FIREFLY EPISODE DISCUSSIONS

The Train Job

POSTED BY: CHILLI
UPDATED: Thursday, October 27, 2005 11:02
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Friday, October 8, 2004 12:46 AM

CHILLI


I am doing an essay on "Quality TV" for my American Popular Television course. I decided to do the essay on Firefly, specifically targetting The Train Job as the individual episode I will constantly refer to throughout.

By "Quality TV", I am using a contradictory term. It isn't about the creative energy of the show, but how it conforms to formulaic conventions of typical American TV. I'm not saying that Firefly is formulaic, far from it. I think it's an amazing show which had untapped potential. No, I chose The Train Job because it combines network conventions and mandates with those of Whedon & Minear to create a great, if flawed episode.

The reason for this post is to try and get some feedback from ya'll about the episode. I'll try and include as many quotes as I can in my essay, or at the very least paraphrase them to suit the points I'm trying to get across.

Thanks in advance.

Ian

This is Chilli, signing off.

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Friday, October 8, 2004 5:06 AM

TDTMF


as my first exposure to the series, i still have a great fondness for the episode. for a number of reasons, i've probably watched this episode more times than any other. while it is not perfect by any means, and the first pilot is better in so many ways, i am surprised by the bashing it gets on the boards sometimes.

i wonder how much of the negativity comes from the fact that it was fox induced?

i think it does a great job of setting up the show - and all the subtleties that will play throughout. from the passing of the contact info, to the flying through the holographic window (which i have heard joss hates, but i love), to the rescue by serenity on the edge of the cliff, i knew immediately this would be a show i would watch. i was hooked for good when mall pushed claw into the engine at the end of the episode.

i love irony and wit...when dolled out in appropriate (to me) quantities. this show had both, at perfect levels.

interestingly enough, my fiancé who watched with me, was not sold from the beginning. it took her a few weeks to warm up to the show, but she is now as big a fan as i am.

yes, there is a lot about the show that is influenced/inspired/similar to shows or movies that came before, but it is the characters and their relationships (& voices) that separate them from anything i've ever seen before. in a matter of 10 weeks the show became my all time favorite.

i'm still bitter that it was taken away.

hope this helps.



td


mal to jayne: well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle

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Friday, August 12, 2005 12:44 PM

CHILLI


I got a dodgy mark.

heh

My fault - apparantly saying 'Firefly kicks ass' over and over doesn't constitute a good or even passable mark.

This is Chilli, signing off.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005 9:07 AM

UNREGISTEREDCOMPANION


The belly dancer in the beginning of the episode sucked. She could barely hold the shimmy.

Yeah, minor detail, but I take belly dance classes...and it annoyed me that the first year students could put her to shame.

~~~~~
"Funny and sexy. You have no idea. And you never will."

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005 9:09 AM

RABBIT2


Well, if she was any good she`d probably be working the cabaret circuit and not in a crummy Alliance bar!
Despite its faults I rather like The Train Job.
A thought about the obvious `Starship Troopers` armour.
Starship Troopers = Alliance recruiting film (Save humanity from evil alien bugs).
The Train Job = what your Starship Trooper actually ends up doing (Boring escort duty on some backwoods colony).

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005 6:53 AM

STEVED2112


I can see why they broadcast this episode first. It's an excellent primer to the interactions of the personalities. Kaylee is adorable when she recaps the plan to Simon.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005 10:48 AM

VISITINGMYINTENTIONS


Quote:

Originally posted by TDTMF:
as my first exposure to the series, i still have a great fondness for the episode. for a number of reasons, i've probably watched this episode more times than any other. while it is not perfect by any means, and the first pilot is better in so many ways, i am surprised by the bashing it gets on the boards sometimes.

i wonder how much of the negativity comes from the fact that it was fox induced?



I never saw anything wrong with it, so I too have been baffled. Perhaps because it replaced Serenity, which is the perfect intro to the series and a great episode. I watched Firefly on the DVD's knowing nothing about it other than "cancelled Whedon space-western", so I didn't have any idea of it standing in for the pilot, or being a reorder by FOX. I too might be bitter if it represented the theft of my pilot, but as it is, I think it's a fine episode. My only complaint is the clumsy exposition when Book stops Mal in one of the first scenes.

Quote:

Originally posted by Rabbit2:
A thought about the obvious `Starship Troopers` armour.
Starship Troopers = Alliance recruiting film (Save humanity from evil alien bugs).
The Train Job = what your Starship Trooper actually ends up doing (Boring escort duty on some backwoods colony).



That's a great interpretation. Any other insights?

---------------------------------------------------
Early: Where'd she go?

Simon: I can't keep track of her when she's NOT incorporeally possessing a spaceship, don't look at me --

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005 11:11 AM

STAKETHELURK


Quote:

I never saw anything wrong with it, so I too have been baffled.
I agree that it is unfairly criticized around here; I quite enjoyed it when it first aired and although I felt slightly out of the loop I concluded—unaware of FOX’s meddling—that it was an innovative way to begin a series, having everybody already together.

I came to respect it even more when I learned that FOX forced Joss and Tim to write it within 48 hours. I mean, the episode does a difficult balancing act of introducing the characters while not contradicting the pilot (they were still hoping to talk FOX out of that monumentally stupid move) and simultaneously tell a good story. That is an incredible feat of writing in and of itself; that they managed it in 48 hours is near-miraculous and shows how amazingly talented they both are.

Perhaps the episode gets so much flak because it symbolizes FOX’s destructive meddling throughout the series and thus becomes almost “the FOX Episode.” Or perhaps people have legitimate problems with the story and characterization. I don’t know. I just found the level of negativity towards it somewhat unusual; I think it’s a fine episode and a whole lot of fun.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005 11:02 AM

NOSADSEVEN


I saw The Train Job when it first aired on FOX. I actually had missed the first few minutes, so I was a little more lost than I would have been. (At first I thought, "Wow, I must have missed alot in that ten minutes," but as the show went on I just assumed I'd missed the actual pilot episode, which of course, I had.) So anyway...not having been properly introduced to the characters, I had to depend alot on my intuitive understanding of television conventions. Subsequently, I was repeatedly surprised by the events of the episode and the decisions of the characters. I was constantly readjusting my understanding of it all.

This episode was not written ignoring the usual television conventions, instead it uses those conventions to its advantage - acknowledging to the viewer that we've all seen this a hundred times, we all know how this is supposed to go, so lets do something a little bit different.

As the quintessential example of this, it was the scene with Mal kicking Crow through the engine that ultimately made me surrender to the show. At that moment I knew this show was going to be different, and I knew I was going to be watching. It was time to give up trying to figure out what was going to happen, and just watch.

Importantly, the show doesn't constantly defy conventions. The scene with Crow is shortly followed by an X-filesian "larger-than-life" threat, that is, by all means, conventional. But what Firefly seems to do so well is balance the embracing of convention with the defying of convention, making the show very refreshing, without being alienating.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ain't. We. Just.

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