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Old August 27 2010, 04:58 PM   #136
Fleet Captain
Re: Firefly ep by ep; rewatch and reviews

Thanks everyone, you're too kind. I'm going to review Dollhouse s2 and then that'll be it.

As for the fanfic/fetish stuff no I'm not 'into it' per se but I do find it fascinating, what people really feel free to confess to behind the anonymity of the internet. As part of my degree we read a psychologist called Brett Khar who writes on sexual fantasies (his book is called 'Who's been sleeping in your head?') and he actually has websites. & for people to post their sexual fantasies on. He should have saved himself the trouble and just read some internet adultfic. I put the Kaylee/Jubal stuff in Kiny Dinky as we don't know if anything actually happened and it seemed the best place for it, maybe I should have put it in Jeez?

I'd like to accept your praise for the formatting but truth be told I've no idea what happened

I have to confess what made me want to do this in the first place was the incredible fandom Firefly has for such a shortlived series, it intrigued me

SERENITY; the movie

The good;
Obviously benefits from a greater budget especially in the lab scenes. Cool opening tracking shot. Love River and Zoe trading their little look during the robbery and love River's goggles. Stonking great spaceship battles in a series where we haven't seen that before. The scene where they slip through the Reaver fleet is truly creepy.

The bad;

Mal's getting an innoculation at the start. Never seen that before but it neatly informs us that Simon is a doctor. Disappointing that we get no Saffron or Jubal Early but you can't have everything.

Best line;
Mal; "If I'm not back in an hour come rescue me"
Zoe; "And risk MY ship?"
Simon; (to River who has just survived a Reaver attack, massive gunfight and crash) "Are you ok?"
River; "I swallowed a bug"
Mal; "You want to be in charge?"
Jayne; "Yeah"
Mal; " can't!"

Packing heat
Serenity finally gets some exterior arnament in the form of Book's Bofors like flak-gun. Maybe the Alliance allowed private citizens to own what weapons they like but forbade the arming of ships themselves? Inara uses some form of Companion bow and arrow, as Joss observes, very Wonder Woman. Jayne doesn't use Vera instead having an H+K G36 and his grenades. Mal has an Armalite AR-18 which he later gives to Zoe, most other crew use MP5Ks plus Zoe's Mossberg shotgun.

Kinky dinky
River voyeuristically watches her brother and Kaylee having sex. Maybe the subtexters did have a point? Kaylee appears to have been using a self-pleasuring device which horrifies Mal (who seems to like to think of Kaylee almost as his virgin daughter) but intrigues Jayne. The crew still like to eavesdrop on Mal and Inara for gossip/thrills. Mal cross dresses again, disguising himself in a companion's dress and may have gone through Inara's clothes (for her scent or to try them on?)
Notches on the Serenity bedpost; Simon and Kaylee, at last

Inarra;3+1 possible, Atherton.
Wash; 1-the missus
Zoe; 1-the hubby
Kaylee;2-Bester, Simon
Jayne; 1-at least 1 Heart of Gold whore and possibly many others
Mal; 1-Nandi
Simon; 1-Kaylee

Capt subtext
Note River actually sniffs Inara's bed in Kaylee's video. Mal considers Fanty 'pretty'.

How'd they get away with that?
All and everything the Reavers do! The slow sword impalement is also nasty as is desecrating the dead by strapping them to Serenity, even Book.

Total Serenity crew
; 7- When we meet the crew Inara and Book are no longer part of it (the ship and crew are literally and figuratively falling apart). Inara rejoins but Book and Wash die. River now takes Wash's place as the co-pilot of Serenity.
Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee, Inarra, Simon, River,

Subverting the Hollywood cliche;
Facing the Reavers our heroes bravely run away. Indeed in the end they leave it to the Alliance troops to fight them, THEY save the day. Amazingly the villain actually survives. Mal pushes the guy off the mule and leaves him to the Reavers. We never do get to hear Book's story. Mal the noble hero never hesitates to shoot unarmed people.

Whedon cliches
Devoted siblings, haunted charismatic leading man. Teenage girls with superpowers. Hookers. Babbling insane girls with truth in their madness. Fake cockneys. Misguided religious zealots. Numbered t-shirts. Girls with botanical names (Willow, Saffron, Jasmine). Absent fathers. Clever use of extensive flashbacks. Women in boxes. Misogynists who get what's coming to them. Sex-bots. People with subliminal triggers.

; River in cuffs
Mal; 2
River; 2
Simon; 1
River; 2
Jayne; 1
Wash; 1
Kaylee; 1

Knocked out
; Jayne and Simon knocked out by River, River knocked out by Simon's magic word
Book; 3
Simon; 3
Kaylee; 1
Mal; 3
Wash; 1
Inara; 1
Zoe; 1
River; 2

Kills; Inara really participates in the fight for the first time. I'll give Jayne and Zoe 10 Reavers each, River 30 and everyone else 5. Amazingly Mal only kills 2 people.
Mal; 19-plus one possible, Jubal Early
Zoe; 27-
Jayne; 26-
Wash; 2
River; 33
Simon; 5
Kaylee; 5
Inara; 5
Happy high-class hookers in Space
Inara is working as an instructor at a companion training school which must be the best job EVER!
Whedon alumni- Joss likes to reuse the same actors in his series, let's count up their appearances (let me know if I miss any)
1. Nathan Fillon-3; Firefly, Caleb in S7 of Buffy and Dr Horrible
2. Gina Torres-2; Firefly and Jasmine in S4 of Angel
3. Alan Tudyk-2; Firefly and the villainous/heroic(?) Alpha in Dollhouse (haven't seen season 2 so don't spoil it for me)
4. Adam Baldwin-2; Firefly and Marcus Hamilton in S5 of Angel
5. Summer Glau-3; Firefly, Dollhouse and the prima ballerina in the LEGENDARY S4 Angel ep 'Waiting in the wings'.
6. Carlos Jacott-3; The Fed in Firefly, Ken in the 'Anne' ep of Buffy and Richard Straley in 'The Bachelor Party' ep of Angel.
7. Andy Umberger;3-the captain of the Dortmunder in Firefly, D'Hoffryn in Buffy, the psychic surgeon in the Angel ep 'I fall to pieces'.
8. Mark Shepherd;2-Badger in Firefly and later turns up as one of Ballard's FBI colleagues in Dollhouse. Also a BSG alumni.
9. Jeff Rickets;3- one of the blue handed men in Firefly and Weatherby on Buffy/Angel plus the spiderdemon at the end of Angel season 4
10. Gregg Henry; 2- he's one of those faces that occur time and again in TV/movies, the Sherrif in The Train Job and he later recurrs in the Dollhouse ep 'Ghost', one of my favourite eps of season 1.
11. Christina Hendricks; 2-Saffron in Firefly and a bar maid in the Angel ep 'The Prodigal'. She'll later star in Mad Men with Whedonverse alumni Vincent Kartheiser.
12. Ira Steck; 2-The intern here and the vamp Buffy fights in 'Lies my parents told me'.
13. Michael Nagy; 3-one of the hospital staff here, the Rat Pack vamp Jay-Don in the Angel ep 'The Shroud of Rahmon' and Alfonse (one of vampWillow's lackeys) in the Buffy ep Dopplegangland.
14. Cathy Cohen; 2-the admitting nurse here and the estate agent who hits on cool Xander in the Buffy ep The Replacement.
15. Jonathon Woodward; 3-as observed in the commentary, a hatrick (but not the only one), the vamp Holden Webster whom Buffy slays in 'Lies my parents told me', the traitorous Knox in season 5 of Angel and now Tracey in Firefly, each character seeming good but betraying everyone at the end.
So, 15 in total

Alliance good or bad?;
In this case Alliance bad but well intentioned. They wanted to create a society without violence which seems laudable but in the end turns into a nightmare. In the end the Alliance troops defeat the Reavers, saving the crew and rebuilding the Serenity. Whilst the Alliance seems set to continue it may be very different from now on.
Mal says the war is long done and Joss comments that he's put it behind him. So when he tells Simon that needling the Alliance is one of the reasons he let's him and River stay is he being truthful?
Simon really looks the part of the Alliance officer in the beginning. The Operative says that Mal isn't the hero and the Alliance isn't the evil empire. Joss himself remarks that he sees the Alliance as a largely benevolent force.
So, who would you have sided with in the war? I have to say that Blue Gloves aside I'd lean towards the Alliance.

The continuing adventures of Serenity post-movie obviously popular. One common thread is that with Wash dead Mal now has to choose between Zoe and Inara as his love. Another is the Alliance unravelling and the crew coming to terms that they've created chaos in the universe and actually seeking to create a UN type organisation/Galactic senate.

Missing scenes
Reputedly had the series continued there'd have been an episode where Mal and Zoe are tracked down by a group of ex-Alliance soldiers intent on avenging a war crime that their Browncoat unit committed (like Principal Wood and Spike).
The deleted scenes are largely unremarkable except for Inara teaching her Companion skills to her young pupils. More of that would have probably made the film more successful at the box office.
Firefly speak;
Weak tea=not good
Back birth=idiot
Companion=high class courtesan
Rutting=bloody (or perhaps 'fraking'?)
Purple belly=officious bureaucrat
Ta-gow=Oh god!
Won-gwa-pee= to urinate or defecate
Wah=what the hell?
Mah song=quickly
Nu-shu-quong=nice going
Sheinou-niou=no good
Mei, mei=little sister
Moon brain=inbred?
Swa-shi=petty, small time
Roller=tank or armoured vehicle
Wetware=smuggled organs
Jayne, Mal, Kaylee and Simon all shot
Mal; 3-
Simon; 2-
Crew injured;

Jayne get's staked in the leg and thumped by River. Mal routinely gets the stuffing beaten out of him.
Reminds me off;
River spying on Simon and Kaylee having sex reminds me off Dawn who was quite the voyeur with Buffy and Riley. The idea of a world without violence is something Joss reuses from season 4 of Angel. The Reavers are reminiscent of John Carpenter's film Ghosts of Mars. The opening scenes are very BSG whilst one of the guns in the bar fight looks like the ones they used on Babylon 5. The new mule is very Star Wars landspeeder (did they sell the Lassiter to pay for it?). Mal shoots the guy being eaten by the Reavers, very Last of the Mohicans.
Now of course Miranda (meaning 'most wonderful') is Prospero's daughter in The Tempest. We've already seen Ariel (the wonder of the Alliance?), does this make the Reavers Caliban? "This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine". And of course it was adapted as 'The Forbidden Planet'.
River's trigger is very like Spike's in Buffy. Alien is referred to again although this is a universe without aliens (The Operative refers to 'Building better worlds' which is the company's motto). Mal quotes The Ancient Mariner. The space battle is very Starship Troopers, Wrath of Khan, Babylon 5 and of course Star Wars. Zoe's assertion that they're not getting out alive is similar to Angel in Not Fade Away. Burning swing is very T2.
Questions and observations;
So we finally meet some real Reavers (we've only met one pseudo one before in Bushwhacked). But the Serenity crew never confront the Blue-gloves? Note when we see the slaughter at Haven Jayne still takes the time to loot. Who helps Simon rescue River? The Browncoat diehards who were to try and recruit Mal and Zoe if the series had continued? The Mal we see at the beginning is much more like the Mal we see in the pilot than the series. Wash the pilot always seems the last to know everything, he's rather left out.
The Alliance now use sleek ships. Mal's record shows him to be a captain in the Browncoats which is why Zoe calls him 'sir' which she shouldn't do if he's a sergeant (although if he really did command 2000 men at one point he's actually an acting brigadier). Are the Reavers all gone, did the Alliance wipe them out? Jayne plays the guitar, I wonder if he know's The Hero of Canton?. The Alliance troops have new armour, very Halo like. Jayne points out that of Mal's 30 man platoon he and Zoe were the only survivors, bearing out Zoe's assertion that a hero is someone who gets other people killed and a leader is 'something of a monster' (like ruthless Angel at the end of season 5 and hardass Buffy in season 7). After visiting Ariel River begins to get visibly better. Jayne comes to terms with Simon by offering him his whiskey.

Marks out of 10
; 9/10, very good, if this is the last we see of the crew (and it almost certainly is) this is a fine send off for them.

So, Firefly? Well, very enjoyable but I'd still say it's my least favourite of Joss' shows. Now of course maybe if it had lasted longer I would think more of it, if Buffy/Angel had only had 14 eps they wouldn't have grown into the great series they were. I think the best way to put it is that Firefly had the potential to be a great series. Interestingly Buffy was a largely unsuccessful film that was transformed into a tremmendously successful TV series with it's own successful spinoff. Firefly was a failed TV series that became a largely successful film.
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