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From Atnzone.com


@N-Zone - Firefly DVD Review

By Jeff Ritchie & Lisa Origlieri

Thursday 11 December 2003

Firefly DVD Review from @N-Zone by Jeff Ritchie and Lisa Origlieri

Video Rating: 4 1/2 stars
The Show
Joss Whedon created two extremely successful shows with Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. Firefly was his dream, a story he wanted more than anything else to tell. For many, often incomprehensible, reasons the show was cancelled. Firefly: The Complete Series offers fans every episode, in their correct order, including three never-before-aired episodes!

Firefly was a western/sci-fi show that followed the crew of the Serenity. With a massive cast of nine main actors, Firefly was never at a shortage for storylines, and it is a shame that they did not get to tell them all. Led by Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), the Serenity had an eclectic crew that included a Shephard (Ron Glass), a Companion (Morena Baccarin), and a mentally disturbed girl (Summer Glau). Written by Joss and other Buffy alums, Firefly had all the workings of a Joss show - witty dialogue, great action, and strong, compelling storylines.

The four disc set contains every episode of Firefly. Disc One has: “Serenity - Part 1 and 2,” “The Train Job,” and “Bushwhacked.” Disc Two has “Shindig,” “Safe,” “Our Mrs. Reynolds,” and “Jaynestown.” Disc Three has “Out of Gas,” “Ariel,” “War Stories,” and “Trash (never aired).” Lastly, Disc Four has “The Message (never aired),” “Heart of Gold (never aired),” and “Objects in Space.” As a nice little touch the packaging on each disc has the original airdates of each episode.

As far as television DVD sets go, Firefly definitely ranks pretty high up. The main menu is animated with stills of the cast and has a very high tech, computerized look. Also in the center it plays clips from the episodes. The submenus are comprised of still shots.

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with the video transfer. Offered in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, the video tends to get somewhat poor during dark scenes. It gets visibly grainy and loses a lot of detail. This is much less of a problem in lighter scenes. However, the CGI work looks quite crisp.

The only problem with the sound is that the voices can be somewhat soft. It is offered in English, French, and Spanish Dolby Surround, and really sounds great, especially with all of the space ship sounds. The music is also very prominent and enjoyable.

The Extras
Firefly has a nice amount of extras. The vast majority of the special features fall under the commentaries. There are seven commentaries with different people on each one. “The Message” has Alan Tudyk and Jewel Staite, “Objects in Space” has Joss Whedon; “Serenity” has Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion, “The Train Job” has Joss Whedon and Tim Minear; “Shindig” has Jane Espenson, Morena Baccarin and Shawna Trpcic; “Out of Gas” has Tim Minear and David Solomon; and “War Stories” has Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk. These commentaries are amazing. Any one with Joss Whedon is guaranteed entertainment. Plus, the people on the commentaries were chosen very specifically. Having Nathan and Alan talk on “War Stories” is great since they are the focus of the episode. Overall they are definitely worth listening to.

There are also two featurettes. “Serenity: The 10th Character” is an intimate discussion of the ship. It has interviews with Joss Whedon, Production Designer Carey Meyer, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk, Nathan Fillion, Camera Operator Allen Easton, Visual Effects Supervisor Loni Peristere, and Summer Glau. They talk about the ship, its importance to the characters and audience, the design schemes, and the unique nature of each room. There are behind-the-scenes shots of the 190-foot set and shots of the Zoic Visual Effects Studio working on the computer generated images. Finally, they discuss the flying mechanisms of Serenity.

The second, and larger, featurette is entitled “Here’s How It Was: The Making of Firefly,” which is, at times, a bittersweet discussion on just about everything. It has interviews with Joss Whedon, Producer Gareth Davies, Executive Producer Timothy P. Minear, President of Mutant Enemy Chris Buchanan, Sean Maher, Adam Baldwin, Jane Espenson, Jewel Staite, Alan Tudyk, Translator Jenny Lynn, Assistant to Producer Kelly Wheeler, Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarin, Summer Glau, Ron Glass, Gina Torres, Camera Operator Allen Easton, Visual effects Supervisor Loni Peristere, Associate Producer Lisa Lassek, and Composer Greg Edmonson. They talk about the origins of the show, the basic idea and genre, dealing with the networks, airing issues, and the decision to incorporate the Chinese language into the show. The characters and their relationships are discussed in detail, as well as the music, on set fun, the fan response, and speculation on what could have been if the show stayed on the air.

There are other special features as well. There are four deleted scenes: two in “Serenity,” one in “Our Mrs. Reynolds,” and one in “Objects in Space.” Before you choose one there is a text explanation of why it was cut. Most of the scenes are good, character defining scenes. The “Gag Reel” was created by Joss for their Christmas party which turned out to be their wrap party. It is one of the best put together reels I have seen, but is a little short. “Joss Tours the Set” is a short piece that has Joss talking about Serenity and some of the various rooms. Finally, “Joss Sings the Firefly Theme” has the intro with Joss Whedon singing the theme song and playing guitar.

Final Thoughts
Firefly was a great show that didn’t have time to mature. The DVD set has nice extras, especially the commentaries and the unaired episodes. Anyone interested in quality television should definitely give Firefly a chance. - Jeff Ritchie atnzone.com DVD Editors: Jeffrey Ritchie & Lisa Origlieri

Video Release Date: 09/12/2003

Theatrical Release Date: 09/12/2003

DVD Special Features: - DVD-Video

- Four-Disc Set

- Region 1

Aspect Ratio(s):

- 1.78:1 Widescreen

Dolby Digital Formats:

- English 5.1 Surround

- Spanish Dolby Surround

- French Dolby Surround


- English Subtitles

- Spanish Subtitles

Standard Features:

- Interactive Menus

- Scene Access


- Commentary on "The Message," "Objects in Space," "Serenity," "The Train Job," "Shindig," Out of Gas," and "War Stories."

- "Serenity: The 10th Character" Featurette

- "Here’s How It Was: The Making of Firefly" Featurette

- 4 Deleted Scenes

- Gag Reel

- "Joss Tours The Set"

- "Joss Sings the Firefly Theme"