Author Topic: Firefly Marathon  (Read 14312 times)

Najemikon

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Firefly: Episode 9 - Ariel
« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2010, 10:52:34 PM »
Firefly: Episode 9 - Ariel
4 out of 5

Simon offers the crew a proposition: if they help him sneak River into a hospital so he can run-tests on her, he'll tell them where to find medical supplies that will fetch an enormous price on black market.

An inventive and ambitious heist caper episode which features some impressive sets and special effects to make a convincing hospital. As Matthias said before, the rough, thrown together look of the show gives it character, but this story had to at least convince us that the hospital is top of the line and it's very well realised.

The story is a thrill too. Simon comes up with an audacious plan after River reveals an unfortunate side to her problems in a great scene. The River character continues to be delivered quite brilliantly. Once the plan is under way it is a lot of fun with a sort of Mission Impossible vibe. Still, I think it asks a lot of us to consider that Kaylee and Wash could possibly rebuild a small craft in such a small amount of time!

The conclusion to this story is fantastic and a much better realistic breakdown of Jayne's character than the Jaynestown episode.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 03:28:23 PM by Jon »

Najemikon

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Firefly: Episode 10 - War Stories
« Reply #46 on: February 25, 2010, 11:11:47 PM »
Firefly: Episode 10 - War Stories
3 out of 5

Wash regrets insisting he be allowed to accompany Mal on a mission after the two men are captured by Adelai Niska - the client who previously hired Mal to steal the medicine bound for Paradiso.

While War Stories ends very well and develops a couple of characters nicely, the first half is a bit obvious and as whole there's something slightly distasteful about the torture scenes. Unless done very well, I think such plots breed a little laziness. Plus as I said before, I really enjoy Wash and Zoe's relationship, so the premise (Wash is jealous of Mal) kind of comes out of nowhere.

Still, this does give the focus to the couple. Wash has some great banter throughout and Zoe gets to show her initiative and the final shoot-out is a riot! Like in Ariel, this needed some impressive sets and Niska's base is very well done, and accentuated nicely with CGI. One characters demise is particularly nasty if you look close enough... :P

While not as elegant as some previous episodes, I love how the writing continues to set-up clich├ęs just to knock them down: Zoe forced to choose between Mal and Wash; Mal having to deal with a henchman by 'himself'.  :laugh:

And proving that no episode goes wasted, Shepherd reveals himself to be adept at combat and wit (his put down on Simon borders on cocky!), so there is yet more to learn about this so called monk. Plus another character turns out to be deadly as well ("nothing in the 'verse..." :o) and scares the crap out of Kaylee. To be honest, I can't blame her!

The 'sub-plot' with apples was clever too, representing both fun times and not so fun times in several ways (River is laughing about eating them, but later throws them up as Simon's new wonder drugs from Ariel wear off).
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 03:29:03 PM by Jon »

Najemikon

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Firefly: Episode 11 - Trash
« Reply #47 on: February 26, 2010, 12:46:12 AM »
Firefly: Episode 11 - Trash
3 out of 5

Mal is shocked to discover his friend's new bride is Saffron who, although furious after Mal blows her cover, offers to cut Mal in on what she calls the perfect, big-time scam.

Ah, welcome back Christina Hendricks! While not as outrageously funny or fresh as Our Mrs. Reynolds, she makes the episode a delight and brings plenty of laughs, and once again, brings the best out of Inara.

It's a standard caper story really, with little to no peril and even less development. Though River casually reveals something about Jayne to Simon, who makes sure Jayne knows exactly where he stands. Great line from River too!

The character of River must have been a pet project of Whedon's, because she bears a lot of comparison with the marvellous Anya (Emma Caulfield). While she was more centred than River, she shares the inability to process emotions properly. In both characters it was never a gimmick and some very interesting things come out of it (see Buffy episode The Body in particular).

Another hilarious ending for this episode and a brave performance from Fillion! :laugh: Fancy meeting Inara like that... :-X

By the way, look out for the console screen when Kaylee and Jayne are reprogramming the trash bin.  :P
(click to show/hide)

Oh and another spoiler. Only look if you've seen the full series before...
(click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 03:29:56 PM by Jon »

Najemikon

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Firefly: Episode 12 - The Message
« Reply #48 on: February 27, 2010, 04:16:53 PM »
Firefly: Episode 12 - The Message
4 out of 5

While Jayne opens a mail package from his mother that contains a wool cap with ear flaps and a pom-pom, Mal and Zoe open their package to discover the body of their old war buddy, Tracey.

On paper, the premise of this episode is a bit daft. And the final act, again on paper, just shouldn't work, but it does and beautifully well. Whedon wrote this episode, with Tim Minear, and proves again how brilliantly he can turn a silly idea into gold. Sums up Buffy The Vampire Slayer as a whole and possibly explains why he hasn't been as successful as he deserves. Even now people frown when I say Buffy is my favourite show; you have to defend it as soon as the title comes out of your mouth!

The other thing this episode continues to prove is his grasp of mortality, in fact it is central to this plot working as well as it does. The final ironic moments push the viewers faith in the guest character to the limit. That it is still heart-breaking is a marvellous achievement. Much of this is down to the delivery by Jonathan M. Woodward, whose speech reminded me somewhat of Bill Murray, if that doesn't sound ridiculous.

It's a good action episode too, with a great villain played by Richard Burgi chasing down Serenity and giving Wash perhaps his best pilot moment. We've heard he's supposed to be good and the sequence shows it better than ever. The fact he makes a basic error that doesn't detract from his skill just adds to the fun!

The music is typically perfect too. The documentary on the DVD features Greg Edmonson speaking about this episode in particular, because he was worried he'd gone overboard. Emotions were running high, because the final scene happens to have been the last thing they shot. The tone is just right though and he adds to a superlative, memorable collection for Firefly. It's just one more point against Fox because this crew was clearly so into the whole project, it deserved time to grow.

And in another travesty, I see this episode was nominated for the 2004 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), but lost out to Gollum's acceptance speech at the MTV awards. ??? Ok, that is a funny sketch, but come on!

Najemikon

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Firefly: Episode 13 - Hearts of Gold
« Reply #49 on: February 27, 2010, 04:34:07 PM »
Firefly: Episode 13 - Hearts of Gold
4 out of 5

The crew comes to the aid of a bordello when its madam, an old acquaintance of Inara's, asks for help after a gunslinger claims a prostitute's baby is his and he's taking it because his wife is barren.


Where do they find these guest stars? Melinda Clarke as Nandi is yet another one who makes a big impression with a character only within a single episode. She is marvellous as Inara's friend and Madame of a good old Western whorehouse. Her relationship with Mal is handled very well. It's possibly the most adult episode and would have had great resonance throughout the series if this wasn't the penultimate one.

It's essentially a very loose play on Unforgiven, with the crew helping to even the odds for the girls against the locals led by another memorable villain played by Fredric Lane. It results in one of the best action sequences of the series in a proper Western siege, commendable for playing across two or three separate fronts, although just a little more time could have been given to Kaylee and Wash on Serenity. It sort of peters out without a satisfying conclusion. However the ending of the main plot is excellent. Powerful and then even a little brutal.

Jayne has little to do except be funny, but he is very funny! There's little to add to the main arc, but Inara gives an emotional performance that again, should have set up a major development. Not much for River to do in this story, but she gets a line that sums her up perfectly. Peering at Petaline while she's giving birth, River comments, "Who do you think is in there?". Very clever! :laugh:

Najemikon

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Firefly: Episode 14 - Objects in Space
« Reply #50 on: February 27, 2010, 04:55:26 PM »
Firefly: Episode 14 - Objects in Space
5 out of 5

The crew is caught off-guard when a bounty hunter, eager to claim the enormous reward on River's head, sneaks aboard 'Serenity' and methodically begins taking the crew prisoner one-by-one.


And so we come to the very premature end. Thankfully, this is a very fine example of Joss Whedon at his best with an ambitious, powerful episode that rather bravely leaves several characters sidelined. For very good reason though, because this is River's story and no less than the monumental performance throughout the series by Summer deserves.

The opening sequence is gorgeous. Whedon is a great director and adds all sorts of little touches to give us River's view of Serenity (the camera glides through walls and floors, matching her fluidity) as she wrestles with her own perception of the crew and comes to realise that she isn't wanted. Well, maybe. The ending subverts that theory brilliantly. First we get a full on proper dose of existentialism! The shot of her finding the twig is astonishing. The episode couldn't be like this all the way through though, but is neatly picked up post credits by the character of Jubal Early, the bounty hunter.

He is a marvellous villain and the writing for him is excellent, slipping between ruthless combat (deals with Mal and Book very quickly), deeply disturbing (his manipulation of Kaylee and even Inara) and quiet psychological contemplation (he holds Simon at gunpoint looking for River, but has time to wonder if River's room is still a room, even if she isn't in it!). All the while he is very witty too (loved the story about the arson loving midget!), but in the end, he has underestimated the wonderful River, who has seemingly become part of the ship...

I'm sure that makes it sound like it's a story far too clever for its own good, but it has to be seen to be believed. It is fantastic and manages to leave us with a positive note (loved the little moment between Mal and River), if not a satisfying conclusion to the threads (Jubal clearly understands Shepherd better than anyone including us, sadly).

Bloody Fox. To borrow Jubal's catchphrase...

"Does that seem right to you?"

Offline goodguy

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Re: Firefly: Episode 10 - War Stories
« Reply #51 on: February 27, 2010, 08:06:10 PM »
Firefly: Episode 10 - War Stories
...
Plus another character turns out to be deadly as well ("nothing in the 'verse..." :o) and scares the crap out of Kaylee.

It is a perfect moment that you just can't top by showing more of it. The fight scene at the end of the movie is by no means bad, but it can't hold a candle to the scene in this episode, both in execution and how it is set up.
Matthias

Najemikon

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Re: Firefly Marathon
« Reply #52 on: February 27, 2010, 09:24:04 PM »
Firefly: Episode 10 - War Stories
...
Plus another character turns out to be deadly as well ("nothing in the 'verse..." :o) and scares the crap out of Kaylee.

It is a perfect moment that you just can't top by showing more of it. The fight scene at the end of the movie is by no means bad, but it can't hold a candle to the scene in this episode, both in execution and how it is set up.

Agreed. I found when rating the episodes, the ones that followed a conventional route tended to pale. So that episode, for all it's action was pretty average, until that moment. The film tends to have to have more set-pieces to pull in a fresh audience.


Najemikon

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Serenity: Those Left Behind (Comic)
« Reply #53 on: February 27, 2010, 09:58:14 PM »
Serenity: Those Left Behind (Comic)
3 out of 5 (if directly compared with the show)



I thought I'd stick in a few notes about the comic mini-series that Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews created to act as a prequel to the film. More details of the plot are on Wikipedia, but I'll note the key bits in a spoiler below.

As a comic, it's pretty good, though slight and the artwork is too good, if that makes any sense! I find when comics get too painted, they become a little stilted for my liking, but this seems to be the style of all film and TV tie-ins. The dialogue isn't bad, but feels like it's trying too hard (scripted by Matthews, who did Heart of Gold for the TV run). It moves at a fast pace though and captures the heart of the series somewhat, starting with a bank robbery going wrong and a desperate escape from the town (great moment with Wash and Kaylee using Serenity to tear out a water tower and flood the chasing mob!). Then we follow the two Blue Hand guys from Ariel, still on River and Simon's trail...

(click to show/hide)

There's nothing major here, but if you like the show, you'll enjoy it. Not enough material to fill an episode though if you read quick!
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 05:26:58 PM by Jon »

Offline Tom

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Re: Firefly Marathon
« Reply #54 on: February 27, 2010, 10:31:05 PM »
05. Safe
Writer: Drew Z. Greenberg (Writer)
Director: Michael Grossman
Cast: Nathan Fillion (Mal), Gina Torres (Zoe), Alan Tudyk (Wash), Morena Baccarin (Inara), Adam Baldwin (Jayne), Jewel Staite (Kaylee), Sean Maher (Simon), Summer Glau (River), Ron Glass (Shepherd Book), Isabella Hofmann (Regan Tam), William Converse-Roberts (Gabriel Tam), John Thaddeus (Stark), Gary Werntz (Patron), Andrew A. Rolfes (Older Grange), Mathew C. Ferreira (Younger Grange), Joel Steingold (Head Cop), Erica N. Tazel (Doralee), Ron Ostrow (Commander), Morina Pierce (Ruby), Skylar Roberge (Young River), Zac Efron (Young Simon)

Nice to see more of River. Also some other great scenes. Like Kaylee's confronting Simon because he says bad things about Serenity's crew lifestyle.
And we get a hint that Shepherd Book has an interesting past which sadly they never had the chance to explore.

Rating:



Offline Tom

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Re: Firefly Marathon
« Reply #55 on: February 27, 2010, 11:28:09 PM »
06. Our Mrs Reynolds
Writer: Joss Whedon (Writer)
Director: Vondie Curtis Hall
Cast: Nathan Fillion (Mal), Gina Torres (Zoe), Alan Tudyk (Wash), Morena Baccarin (Inara), Adam Baldwin (Jayne), Jewel Staite (Kaylee), Sean Maher (Simon), Summer Glau (River), Ron Glass (Shepherd Book), Christina Hendricks (Saffron), Benito Martinez (Boss), Erik Passoja (Bree), Bob Fimiani (Elder Gommen), Alex Stemkovsky (Bandit #1)

My favorite Firefly episode. It is just a lot of fun. Like the reaction of the crew of finding out that Mal is married. The teasing. And of course Jayne trying to trade is favorite gun for Saffron. Also Inara insistance of having hit her head to hide the fact she kissed Mal's poisoneous lips.

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Najemikon

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Re: Firefly Marathon
« Reply #56 on: February 28, 2010, 01:44:01 AM »
Also Inara insistance of having hit her head to hide the fact she kissed Mal's poisoneous lips.

"I hit my head, is all..."  :hysterical:

And, has she ever looked cuter?

Offline Tom

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Re: Firefly Marathon
« Reply #57 on: February 28, 2010, 08:37:49 PM »
07. Jaynestown
Writer: Ben Edlund (Writer)
Director: Marita Grabiak
Cast: Nathan Fillion (Mal), Gina Torres (Zoe), Alan Tudyk (Wash), Morena Baccarin (Inara), Adam Baldwin (Jayne), Jewel Staite (Kaylee), Sean Maher (Simon), Summer Glau (River), Ron Glass (Shepherd Book), Gregory Itzin (Magistrate Higgins), Daniel Bess (Mudder), Kevin Gage (Stitch Hessian), Zachary Kranzier (Fess Higgins), Jordan Lund (Foreman), Bob McCracken (Well-Dressed Man), Ronald Craig Williams (Busker), John Jabaley (Bartender), Laura Niemi (Woman), Simon Brooke (Prod), Clement E. Blake (Mudder Elder)

A lot of great moments. I love the scenes between River and Book. How River is trying to fix the bible :)
And all that hair!
And I also like the Jayne storyline, where a town is celebrating him as a hero. Really funny is the scene where the crew learn about this while listening to the Jayne-Song.

Rating:



Offline Tom

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Re: Firefly Marathon
« Reply #58 on: February 28, 2010, 09:41:50 PM »
08. Out of Gas
Writer: Tim Minear (Writer)
Director: David Solomon
Cast: Nathan Fillion (Mal), Gina Torres (Zoe), Alan Tudyk (Wash), Morena Baccarin (Inara), Adam Baldwin (Jayne), Jewel Staite (Kaylee), Sean Maher (Simon), Summer Glau (River), Ron Glass (Shepherd Book), Steven Flynn (Captain), Ilia Volok (Marco), Lyle Kanouse (Salesman), Dax Griffin (Bester), Roderick L. McCarthy (Lacey #1)

Great transitions between the scenes of Mal's current predictment, how he got there and the flashbacks how the crew got together. Nice that even though the series only lasted 14 episodes we got to have the chance to see the beginnings. Although one thing still is open to which I'd like to see an answer: How and when did it happen, that Zoe goes from disliking Wash to loving him?

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Najemikon

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Re: Firefly Marathon
« Reply #59 on: February 28, 2010, 09:55:48 PM »
How and when did it happen, that Zoe goes from disliking Wash to loving him?

I prefer that to be left unexplained, especially as I think a lot of enduring relationships start like that...