Episodes: -Serenity-part 1 & 2 -- Air date 12/20/02 The crew of Serenity is eager to rid themselves of an easily traceable cargo they salvaged from a vessel adrift in space, totally unaware that a passenger has brought an even more dangerous cargo aboard. -The Train Job -- Air date 09/20/02 Mal has second thoughts after discovering that two boxes of Alliance goods his crew has been hired to steal are full of badly needed medical supplies headed for the mining town of Paradiso. -Bushwhacked -- Air date 09/27/02 After encountering a booby-trapped spacecraft carrying the lone crewmember of a horrific Reaver attack, Serenity is boarded by an Alliance Commander looking for Simon and River. -Shindig -- Air date 11/01/02 In order to secure a job transporting cargo off-planet for a client, Mal attends a social event where a dance with Inara leads him being challenged to a swordfight in defense of her honor. -Safe -- Air date 11/08/02 When Simon is kidnapped by a group of villagers in need of a doctor, Serenity is forced to make contact with an Alliance ship in order to seek medical help for the critically wounded Book. -Our Mrs. Reynolds -- Air date 10/04/02 After a celebration in which the crew is honored for ridding a planet of a group of bandits, they return to Serenity to find a woman named Saffron who claims that Mal married her during the festivities. -Jaynestown -- Air date 10/18/02 When the crew returns to a planet where Jayne participated in a heist gone bad, they're shocked to discover that Jayne's past actions have turned him into a local hero of Robin Hood-like mythic proportions. -Out of Gas -- Air date 10/25/02 After an explosion leaves Serenity crippled, Mal orders everyone to abandon ship while he stays behind in an attempt to make repairs - and reminisces how he found the ship and picked its crew. -Ariel-- Air date 11/15/02 Simon offers to crew a proposition: if they help him sneak River into a hospital so he can run-tests on her, he'll tell them where to find medical supplies that will fetch an enormous price on the black market. -War Stories -- Air date 12/06/02 Wash regrets insisting he be allowed to accompany Mal on a mission after the two men are captured by Adelai Niska - the client who previously hired Mal to steal the medicine bound for Paradiso. -Trash-- Air date (NEVER AIRED) Mal is shocked to discover his old friend's new bride is Saffron who, although furious after Mal blows her cover, offers to cut Mal in on what she calls the perfect, big-time scam. -The Message-- Air date (NEVER AIRED) While Jayne opens a mail package from his mother that contains a wool cap with ear flaps and a pom-pom, Mal and Zoe open their package to discover the body of their old war buddy, Tracey. -Heart of Gold -- Air date (NEVER AIRED) The crew comes to the aid of a bordello when its madam, an old acquaintance of Inara's, asks for help after a gunslinger claims a prostitute's baby is his and he's taking it because his wife is barren. -Objects In Space -- Air date 12/13/02 The crew is caught off-gaurd when a bounty hunter, eager to claim the enormous reward on River's head, sneaks aboard Serenity and methodically begins taking the crew prisoner one by one.
As the 2005 theatrical release of Serenity
made clear, Firefly
was a science fiction concept that deserved a second chance. Devoted fans (or "Browncoats") knew it all along, and with this well-packaged DVD set, those who missed the show's original broadcasts can see what they missed. Creator Joss Whedon's ambitious science-fiction Western (Whedon's third series after Buffy the Vampire Slayer
) was canceled after only 11 of these 14 episodes had aired on the Fox network, but history has proven that its demise was woefully premature. Whedon's generic hybrid got off to a shaky start when network executives demanded an action-packed one-hour premiere ("The Train Job"); in hindsight the intended two-hour pilot (also titled "Serenity," and oddly enough, the final episode aired) provides a better introduction to the show's concept and splendid ensemble cast. Obsessive fans can debate the quirky logic of combining spaceships with direct parallels to frontier America (it's 500 years in the future, and embattled humankind has expanded into the galaxy, where undeveloped "outer rim" planets struggle with the equivalent of Old West accommodations), but Whedon and his gifted co-writers and directors make it work, at least well enough to fashion a credible context from the incongruous culture-clashing of past, present, and future technologies, along with a polyglot language (the result of two dominant superpowers) that combines English with an abundance of Chinese slang.
What makes it work is Whedon's delightfully well-chosen cast and their nine well-developed characters--a typically Whedon-esque extended family--each providing a unique perspective on their adventures aboard Serenity, the junky but beloved "Firefly-class" starship they call home. As a veteran of the disadvantaged Independent faction's war against the all-powerful planetary Alliance (think of it as Underdogs vs. Overlords), Serenity captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) leads his compact crew on a quest for survival. They're renegades with an amoral agenda, taking any job that pays well, but Firefly's
complex tapestry of right and wrong (and peace vs. violence) is richer and deeper than it first appears. Tantalizing clues about Blue Sun (an insidious mega-corporation with a mysteriously evil agenda), its ties to the Alliance, and the traumatizing use of Serenity's resident stowaway (Summer Glau) as a guinea pig in the development of advanced warfare were clear indications Firefly
was heading for exciting revelations that were precluded by the series' cancellation. Fortunately, the big-screen Serenity
(which can be enjoyed independently of the series) ensured that Whedon's wild extraterrestrial west had not seen its final sunset. Its very existence confirms that these 14 episodes (and enjoyable bonus features) will endure as irrefutable proof Fox made a glaring mistake in canceling the series. --Jeff Shannon
Beyond Firefly on DVD
Stills from Firefly (Click for larger image)
Watch Stargate: Continuum on DVD
Catch up on Stargate Atlantis on DVD
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