Addendum: This T-shirt is also on my wish list now

November 17th is so fucking far away (excuse the swearing, but it's appropriate in this instance). Which means that until Serenity comes out, I'll just have to watch the 14 Firefly episodes we've been blessed with over and over again. Don't worry, it's not exactly hard work.

See, I believe Firefly is not just the greatest Sci-Fi show ever made, but I also believe it might very well be the very best show, period.

***mild spoilers for the show ahead. So watch it. Seriously. Even if you don't intend to ever read this***

Let's expand on the first thing first. Why do I think that firefly is better than, say, Star Trek, Farscape, or even Star Wars for that matter?

One of the most important things is that Joss Whedon has realised is that in the future, there will still be inequalities. There will still be poor people without access to all that fancy new technology, there will still be thieves and smugglers, and no, there will be no peace among humans.

Secondly, I love that there are no aliens, and not just on the basis that finding aliens within traveleable distance is highly unrealistic, after all, this is science fiction. No, I mostly lvoe it because, let's face it, we simply don't have the imagination to come up with aliens that are more than just humans with strange facial prothetics. Oh sure, Star Wars had its superintelligent dust clouds or whatever it was, but aliens are just the surest way of getting me out of my suspension of disbelief.

Third, a point that might seem small but that reflects how much thought had been out into the "realism" of the science fiction in this show: there is no sound in space. And contrary to what you might expect, explosions don't lsoe any of their impact if you can't hear them. On the contrary, it makes the universe a much colder, more isolated, more dangerous place (as MaryAnn Johanson also remarked in her review of the pilot).

There's more, obviously. There's how medicine and doctors are scarce, and how could they not be? There's the realisation that any organisation that can control the entire universe/galaxy cannot NOT be dictatorial and scary. There's the way that, while everybody speaks English, it's not today's English, but a strange kind of it, filled with archaisms and neologisms, and mixed with Chinese.

So that's why I think Firefly is great Sci-Fi. But I also think it's just plain great. See, it's not only realistic about what the future might actually look like, maybe, but it's also so well-written, funny, smart, with fully fleshed-out characters with flaws and great qualities and that you know thorugh and through but can still surprise you.

Take Mal, the captain. Hero? Well, not quite. Oh, he definitely has a heart of gold, as we see in "the Train Job": when he discovers that what he's stolen was medication for poor people, he returns it too them, knowing it will get him into trouble with a dangerous man. It's in the way he gets Wash through torture in "War Stories" by provoking him.

Still, Mal's survival and that of his crew comes first, and he always makes the rational decision, even if that means killing. Which it sometimes does. And in those moments, he makes the decision instantaneously, shocking us, but also reminding us of why this show is great.

There are plenty more examples. The way Zoe reacts when she comes to buy Wash and Mal off Niska. The way...but I won't go on here. If you've seen the show, you know what I'm talking about, and if you haven't, you should discover those moments yourself.

The thing is, I can't even pick a favorite character, because they are all so great. Kaylee so naive and innocent and yet so refrenshingly frank about sexuality, Jayne with his gruff, blunt exterior who's happy as a little kid when his mom sends him a hat, Inara who is so well trained in hiding her feelings that she keeps herself from happiness...

So, no favorite character. A favorite episode? I can't pick either, but I do have a top three. In chronological order (by air-date) they are:
- Our Mrs Reynolds. Inara's and Mals'relationship really develops here, and everyone's reaction to Saffron is priceless. We also see here that Wash is probably the sweetest guy in the verse, ever (although it might have something to do with the fact that he is married to a woman "who can kill [him] with her pinky")
- Out of Gas. I like this one especially because we get to see how Mal recruited his crew, and in the cases of Kaylee and Jayne, it's highly amusing. We also get to see how Mal fell in love with Serenity, and it is truly touching.
- Trash. Yes, I do love Saffron. And this is one of the neatest little heists ever pulled. Also, I agree with the Flick Filosopher: we get to see Mal naked. Hey, girls can be shallow too.

Even this selection was hard to make though. Runners up are Shindig, Heart of Gold, War Stories, Objects in Space...well, yeah, pretty much all of them really.

I've still left one thing unmentionned: the dialogue. And rather than try to describer it to you, I'll leave you with some quotes that speak for themselves.


Kaylee: Wash, tell me I'm pretty.
Wash: Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion.
Kaylee: Cause I'm pretty?
Wash: Cause you're pretty.

Inara: What did I tell you about barging into my shuttle?
Mal: That it was manly and impulsive?
Inara: Yes, precisely, only the exact phrase I used was "don't"

Zoe: Captain'll come up with a plan.
Kaylee: Well, that's good... right?
Zoe: Possibly you're not recalling some of his previous plans.

Shepard, isn't the Bible kind of specific about killing?
Book: Very specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzy around the area of kneecaps.

Jayne: You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with until you understand who's in ruttin' command here.

No comments: