TV From the Crypts: Firefly
Every year when August rears its hot, humid and sweaty head I get a little excited that it is that time of year again: that time of year being time to re-watch the TV show Firefly. Feel free to replace the above sentence with any month of the year, since it is a well known fact that Firefly is the best TV show of all time, and therefore why deprive yourself, you might as well indulge in this addicting program multiple times a year. I am sure most of you sci-fi loving freaks have already come across this show (and therefore become a drooling slave to its powers), but for those of you who have not, drop what you are doing RIGHT NOW and go online or to the nearest Newbury Comics to buy yourself a copy. Before you know it you will be fired from your job for lack of productivity since you will be spending all waking hours outside of work watching the show, which is a good thing since it will allow you to re-watch the show again and again without work interfering.
Set in the future in most likely a galaxy far, far away, where humans have colonized additional planets and terra-formed them for habitation. To inhabit these planets, families are sent to them like individuals from the ancient Wild West settlers of America. Only come on, being on other planets with space ships, advanced technology, and laser weapons is so much COOLER! This show follows a small group of bandits on a “Firefly” cargo ship named Serenity, as they smuggle goods, carry fugitive passengers, and battle “The Man” otherwise known as the Alliance in provocative episode after episode.
So why is this show so gosh-darn addicting?!?! There are a lot of reasons, but I think it is mostly about the characters. This group of characters is the best mix of personalities in the universe, yes, even better than Star Wars (yikes, I might be going to a special place in hell for saying that, but it is true as these characters can out-nerf-herder Han Solo) so I have decided to dedicate this post to talking about them.
Our Fearless Leader: Mal; Bad; In the Latin…
Malcolm Reynolds, the captain of Serenity, is quite a fascinating character. He was a prior Brown coat, which in the future is a group of rebels that fought in a revolution against the Alliance, a power-hungry, oppressive governmental agency that thrived by exploiting those trying to make an honest living in these newly terra-formed yet brutal worlds. Sadly the Brown coats were defeated, but his past and detestation of the Alliance is a common recurrence throughout the series. Malcolm ends up being just the right combination of tough-love, respect, mystery, and morality. Just when you think you understand him as the leader of a group of criminals bent on saving their own skin over anything else, he makes another decision more based in hard scruples rather than survival. He will leave you smiling time after time, but he is just one of many characters with that effect.
Zoe and Hoborn Washburne…. I am a leaf on the wind….
That’s right people, did you know that Wash’s real name is Hoborn? I bet not, but he is better known as Wash to all of us admirers. It’s kind of hard to describe these two characters as separate entities, though they both add so much to the show. Zoe is the first mate of Serenity, and Wash is the pilot who married her, surprisingly as we find out during a later episode. Zoe’s hard to crack exterior and Wash’s “semi-muscular man” as a sensitive soul are the perfect couple. I will say Lawrence Fishburne is a lucky man in real life to actually be married to the actress that plays Zoe…after all it’s all about the legs, and her back, and the way her legs meet her back… And who can resist a guy who plays with dinosaur toys?!?! That’s what I thought.
Without leaking too many spoilers, I will just say that if you watch this show and end up loving these two, do NOT watch the movie. I know it was meant to tie up the loose ends from an all too short one-season display, but it just can’t compare to the show and will leave you heart broken if you love this couple. Just don’t do it, unless you enjoy endless suffering, believe me, I spent over a week in a state of misery and grief after watching that conclusion.
Kaylee Frye. That was real pretty Cap’n.
If Kaylee were a real person, she would be the most pure, kind, and true person I have ever met. Kaylee is the ship’s mechanic and aside from rocking the overalls, she has the gentlest heart of any spirit. I think she represents the perfect girl next door that everyone is secretly in love with. With so many people committing crime on this ship, it’s refreshing to have someone as pure of heart as Kaylee to keep everyone in check.
Jayne Cobb: The Dealer of Epic One-Liners
Oh Jayne. If Jayne were someone I knew in real life I probably would despise him, but as the hired muscle on Serenity, he might just be one of my favorite characters. His sense of fashion is perfect too. If there is one thing that makes me sad about leaving the brutal winters of New England for sunny California this fall it is that I won’t get to rock my Jayne-inspired winter hat while I am basking in the 70-degree January weather.
Despite his dimwit and love of guns, Jayne has some of the best one-liners in the entire show. From “That’s why I don’t kiss ‘em on the lips” to “Little Kaylee here wishes you were a gynecologist”, Jayne never stops being inappropriate with no filter. He’s just perfect.
Shepard Book: The Preacher
The first episode of the series shows how Firefly ends up with some of its non-crew members, and Shepard Book is the first to join the group, aka Grandpa. He might seem like the most unlikely person to be wrangling with these criminals, a man of the Lord and all, but he’s got some secrets of his own. The man can throw a punch and is pretty good with a gun. Despite Mal’s misgivings he is quickly accepted as a member of the crew.
Simon and River Tam
The other stowaways are fugitives from the Alliance, and more the stars of the movie. River is a child prodigy who was tortured by the Alliance to become a human weapon, leaving her a little post-Schizophrenic. Simon, her older brother, is her rescuer and a famous doctor, which works out mighty nice for the crew being Serenity’s crew seems to have an unhealthy attraction to bullets. Simon is also the helpless rich boy that is probably the most out of place on the boat, but you have to give him credit for his attempts to fit in. Like every other character on this ship, they just add to the charisma. I still think an episode where Simon is the man with a job for the crew was one of the best. I guess if you had some sick masochistic need to watch the movie despite my prior warnings, the story behind River and Simon will probably please you.
Inara Serra: The Companion
Firefly does a good job trying to add some strange elements that may or may not come true in the future. In particular, there seems to be a fusion of the Chinese and English languages (which would make sense if the current superpowers of Earth went on to influence future cultures in the far beyond universe. It also makes for an easy way around the FCC’s limitations on cursing; just have everyone cuss in Chinese and American viewers are none the wiser. Which leads to Inara and her role in the future. It’s quite an interesting concept that in the future women who go to a companion school trained as prostitutes are considered a symbol of wealth. Inara is the resident companion on Serenity that uses the ships traveling to various outer-rim planets as an opportunity to get some business and keep up her respectable reputation. Quite an interesting concept. Of course, it also gives Mal the opportunity to make quite a few jokes about her being a whore, which are mostly just his way of expressing his pent up frustration that they can’t be together.
That about does it for the main characters of the show. However, as you can see, these characters have some admirable qualities, so I am sure you evil loving followers are a little saddened by this lack of despicable qualities. So I will also bring up two recurring villains on the show to tantalize your desires.
The rough and tumble Wild West atmosphere of the show leaves many opportunities for encounters with low life criminals, pimps, and bounty hunters. But the Reavers are where the real terror comes in to play. Reavers are a bit of a legend on the outer planets, a supposed group of whacked out people who have turned to mutilating their own flesh and torturing, raping, and desecrating any poor victim they catch. Well, we quickly find out they are not a legend, and their recurrent appearance leaves you on the edge of your seat.
And then there is Niska, also a recurring character that resembles the Godfather in many ways. Niska is the most renowned criminal in space, and you don’t want to wrong him. Sadly Mal’s morals got in the way of completing a job for him early on, which ends up leading to some future encounters involving just the right amount of emotional and physical torture. Niska is a bad guy you have to admire, nothing is off limits for him.
Well, that’s it for my long, epic in its own way report on the best TV show that ever was. Fox was a bunch of retards for cancelling this show after one season, but I am sure they know that now as this show still has a cult following at Comic Con ever year despite it being aired over a decade ago. Enjoy this show folks, again, and again, and again. I will leave you with the theme song, The Ballad of Serenity, that I am sure means just as much to you as it does to me. Brings a smile to myself. You can’t take the sky from me.
Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me.
Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain’t comin’ back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can’t take the sky from me.
Leave the men where they lay
They’ll never see another day
Lost my soul, lost my dream
You can’t take the sky from me.
I feel the black reaching out
I hear its song without a doubt
I still hear and I still see
That you can’t take the sky from me.
Lost my love, lost my land
Lost the last place I could stand
There’s no place I can be
Since I’ve found Serenity
And you can’t take the sky from me.
Posted on August 21, 2013, in Features, Geekology, TV, TV From the Crypts and tagged Firefly, Fox, Joss Whedon, Morena Baccarin, Nathan Fillion, TV, TV From the Crypts. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.