"Act I" I laughed, I cried, I sang along! Well, I didn't actually sing along (yet) cos I don't know the words (yet). And I didn't actually cry even though the while affair is supremely heartfelt. But I sure-as-heck laughed. It's wonderful silliness.
"Act II" This is wonderful stuff. Nathan Fillion is perfect and the music is to die for. Also, there is a strong case to made for "the hammer is my penis" being the funniest line ever uttered. In anything. Ever.
"Act III" The story, they say, is in the ending. And if you have a good ending, then you have a good story. Of course, what makes for a good ending is up for debate. Ideally, the end of a story should be uplifting and meaningful. It should touch you, resonate with you and stay with you. Good fiction should hold up a mirror for us as well as entertaining us. And it should give us something to take away. So how do you accomplish this? Well, often times the best/easiest way to uplift/impact the audience is to give them a happy ending. It usually works and is very common. Less common, more tricky, is the ability to give the story a very sad ending and still have it work in such a way that the audience (thought probably crying) can take away something positive.
Joss Whedon, of course, can do whatever he wants. He's a supremely skilled storyteller. I was really surprised with the ending to this show. I didn't know it would have a sad ending. But, as the credits rolled, I felt more postive about all the things that life offers us. And through these characters I came to appreciate some things a little more. It sounds trite when you put it bluntly, but nothing means very much if you don't have love in your life. And because it lacks meaning when you put it bluntly, we are lucking to have writers like Joss Whedon who can get our full attention and still manage to have depth and resonance sneak up on us.
Oh, and the songs were good, too.