Firefly Complete Series DVD

Directed by: Various. Starring: Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Ron Glass, Summer Glau, Sean Maher, Jewel Staite, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk.

Synopsis: Story set in the future, in which space travel is possible and humanity has set out to colonize distant planets. Many of the planets are primitive, having to use older “technologies”—such as horses. Having won a unification war, an AngloSino Alliance manages the universe from central planets.

Firefly follows the adventures of Captain Malcom Reynolds, who was on the losing side of the war. He now travels the universe in a ship called Serenity, eking out a living by moving cargo discreetly. He is joined by a crew of eight, some with him since the war, some picked up on Episode 1.

Sample quotes:

Mal: “Sure. It would be humiliating. Having to lie there while the better man refuses to spill your blood. Mercy is the mark of a great man. (lightly stabs Atherton with the sword) Guess I’m just a good man. (stabs him again) Well, I’m all right.”

Inara: “Thank you for the wine. It’s very… fresh.”

Jayne: “Ten percent of nuthin’ is…let me do the math here…nuthin’ into nuthin’…carry the nuthin’…”

Shepherd Book: “I brought you some supper but if you’d prefer a lecture, I’ve a few very catchy ones prepped…sin and hellfire… one has lepers.”

River: “Bible’s broken. Contradictions, false logistics—doesn’t make sense.”

Simon: [to Jayne] “I’m trying to think of a way for you to be cruder. It’s just not coming.”

Kaylee: “Yessir, Captain Tight Pants.”

Zoe: “You paid money for this, sir? On purpose?”

Walsh: “Right. Less talking. She’s terse. I can be terse. Once in flight school, I was laconic.”

Comment: The more I watch this series, the more I like it. It was particularly nice to see all the episodes in their intended order. (Compare that to the aired order, and see how out of whack it was.) Of the 14 episodes, none is really a stinker, in my opinion. To have such a large cast and each a distinct, believable character is a testament to the writing. It was also beautifully shot and often very funny. Rating: ***½

The Extras: Very generous, with commentaries on many of the episodes by writers, directors, and actors in various combinations. Though some of these—particularly Joss’, I have to say—focus more on the shot-making and set design issues than I’m interested in, there are also some good tidbits on the network politics and insight into the character development and writing process. I hadn’t really noticed the use of Chinese before, for example, or the unusual lighting used.

The featurette on the Firefly story is quite interesting, given the troubled history with the airing network, who demanded a new first episode and changes to Mal’s character after viewing the two-hour pilot, then never really promoted the show appropriately. That gave everyone involved a sense of doom about the project, yet Joss argues that only spurred them on to do their best work.

The gag reel and deleted scenes make for some fun viewing.

Easter eggs:

  1. On disc 4, go to Special Features.
  2. Select page 2.
  3. Navigate to “Joss sings the Firefly Theme.”
  4. Cursor Left. A logo becomes highlighted on the left.
  5. Select the logo.

You will get video of Adam Baldwin singing “The Hero of Canton” song from the “Jaynestown” episode. While wearing the hat from “The Message.”

Usability: I had no problems with the on-screen menus. And I love the packaging. Each disk is in its case, which makes each easier to get at than in those fold-out cases. Furthermore, each case contains a detailed breakdown of the contents of each. Why can’t the Buffy disks do that?

Rating: ****

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