FIREFLY: THE OFFICIAL COMPANION, VOLUME ONE
by Joss Whedon
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
Joss Whedon has collected the scripts from the first six episodes of his too short-lived television series Firefly and published them in Firefly: The Official Companion, Volume One, with the promise of the remainder of the scripts in a second volume to be published in the Spring of 2007. Just as with his Serenity: The Official Visual Companion, this book contains detailed photographs of props, insight from the cast and crew, and numerous sidebars about the series.
As with Serenity: The Official Visual Companion, Firefly: The Official Companion, Volume One opens with an interview with Joss Whedon in which he discusses how he created the different aspects of the show. Perhaps the most interesting portion of the interview is when he talks about his hopes and plans for some of the supporting characters, like Dobson, Niska, or the Blue-Hand Men, who Whedon reveals were working for Blue Sun, although he was never able to follow that particular storyline as far as he wanted.
The primary focus of the collection are the scripts, which are, in some cases, quite different from what eventually appeared on the screen. In the most egregious cases, such as "Safe," the script includes both the original script and the alterations that were made before the final version was aired. This offers a nice insight into the creative process involved in making a television series. At the same time, the scripts are reasonably familiar to anyone who has watched the television series.
The entire book is liberally illustrated with sketches by Shawna Trpcic, the costume designer, photos of the characters, set and, perhaps most interesting, details of some of the props used. Although Inarra Serra's companion papers are only shown briefly in the episode "The Train Job," the details can be clearly seen in their reproduction on page 73.
The book also includes side bar interviews with several of the principal actors in which they discuss certain scenes, and longer side bars in which Whedon discusses some of the actors he cast in supporting roles throughout the series. Longer entries, ranging from one to two pages, discuss each of the nine principals. Other longer articles discuss Mal's gun and browncoat, ZoŽ's gun and vest, and an interview with Trpcic.
What the book doesn't include, unfortunately, is detail into Whedon's universe and how it works that isn't already in the television series. It may be that Whedon is holding that information, whether about the characters or the world close to his chest for potential future projects, but it is disheartening to a "Firefly" fan that additional 'verse background is entirely missing from the book.
On the whole, however, Firefly: The Official Companion, Volume One with its extensive photographs of props, characters, and costumes serves to both sate and whet the appetite of "Firefly" fans as they eagerly await possible future developments in the franchise's short, troubled, but ultimately triumphant history.
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