5. It’s Got Totty
I’m sorry to start with something so base, but let’s face it; networks don’t screen ANYTHING without a decent amount of window dressing. Firefly is no exception. For the adventurous gentlemen, there’s Zoe-the ship’s feisty second in command warrior veteran played by Gina Torres. For those with a taste for softer ladies, Jewel Staite’s portrayal of the adorable Kaylee will suffice. Morena Baccarin (now of Homeland fame) plays a “companion” (prostitute… but it’s a respectable trade and position of great importance and station in this universe…honest). She’s confident, beautiful, poised and caring, what more would you want?
For the lady-folk may I present the delectable Alan Tudyk in fine form as the sarcastic, warm heroic-yet-terrified pilot Wash. Adam Baldwin is mainly there for comedy and violence but you know, if that’s your thing, he’s aesthetically pleasing. Simon Tam, played by Sean Maher is the ship’s cultured, affluent, fugitive Doctor. If his love for, and protection of, his little sister doesn’t melt your heart then the scene where he’s topless ought to do it! And lastly of course there is Captain Malcolm Reynolds. Oh Captain, my Captain. The burly-yet-pretty Nathan Fillion portrays the head of the ship, fiercely protective of his crew, moral (sometimes), honourable (usually) and, as the script so rightly points out “So very pretty”.
4. It’s Got Marvellous Swearing
In Firefly’s universe, the US and China have evolved into such super-superpowers that they have inevitably merged and thus Chinese and western cultures are intermingled. Aboard firefly, the Chinese language is used for cursing, and cursing colourfully. These words aren’t subtitled for the viewer but a quick Google reveals that the scripts contain such gems as “Holy Mother of God and all her wacky nephews”, “Frog-humping son of a bitch” and “Holy Testicle Tuesday!”. Actually, need we bother with reasons 3-1? Isn’t holy Testicle Tuesday enough?
3. It’s Got Nathan Fillion
Okay, okay, I know we covered this in number 5 but it’s worth repeating. Fillion is so incredibly under-rated and, while he went on to star in “Castle” on ABC, this show should have been an instant and humongous springboard-he’s just that good. His portrayal of the Captain of this ship of runaway rogues and misfits is thoughtful and intense. If you don’t well up at his reaction to Kaylee’s injury or at any point in the episode “Out of gas”, you are made of stone. Also, he sometimes wears tight pants.
2. It’s Feminist
Joss Whedon is a feminist. There’s a quote doing the rounds as a meme on Pinterest and the likes-a journalist asks Joss “Why do you always write such strong female characters?”. His response is “Because you’re still asking me that question”. It’s a neat little way to sum up the media attitude towards women in general but specifically women in prime time TV shows. Now, writing a strong female character does not a feminist make, but Joss does more than that. His female firefly characters are truly multi-faceted. Yes, there’s a whore and a hopeless romantic, a fiery leader and a frightened young girl. But the same characters are variously motherly, mouthy, serious, witty, intellectually superior, independent, flawed, loyal, adventurous, homely and possessing a healthy sexual appetite without being portrayed as a slut! In other words, Joss writes his female characters no differently than his male ones, each one is as flawed and ridiculous as they are archetypal, recognisable and relatable. None of them patronise or are overly sexualised, and each is given equal weight with the male characters.
1. It’s Whedon
If you’re not familiar with the man, you will have heard of his works: Buffy the vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, Dollhouse and Cabin in the Woods are all Whedon creations. Firefly’s big sister Serenity is in a long list of Whedon-penned screenplays which include Alien Resurrection and Toy Story but most recently Avengers Assemble. This is an impressive credit and the fact that he was let loose on the script and direction of a major Marvel picture with a $200 million budget should give you a clue as to his standing and reputation in the business. He isn’t a glitzy Hollywood writer/director/producer who is a household name and is regularly seen hobnobbing with the A list men on the golf course. He’s a guy who loves geekery, and working with friends (His Wikipedia page has a grid diagram to show how often he casts the same actors). Also, if you’ve not seen his anti-Romney campaign video, be warned, you may pee your pants. His dialogue, both through his pop culture references and unique translation of the English language into teen-speak makes the viewer feel part of a gang, a merry band of adventurers waiting for their captain to lead them on their next escapade.
So in conclusion, doesn’t that seem like a great recipe for a charming-if-short-lived TV show? Well grab yourself the boxset, put aside a weekend and be prepared to be glued to your sofa, endlessly pressing “Play all” until your sci-fi-western-comedy-drama-thriller-adventure cup runneth over.
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