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Firefly: The Complete Series – Blu-ray Disc Review

November 14, 2008 – 3:43 AM - Posted by: Justin Sluss

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Blu-ray Disc Review

4 out of 5 starsThe Show Itself has an average rating of 9.5 on IMDb
3.5 out of 5 starsVideo Quality 1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on THREE 50gb discs
4 out of 5 starsAudio Quality
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
3 out of 5 starsBonus Materials are sure to please the fans
Rated:NOT RATED
Year: – 2002
Length: – 665 minutes
Studio:FOX
Region:Region 1 (A)


Overall VerdictRecommended to Fans

Buy it for $49.99 @ Amazon.com
Buy it for $49.99 @ Amazon.com


— Review written by: Justin Sluss & Brendan Surpless


The Show Itself is created by Joss Whedon (known for “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer“, “Angel” and the film “Serenity“). “Firefly” tells of a time in the year 2517 when humans have landed on a new star system. The crew of nine pilot the ‘Serenity’, which is a “Firefly” class spaceship. Exploring the lives of humans like these nine and others who have lost a recent civil war, the series also shows a world where The United State and China have fused themselves into one central government called ‘The Alliance’. Unfortunately “Firefly” was very short-lived but was made into a film (which we’ll be reviewing very soon).

Like most Whedon shows I’ve viewed one of the more strong points in the series he creates is the bonds he creates. Fans of either of his two other series can attest that Whedon anchors his shows on a few main characters. In all his series he plays each episode in a way that lets them work with each other building off each others own weaknesses and strengths. Take for example in “Buffy“. You had Buffy building off Xander and vice versa. In “Firefly“, something different, we have everyone working as a whole. In particular we have the captain Malcolm Reynolds played by Nathan Fillion (who I’ll speak on later) piloting the ship and 8 other crew members. Here all are one in a quest to defeat all that they deem evil (whether it be simple criminals or the Alliance).

The full 15 (total) episodes for The Complete Series are included:

  • Episode 1 : “The Train Job
    1. Writer: Tim Minear & Joss Whedon — Director: Joss Whedon
      Original Air Date: 09/20/02— 8.8 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 2 : “Bushwacked
    1. Writer: Tim Minear — Director: Tim Minear
      Original Air Date: 09/27/02 — 8.9 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 3 : “Our Mrs. Reynolds
    1. Writer: Joss Whedon — Director: Vondie Curtis-Hall
      Original Air Date: 10/04/02 — 9.2 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 4 : “Jaynestown
    1. Writer: Ben Edlund — Director: Marita Grabiak
      Original Air Date: 10/18/02 — 9.1 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 5 : “Out of Gas
    1. Writer: Tim Minear — Director: David Solomon
      Original Air Date: 10/25/02 — 9.5 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 6 : “Shindig
    1. Writers: Jane Espenson — Director: Vern Gillum
      Original Air Date: 11/01/02 — 9.0 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 7 : “Safe
    1. Writer: Drew Z. Greenberg — Director: Michael Grossman
      Original Air Date: 11/08/02— 8.7 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 8 : “Ariel
    1. Writer: Jose Molina — Director: Allan Kroeker
      Original Air Date: 11/15/02 — 9.4 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 9 : “War Stories
    1. Writer: Cheryl Cain — Director: James A. Contner
      Original Air Date: 12/06/02 — 9.3 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 10 : “Objects in Space
    1. Writer: Joss Whedon — Director: Joss Whedon
      Original Air Date: 12/13/02 — 9.5 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 11 : “Serenity (I)
    1. Writer: Joss Whedon — Director: Joss Whedon
      Original Air Date: 12/20/02— 9.3 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 12 : “Serenity (II)
    1. Writer: Joss Whedon — Director: Joss Whedon
      Original Air Date: 12/20/02— 9.3 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 13 : “Heart of Gold
    1. Writer: Brett Matthews — Director: Thomas J. Wright
      Original Air Date: — 8.7 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 14 : “Trash
    1. Writer: Ben Edlund & Jose Molina — Director: Vern Gillum
      Original Air Date: — 9.1 rating over at TV.com

  • Episode 15 : “The Message
    1. Writer: Joss Whedon & Tim Minear — Director: Tim Minear
      Original Air Date: — 9.0 rating over at TV.com

    One of the show’s strongest aspects is actor Nathan Fillion, as Malcolm Reynolds. Having really only seen him in a handful of other projects, something I’ve come to notice about the way he acts is that he’s rather unique. He conveys all his emotions and thoughts in manners that truly connect with the audience. Okay you’re probably thinking that a lot of other actors do this right? Well somewhat true but what Fillion excels in that few can do is that he physically connects with his viewers. This almost always makes audiences remember his characters.

    The lasting appeal of a series like “Firefly” revolves around the mindset of Whedon. A genius in his own right, Whedon is able to create series after series that draw fans in due to their connecting character development. That was one of the strongest aspects of both “Buffy” and “Angel“. Such is the case here as well.

    Synopsis (above) written by: Brendan Surpless


    Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on THREE BD-50‘s (50 gigabyte Blu-ray Discs). The show was shot on 35mm film using Panavision Panaflex cameras and makes for a decent transfer to Hi-Def. The black level is pretty solid, color palette is at times pretty vibrant and the fleshtones are accurate. The show for the most part is full of interior shots and has some low lighting situations that cause showoff the amount of film grain present. Grain seems to be the only thing present in the video quality and mostly in the darker scenes. The transfer holds no signs of DNR (Digital Noise Reduction) or EE (Edge Enhancement) or any signs of compression flaws here on any of the episodes.

    Overall in comparison to the original DVD release, this holds a good improvement in terms of detail now present. The show’s special effects in CG don’t really come across as impressive as say, “Star Trek” or anything but do pull off somewhat of a believability factor throughout. “Firefly” makes it’s debut on Blu with enough improvement to leave the fans of the show pleased as well as probably attract some new fans. “3.5 Star Rating” for video quality here.

    Video (above), audio & bonus (below) written by: Justin Sluss


    Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. This stands as a large improvement over the Dolby Digital 5.1 found on the previous DVD release. Even a German DTS 5.1 track is included which proves impressive. The witty dialogue is what this show and all Joss Whedon creations are known for. So it is vital that dialogue be delivered clearly throughout. This is just the case which should come as no surprise as the dialogue on the original DVD release held up fine for it’s day. The use of the rear channels and bass in the 5.1 hi-resolution soundscape is impressive, especially during the opening action sequences of the Pilot “Serenity Parts 1 & 2“. You’ll hear a lot of explosions and gunfire whizzing past you as great examples of the 5.1 surround very early on in this TV series. The amount of improvement here over the original Stereo the show was broadcast in on FOX when it originally aired is going to leave some of you who haven’t owned it on home video a bit of a whole new experience. Enough to justify fans replacing their DVD copy of the show, for one reason among many others.


    Bonus Materials are presented in 480i/p Standard Definition (except where noted HD beside the runtimes) using the AVC codec and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound @224kbps.

    • Audio Commentary is available on the following episodes:
      1. Serenity Parts 1 & 2” [Disc 1] Joss Whedon & Nathan Fillion.
        The Train Job” [Disc 1] Joss Whedon & Tim Minear (Producer).
        Our Mrs. Reynolds” [Disc 2] Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk & Ron GlassALL-NEW!
        Out of Gas” [Disc 2] Tim Minear (Producer) & David Soloman (Director).
        War Stories” [Disc 3] Nathan Fillion & Alan Tudyk.
        The Message” [Disc 3] Alan Tudyk & Jewel Staite.
        Objects in Space” [Disc 3] Joss Whedon.

    Disc 1 includes the following :

    • Here’s How it Was: The Making of Firefly” (29 minutes) includes a lot of personal interview footage with the show’s creator Joss Whedon, Producer Gareth Davies and cast members such as Nathan Fillion. This was previously found on the DVD release of the show and is not a new feature but new fans of the show will find it worth a watch, for sure.
    • Trailers for the shows “Buffy the Vampire Slayer“, “Angel” and upcoming 2009 series “Dollhouse” are all included. All of which are Joss Whedon creations, just like “Firefly“.

    Disc 2 includes the following :

    • Firefly Reunion” (24 minutes – HD) gives us a lunch with Creator Joss Whedon as well as Actors Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk and Ron Glass. They reminisce about the short-lived TV series that has now developed a cult-following. Fans will be extremely happy to see this reunion of sorts with the show’s creator and three members of the cast. It’s also worth noting that the featurette is in Hi-Def.

    Disc 3 includes the following :

    • Deleted Scenes which are split up into episode name and scene number. “Serenity – Scene 1” runs 1 minute 37 seconds. “Serenity – Scene 74 & 75” runs 4 minutes 36 seconds. “Our Mrs. Reynolds – Scene 18” runs 3 minutes 41 seconds. And lastly, “Objects in Space – Scene 6” runs 2 minutes 11 seconds. These prove very interesting to fans of the show and shed some light onto the story a bit more but at the same time were cut (deleted) for a reason.
    • Serenity: The 10th Character” featurette (10 minutes) focuses on the spaceship on the show that also happens to be what inspired the title of the movie-adaptation of the show. A lot of painstaking effort and attention to detail went into the construction here and is quite impressive to behold.
    • Alan Tudyk’s Audition (1 minute) is the actor’s original audition tape for the role of “Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburne” on the series.
    • Joss Sings the Firefly Theme (1 minute) has the Creator and Executive Producer, Joss Whedon performing “The Ballad of Serenity” on guitar and singing, which he also wrote. This goes behind the shows introduction just as it originally aired, just with Joss’ original live performance.
    • Joss Tours the Set (1 minute) has Creator & Executive Producer Joss Whedon leading us on a short tour of the set to “Firefly“.
    • Gag Reel (2 minutes 40 seconds) was originally created for the show’s very first (and last) Christmas party. They would soon find out the real joke was on them, or so FOX thought by canceling the series short.

    Overall the bonus materials here don’t hold too many additions that the original DVD release didn’t already contain but the new “Cast Reunion” in Hi-Def is a major plus as well as the new commentary track on the episode “Our Mrs. Reynolds” that features Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk and Ron Glass. The only real thing I feel was missing here on the bonus was possibly a pop-up trivia track on each episode — considering this show does have a huge cult-following and people have the lines memorized to each episode. Either that or an online trivia game via BD-Live would have been nice.


    Blu-ray Disc packaging:

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  1. 4 Responses to “Firefly: The Complete Series – Blu-ray Disc Review”

  2. I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

    By Josh Maxwell on Nov 14, 2008

  3. Josh Maxwell: Thanks.

    By Justin Sluss on Nov 14, 2008

  4. The episodes are out of order.

    Serenity (Part 1 and 2) is the Pilot and should be listed first (and is on the discs). The Train Job was aired first because Fox thought Mal was “too mean” in the Pilot and wanted viewers to like him.

    By Gizmo on Nov 14, 2008

  5. Gizmo: take that up with Brendan, he wrote the synopsis (top part)

    By Justin Sluss on Nov 14, 2008

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