Thursday, September 08, 2005


Firefly DVD coverMy wife and I will have been married 17 years next month, for which I credit one thing above all else: a similar taste in television shows. Who else but my soulmate would sit through years of Stargate and Deep Space 9?

I had heard great things for a couple of years about Firefly, a science fiction drama written by Joss Whedon. But it wasn't until I read rave reviews at the Londonist and of a new film of the show that I plunked down the money and bought the whole season on DVD. We went through the 14 episodes in a couple of weeks and loved every minute of it.

Whedon is the guy behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which Theresa and I were drawn into relunctantly, and then enthusiastically. A teenager who kills bloodsuckers at night? Uh, right. But it was an excellent show, with some of the sharpest writing I've ever seen on television. Firefly's premise is only slightly less silly-sounding: 500 years in the future, two veterans of the losing side of a war and a small crew of hangers-on do odd and sometimes illegal jobs in a small ("Firefly-class") transport ship called Serenity.

The show is a weird mashup of science fiction and Westerns. Horses and shoot outs with revolvers feature heavily, but also run-ins with a dictatorial government's secret police and giant spaceships. The show seems to appeal to more than sci-fi fans. My daughter Ailish groaned every time we tried to watch a Stargate episode, but she willingly watched and enjoyed every episode of Firefly. I'd recommend caution for younger kids, though. Some of the episodes were violent, although all of the swearing was in Chinese. (Yes, Chinese. Don't ask me why.)

What's interesting about Firefly is that it was a total flop on TV. Only four episodes were actually broadcast, and in the wrong order. But the DVD unexpectedly sold like hotcakes, propelled by word of mouth. Those millions of sales have led to a film, due to come out on Sept. 30 (coincidentally the day before our wedding anniversary).

It's also the first time we've bought a TV series on DVD, and we liked it. We could watch when we want and as much as we wanted. I think we're going to start buying a few more, especially of series that we liked, but caught half way through, like Dead Like Me. With DVDs and Internet-delivered shows over Bittorrent bringing us the best TV shows lately, Theresa asked why we bother subscribing to Sky. Good question.

[Updated Sept. 11. Typo fix.]

Tags: , , , ,