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Firefly - (S01E01)

Action & Adventure . Drama . Western . Sci-Fi & Fantasy . Adventure . Sci-Fi

Serenity continues to travel through space conducting illegal runs across the star system, which is under the control of The Alliance. A powerful and fearsome mobster named Adelei Niska demands that the crew of Serenity pull a train robbery. The train is carrying medical supplies for a community, and Reynolds and Zoe get held on suspicion. They get free with Inara's help but realize they were tricked and try to return Niska's money. His henchman isn't too happy, but Mal "persuades" the next guy to take the money back. Meanwhile, two blue-handed, black-suited operatives close in on River.

Episode Title: The Train Job
Airs: 2002-09-20 at 08:00 pm
  • Linda Stasi

    A very funny, very hip, very terrific sci-fi show.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Aaron Barnhart

    Each person in the ensemble is distinct and intriguing. This show is loaded with possibilities.[20 Sept 2002, p.E1]

    Kansas City Star Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    A wonderful, imaginative mess brimming with possibility. About a dysfunctional family of space cowboys, the sci-fi series arrives not fully formed, like an elaborate photo that's still clarifying in developing fluid. While many shows burst onto the scene with slick pilots and quickly deteriorate into mediocrity, I'm thinking Firefly is on the opposite creative journey.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Staff [Not Credited]

    In a new season largely bereft of innovative ideas or daring concepts, Firefly stands out like a supermodel at a bus stop... The end result is a new and different form for storytelling and characters with engaging stories to tell. [19 Sept 2002]

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    Firefly offers the same well-balanced blend of humor, action, sharply drawn characters and unexpected twists on genre conventions. And if you have so far resisted the vamp-call of Buffy, this more mainstream sci-fi adventure may be your ticket into Whedon's TV universe.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    'Firefly' benefits enormously from Whedon's ability to take the clichés of any genre and give them a good, hard yank.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Mark Dawidziak

    While often great fun, the series' premiere occasionally shows the strain of trying to blend all of those genres into one sleek package. On the plus side of the Firefly universe, the show is expertly paced and is full of those wickedly humorous asides that fans of "Buffy" and its ever-improving spinoff, "Angel," expect from the mischievous Whedon. [20 Sept 2002, p.E1]

    Cleveland Plain Dealer Full Review
  • Mike Duffy

    And you don't have to be a sci-fi fanatic to get a kick out of Firefly, which brandishes playful bits of Whedon's signature wit and snappy repartee. [20 Sept 2002]

    Detroit Free Press Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    The interaction between Mal and the other characters boasts the same seamless savvy that makes Buffy and her pals so winning. [20 Sept 2002, p.1E]

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Michael Speier

    Cheeky and charming, Joss Whedon's attempt to fuse oaters with "Star Trek" is just silly enough to work -- and there's absolutely nothing else like it on TV.

    Variety Full Review
  • Charlie McCollum

    Based on tonight's premiere, this mix of "Star Wars" and "Stagecoach" could prove to be visually ambitious, thematically provocative and full of crackling dialogue. [20 Sept 2002, p.1]

    San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times Full Review
  • Amy Amatangelo

    The good news is the characters created here are so interesting that we want to know more about them. Whedon continues to slay viewers. [19 Sept 2002, p.48]

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    The whole space cowboy gimmick shouldn't work, but Whedon and co-creator Tim Minear have managed to create a world where space stations and men on horseback can plausibly co-exist. Little touches like deliberately old-fashioned dialogue - one character describes the bar fight as "just an honest brawl between folk" - help immensely. [19 Sept 2002]

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • David Zurawik

    While the action genre and, indeed, Friday nights on Fox, are most targeted at young men, particularly adolescent males, I have to admit I kind of like Firefly. I'm not sure, though, whether that says more about my level of maturity than it does the series' potential appeal to older viewers. [20 Sept 2002, p.1E]

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    It's a provocative mishmash of future shock and peculiar anachronisms. [19 Sept 2002, p.E1]

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Phil Rosenthal

    The characters, initially at least, aren't nearly so original and fully imagined, and that's a problem in any show. Fortunately, in space, no one can hear you yawn.[20 Sept 2002, p.46]

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Hal Boedeker

    Whedon's approach is intriguing, and the storytelling refuses to settle for simple heroics...Unfortunately, the drama and acting could be more compelling. [20 Sept 2002, p.E1]

    Orlando Sentinel Full Review
  • Manual Mendoza

    If there's hope, it lies in the original version, which after getting off to a slow start did a wonderful job of distinguishing who was who and made you want to know more about them. Hopefully, Fox and Whedon can find a happy compromise, and the cultists can start their keyboards. [20 Sept 2002]

    Dallas Morning News Full Review
  • David Bianculli

    I'm not sure it's the best first impression a show could make, but it's different and daring enough to warrant a return for a second, and a third. [20 Sept 2002, p.35]

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Steve Johnson

    Whedon's dialogue here, without contemporary pop culture to play against, feels a touch heavy. And there's only one great laugh, rare for so clever a writer. The result is that Firefly is intriguing but not compelling, but it least has the promise of a bright fellow at the helm. [20 Sept 2002, p.C3]

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    If Firefly weren't from Joss Whedon, the talented, respected creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," this review would probably be a lot more dismissive. Because of his track record -- six seasons of "Buffy," five of them good; the successful and ultimately distinctive spinoff series "Angel" -- Firefly gets the benefit of the doubt despite an inauspicious debut. It's not good, it's not bad, it's just so-so. [20 Sept 2002, p.40]

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Howard Rosenberg

    Early Firefly lacks majesty, and also that its laborious pace is hardly Star Warsian. [20 Sept 2002, p.C1]

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Ann Hodges

    For now, we have a prologue to set the scene and a large cast to get to know, amid unspectacular special effects, a few punch-and-shoots, and no alien beings at all. [20 Sept 2002, p.1]

    Houston Chronicle Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    There are no aliens, no teleporters and no lasers. And sadly--given creator Joss Whedon's track record with Buffy the Vampire Slayer--no laughs or thrills.

    Time Full Review
  • Tom Shales

    Firefly does some pretty fancy flitting now and then, but for the most part it's a trip that's been taken too many times before.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Robert P. Laurence

    Every situation, every character is a cliché, whether from the Western story shelf or the discount sci-fi stock. Judging from the dusty, rocky scenery, it might have been shot on the planet Borrego.

    San Diego Union-Tribune Full Review
  • Jonathan Storm

    A disappointingly forced effort from Joss Whedon...the show lacks any trace of the humor and subtlety that makes Buffy so much fun. [20 Sept 2002, p.D13]

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Caryn James

    This time the wrenching together of genres is tortured. In its rough first episode on Fox tonight, Firefly is even more of a confusing mess than the description makes it sound. It's a crazy quilt of "Star Wars," "Mad Max" and "Stagecoach," just to mention the most obvious films it calls to mind. [20 Sept 2002, p.E26]

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    To call Firefly a vast disappointment is an understatement. Whedon has proven he's capable of brilliance, but this is mere folly.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Diane Werts

    The only thing deep in tonight's Firefly premiere, though, is the well of cliches into which Whedon dips for what passes for plot and exposition. [20 Sept 2002, p.B02]

    Newsday Full Review
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