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Friday, 14 September 2012

Firefly (2002 Joss Whedon)

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 'em I ain't comin' back, Burn the land and boil the sea, You can't take the sky from me, There's no place I can be, Since I found serenity, But you can't take the sky from me
My love for this series is clear, it is a pure masterpiece, it charms its audience and boasts a large dedicated fanbase that I like to think myself a part of, if you have seen the series its hard not to be a fan. Why do I like it so much? There are a lot of reasons the simplist being a stellar cast of mostly unknowns performing beautifully together to create a family of bandits ranging in personality and talent that inhabit the spacecraft Serenity. With such a wide range of characters it is imposable not to identify with at least one whether its the charismatic captain Mal or the brainy Dr. Tam your sure to find a character you love, it is only a shame the series did not last long enough for the audience to really see these characters develop.

Firefly's universe is another reason to love it, full of monsters such as the Reavers, an overpowering government ie. the alliance and science experiments like River there are lots of opportunities for great SF stories but principally the show is a western. Although my love for SF outweighs my feelings towards westerns this show brilliantly blends the two, the SF is so seamlessly integrated into the world that it feels like everything ranging from space ships to drink dispensers are to them like cars and taps to us, this adds a believability to the world that is often traded for the need to say "look at these shiny new science things we thought of". That brings me to another of my reasons to love firefly, the language! Words like shiny are a simple example of the created language however the actual dialogue is what is really brilliant, a stylistic re"vamp" of the kind of playing with language Whedon did in Buffy the western/ space terminology and often a little peculiar phrasing rolls off the tongue and again makes the "verse" feel like a coherent and realistic place. The inclusion of mandarin is also excellent as it allows profanities and ties into the idea of techno orientalism that is embraced by many SF fans.

The balance between Western and science is not the only perfectly weighed balance in the series, as usual Whedon perfectly pits comedy against drama revealing the tension when needed and lightening the series. This is often seen throughout Whedon's work and id offered by the whole cast, the fact that the series feels light and not too depressing helps viewers want more, it is a very easy show to marathon all 14ep's as I have many times. Do not let this fool you though, the characters are interesting and deep with histories and futures worth investing in and some episodes, if not all, strike strong emotional cords within the audience and within the characters. As is always needed through lines are prominent despite the episodic format however it cannot be seen how they all would have played out thanks to Fox being ****s and cancelling the show.

From strictly audio and visual perspectives Firefly also stands out above the crowd of mediocre tv and as in the rest of the aspects of Firefly, there is a strong focus on coherence and believability. From small details such as the Blue Sun logo popping up (which would have been a plot line) to the interiors of the Serenity to the exteriors of Belerphon and the western worlds the set design and props are stunning and are beutifuly exploited by stunning direction and camera work from Whedon's usual crowd. The music somehow again perfectly melds SF with Western elements and some of the score (the funeral particularly) is really special.

There you have it, a lot of reasons to watch Firefly but the biggest one of all is because I have no doubt you will enjoy it!

Serenity is a different matter, amazing as it is, its a different can of worms that I will review shortly....

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