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Old September 15 2009, 04:37 AM   #1
Gaith
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"Firefly" - when does it get good?

So I saw Serenity a few years back in my college theater, and found it decent, though I had a hard time relating to the characters.

Now I'm finally giving Firefly a try. After a rough first half-hour (I was starting to contemplate giving up), the pilot suddenly got good, what with the appearance of River and the shoot-out. I was stoked.

Now I'm four episodes in (just finished Shindig), and my patience is being sorely tested. After three (apparently) self-contained episodes, we haven't learned a single thing about anyone we didn't get from the pilot. Oh, wait - River can speak a mean Irish accent. Er, right. Even the early Enterprise episodes gave us more development than that.

There's also been basically zero movement on the River plot. Lots of people thought HBO's Carnivāle moved too slowly, and there are certain stylistic parallels between it and Firefly, but even Carnivāle's slowest and worst episodes gave us some movement, either from the Brother Justin storyline, the Carnivāle/Ben storyline, or both. I don't think you can skip a single one and not notice something missing.

So, my question is... when, if ever, do Firefly's episodes start mattering to their immediate successors? Because this whole train robbery/Alliance capture/duel stuff just feels like filler.
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Old September 15 2009, 04:46 AM   #2
Michael Chris
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

There's not too much arc focus during the few episodes that there were.
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Old September 15 2009, 05:21 AM   #3
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

Yea, Joss was hoping for a long run with the series. Revealing everything in the first half of the first season would not have been a great idea.

I am guessing you don't like Lost either, considering that show has taken 4 years to explain most things. And there is still alot it hasn't!
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Old September 15 2009, 05:41 AM   #4
Lindley
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

Most of what people like about Firefly is the character focus, not the story per se. There's some of that, certainly, and what there is certainly entertains; but it never really had time to go anywhere story-wise.

It did push the characters hard, though. You may not notice it now, but on second viewing you'll be surprised at just how much depth some of the early episodes have in that regard.

There's a sentiment I've heard quite a bit regarding the show: That we'd watch these people eating dinner for a hour, because they're just that fun to hang out with.

The next big push on the River story is in "Ariel".
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Old September 15 2009, 06:51 AM   #5
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

Well, as I said, the characters are part of the problem. Given the show's setting, I just don't believe that Kaylee can be quite so perky, that Jayne can be quite so dumb, and I don't buy the attraction between the married couple (whose names the show hasn't bothered letting me remember), either. I thought the Enterprise senior staff was Trek's weakest, but they were still credible, and they started off with the potential to become layered and interesting. Here, it seems as though at least half the crew is stuck in simplistic caricatures.

I like Mal, I think Book has potential, and I like the brother guy for protecting his sister. His interactions with Mal were the best thing about the pilot.

But now that I've seen how the crew gets together, I'm considering fast-forwarding to the movie Serenity. Are there any other episodes (such as "Ariel", maybe) that I definitely should see before seeing the movie? I remember Book not living on board the ship during the movie's plot, but I'm assuming the show doesn't show him leaving. And I'm not much inclined to wait for the movie to see River bust out the kung fu.
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Old September 15 2009, 06:58 AM   #6
BigFoot
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

Well, I think you should watch all the eps. But if you won't, you definitely need to watch Out of Gas, Ariel, War Stories, and Message in Space. Jaynestown and The Message are also awesome eps.
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Old September 15 2009, 07:00 AM   #7
RoJoHen
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

You're really not patient enough to sit through 9 more episodes?
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Old September 15 2009, 07:00 AM   #8
Peter the Younger
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

Well I recall not being really hooked until about the sixth episode, but then I loved the character interaction. Ariel and War Stories are particularly awesome.

Gaith wrote: View Post
Well, as I said, the characters are part of the problem.

(snip)

....And I'm not much inclined to wait for the movie to see River bust out the kung fu.
Uh, you may not actually like this show.
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Old September 15 2009, 07:03 AM   #9
Guy Gardener
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

Eating with Jayne?

Explaining the lost finger in later years as being the result of an argument with a red neck regarding the last garlic potato seems like the ultimate paradigm of a tea cup in a storm.
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Old September 15 2009, 07:04 AM   #10
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

Honestly, I was hooked on the show from the opening scene (the true opening scene; I caught the show on DVD), so I don't really know what to tell you. I think every episode is worth watching.
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Old September 15 2009, 07:10 AM   #11
RoJoHen
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

Peter the Younger wrote: View Post
Well I recall not being really hooked until about the sixth episode, but then I loved the character interaction. Ariel and War Stories are particularly awesome.

Gaith wrote: View Post
Well, as I said, the characters are part of the problem.

(snip)

....And I'm not much inclined to wait for the movie to see River bust out the kung fu.
Uh, you may not actually like this show.
This is very possible.

One thing I've noticed from Firefly naysayers is that they tend to be looking for something else. They go in with certain expectations (not about the quality of the show, but about the material). This is not "The River Show." This is a show about an ensemble cast and how they get by.

Yes, Kaylee is perky, but she has her sad moments too.

Jayne is certainly the dumb muscle of the crew, but you'll see him struggle things like loyalty.

Sadly, the show never had the chance to explore as much as it could have. That said, as a huge fan of the show, even I didn't love it the first time around. There is a lot of subtlety that you don't pick up until the second viewing.
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Old September 15 2009, 07:23 AM   #12
Gaith
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
You're really not patient enough to sit through 9 more episodes?
It's not a question of patience. It's a question of having universes of riches lined up in my viewing queue, and not wanting to slog through nine more episodes of a kind with the last three in order to get back to a movie I didn't even love upon first viewing.

BigFoot wrote: View Post
Well, I think you should watch all the eps. But if you won't, you definitely need to watch Out of Gas, Ariel, War Stories, and Message in Space. Jaynestown and The Message are also awesome eps.
Thanks for the recs. Without spoiling anything, what makes these four eps necessary? New characters, significant character milestones, backstory that sets up the movie? Thanks in advance!

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
One thing I've noticed from Firefly naysayers is that they tend to be looking for something else. They go in with certain expectations...
Very possible. The fact that the story doesn't seem to be going anywhere troubles me. For all its faults, Voyager had a clear, fundamental purpose, and so did Enterprise, though to a lesser extent. I gave Smallville a try because we were promised a journey to Supermanhood, and Carnivāle set up a confrontation in its first episode that it built steadily towards with each passing ep. Firefly, on the other hand, has no discernible purpose. There's no vague mission of exploration and peace as in Trek; heck, dreams on the crew's part of making enough dough to retire in comfort would be an improvement over just treading water, if that's indeed the case.

I dimly remember the evolutionary-plague Macguffin of Serenity, which seemed interesting enough. Does that get set up at all in the series?
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Old September 15 2009, 07:29 AM   #13
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

"Airel" and "Janyetown" (sp)? was when the show clicked for me, and I went from "meh it is decent" to "why oh why was it cancelled"...

But the show (the little that there was of it) was more character based than plot based. If you don't like the characters, yeah the show would not have much appeal.

No show fits everyones tastes. And Firefly has almost become its own worst enemy due to the rampant fanbase.
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Old September 15 2009, 07:31 AM   #14
RoJoHen
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

Yeah, there really isn't any fundamental purpose of the show. The characters aren't really striving towards a goal. It's basically a show about a dysfunctional family flying around in space trying to survive in a universe that doesn't really want them around.

Whether it would have eventually had a more focused story arc is impossible to say at this point. I just know that I loved the characters and their relationships, and they were enough to keep me interested.
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Old September 15 2009, 08:28 AM   #15
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Re: "Firefly" - when does it get good?

sojourner wrote: View Post
Yea, Joss was hoping for a long run with the series. Revealing everything in the first half of the first season would not have been a great idea.

I am guessing you don't like Lost either, considering that show has taken 4 years to explain most things. And there is still alot it hasn't!
Actually the poster was talking about character, not plot. On Lost even from their 2nd episode each story focuses on some character and the changes with that character. Now the plot, is a different story, but that isn't the problem the poster is complaining about.
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