I previously wrote an ignorant American’s opinion on Canadian Football. Today I will write about Firefly, even though I am but three episodes into it.

I’ve been watching the TV show Firefly. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s basically about a bunch of people way off in outer space in an interplanetary nation. There are, from what I’ve seen, no non-human characters (like Klingons or whatever Jar-Jar Binks is) with the exception of some Earth animals. Presumably, they are our descendants gone to space, though I’m not sure about that.

Conveniently, they speak English. It is, of course, unlikely that these people would speak English. But that’s something we overlook in such programs. Because it beats subtitles.

When they’re not speaking English, though, they speak Chinese. Before I found out it was Chinese, I was actually a bit annoyed by this because I thought that having a fictitious language as the alternative only drew attention to the improbability that they would be speaking colloquial English. I thought they should have spoke Spanish or something. Knowing that it’s Chinese – even though it might be Klingon or something if I hadn’t bothered to look it up – relieves me.

That said, it’s kind of weird that the two languages are English and Chinese, but almost all of the characters are white. There’s no significant Asian population, that I have seen yet. A couple black characters on the ship are the only non-whites that come to mind.

Which makes me think that they should have gone with Spanish, German, French, or some other language of the countries that actually sent people out to wherever this is.

On the other hand, the story takes place mostly in the “outer planets.” The racial diversity may mostly be living in the central planets.


Category: Theater

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2 Responses to The Languages of Firefly

  1. Nanani says:

    Reportedly, the original concept had River and Simon Tam portrayed as Chinese, but FOX said no on the grounds that there weren’t enough white characters that way – in FOX land having two black characters was already too much diversity.

    This point has been extensively discussed and noticed by many, many fans of the show.

    • Trumwill says:

      Thanks for the info. That makes sense. I think what’s particularly odd to me is how few non-white characters there are on the rest of the show. It’s not something I necessarily would have noticed if not for this, but virtually every minor part is white. Which is odd because that’s often where shows like to apply the diversity (unimportant, non-central characters).

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