it.

    It's definitely not anything based on serious science and, like most Whedon's works, isn't even supposed to be taken seriously, but we did find it very entertaining, we ended up loving the cast, and their stories did grab us the second time around. I still don't know why we hated it at first.

    Oddly enough, the same happened with Buffy and Angel (although I still maintain Angel would've been better without Angel): didn't like them at all at first, but a few years later we found the humor and the banter between the characters funny and entertaining. Of course both shows are full of plot holes, ridiculous bad guys etc, but what we like about Whedon is that he's not afraid to make fun of his characters. More authors should have the guts to do that because after a while constant dramatic posturing starts to look just as comical, but in a bad way.

    We also liked Serenity, kinda saw it like just another episode and we did wish the show wouldn't have been cancelled, but what can you do? The episodes are still a permanent part of our library and we rewatch it now and again just 'cause it makes us laugh and it inspires us to write (even though our style has little to do with Whedon's).

    But different strokes and all that. Even we, now fans, hated it at first, so it's no surprise some just never get into it.
     
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  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think the movie would have scared ME away from the TV show as well. However, the two are very different. I nearly walked out of Serenity myself, and I'm a huge fan of Firefly.

    Lots of Firefly fans don't agree with me, and my Serenity DVD review on Amazon got flamed ...even though I was trying to be kind, and I think gave it a 2-star review (can't remember just now.) But because I wasn't wildly enthusiastic, the fan mob thumped me.

    Firefly—the TV show— takes its time with the characters, develops their stories, and if you take it as a bit of good character-based fun, it's great. However, some people got put off the show when it first aired because the episodes were aired in the wrong order. Some people still think it was a deliberate attempt to kill off the show. Fortunately, on the DVD, the episodes are in the correct order, so it works really well.

    I'm very fond of Firefly, although it's not really 'serious' sci-fi. Any more than Buffy The Vampire Slayer was Nosferatu.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  11. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    I have to respectfully point something out. Not something you missed as such, but I do have to say something nonetheless. Joss is awesome and will always be King of the Geek Pantheon, but he is not the sole reason why Firefly returned to us in movie format.

    First off, there was a great cast of people who loved to show up to work everyday. These are people who still fondly recollect Firefly and have never had a negative thing to say about working on it, as opposed to dozens of well known actors who will, at the drop of a hat, read of their laundry list of complaints against the show they were working on. (Certain Trek actors always come to mind. Also X-Files and many of the cast and crew of Highlander)

    So you have a cast of people who were more than willing to come back to work on the movie.

    Secondly there was a massive campaign both online and offline from millions of fans worldwide to get Firefly back on the air. If it weren't for that support the movie very likely never would have happened. And FOX still owned the rights to Firefly, which is why the movie was titled Serenity.

    That's not entirely true. We see quite a few people speaking in Mandarin and not just to cuss. (Although you have to admit, it's a great way to get crap past the radar) But in fairness, this is an American show and some semblance of the English language is going to be the predominately spoken language on screen. Otherwise there's just going to be a lot of subtitles and believe it or not, that does get pricey.

    That's interesting, because it was seeing the movie first that made me hungry to see the see the series. I'm not the only one to have done this and I didn't know anything about Firefly when I first saw the movie.
     
  12. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I didn't like Firefly the first time I saw it, the characters just didn't click for me. For some reason I went back to it a couple years later and got hooked. Kind of like a song you hate at first then like I guess?

    The movie was just average for me, can't understand why fans were proclaiming it the best sci-fi ever. Joss' strength is obviously character but I feel like he really lacks when directing action sequences. They are often brief and lackluster.
     
  13. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    The problem I had with Firefly is that it's a 'sci-fi show' with no sci-fi. It was so obviously just a Western with a spaceship thrown in that I really couldn't get into it; despite watching the entire series, I honestly can't remember the plot of a single episode at this point.

    The movie did at least have some real sci-fi elements, so I liked that a lot more. And I can remember the plot.
     
  14. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    I watched the show 10 years after it first aired, and simply liked it. I had sort of a prejudice against Joss because he was always "the creator of Buffy", and Buffy never really interested me (or I just never gave it a chance?) And actually, I first watched Serenity and, while not in any way the greatest film ever, it was a fun ride, and not a bad introduction into the Verse. It's a B-movie, plain and simple, but I don't understand people who disliked it after seeing (and being fans of) the series. I mean, c'mon: cowboys in space! With browns vs blues, frontier towns, preachers, live cattle, gunslingers, and a freakin' train robbery!!! The only "science" fiction thing they did was "no sound in space" - which was really cool, no doubt, but I get the impression it's considered "daring, almost revolutionary move" because of it's "hyper-realism"(?!) C'mon...

    And still, I set the country theme as a ring-tone! :D

    @cazann34
    Actually, it was just the fans, and it was just for another season (and a shitty one for that matter) :)
     
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  15. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I loved Firefly as much as I did for the characters and the quirky humor. It was my first introduction to Joss Whedon's work and by far my favorite.

    And speaking of "space westerns," let us not forget that Star Trek was the original space western. Though that had a lot to due with Westerns being so popular when Star Trek was aired rather than a choice of style.
     
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  16. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Well, I finished watching Firefly, all 14 episodes and I actually enjoyed it. I just wished there was more science fiction in the show.
     
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  17. zaneoriginal
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    zaneoriginal Member

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    I loved both the TV show and the movie, though the movie is a bit jarring compared to the TV show. I think they were trying to wrap up a bunch of different threads in the movie and as a result we lost a lot of back story that a full season or two of the TV show would have provided.

    I enjoyed how the TV show left you with a lot of questions you wanted answered about characters, the universe they lived in and some of the mysterious. Sadly, there was never a good opportunity to provide those answers and the movie did what it could still leaving a lot of questions.

    Was also kinda disappointed that the pilot played by the guy that played Data in Star Trek Nest Generation was killed in the movie. (whoops, spoilers alert!)
     
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  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some joke is going over my head here, right?

    Edited to add: Just in case it's not--Wash and Data are not played by the same actor.
     
  19. zaneoriginal
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    zaneoriginal Member

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    I heard somewhere they were the same actor and I could see it. Never actually looked it up.
     
  20. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    I really wanted to know more about Shepard Book and unfortunately the Serenity movie couldn't fill the rest in.
     
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  21. zaneoriginal
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    zaneoriginal Member

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    Yeah, I agree. He makes a brief appearance in the movie and its obvious he had story behind how he got where he was. I was also always intrigued by the one episode where the professional killer is on the ship and looks down at him after knocking him unconscious and says something to the effect of "that's no preacher" like he knew who he really was.
     
  22. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Yeah. There's also the episode where he gets injured but immediately gets medical attention from the Alliance with a special access card.
     
  23. Wyr
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    Wyr Active Member

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    I believe the most common fan theory is that in his youth Book was an Operative like the one who is hunting them in the movie. But like I said, it's just a fan theory and no one who worked on the show has even acknowledged it as far as I am aware.

    Has anyone seen anything about the Firefly game they are developing? I like the idea, but the only trailer I've seen so far struck me as sort of 'meh.'
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  24. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I absolutely loved the show and the movie, but I hate how people are trying to bring it back. It's been too long since the series aired, and I would rather have what little we have, which is good, rather than risk having more but having it ruin the aura of the show, or the fun.
     
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  25. Krispee
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    Krispee Active Member

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    Loved Firefly and Serenity. The tv series shades it because it had time to explore the characters and their interactions, and back stories. I own both on DVD and Bu-ray and often revisit Firefly because Joss Whedon is so good at writing and directing ensemble casts, as can be seen so effectively in Avengers.
     
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