Firefly - The Complete Series (DVD, 2009, 4-Disc Set) Reviews
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Firefly - The Complete Series (DVD, 2009, 4-Disc Set)

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Firefly, a breif bright flicker in the black of television.

Jun 14, 2008 (Updated Jun 15, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Six star television all the way.

Cons:It died of abuse by the network

The Bottom Line: This is the best science fiction program in a decade. Worth the watching.


Firefly: The Complete Series (2002) By Joss Whedon.

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me
Take me out to the black
Tell 'em I ain't comin' back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me
There's no place I can be
Since I found serenity
But you can't take the sky from me
Opening music.

After Angel ended, Joss Whedon wanted to do something a little different. This was the project he came up with.

After the Earth was used up, we found a new solar system and hundreds of new Earths were terraformed and colonized. The central planets formed the Alliance and decided all the planets had to join under their rule. There was some disagreement on that point. After the War, many of the Independents who had fought and lost drifted to the edges of the system, far from Alliance control. Out here, people struggled to get by with the most basic technologies; a ship would bring you work, a gun would help you keep it. A captain's goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying. Opening narration: Shepherd Book.

The 'Verse is a sprawling solar system, crammed with planets, many planets crammed with habital moons. This leaves several dozen worlds to visit. The core worlds are high tech, civilized, settled. As you go outward, things get rougher. Technology regresses to an almost western town level, and civilization is what your gun says it is.

Two great powers started the disporia. The first, western, the second, eastern. The two languages are English, and Chinese. Almost all cussing is done in chinese.

Serenity is a Firefly class transport. She has no weapons, but she’s solid and true, and has a hundred hidey holes perfect for smuggling. Mal Reynolds bought her after he and the Brown Coats lost the Rebellion. Now, he just has to keep her going.

Let’s meet the family:
Nathan Fillion ... Captain Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds Captain, thief, smuggler, rebel and a good man. Mal was a Brown Coat. After he lost the war, he tried to grab what freedom he could. Serenity is the embodiment of that.

Gina Torres ... Zo Washburne Mal’s second in command, both on Serenity, and in the War. She is a warrior, hard and strong. But she is also a wife, sweet and caring. In all of it, she is the backbone.

Alan Tudyk ... Hoban 'Wash' Washburne Genius pilot, happy soul, sweet man, he is Zoe’s husband. He is the one who makes Serenity dance like a leaf on the wind.

Morena Baccarin ... Inara Serra Registered Companion, elegant lady, a woman in love. Inara lends Serenity an air of elegance, and opens doors that would otherwise remain closed. Companions are not wh*res…they are artists. She is a combination geisha and sex therapist, and like Mal, she is seeking freedom, out here in the black.

Adam Baldwin ... Jayne Cobb Mal and Zoe met Jayne while he was robbing them. They offered a better deal, and he shot his partners. This does not make him entirely trust worthy. But as a warrior, he is solid, and mean, and has an intimidation value. And, whether he likes it or not, he is learning to be more.

Jewel Staite ... Kaylee Frye Sweet innocent, Mechanical genius, the heart of Serenity in so many ways. I will say this; in the beginning she is taking on the passengers. Shepherd Book gives her a bribe…fresh strawberries. Watching Kaylee eat a strawberry has to be one of the most erotically charged things I have ever seen…and I’m gay!

Sean Maher ... Dr. Simon Tam Genius Doctor, he threw away everything he had achieved, wealth, position, and power, in order to save his sister, River. Beautiful, ethical, he is also a little bit dense. But Serenity is an excellent teacher.

Summer Glau ... River Tam Genius among geniuses, River was altered by the Alliance for reasons unknown. They did things to her, driving her mad, but also gifting her with strange and unpredictable powers. She has visions, often true, unfailing intuition, and powers of focus and precision beyond human. She is also a scared little girl, and it is to protect her that Serenity has suffered so much.

Ron Glass ... Shepherd Book Preacher, and so much more. His was the least developed character in the brief run, but you got the impression he was not always a preacher; he knew far too much about how covert organizations ran their Black Ops.

These are the heart and soul of Serenity, nine souls thrown together by choice and chance. This is the family that forms over the course of the show.



Episode 1: The Train Job
Original Air Date: 20 September 2002

”Mal. Bad. In Latin.” River Tam

Serenity is hired to rob a train. It’s a no questions asked sort of deal. But when karma enlightens them, we see that our heroes are exactly that…heroes. Not just thieves.


Episode 2: Bushwhacked
Original Air Date: 27 September 2002

Commander Harken: For some the war'll never be over. I notice your ship's called "Serenity". You were stationed on Hera at the end of the war. Battle of Serenity Valley took place there, if I recall.
Captain Reynolds: You know, I believe you might be right.
Commander Harken: Independents suffered a pretty crushing defeat there. Some say that after Serenity, the Browncoats were through. That the war ended in that valley.
Captain Reynolds: Hmmm.
Commander Harken: Seems odd you'd name your ship after a battle you were on the wrong side of.
Captain Reynolds: May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.


Serenity finds a ghost ship, and mounts a salvage operation. But there is more on this ship than goods, and we get the first taste of the deep space Boogeymen, the Reavers.

Episode 3: Our Mrs. Reynolds
Original Air Date: 4 October 2002

Jayne: Six men came to kill me one time. And the best of 'em carried this. It's a Callahan full-bore auto-lock. Customized trigger, double cartridge thorough gauge. It is my very favorite gun.
(he holds the gun out to Mal)
Mal: (Chinese swearing) You offering me a trade?
Jayne: A trade? Hell, it's theft. This the best gun made by man. It has *extreme* sentimental value. It's miles more worthy 'n what you got!
Mal: What I got? She has a name.
Jayne: So does this. I call it Vera.
Mal: Well, my days of not takin' ya seriously are certainly comin' to a middle.


A woman claiming to be Mal's wife stows away aboard Serenity. If you think your marriage has problems…. This introduces my favorite villain of the series.


Episode 4: Jaynestown
Original Air Date: 18 October 2002
Jayne / The man they call Jayne / He robbed from the rich, and he gave to the poor / Stood up to The Man and he gave him what for / Our love for him now ain't hard to explain / The hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne / Our Jayne saw the Mudders' backs breakin' / He saw the Mudders' lament / And he saw the Magistrate takin' every dollar, and leavin' five cents / So he said, "You can't do that to my people" / He said, "can't crush them under your heels" / Jayne strapped on his hat / And in five seconds flat / Stole everything Boss Higgins had to steal / He robbed from the rich, and he gave to the poor / Stood up to The Man and he gave him what for / Our love for him now ain't hard to explain / The hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne / Now here is what separates heroes / From common folk like you and I / The man they call Jayne he turned 'round his plane / And let that money hit sky / He dropped it onto our houses / He dropped it into our yards / The man they call Jayne he stole away our pain / And headed out for the stars / He robbed from the rich, and he gave to the poor / Stood up to The Man and he gave him what for / Our love for him now ain't hard to explain / The hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne! Folksinger in Canton.

The crew commits some mischief in a town where Jayne once robbed the local magistrate, making him a local folk hero. Can Jayne live up to his legend? Can he survive those he left behind?


Episode 5: Out of Gas
Original Air Date: 25 October 2002
Mal: Ship like this, be with you 'til the day you die.
Zo Washburne: 'Cause it's a deathtrap.


Serenity is a slice of life sort of show. But when you run out of gas in space, you can’t get out and push. When Serenity's life support system fails, Mal orders the crew off the ship into the shuttles. But he stays on Serenity.


Episode 6: Shindig
Original Air Date: 1 November 2002

Mal: You know, they say mercy is the mark of a great man. (Stabs the man)
Mal: Guess I'm just a good man. (Stabs him again)
Mal: Well, I'm all right.


Mal and Inara have a complex relationship. Often Mal does not extend her the prestige a companion is due. But when one of Inara's clients fails to do so during a royal ball where the Serenity crew is hired by a diplomat to smuggle some unusual cargo, Mal is challenged to a sword duel by Atherton Wing. This episode gives a clear view of the differences between the haves and have nots in the ‘Verse.


Episode 7: Safe
Original Air Date: 8 November 2002

Never goes smooth. How come it never goes smooth? Captain Reynolds
Out in the outer planets, kidnapping of skilled personnel happens. So when Doc Simon and River are kidnapped, everyone has a reasonable idea why. Of course, this is when someone else on Serenity gets shot! And when the primitive fundamentalists get a load of River the danger levels only increase.


Episode 8: Ariel
Original Air Date: 15 November 2002

Inara Serra: What's going on here?
Kaylee Frye: Oh, well, let's see. We killed Simon and River, stole a bunch of medicine, and now the Captain and Zo are off springing the others got snatched by the feds. Oh, 'n here they are now!


Inara is a member of The Guild of Companions, a school and organization that insures a companion is more geisha than wh*re, and that they are clean. Every companion must submit to annual health screenings.

This gives Simon access to the scanners in a core world medical facility. With this information, he might be able to treat River. So he lures Mal with the promise of a really rich haul; the medicine cabinet of an Alliance hospital; worth several fortunes on the outer planets.

But robbery and illegal scans are not the only problem, and we see a problem only hinted at…two by two with hands of blue… mysterious agents as different and scary as River herself, and she is their target. Jayne Cobb shows his true colours…twice.


Episode 9: War Stories
Original Air Date: 6 December 2002

Zo: Preacher, don't the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about killin'?
Book: Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps.


Mal and Zoe share history that no one can fully understand. Wash begins to feel jealous, so he demands that he will be Mal’s back up on the next misson. Of course, this mission puts them up against Niska, the gangster they had to cross in the episode Train Robbery.

So the rest have mount a rescue operation. Zoe leaves no doubt where her loyalties lie. When offered a choice…Niska is the kind who likes to play games, she chooses her husband before he can give his “this is a difficult choice that will tell us much about you” speech.

Now, they have to raid a fortified space station to get Mal back.

There is a great sub-plot with Inara’s client, the Senator. She’s a woman, which leads to the repeated line from Jayne, “If anyone wants me, I’ll be in my bunk.”

We also get to see that River is not just random nonsense, and intuitive genius, but is in point of fact, incredibly dangerous.

Episode 10: Objects in Space
Original Air Date: 13 December 2002

Jubal Early: You folks are all insane...
Dr. Simon Tam: Well, my sister's a ship. We had a complicated childhood


The Alliance wants River Tam and they are willing to do almost anything to get her, including hiring a bounty hunter named Jubal Early. When he sneaks onboard Serenity, the situation is grim…he just has no idea what he has gotten himself into.

Episode 11: Serenity
Original Air Date: 20 December 2002

Zo: I know something ain't right.
Wash: Sweetie, we're crooks. If everything were right, we'd be in jail.


This was the original pilot episode. The fact that it falls here tells you of the brilliance of the powers that be, and why the series had so many problem. The conflict involves an agent stowed on board, and a gunshot wound.

Season 1, Episode 12: Heart of Gold
Original Air Date: 4 August 2003
Jayne: Don't much see the benefit in gettin' involved in stranger's troubles without a up-front price negotiated.
Shepherd Book: These people need assistance. The benefit wouldn't necessarily be for you.
Jayne: That's what I'm sayin'.
Zo: No one's gonna force you to go, Jayne. As has been stated, this job is strickly speculative.
Jayne: Good. Don't know these folks, don't much care to.
Mal: They're wh*res.
Jayne: I'm in.


Serenity is hired by a friend of Inara’s, Nandi. Nandi runs a wh*rehouse. One of the clients, a very powerful man, has no children, so when his favorite girl shows up pregnant, he wants the baby. The crew is not going to let this happen. Jayne Cobb is perhaps the happiest we ever see him; guns and wh*res and a free license to use both.

Episode 13: Trash
Original Air Date: 21 July 2003 (Never aired in original run)

Damn you, Bridget. Damn you to Hades. You broke my heart in a million pieces. You made me love you and then you... I shaved off my beard for you, devil woman! Monty Reynolds.

When Malcolm runs into an old friend, they discover they have something in common; they are married to the same woman! Yes, it is the return of Saffron Reynolds, my favorite villain of the series, and she has plans to steal the biggest haul any of them have ever contemplated. And anyone who suggests that this is my favorite episode because Mal is naked in it is just crass.

Episode 14: The Message
Original Air Date: 28 July 2003 (Never Aired)

You wanna explain to me exactly why you got yourself all corpsified and mailed to me? Mal Reynolds

Mail day is hit and miss when you travel between planets, so everyone is always happy when they get a package.

Someone mailed Mal and Zoe a dead body.

Tracey was a kid who fought with them in the Rebellion. Now he has mailed himself to his war buddies asking them to take him home. “When you can’t walk, you crawl, when you can’t crawl anymore, you find someone to carry you.” That was the lesson they taught him. And now, he is asking them to carry him home.

Unfortunately, there are other parties interested in the body, very interested, and they have really big guns. So Mal has to figure out why.

This is one of the most poignant scenes in the show…the funeral. The cast had just been told they had been cancelled, so the emotion here is very real. The music is unbelievably haunting.

This is the best Sci Fi Series to hit the airwaves since Babylon 5 left the air. Nothing comes close with the possible exception of Battlestar Galactica. That makes the story of the incredible mismanagement by the network executives all the more infuriating. We were robbed of what could have been a hugely successful series because some idiot thought they were smarter than Joss Whedon.

I hope the networks have learned their lessons.

I hope the next thing Joss creates has even half as much charm and originality.

“Take us out of the world.”


Recommend this product? Yes

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