Firefly: A Western Science-Fiction that will leave you wanting more | Series Review


★★★★★/★★★★★ Review: Firefly by Joss Whedon.

This show is a gift to humanity. No power in the verse can stop me from gushing about this show.

Wash: Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science-fiction.

Zoë: We live in a spaceship, dear.

Wash: So?

This review should be read while listening toThe Ballad of Serenity by Sonny Rhodes. 

This is a space western science fiction drama series that was cancelled way too freaking soon and needed more time even though it did not really because it was awesome. So let us move on now.

The setting for the series:

“After the Earth was used up, we found a new solar system and hundreds of new Earths were terraformed and colonized. The central planets formed the Alliance and decided all the planets had to join under their rule. There was some disagreement on that point. After the War, many of the Independents who had fought and lost drifted to the edges of the system, far from Alliance control. Out here, people struggled to get by with the most basic technologies; a ship would bring you work, a gun would help you keep it. A captain’s goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying.”

Zoë: We still gotta drop the goods.
Wash: And when we do, we fly off to Boros rich and prosperous. Well, less poor.

The crew fly inside the Serenity across space, doing odd jobs here and there to stay afloat in the year 2517 . They live on the fringe of society as a last way to escape the war. Zoe and Mal were on the loosing side of the war, Simon and River were too young to fight, Inara and Jayne didn’t fight, Wash spent his time in a prisoner camp, and Book might have played a secret role in it or something. There is a dilemma between the big central planets and those on the Rim. All planets on the Rim were not poor, but they did want independence, so it was a constant struggle between “small sovereign states” and the “big government.”

Characters and why they are some of the best on television: 

  • Captain Mal: he is a former independent sergeant in a galaxy war basically. He is a morally gray character. He does kill, but he is good and kind. In the first episode he goes from a fervent believer to a man with his reserves do to what he saw in the war. I am not saying he had PTSD, but if he had, I would not have blamed him, the few episodes in which we learn about his past fighting and Zoe’s were my favourite. 
  • Zoë: boss fighter and second in command who fought alongside Mal during the war as a corporal. She is my favourite character. A strong and layered character that has her own rules and moral code, much more moral than Mal’s. I want to be her so badly. 
  • Wash: a genius pilot and Zoë’s husband, who joined the crew so he could see the stars since his planet was too polluted. This guy is perfection, and alongside Zoë, my favourite character. He is to me the most moral of the bunch, and has a clear definition of what he considers to be good and bad. 
  • Inara: a companion who rents a shuttle from the ship. Companion in this society are actually praised, and give an aura of importance to the otherwise lacking respect crew. Her relationship with Mal is the epitome of sexual tension. 
  • Jayne: this is a crazy mercenary who besides being horrid, also does care for the crew, and is not as dis-likable as others.  His character was revealed in an episode where spoilers happen, and it was very refreshing to see. 
  • Kaylee: the mechanic, and a good one at that even if she had not received any formal training. She is the sweetest person, as well as very dear and important to everyone on the ship, even Jayne cares for her. 
  • Simon: a rich trauma surgeon who gave up his comfy life to save his sister. He is an atheist and a very knowledgeable man who believes government is not good after what happened to his sister. 
  • River: the brilliant and crazy sister, used by the government as an experiment. She is also an atheist, and have I mentioned brilliant? There is one episode in which she breaks apart parts of the bible an uses science to try to explain them. 
  • Book: a shepherd aka pastor with a dark past who is the moral guide of the crew, however, he hides more than we actually find out by simply seeing the series or film, to know his true past one must read the comics. 

The mixing of genres is brilliant and confusing as hell. I am not the type of person to enjoy Westerns, I actually try to avoid them as much as possible, but with this brilliant mix between science-fiction, space opera, western, and action, with a bit of horror and humour to spice it up, it is pretty impossible to not love. 

The world building is so weird:

  • Joss Whedon said  “nothing will change in the future: technology will advance, but we will still have the same political, moral, and ethical problems as today.” This seemed extremely realistic, we are not given an ideal future in which race, religion, and culture do not matter, and not that is presented as conflict all the time, but religion is touched upon in more than one episode as a big reason why certain horrible things are happening, such as when Simon and River are kidnapped by an extremely religious town. It shows how certain societies can advance, such as how Inara’s profession is honorary rather than derogatory, and others can remain in the dark, such as the towns using religion and money to keep others under their control. 
  • So we basically have a mix of government between the U.S. and China. This is mostly seen through the dressing, with a mix between Asian dress costumes and Western ideals of dress mixing. Language is another representation, as it seems at least every individual in the “verse” is bilingual, speaking English and a Chinese language( not sure but probably standard Mandarin). There is also the mixture between a more libertarian US and Totalitarian China, and the conglomeration of planets as being the totalitarian and libertarian belonging mostly to the smaller colonies. 
  • Also our earth is dead, or gone, we don’t really know except that all refer to it as “earth-that-was.” The show speaks of how Earth could no longer support the numbers, so the terraformation of other planets occurred. Earth is never seen, in fact people barely mention if it still exist. Perhaps the most realistic is how some societies, particularly those that supported the regime are more “civilized” and mechanically developed than the other colonies.  
  • No aliens, this made me sad. Why are there no aliens? Honestly, there are millions of planets out there and we truly believe that we are the only creatures of existence. 
  • Who is the evil people? Well that depends. Is it the government and all the evil things they have done or some weird creation known as Reavers?  

Simon: What happens if they board us? (talking about Reavers)
Zoë: If they take the ship they will rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing, and if we’re very, very lucky, they’ll do it in that order.

A Feminist show: Joss Whedon got asked this question quite a long time ago“Why do you always write such strong female characters?”. To this he replied: “Because you’re still asking me that question”. Now I am not going to claim that this is the perfect feminist show, but it does present strong characters that happen to be women, as well as less morally ethic characters that happen to be from both sexes. And to make it even more interesting, he brings up the issues of gender with the more backwards societies having women as second class citizens, and even an episode in which these women say no to those beliefs and try to defend themselves. 

That is all I have got to say, well to watch as well. Watch this show, you will not regret it, then read the comics, then watch the movie, so your heart can be spared a little bit in that order.

Plus look at them cursing, they do it in another language (I believe it is Standard Mandarin), this is the English translation.

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