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Reviews Comments: It certainly had potential Firefly whole series review by Purple Dalek

So after the fanboys kept going on and on about how Firefly is better than the second coming of Christ if Christ were handing out free Cadbury's creme eggs, I decided to give it a watch; fully expecting to hate it. And it is absolutely....

Alright. Just alright. Not super-duper-fantastic-better-than-a-thousand orgasms good. Not mind-numbingly-that-shotgun-in-the-corner-is-looking-really-enticing bad. Just alright.

I'll start with the things I liked. Most of the characters are well written and likeable (I found myself particually endeared to Zoe) and their realationships to each other are easy enough to grasp yet complex enough to remain interesting. I also liked how this show used the Absent Aliens trope. Not enough sci-fi shows use that (only Firefly and Red Dwarf spring to mind).

Now for the bad stuff. The villians are unbelievably bland. There's the generic "authority is bad kids!" Evil Empire, the Evil Foreigher mobster stereotype and boring MIB guys. I found it odd that there were no Chinese people around despite the fact that everyone speaks Chinese and knows about Chinese culture. Not really a criticism. Just weird. I also thought a certain character was very irritating. I won't name any names but her name begins with R and the other characters never stop talking about her. You have three guesses.

In short: Firefly had a lot of potential and I'm sure that potential would have been realised as the writing team seems competent. Unfortuntely, the fanbase has a nasty habit of grossly overrating and overhyping the show. It's a shame it got cancelled.

P.S. I don't care what anyone says; the theme song is awful.


  • Wackd
  • 5th Jan 12
Red Dwarf is a crap example. There may well have been aliens for all the GELFs that showed up.
  • marston
  • 5th Jan 12
I kinda agree with you. One thing about the bad guys: What did you think of the operative from the movie? I thought he was the only good villian in the show. Kinda says something about the show when they manage to get 14 episodes made, but it wasn't untill the movie came out that the bad guys were actully intreasting.

Also, Cowboy Bebop had Absent aliens too.
  • Zaptech
  • 5th Jan 12
If by "the other characters never stop talking about her" you mean "the character who had the fewest lines in any episode and in fact was never mentioned in one episode at all" then you'd be accurate.
  • PurpleDalek
  • 5th Jan 12
"Red Dwarf is a crap example. There may well have been aliens for all the GEL Fs that showed up."

IIRC the GEL Fs only showed up in a few episodes. (Polymorph, Polymorph II and Legion).

"If by "the other characters never stop talking about her" you mean "the character who had the fewest lines in any episode and in fact was never mentioned in one episode at all" then you'd be accurate."

The entire freaking movie centered on her. The movie was still entertaining but River is by far the least interesting character. The movie should have focused on Mal or Shepard Book imo.
  • Zaptech
  • 6th Jan 12
The entire freaking movie centered on her.

Actually, no. The movie centered primarily on Mal. River was a major supporting character, but Mal was the protagonist. He was the one who made the primary decisions, he had the most dialogue and the most development as an individual. His actions and plans were the ones that were most aggressive at moving the plot. River was the deuteragonist; she didn't move the plot along as much as Mal did nor had a smuch of a presence. She definitely did direct some elements of the plot and had her moments, but Mal was the primary character of the movie.

The movie was still entertaining but River is by far the least interesting character.

I thoroughly disagree. River has always struck me as the most interesting character of the series due to a combination of subtle internal conflict (its not obvious, but she clearly blames herself for what happened to Simon), insanity, psychic abilities, and mystery surrounding her character.
  • fraxas
  • 24th Jan 12
Eh. Favourite characters will vary from person to person. That's really a subjective issue.

I'd actually agree most of the series villains are bland, excepting Saffron and Jubal Early. But really, where I think the show shines is when the biggest antagonist is just the dangerous environment they find themselves in.

On the other hand, the ham-fisted and overdone "Government is evil" thing actually appeals to me on some level. So I also don't mind having MIB characters or anti-authoritarianism or the skirting exploration of 1960s CIA human experimentation as themes, because for me, Some Anvils Need To Be Dropped.
  • Murphysmate
  • 31st Jul 13
I wouldn't say the 'authority is bad' is generic. In fact I wouldn't say the moral is 'authority is bad' at all. Yes, the Alliance does evil things, but the outer worlds where there is no government are equally bad, if not worse. I'd say the moral is that either a government that interferes too much or a lack of any government are equally bad.
  • casualobserver
  • 6th Aug 13
I think 14 episodes and a movie is not enough to judge the show on. That being said, it could have been so much more. Knowing Joss Whedon (and his writing team! people forget sometimes he is not the one writing the episodes most of the time) and the way his shows develop, I think had it been given three full seasons to really develop it would have been a hit for around 5-9 seasons (depending on how much he and the rest of the cast wanted to take).

As for the villains of the series being The Alliance... no. They were not the villains. Sure, Mal did not like them and they mostly are shown as cold-hearted in a bureaucratic way, but they were not the villains. They were just the corporate machine trundling along and crushing the little people under them as they continued to govern a system of planets and moons. The villains that were PART of the Alliance were the Blue Sun (as revealed by Word of God in the commentaries... the corporation that was conducting the tests on River) and the blue hand teams.

The other supporting villains were quite interesting, but were never given more time to shine since the show was a victim of executive meddling and got canned early. And as to that aspect, it might have gained a bit more popularity had it been aired on any kind of regular schedule, but it was moved around so much and even shown out of order (from a story perspective) so no one could follow it... but enough of "that old rant".

The villains that might have made a return were the agent from the first episode 'Serenity' (Mal shot him in the face, but Word of God said they planned that as an eye wound and he was to survive and return... and be pissed), Saphron surely would have returned often. Niska, Badger, Early, that cop from 'The Message'... in only 14 episodes they already had a decent list of enemies and rogues gallery recurring types that could have been used in the future. I am quite sure that had it lasted they would have had a great deal of enemies that would have been sufficiently interesting.

As to the River thing... eeehhhh, I kinda agree there was a little too much focus on her, but since the whole plot of her and Simon being on the ship required that we [the viewer] be invested in her story, you can see why they focused on her. If you have seen any other show (not just another Joss show) you would know that given time they would have focused on some of the other characters (and in fact did a couple times in only 14 episodes). Again, cut down before we could see it develop.

As for it being better than the return of Christ? Naw. I know some fans are that way, but lets face it, it had no budget, only a limited run, and it was canceled before it could get off the ground (PUN!). If it had been THAT good, it would have been picked up for a full season and renewed for a second (and third and more probably). Unfortunately, it was more for science geeks (no sound in space! FINALLY!) and those that enjoyed the original Battlestar Galactica (the first space western that I can recall).

I think your review is a little harsh, but not completely out of context for the material available. Too bad there was not more material to study!

Here is to a possible Firefly: The Next Generation in a few more years :)
  • DevinMeenan
  • 15th Feb 15
I don't agree with a lot of what your criticisms( besides the lack of Chinese people) but I can understand why you feel that way.
  • lexicon
  • 15th Feb 15
The Alliance's pursuit of River acts as the film's motive.
  • 15th May 17
I largely agree, except the lack of aliens is another of my criticisms. The setting is the most boring part of the series - which is a damn impressive feat for a goddamn Space Western!

Early and the Operative were the closest thing to memorable villains, IMO. And they were okay. The problem is, when it comes to villains, Joss Whedon has a way of churning out one gem for every twenty generic duds, and this series was no exception.

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