Some months ago I made note of what I considered a startlingly oversight in the geek community - the lack of a day specifically devoted to the enjoyment and honouring of Firefly. I proposed that we (the geek community) appoint a specific day as "Shiny Day", whereby we proudly display our Browncoat roots and sing merry renditions of "The Hero of Canton". So today, the tenth anniversary of Firefly first being aired in the United States, is my inaugural Shiny Day. All Browncoats are welcome to join in this celebration.
To honour this day, I'm wearing my Browncoats t-shirt that I obtained from Quantum Mechanix, one of my first purchases from that website, along with the River Tam maquette (alas, sold out now. Sorry Browncoats). Later on, I intend to sit down with my dinner and watch Serenity, the film that kick-started my journey into the world of Firefly and by far still my favourite movie of all time.
But right now, it's time for a list. To honour the inaugural Shiny Day, here are my top ten Firefly/Serenity moments.
10. "Yeah...that went well." (Firefly, 1x11 "Trash")
For the ladies, this may have been the best way to open an episode - Nathan Fillion sitting naked on a rock in the middle of the desert. As we learn later in the episode, our dashing Captain Tightpants has lost the aforementioned pants as a result of his double-crossing snake of a "wife", Saffron. But in the immediacy of the opening of the episode...it's a brilliant hook. For me, however, it's his opening line of dialogue. "Yeah...that went well." I myself have used it on many an occasion when things have gone distinctly less than well. By far, one of the best opening moments of Firefly.
9. Too Much Hair! (Firefly, 1x07 "Jaynestown")
Firefly is full of brilliant, gigglesome moments and Shepherd Book's frizzy Einstein haircut definitely ranks among the best. While it doesn't steal the episode, it definitely steals the scenes it's in, especially our first glimpse - which was enough to make River run for a smuggling hold! According to her babbling, "his brains are in terrible danger". His brains aren't in terrible danger. Not from the hair anyway...
8. "Wash, tell me I'm pretty." (Firefly, 1x13 "Heart of Gold")
It's a brief moment but nonetheless one of my favourite lines of dialogue. Alan Tudyk and Jewel Staite's exchange is just...well...I just love it. Mostly Alan Tudyk's delivery of "Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion". Wash was a wonderful character and had many, many opportunities to showcase his brilliance and shoot-off some great one-liners and for me, this is one of them. Even though it wasn't necessarily a one-liner moment.
7. The Wash-Mal Torture Argument (Firefly, 1x10 "War Stories")
Conventional logic generally holds that there's a time and a place for everything. When in the midst of being tortured by a sadistic mob boss aboard his space station, it's clearly time to discuss why your Captain ordered his first mate not to marry the pilot. An order she disobeyed, naturally. While a little harrowing, seeing our beloved characters tortured, their argument over Mal's positions on shipboard romances provide genuine humour and much-needed levity to this slightly disconcerting moment.
6. The Hero of Canton (Firefly, 1x07 "Jaynestown")
"Jaynestown" makes another appearance on our list, but this time it's the Hero of Canton. The concept of Jayne Cobb being a hero and...well...the song. The Hero of Canton, the Man They Call Jayne. The episode takes an incredible, surreal turn when the crew, happily minding their own business in a bar in Canton, discover through the medium of song that Jayne Cobb, the selfish, brutish and questionably loyal "public relations" man is Robin Hood-style hero. The subtext the episode has about the truth behind heroics is great and all, but it's the song that steals the show.
5. "Also, I can kill you with my brain." (Firefly, 1x11 "Trash")
Our second entry for "Trash" is one of my favourite River Tam moments ever. After Jayne has gave his spine a bit of a thrashing, he's treated by Simon, who learned through River's mind-reading that Jayne sold them out to the Alliance two episodes before, on the planet Ariel. Simon proceeds to give Jayne a speech on how he (Simon) will never harm him as long as he's a patient, then leaves. River lingers a moment, then utters her line in a way that approaches cute...if the threat weren't pretty damn real and mildly terrifying. Especially after what we saw her do in "War Stories" with one pistol and her eyes closed...
4. "If you take sexual advantage of her..." (Firefly, 1x06 "Our Mrs Reynolds")
Partly, it's the speech Shepherd Book gives Mal, but mostly it's what's in the picture. That lingering moment with Book poking out of the passageway, giving Mal one final reminder of "the Special Hell", before promptly disappearing again. It makes me giggle no end. But we can't forget the speech that started it all, where Book warns him of the special level of Hell he will be going to if he sleeps with his "wife", Saffron. One of Shepherd Book's finest moments.
3. "What was that?" (Serenity - Big Damn Movie)
The movie has drawn to a close. A patched up Serenity flies off through storm clouds and into space amidst wonderfully uplifting music. It hurtles off into the Black to continue its adventures with a new lease of life, a fresh lick of paint, all fixed and ready to...oh wait, something falls off! It flies towards the screen, we fade to black and Mal's voice asks "What was that?" A perfect echo of his first line of the movie (where, again, something flies unceremoniously off the ship) and...just the best end to the movie. Pure Joss Whedon brilliance. One of the reasons I loved this movie so much - this final moment, for me, seems to epitomise everything about Firefly: no matter what, there's always a catch, something's always falling apart, but Serenity never stops flying.
2. "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!" (Firefly, 1x01 "Serenity")
It may cause some controversy that this moment isn't number one, but...well, I'll explain later. But nonetheless, it was a close race as Wash's introductory scene is pure genius. Nothing sums up Hoban Washburne better than this scene. I want to make a descent paragraph out of this but...well, it speaks for itself. Pure, solid gold genius.
1. The First Rule of Flying (Serenity - Big Damn Movie)
I'm a hopelessly sappy, sentimental romantic. I hold my hand up and admit this proudly. For this reason, my favourite ever Firefly/Serenity moment is Mal's final speech, delivered to River Tam. And I hold to the belief that Mal has it right. "Love. You can learn all the math in the 'Verse, you take a boat in the air you don't love she'll shake you off just as sure as the turn of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting before she keens. Makes her home." I can deliver this line with far, far too much heartfelt conviction. And soon, I shall have an awesome print with that quotation on it. Thank you, QMx!
So there you have it for my inaugural Shiny Day. I'm off to cook then watch Serenity. I aim to misbehave :)