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  1. #1

    Default The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    The purpose of this thread is to provide some basic information about the series and film to newcomers. With the film and television series gathering momentum in the US and other parts of the world, there is increasing interest in the Firefly universe.

    What is Firefly?

    Firefly is a science-fiction western set 500 years in humanity's future. The earth that we know of (referred to in the series and film as "Earth that Was") became overpopulated and humanity gradually settled in the outer reaches of space by terraforming planets and moons.
    This universe has a somewhat cosmopolitan feel but the two dominant cultures appear to be American (hence the western theme) and Chinese. In this particular era, most of the human race seem to be bilingual at least with English and Chinese as the lingua franca. The Chinese used in the television series and film are mainly Mandarin and Cantonese.

    The exploits of the crew take place largely on a ship called Serenity, which is a Firefly model spacecraft. The stories revolve around the activities of its 9 member crew.

    What is Serenity?
    Serenity is the name of the film based on the Firefly series. It opened on the 29 September in Australia and New Zealand, and on the 30 Sept in the US. The film is set eight months after the events of the final episode.

    "Serenity" is also the name of the television pilot which was made to provide some backstory to the characters and subsequent events of the series.

    What is the Alliance?
    The Alliance is the main political power of this universe. They govern through a body of individuals referred to in the film as the "Parliament". Unlike the Federation (of Star Trek), the Alliance has malevolent undertones of Big Brother proportions.
    At one stage during its history, the Alliance attempted to bring all planets under its control under the guise of "Unification". Many planets in the outer regions resisted and war ensued between the Alliance and the Independents or Browncoats.
    Last edited by Easter Lily; October 1st, 2005 at 02:00 PM.

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  2. #2
    Chief Master Sergeant bioevilfan's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    One note is that the Firefly/Serenity universe is all in one system of planets and moons. The journey took an entire generation to get there. The inner planets were colonized first by the richer people and the others were dumped on the outer planets(which is where most of Firefly takes place). When the inner planets formed the Alliance they did so for peace and economic stability but as the years went on and the people from the outer planets resented them, they decided to "convince" them to join the Alliance. This created a war that Mal and Zoe were in at the start of the Firefly pilot "Serenity". The Alliance does control the planets to a point but they can't be everywhere all the time. The rest of history is told in the show, comics and the movie.
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  3. #3
    First Lieutenant Immy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    I pinched this from fireflywiki (with a few alterations) cos I'm lazy...

    CANCELLATION -- What happened to Firefly...
    Though the show had a loyal following during its original broadcast, it was cancelled by the Fox Broadcasting Company in December 2002 after only 11 episodes out of the 14 produced, were shown in the USA and Canada. Low ratings were blamed for the cancellation; it was also suggested that Whedon's additional responsibilities on Angel after co-creator David Greenwalt's departure from that show was a contributing factor.

    In the hopes of getting another network such as UPN to pick up the cancelled show, fans formed the 'Firefly Immediate Assistance' campaign, but were technically unsuccessful.

    Fans attributed the low ratings in part to actions of the Fox Network. Firefly was promoted as an action-comedy rather than the more serious character study it was intended to be; episodes were occasionally preempted for sporting events, and the episodes were not aired in the order that the creators had intended. Most notably, the two-hour episode Serenity was intended to be the pilot episode, as it contains most of the character introductions and back-story. However, FOX decided that Serenity was not a suitable pilot, and so the second episode, The Train Job (written in 2 days) was rushed into production to become the pilot episode.

    The sequence of episodes aired in USA and Canada:

    * In the USA and Canada, starting on September 20, 2002, Fox broadcast the episodes on Fridays at 20:00 (except for the second hour of the pilot which was shown at 21:00). The order was 2-3, 6; 7-8, 4-5, 9; 10, 14, 1; with 11-13 unaired in the USA.

    Firefly on DVD
    In December 2003 a Boxset of all 14 episodes were released in North America, soon after followed by a global release, and by September of 2005, it had sold approximately 500,000 copies.



    to be continued...
    In the next exciting instalment... How our hero's (Universal) triumphed over the ogre (FOX)
    Last edited by Immy; September 30th, 2005 at 04:29 AM.

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  4. #4
    Major blueiris's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    About the name Serenity: The Battle of Serenity Valley was the last major battle in the civil war fought between the Alliance and the Browncoats, where both sides suffered heavy casualties.
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  5. #5
    Brigadier General Madeleine's Avatar
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    Default EL, I got your PM

    Also about the name 'Serenity' - both the Film and the ninety minute pilot episode were called Serenity. So I wondered: are folks calling the pilot something else now to avoid confusion? ('Pilot' has a catchy sort of sound to it, dontchathink? )

    Madeleine

  6. #6

    Default Re: EL, I got your PM

    Quote Originally Posted by Madeleine_W
    Also about the name 'Serenity' - both the Film and the ninety minute pilot episode were called Serenity. So I wondered: are folks calling the pilot something else now to avoid confusion? ('Pilot' has a catchy sort of sound to it, dontchathink? )
    Who knows... it might be come "The Pilot"... although, I suppose it wasn't the original pilot... One of the strange quirks of Fox's programming The Train Job was the original pilot if it can be called that...
    While there are parallels between the film and the television pilot, they have quite a different feel individually.
    Thanks for making it "stick".

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  7. #7
    Major General Willow'sCat's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Imo
    I pinched this from fireflywiki (with a few alterations) cos I'm lazy...

    CANCELLATION -- What happened to Firefly...
    Fans attributed the low ratings in part to actions of the Fox Network. Firefly was promoted as an action-comedy rather than the more serious character study it was intended to be; episodes were occasionally preempted for sporting events, and the episodes were not aired in the order that the creators had intended. Most notably, the two-hour episode Serenity was intended to be the pilot episode, as it contains most of the character introductions and back-story. However, FOX decided that Serenity was not a suitable pilot, and so the second episode, The Train Job (written in 2 days) was rushed into production to become the pilot episode.

    The sequence of episodes aired in USA and Canada:

    * In the USA and Canada, starting on September 20, 2002, Fox broadcast the episodes on Fridays at 20:00 (except for the second hour of the pilot which was shown at 21:00). The order was 2-3, 6; 7-8, 4-5, 9; 10, 14, 1; with 11-13 unaired in the USA.

    Firefly on DVD
    500,000 copies.

    to be continued...
    In the next exciting instalment... How our hero's (Universal) triumphed over the ogre (FOX)
    Well I knew some of that but not all of it and the order of the episodes I had no idea FOX did that!

    I am not surprised by the lack of real promotion or accurate promotion of the show they are not known for understanding quality when they have it I guess with all the crap it is hard to recognise when you finally have quality on your hands.

    Universal I have always liked Universal.

    Wow 500,000 copies and most of the profit I suppose goes to FOX?

  8. #8
    Major blueiris's Avatar
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    Default Re: EL, I got your PM

    Quote Originally Posted by Easter Lily
    Who knows... it might be come "The Pilot"... although, I suppose it wasn't the original pilot... One of the strange quirks of Fox's programming The Train Job was the original pilot if it can be called that...
    While there are parallels between the film and the television pilot, they have quite a different feel individually.
    Thanks for making it "stick".
    Serenity is still the pilot. Sometimes TV shows don't air the pilot at the beginning of the series. Sometimes, never at all. I would hate to have Serenity (the episode) lose its name. I would prefer to call it Serenity - the Pilot or Serenity - the Episode. Or some such.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    Do I need to watch the Firefly series in order to understand the Serenity movie?

    In short, no. While it would certainly enhance your experience of the film to know something of the backstory of the characters, the events in the movie are reasonably self-explanatory.

    Do I need to read the Tie-In Comics to understand the events in Serenity?

    Again, no. However, the comics cover events leading up to the film and does provide explaination as to absence of certain cast members.They also chart Malcolm Reynold's state of mind and offer a context for the growing tension among the crew.
    Firefly virgins coming cold to the universe would probably not notice anything amiss.
    The comics are published by Dark Horse Comics:
    http://www.darkhorse.com/profile/profile.php?sku=10-755
    Last edited by Easter Lily; October 5th, 2005 at 04:35 AM.

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  10. #10
    Second Lieutenant TheCaptain's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    Questions from a noob to Firefly/Serenity -

    1. What is with all the Chinese in the film? I've only seen the movie and not the series as of yet, though it's airing now on satellite starting this Wednesday and I plan on catching every ep... it just threw me that heaps of times, characters, most of whom were not Oriental in appearance, were saying things or cussing and the like in the film, supposedly, in Cantonese or Mandarin! There has to be a reason to it, can anyone fill me in as to why this is?

    2. What is the Alliance's actual purpose post-war with the Independants? Are they still actively involved in military operations with certain factions or persons? Was this covered in the series?

    3. Who was that bad guy who was able to control such a vast collection of Alliance forces? A special representative of the Parliment, surely... is this charater, in the movie, the first example of his kind in the Firefly universe?

    Thanks for taking the time out to read this post, I would appreciate some answers if anyone out there knows them. Thanks alot!

    Capt

  11. #11

    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCaptain
    Questions from a noob to Firefly/Serenity -

    1. What is with all the Chinese in the film? I've only seen the movie and not the series as of yet, though it's airing now on satellite starting this Wednesday and I plan on catching every ep... it just threw me that heaps of times, characters, most of whom were not Oriental in appearance, were saying things or cussing and the like in the film, supposedly, in Cantonese or Mandarin! There has to be a reason to it, can anyone fill me in as to why this is?
    Joss believes that in the future (probably based on present day geopolitical realities) the two most dominant cultures will be American and Chinese.

    2. What is the Alliance's actual purpose post-war with the Independants? Are they still actively involved in military operations with certain factions or persons? Was this covered in the series?
    From what I can gather, the purpose in the war of Unification was to bring the outer planets into the fold. But that has been shown to be more political rather than actual. There are indications from several episodes that the Alliance is largely unconcerned with the fringe planets and most of which are governed by self-made entrepreneurs. The scenario is reminiscent of the American western... pioneers and settlers trying to eke out a living and lawlessness. The military does pop up from time to time in the series but more as law enforcers. They patrol the known space and without giving too much away, do cross swords with our favourite privateers occasionally.

    3. Who was that bad guy who was able to control such a vast collection of Alliance forces? A special representative of the Parliment, surely... is this charater, in the movie, the first example of his kind in the Firefly universe?

    Thanks for taking the time out to read this post, I would appreciate some answers if anyone out there knows them. Thanks alot!

    Capt
    He is the first of his kind that we've seen.
    There are also 2 other mysterious contractors whose position in the Firefly universe is still largely... mysterious... But they are River's original pursuers. They pop up in a couple episodes and also in the Serenity tie-in comics.
    There is also another individual that was on the prowl for River in the final episode of the series. But he's much more independent...

    But the best thing for you to do is to watch the series... You can get them from JB Hifi... Worth every cent...

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  12. #12
    Second Lieutenant TheCaptain's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Easter Lily
    Joss believes that in the future (probably based on present day geopolitical realities) the two most dominant cultures will be American and Chinese.
    Okay, an interesting and valid enough theory to practice on... seems he thinks they won't destory each other and the world in the process. Well, lets hope you're right, Mr Whedon!
    Quote Originally Posted by Easter Lily
    From what I can gather, the purpose in the war of Unification was to bring the outer planets into the fold. But that has been shown to be more political rather than actual. There are indications from several episodes that the Alliance is largely unconcerned with the fringe planets and most of which are governed by self-made entrepreneurs. The scenario is reminiscent of the American western... pioneers and settlers trying to eke out a living and lawlessness. The military does pop up from time to time in the series but more as law enforcers. They patrol the known space and without giving too much away, do cross swords with our favourite privateers occasionally.
    Alright, so it was to whip the independance out of the Independants, then install their own puppeteers, or those easy enough to manipulate with money, into positions of power? Makes vaid sense, leave others to govern in your name with their own people to fight and die keeping the masses in line. lol yes I could imagine, bounty hunters and mercs on the wrong side of a deal, and things could get bloody and explosiony, quick-smart!
    Quote Originally Posted by Easter Lily
    He is the first of his kind that we've seen.
    There are also 2 other mysterious contractors whose position in the Firefly universe is still largely... mysterious... But they are River's original pursuers. They pop up in a couple episodes and also in the Serenity tie-in comics.
    There is also another individual that was on the prowl for River in the final episode of the series. But he's much more independent...
    K, well please don't give tooooo much away! I'm lookin forward to seeing the pilot this Wednesday!The Operative, imdb gave him props as... guy by the name of Chiwetel Ejiofor was the actor. Absolutely brilliant! Out of the whole movie's brilliance, that man as the enigmatic, zealous bad dude was the coup de tarte for me!
    Quote Originally Posted by Easter Lily
    But the best thing for you to do is to watch the series... You can get them from JB Hifi... Worth every cent...
    I will have to see how I like the first couple of episodes but if it is near to or up to the standards of the movie, I WILL BE BUYING IT! JB eh? Yeh they have great prices good range of DVDs

    Thanks so much for answering my questions, I really appreciate it! Cheers,

    Capt

  13. #13

    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCaptain
    I will have to see how I like the first couple of episodes but if it is near to or up to the standards of the movie, I WILL BE BUYING IT! JB eh? Yeh they have great prices good range of DVDs

    Thanks so much for answering my questions, I really appreciate it! Cheers,

    Capt
    If you like the first couple of episodes, you will probably like the rest. It gets better.

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  14. #14
    Second Lieutenant TheCaptain's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Easter Lily
    If you like the first couple of episodes, you will probably like the rest. It gets better.
    Great stuff

    Oh, and by the way.... what's with the antique-looking weapons the crew of the Serenity have??? Some of it looked sort-of high tech, other pieces, like the Capt'n's pistol, sure as heck DIDN'T!

    Is there a reason for that, or was it just the way Whedon did the series, and carried it across to the movie...?

    Capt

  15. #15

    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    It's always been that way... (Go. See. The Series) Joss seems to like mixing the old with the new.
    But Inara's weapon was something that was introduced in the film. Pretty nifty, eh?

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  16. #16
    Second Lieutenant TheCaptain's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Easter Lily
    It's always been that way... (Go. See. The Series) Joss seems to like mixing the old with the new.
    But Inara's weapon was something that was introduced in the film. Pretty nifty, eh?
    lol OKAY, I'm goin I'm goin... *grumbles under breath

    Yes that was a pretty cool I'll have to say...

    Capt

  17. #17
    Lieutenant Colonel Blue Banrigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    How exactly do you pronnouce Chiwetel Ejiofor's name? I have a fair idea but is it

    Chew-it-tell Edge-ju-for or Chew-it-tell Edge-jewel-for?

  18. #18
    Colonel Agent_Dark's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCaptain
    Great stuff

    Oh, and by the way.... what's with the antique-looking weapons the crew of the Serenity have??? Some of it looked sort-of high tech, other pieces, like the Capt'n's pistol, sure as heck DIDN'T!

    Is there a reason for that, or was it just the way Whedon did the series, and carried it across to the movie...?

    Capt
    I've just watched the series (havn't seen the film yet) and one of things that stood out to me were the weapons as well Seems that Whedon had no qualms about taking real-world Earth weapons and not even bothering to try and 'alien' them up, which I thought was a rather novel way of doing it. Ak-47's, Uzi's, MP5's, .50 cal Desert Eagles and a whole heap of shotguns and revolvers. I also notice BSG does that to an extent as well (though they tend to go for more obscure weapons, otherwise they 'alien' them up as well)

  19. #19
    Chief Master Sergeant duffarama's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    Would you be able to answer the question, 'Why in Australia is Firefly aired so late?'
    Firefly is usually on way past my bedtime, and some episodes have started at 12:30am!
    It frustrates me.

  20. #20
    Colonel Agent_Dark's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Firefly/Serenity FAQ Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by duffarama
    Would you be able to answer the question, 'Why in Australia is Firefly aired so late?'
    Firefly is usually on way past my bedtime, and some episodes have started at 12:30am!
    It frustrates me.
    Because its a sci fi and the free to air channels in Aus suck and would rather put crappy reality shows on instead?

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