Firefly directed by Joss Whedon. Review by R.T. Hughes
From the imaginative mind of Joss Whedon, creator of TV's Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Angel, comes the 14 episode sci-fi western Firefly. Leaving the quantum phase mechanics and deflector arrays to the various Star Trek series, Whedon combines his gift for witty dialog with in-depth characters for a series that is both exciting and comical.
In the years following the war between the Alliance (those who wanted to unite all the colonized planets and moons under one government) and the Independents (those who wanted their planets and/or moons to retain their autonomy), Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) struggles to make a living aboard his Firefly-class ship, Serenity. As an ex-sergeant for the Independents, Captain Reynolds, and his crew, attempt to find work. Working for the Alliance is out of the question so sometimes their jobs are legal, but more often sometimes they are not. High speed train heists, salvaging operations from derelict ships, and transporting cattle are all in a days work for Reynolds and his crew.
Captain Reynolds, or Mal as he is referred to by his friends and subordinates, hosts a diverse and enigmatic crew. There is ZoŽ (Gina Torres), Mal's first mate and friend from the war, her husband and the pilot of Serenity is Wash (Adam Tudyk), Kaylee (Jewel Staite) fills the role as mechanic, and the on-staff muscle is Jayne (Adam Baldwin). Accompanying the crew of Serenity are several guests. Inara (Morena Baccarin), who is a professional companion, rents out one of the shuttles. Shepard Book (Ron Glass) is a fare-paying passenger, as well as a holy man. Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher) and River Tam (Summer Glau) are two fugitives on the run from the Alliance who fall into good graces with Mal.
Between Joss Whedon's writing and Nathan Fillion's repeated stellar performances (pun intended), I never once found Firefly to be lacking in any way. This show is a unique pleasure that you just cannot help but watch over and over again. Every time you watch an episode you find something love that you did not notice before, from Wash's sarcastic jabs to Jane's blunt, and oftentimes confusing, logic. If it had not been for the episodes being aired outside Whedon's designated order, I truly believe that we would be watching fresh episodes every week on primetime television.
If you are looking for a series that offers up endless lines of technological jargon and futuristic weapon battles, this show is not for you. However if you want a television show set in a light sci-fi world with emphasis on plot, characters, and their relationships, Firefly is a perfect fit.
Ryan T. Hughes is a product of the Slippery Rock University English Literature program. He hopes to find a future in the gaming industry, designing collectible card games and roleplaying games.