1,022 of 1,061 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 faces looking into the black, seeing 9 different things
I despise television. I even gave it up last year, and now only see a few shows a friend and I watch together. "The West Wing". "24". "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".
Until last fall. Then I saw "Firefly", named somewhat whimsically about a cargo ship whose end lights up when it accelerates. But this is no flashy futuristic show about technical wonders, but rather a...
Published on July 23, 2003 by Blair A. Petterson
70 of 88 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great series, bad blu ray
I finally decided to upgrade my Firefly DVDs and get the Blu Rays, but I am disappointed. It is still quite grainy, which always annoyed me with the DVDs, but the menu has definitely gotten better. There is now a "play all" option, which is GREAT. The menu screens are very clear and nice, but the episodes themselves dont look a whole lot different to me. Worth it if you...
Published on September 13, 2009 by Kelly M.
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1,022 of 1,061 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 faces looking into the black, seeing 9 different things,
This review is from: Firefly: The Complete Series (DVD)I despise television. I even gave it up last year, and now only see a few shows a friend and I watch together. "The West Wing". "24". "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".
Until last fall. Then I saw "Firefly", named somewhat whimsically about a cargo ship whose end lights up when it accelerates. But this is no flashy futuristic show about technical wonders, but rather a very nitty-gritty character study of nine very individual people.
Joss Whedon, who created "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel", had an idea for a science fiction show unique to that "Southern California born/spent time in Britain as a teenager" background of his: He read a book about the ground level grunts of the American Civil War called "The Rebel Angels" and wanted to do a TV series about the people who didn't make the history books: the people history stepped on. He wanted to do a story set in a future about a ship and where it went. Not a vast engine of war or a great vessel of exploration and diplomacy, but an old tramp steamer of a ship, so small it didn't even have a mounted gun, that made its way through thick and thin by taking any job, anywhere, no questions asked.
The nine people on board the Firefly-class ship "Serenity" aren't rich, famous, particularly smart or particularly gifted, for the most part. They all have pasts, and not all of them are comfortable about talking about themselves. They live in the aftermath of a major war that lead to the forceable unification of all of humanity, and not all of them were on the same side. The ship's name, "Serenity" is that of the climactic battle of that war, and they find themselves still trapped psychologically in a war that ended six years before. They have doubts, fears, old pains and new concerns, like where their next job is coming from and whether they'll live through it, because the few people that can hire them and will hire them have scant concern for ethics, the law or good manners. Sometimes your employer is more dangerous to you than the law you're trying to avoid.
And this is a show about the outskirts: there are laser guns, hoverships and advanced technology, but few can afford them. Big Dumb Bullets are still cheaper than Flashy Powered Blasters, and on the frontier reliability is more important than fashion, particularly when the other fellow has a habit of firing first. A horse will do you better than a powersled if you have lots of grasslands but no repair facilities or money to pay. A man dressed like a cowboy may have artificial organs and a revolver, or own a space station and need to pick up advanced medicines or even transfer a herd of cows. "Serenity" flies between the Core worlds of advanced technology and the newly terraformed Rim worlds, where people are grateful to have a wooden roof overhead.
It is this peculiar mix of the old and new that fascinates those looking for the unexpected: the comically serious and the deadly comical. Any given episode will shift you from adventure to terror, farce to drama, slapstick to deep thought and a sense of "boy, I didn't see THAT coming" without a sense that no-one is at the wheel, or that the screenwriter is merely playing with your expectations. More importantly, there are no "cheats": every action more deeply reveals the characters and who they are becoming. Unlike the broadcasts, this DVD shows the episodes, including three new ones, in their intended order.
"Firefly" is seldom what it first appears to be, either in terms of appearance or behaviour. No plot works out as expected, and people can surprise you. Joss Whedon indicated that "Buffy" was about growing up, "Angel" is about getting to work and "Firefly" is about being grown up and the choices you have to make as an adult. It's not like any other show you've seen: a story of the nine people who find themselves on board a ship, looking into the black of space, and seeing nine different things looking back at them.
Even if you've seen all the first season episodes broadcast on FOX and are waiting for the forthcoming 2005 Universal motion picture, this DVD has all episodes to date, including the three not previously broadcast in the U.S., and such extras as cast and creator commentaries, a blooper reel to equal any other show in history and a few other easter eggs here and there.
Like such great television shows as "Hill Street Blues", "Babylon 5", "Homicide: Life on the Streets" or "The Supranos", this will introduce you to people and places that will enrich you and your concept of the world. I still hate television. I'm buying this DVD.
440 of 464 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't believe there is so little of it.,
This review is from: Firefly: The Complete Series (DVD)I liked Star Trek. But Star Trek was a sterile proto-socialist fantasy, without a comprehensible culture beyond starfleet itself.
I like Star Wars better, but despite the detailed world building it remained a fairly predictable space opera.
Firefly (and the Serenity movie) are the best damn science fiction I have ever watched on a screen. I can't believe that there is no more of this to watch. I will not believe it. I am going to think really, really desperate and evil thoughts until someone gives me another fix.
OK, so I hate reviews that just say something was good and the network is evil for having cancelled it, no matter how true that is. A person reads a review not to determine whether someone they have never heard of likes something, but, hopefully, whether they might like it. So here is my pathetic attempt to describe greatness. Why I loved Firefly
1. Detailed world building. I can easily see how the worlds of humankind shown in this series evolved from the world of today. Any projection into the future is hazardous, but at least this series makes a reasoned attempt at such a projection. I see bits and pieces of the world we know, taken apart and reassembled on another stage, as, indeed, they will have been after the passage of 500 years. Whether it is the Chinese characters in the shop windows, the opulent, almost Raj-like feel of the Tam estate and the clothes worn there, the eclectic, practical, almost wild west garb of the outer worlds, or the oriental but not quite specific derivation of Inara's quarters, I can tell that someone spent a lot of time and energy trying to trace out the lines of this future society. Which leads me to
2. The emphasis on the everyday and practical. There aren't any aliens cluttering up the landscape. What's more, industrial zones look like there is active industry, rural areas have real farmers and miners. Laser weapons exist, but there is a realization that putting a high speed piece of lead through a person is likely to be just as fatal (if not more so) than burning them with a laser. (And I loved the "check battery" indicator on the laser pistol, too.) We also get to see what sort of goods a future smuggler smuggles, and its not always "spice" or precious metals. Firefly deals with medical supplies, concentrated food bars, engine parts, ceramics, seed, even a herd of cows for goodness' sakes. Anything real people might want to get that they may not have. They even talk about buying clay of high quality (though this is a cover) Which leads me to
3. A view of the future from street level. There are few worldshaking events in Firefly, and what there are are seen from the viewpoint of ordinary people, hustlers, dirt farmers, "mudders", mechanics (and, yes, prostitutes, but preachers, too). This show is not about ambassadors, jedi knights, queens, admirals or generals. I think it's significant that Mal was a sergeant in the Independent army, not even an officer much less a field commander. Which leads me to
4. Nine very unforgettable and well formed characters. None of them are particularly extraordinary people (ok, River is, but that's the exception that proves the rule. The series ended when we were just getting a glimpse of how extraordinary she is. The movie tells us a lot more. She is, however, still a "little person") All of them are complicated, all of them are compelling, and all of them could make a suitable paper about character development in a college English class. Sometimes I might think I like Kaylee best; her wide-eyed upbeat attitude, her poor white trash background (being as how that's what I am), her crush on Simon, or the bigger crush she has on engines. I think of her lying wounded crooning "there's my good girl" to the ship. Other times I can't help but like not-quite dumb as a post tough-guy Jayne, who always seems to want to kill somebody (and tries selling out fellow crew members once) but who wears the stupid hat his mother made him and agonizes over the young man who dies for him in "Jaynestown." Actually, I love them all, but I don't have room for more examples. (My daughter, the English major, doesn't care for Inara and Simon. I think she's wrong. The show would be different without them.) All of which leads me to
5. Real people dealing with real moral dilemmas. Mal likes to think of himself as a hardbitten criminal. Problem is, that in the course of the show he is constantly turning down jobs, backing out of them, protecting people with no hope of return, and doing other insipidly noble things. He drives Jayne to distraction, but Jayne is not immune to this malady either. None of them are. Shepherd Book may comment that he seems to have gotten on the wrong ship, and Kaylee may lightly reply to Simon's question about what they are doing with "Crime." but these are basically good people. The epitome of this, of course, is the fact that Serenity takes in Simon and River, despite the trouble this is bound to cause them. On the other hand, evil in the world of Firefly is both less obvious and more real. (Clue: The Alliance is evil). However, there is no leader in black robes with a maniacal laugh shouting out that here lies evil. In point of fact, perfectly good people might and do honestly see the Alliance as a force for good, as exemplified by Inara's statement that she supported unification. No, rather than being told that evil is here, we are shown it. The epitome of this is what was being done to River, but there is much more. "We meddle," says River in the movie. Darn right they do.
6. Contravention of stereotypes. I always thought that if a villain told me he was going to hunt me down and kill me, that, rather than walk nobly away, I would shoot him in the head. Mal does me one better. He kicks the guy into a spinning turbine. Another example: when Mal demands of a recalcitrant crew "Do you want to run this ship?", Jayne replies "Yes!", and all the flustered hero can think of to say is "Well, you can't." Not to mention other cool and different things enumerated above incidently, like the continued use of slug-throwing weaponry (and even non-laser swords and knives).
7. I can't enumerate all the really funny parts. Just one example is when Jayne wants to trade Mal his favorite gun for the woman Mal supposedly married while drunk. "She has a name," says Mal, and Jayne replies, "So does this! Vera . . ." (Vera sees action in at least two episodes. She is indeed a fine gun.)
The one thing I can't get my mind around is that this series is Joss Whedon's work. I am something less than a fan of his other work. I can't imagine in what corner of his brain he was hiding it; I just want to thank him for it. I can't believe I missed the series when it was on tv. I can't wait for another movie. Can somebody take the hint out there? I'm a bit desperate.
1,493 of 1,599 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't take the skies from me,
By A Customer
This review is from: Firefly: The Complete Series (DVD)Firefly was a show that came on the heels of Fox's usual brilliant decision-making--right after it cancelled my beloved Dark Angel. I first thought this show would be awful, but I sat down and watched it--and it was love. Truly. It's rare to find a show that can be taken seriously that also made me laugh out loud in every episode. The writing was extraordinary, and the actors/actresses were absolute gold. It was really like watching a movie each time around. Yet again, Fox shot itself in the foot and iced another good show. Nonetheless, at least the DVD is soon to come. At least they had the decency to do that. Come on, sing it with me: "Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand. But I don't care--I'm still free. You can't take the skies from me..."
256 of 278 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best I've ever seen,
This review is from: Firefly: The Complete Series (DVD)I'd never heard of this show until I noticed the customer reviews while browsing through Amazon.com ... The response was so overwhelming that I HAD to check it out. It is without a doubt the best series I've ever seen. I was completely absorbed by the stories and characters, and watched the entire series in one sitting - I just couldn't stop. I hope another station picks up on this great show and carries it forward!! (and I can hardly wait to see the movie!!!)
100 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Firefly was the best thing Fox never knew it had,
By A Customer
This review is from: Firefly: The Complete Series (DVD)Fox has had its share of failed shows in the past years. This is to say nothing of their chronic ability to underadvertise and pre-empt their best programming in lieu of sporting events and mindless programming.
How Joss Whedon's Firefly managed to get a prime-time Friday night slot on Fox is beyond me. It was smartly written, well directed, extremely well cast and for its short-run had enough sub plots to keep you watching week after week. Firefly is, hands down, one of the best shows that Fox has ever aired. Why they relentlessly under-promoted this well-viewed show may never be known.
It is my sincere hope that now that Buffy is gone, Whedon manages to find another network that will pick up Firefly. It is too good to die.
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series with something for everyone,
This review is from: Firefly: The Complete Series (DVD)I was not familiar with Buffy or Angel when I first saw this show, and I was initially a little skeptical of its combined Western and Sci-fi elements. After seeing a couple of episodes out of order, I was interested but it wasn't until I watched the pilot, "Serenity," and then started viewing the rest of the series in order that I realized what a terrific show this is! The dialogue is extremely witty, and it is very quotable and memorable. The characters are three-dimensional, and this certainly isn't a simple "good guy vs. bad guy" show. It is great entertainment, but it's interesting that people with very different political, religious, and general world views all seem to find something in this series that reflects their viewpoints. It stimulates intelligent thought and conversation, which is not something that can be said about a lot of TV shows. In short, it's funny, smart, interesting, and a definite 5+ star DVD. Start enjoying the Firefly 'verse today (there is even a movie forthcoming!).
92 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This show deserved so much better...,
This review is from: Firefly: The Complete Series (DVD)Buy the DVD; you won't be sorry.
One of the best things on TV recently, Firefly deserved better than the shabby treatment it got from FOX. While it is a SciFi show, like all great SciFi, it transcended the genre. Tight writing, solid acting, and beautiful camerawork made this show a standout. Flawed human characters thrown together in extreme situations made it a show that could have become a classic.
I'm still bitter over FOX's poor treatment and rapid cancellation of this show. It's no wonder that TV is a wasteland with dumb decisions like this one.
Now, let's get that feature movie deal going...
64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better, still some grain, special effects in SD res,
This review is from: Firefly: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)Only caught the series AFTER it was canceled, and have become a browncoat, to the point that, yes, I actually do wear a brown coat I bought when Serenity came out. It's a series worth checking out. The chances you'll become that much of a nerd are very low, so don't be afraid. :)
Picture quality is high compared to the original DVDs, detailed and clearer, though since the series is fairly dark at points, there's some definite noise (looks like film grain, actually) in the black backgrounds (at least on my set, a Mitsubishi). Despite initial rumors, special effects sequences remain at 480i (upconverted) instead of being re-rendered to 1080p. That's occasionally annoying if you're looking for it, but otherwise not. Sound is greatly improved.
As others have pointed out, the set is shy on new extras, which is too bad. Enjoyed the extra commentary and the partial reunion, would have appreciated more.
Packaging seems decent for a blu-ray multipack. One review complains about the packaging, but I found it efficient and not problematic (case opens with one middle piece. Middle piece has a disc on each side, third disc is on the back of the open case. I've seen worse: some mass-DVD multipacks with two dvds overlapping each other so you have to remove one to get at the other...)
Worth the money if you have a good HD set. If you're not sure, rent the first episodes from Netflix or Blockbuster.
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like no other show on television,
This review is from: Firefly: The Complete Series (DVD)Not since M*A*S*H have I seen a show so perfectly blend drama and humor. The quality of this show is at a level normally only seen in movies, and the fact that the writers, directors, producers and actors were capable of producing this week after week says much about their abilities. Sadly, FOX destroyed any chance of the show's success with misleading advertising, bad scheduling and by rejecting a wonderful two-hour pilot episode, forcing the creators, Joss Whedon & Tim Minear, to come up with a mediocre one-hour pilot that was rushed, introduced the characters very poorly and clumsily, and proved to be by far the worst episode of the series. (still better than most television though) Thankfully, Whedon loves this project, and it looks like Firefly may well be making the jump to movies faster than any show in the history of television.
Simply put, Firefly is the best television show I have ever seen.
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost there ....,
This review is from: Firefly: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)I won't bother reviewing Firefly itself because you're all shiny enough to know what's happening in the 'verse, instead I'll concentrate on the Blu-Ray factor.
This IS a better release than the DVDs, no question. The scenes that were filmed look definitively high definition and show details such as fabric weaves and monitor displays. The low light areas are also much improved and the detail is more obvious. Some scenes, primarily SFX clips, were not created with HD in mind and remain stubbornly standard definition. To my surprise this is not as grating as I'd expected. I run a 52" 1080 TV and therefore I'd presumed the SD clips would stand out like the proverbial sore thumb but no ... they integrate quite well. Bear in mind that even the SD clips will look slightly better on Blu-Ray because DVD is not quite broadcast resolution and so Blu-Ray can add those extra few lines that the DVD was missing.
The audio is very good. The DTS Master track sounds great and really reveals the subtlety in the string driven music that accompanies the series. The surround efficiency has been improved to with the 3D soundscape seeming much more coherent.
As I said, I'm surprised by how much I like this Blu-Ray release and for any Firefly appreciator with a reasonably good HD system then don't even think about not buying it!
Oh, nice menus too.
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Firefly: The Complete Series by Vern Gillum (DVD - 2003)