Science-fiction and American wild west are two genres that have a lot of work of fiction in their fold. Both are very popular and there have been quite a few attempts at merging the elements of these e.g., Cowboys vs Aliens. In some ways, both genres work around the central theme of exploring – the human tendency to conquer new frontiers and create their own little kingdom in the far-flung places – whether it is wild west of the North American continent or the outer edges of a new solar system. The catchphrase being space is the final frontier i.e., the belief that colonisation continues as human race continues to use up the resources in their present habitats and continues to expand and explore.
|Genre||:||Space Western, Drama|
|Created by||:||Joss Whedon|
|Executive producer(s)||:||Joss Whedon, Tim Minear|
|Composer||:||Joss Whedon (Theme Music)|
|# of Seasons||:||1|
|# of Episodes||:||14 (So far aired/announced)|
|Starring||:||Nathan Fillion (Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds), Gina Torres (Zoe Alleyne Washburne), Alan Tudyk (Hoban “Wash” Washburne), Morena Baccarin (Inara Serra), Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb), Jewel Staite (Kaywinnet Lee “Kaylee” Frye), Sean Maher (Simon Tam), Ron Glass (Derrial Book), Mark Sheppard (Badger), Michael Fairman (Adelai Niska), Christina Hendricks (“Saffron”), Jeff Ricketts and Dennis Cockrum (“The Hands of Blue” ), and others…|
Firefly: Season 1 : Amazon India
Firefly: Season 1 : Amazon USA
The American TV series Firefly blends the above-mentioned threads to create a fantasy series set for almost 500 years in the future. In spite of many challenges and conflicts between the creators and the broadcasting network, the series has gone on to generate “cult” following and is loved by many viewers even today. Recently, we had time to watch it from the DVD collection and thought it might be a good entertainment for those looking for something to watch.
|Title||Director||Written By||Release Date|
|Serenity||Joss Whedon||Joss Whedon||December 20, 2002|
|The Train Job||Joss Whedon||Joss Whedon & Tim Minear||September 20, 2002|
|Bushwhacked||Tim Minear||Tim Minear||September 27, 2002|
|Shindig||Vern Gillum||Jane Espenson||November 1, 2002|
|Safe||Michael Grossman||Drew Z. Greenberg||November 8, 2002|
|Our Mrs. Reynolds||Vondie Curtis Hall||Joss Whedon||October 4, 2002|
|Jaynestown||Marita Grabiak||Ben Edlund||October 18, 2002|
|Out of Gas||David Solomon||Tim Minear||October 25, 2002|
|Ariel||Allan Kroeker||Jose Molina||November 15, 2002|
|War Stories||James Contner||Cheryl Cain||December 6, 2002|
|Trash||Vern Gillum||Ben Edlund & Jose Molina||July 21, 2003|
|The Message||Tim Minear||Joss Whedon & Tim Minear||July 28, 2003|
|Heart of Gold||Thomas J. Wright||Brett Matthews||August 4, 2003|
|Objects in Space||Joss Whedon||Joss Whedon||December 13, 2002|
As you can see, originally, the series was aired a bit out of sequence, but the DVD has all the episodes in the right sequence and also has commentary tracks for the entertainment buffs looking for the nitty-gritty of it all.
The pilot starts with brown-coated soldiers fighting a losing battle. Later, we learn that this is happening at the Valley of Serenity where Malcolm Reynolds and his team are fighting the “Alliance”.
Soon we are in the space and Mal and his team are stealing supplies from a derelict space ship. As the episode progresses, we meet Mal, his first mate Zoe, mercenary Jayne, mechanic Kaylee and pilot Wash. The heist is spotted by Alliance ship though and they flag the “Firefly” class ship called “Serenity” which is home to Mal Reynolds and his team. When Serenity arrives at the location of trade, their contact Badger refuses to buy the marked cargo and pay them.
With no options left, the crew tries to get a few passengers on board to make a bit of money and decide to try their luck on an outer moon called Whitehall. The lady they contact is called Patience and makes everyone a bit uncomfortable as she has shot Mal in past and might do so again!!
It is the passengers though who lead to action on board sooner than the crew could have imagined. One of the passengers is beautiful Inara who has been travelling on serenity on and off for eight months. Another is Shepherd Book – a preacher in this world. There is the quiet types – Lawrence and young, rich and anxious Simon Tam who is a trauma surgeon.
Wash intercepts a transmission from the ship to the Feds (the alliance law enforcement). Meaning they have a Fed agent on the ship and also likely some fugitives. There is action, drama and lot of heartache just about to enfold on Serenity…
As you can see, the pilot episode has to set the stage and also quite a crew to introduce. This is all done quite dramatically and quite efficiently. The first few minutes in may feel a bit disorienting but soon enough you get hang of this world where our beloved rogue of a captain and his motley crew belong. This is a story of people living on fringes when the big changes and movements of the world trample over them or pass them by. These are the non-conformists who can’t quite belong in the established pecking order of this world and live from moment-to-moment.
In this world, if you got a ship, you get a job. The job very likely will be smuggling and will take you to dangerous places with no guarantee of payment or peaceful transitions. The characters here are mavericks – for want of a better word- and in spite of their very grey behaviour at most times, they are endearing.
They have no illusions of friendship amongst themselves, either. For example, in this episode, Jayne almost betrays Malcolm, and Malcolm calmly guesses about it afterwards and asks Jayne why he didn’t take the offer to betray Malcolm. Jayne says the money wasn’t high enough and they both agree that it will be an interesting day when Jayne will be offered enough money to betray his shipmates.
Saying that, they still all fight as one, when they are against enemies, fences or law. It is like you fight with your siblings when you are at home, but you’ll fight with anybody else if they were against your siblings outside your home. And in the wasteland of the Space, they do have one enemy that they all are in mortal fear of – the Reavers. These are the men who has lost all concept of humanity while living on the fringes of space and no ship wants to meet them – Ever. Serenity has a few unintended brushes with them, but is lucky so far to avoid them.
There are undercurrents of attraction between Malcolm and Inara and Kaylee and Simon, but romantic developments are still quite a way away. Instead, its shootouts and near death action. But, times like this bring people together. The last scene will tell you a lot about the character of Malcolm Reynolds as he says that
For now, he is flying and that’s enough…
We are going to continue watching all episodes and can recommend the series to all sci-fi lovers. It has great visuals (considering it was made in 2002 – 2003) and a lot of adrenalin pumping and yet amusing drama. The characters are funny and they use a mix of modern English, Asian and futuristic slangs with many snappy one-liners and some very pragmatic observations.
Give this series a go if you are after a few hours of escape into science fiction futuristic entertaining world…
Over To You:
If you have already watched some of the episodes (or all of them), you are welcome to share your experiences via comments below. And yes, share information about this TV serial with your friends and family members who you think will find it interesting to explore.