Other than watching “Jaynestown” a few months ago (as part of an effort to show Netflix that this was the type of show they should aim toward in developing original content), it had probably been at least a year since I’d watched any Firefly. My friend Anna had never seen it, so Sunday afternoon we turned on the pilot episode, “Serenity.”
Unlike those who watched the show when it first aired, “Serenity” was my first introduction to Firefly (not to be confused with Serenity, the movie, which I watched in its proper place after finishing the show). I think I fell in love with the show as soon as I saw Wash and his toy dinosaurs:
This is a fertile land and we will thrive. We will rule over all this land and we will call it… This Land.
Some people I’ve introduced the show to since then haven’t been drawn in quite as quickly, and while rewatching this episode I began to see why. Because the characters are so varied and complex, it’s hard to like most of them right away. In addition, there’s nine of them to get to know, and at first it’s hard to tell who are the bad guys and who are the good guys (especially with the good guys acting like bad guys quite often). Mal, in particular, doesn’t come off as someone you should be rooting for at first, stealing and calling Inara a whore and threatening to dump Simon and River off the ship.
I love how the show uses the dinner table as the place where the characters connect and feel like family. It also sets the stage for fun conversations like this:
Mal: Jayne, you will keep a civil tongue in that mouth, or I will sew it shut. Is there an understanding between us?
Jayne: You don’t pay me to talk pretty. Just because Kaylee gets lubed up over some big-city dandy doesn’t mean…
Mal: Walk away from this table. Right now.
Simon: What *do* you pay him for?
Simon: I was just wondering what his job is – on the ship.
Mal: Public relations.
But that’s another way Firefly can be more of an acquired taste – many lines become more hilarious the more times you watch the show. Though some are great right from the start:
Mal: Can’t get paid if you’re dead.
Jayne: Can’t get paid if you crawl away like a bitty little bug neither. I got a share of this job. Ten percent of nothin’ is, let me do the math here… nothin’ and a nothin’, carry the nothin’…
The pilot manages to pack in a ton about the ‘Verse in just over 80 minutes – the Alliance, Reavers, border planets, backstabbing thieves, companions, shepherds, and real food being a luxury. But the story itself is only just beginning, so in a way this is more of a prequel. The best is yet to come.