So, I know that this is the first week of the new year, but it’s the last week of playing catch up. Visits from family and other craziness kept us occupied these last few weeks, so we’ve been giving you some of our favorite recommendations.
This week, a definite MUST see for any queue.
I have to confess. I am a Browncoat. That’s right. This show has such a following that the fans have their own cool nickname. And why shouldn’t we?
Firefly is set in the future, the year 2517 to be precise, and the primary setting of the series is the ship “Serenity” named after a key battle that the Independents lost to the Alliance. The “Serenity” is a firefly-class ship, named for it’s resemblance to a firefly.
The show itself blends some visuals you wouldn’t expect. The inner planets, those strongly influenced by the central government (The Alliance) are high tech, with strong Asian influence. The outer planets, less bothered by the government, but lacking in the comforts of the inner planets, resemble the Wild West.
The juxtaposition of elements like spaceships flying over herds of horses, while strange in theory, blend together to make an original show worthy of catching your interest.
And then there are the characters, which we all know are my favorite part of any show worth watching.
What would a ship be without a captain? Captain Mal (Nathan Fillion, Castle) is a man of some mystery. While his crew takes some less than honest jobs, he is a man of integrity and moral character, with a fierce loyalty to his ship and crew.
He was a Sargent in the war, fighting for the Independents (or Browncoats), which is why he finds himself living on the outskirts of society. He leads a crew full of strong personalities, so while he is a great leader, he doesn’t win every argument he partakes in.
Adam Baldwin (Chuck) plays Jayne Cobb, the ships muscle. Or guy with grenades. Whatever the occasion, he is ready to fight, sometimes too ready, and isn’t always the brightest.
The beauty of his character is that he doesn’t think before he speaks, which on occasion means voicing what everyone else is thinking. It is entirely possible that he isn’t as dumb as he seems.
The ship’s pilot, Wash (Alan Tudyk) tends to offer comic relief in even the most stressful situations, and is one of the more sensitive men on the ship, having learned to be a pilot to see the stars. He tries to show his tougher side in one of my favorite episodes “War Stories” when he insists on accompanying Mal on a mission, driven by jealousy of Zoe and Mal’s history as war compatriots.
What I really dig (that’s right, I said dig) about this show are the strong female characters. Zoe (Gina Torres, Suits) is Wash’s wife, but was Captain Mal’s war buddy long before that, having served under him as a coporal. She is strong, a fighter, stoic in the face of horrible circumstances, and adores her husband. How many women on TV are depicted that way?
Then there’s Inara (Morena Baccarin, V) a “companion” who rents a shuttle from the ship, so becomes a part of their crew. She is the equivalent of a courtesan, a position that is looked on with respect by most people, Mal not being one of them. She is educated and independent, and she provides some romantic tension in the show (not to mention brings out Mal’s softer side from time to time).
Kaylee (Jewel Staite, Warehouse 13) is the ship’s mechanic. She is the sweetest character, who has a gift for mechanics, and loves everyone on the ship without reservation. She is the least mysterious character, which makes her that much more likable. She is what she is and you love her for it. (Also, the actress Jewel Staite has a great food blog. Unrelated, but highly recommend it.)
Not original members of the crew, but still very important to the story are the doctor, Simon Tam (Sean Mahrer, Warehouse 13) and his troubled sister, River Tam (Summer Glau, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Dollhouse) who are seeking refuge on the ship, as the young doctor rescued his sister from the Alliance, who have done something to her that he can’t quite figure out. (I’m not telling. Go watch it.) The ship even gets itself a preacher, Shepherd Book (Ron Glass), who’s mysteries we never fully get the opportunity to unravel.
Joss Whedon writes killer dialogue. It’s smart and sharp. It is true banter. Not just two people speaking too quickly for anyone to keep up. (Although you may want to brush up on your Mandarin. Just sayin’.)
And yet, this show, when it aired back in 2002 got the axe before they could even finish the first season. The good news is that if you watch the whole season (including the unaired episodes) and want more, a movie was later released – “Serenity” – that may make you feel a little better.
But only a little.
I’m supposed to tell you my favorite episodes here, but to be honest, I can watch this series start to finish over and over, I love every bit of it.
“Our Mrs. Reynolds” and “Trash” are two episodes with guest star, Christina Hendricks (of Mad Men fame) that are particularly good.
While Sci-Fi, this show has an appeal that goes beyond geek. The cast is talented (and easy on the eyes), the writing is unique, the visuals are interesting; I wish there were still shows like this being made.
As I wait for that to happen, I will continue to stream my beloved Firefly. A GTV (GourmetTV) all the way friends. A nice rare steak with Singapore Noodles on the side.
Are you a browncoat? If not, are you considering adding this one to your queue?
Now head over and see what our TV expert has in her queue. Come back next week to see what we have waiting for you.