In a new series that I’m going to try and maintain, I will be writing about some of the TV shows that I am watching, and the philosophical conversations that I’ve found within it. First up is the cult-favorite Firefly.
Plot: Mal Reynolds is an ex-soldier and captain of Serenity, a Firefly-class spaceship. Reynolds and his crew fly their ship around their galaxy and seek out jobs both legal and illegal. However, there are many problems, including double-crossing salesmen, cannibalistic Reavers, and a Big-Brotheresque Alliance, who seems to desire to control everything. Throw into the mix a number of characters, including a runaway doctor and his experimented on sister, a Shepherd-like pastor, and a Legal prostitute, and you have some excellent human drama.
History: Firefly is a show with an interesting history. As a broadcasting show in 2004, the program had a horrible record. Within the first 12 episodes, Fox pulled it off the air. However, when it came out on DVD with all 14 episodes, the show suddenly developed a large fanbase, who called themselves the “Browncoats”. Now, there is a official movie alongside fan-based films, comic books, and websites dedicated to getting the main star Nathan Fillion to buy the rights, and make the second season. So, why is this outdated program still have such a strong fanbase?
I picked up this show because of this large fanbase. How can a show with only one season of episodes have such a loyal following? I found out that it is because of it’s sheer quality. Joss Whedon (Of Buffy The Vampire Slayer) directed this show, and brought what I think are it’s best values. The characters and actors are all real, and humorous. But they are also dark and vivid. The main plot concept allows for a potential plot that might resemble Star Trek. But by creating constant themes throughout the programs, the story progresses well. We are able to see the struggles of Reynolds and his morality versus his desire to be paid. We see Inira, and her constant bickering with Reynolds about her profession. The overwhelming nature of the government is also another big player. We see them “over-stepping their bounds”, and stealing human rights. These plotlines have certainly been one of the big draws for me. I like seeing a consistent narrative that also attempts to explore aspects of certain ideas, like faith, and politics. This show does even better by also building a simple, yet enormous universe for our heroes to explore and engage.
What made Firefly unique as a show was it’s western aura. We see this use of many “Wild Wild West” style weapons and tools among the space-ships and foreign enemies, as well as the outlaw nature of the heroes. In this, the show leaves a great impression. Especially if you listened to the soundtrack, which only uses a simple guitar sound for transitions in space and time.
Overall, this show is worth seeing. It brings great aspects of sci-fi, westerns, drama, and humanity to the screen. Sadly, this show did end too soon. I have not finished the show yet, but I am both impressed and excited to see what’s next.