Now I know it’s kind of cheap to pick a show to be the pic of the month but for this particular series I am willing to make that exception. My first recollection of hearing about the Firefly series was back in High School when one of my good friends had discovered the series and praised it rather incessantly. Now at the time, being who I am, I instantly dismissed the show, not because of the merit of said friend but because at the time I didn’t care much for an opinion or idea that hadn’t come in to my own brain. However, given his rave reviews, I decided that the show deserved a casual glance so I put it on the mental radar and waited for the chance to possibly see it on the SciFi channel. I believe I caught one of the later episodes about halfway through and it just didn’t strike my fancy so I decided that the show wasn’t worth my time and put it in the back of my mind with all the other things my friends loved but I hated (which believe me, is a giant laundry list). Fast Forward to the present day and I can honestly say my diet of fresh crow is paying off well because I have discovered one of the best shows of the last 20 years. Don’t take that lightly when I say that because there are a lot of shows out there that I truly enjoy such as Spartacus and Dexter (which is probably my favorite show of all time). Firefly would give Dexter a run for it’s money any day of the week and in a few ways I believe Firefly far surpasses Dexter in the complexity of characters, the dialogue, and the over all story. Where Dexter takes themes that can be seen on just about any crime drama only with a Serial Killer twist, Firefly takes all the tropes of Science Fiction and says “Eh that’s boring…lets do something new”. The best way I can describe Firefly is if you took elements from classic Scifi like Star Trek and Blade Runner slapped in some classic western elements and a pound of some recent anime classics like Trigun, Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star and you have a recipe for absolute greatness.
The basic story for the show is that ex soldier Malcolm Reynolds leads a ragtag crew aboard the spaceship Serenity across the known galaxy in search of any illegal work that will keep his ship in the air and his crew alive. Suddenly, the lives and work of his crew are complicated when they make a routine stop to pick up travelers to help ends meet and unknowingly aid and abed two wanted fugitives Simon and River Tam and so begins our birds eye view in to the adventures of the Serenity and her crew trying to keep from being: blown to bits due to mechanical failure, shot to pieces by maniacal criminals, captured by the opressive authorities at every turn and all the while trying to keep personal lives and unsaid feelings from erupting and sending the social order of the ship in to mad chaos.
The main focus of this story isn’t necessarily the jobs, the Simon and River arc or anything even remotely close rather it’s all about the characters and how they survive, thrive and interact on the ship. I think the main draw to this show is the whole “We will get by and as long as we have something we will be alright” kind of mentality that it brings all while tackling an array of moral questions. All of the characters are unique and each brings a fresh perspective to the events that take place, which is especially refreshing to see in our world of stereotypical and often times predictable characters that are in most shows that dominate major networks. It’s not only surprising to see but downright remarkable for a show to have a crew of nine characters and make every single one of them seem as though they are essential protagonists. Though the standout character and the glue of the series is Mal, everyone seems to have a world all their own and each character is immensely detailed in a way that you don’t see in many shows not only as of late but in any show period. Every character has insanely entertaining attributes that just make them a blast to watch. This would be one of those shows where everyone has a favorite character that they relate to the most. Mal would probably be my favorite character because he has so many dimensions. He is calm, calculating and sarcastic which truly hide his inner feelings towards his crew which he treats as though are his family and loves very dearly. He is much like the classic cowboys of the John Wayne and Glenn Ford variety but only mixed with the grit and deadly fast thinking of the Clint Eastwood/ Man With No Name character.
To say that this show was unjustly cancelled is an understatement. The fact that Fox would cancel a show this good and keep something like 24 or American Idol only proves to me that network television knows very little about anything good. In my opinion the show was cancelled because it just wasn’t marketable and Fox didn’t give enough credit to its audience to be able to enjoy a show that is relatively slow in build up. This wouldn’t surprise me given that the general Fox audience is probably looking more for the Michael Bay experience of cool effects, crazy explosions and nothing but action. Ultimately Firefly has a good story, amusing characters, witty dialogue, and a memorable setting sprinkled in with a good share of action and heart pounding moments. If nothing but action is what you are looking for then Firefly is not the show for you but if you want to watch a show that has a slow build up with a great and gratifying payoff then Firefly is an excellent show to add to your Netflix or DVD collection