Firefly was a show that kept popping up places for me, whether it was friends mentioning it or Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory complaining about its cancellation after just one series, whenever it was mentioned it seemed that it was pretty popular. I am not the best at watching TV series, I find it more of a challenge at times rather than just watching a movie. Anyway I had had the DVDs for sometime now and I thought it was about time to see what all the fuss was about.
Firefly is now 12 years old but for me it easily stood the test of time. I remember I fancied starting this series as on that particular night I didn’t have enough time to watch a movie, so I thought lets kick firefly off as the episodes are only 45 minutes. Little did I know that the pilot episode was a special feature length, almost a film in its own respect! I didn’t mind so much though as I really enjoyed it. The pilot was useful for establishing a lot of background to the series and the length facilitated it well. For me I see the series in two parts, the first section of the series really establishes the different characters and allows us to see relationships develop and we get a good grounding to where everyone stands with each other. The first half of the series didn’t have a lot of variation within the story lines to the episodes but this was no bad thing, it could have been too much to be over ambitious with the plots before we really got to know the characters. Anyway when the second half of the series came that is when things really got good. The writing for the episodes just turned up a whole notch. Some of my personal favourites were Out of Gas and Ariel, there was just seemed to be a lot more weight and emotion behind these episodes making for some great viewing.
The characters in Firefly were probably the best thing on offer though, the main cast consisted of nine characters, all bringing something very different to the table and all having their moments. My favourites were probably Jane, Simon, Ash and Inara however I didn’t dislike any of them really. The constant banter between them was great but also when the stakes were higher it was always interesting to see where allegiances lay. Even to have a recurring character such as Saffron added a lot to the series and enhanced the whole show, giving it depth despite its only one series.
The series has a good finale however it doesn’t really answer a lot of questions or finish at a natural stopping point but 3 years later that is where Serenity comes in.
This film came due to the shows popularity after the series had aired, and boy what a fantastic way to round off the show. I almost think this was better than having another couple of Firefly series, well naturally as I am more a fan of movies, although often series degrade in quality as the show goes on but that can’t be further from the truth in regards to Joss Whedon’s creation.
Serenity is unreal for many reasons, firstly you don’t have to have seen Firefly to understand it. Of course having watched the series made for a much more clear overall picture and I understood all the references but there wasn’t anything glaringly difficult to grasp for those who hadn’t seen Firefly. There was a clear injection of funds into this film, something that was a noticeable step up from the series, not to say that Firefly was poorly made, not at all. Serenity just looked so much more professional and had a more polished finish. More was able to be done in terms of the special effects and therefore the action sequences which I have to say really were awesome! Another aspect of the film I enjoyed was the revival of the Reavers, these characters I thought suffered a premature death in the TV series as after the first few episodes they weren’t really explored any further so it was great to see them have a central role to play here. Discovering the origins of them also was a treat and almost felt rewarding!
The finale to the film was really quite brilliant, it was brave in the way it wasn’t afraid to be realistic. Not all our beloved characters made it out unscathed. One of my favourites unfortunately didn’t make it, Ash. His death was so shocking and just set the tone for the finale. The action, emotion and humour were all there and it was a perfect finishing sequence to this brilliant show. Serenity rounds off nicely after this, wrapping up some loose ends, not all of them though. Whedon brings the story to a natural stopping point but does so in a way that suggests our characters will still live on and continue with their adventures, could it have been done in a better way?
I know that many were disappointed with Firefly being cancelled and I imagine if I had watched it as it was aired I would have been too. However one series and a film seemed like a great amount of material to enjoy and I really think the whole thing was handled well. Take note other TV series, don’t just leave your viewers hanging on – round things off for them, not completely, but enough so that they are satisfied. I can’t help but think that Whedon really respects his fans and Serenity almost felt like a gift to those that had supported Firefly. This is a universe that I am very happy to say I have immersed myself in and will be revisiting frequently in the future.