Cult-Trash-Badass-Cinema -and more…

Serenity (2005) plus Firefly TV

Created by Joss Whedon (movie directed by Joss Whedon)

In the future, a spaceship called Serenity is harboring a passenger with a deadly secret. Six rebels on the run. An assassin in pursuit. When the renegade crew of Serenity agrees to hide a fugitive on their ship, they find themselves in an awesome action-packed battle between the relentless military might of a totalitarian regime who will destroy anything – or anyone – to get the girl back and the bloodthirsty creatures who roam the uncharted areas of space.

For the last two days I have watched the entire 14 episodes of FIREFLY.

And i wish I had done so earlier…such a great show. A great bunch of interesting characters, humor and action, heartfelt moments and finally a rougher looking future world. The central planets are run by the Alliance, whereas the outer planets and moons are less developed and resemble the wild west to a certain degree. How I hate that clean and  self-righteous, hyperbolic , boring world of Star Trek. In Firefly, we finally have something again, that someone called “the used feature”. Like in the first Star Wars movies…used, beat up spaceships, machines  and clothes. Star Trek is clean..all the time…it feels like Steve Jobs came in and designed the whole sets, ewww. No, thank you! And that`s my biggest issue with the new Star Wars movies…they look like Star Trek on steroids!!!! Come on, that`s disgusting.

Firefly could have run 3 seasons easy. Maybe even more. The Captain of the Firefly(Nathan Fillion) reminded me somewhat of Han Solo. Another thing, that never happened-Han Solo movies. Instead we got two movies starring Ewoks,lol. The captain fought with the rebel forces against the Alliance and they lost. After that, he bought a small transporter, hired his female army buddy Zoe and the rest of the crew, a procedure, that gets shown in backflashes in the tv episodes. With more or less illegal jobs , they try to survive and evade the Alliance where possible. Another threat are the Reavers, mutants from the outskirts of the star system, who you could describe as fairly intelligent cannibal zombies….something like that. The pilot Wash is married to Zoe. Jayne is a  huge guy, simple minded, but a good shot- leaning towards treason once in a while. Then there is Inara, a beautiful “Companion”, a prostitute, but a classy one, she rented one of the two shuttles the Serenity carries, to receive her customers. The captain has a thing for her, but keeps his true feelings in check, for a looong time. Also we have a sort of priest, Shepherd Book, an older gentleman with a secret or two.The beautiful ship mechanic, Kaylee. Lastly, there are the siblings River and Simon. He rescued his sister from an  Alliance -run facility that ran experiments on River…something that proves to be a major part of the story. Her true potential is revealed in the movie..again, it all would have developed much more elegant, had the tv show run its normal , several seasons worth course. There are a lot of details, forgive me when I don`t mention them all. Just read up on it, wikipedia is a good source , if you wanna go in with a bit of background info. I just say..the swearing in chinese is due to the background of the US and China joining forces , as the two remaining superpowers on earth…which now is called “the earth that was”. It got too polluted and overpopulated in the end, so they ventured out into space and terraformed a new bunch of planets..the world Firefly here plays in.

Going in, I knew I enjoyed Serenity -the movie, very much. But what was lacking then, when I saw it on the big screen , was the background that the TV series provides. And I never saw it til now. I don`t even remember it airing on german TV, and it didn`t, until September 12, 2009, when RTL 2 started airing  all 14 episodes .  That`s well 7 years after it aired on US -TV..damn. That`s 4 years after the DVD release in Germany, as well.

What the F…? And RTL 2 isn`t exactly the greatest channel there is. More like the leftover-channel.

The early demise of Firefly is a brilliant case of Studio-execs panicking very early , over not as great as expected ratings. Despite the fact, that it was easily better than Star Trek. But Star Trek  already had a big fan-base. And while Star Trek TNG wasn`t doing well in the beginning, they didn`t cancel that, noooo.

They didn`t even air all 14 episodes, just 11.( 10, if the pilot isnt counted as two) That must`ve been some panic, dudes. So glad, I`m not a studio exec with a heart condition,lol.

I am not sure, what else showed on TV at that time, but Joss Whedon already had not one, but two hit shows with Buffy and Angel. Both I did enjoy, to a certain degree. But compared to Firefly? I´d so ditch them both for that!!!

Surprising, that Joss Whedon didn`t have more say in this, after all, he already created 2 cash cows for the network. But I guess, who`s got  the money , makes the call. Sad for us fans. And part of what`s wrong with Hollywood.

That early kill left the fans with an unfinished  show that had great potential.

2 years later, thanks to fan pressure(spell: DVD sales) a Firefly movie got greenlit for the big screen. Not really a financial success either, but it kinda gave the fans closure, or did it?

The movie starts about 6 months after the end of the last tv episode.

I wont spoil the movie for you, in case you are new to the world of Firefly.

The movie is basically the material ( I guess) that was meant to slowly evolve in a few seasons of  TV. Now we are served a buttload of storyline in a compressed form. Which makes for a lot of action

( considerably more violent) and twists and turns every ten minutes. This was enough material for four or five movies.

For somebody who knows the TV show, it`s quite an onslaught. The slow building of a story arc in the TV series gets the fast-forward treatment without giving you time to breathe. Which suffocates the nuances and atmosphere of the whole concept. Which also highlights the difference between TV and the cinema. It`s two worlds, that don`t really lie on the same wave length.

A slowly developing story arc cannot be transferred onto the cinema screen, unless you have 3 three-hour movies like LOTR.  That reminds me of the X-Files movies, which despite the fact that I like them, don`t belong on the big screen. The X-Files had the advantage of several seasons of TV, but still.

And since the masses seem to prefer the clinical world of Star Trek over something as great as Firefly, we are stuck with just that, a condensed version of the Firefly world, that with a bit less panic could have been the greatest Sci-Fi show of the early new Millennium.

The movie is top notch, since the stars aren`t Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, I guess the budget was spend  on the look and FX. It reminded me of several great Sci-Fi movies during its 2 hour running time, not whole concepts, not really stealing, its just so full of stuff… I love the Firefly universe, and if you haven`t already…check out the great world of Firefly!!! If this would have gotten the several season treatment, it would have been better, but still…

You have earned yourself one more big FLAN (Firefly fan), Joss Whedon.


3 responses

  1. I never saw Firefly, but I always meant to. Just one of those things, too many shows and not enough time to watch them all. You have to pick and choose and end up missing out on some great shows unfortunately. I do have Serenity though. I only saw it once when I first got it and remember enjoying it. Based on your review, I’ll have to dust it off and give it another shot. Maybe I’ll enjoy it even more this time. lol. Great review buddy!

    December 23, 2011 at 7:59 PM

  2. Great review. I love me some Firefly, and Serenity was well done too. I agree that Serenity was a little too fast paced, but if you think about it, they did leave A LOT to the imagination. They STILL didn’t explain what the hell was up with Booke, what with him having such leeway in the Alliance and his skills with weapons that are never elaborated on. Nonetheless, Joss did good to tie up some knots and (which was really the best part for me) he kept the tone of the show and the characters. Overall, a job well done, even if I would’ve preferred about five more seasons instead of two hours.

    December 28, 2011 at 6:40 AM

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