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Biggest Complaint: Firefly

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Here's the place to let the world know about something that doesn't work about this show, trope, or author. As the votes roll in, you'll be able to see if it is also a problem for other folks.

At issue:


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This is the obligatory mention of FOX and Executive Meddling.

Wasn't nearly enough of Firefly.

What’s with the lack of Asians in a supposedly China-dominated ‘Verse?

We never got to see the crappy town where Wash was a hero.

How they never explained what the hell Book's deal was.

  • It's explained in the comics.

The Big Damn Spoiler (death of Wash) in the Big Damn Movie. The Mal/Zoe shippers were probably overjoyed, though...

Honestly though, knowing Whedon's work, if the show had gone on as long as Buffy, we'd likely have lost several crew members by the end. Nearly everyone except River would have had a realistic chance of getting killed.

The Reavers always bothered me. If they are so insanely violent, consumed with killing and torture and beyond all reason, and their ships fly without "containment" (very dangerous, apparently), who flies the ship? Somehow, it seems much too calm and rational. Also- how is it they don't attack each other? They don't seem like the type to think long enough to collaborate.

  • Isn't it explained somewhere that they only go crazy when they are around non-Reavers? Or that they're still competent, but just have a blood lust?

"The Message" has always been frought with Fridge Logic for me. First off, they said that Tracey's own organs were removed to make room for the transplant organs he was smuggling. What happens at the rendevous, when Tracey gives up the smuggled organs and his own guts are halfway across the 'verse from him?

And that doesn't even touch the fact that noone bothered to try to explain the plan to Tracey after he decided they were going to abandon him to the Fed, which would have cleaned the whole thing right up.

Simon rescuing his sister himself in the Big Damn Movie bugs me intensely, for two reasons. A) He was never an action guy, so to see him leaping around like some kind of superhero is really disconcerting, and B) things are revealed to him prior to/during the rescue that he then doesn't seem to know about in the TV show. If he was talking to them about what they were doing to her brain, why didn't he know they'd been doing things to her brain until Ariel? and why doesn't he know why they were doing it? He was straight out told both in the rescue.

The random, minute-plus long sex scenes thrown in, all of which could be excised with no effect on the understandability of the plot. We get that sex is a natural part of life. They don't have to pass the ten second mark, actually, to send that message, so they're padding or fanservice.

Either way, it's awkward to show it to a parent or friend who would like the show otherwise, but is the tiniest bit uptight about it. (And no, they don't need their horizons broadened, they get that it's natural, too - they're just vaguely uncomfortable talking about it. Personal limits.)

Mal makes it clear that Simon and River are part of his crew. He nearly kills Jayne for trying to sell them out, explicitly for that reason. So his behavior at the beginning of the movie, tossing Simon and River off the ship for Simon's minor infraction of punching the captain and mouthing off, seems a bit out of character.

River didn't go barefoot nearly enough.

I find it hard to accept that a single solar system could support such a large number of habitable planets and moons, even counting "yeah but we terraformed it" as "habitable."

Too far from a System's star, or too close to it, and life as we know it can't exist regardless of any terraforming. Especially if you want familiar lifeforms, above ground and not encased in controlled life-domes or something. for example, you can't terraform even Venus or Jupiter's moons and end up with cows munching on grass.

After Mal has slept with Nandi, him and Inara talk about it and she dismisses his nervousness about the whole thing. It’s no big deal, it’s civilised, no reason to act awkward, not like there’s anything between them. right? Except when she’s alone in her room she has a breakdown and sobs. This was really out of character for Inara. Not only has she been shown to be very mature and possesses heroic self-control (I’m assuming this is part of the companion training), but if she’d been trained from childhood, this would’ve limited her emotional growth severely and may well have made it difficult, if not impossible, for her to form attachments. (which is why I couldn’t find her likeable.)

I understand the writers wanting to show a more vulnerable and emotional side of her, but I find it jarring when it’s in response to a relationship that doesn’t go any further than vague Belligerent Sexual Tension.

The fact that we are supposed to sympathize with Jayne after he cross the Moral Event Horizon in "Ariel".

Delete this. Wrong place to put this Crowner.

There was no Musical Episode. Obviously due to the whole "no-awesome-show-beyond-half-a-season" Executive Meddling.

The western theme went a little too far in some episodes. Joss could usually pull it off, but sometimes it was just cheesy.


Don't get me wrong I love Joss Whedon (that fucking bastard) But time in this series is seriously fucked up.

First of all, the great exodus begins in the 2070s, discounting the US and China still being the major powers (despite the obvious population crash China is going to face and the rise of multi-nation hegemonies, which make this so blatant to be a form of future The Great Politics Mess-Up [temporal citation needed] )When apparently, we're able to make a fleet of Generation Ships to hold a mass exodus, despite the fact that the time money bureaucracy and effort (not to mention the resources actually needed to make the sips) would be insane to procure in such a short span of time. we then have the ships launching towards The Verse, in which after a full generation of birth life an death on the ships (which apparently stay under control) they arrive in the system and SOMEHOW(despite existing as independent city-states for the past hundred or so years) in 400(?) years develop ridiculous powerful terraforming technology, (which they could’ve used to I don’t know FIX EARTH!)Keep the exact same cultural roots, avoid descent into mass anarchy and actually Supersede Earth in its pride. I mean, come one Joss. I'm sure you could have at least tried to make it sound plausible. A few date exchanges and it would’ve been creamy.

Please ignore this

The fact that The Operative doesn't kill himself at the end of the movie. To me it seems completely inconsistent with the honor-based character he is portrayed as in the rest of the movie.

Not so much a complaint but a curiousity. In the Pilot the Fed says, "I know what you did for your sister, that doesn't make you a killer." Was he spouting off by rote? Surely he if he knew what had happened he would know that it could potentially make ANYONE a killer. And someone pointing a gun at him might actually take it as patronizing. It seemed to be working(Simon was young, accustomed to respecting the law and had a bit of buck fever)but it was a remarkably chancy ploy. Am I the only one who thinks that this was not necessarily the smartest thing to say. Or at least if it was good manipulation it was hardly a logical assumption.

In "Out of Gas," the fact that River knows there's a fire in the engine room. Her psychic powers are remarkably consistent— she reads people— except in this one instance, where she suddenly either sees the future or can sense another part of the ship.

Edit: Given River's capabilities, she probably noticed some small detail overlooked by the others who were distracted and, well, are not quite on River's lever of understanding. Or likely River noticed a sudden outrush of oxygen. It is possible they were planning on expanding her abilities later int he series. Of course, previously mentioned possibilities are rather solid.

  • Above explanations are possible. Another is, River has a lot of abilities, but doesn't necessarily use them all consistently, or acknowledge her use of them. Cuckoolander that she is, she doesn't really react to a lot of things "normally" other than those that threaten her (fire) or just randomly scare her (Book's 'fro).

In the pilot why wasn't Dobson's ankle broken when Simon tackled him from the catwalk? That's about 130 pounds or more(my weight is a bit above 120 and he's about the same height but less skinny)dropping suddenly from about 10-15 feet above. Dobson shouldn't have been able to walk without a limp. Or was he limping and I just didn't catch it?

As to that, why don't characters get damaged just a little more when they get beat on? Yes I know it's really because they're "so darned pretty" and the writer doesn't wish to spoil their looks. But sometimes you just gotta wonder. Why didn't Simon look just a wee bit more sore after being struck by Mal? Why didn't Mal look or act a little more like someone who had just been tortured for hours(I know Electric Torture , but still). River is really the only one who seems to be damaged and that is because it is part of the plot. People seem to have a suspicious invulnerability.

  • [fanwank] Five hundred years of microevolution has made people more durable.

  • This troper would like to point out that two of the regular cast are veterans of a seriously grueling war, one is a mercenary and another may have been an Operative. Dobson was an agent who likely had a fair bit of combat training. These people are going to have a better than average level of endurance. That, and they do take quite a fair bit of damage. There's little showing how much time passes between episodes, so we can't really assume they wake up the next day perfectly healthy after being shot, stabbed or tortured. However, we CAN assume that medicine has advanced quite a bit and that wounds that would normally take weeks to recover may only take a few days with better healing methods. This troper would like to remind people this show took place at least 500 years into the future. At least.

  • They have the power to mend Mal's ear rather quickly (although they do need to borrow an outside machine). Still, the fact that Simon can reattach his ear in what at most is a few hours suggests that their medical technology is somewhat more advanced than ours, and perhaps it's easier to fix people back to factory condition. I can think of a few scenes (the movie comes to mind) where we see Mal shirtless, and he's got a few scars on him - some that even line up with injuries received in the show. On top of that, most of the fighters are pretty well trained, and have to be use to harsh conditions and the likes which might explain some of their resilience. Other than that, the only excuse for their lack of bruising is that it's TV, make up is hard to apply in the same way for who knows how many takes, and then remembering when it should be there and which scenes are too early/late complicates matters even more. Has anyone seen any Television program where characters retain every day injuries (not just the plot important scars) for a realistic time frame?
    • Criminal Minds, but that's irrelevant.

Space Is Noisy. The series was pretty good about avoiding sound in space, but the movie pretty much tossed that out the airlock.

Edit from another troper: The movie is still consistent in this regard, from the introduction of Serenity (where there is no sound until the ship abruptly hits the atmosphere) to the silence of Reaver space to the final battle between the Reavers and the Alliance which takes place entirely in atmo.

The series and River Tam are overhyped, especially on this wiki, to an outrageous extent.

  • The amount of downvotes on this only further proves that.
  • Edit from another troper: So incidentally, what reaction would prove this incorrect?

How this show is so damn ubiquitous on this wiki. I've never seen it, but I probably never will because you guys hawk it so much.

Big Damn Spoiler: Because the reavers were only created once, there's a finite number. Did none of the characters notice this/care?

  • FYI: It was stated that Miranda had a population of approximately 30 million, and the "treatment" resulted in a Reaver in 0.1% of them. Thirty thousand is still a crapload of Reavers.
  • In addition, one can assume not all the present Reavers are from the incident on Miranda. Since in the Bushwacked episode the sole survivor goes insane and adopts the Reaver attitude. While you might not consider these "true Reavers" they still have the same basic attitude.
  • Fan Wank: Rather than survivors always going insane in the same predictable way, perhaps the Reavers administer Pax to their victims on top of everything else.
more Fan Wank: Maybe it's Reaver standard procedure to gas a ship with pax. Then the Reavers eat what's peaceful, and fight whoever is not.

Inara's past. Why was she in space and not teaching other Companions?

Other Troper Edit: This troper would like to point out that Firefly was cancelled HALF WAY through season one, therefore only so much back story was able to be told. And in the movie it's safe to assume Whedon was more worried about telling a good wrap up story then going heavily into all the background info he couldn't in the show.

That, and they do imply that there was some serious dissatisfaction on Inara's part regarding her life as a Companion. They do point out more than once that he traveling in space all the time was strange for a Companion.

  • As mentioned on the page itself, and on some fansites: Inara was dying of an illness, and wanted to see the world/the black before she died.

Summer Glau is completely overrated.

The sudden time jump in the intended pilot, "Serenity", which should have had a caption.

Edit from another troper: I just saw it on DVD. There is a caption.