The War to Unite the Planets was six years done, and the victorious Alliance was spreading its control further and further throughout the galaxy. Those who had fought for independence and so bloodily lost had no choice but to live by Alliance law. Some never would, and those few found themselves drifting--flying to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, to the worlds less civilized, some barely settled, where the Alliance might not control their lives. These were hard worlds, and work was where you found it. Those who got buy lived by a simple creed: Any job, anywhere. -- Intro, "Serenity"
Latest update: Through "Ariel," 17 November.
Includes Spoilers for Episodes from "Serenity" through "Ariel."
Recently, it seems, I have discovered a new obsession, in the form of the Joss Whedon's latest series on Fox, Firefly. Firefly astonishes me as few pieces of television have done since Buffy itself premiered six years ago. To be honest I was iffy about Firefly until I happened upon the pilot for the show, a two-hour movie completed but not aired by Fox (it's scheduled to be shown in late December). Even based on a poorly digitized bootleg of a bootleg, the pilot was amazing, dense, layered, and with characters drawn so well and so quickly I felt like I'd known them for ages. Had nothing come after it, I'd probably consider "Serenity" the best movie I've seen all year. That there's a whole series going on, for now at least, is icing on an already-sufficient cake.
How to celebrate something like Firefly is always a hard question for me. Writing reviews or synopses of each episode seems too derivative. And Fanfiction always strikes me as just bizarre. What I can do, however, is obsessively catalog minutiae. Trivia is a talent of mine. So, as I'm collecting each episode, I humbly offer the following as references for others with an interest in the show. Corrections and suggestions are gratefully welcomed; e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This chart tracks the misadventures of the amazingly accident-prone crew of Serenity as they go about their lives. While Mal and Zoe both know basic first aid, it's a darned good thing there's a doctor on board.
|The Train Job|
|Our Mrs. Reynolds|
|Out of Gas|| |
|Shot||Bonked||Beat up||Stabbed/cut||Exploded||Poisoned||Misc. injury|
Ongoing Body Count
Where would we be without conflict? Darned bored, that's where. Along with regular injuries to the main crew, nothing spices up a narrative like a lot of death. Hopefully mostly deaths of bad guys. Or, in morally ambiguous settings like Firefly's, let's call them worse guys. My count of deaths in the show thus far:
Firefly's universe contains hundreds of worlds and moons, terraformed for human habitation. These worlds range from the Central Planets, beneficiaries of all of the technological marvels of the 26th Century, out to peripheral planets and border moons recently colonized, where technology barely exists at all, and, funny to say, the landscape invariably vaguely resembles the stereotypical Old West.
I'm compiling a list of the worlds mentioned or visited in the show. I've indicated where I'm guessing at spelling, and noted the episode (or episodes) where the reference comes from.
|Ariel||One of the Core Planets. Features beautiful museums, and "some of the finest restaurants in the Core." (Inara) Also offers hiking, and swimming in a bioluminescent lake. Home to a Companions' Guild medical center, where annual physicals are performed. Ariel City is home to St. Mary's Hospital, one of the best medical facilities anywhere.||Ariel|
|Athens||Planet; Whitefall is its fourth moon||Serenity|
|Beaumond||Destination after Triumph; location of city of New Dunsmere. Five days from Triumph||Our Mrs. Reynolds|
|Bernadette||Origin of the settlers slaughtered by Reavers||Bushwacked|
|Boros||Destination after picking up passengers on Persephone||Serenity|
|Cenon (sp?)||Inara was born and lived there. The Great City is like "an ocean of light." According to Joss (interview, 11/13, at fox.com/firefly), with Londinium, one of the two capital worlds of the Alliance, the center of post-Earth Chinese culture.||Serenity, Bushwacked|
|Earth That Was||Earth, destroyed ("used up") at some point in the past||(Intro voiceover, passim.)|
|Georgia System||Set of worlds including the one that Paradiso is on.||Train Job|
|Greenleaf||Relatively developed world (i.e., with good medical care), somewhat over 10 hours flight from Jiangyin.||Safe|
|Higgins' Moon||Mudders' world||Jaynestown|
|Hera||Location of the Battle of Serenity||Serenity, Bushwacked|
|Jiangyin||Backwater world, home to some very superstitious settlers. A "prairie paradise," according to a cheap souvenir plate at the gift shop. Nearly a month's flight from Persephone.||Safe|
|Londinium||Not mentioned in the show yet, Joss in an interview has said that Londinium is, with Cenon, one of the two founding Core worlds of the Alliance, and the center of post-Earth Western civilization.||Interview with Joss Whedon, 11/13, available at the official Firefly website.|
|New Hall (sp?)||Unclear if it's a planet, moon, or settlement. Destination of the Reaver-slaughtered settlers||Bushwacked||Ott's Moon (sp?)||Place where the Walden picked up a catalyzer that could fix Serenity||Out of Gas|
|Osiris||One of the Central Planets-Simon and River lived in Capital City.||Serenity, Safe|
|Pakram (sp?)||Serenity's destination when Mal hired Kaylee||Out of Gas|
|Persephone||One of the more developed periphery worlds, including at least one major city. Has a titled aristocracy. Badger's home. Where Book, Simon, and River booked passage on Serenity.||Serenity, Shindig|
|Santo||Serenity's port of call before heading back to Persephone.||Shindig|
|Shadow||The world where Mal grew up, his mother owned a ranch there.||Our Mrs. Reynolds||Triumph||Where Serenity picked up Saffron. Home to peculiar marriage customs. Five days from Beaumond||Our Mrs. Reynolds|
|Whitefall||Patience's moon; fourth moon of Athens||Serenity|
Science and Technology Notes
This bit is just a collection of technical trivia. I know Joss has said it's not sci-fi, and you shouldn't look too hard at the technical gimcrackery that serves as a backdrop to the story he's telling. But consistency in a world is a key thing that keeps me with a story over time (Star Trek at this point is so self-inconsistent I've given up entirely). Plus some of the techy stuff is kind of fun. In no particular order:
Rather than simply cataloging an endless list of favorite quotes from Firefly thus far, this section will attempt to be somewhat brief, and hold to a specific topic. For a first attempt, I'm thinking philosophy. All of Joss's work (and just try convincing someone who doesn't watch Buffy of this) works on many levels. And through it all I tend to sense a coherent, very stoic sort of worldview. One that resonates well with my own gloomy outlook on life.
"I'd sure love to find a brand new compression coil."
"Wheel never stops turning Badger."
"Once you've been in Serenity you never leave. You just learn to live there." Zoe to Simon, "Serenity"
"Still don't think it's a good spot sir. She still has the advantage
Mal and Simon, last lines of "Serenity." This is one of the
purest evocations of the Firefly worldview. It was this snip of dialog that
completely won me over to the show and the world.
"You don't fix faith, River. It fixes you. " Book, "Jaynestown"
"Don't you ever stand for that sort of thing. Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back." Mal to Saffron, "Our Mrs. Reynolds"
"How we treat our dead is part of what makes us different from those that did the slaughtering." Book, "Bushwacked"
Kaylee: "Is that him?"
"I'm not running off. I don't know what you got in your head but I
didn't do this to prove some kind of a point to you. I actually thought I was
defending your honor and I never back down from a fight."
"You sanguine about the kind of reception we're apt to receive on an Alliance ship, Captain?"
"But I understand. You gave up everything you had to find me. And you found me broken. It's hard for you. Everything you had." River, to Simon, "Safe"
"Well, look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?"
"You know, it's all very sweet, stealing from the rich, selling to the poor..." Wash, "Ariel"
"What are you taking this so personal for? It ain't like I ratted you out to the Feds."