Thursday, July 10, 2008

Firefly

Now I get it!

Firefly is one of the best shows I have ever seen. Period. These days television is a pretty hard sell in the household. There's not much originality in the programs that get aired, and the shows that I want to see aren't aired, at all. There are the occasional (censored) HBO shows that do get shown, like Deadwood and The Sopranos, but there's no point when so much of what makes the show tick, the language and graphic imagery, gets cut out.

So, what is the alternative? These days there are networks that show programs on such services as streaming shows on their homepage or on Hulu (which unfortunately we don't get in this region). Then there's the torrent sites, whose records show that tv shows are one their biggest draws, most recently Heroes, or Lost.

But then even with the ability to watch these shows there are those situations that really turn a brother off of the TV for good. And I am talking about the big C in the tv world, cancellation. The Wire, Veronica Mars, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (please please please make the movie), and the subject if thi post, Firefly. A lot of shows do deserve to end, when all possible stories or loose ends are tied up, or when there really isn't much more to tell, when the writers and creators decide they'd shown enough. Buffy and Angel both ended as well as they could have. Shows that have long jumped the shark and lost their spark sometimes outstay their welcome. You know, like The Simpsons.

So it's sad when we come across a show that is really, really good. That has humor, sorrow, adventure, pathos and relevance. One that doesn't require too much back info or long explanations behind every little thing, that just allows a viewer to immere himself entirely in each episode and come out, exclaiming "Best Show EVER" after every goddamn episode. Firefly is one of these shows. And you know what? It only lasted one goddamn season.

In case you don't know, Firefly is about nine people, living on a spaceship, 500 years in the future. "Oh, so he's into space dramas now?", you ask. Well, not entirely. I can't really get behind the idea of a clean-cut spaceship consisting of an upper deck where the captain sits in the center and the camera shakes with every impact of a laser. Nor do I really buy into the whole alien thing portrayed on tv, where if something had a portruding forehead, or whose skin was blue/green/orange, but still something starkly human, it was an alien.

Except Star Wars, Star Wars is ok.

Anyway, Firefly is just too good. There are no aliens (absolutely none), in the sense that humanity at one point overcrowded the earth, and was forced to expand its civilization into outer space. So really, the show is about a universe where mankind really has conquered the stars, and is in its frontier pahse. There are a lot of cowboy themes in this series, as well as American Civil War parallels. No phasers. People still use guns, everything is handheld. There is nothing that indicates to the audience that this is a humanity that is entirely distinct from ours.

As for the series' namesake, the spaceship Serenity, Firefly class, is one that anyone on board could easily call home. It's modeled as something of an early wooden ship, except it's in space, and it has a huge ass engine at the back. There's the cargo bay, crew quarters, dining area, deck, bridge. But the set design is completely new and distinct from traditional spaceship sets in other shows, in the sense that everything, every room was built as if it were in the ship itself. Do you get it? On each deck, all the rooms were connected! This meant a more natural movement, on camera, for the crew to move around and familiarize themselves in. It's genius. It gives that "lived-in future" look that so many space shows lack. Where everything is always so shiny and chromed up, and looks like noone sits in it, in the Firefly universe, everything looks natural, lived in, used.


That's just an aspect of Joss Whedon's genius. The guys who created Buffy, Angel and other franchises that don't suck? You know him. He is awesome. Everything he touches is fucking gold and this show is his best creation yet. Other than that, the acting is superb. Nathan Fillian IS Captain Malcolm Reynold. Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Jewel Staite, Ron Glass, Simon Maher, Adam Baldwin. This is an ensemble that, much like the cast of Arrested Development, just gel together. It's clear that everyone had a blast filming each scene. It felt like a family. They were a family. As for the writing, you could not have found a better team for any show. Everything was excellent; the pacing, the action sequences, and most importantly the humor, especially from Adam Baldwin's Jayne Cobb, they all felt real. It's an easy show to empathize with.

And in that respect, as a sci-fi space cowboy drama, Firefly fucking rules.

In short, watch this show. And then for closure, and for future optimism, watch its movie Serenity. Oh yeah. FOX network, fuck you. Seriously. For cancelling so many awesome shows before their time and for propagating some really awful dredge.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The movie was great, but it sorta used up about 7 seasons of material in 2 hours...

oh yeah:

Firefly FTW!!

Ezanee said...

It is a shame, I concur.

But yes, Firefly FTW.