Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Another show canceled too soon

Title: Firefly
Format: DVD
Category: Science fiction/Western
Rating: A

Why, oh why, did they cancel this show after only one season? It had such a great concept and amazing cast. Definitely deserved another 2 or 4 seasons.

Description (from Barnes & Noble): Set 500 years in the future, Firefly falls in the category of sci-fi space adventure, yet its flavor is rooted in the Wild West. Earth is pretty much spent, and a totalitarian government known as the Alliance rules the planets where most of its earlier inhabitants have spread. Nathan Fillion stars as Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, who fought for independence from the Alliance in a civil war, and now captains the Serenity, a ship of outcasts. His crew includes his second-in-command Zoe, a pilot named Wash, engineering maven Kaylee, and career soldier Jayne. Also aboard are Inara, a highly respected prostitute; a preacher known as Shepherd Book; and a mysterious pair of siblings -- Simon and River Tam.
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Ratings are a terrible thing. There are so many shows that are canceled before their time all because the network decides there aren't enough people watching. Huge mistake! Several movies and TV shows that weren't "popular enough" when they first aired have turned out to be sleeper hits and cult classics. Firefly is no exception.

The idea to combine the Wild West with a sci-fi world of the future is such an absolutely brilliant concept. I wish I'd thought of it. It provided an infinite number of plot devices and twists. And to make it even better, there's a great cast and amazing special effects. The characters are more than two-dimensional imitations of space cowboys; they're so real and well-developed. Their believability and overall down-to-earth manners make them relatable to their audience. My favorite characters were Kaylee and Shepherd. Kaylee's attempts to balance her femininity and her boyish love of machinery are endearing and humorous. And Shepherd provides the peace and stability to the otherwise hotheaded crew.

I also loved the show's ability to pull you into its vision of the future. Because of the Wild West element, it never feels so completely unreal or unattached to Earth. It doesn't require you to make huge stretches of the imagination or completely push the limits on plausibility. Those tasks are left to the futuristic elements, and the balance between old and new makes this alternate future seem familiar and strange at the same time.

Luckily for the fans of Firefly, some of the many unanswered questions from the TV show were resolved when they made the follow-up movie, Serenity. But I think I would have preferred a few more seasons. A

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