Firefly Review – “War Stories”

If Fox cancels this show, I will be very, very upset.

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 Book

Crew

Written by Cheryl
Cain
.

Directed by James
A. Contner
.
The complete IMDB listings can be found here.
The official website can be found here.

Original Airdate


War Stories
originally aired on Friday,
December 6, 2002.

Premise

The customer whose contract was broken in the first pilot is very
upset, and wants to break Mal.

High Point

“I’ll be in my bunk.”

Low Point

The “getting back up like John Maclane” moment.

The Review

Once again, the writers take a very well known, and not particularly
original premise. They are, however, getting much better at
taking that premise in a new direction. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were, for the most part, excellent. The shot
going around the planet with the rings didn’t fool me for an instant,
though. The rest was excellent. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story was well woven, and ties nicely in with past
storylines. (The “what bothers me is why Jayne is being so generous”
line was excellent in that regard.) The conversation at the end (“No,
it’s not!” and “Are you sure this will stay on?”) were very good, and
Jayne once again comes in with the comic relief. I give it 5 out of
6.

The acting was exactly what it should be. The only
unconvincing moment was the one I named in the low point, and that was
a result of the script, not the acting. No actor could have pulled
that off perfectly. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was excellent. The
story manipulated my emotions the way it was supposed to. More
importantly, it reached beyond this episode, making me wonder if the
two seemingly unconnected people who are familiar with the same
philosopher are, in fact, connected. I also wonder if the marriage is
going to last in the long term, or if the entire crew will survive to
the end of the season, or if River and Kaylee are going to talk about
what happened between them this week, etc. (I could go on, but I
don’t want to give too much away.) I give it 6 out of 6.

The production was exactly what we expect from Mutant Enemy.
I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this episode is at the new standard quality level
for this series. In other words, I want this on DVD ASAP. I give it
6 out of 6.

In total, War Stories receives 37 out of 42.

23 replies on “Firefly Review – “War Stories””

  1. y42 says:

    ratings
    Is it just me, or was this (excellent) episode a ratings beast? I
    mean: Action, glamour lesbians, gunfights, mutilations, marital
    discord…the works!

    • mbourgon says:

      Re: ratings

      Is it just me, or was this (excellent) episode a ratings beast? I
      mean: Action, glamour lesbians, gunfights, mutilations, marital
      discord…the works!

      Dunno, but DAMN that was a good episode. Wow.

    • Alexius says:

      Re: ratings

      Once again, the writers take a very well known, and not particularly original premise. They are, however, getting much better at taking that premise in a new direction. I give it 4 out of 6.

      I Don’t Think The Script Was Unoriginal, More That It Took The Unoriginal Idea You Were Familiar With, And Just As You Expected It To Reach The Unoriginal Climax, It Shoots You In the Kneecaps.

      Without Going Into Detail, Zoe’s ‘Him!’ Caught Me Completely Off Gaurd, A Textbook Whedon Move.

      I think Since USA Networks Is The Owner Of The Sci-Fi Channel, Some Other Major Television Body, Like Fox Or Disney, Or Even Whoever Owns Showtime, Should Start A Competing Sci-Fi Channel. Call it ‘The Slashdot Channel’, Or something. Or ‘Future TV’, Or Something Like THat. Then, Pick Up All The Shows That Are Getting Canceled. (So We Have Some Place For Firefly To Go.)

      Who Wouldn’t Watch This Lineup:
      Monday – MST3k
      Tuesday – Firefly Then Farscape
      Wednesday – The Chronicle Then The Invisible Man
      And I’m Out OF Shows I Watched And Expect To Be good. I Loved ‘Dead At 21’ From MTV, But Apparently No One Else Did. Then There’s Things I Never Saw, Like ‘The Lone Gunman’, ‘Babylon 5’, ‘Crusade’, Etc.

      I Think It’s The Sci-Fi Channel’s Marketting Department That’s Messed Everything Up. Not The Marketting We See, But The Marketting That Draws Up Numbers And Reports To take To Potential Sponsors. The Sci-Fi Croud Should Be Big Business, Geeks With Disposable Income That Wants Big Ticket Toys, Like Tivos And Treos. I Think Someone Screwed Up The Numbers (“Well, Out Of All Demographics, It’s Low. We Didn’t Check The Specifics.”)

      • TechnoGirl says:

        Re: ratings
        iS iT jusT mE oR doeS anyonE elsE thinK thaT weirD capitalizatioN iN messageS iS noT onlY tediouS tO reaD buT amazinglY pretentiouS?

      • kcbaltz says:

        Re: ratings
        Don’t forget Dark Angel, Harsh Realm, and Space: Above and Beyond.

        Of course, with the high production costs of most sci-fi, it’d have to be a pay channel and would probably cost more than HBO.

        Where can I sign up?

  2. Trekkie says:

    Excellent.
    My wife even stayed in the room the whole episode. The only other show she’s done that on is Farscape.

    So of course they’ll cancel it.

    Great episode, I’m really liking the characters. I must admit the very first episode had me wondering at first. But man, they’ve really pulled it together. What really annoys me is it was ALWAYS pulled together and they’ve aired everything out of order. Once the epsiodes that were intended to air first start airing now, things fall together perfectly.

  3. hossman says:

    I love these writters…
    “Preacher, don’t the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about ‘Killing’?”

    “Quite specific, it is however somewhat fuzzier on the subject of ‘Kneecaps’.”

    • Mr. Vapor says:

      Re: I love these writters…

      “Preacher, don’t the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about ‘Killing’?”

      “Quite specific, it is however somewhat fuzzier on the subject of ‘Kneecaps’.”

      (from memory)
      Mal: “You’ve never killed anyone before have you?”
      Doc: “no”
      Preacher: “I saw you shoot, you still haven’t”

      • y42 says:

        Re: I love these writters…

        (from memory)
        Mal: “You’ve never killed anyone before have you?”
        Doc: “no”
        Preacher: “I saw you shoot, you still haven’t”

        (From my memory too)
        Doc: “I had never shot anyone before”
        Preacher: “I was there, you haven’t shot anyone yet!”
        : )

        • vanyel says:

          Re: I love these writters…

          (From my memory too)
          Doc: “I had never shot anyone before”
          Preacher: “I was there, you haven’t shot anyone yet!”
          : )

          There were a number of great lines, and I agree, this show just keeps getting better and better…

          …but, I’ve seen references to the guy getting sucked into the engine, and now I’ve seen it in the “previously, on Firefly” intro. I went back and scanned through all of Out of Gas (which is where I thought a previous discussion here said it was), and I couldn’t find the scene they showed. Did my Tivo record a different version than everyone else saw? I’m assuming the reason I haven’t seen Niska(?) before is because the original pilot hasn’t aired yet, judging from a comment above… but I’m wondering what I’ve missed?

          • Daemonik says:

            Re: I love these writters…

            but I’m wondering what I’ve missed?

            The “Previously on Firefly” stuff is showing clips from every episode that’s aired, not just the episode before this one.

            Niska and the infamous “Guy who was shoved into the engine” were on the very first episode that aired of Firefly, not the actual pilot movie. I believe it was “The Train Job”

            • Alexius says:

              Re: I love these writters…

              but I’m wondering what I’ve missed?

              The “Previously on Firefly” stuff is showing clips from every episode that’s aired, not just the episode before this one.

              Niska and the infamous “Guy who was shoved into the engine” were on the very first episode that aired of Firefly, not the actual pilot movie. I believe it was “The Train Job”

              Correct. Catch Me Sometime When I’m Online And At Home And I Can Send It To You.
              AOL: AlexiusPendragon
              ICQ: 116477633

              Or, Most Likely In My Moo:
              telnet://Keep.QuarteredCircle.Net:2305
              (I Suggest Using Something Other Than Windows Telnet, Like PuTTY)

            • vanyel says:

              Re: I love these writters…

              but I’m wondering what I’ve missed?

              Niska and the infamous “Guy who was shoved into the engine” were on the very first episode that aired of Firefly, not the actual pilot movie. I believe it was “The Train Job”

              The first one I saw was the Reavers/Alliance interrogation, so it sounds like I missed the first one… Thanks for the info!

  4. YaRness says:

    kinda off topic, episode download?
    is there a legit place i can download firefly ep’s, or am i stuck scouring p2p networks for it? i missed friday’s ep (almost missed doe too).

    • Daemonik says:

      Re: kinda off topic, episode download?

      is there a legit place i can download firefly ep’s, or am i stuck scouring p2p networks for it? i missed friday’s ep (almost missed doe too).

      Since none of the networks are enlightened enough to give away episodes for free, especially when they can sell them for $20 per DVD of 2 episodes, you’ll have to search the p2p.

      Hehe, breakin’ the law breakin’ the law. Damn I miss Beavis and Butthead.

      Make sure to get the copies that have the commercials edited out, the studios really like that.

      • y42 says:

        Re: kinda off topic, episode download?

        is there a legit place i can download firefly ep’s, or am i stuck
        scouring p2p networks for it? i missed friday’s ep (almost missed
        doe too).

        Since none of the networks are enlightened enough to give away
        episodes for free, especially when they can sell them for $20 per
        DVD of 2 episodes, you’ll have to search the p2p.

        Hehe, breakin’ the law breakin’ the law. Damn I miss Beavis and
        Butthead.

        Make sure to get the copies that have the commercials edited out,
        the studios really like that.

        Well, if they were smart, they would distribute the show on the net
        in low-quality with “web targetd” ads in ’em once the show has
        aired…no reason why it should affect the sale of high-quality, no-
        ad DVDs with extra features.

        But no, internet bad, controll good…stupid companies…

      • YaRness says:

        Re: kinda off topic, episode download?
        breakin the law my ass, i just don’t have any friends who watch/tape it.

        maybe i can pay someone a few bucks to ship me their tape of it.

        then again, maybe it’ll just get canceled so i won’t have to stress over missing an ep or two :/

        • Ben918 says:

          Re: kinda off topic, episode download?
          Try Kazaa i have all of them that way.

          • YaRness says:

            Re: kinda off topic, episode download?

            Try Kazaa i have all of them that way.

            well, kazaa lite maybe :)

            i’ll wait to see if the rumours about the cancellation pan out, not worth the bother if the show gets chucked.

  5. rickyjames says:

    Ratings Were Lowest Yet…
    …at 2.4, well below the previously stable 2.7-2.9 range they had been in. I liked War Stories and agree, we’ve got us a good show here, but there’s been a rather large backlash about the lesbian / torture angles…

    • vanyel says:

      Re: Ratings Were Lowest Yet…

      …at 2.4, well below the previously stable 2.7-2.9 range they had been in. I liked War Stories and agree, we’ve got us a good show here, but there’s been a rather large backlash about the lesbian / torture angles…

      Can’t have anything in a show that makes us think now can we? Sigh. The torture of Picard was one of the best two-parters in the Next Generation as well.

    • Mr. Vapor says:

      Re: Ratings Were Lowest Yet…

      …at 2.4, well below the previously stable 2.7-2.9 range they had been in. I liked War Stories and agree, we’ve got us a good show here, but there’s been a rather large backlash about the lesbian / torture angles…

      Well when they take the show off the air for a couple of weeks, and then only have the faintest glimmer of advertisement when it comes back on (John Doe was much more heavily hyped), they can’t expect anything.

      If only they would place this show in the X-Files old timeslot on Sunday nights…

    • rickyjames says:

      Firefly Canceled

      Fri the 13th (!?!) issue of USA Today has an article about shakeups of TV network schedules listing Firefly as officially canceled, which goes along with quotes from the cast being circulated on various fan sites such as
      this one.

      BTW, couldn’t agree more with the comment about the Picard torture scene in TNG. That was by far one of the best TNG eps done, particularly (as I recall) with Picard telling to Troi at the end of the ep that he had indeed been broken when rescue came…

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