Turn around and ask the geek in your life about Firefly and the chances are you’ll get a two part reaction. First excitement followed by disappointment or annoyance. Firefly was an American Western style space opera made by Joss Whedon in 2002 which is among the best made and most watchable TV ever but which only ran for fourteen episodes. Fox, the US network that commissioned and broadcast Firefly seemed to do everything possible to stop it succeeding. They aired it at odd times and they changed the timeslot regularly, they aired it out of order with the third episode first leaving viewers very confused and never quite seemed to understand the show.
So what was Firefly about? It is set in the year 2517, after the arrival of humans in a new star system and follows the nine crew of Serenity, a “Firefly-class” spaceship. The crew fought on the losing side of a civil war and others who now make a living on the fringe of society, as part of the pioneer culture that exists on the fringes of their star system. In this future, the only two surviving superpowers, the United States and China, fused to form the central federal government, called the Alliance, resulting in the fusion of the two cultures. According to Whedon’s vision, “nothing will change in the future: technology will advance, but we will still have the same political, moral, and ethical problems as today”. The show is tremendously well written and acted and strikes a chord with many viewers. Watch the video below and you’ll get the idea.
After 11 episodes were aired Fox cancelled the series and it seemed Firefly was over. Then something happened. The fans of the show got organised and started demanding more and making an awful lot of noise. DVD sales of the series went through the roof and it got to the point where Whedon was able to return with the original cast and make a movie – Serenity – which was able to tie up several of the plotlines left hanging and bring things to a crescendo. Fans were left with a series that while short is a classic and everyone should try and have in their collection.