Wednesday, April 6, 2011

'F' is for Firefly

            Space Westerns; gotta love 'em., coz it sometimes seems like the sub-genre gets no love, and certainly no respect. Long before Joss Whedon's 'Firefly' replaced 'Dark Angel', there had been many mash-ups of cowboys and spacemen, six-guns and spaceships. There was even this really good anime name of 'Cowboy Bebop'... But nothing quite like 'Firefly'.
            'Firefly' is the story of a ship and a crew on the edge of civilization, taking what jobs they can to get by, most of them at least slightly illegal. This isn't anything like any incarnation of Star Trek you've ever seen; the Alliance, which is what you might consider civilization (slavery is legal), are the ones with the big shiny ships with the big happy crews... Serenity, a Firefly class tramp freighter, is little, about the size of a horse barn. She's dirty and always falling apart, kept flying only through the power of plot and the mad skills of her girl mechanic, Kaylee. Truthfully, Serenity's not as pretty a some starships from other shows; she's not the Whitestar, for example. But with Wash at the controls, she flies like a dream, and that dream is freedom.
            Captain Malcom Reynolds is always getting into and out of one scrape after another. You start to question how good a leader the man is- until you look around at the people he's gathered and the way they hang together. Jayne Cobb is in it for the money and the promise of violence. Zoe is watching her Captain's back and keeping her husband Wash out of trouble. Dr. Simon Tam and his quirky genius sister River are on the run from the Alliance, and just maybe he'll get to together with Kaylee. Companion Inarra Serra runs her perfectly legitimate business out of a rented shuttle, when she isn't exchanging taunts with the Captain. And Shepherd Book is set to walk the 'Verse a while, and spread the word to them as need telling.
            "I've had a good day... we're still flying."
            "That's not much."
            "It's enough."

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