Looking at the Past and Future of ‘Firefly’

logan j. fowler aims to misbehave with a look back … and forward …on the cult series Firefly

Here’s how it is:

Firefly, a beloved sci-fi western television series created by Joss Whedon, has found its way in being discussed in pop-culture news recently. Entertainment Weekly had a sit down with actor Nathan Fillion, AKA Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, who said he would love to buy the rights to Firefly, which in turn created a Facebook group to honor this petition, that of which I immediately joined.

If you haven’t watched Firefly or its follow up feature length film Serenity, then my friend, you have missed out on one of the best shows/movies of the past decade.

Featuring a group of Independents who take flight in a spaceship named Serenity, Mal and his cohorts travel from planet to planet to do jobs for money to stay in flight, eat, etc. This is all occurs while the crew is trying to stay away from the control of the overruling Alliance, a group which Mal and crew member Zoe (Gina Torres) fought against in a war (a scene that opens the Firefly series) that they obviously did not win.

Among the initial crew is the strong-headed, gun-toting, semi-non-loyal muscle, Jayne (Adam Baldwin), Zoe’s husband and pilot, Wash (Alan Tudyk, AKA Pirate Steve from Dodgeball), the mechanic, Kaylee (Jewel Staite), and a “companion” who uses Serenity as a transport from planet to planet, Inara (V‘s Morena Baccarin).

As they touch down on one of the various planets (Whitefall, in this case) to drop off stolen goods to a local, the crew also accepts passengers, one of who is revealed to be a mole working for the Alliance. He seeks out fellow passengers Doctor Simon Tam (Sean Maher) and his sister, River (The Cape‘s Summer Glau) as Simon has helped her escape from the control of the Alliance who was performing experiments on her. There is a brawl, and Kaylee ends up getting shot by the mole, who is handled in the end by the final passenger, Shepherd Book (Ron Glass). Mal threats to turn in the siblings to avoid further problems with the Alliance, but Simon counterattacks by saying that he won’t treat Kaylee if they don’t make a break for it. Mal agrees, and later on removes the mole from the ship. In discussion with Jayne, Mal admits that the Tams would be safer on the move, and makes them part of the team. The crew begins to dodge Alliance in a whole new aspect in addition to their former reason and it all leads up to the final climactic turn in Serenity.

Firefly premiered on Fox in 2002, but it hit low ratings, and only had an 11-episode run (out of order, I may add), but the show garnered a huge fan base on DVD (myself included), and the universe found its way into other forms of media, such as comic books and a role playing game. I recently picked up volumes of the comic which are quick and great reads, with a humble and great forward by Captain Reynolds himself, Fillion. In it, he describes his growing up on comics, his encounter with Joss, the extreme enthusiasm in his “finally getting to play a superhero,” and how he was so appreciative of the opportunity that he got and how much he loves the Firefly universe.

This brings us back to the earlier point: Fillion loves the franchise so much he would buy the rights if he hit the lotto, make it his and “distribute it on the internet.” The Science Channel has recently acquired the rights to the show and plan to air it, albeit the news was met with broken hearts from fanboys and fangirls everywhere — not because the show is being rerun on cable (with some extras, in fact), but because those at EW can’t write a headline to save their lives. “Firefly to return to cable.” Now, is it me, or does that sound like the show is going to have brand new episodes? Good job, EW. Hope your whole staff collectively facepalmed when that hit.

Anyway, Nathan Fillion said IF that did happen, he’d gladly put on the brown coat, holster with gun and mount horses yet again, as he says, “It was my favorite job ever.”

I, for one, would welcome the grand return (as long as all hands — Whedon included — were on deck), but not without hesitation. Firefly, in its brief run, was perfect, almost TOO perfect, and I would not want to see it be tainted. Call me stubborn or selfish, but I love the series for all that is (“Out Of Gas” above all else is one of my favorite television episodes ever aired) and continuing it would not doubt make this fanboy crack a geek smile, but like I said, it gives the show that whole “what if” vibe, in both a positive and negative sense.

Whatever the case, there’s a special area in my heart for Whedon’s sci-fi western universe, as well as many people across the world. Even if the show doesn’t come back to air with new episodes, it still will have a place in the halls of great television in addition to the aforementioned cardiac area of this blogger.

“We’re still flying.” “That’s not much.” “It’s enough.”


  1. Great article.
    You not only called EW on their error, but you payed tribute to the show as a whole.

    You said everything that I tell people, from how perfect it is to our shared opinion of “Out of Gas”.

    I can’t help but wonder though…What if it had gone for two seasons and still have been perfect? What about three? It’s hard to imagine it going terribly wrong with the people who were behind it. Way too much heart and soul for it to fail.

    • ‘Out of gas’ is my favourite episode out of all Sci-Fi series – including my personal favourite series of all times ‘Babylon 5’ (Firefly is a very close second). The look in Mal’s eyes when he first sees his ‘Serenity’ is divine.
      I think that now, with the succes of the Avengers movie, the guy (or people) who cancelled the show will realise he shot himself in the foot. Let Whedon have another crack at his universeand mesmerise usus all once more…