FIREFLY: THE OFFICIAL COMPANION, VOLUME TWO
by Joss Whedon
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
Last year, the scripts to the first six episodes of the short-lived series Firefly were collected in the Firefly: The Official Companion, Volume One. Joss Whedon has now published the remaining eight episodes in Firefly: The Official Companion, Volume Two, a must have for any fan of the series.
At its most basic, the book contains the complete scripts, including stage direction, for the eight episodes from "Jaynestown" through the series-ending "Objects in Space," including the three un-aired episodes that made their debuts on the DVD set. However, in many ways those scripts are the least of the book, after all, anyone who is likely to purchase the book has probably already seen the episodes and can turn on the subtitles to read the dialogue.
The real meat of the companion are the copious photographs, captions, essays, and reminiscences of cast and crew throughout the book. From the most basic depiction of props used on the series, such as the license plate used on the mule (p.29) to the four page spread discussing Jayne's weapons (pp.110-113), these pictures help demonstrate how much care and attention to detail went into the series, as well as giving a glimpse into the way television is made in general.
Covering the second half of the series, including the un-aired and final episode, many of the comments included by cast and crew point to the sadness of the show winding down. There are memories of those final days, including the oft-told tale of Alan Tudyk presenting Whedon with the recall button from "Out of Gas" as well as lesser known stories of those final days, and what was shot when and how the cast dealt with shooting episodes when they knew the show was ending.
Perhaps the saddest entry in the entire book is the all-too-brief (a common phrase when talking about Firefly) entry entitled "Firefly-That-Wasn't: Unused Story Ideas," in which Jose ("Ariel"/"Trash") Molina and Ben ("Jaynestown"/"Trash") Edlund consider some ideas they had for stories which were never written. The brief synopses the men offer of their ideas is enough to start a fan considering what additional stories the series could have included, and will surely spark a new wave of fan-fic.
While "Firefly-That-Wasn't: Unused Story Ideas" may be the saddest essay in the book, it is offset by the inspirational essay "You Can't Stop the Signal: The Fans." Without its rabid fan base, once Firefly was cancelled by Fox, it would have disappeared, with perhaps only a few DVDs to show it ever existed. However, the fans kept the show's fortunes alive, resulting in the film, "Serenity" and a host of spin-offs. This essay, however, does not look at the fans' fanatical devotion to the show so much as the manner in which the fans have formed a community outside their love of the show, which includes a tremendous amount of charity work, exemplified annually by the "Equality Now" screenings.
While nothing short of the resurgence of the television series could fully capture what Firefly is, Firefly: The Official Companion, Volume Two does manage to capture the feelings the show engendered and demonstrate how special it was not only to its fans, but to the cast and crew who created such a special television series for the eight episodes included in this book and the six from the previous volume.
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