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Firefly Review

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Unjustly maligned space opera from the creator of Buffy

★★★★★

Joss Whedon — as the build ’em up to knock ’em down law has it — had to stumble eventually, and Firefly was to be the show that tripped him up. Except it’s not artistically a flop at all.

In fact, it possesses the potential to be as masterful a creation as Buffy, and is all the more precious for having been cut down in its prime.

Essentially a futuristic interplanetary Western — though no ‘monster of the week’ aliens here —
it possesses by its nature enough material to maintain several seasons effectively, and in taking on nine lead characters dealing with grown-up problems — marriage, mental illness, post-war disillusionment — proves more ambitious than anything Whedon had done to date.

But it’s that depth of material and the refusal to rush the story that deterred all but the most dedicated audience and led Fox to cancel it only 14 episodes in. Restored to Whedon’s original vision — the running order was shuffled on TV — it rewards persistence with a slowly blossoming backstory that holds any number of plot twists, highly quotable, witty dialogue and subtle performances.

Let’s just pray that the proposed film version reignites the ’Fly.

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