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July 22 2005

Firefly kicks off tonight on Sci-Fi with Serenity (part one). And every Friday for the next 15 weeks, we'll have discussion of each episode as it airs. All part of the countdown to the release of 'Serenity' on the big screen.

We haven't had an episode dicussion for ages and seeing as many of us missed Firefly airing the first time round, I thought it would be fun to do an episode discussion like we did for Angel and Buffy. Chip in with your favourite line, best moment etc.

Anyhow tonight's episode ends when .

And here's what Whedon and Minear thought of the pilot (from Cinefantastique).


For me, the strength of the thing was in its pilotiness, which is different in being a two-hour pilot than any movie. You’re sort of introducing people to a world, asking a lot of questions that you’re not going to answer and setting everything up. I love the way it did that.


I thought the pilot was incredible and complex. People are going into science fiction television, particularly anything with space ships, with certain preconceived notions because of Star Trek and everything else. You really needed those two hours to orient yourself to this Western future where there weren’t bumpy-headed aliens.

"Firefly stands out like a supermodel at a bus stop..." - The Hollywood Reporter

I LOVE that!
A question- according to the TV listings, they're showing the first half of Serenity tonight, and then showing two hours of Firefly next week. Might I ask, "Why?" Why not just show all of Serenity at once?

Plus next week the two hours of Serenity are up against the two hours of Arrested Development on Fox, which is just a painful scheduling problem for me.

As a sidenote, I was ranting about this last night to my wife, who got this confused, surprised, weird look on her face as I went on, until I abruptly footnoted my conversation to explain that when I said "first hour of Serenity", I meant "the first hour of the pilot episode of Firefly," not the movie. My ramblings made a lot more sense to her after that. =)
Looking forward to the discussion threads, Simon. Missed any the first time around. Thanks for doing so!

ETA: never mind about the schedule. I dunno. I got confused.

[ edited by April on 2005-07-22 19:12 ]
Odd, our Yahoo cable listings has Serenity on from 8 - 9 tonight, and 7 - 9 next Friday.

Edit: So does Sci-fi's schedule page- Serenity Part 1 tonight, Serenity Parts 1 and 2 next week.

[ edited by kishi on 2005-07-22 19:11 ]
actually, that's INSPIRED programming there.

tonight, firefly pilot part 1 at 7pm eastern. next week, firefly pilot part 1 *reairs* at 6pm, and at the expected time firefly pilot part 2 airs.

so, if you miss the first half the first time round (on sci fi), you can catch it right before the regularly scheduled time next week.

(i know the episode name is Serenity, but that's confusing now.)
Hopefully the SG and BSG fans will be tuning in. The ratings for both the SG shows were better than their last premier and BSG stayed the same (which was still better than the SG shows) and Sci-fi considers all three shows huge successes for them. If they can draw in that crowd that should give Firefly/Serenity even more good buzz. I'm wondering when they'll start showing the trailer for the movie.

I also think it's great that they are showing the first half of the pilot this week and then both parts next week. That way if someone sees the show and wants to get some friends to watch they won't have the excuse that they missed the first half. Of if someone was interested in watching and forget they'll have another chance. Very smart way of doing it.
When you put it that way, it does makes sense.

But it doesn't help the fact that I want to see the whole pilot now. =)
I'm looking forward to this. I never got in on any Whedon-y episodes online discussion before. (Shucks, I didn't find WHEDONesque until I was forlornly searching for comfort after Angel was cancelled.)

BTW, I finally got two co-workers to commit to watching tonight...took the international trailer and Chris Bridges' article to cinch it. Yay!
Its so great to see the show on tv again. even if I have seen these a dozen times :p
Aw, they are airing it in fullscreen.

Of course, it's fairly churlish to complain about that when they are actually playing them.

Memorable moments: about fifty before the theme music comes on! The 'just too pretty speech', the anti-air gun, Bendes getting shot in slowmo...pretty much the whole Battle of Serenity Valley sequence.

One tiny thing that's always bugged me is the little bubble that forms in the 'sticky' as its being applied. Damn I'm pedantic.
You know what I miss? The voiceover as the show starts. You don't get those on the DVD.
Did anyone else see that commercial for Serenity saying something about a television premiere of a trialer next week? I didn't catch all of what the guy said but cool!
Eddy, yes, they said the world premiere of a brand new Serenity trailer during next weeks episode! SHINY!!!
i was amazed at where the commercial breaks are, e.g. right in the middle of the scene with Badger. and the bit before the last break seemed very short, but maybe that's normal.
I don't think I've ever seen an ad for a trailer before, particularly one that says the "new" trailer, assuming the audience knows that there is an "old" one. Sci-Fi clearly knows who's watching.

I was disappointed in the full-screen presentation, too, but not really complaining.

And I did not know about the voiceover until this week, since I never saw the episodes during the regular broadcast. I was sorta hopin' that the show would air as it did originally, so that I would get the same experience. But, again, not really complaining. I'm soooooo delighted to see it on the air. Funny, I was even happy for commercial interruptions, just because they signaled a broadcast. I have no idea if the commercial breaks are in all the correct places -- they did not seem as out-of-sync as the commercial breaks on Angel on TNT.
I only saw a few minutes near the end. What is the voice over you are talking about?
newcj, apparently, per Simon's post in this thread (and another post earlier this week in another thread, I think), there was a voiceover at the beginning when the show was first broadcast.

Simon, or someone else who saw the show when it was originally aired, can you say what the voiceover concerned? Was it on each episode, or just the pilot?
It was on every episode and it was basically an introduction to the situation. This is my transcription of Ron Glass (Book) reading it at the start of Jaynestown.

"After the Earth was used up, we found a new solar system and hundreds of new Earths were terraformed and colonized. The central planets formed The Alliance and decided all the planets had to join under their rule. There was some disagreement on that point. After the war, many of the Independents who had fought and lost, drifted to the edges of the system, far from Alliance control. Out here, people struggled to get by with the most basic technologies. A ship could bring you work. A gun could help you keep it. A Captain's goal was simple, find a crew, find a job. Keep flying."

Then they changed it to Nathan Fillion and they changed the wording, if I remember correctly it was because a new solar system wasn't right, it should've been galaxy. This is off Out Of Gas:
"Here's how it is - Earth got used up, so we terraformed a whole new galaxy of earths. Some, rich and flush with the new technologies, some, not so much. The central planets, them as formed the Alliance, waged war to bring everyone under their rule. A few idiots tried to fight it, among them, myself. I'm Malcolm Reynolds, captain of Serenity. We got a good crew, fighters, pilot, mechanic. We even picked up a preacher and a bona fide Companion. There's a doctor, too, took his genius sister out of some Alliance camp, so they're keeping a low profile. You got a job, we can do it. Don't much care what it is."

[ edited by Paul_Rocks on 2005-07-23 04:27 ]
You know what I miss? The voiceover as the show starts. You don't get those on the DVD.

Simon, I miss those too but it's nice to see that the first voiceover by Ron Glass is included (in text format at least) on the inside cover of Serenity issue #1. That gave me a happy, certainly nailed down the idea that I was reading a 'lost' episode.
Actually, it's more like a simultaneous sense of sweet closure to "Firefly" (even though the comics are titled "Serenity" - bear with me, please) coupled with an introduction to the expanded universe of the movie; anyone who's seen either or both trailers so far will hopefully agree that the movie, in many ways, looks just so much bigger than the television series.
I'm certainly not dumping on television here, just so we're clear, since one further detail that I miss from the broadcast episodes that is missing on the DVD is the cool effect with the wire-frame ship outline lighting up in a sort of orange-y yellow and filling the screen with a flash! It appears directly after the end of each episode's fourth act, before the credits roll.
I can't remember whether we see this image instead of, before or after seeing Joss and Tim listed as executive producers. Now I wish, just a little, that I hadn't given away my tape of all the original broadcast episodes to my friend at the video store...of course, he and his girlfriend may not be the flans they are now otherwise ;-)
Anyway, can anyone say what the end of the episode looks like, whether this image I've described in this post appears on Sci-Fi tonight? I'd watch it myself but gosh, I don't have cable, nor am I aware whether Sci-Fi USA is available here in Canada - however, we do have The Space Channel so it's all good!

(Edit: Sorry for the bad link; I honestly can't tell what I did wrong, I've no idea why it's pointing to instead of just like I intend it to. I've posted plenty of valid links before in previous comments...moderator(s), help please?)

[ edited by gorramit on 2005-07-23 05:15 ]
I have to say I was disappointed that they didn't show it in widescreen. I wanted it to be perfect for all the newbies that were tuning in. Now, maybe they won't notice but a couple of scenes it was pretty hard not to notice it was supposed to be shown in widescreen like when Wash and Mal are both in a scene and they're far enough apart that you can't really see either one of them.

But, loved seeing it again on regular tv, loved seeing the big announcement for the World premier trailer next week but still hate commercials. And they didn't show any "next week" on Firefly scenes.

And yes, about a million stand out moments for me just because I've seen it so many times that every moment stands out. One of my favorites though is Jayne anxiously crouching in front of the window as Kaylee is being operated on. And I love when Mal orders him away from the table for being rude.

Does anyone think that Sci-fi wasn't allowed to show it in it's widescreen glory? It just makes no sense to me whey they wouldn't.
Was there cuts in last night's episode? I've seen mention of them in other places.
You can hear Hathan Fillion's voiceover (with some interesting edits) at the beginning of every episode of "The Signal," the Firefly podcast produced every week at

BTW, I finally got two co-workers to commit to watching tonight...took the international trailer and Chris Bridges' article to cinch it.

You have no idea how gratifying that is...
Damn, Jonny come lately. Sorry, thought there would be another post covering the discussion.
Chris Bridges, like m'cookies, I sent a link to the international trailer and your article to several people - some of whom had expressed an interest and some of whom have had to listen to me raving about Firefly, Serenity, Joss and Whedonesque for weeks/months...

My next-door neighbour had borrowed my DVD set last weekend, but after he watched the trailer and read your article, he sat down to watch the pilot episode on Thursday night and stayed up to watch "Train Job" and couldn't wait to watch more on Friday. I'm expecting the same reaction from a couple of other people as well. Thanks again for the great article.

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