Project FIREFLY: "Serenity" - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Project FIREFLY: “Serenity”

January 18, 2010 by  

It’s true what they say. It’s Joss Whedon’s world and we’re just living in it.

Welcome to the first discussion of Project Firefly (sorry we’re a little late getting started). Whether you’ve never seen the show before, or it’s one of your all time favorites, I hope you’ll be watching along with us as we discover the world of Firefly.

Before popping in the first disc of Firefly I knew very little about the show. Sure I knew of some of the key players – Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin and Summer Glau were all recognizable names, but I knew them more from their other projects than I did their roles on Firefly. Hell, I thought fans called themselves the Browncoats because Nathan Fillion’s character always wore a brown coat. That quickly changed in the first two hours of the series as Whedon crafted a full realized world full of diverse and intriguing characters. Simplifying Firefly to the most basic and unoriginal premise – it’s renegade cowboys in space.

While watching the pilot episode, I couldn’t help but think that the world of Firefly might be akin to Han Solo’s world had he never met Luke Skywalker.

The crew of Serenity is a mish-mash of misfits. We learn early on the Captain Malcom Reynolds and Zoe Washburne served together in a war years earlier. But how they come to commandeering Serenity after being stranded and essentially left for dead during the world has yet to be explained.

While Mal captains the vessel, it’s the Serenity team that ensures its well being.

Kaylee Frye seems to be like everyone’s little sister. A sweet disposition with a knack for reading people, she’s the ships mechanic.

In stark contrast to Kayle is Jayne. Jokingly referred to as being in charge of PR, Jayne doesn’t seem to have control over his temper or his mouth. We see signs of major hostility between Mal and Jayne early on, but whether or not its because of Jayne’s disdain for authority figures or something stemming from a particular incident has me intrigued.

While I know that Adam Baldwin holds a hero status in the Wehdonverse, I didn’t really know anything of him before Chuck. Based on only the first two episodes of Firefly I see why he was the perfect choice for Chuck’s John Casey. At first glance Casey and Jayne seem to have a lot in common and I’m not just talking about their love for guns…and grunting.

Zoe, her husband – the ship’s pilot, Hoban, better known as Wash – and Mal seem to be the stabilizing force on the ship. I’m interested to see if the hints of jealousy we’ve seen from Wash, towards his wife’s loyalty to Mal, will play out over the course of the show.

Then there’s Inara Serra, who I instantly recognized from her role as Anna on V. Inanra, a companion (which seems to be a very well respected prostitute) by trade, seems to have a spiritual soul and cares deeply for those around her. Especially Kaylee. She has a deep rooted connection to Mal. His outward disdain for her is clearly hiding some deep rooted feelings. But his natural instinct to protect her betrays any pretense. Already interested to find out the who, what and why of this twosome.

In an attempt to raise funds, the crew of Serenity takes passengers on board.  A space taxi if you will.

Shepherd Book just left the Abbey and is interested in the freedom of travel in his new life. A seemingly conscientious man, he abstains from judging those around him however warranted his judgment might be.

Also joining in on the adventure are Dr. Simon Tam and his sister, River. Fugitives of the law, they take refuge in Serenity. Simon hopes to protect his gifted sister at all costs from those who wish to benefit from her genius. The same people she was held by while she away at “boarding school”.

Despite a rocky start with Mel, Simon accepts the position of the ship’s medic. Mel sees the strength and tenacity of the young man. As for his sister, other than being emotionally haunted, we know very little of River Tam (although we do know she grow up to be a Terminator, of course). It’s yet to be seen how Summer comes into her own and how her special gifts affect the adventures of Serenity.

As for Captain Mal Reynolds, well he certainly seem to live the philosophy of ‘a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do‘ (sorry couldn’t resist…you’re lucky I didn’t make a Joey Buchanan reference here). A strong leader, Mal is fiercely loyal to his crew, but somewhat arrogant when it comes to listening to them.  His military experience has given him a sharp mind for strategy, but I’m sure we will see him pay the price for his impulsiveness sometime down the road.

In the first episode we see the crew and passengers of Serenity take quick a few blows. Their cargo was turned away. A law man boarded the shop under false pretenses with the intent of retrieving River and in the haste of gunfire, he almost killed Kaylee. Mal is shot while trying to resell their stolen goods. Both Simon and Shepherd are also injured over various confrontations. And here they just though Serenity would offer safe passage to where they wanted to go. I hope they got traveler’s insurance.

Joss and his creative team did so much to set up this world and these characters in the first two episodes that I’m pumped to see where their adventures take them…and us.

I’ve been told that the first few episode of Firefly are a bit slow, but then things really pick up. If that’s the case then I think we’re in for one hell of a ride.

I’d by lying if I said I stopped after just the first two episodes. I might have sneaked a peek at eps 3 & 4. What? The DVD was in there and it just started to play. But I won’t get ahead of myself. Not when we haven’t all talked about the first two episodes.

So what did you think? For those of you watching for the first time, did you see the characters as I did? Were you excited about the rest of the series? And what about those who are re-watching? Was it fun to get back on board Serenity?

Share your thoughts in the comments below. But PLEASE remember, NO SPOILERS for future episodes. Also, let me know when we should discuss episode 3? Should it be one episode per week? Two per week?  What are you up for? Be sure to let me know.

If you missed the premiere episode of Firefly but you still want to watch along with us, fear not. I have embedded it for you below. Enjoy!


18 Responses to “Project FIREFLY: “Serenity””

  1. AwesomeRococo on January 18th, 2010 7:45 pm

    I’m so glad to see you doing this, I myself just discovered the series last year (via CHUCK, of course!) and in the time it took to watch this episode, I was a bona-fide, card carrying Browncoat! From moment one, these characters and the universe they inhabit were so well written, fleshed out and real that it’s so easy to become instantly invested in their stories.

    My first time around, I wanted to watch all the episodes in one sitting, but with there being only 14, I knew I had to pace myself, or be truly heartbroken when it was finished. I watched one episode every 2-3 weeks, and while I was still heartbroken for it to be over, at least it felt like I had gone on a journey as well.

    Bon Voyage, Serenity!

  2. Amanda on January 18th, 2010 7:49 pm

    I think that out of all of Joss’ shows, Firefly has the most engrossing and fully-realized world. Buffy and Angel’s worlds are pretty much like our own, of course, so it’s easy to buy them. They’ve got demons and vampires but they’ve also got Starbucks and high schools and familiar pop culture references. But the ‘verse had to be built from the ground up, really, and I’ve always been impressed by how immersive it feels even just in the first episode.

    I actually saw the show when it was first aired, cut short and out of order – damn you Fox!! – and every time I go back and rewatch it I’m sad about the cancellation all over again. What there is of the show is so consistent and entertaining that I think if it’d been allowed to go on it might’ve knocked Buffy out of the top spot as far as Whedon shows go. But, alas. I always love re-watching, and really enjoy hearing from people who are watching it for the first time. You’re in for a great ride.

  3. Randi on January 18th, 2010 8:46 pm

    I love Firefly. I actually tried to watch this first episode for a year before I finished it..but that’s because it was my going to bed television. As Paul can tell you, I’m asleep about 2 minutes in to any show that I watch as I’m going to sleep. There are shows that I can pick up from the point I fell asleep but I kept watching Serenity over from the beginning. Kaylee and Jayne are 2 of my favorite characters and they certainly can’t be anymore different. I also love the Shepherd and Inara. I could keep listing characters saying that they are my favorite and they have been at different times. I think you are really going to enjoy this series!

  4. Vanessa on January 18th, 2010 11:35 pm

    So glad we are all watching this show together now. I admit that I missed the original boat, but did get on board awhile ago. I’ve been wanting to do a re-watch for awhile and am glad I procrastinated long enough to watch along now. I watched the first 2 early last week and watched the next 2 since then. I’m not going to go into too much detail for fear of spoiling since those 4 eps are blended together a bit in my head. I will say that this show was awesome at the character introductions. I loved Mal, Zoe, and Wash instantly. Jayne grew on me and is now my favorite character. This may have some to do with my love of Adam Baldwin. Looking forward to continuing this watch along and am ready to dig deeper into the later episodes.

  5. CarolJude on January 19th, 2010 12:17 am

    It’s exciting to read about someone’s first experience with Firefly as it happens; I think I’ll be reliving the intense pleasure of ‘finding’ FF, the anticipation, the intrigue… I’m actually grateful I missed the show when it was airing, I can’t imagine dealing with the heartbreak of its cancellation (SCREW YOU STILL, FOX!)

    You’ll probably wind up, at the end of all this, wishing it could come back somehow and perhaps being glad, as I am, that it hasn’t; it stays perfect, protected from any network sweeps storylines and gimmicks that would have inevitably been “suggested” from the scary FOX braintrust (“Joss, we’d like a tall, leggy alien hybrid in a form-fitting silver catsuit, we think it would really boost ratings…”)

    Enjoy, and congratulations for finally ‘discovering’ this.

  6. Lise on January 19th, 2010 12:25 am

    This is one of those series that was completely ruined by the network by bad advertising and airing the episodes out of order. Did anyone else have trouble warming up to Inara? I think it took me a while to get used to her as a stand alone character not just a possible love interest for Mal.

  7. Jen on January 19th, 2010 12:57 pm

    Have to agree with Amanda above, on the point that Firefly creates an incredibly vivid and well-executed universe pretty much from the get-go. So much of it is incredibly plausible, which is remarkable for a Sci-Fi/Western hybrid, or whatever you want to categorize the show as. The idea that at the end of Earth that was, only two superpowers are left standing (China and America) is a pretty intriguing concept and I just love how facets from both cultures are integrated into the Firefly universe, from costumes to cussing.

    I’m not viewing the series with fresh eyes, but it’s really interesting to me to learn how people see the characters for the first time.

    That said, I knew I was hooked on this show from the scene where Wash is playing with the dinosaurs. “Mine is an evil laugh!” Hee. I even made a cross stitch sampler with the line “Curse your sudden, but inevitable betrayal!” as a birthday gift for my friend who introduced me to the wonder that is Firefly

  8. OldDarth on January 19th, 2010 5:48 pm

    The first two hours are textbook examples of how to introduce the audience to a new family of characters.

    The moments before Mal kicks the lid off the hibernation box that River is in gets to me everytime. Powerful moments there.

    Great cast, great writing, and just plain fun.

  9. OldDarth on January 19th, 2010 5:49 pm

    PS – since there are so few episodes – 1 a week is fine by me.

  10. CarolJude on January 19th, 2010 11:33 pm

    Kalylee and Shepherd Book is a lovely scene. I love how wonderfully all the characters were drawn and how much care was spent on how they all intereacted.

  11. savedbythetube on January 20th, 2010 3:42 pm

    I’m late to the game, but I’ve been watching. In fact, I had the same experience..that darn DVD was in there and I couldn’t stop watching. I’m up to about 5 right now, but I won’t spoil.

    I also went into this with very little background. The power of Whedon (and Fillion) compelled me. The pilot was such a great introduction to each character – a master class in pilot writing in terms of character sketching.

    So great to see Adam Baldwin – now I’m starting to fully understand his loyal fandom. I can’t believe you recognized Inara right away as Anna from V! That was driving me crazy. Of course, it’s her!

    At first, I didn’t think this was my kind of show, but I’m really enjoying it, especially now that I’ve seen a few more episodes. I have lots of questions about the story/history – how did Kalee come into the group, Inara, where is their home, etc. – but I’ll save those for later in the discussion. Thanks GMMR for finally getting me to watch Firefly!

  12. Philippa on January 21st, 2010 6:22 am

    Welcome to the ‘verse ;-). Browncoats did the impossible and that makes us mighty! We helped get the Big Gorram Movie [GG]. There are a lot of us who moved over to ‘Chuck’ because of Adam and helped Wendy withthe Subway campaign. You’ve got Browncoats all around you 🙂

  13. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect on January 21st, 2010 4:25 pm

    Okay, I couldn’t stop after one episode, either. I watched the first four hours. I like it a lot – the characters are great, and it reminded me a lot of the old Star Wars movies. In a good way.

    My only complaint (if you can call it that – I DID watch three episodes because I couldn’t stop!) is that the weird cowboy-esque dialect seems forced or fake to me. Maybe it’s because I currently watch two of the main guys talk normal in Chuck and Castle. Or maybe it just IS forced. Anyone else think this?

    But seriously, I think the show is really funny and smart, with just the right mix of drama. Good stuff – can’t wait for more!

  14. CarolJude on February 14th, 2010 9:35 pm


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