( TV Series 2002 - 2003/USA )
Reviewed By-Paul Cooke Show Creator: Joss Whedon Starring : Nathan Fillion , Gina Torres , Alan Tudyk , Morena Baccarin , Adam Baldwin , Jewel Staite , Sean Maher , Summer Glau & Ron Glass Source: 20th Century Fox DVD 4 Disc SE/PAL Region 2/Wide Screen Aspect Ratio 1:78:1/2.0 Surround Extras : Star / Executive Producer Commentary / Three Documentary/Deleted Scenes / Audition / Gag Reel / Theme Songs
From the mercurial TV talent that is writer , director , producer Joss Whedon comes a sci fi show that is so cool the temperature gauge on the inside of your home cinema may just turn Arctic blue. The creator of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Angel’ gets his teeth into a rip roaring galactic adventure that rides beyond the terrestrial plain upon a mighty steed known as Serenity. A space craft cargo ship helmed by Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his first officer Zoe Warren , a sallow skinned beauty blessed with kissable pert lips and a rear touche just crying out to be wet hand clay sculpted. Together Mal and Zoe have survived the space wars and with a cargo class Firefly ship they name Serenity , saved from the scrap heap , they have new adventures that lay ahead of them.
All aboard that’s coming aboard as the double length TV movie opener sees Mal picking up passengers to help pay the way along with the merchandise pick up and drops for the journeys ahead. Shepherd Book , a future version of a preacher and man of God , seems drawn to the Firefly and may not be all that he seems !?. A young doctor by the name of Simon Tam seeks passage bearing a closely guarded large piece of personal luggage. Hooking up with the crew , in one of the Serenity’s two smaller attachment space crafts , comes the very beautiful Inara Serra , a rent paying ‘Companion’ who just so happens to be a classy lady that provides sexual services to cliental of her choosing. All soon become a permanent part of Serenity’s crew along with a surprise stowaway in the shape of a young woman brought out of cryogenic storage by her brother Doctor Simon Tam. The doctor and his sister are on the run from a corrupt governmental agency. Their doctors have experimented on River Tam and the girl has an exceptional intellect , but one that is fragmented in a state of instability that her brother is striving to correct. Captain Reynolds takes them in and from the moment he does he and all aboard the Serenity become ‘Most Wanted’.
The whole theme of ‘Firefly’ is very much a space Western with the family unit forged of ‘The High Chaparral’ and their moralistic leader Mal a gunslinger on the side of the righteous but very able to take advantage of bending the rules. They stay one step ahead of the law and alive by running pick up and drop missions that aren’t all legitimate but mostly benefit the needy. Mal and his crew are like futuristic figureheads of Robin Hood and his merry men , stealing from the rich and giving out to the poor. The people that they deal with do not all share the same righteous beliefs though and cross and double cross are never far away. Part of the Fun of the show is how Mal and companions fall into and get out of trouble by combining their individual talent to come out on top together. Throw in some very Cool dialogue and witty one liners that are freshly delivered and the characters immediately take on an individuality that warms to the viewers. It is hard to imagine any of the shows leading players being replaced by anyone else as the casting is spot on. Serenity’s crew is complimented by the tomboyish fresh faced lovely Kaylee Frye , the ships mechanic and breath of fresh air. Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburn , pilot and husband to the trouser wearing Zoe , an insecure old school reformed hippy who comes alive at the helm of his beloved Firefly. Adam Baldwin as wildcard renegade Jayne Cobb is integral to much of the Action and a focal point of many a misdirected shenanigan and a joy to behold as his slow witted character grows in stature as the show progresses. His character has a love hate relationship with Mal but ultimately one of respect and built upon trust. The two often disagree but the position of leadership always falls with Mal , albeit that he has to keep one eye in the back of his head at all times whilst Jayne is around.
The Fox TV Series runs for fifteen episodes and ends on a real high that leaves things open for a continuing series and also introduces one of the programmes great baddies in the shape of guest star Richard Brooks , as the consummate bounty hunter Jubal Early. Other notable bad guy performances come from Michael Fairman as the evil Nazi like torturer Adelai Niska , who thinks nothing of skin flailing humans and removing their body parts in bloody fashion , including one of Mal’s ears in the gripping episode ‘War Stories’. Repeat guest appearance from Christina Hendricks as Saffron , a real femme fatale with a crush on Mal and pretty much any other person that she can take financial advantage from , including members of the same sex !. The show is definitely aimed at a more mature audience and does not hide from sexual situations and often allows for more than a peak of naked flesh as well as dealing with lesbianism and opportunistic sexual encounters. Mal’s detached feelings for Inara hide his true feelings , as do hers for him , and the Captain’s patriarchal role separates him from emotionally bonding with those around him for fear of losing them in a life or death situation. The truth is Mal cares for all that are under his wing and a part of Serenity’s crew and low and behold any who cross him by bringing harm to any of them on his watch.
The show is fresh , vibrant , sexy and requited viewing of the highest order. It is deserving of the Cult status it is fast garnering and thankfully to the fan appreciation it is now gearing up for the big screen , as the movie follow on from the last episode ‘Objects In Space’ is released in 2005. All of the shows original cast are back along with Mal’s galactic nemesis in the form of bounty hunter Jubal Early. Hopefully the series terrifying villainous nasties known as the Reepers also appear as they are as fascinatingly unstoppable as The Borg first were when they appeared in ‘Star Trek The Next Generation’. A band of space cannibals that take no prisoners and eat on the go !.
The four disc collectors edition DVD set of ‘Firefly’ includes all fifteen episodes in the complete series of which three shows never aired !. The behind the scenes making of show is also included along with an amusing gag reel and deleted scenes. Executive producer Joss Whedon adds his commentary to the excellent episode ‘Objects In Space’ and the lovely Jewel Staite , who plays Kaylee , applies her delightful tones to the audio track for the episode ‘The Message’. This is an immiscible must have collection that leads right on into this coming Fall blockbuster movie of the series called ‘Serenity’. It’s a rootin’ tootin’ six gun shootin’ sci fi spectacular gem of a show that watching one episode at a time is just not possible. Once that addictive theme tune kicks in and the credits play out you’ll be wanting to ride with Mal and his crew right on into the next adventure and forget about lending this out to a friend this one’s a keeper , tell them about it and let them get their own. Enjoy the show and look forward to the movie , ‘Firefly’ is Terrific.
Show: 4.5 Fabulous Fireflies Picture: 4.5 Fabulous Fireflies Sound: 4.0 Fabulous Fireflies Extras: 3.5 Fabulous Fireflies Overall: 4.5 Fabulous Fireflies
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