Let’s watch some Firefly

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Science fiction is fun in all mediums. And even more fun are space operas.

In video games we have the famous Mass Effect series, EVEStarcraft to an extent, and my personal favourites, FTL: Faster Than Light (seriously, check it out if you haven’t, it’s an indie RTS rogue game).

Ender’s Game, of course, is a popular scifi novel series, with a beautiful graphic novel and movie to accompany it. Stranger in a Strange LandBrave New WorldDuneDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and Necromancer are all famous and well-known science fiction novels that are worth looking into.

Race to the Galaxy and Eclipse are both wonderfully designed and fun board games with a science fiction theme.

There are a disgustingly huge number of space-themed science fiction movies obviously, the Alien series, 2001: A Space Odyessy, Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, and more recently, Gravity, and Interstellar.

There’s also been an abundance of space science fiction television shows, although much less in the recent years. There’s Star TrekStar Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, the X-files, and the one I’m going to talk about, Firefly.

I’ve recently found some time to finally get to watching Joss Whedon’s Firefly. This 14-episode, single-season, Emmy-winning show has been on a to-watch list of mine for ages now, especially since the show is so short, and in one of my favourite genres. Of course, the follow-up movie is just a dessert I look forward to at the end of the series.

In case you don’t keep up with science fiction-y shows, Firefly is a space western mashup, where about 500 years into the future, the world has split into basically two parts after the war: the technology-rich and well-developed areas controlled by the Alliance, and the less-well-off, horse-riding, western-style areas. The two main superpowers in the world, the US and China, have created a sort of melted culture where characters speak in English and Chinese. In the midst of this, there are some ships left that still travel the galaxy, moving illegal goods, earning money, and surviving on the outskirts of civilization. One of these Firefly-classed ships, Serenity, belongs to Captain Mal, played by Nathan Fillion.

We follow his ship and crew through the galaxy doing jobs, avoiding the Alliance, and dealing with the aftermath of the war. The cast is great, with familiar faces for myself: Gina Torres, and Adam Balwin, and the chemistry between the characters feel real. This is the first western-themed science fiction I’ve ever watched/read, and I didn’t know how sold I was on the idea 3 episodes in. It’s interesting to switch from western-country-style to a high-tech space ship of the Alliance, and although the on “earth” encounters feel very ‘western’ (shoot outs, clothing style, etc.), it’s still a pretty weird combination. Suspending some disbelief though, and it’s starting to warm up to me, which almost feels like a disappointment because I’m halfway done the series now.

Firefly won an Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series Emmy, and it’s true, they look pretty awesome. There are some moments that have taken me out every once in a while, but hey, this show was made back in 2002, so I’ll cut it some slack. Otherwise, they fit the environment, and help create the mixture of high-tech and Western pretty well.

The dialogue and story have been great so far. The slightly shaky (very slight) “hand-held” style of the filming adds a nice westerny-old touch that also adds to the roughness of the environment, and the dialogue is actually believable.

Overall though, the show is quite good! I wasn’t sure how much I would get vested into a show, knowing that there are only 14 episodes, but I’m happily surprised how quickly I became attached to the characters (with the exception of River because she’s so goddamn annoying), and how well the western and space opera themes mesh together.

Despite enjoying science fiction,  I haven’t even read or watched everything I’ve listed above, and there’s still plenty more that I’d love to work my way through, but until then…

There’s no place I can be
Since I’ve found Serenity

And you can’t take the sky from me.

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