Firefly Review – “Jaynestown”

I think this show is finally hitting its stride. What do you think?

Cast

Nathan Fillion
as Malcolm Reynolds
Gina Torres as Zoe
Alan Tudyk as Wash
Morena
Baccarin
as Inara
Jewel Staite as Kaylee
Adam Baldwin as Jayne
Sean Maher as
Dr. Simon Tam
Summer Glau as
River Tam
Ron Glass as Shepherd

Crew

Written by Ben
Edlund
, of The Tick fame.
Directed by Marita
Grabiuk
.

The complete IMDB listings can be found here.
The official website can be found here.

Original Airdate


Jaynestown
originally aired on Friday,
October 18, 2002.

Premise

Jayne is nervous about pulling another job in a town where his last
job went very wrong.

High Point

The “I’m fixing your Bible” scene.

Low Point

The crowd’s lack of response in the scene where Jayne met his former
partner. I think it’s unlikely that they’d all just stand there
dumbfounded.

The Review

Retelling the Robin Hood story isn’t particularly original.
The “hero isn’t a hero” idea is also not exactly new. Still, the
episode managed to feel fresh. I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects were few but convincing. None really required
any serious planning in advance, though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story was well written. Once again, they were light on
plot, and heavy on character development. River, Jayne, and Simon in
particular were well developed. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting has to be good to sell a show with this much
character development. Fortunately, it was. Only Sean Maher (as
Dr. Simon) seemed to be acting, and even then it was only in the
scenes where his character was drunk. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was stronger than in the
past. I’m still laughing when they want me to laugh, but I’m starting
to care about the characters as well. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was what we’ve come to expect from Mutant
Enemy. The show seems to have found it’s tone now, so the set design,
costumes, blocking, camera angles, editing, etc. have all settled into
a certain style that is unique to this show. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this was an entertaining episode, possibly the best
of the four we’ve seen. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Jaynestown receives 32 out of 42.

11 replies on “Firefly Review – “Jaynestown””

  1. Daemonik says:

    Great episode
    I’m really liking Firefly, heck the theme song is even starting to grow on me. At least it works with the show rather than that crap Enterprise chose.

    I especially like the little glimpses into the Firefly universe like how useful ceramic components are, indentured servitude is allowed (apparently the Alliance wasn’t about freeing the ‘slaves’), the idea that people are cheaper than machines (why else have them mucking about for mud) and that not only do ports exist on these planets (even if unseen) but that they have built-in kill switches installed into spaceships so that they can control whether they get to leave.

    It’s interesting that prostitution has been elevated to a holy institution (a throwback to the ancient Greek/Roman temple prostitutes). I’m wondering if River’s interpretation that the Bible was ‘broken’ is a generally held viewpoint.

    Having been a Buffy fan for years I expect a Joss Whedon project to have witty banter between the characters and last night’s episode lived up to my expectations. I hope we get to see more interaction between River and Shepherd, even if ‘the hair will always be there’. heheheh

    My favorite was the end, as Shepherd stood waiting for River to speak to him and she shot out with “Just walk on by, preacherman.” Oh yeah, I can see some fun coming from those two.

    I was kind of dismayed that Jayne almost seemed to grow up a little in there. I hope they don’t make him too ‘adult’ as his questionable moral compas has been a source of delight so far.

  2. TechnoGirl says:

    Well…maybe it is getting better….
    ….or maybe I’m just getting used to the “Cowboys in Space” idea. But I very much did like this episode because of the well done character interactions and character insights.

  3. rickyjames says:

    By The Numbers…
    Boy, it’s interesting to me to see Firefly achieve so effortlessly what Enterprise has to struggle so hard for – developing realistic characters on a spaceship the viewer cares about. Its not about the tech and it’s not about the backstory – its about the people. These are fun people to watch. My worry is that the viewers are draining out. Ep 1 had around 6.4 million viewers, then lost 11% on ep 2, then lost 12% of THAT on ep 3, then went two weeks before airing ep 4. Maybe we should start thinking NOW about the save-the-show letter writing campaign so we can avoid the Christmas rush.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: By The Numbers…

      Maybe we should start thinking NOW about the save-the-show letter writing campaign so we can avoid the Christmas rush.

      Well, it is in the Fox Friday night schedule, after all. It’s lasted longer than Harsh Realm did, but not as long as The Lone Gunmen before it was cancelled. My concern is that Fox’s decision to broadcast the episodes out of their prodution order will mean that we’ll start seeing some of this character development get “undone” in a few weeks. That’s the kind of thing that’ll turn a few viewers off. When they start getting into the long-term arcs that Joss Whedon loves (and, apparantly, plans to introduce starting with production episode 7, which airs next week) the casual viewers will start to tune out.

      • rickyjames says:

        Re: By The Numbers…

        My numbers above were from memory in a USA Today article I read last week. A more precise measure of Firefly ratings (updated each week, so bookmark and check it over and over if you want) is at:

        http://home.insightbb.com/~wahoskem/firefly1.html

        where they’re saying that Firefly is the worst-performing show of the 12 new ones currently being aired by Fox. As Astro (the dog on the Jetsons) would say, Rut-ro…..

        (…Which leads to another Burning Question. Who’s the “best” sci fi dog? Astro? Porthos? Bandit on Jonny Quest? That German Shepard the Bionic Woman had? Or is this whole thread going to the dogs???)

        • Jethro says:

          Re: By The Numbers…

          (…Which leads to another Burning Question. Who’s the “best” sci fi dog? Astro? Porthos? Bandit on Jonny Quest? That German Shepard the Bionic Woman had? Or is this whole thread going to the dogs???)

          What was that robot-dog on Battlestar Galactica called?

          Actually, the best SciFi dog is obviously C.H.O.M.P.S

  4. pdavis says:

    First Thoughts
    This was the first episode I’ve caught. From all the hype I was expecting something really good. Instead I wound up with the fealing of “Andromeda in the West”. The theme song reminded me of Enterprise’s theme song, and that isn’t a good thing. The story and acting were both middle of the road as well. At any rate, I might watch another episode or two but in general I really don’t care for the whole “everyone’s poor but we have star ships” theme.

  5. vanyel says:

    Keeps getting better
    Every episode has been better than the last from my point of view, so I guess it’s no surprise it’s dropping in the ratings. Sigh. The first episode seemed like a decent episode squished up to make room for an unbelievable setting to give the backstory on each of the characters. If Fox is really airing them out of order, then I guess I’d better stop watching now. That will completely screw the show, and if I don’t get into it to start with, then it’ll be a lot less stressful later when it gets axed because they mucked it up. At the very least, I’ll wait for the DVDs so I can watch it in the intended order like you have to do for Farscape.

    • mbourgon says:

      THEY’RE NOT SHOWING OUT OF ORDER.

      The first episode seemed like a decent episode squished up to make room for an unbelievable setting to give the backstory on each of the characters. If Fox is really airing them out of order, then I guess I’d better stop watching now.

      From what I’ve read, they’re not showing episodes out of order, and definitely nothing that’ll impact things. Apparently Fox wasn’t happy with the pilot (too slow, not enough action, etc) so Joss reshot parts of Episode 2 (adding backstory, etc), and that turned into what we saw as episode 1. (Which is odd, since I really didn’t see what they would have added – it was like you came in on episode two, everything humming along – a refreshing change)

      However, to recoup the 10$ million they spent on the 2-hour pilot, Fox will be showing it later on in the season, as a “flashback” to how everything got started, how they all met, got together, and got to the point we see them at in Episode 1.

      I don’t know how they’re planning on showing it – considering the ratings, I’d aim it squarely at the folks who haven’t been watching… “see how it all began!”, and focusing on the interpersonal aspects, the world, rather than on the action.

      Heck, since this is Fox, they could do a “(text on screen)’Star Trek is a Wagon Train to the Stars’ – Gene Roddenberry. (new screen, still caption)Wagon Train? You ain’t seen nothing yet! (insert action scene of the firefly over wild west setting) (insert western brawl) (insert guys on horses alongside high tech, ala star wars cantina scene)…voiceover:a western like you’ve never seen before… see the beginning. Friday, only on Fox (insert footage from Pilot of guy having his dinosaurs fight)”

      • fiziko says:

        Re: THEY’RE NOT SHOWING OUT OF ORDER.

        From what I’ve read, they’re not showing episodes out of order, and definitely nothing that’ll impact things. Apparently Fox wasn’t happy with the pilot (too slow, not enough action, etc) so Joss reshot parts of Episode 2 (adding backstory, etc), and that turned into what we saw as episode 1. (Which is odd, since I really didn’t see what they would have added – it was like you came in on episode two, everything humming along – a refreshing change)

        According to the episode guide, episodes 3 and 4 were postponed. Episode 3 will air this week, and episode 4 will air next week. That’s probably not a big deal, as they long-term storytelling is supposed to start with episode 7, so it might not be the problem I feared it would be.

        Also, that’s production order, which is not necessarily the same as the intended broadcast order. Sometimes episodes are produced out of broadcast order because of on-location shooting schedules, for example.

    • larq says:

      Re: Keeps getting better

      Every episode has been better than the last from my point of view….

      I like this show more and more. I had to tape it because my husband wasn’t home- but then I ended up watching it again with him, and laughed & enjoyed it again. I thought there were some really hilarious points, and the acting was great. — I loved it when they were all staring dumbfounded at the statue of Jayne; and the interaction between River & Book was good fun too.

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