Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Review: Firefly

Year: 2002
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, Alan Tudyk, Jewel Staite, Morena Baccarin, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher, Ron Glass
Created by: Joss Whedon

Firefly is one of those shows that got canceled too early and, like many of those (the good ones at least), has sort of a cult following. From my point of view, it well deserves that following. It was a great show, and it's really a shame that it didn't even run a full season (just 10 episodes). I am really glad a followup movie was made, at least.

So why, exactly, is it so good? Well, for one, it's a sci-fi western. How cool is that? If you've seen the video for Muse's "Knights of Cydonia" you sort of know what that's like. This is the most believable scifi I've seen - basically, technology has advanced enough in the future to allow space travel, and since Earth was all used up, people moved on to a new solar system. There are no aliens, just some people that were driven crazy and turned into creepy killing machines. There's some laser technology in guns, but only the central planets have the best tech, while the outworlds are backwaters with little sophistication and often beyond reach of the Alliance law.

Anyway, so our heroes are the crew of a transport ship that takes miscellaneous jobs, mostly on the outworlds. Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Fillion) was a sergeant in the big war for the Independents, and so he has attracted a crew that mostly eschew Alliance control. The crew includes a pilot, Wash (Tudyk), his wife who fought with Mal in the war, second-in-command Zoe (Torres), a Companion (basically a courtesan) who rents out one of the shuttles, Inara (Baccarin), the tough guy, Jayne (Baldwin), and the mechanic, Kaylee (Staite). In the pilot episode they pick up a Shepherd (pastor), Book (Glass), and a doctor (Maher) who has taken his sister (Glau) out of an Alliance camp where they've been doing things to her brain.

The characters are done really well; they all seem real and have interesting relationships, and develop as the show goes on. Everyone is either likeable or amusing, or both. The show is thrilling, engaging, funny, and just generally delightful. It's quick to watch but, if you're like me, you'll wish it just kept on going.

Basically, I loved it, and on a few different levels. It was entertaining but also just a great story, and there was action and romance and humor... oh I just can't say enough!

Now, go forth and watch! You won't be disappointed, I feel. It's on Netflix streaming now.

Grade: A+!

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