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Firefly…or, Is my coat brown?

April 29, 2010 3 comments

I missed it.  I heard about it a little.  I heard that it was a good show.  I heard other people talking about Firefly occasionally.  Then I heard that it got canceled.  So I thought, “Well, I guess it can’t have been that good.”

I’m not sure what I was thinking.  Network executives have been making bad decisions about Sci-Fi shows for decades.  Look at Star Trek.  A show with a modest following in its 3 season run, but with the demographics to pull the best time slots and the highest advertising budgets.  Canceled.  The fan following grew as the show was re-played in syndication.  It finally culminated in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Not that it was good.  The first good Trek movie was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. But I digress.  The show gained a huge following, spawned at least three other shows in the same universe and 6 movies with the original cast, 4 movies with the cast of Next Generation, and another movie with the original characters using new actors.  Canceling that show was not a great decision. 

Regardless of how bad the decision was to cancel Firefly, I never watched it until last year.  I finally decided I wanted to see what the hype was all about.  I found the entire run on Hulu and watched on my little computer screen while folding laundry.  Now I get it.  I watched Serenity on Netflix streaming shortly thereafter.  The show was fantastic.  The movie was as well.

I recommend Firefly to all my friends.  I still haven’t been able to get my wife to watch it yet, though.

The Premise

Humans have moved out into space.  They discovered a nearby solar system with hundreds of planets which they proceeded to terraform.  The central planets formed an Alliance and decided they should be in charge.  The planets closer to the edge wanted to be independent.  They fought a war and the independents lost.  The independents were called browncoats because they could not afford real uniforms, so they all wore brown coats.   (Thus the name the fans have taken for themselves: Browncoats.)

The Setting

On the central planets, life is good and fairly normal.  On the outer planets at the edge of “The Black” (unknown space), life is not easy.  It fairly resembles life on the American frontier.  No easy access to amenities.  Luxuries are rare because of the cost associated with bringing them out from the central planets.  Prostitution is not only legal, it is a respected trade in many areas. (Think Geisha from feudal Japan.)  The weapons are not phasers and disruptors like in Star Trek.  They are guns, six shooters and rifles.  The whole setting is very much old West with spaceships.  Very few advanced weapons exist.  Some have called it a space cowboys setting.

 The Alliance military patrols interplanetary space with large ships with some of this advanced weaponry, attempting to keep order and keep away the cannibalistic Reavers.  Very few of these Alliance police ships are out at the fringe.  The people out at the fringe make every effort to keep out of the way of the Alliance.  They are, in fact, an independent lot even though they lost the war.  Many of them lack all but the barest of necessities to get by.

Next time: The cast

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