Being a Better Geek: Firefly Week 1

Posted on 27 January 2012 by VinnieAve

Every nerd has those things that he or she hasn’t watched or read. Each week on Friday DM and I will be talking episodes of series that one (or both) of us hasn’t seen. He got first pick.

Why Firefly?
I never knew I liked Westerns.  I never knew that I liked the “caper” genre either.  Joss Whedon found a way to introduce those concepts to the horror/fantasy nerd I was.  Even if Firefly had never been made, Joss Whedon would forever be on the map with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel.  I will forever consider Firefly the gem in his crown though.

You see, Firefly is not a story about saving the world/universe.  It is not a story about individuals with great power or great responsibility.  It is a story about a collection of people who got nothing from the universe but manage to find some sense of belonging and home in each other.

It is a western that takes place in the far reaches of space.  It is about a group of criminals who do their best to help those who the universe has taken from.  It is a conundrum that makes perfect sense.

I chose Firefly because at the end of the day I respect storytelling and characterization above all else, and firefly has it in spades.  I also chose it because it with the world looking like it does, how can we not empathize with Mal and his group of malcontents. – DM

Serenity (the actual pilot) – DM’s take

Serenity is a great pilot in many ways.  It gives us a fantastic introduction to every single member of the crew.  It provides enough dialogue and characterization for those crewmembers that we already have a good idea of what they like and who they are.  Last, it squares the universe away without having to go into too much boring detail.
It has its bad parts too though.  Frankly, it can be boring at times.  There is action but it does not necessarily feel parsed out well it could have been.  I can see why Fox asked for a different pilot. I cannot really see why they decided to air Serenity nine episodes later but that is a different problem.
When all is said and done, I think it is a good pilot but I could see why it might not make you fall in love with it quite yet.  That is going to take a few more episodes.

“Serenity” – Vincenzo’s take

So I will admit that I’ve watched this show before but I am hoping that I get more out of this watching it with a critical eye. So Deigo suggests this show as something that I need to watch, after really watching this (the last time I did I had it on more in the background, while here I was sitting actively absorbing this show). This episode was not fast, but that made it great. This show made efforts to give a little bit of background on every character and quite it bit of info on the background of the world that we are working with. Lots of sci-fi work have full worlds with huge amounts of background but have a nasty habit of doing a talking head kind of thing. The best (or worst) example of this was in Dune (the David Lynch film) at the very beginning. I still enjoy these properties often but if a work tells me about the world without saying it. A great example is when Kaylee pulls the strawberry out of box and looks with such longing at it, as if it was rare treasure. This says a lot about the character and the world, what are simple things are rarities now. The storytelling in this show is just fantastic, they spend the first half really just introducing the characters and one minor story of the show but really, I didn’t care I was immersed in these characters and could watch their daily lives like a sitcom or costume drama.

Another thing this episode did was maintain a great pace for duration without deviating too much, even within the confines of TV story telling. The one thing I had issue with was the odd return to old west clothing, I don’t quite get it (and yet I have little issue when LoGH has 18th century clothing) other than to establish the feel and setting a little more firmly. Oh, one last thing, that opening song is terrible, I get where they are coming from but god it was awful.

Train Job – DM’s Take

Train Job is a solid pilot as well.  We get a good introduction to the characters.  In many ways, we get a better introduction to some that did not get quality stage time in the other pilot Serenity.  I feel like this episode gives us the other side of the crew.  Where Serenity showed us that they were thieves trying to stay under the radar of the almighty Alliance, Train Job shows us the side of the crew that empathizes with others who are getting the short end of the stick from the Alliance or perhaps more correctly life.

I still feel like Serenity was a better episode to start with but Train Job is a solid episode two placement.  It is not time to love the show yet but we are getting closer.

“Trainjob” – Vincenzo’s Take

So Diego wanted me to watch 2 episodes for this first article (at least the first one, I think we might stick with two per week). This episode had a bit more a traditional story for what you would expect of a story about smugglers and thieves. They are asked to steal some cargo from a train (hence the episode name). It was still was good, the two stand out parts of the episode for me were the pre-credit sequence where they talk about the world the history a little (again, as I mentioned it wasn’t a talking head, but they had one of those sequences in this episode before the pre-credit sequence but that is neither here nor there), and the other were the parts on the ship with the characters other than Mal and Zoe. I really enjoyed the interactions between characters here and hope the show has more of this.

I haven’t watched any Joss Whedon series before so for the his snarky writing was refreshing from other shows where people are much more serious and stern. I hope that this show keeps its balance for the duration. While it wasn’t as good as “Serenity” this episode was still good and I can’t wait to watch more.

Leave a Reply

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

RSS Feeds

All Posts Feed

Podcast Feed

Now available on Stitcher Radio!

All Geeks Considered Facebook

Buy us a Coffee