Where I talk of freedom, future, and faith

Take my love. Take my land.
Take me where I cannot stand.
I don't care, I'm still free.
You can't take the sky from me.

Take me out to the black.
Tell 'em I ain't comin' back.
Burn the land and boil the sea.
You can't take the sky from me.

Have no place I can be since I found Serenity.
But you can't take the sky from me.

Let me tell you a story where the past meets the future.

In not-so-near future, say the year 2517, the earth has deteriorated, completely 'used up,' and a large population has emigrated to the star system. People now live on various planets and their moons. They have multi-generational ships and space shuttles, which are much more tech-savvy and faster than the ones NASA boasts of today. These planets and moons have been terraformed to resemble earth. However, terraforming was feeble and therefore, many outlying moons are dry and grim. Think the surroundings seen in Western movies.

Nations of the earth have fought for the star system and only two super powers remain: America and China. However, the ruler of star system is the Alliance, an organization that has forcibly unified all planets and moons under one government. Now, the central planets are well under control of the Alliance but the outlying moons have little government authority. (Remember 19th century's West America?) People living on the outlying moons enjoy freedom from the Alliance but have no access to the conveniences available to the high-tech central planets and moons.

The future is free of aliens but is an intriguing mix of different cultures. The most illiterate white man can also speak Chinese as it the second language to one and all. The mark of the Alliance is the Chinese flag layered over the American flag.

Malcolm Reynolds was a sergeant in the war of the outlying worlds to resist the Alliance. In this failed attempt, Zoe was his first mate and a very loyal friend. After the war, a disappointed Malcolm bought a Firefly spaceship and named it Serenity, after the battle of Serenity valley that they'd just lost. He may not have his land but with Serenity, he would always have his sky!

People of the future are just like us and so are their problems.

  1. Malcolm, the captain of Serenity, next hires his crew.
  2. Zoe is second-in-command on Serenity.
  3. Malcolm begins with Wash, a gifted pilot, who becomes immediate subject of distrust of Zoe. It is another story that Zoe shortly ends up becoming Wash's wife.
  4. Next comes the sweet-n-sexy mechanic, Kaylee, whose love for machines is mutual.
  5. Malcolm gets a muscle man, Jayne, straight out of enemy's camp. Jayne lacks morals, ethics, education, and empathy. However, he can be clever and his largeness often comes handy.
  6. Malcolm rents out one of the two shuttles of Serenity to Inara – a companion. She is 26th century equivalent of a geisha or a courtesan. (Yeah, she even has tea ceremonies!)
  7. Crew is then joined by a Shepard, Book, who is equivalent of a minister or a reverend. He is a mystery man with the bible in his hands, immense wisdom, keen knowledge of firearms, and some unclear connection with the Alliance.
  8. Then there is a certain doctor Simon, who is a surgeon on the run from the Alliance. He has left the riches and fame behind in order to cure his sister.
  9. The doctor's sister, River, is the last of the nine crew members of Serenity. She is a child prodigy, subject of inhuman experiments by the Alliance, and now a fugitive.

These people get together and fly in the space, from one moon to the other planet, carrying out thefts, raiding the Alliance, pulling away train robberies, riding horses, and sometimes helping the ones in need. Only sometimes. Meanwhile, Inara, who is more respectable than these petty thieves, carries out her business at various planets and moons they visit. She manages her appointments through her high-tech appointment computer like thing.

Take nine crew members and Serenity…

Add some awesome camera work, some magnificent computer graphics, and a lot of Western-influenced background music, and you get the television series – Firefly. My favorite sci-fi television show, till date, got canceled after the first 14 episodes despite having a very loyal fan following. The fans, who call themselves Browncoats (after the soldiers who fought against the Alliance), blamed low ratings on the television channel for airing the show out of its chronological order. I tend to agree with the Browncoats. Although each episode has its own adventure to tell, there is a very strong interlinking of the characters in each episode. The nine characters mature with each passing episode.

But what do you do when your passionate dream is crushed?

“I refuse to give up. I can't.” said Joss Whedon, the creator of Firefly, when the show got canceled. When you have the will to tell a story, you can find a way of doing the same. Whedon chose a different medium to continue his tale. What abruptly stopped in episode 15 of Firefly, continued in Serenity, the comic book miniseries, and finally got wrapped up in Serenity, the movie.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I am fascinated not only by the show, its fantastic premise, its vibrant characters, and its haunting background score, but also by the determination and faith that the creators had in the whole idea.


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