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Firefly (television)

Firefly is a science fiction television series, which was first aired in the United States and Canada on September 20, 2002. It was created by Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers

Table of contents
1 Setting
2 Cast
3 Airing and cancellation
4 Nominations and awards
5 Movie
6 External links


The show is set in the year 2517 CE, following the depletion of Earth's resources and an expansion of the human race into 'the frontier' of outer space. The show takes its name from the "Firefly-class" starship operated by the central characters; the ship's class name is itself a reference to the appearance of the ship, with its tail section that blinks when accelerating. Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds is the veteran of a war of resistance against "The Alliance" — an organization that attempted to achieve the unification of all mankind under a single imperial government. A central "core" of planetary systems have fallen under Alliance control, while settlers and refugees in the further reaches of space enjoy relative freedom from the long arm of the government but lack many of the amenities of a high-tech civilization. Mal now owns a small Firefly-class starship called Serenity, making cargo runs and performing various other tasks — legal or otherwise — to scrape together a living for himself and his crew.

Featuring a blend of elements from the space opera and western genres, the show depicts mankind's future in a way that is uncharacteristic of many contemporary science fiction programs. The dialogue and interplay between characters is central to the plot of the program, resulting in a story that is alternately serious and humorous.

Some have noted that Reynolds' story appears to be modelled on the life of Jesse James; this may explain the unusual western theming for a science-fiction show.


The show's plot pits these characters against various criminals and schemers, Alliance security forces, the violently insane Reavers, and the mysterious men with "hands of blue" who are apparently operatives of some rogue secret agency within the Alliance. The crew is driven by the need to secure enough income to keep their ship operational, against the need to keep a low profile to avoid their adversaries. Their situation is greatly complicated by the very divergent motivations of the individuals on board Serenity. The show's brief run did not allow full elucidation of all the complex interrelationships of the cast and their external contacts.

Airing and cancellation

Though the show had a loyal following during its lifetime, it was cancelled by the Fox Network in December 2002 after only eleven episodes shown in the USA and Canada. Low ratings were blamed for the cancellation; it has also been suggested that Whedon's additional responsibilities on Angel after co-creator David Greenwalt's departure from that show was a contributing factor. In the hopes of getting another network such as UPN to pick up the cancelled show, fans formed the 'Firefly Immediate Assistance' campaign, but so far have been unsuccessful in promoting the show's continuance. Fillion and Firefly co-star Gina Torres appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, respectively, following the show's cancellation.

Fans attributed the low ratings in part to decisions made by the Fox Network; in particular, the show was promoted as an action-comedy rather than the more serious character study it was intended to be, the shows were repeatedly preempted for sporting events, and the episodes were aired out of order with respect to the creators' intent:

First season episodes
D Code Name Writers Director Premiere Channel
1 1AGE79 "Serenity" (2 hours) Joss Whedon Joss Whedon December 20, 2002 Fox
2 1AGE01 "The Train Job" Joss Whedon,
Tim Minear
Joss Whedon September 20, 2002 Fox
3 1AGE02 "Bushwhacked" Tim Minear Tim Minear September 27, 2002 Fox
4 1AGE03 "Shindig" Jane Espenson Vern Gillum November 1, 2002 Fox
5 1AGE04 "Safe" Drew Z. Greenberg Michael Grossman November 8, 2002 Fox
6 1AGE05 "Our Mrs. Reynolds" Joss Whedon Vondie Curtis Hall October 4, 2002 Fox
7 1AGE06 "Jaynestown" Ben Edlund Marita Grabiak October 18, 2002 Fox
8 1AGE07 "Out of Gas" Tim Minear David Solomon October 25, 2002 Fox
9 1AGE08 "Ariel" Jose Molina Alan Kroaker November 15, 2002 Fox
10 1AGE09 "War Stories" Cheryl Cain Jim Contner December 6, 2002 Fox
11 1AGE12 "Trash" Ben Edlund,
Jose Molina
Vern Gillum July 8, 2003 SABC3
12 1AGE13 "The Message" Joss Whedon,
Tim Minear
Tim Minear July 15, 2003 SABC3
13 1AGE10 "Heart of Gold" Brett Matthews Tom Wright July 12, 2003 MundoFOX
14 1AGE11 "Objects in Space" Joss Whedon Joss Whedon December 13, 2002 Fox

Whedon said in a USA Today interview in April 2003 that he hasn't given up on the show yet, and hopes to continue it in any format he can. The completed first season's episodes, including those unaired, were released on DVD in the U.S. December 9, 2003.

Nominations and awards

Firefly won the Emmy for Outstanding special visual effects for a series.

The pilot episode was nominated for the Visual Effects Society's Best compositing in a televised program, music video, or commercial, and won the Best visual effects in a television series. It came second in the Hugo Best dramatic presentation, short form category.

Nathan Fillion won the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA's Cinescape genre face of the future award, male.


Jane Espenson, one of the writers of Buffy and Firefly, announced in June 2003 at a Buffy convention in England, that Whedon had taken 6 weeks off to write a script for a Firefly movie, Fillion and Baldwin confirmed on the official Fox forum and so did Whedon himself in several interviews. Finally Universal Studios acquired Firefly's rights and the production for a movie is currently in the talks; Whedon hopes he will be able to enlist the entire cast to come back in the movie and all of them seem to be more than willing to do so.

External links