Apr 7 2014 10:00am

The Sky is Taken: It’s Time to Get Over Firefly

Firefly, Mal, Zoe

I’m about to commit fandom suicide here, but I suppose if you’re gonna go… death by Browncoat isn’t too bad?

Look, Firefly is great. I would never dispute that—in fact, I consider myself a fan of the show overall. But it’s not The Best, and I’m still really confused about how it is constantly touted as such. Incredibly confused. And I can’t help but think that shimmery gossamer cloaking it has so much to do with it’s early death.

Here’s the deal: whenever I see a top ten list of practically anything concerning sci-fi television on the internet, if Firefly is not mentioned somewhere, there are lots of angry people insisting at its inclusion. Because the show has touched a lot of people and features some really fun, excellent talent, and because we just love Joss Whedon’s quippy dialogue and no one can tell us we’re wrong. But can we talk about the show as an entity critically? Just for a moment? I keep wanting to, but most people are not so keen to have this conversation with me.

Firefly, Mal, Book

Part the first—No matter how you slice it, this show has 14 episodes and a movie.

Yeah, there are some comics, but in the medium it was intended, it’s about a season’s worth of material these days. More importantly, it’s not a complete story; it was intended to be a television show that ran for years, the same way Buffy and Angel did. So the show is a lot of fun, yes, and the opening episodes showed loads of potential. But when someone tells me it’s one of their favorite television shows in the whole world, my brain immediately goes: That would be like if I handed you the first three chapters of The Sound and the Fury and told you it was one of my favorite ever books. What would I be asking you to enjoy? To consider?

There is plenty of fiction out there that never really “ends” in a proper sense of the word. Buffy will be the Slayer until she is dead, and that means that she gets to have many adventures that fans will never be privy to. But the show still had a finale. A place to pause, where an arc of her main journey was complete and everyone could feel free to walk away. Firefly doesn’t have that. If your final experience in the universe is Serenity, it effectively ends with a call to action—which is the exact opposite of an ending.

Firefly, Zoe, Jayne, Wash

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there is any problem with calling Firefly your favorite television show. But I do take issue with then insisting that the show be held up as one of the great staples everyone else should marvel at and adore. Because this has to do with my next problem…

Part the Second—The show’s premature demise casts it in a fine glow that comes from a lack of maturation.

Endings can kill things, especially where series are concerned. How many people love to rip on the epilogue of Harry Potter? How terribly has Battlestar Galactica fared in the genre zeitgeist for its abysmal final episodes? How many people still wish that island in Lost had been a metaphor for purgatory, like they’d guessed all along? The pressure to stick the landing in fiction is higher than ever, and it’s worse in television because when you take a bow is usually not up to you; studios can choose not to renew a show for countless reasons, and it’s rare to get enough time to wrap up.

But ending a season ahead of where you expected is not the same as being halted on your first lap through the pool. That is what happened to Firefly—it had barely cleared the gate before it was cut off. That the characters managed to resonate so quickly and steal the hearts of fans is a testament to the writing and the cast, but even so, Firefly garners the praise it does for another important reason: it’s just a great big basket of potential that will remain untapped.

Firefly, Simon, River

You love the show, yes, but what hurts are all those episodes you missed. We’re stuck forever wondering what Firefly was going to become, where those characters were going, what they would accomplish together, who they would admit into their ragtag thieving band, who else they would lose along the way. And because the show had such a promising start, the tragedy is more keen. Firefly only had thirteen episodes when it was cancelled, but the dysfunctional family dynamic of Serenity’s crew made us feel at home with them. They were folks that fans wanted to grow with, specifically because they spoke to how downtrodden many of us feel in that desire to live the kind of lives we’re wishing for. There’s a little bit of Robin Hood there, a little bit of frontier magic, a little bit of ‘screw the man, fight the power!’

This ignores, of course, the fact that the longer the series went on, the more it would have occasionally disappointed. Most long-running shows have seasons or spates of episodes that we find groan-worthy. Most shows handle a topic, a character, a progression in a way that grates fans and causes strife among the diehard and dedicated. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with this—television is a complex medium that is ever-changing, and hitting rough patches in creative projects is basically par for the course. But it is a sure part of the reason why Firefly exists on a gilded pedestal; we never had a chance to grow tired of it. We didn’t have enough hours logged to get irritated and confused, to mull over plotholes and missed opportunities. We never got to find out if there was some way to take the sky back, and what that would do to the ’verse.

Firefly, Mal, Inara

We were just left with a Serenity ship-shaped hole and a mountain of what-ifs. Which brings me to...

Part the Third—Not all the what-ifs were good ones.

Firefly was wonderfully unique in many aspects and a heck of a lot of fun. The show presented a different outline for the future than most science fiction television; a place that was not a shining bastion of humanity’s achievements, but rather where our problems remained just the same. No fun aliens for distraction, no great missions to far reaches of the universe, no science-y science. Though an oversimplification, it was basically cowboys in space.

More specifically, it’s… southern restoration in space?

The initial inspiration for Firefly was Joss Whedon reading a book about the Civil War, and considering what it must have been like for the side who lost. That’s what Mal Reynolds embodies, the Confederate soldier who has to surrender to the powers that have beaten him, his friends, his loved ones. Who has to rebuild his world now that his way of life is no longer supported by the government in charge (except the Browncoats don’t seem to be for slavery for obvious, not okay reasons). That gets combined with a frontier narrative as Mal and his crew attempt to eke out lives for themselves, further and further away from the Alliance’s watchful eye.

Firefly, Mal, Zoe, Wash, Kaylee, Simon, Inara

The frontier part of Firefly’s tale seems like it should be the easiest sell because it’s a timely hot button for western and American fiction in particular; we “ran out” of frontier, which had in turn been the foundation for so many stories. And now with the space program mostly canned and a general lack of new country to explore, it’s harder to find that ever. So let’s do it on new planets! Ones that we terraformed, so we’re not displacing native populations in our search for new horizons! This is the right way to do this, yes?

Well… sure. In some ways, Mal’s tale is incredibly topical for a current audience. His journey is bound up in the realization that the sky is getting cluttered, there’s very little road left on the grand proverbial highway. People with wanderlust, who want to explore, who belong in the wind, are getting policed more and more with every foothold the Alliance gains. The same could be said for many of us. Manifest Destiny seems so quaint these days.

So what’s the problem? Perhaps the fact that Whedon decided that the final worldly superpowers of Earth-that-was were going to be America and China… and then gave us a ’verse full of those cues and not one main Asian cast member. As a result, most of the Chinese flourishes in the show are just that—flourishes. A Chinese curse word! Markets populated by Asian characters we never see anyone interact with! An oiran-like system that is full of predominantly white women! (By the way, oirans are Japanese, but that doesn’t seem to be an important designation that is ever made on screen. Even though China and Japan are two very different countries and cultures.)

Firefly, Inara

The companion side of culture was always going to be a problem any way you cut it, but specifically using the underpinnings of a faux-geisha system is just… awkward? I want to believe that it would have been handled better and better down the line, but nothing that I saw or heard about Inara’s guild led me to believe that. Firefly was in a position to make some scathing commentary about the “frail, demure, obedient” stereotypes constantly leveled at Asian women, if only we’d seen one as a companion who blew those adjectives out of the water. And that would have been difficult ground to tread, yes—but it’s the least that should have been done in a show that spent so much time using the trappings of Chinese and Asian cultures.

This is all without mentioning the fact that even though the Companion Guild is government sanctioned and has self-protections woven throughout, the system is aggravatingly same-same for something that is set centuries in the future. Sure, Mal claims that he respects Inara even if he doesn’t respect her profession. But that’s pretty much having it both ways. “No, I respect you as a person, totally! I just think the way you chose to live your life is completely bonkers and will never be okay with it!” Fine from a distance to feel that way, I guess—pretty awful for someone living under your roof. (Also, Inara was supposed to be dying from a terminal illness, according to Whedon. Because the easiest way to deal with the fact that Mal can’t get over her job is to rip her away from them all?)

Firefly, Mal, Zoe, Jayne

Add to that another example of the glorification of cowboy culture—something that really doesn’t deserve much glorification and certainly doesn’t require more of it—and the show falls on pretty uneven terms in its representation. In many ways, Malcolm Reynolds is an update of the Lone Ranger myth; a man who decides to make his own word of law where there is none, who protects the helpless on the edge of the wilds with help from his friends, all while the actual powers that be ignore the suffering of common folk. Is that really a myth that needed a retrofit? We all want to believe in big damn heroes like that, but they often fall short when they continually allow their personal brand of justice to dictate the day. Would Firefly have addressed that roundly? Would Serenity’s crew have made moral mistakes that they couldn’t shoot their way out of? One hopes the answer would have been yes, but yet again, we will never find out.

And I do understand that we can’t choose the things that inspire us. They either hit us where we live or they don’t. Firefly did that for a lot of people. It has spawned charities and friendships and one of the most dedicated fan bases that sci-fi has ever seen. For what it is, that’s incredible. But I do think that some distance is needed. It’s great to love Firefly—but in terms of its place amongst SF royalty, it’s more honest to say that we all love Firefly’s potential. That we love what we believed it would achieve, that we wanted to make a home out there.

Firefly, Serenity

So contrary to popular dogma, I’d argue that burning brightly and snuffing out quick isn’t really the best way to go—even if it has kept Firefly fandom together for over a decade. All it leaves behind are more questions and lots of cute quotes. I’d rather have watched the show stumble and occasionally fall. I’d have rather watched it try to charm its way out of gaping plotholes and infuriating season finales. As is, I loved it lots… but I can’t call it “the best” anything without knowing what it was trying to achieve.

Emily Asher-Perrin really does love Firefly a lot. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

TW Grace
2. TWGrace
I enjoy firefly quite a bit...


IMNSHO it is vastly overrated as a creation simple because there is so little of it.

Plus, I am immensely glad it ended before the Inara-Reaver thing.
3. a1ay
gave us a ’verse full of those cues and not one main Asian cast member.

Nitpick: two of the main cast members are Asian - River and Simon Tam. Tam's a common Southern Chinese surname that I have never come across in any Western society; therefore the characters River and Simon Tam are of Chinese origin.

(That they're played by non-Chinese actors is neither here nor there. There are no British characters in The Wire, regardless of the fact that Stringer Bell and Jimmy McNulty are both played by British actors.)
4. Nick S.
Wait.. The island wasn't wasn't a metaphor for purgatory on Lost?
Chris Nelly
5. Aeryl

Yeah, uh no, it's not beside the point. That's called whitewashing. Chinese people are a different ethnicity than the actors cast to portray them. Stringer Bell was a character of African descent played by an actor of African descent. Jimmy McNulty is a white guy played by a white guy. This is ok, regardless of their nationality.
6. Jason WS
To paraphrase Zoidberg, you're wrong and you should feel bad.

How many Star Trek and Star Wars clones did we go through? Battlestar Galactica? Space 1999? Firefly was a breath of fresh air. It brought the grey line back into the future, and let us cheer for the cattle rustlers. It's not the best because it didn't have time to be the best, but in a few short episodes, it put its mark in the top ten.

I challenge you to find a suspensful Star Trek Original Series, Next Generation, Voyager, ENT, or even Deep Space Nine that had the power of Out of Gas.

As a matter of fact, you'd have to go to Farscape to find it--you're welcome.

Powerful storytelling, new plots and trope busting antics were the hallmarks of this show.
Emily Asher-Perrin
7. EmilyAP
@a1ay - I'd be curious if that were the intent Whedon was going for, if their parents were not clearly very, very white. It seems more likely to me that due to the culture smash of America and China, some of these things were appropriated. At the most, I could buy that the Tams have some Chinese ancestry dating waaaaay back, but there is no indication that they are Chinese whatsoever in terms of culture or heritage besides that name.

@Jason WS - I actually can think of several Trek episodes that I would call incredibly suspenseful, but I think that's just a personal matter of opinion. (Obviously most episodes of Farscape apply.) On the other hand, if we're calling Firefly a trope-busting show, I'd never use "Out of Gas" as the episode that makes that point; it's basically a by-the-numbers flashbacks-contained-betwixt-singular-journey episode that most shows do at some point. For trope-busting, I'd go to "Shindig" or "Jaynestown," probably.
8. Colin R
Firefly is a lot of fun, and I totally get the wistful wondering about what might have been. On the other hand, we also never had to suffer through any bad Firefly either--it never had time to suck. It can remain pure and unsullied in our memories. When Adam Baldwin sticks his foot in his mouth, it's far enough removed from Firefly that we don't have to feel icky about it.

Anyway, we already have an amazing, dark, turn-of-the-millennium sci-fi series about a band of misfits on a spaceships that lasted for four seasons and a miniseries. It's Farscape. Go watch that and don't come back until you have watched at least the first two seasons!

(P.S. that's a trick; it's not humanly possible to stop watching Farscape after the end of the second season.)
9. Maelyn
I think I am confused. Basically you are saying that yes, Firefly was nearly perfect in it's 13 episode run, but we should not consider it one of the great TV shows because it wasn't around long enough to disappoint us? I disagree. I have seen MANY shows that disappointed GREATLY in their first season. One episode is enough to fail horribly. 13 episodes in, Firefly was still great, which you appear to admit. How long would a show need to be before we can reasonably praise it, according to your guidelines? 2 seasons? 3? 5? 10?
10. emeraldcite
I agree. While Firefly was a fun show and showed potential, it certainly doesn't live up to some of the really fantastic writing going on in television right now. We're in a golden age of short form film.

I think what works so well for Firefly is that it had such potential. Potential is a powerful could've been huge, but we'll never know. And that's good enough for it to be the best ever in that alternate universe where it got ten seasons, where four of those seasons were hanging on renewals and throwaways, only for the gloss to slough off in the final two seasons until it limped off into cancellation.

Although it was a fun show, I can't imagine it coming back. It did what it did and we should all celebrate that fact.
11. Ri

I am so glad this post exists.
Sky Thibedeau
12. SkylarkThibedeau
#Firefly is gone. They'll have to do a TNG or DS9 type of thing to bring back the 'verse. Maybe a firefly class ship "Harmony". Captain Catalina Wong, prosperous trader and staunch supporter of the Alliance until her Browncoat brother Lee Quon on the run from the Alliance and Blue Sun shows up to wreck her belief system and the harmony of her life.
Emily Asher-Perrin
13. EmilyAP
14. buttertroll
I agree with the vast majority of your thought train. I was introduced to Firefly by watching Serenity at a discount theater. No idea about the insane amount of love until well after the series died.


I catch a random episode I have seen a dozen times, am glued to the screen, and at the end, realize my face hurts from smiling. The show is just pure joy. I know of very, very few properties that have the same effect on me.
Andy Holman
15. AndyHolman
Well said, Ms. Asher-Perrin. I liked Firefly and wish there'd been more of it, but it was far from perfect.

16. Fred Zimmerman
One place where I disagree with you is on the Mal/Inara dynamic. I think it's exactly what it makes good drama that Mal hates what she does but respects her as a person. And they show that they both hate that situation.
17. Ironekilz
I think you're looking for another word here: "It has spurned charities and friendships and one of the most dedicated fan bases that sci-fi has ever seen." Maybe spurred?
18. i can't think of an alias
I only stumbled upon Firefly after reading the re-view here at Tor. It came and went so fast that I never had a chance to appreciate it. SO if nothing else, thank you Tor for NOT moving on.

On the other hand, I agree with most of the article; it was a fabulous show, but how can something be adequately judged if it is not completed?

Kind of like those that think A Song of Ice and Fire is the greatest fantasy ever written, when it's quality is sinking with each book and it is a long way from being finished. If GRRM ever completes the series, we may have a very different opinion than we would have if it had been a trilogy.
19. ZhaneEndrick
Obviously I love Firefly and I've converted a dozen or so people into 'Browncoats', but I actually agree with the sentiment here (mostly). I think it's a fantastic show, but I've always said that may have a lot to do with the fact that it never had a chance to start sucking.
Besides's just time to get over it. It had a too-short run and I think that's part of its appeal. The potential is great not because it was unfulfilled, but because it never had a chance to BE fulfilled. It's not coming back and I think that's a VERY good thing.
If it had been on for five seasons, would it have been so loved as it is today? I suspect not. Oh I would still love it I think, many of us would. But I do not want it to come back. True I have a hard time watching it without getting really upset that it was cut tragically short, but at this point, it is time to appreciate it for what it is and let it go.
20. Alex C.
I'm going to come out and risk drawing fire by saying that I don't love Firefy. It's not a bad show by any means, and it certainly entertained me. But not to the point that it hooked me in the way my favourite shows did, or that it left me wishing for more after it was over.

This goes beyond the way that the hype it recieves on the internet created vastly overblown expectations when I first watched it, that the actual show could hardly live up to. Perhaps I'm one of those who has been spoiled by the sort of quality that exists in the great drama shows of television's New Golden Age, but even for what it was Firefly's single season comes off to me as somewhat mixed in quality.

It's not the inclusion of this show or aspects of it in sci-fi Top 10 lists that bemuses me, it's the suggestion that you see coming from so many quarters that it represents Joss Whedon's best work as a television auteur. It has some good moments no doubt, but compared to the best parts of Buffy and Angel, this was extremely small fare.
21. sethbdeadwood
I can't help but think of HBO's Carnivale, which is in a similar position. The two seasons of the show we have are lovely, and the world/mythology is so engrossing, but it's literally only the first third of the story. I love the show, but couldn't rank it among my favorites simpy because the lack of any sort of conlclusion is too irritating.

At least Firefly got Serenity, which gave the characters and enough of the series plot some wrap-up. It does end on a call to arms, though, and there's so much of the world left unexplored. But it seems likes it's only a matter of time before Whedon either writes or commissions someone to write FIREFLY: Season Two the comic book and we'll see the mythology developed proper.

Also, I loved the BSG finale. I'm still a little confused by the folks who dismiss it in the same category as the LOST finale. I guess if you were more in lurve with hard-science fiction than anything else, I could see the vaguely defined God/higher power element could be off-putting. But it worked for me, and it's up there with BREAKING BAD as far as great final seasons.
Patti Taylor
22. sapience14
I have to fundamentally disagree with Point the First that somehow because it is unfinished it cannot be great, because there are plenty of examples where an unfinished work is still considered a masterpiece--Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, Coleridge's Kubla Khan, Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Dickens' The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Byron's Don Juan, Austen's Sanditon... Not sure Firefly belongs in quite this company, but I don't think as a general rule "unfinished" inhernetly equals "not brilliant."
23. kadett
imho - it is very simple. tempus fugit. Nathan is lost and has gained weight like a castle and Morena was anyway awful. And all others have found their determination. So be happy being part od firefly mythos and that's it.
24. Kathygnome
I'm going to guess anyone mad at you is going to be twice as mad as me. We certainly did see disappointing bad Firefly. It was called Serenity.
25. Athreeren
I completely agree, except for part 3: though the setting clearly has its flaws that should have been questioned in latter seasons, I loved it.

I don't think Firefly was that good as it exists (though it was a really good show), but it showed something really different, in a world that deserved to be expanded : there were a lot of stories to tell there. Considering that it was stopped after only one season, with the fandom it attracted, and the conditions in which it was broadcast, it's not surprising that it became such a legend.

But it was so long ago, there really is no point in expecting a return. The obvious parallel would be Veronica Mars which got a movie when few were still hoping for one, but Firefly doesn't need a movie to close its arcs, it's already got one. It would need a new show to explore its universe. And after all this time, I can't see the point of taking the story back where it was. Firefly either needs a reboot, or a sequel in name only, following different characters, maybe with old favorites in the pilot. Something like what SkylarkThibedeau proposed (it would be good to have Chinese people in Firefly).
Martin Cohn
26. arixan
Firefly is River Phoenix. Firefly is Janis and Jimi. Firefly is James Dean, talent and potential taken before its time. Who knows, Firefly may have ended like Clint Howard or dare I say it, Johnny Depp, but we will never know and all we have is all that shiny left to enjoy.
27. Ordeiberon
I commented on a similar subject elsewhere but I think these points could be made with almost any series. I realized this myself in trying to quantify what I like most, about anything I was a huge fan of. I realized that it was the universe, the setting it established that is what made me a fan. The characters were simply my guides to that setting. Settings like Star Trek and Star Wars, have huge amounts of availble media to propagate the setting, but not all of it is good. For example I can name which of the Treks is my favorite series but thinking back I can remember maybe a dozen episodes that sold me and I consider the rest filler to expand that setting and its larger universe. And not necessarily good filler if you try to show it to a non fan. For you as a fan, more media may disapoint you but it gives you more of the universe that you are a fan of. It is the universe created that you become a fan of. So whether it has 13 episodes and movie or 700 episodes, the impact is the same. The Fandom is the same. The story, the setting made an impact on you and you wanted more. How many people are fans of a single book? A single story? Alice in wonderland, fairy tales, the land of Oz or comics like watchmen. This are settings with sometimes, single stories with a wide fan base becuase people fell in love with the setting, the mythology of it all. Ands that why Firefly garnered fans. A new mythology, a new universe to explore with their minds and it matters little if it was only a limited, incomplete show.
Jennifer B
28. JennB
I disagree with this article. You can't claim something isn't great because we never got a chance to see it get bad. You have to judge it on the material that actually exists.
Nick Hlavacek
30. Nick31
You're not wrong, but I would like to respectfully disagree on a few points. I do agree that much of the love for Firefly is due to the potential it showed, but the fact that it showed that potential so strongly and so quickly is what makes it unique and makes it great. Consider for example, Star Trek: The Next Generation. How many people could seriously say that the first season of this series was the best? (I'm sure someone out there thinks this, but that person needs to let the nice people with the white coats lead them back to the room with the nice soft walls.) It went on to be a great show, but that was in spite of how it started. How many of the science fiction series we love started off showing as much potential as Firefly? The only thing I can think of is the first Star Wars movie, and that was at a time where we were pretty desperate for good sci-fi on screen. I see your point that we could have ended up with the Firefly equivalent of Jar-Jar Binks, but it's not guaranteed.

I wonder if the lack of ethnic Chinese characters should be blamed on the studio. Obviously they get the blame for cutting the series off so quickly, but it wouldn't shock me to hear they wanted a less diverse cast than would be realistic in the 'verse. Either way, that issue could have (and should have) been addressed as the series went on.

Maybe it's just that I lived in Wyoming for several years, but I disagree most with the statement that the cowboy culture isn't something to be glorified. There are many aspects of that culture we could use a lot more of these days. The emphasis on personal responsibility and integrity, the value of independence, and the respect for hard work, just to name a few. Sure there are aspects we can do without, but that's true of any culture. We're increasingly becoming a society that is intolerant of dissent, and that stifling insistence on conformity is anathema to cowboy culture. It's the fundemental disagreement with that "think as we think or there's no place for you" attitude that drives most of the crew of Serenity. Except Jayne, of course.
31. Tammy L
Look, here's the deal. Whenever I see someone making light of SUICIDE in their opening line, I disengage. Suicide is NOT a matter to be taken lightly or joked about. I cannot take seriously anything posted after that point as being intelligent, well thought out or worded.

Your words and lack of insight are disturbing. I have unsubscribed and will not bother you further. Likewise, your insensitivity will not bother me further.

Think before you speak (er, type). Fandom? Not going to be a problem for you.
Steven Lyle Jordan
32. Steven_Lyle_Jordan
So, Firefly isn't worth lionizing, because it's short... a season and a movie? How long was Blade Runner? Or 2001? Amount of material doesn't determine the good or bad of a series, movie or short film; it's what you do with the time you have.

And Firefly did better with the time it had than most SF shows or movies. The characters were tighter. The stories were more entertaining. The dialogue worked out of the gate. As Nick31 pointed out, you can't say that about ST:TNG. Or, for that matter, any new series that felt obliged to dump monologues and technobabble on us to get us going (which, includes almost every other SF show I think I've ever seen).

I won't argue your list of potential flaws, or the fact that the premise itself is based on American mythology of the "wild, wild West," not its reality... but I say that's no fault of Firefly, nor a reason to denigrate it, any more than you'd denigrate Star Trek for being based on the American myth of "Manifest Destiny and world homogenization."

Because it's a TV show... and as such, can strive to tell any story it wants to.

So, okay, I'm done. I'll just go stand in the torch line... that's on the right, yes?
33. jbott
Little nit pic. There were 14 episodes not 13. Also the fact that this conversation is being had speaks volumes about why this show is on so many "Top Ten" lists. I loved Firefly. Serenity would have been a really good episode but I concede it's not a very good movie.
34. shadesofkin

Sky Thibedeau
35. SkylarkThibedeau
@EmilyAP LOL Thanks. I'm willing but I think anything 'verse requires a pitch from a Whedon and the Whedonistas are busy with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D or what ever it's going to be called next year (Coulson's Commandos?).
Janice Boyd
36. scaredicat
@26. Yep. You're always pretty when you die young.
Tim Marshall
37. smaug86
Quantity =|= Quality. Completed/Ending =|= Good.

I don't know how many times I have had discussions with people who bring up Firefly not even getting one full season as a legitimate reason why it can't be considered one of the greatest ever. Firefly did more with less than pretty much every other science-fiction tv series ever. It's really time for people to shut up about that, as well as it not getting to complete its run and have an ending as another reason it can't be considered great. It's about the quality of the storytelling, and the characters and the dialog. It may not be the best of all time, but it certainly would hold up against the best of whatever is being touted as such by the majority of fandom out there, to say the least.

I do concede Serenity, though. While I appreciate that the support of the fans is what got the film made and that I was stoked to see Joss and company getting a crack at it, Firefly doesn't work as a 2-hour film because of so many characters and so little time to treat them properly. Serenity felt like an extended episode where it seemed Joss pushed the dramatic envelope because he it was most likely his last shot working in the 'verse.

As for Farscape, I couldn't really get into it, and stopped watching. Perhaps I should have finished the second season, but all the time I was watching it, I kept lamenting the fact that it was the closest I was going to get to seeing a live-action Starjammers series/project.
39. Morley
Jason WS: Two words....Space Seed.
40. ad
It's OK. And I really liked the pilot and OiS. But I preferred Farscape.

But it is like any other cult show - it appeals in part becuase of all the people who haven't heard of it. Makes the fans feel that little bit special. Which is harmless enough.
Constance Sublette
41. Zorra
The actress playing Innara is a Brazilian of Persian descent; her cosmetics, dresses and decor are all evocative of Indian high end temple prostitute-dancers-artists -- very expensive, integral to their eras' entertainment and art among the classes that could afford such entertainments, arts and those who performed them. That what the on-screen presentation presented. Whether or not the writers thought they were doing Japanese geisha, they didn't touch any aspect of the Floating World's design, decor and arts.

From the first episode I saw of Firefly I couldn't figure out why, in this space faring future, frontiers worlds would have women wearing poke bonnets and long skirts and all the rest of the costume cliches of American western frontier communities. That's just for starters of what went wrong with this series.
Joe G
42. joeinformatico
Is Firefly the greatest SF show ever, and deserving of the rabid praise of its fanbase? I don't think so, but I don't have a problem with people who think it is. It was a damn fine show, brief as it was, and rewatching Serenity is what convinced me The Avengers movie was in good hands.

But I'm going to take the title of your article maybe a bit more literally. Should Firefly be resurrected in some fashion? Well, what would be the point?

Is it to continue the original series? Serenity already gave us a coda to the series. And before you mention the comic books, there's something about Whedon's writing that just doesn't work on the printed page for me. His dialogue needs decent actors behind it. I haven't found any of his comic books as good as his television or film work.

Are you going to reassemble the surviving characters almost 20 years after the fact to tell new stories? That could work, but are you going to capture the same magic as those original 14 episodes?

Are you going to tell new stories in the same setting but with different characters? That could work as well, but I never found Firefly's setting particularly interesting on its own without those characters and actors behind it.

Maybe a complete reboot could work, but the current climate is kind of hit and miss on reboots (I'd argue much more miss), and it's probably worth waiting several more years anyway.
Lee Anderson
43. DSNiner
Just a heads-up: pissing on the final eps of Battlestar Galactica is the surest way to make me stop reading your article. Or was this piece a veiled attempt to clusterf**k all the fandoms?

I'm starting to think Ryan Britt wrote this.
44. mquestionable
Technically, aren't the first 3 chapters of The Sound and the Fury 80% of the book? #pedantic
Sky Thibedeau
45. SkylarkThibedeau
@44 and its all a traditional Faulkner run on sentence. The first section rambles a bit and is displaced in time all coming as a Benjy POV. Imagine a Hodor POV in GOT and you have the first part of The Sound and the Fury
Brian Haughwout
46. bhaughwout
Thank you for enunciating so well many of the points that I've made to people, especially the point about FIREFLY representing the South post-Civil War. Modern America has utterly forgotten Reconstruction, so the Alliance is looked at in the lens of the things like the Empire rather than a DIRECT parallel of the postwar newly-federalized Northern authorities moving in, as well as the movement to the outer planets by both sides following the changeover and expansion of the postwar railroad system that would alter the balance of the territorial system and create many of our modern states.

(The other issue I personally have is with a fanbase that has grown too rabid over too small of a sample size too rapidly (in the spirit of the season, dibs on being the one on the cross to the left of you!). I can't even watch the series of the movie any longer after seeing one two many creepy fan at conventions, especially as odd ahistorical elements are drawn into strange cosplay. I don't want to be that guy telling folks how they should have their fun, but as a man opposed to any fun myself, I *would* like to ask you to get off of my lawn with your hippity-hop music and browncoats...)
48. ReturnoftheNAK
No one ever mentions the racist trope in the final episode of the series: Jubal Early, the "intimidating hypersexualized" black antagonist, threatens to rape the "innocent" & "helpless" white woman, Kaylee.
49. XBenedict
A: 'Fawlty Towers' is the funniest situation comedy of all time.
B: 12 Episodes.

Your argument is invalid.
50. Colin R
I'm pretty sure Joss Whedon was not trying to make any kind of points about the Civil War, the Confederacy, Reconstruction, or the Taming of the Western Frontier with Firefly. He was stealing the trappings of cowboy stories both for their cultural cachet and for (let's be real here) the much more physical reality that cowboy costuming and sets have gotta be a dime a dozen in Hollywood.

A space opera that dealt with the kind of themes that 19th century america was actually facing--slavery, racism, genocide, imperialist expansion, southern terrorism, the gilded age--would be fascinating. But as is, Firefly is just Cowboys in Space. Quite good Cowboys in Space! But, that's all. Nothing inherently wrong with that; it's like, Samurai Champloo stole hip hop and its associated culture to tell samurai stories in a different way. It's cool.
51. ReturnoftheNAK
Early shows up and basically asks "where all the white women at?" This is a blatant use of a racist stereotype by Whedon. Historically, white lynch mobs killed countless black men over false accusations of rape. I think Whedon is completely unaware of this.
52. J Town
After reading the article, I respectfully disagree. It boils down to 3 things that I disagree with.

1.) Too short - poor argument as has been pointed out previously. Brevity, or longevity for that matter, does not determine the value of something.
2.) It might have started to suck eventually - It didn't, though, and we'll never know if it would have. So this is pointless conjecture.
3.) You didn't like some elements of the show - That's normal in any series and is unsurprising. YMMV.

I just...don't really see the point of this article other than to point out why "Some people think this show is the best. They are wrong." You'll never win that argument over any show with any fan. Ever. So why try?
53. J Town

Or maybe Whedon was just telling a story with a great character (Early) and imperiling someone in the regular cast (Kaylee) with whom the audience was very sympathetic and who was especially vulnerable (not being a fighter) and he didn't worry whatsoever about something that happened in history that someone might possibly misconstrue. If you take out anything in a show that might possibly offend someone because historically something similar may have happened to a particular minority, I imagine you wouldn't have many perilous situations to write about. And it would be boring.

Simply put, your outrage is not compelling to me.
54. JohnMichael
Best way to make me "unfollow" Tor's Facebook page and stop buying books published by Tor. Thanks! I loved Firefly and I still do. I am a huge fan of just about every sci-fi series past and present even though there are a few that are pointless like the recent BSG reboot. For the record, it's fans like the Firefly fans that keep sci-fi going. Passion!!! Tor will not be my "Go To" source any longer for science fiction. Thanks again for the pointless article.
Jennifer B
55. JennB
Tor did an entire series on Firefly, filled with love. This is one article from one author. Check out the Firefly rewatch for a different perspective within the same community.
Dave Thompson
56. DKT
I believe in Firefly, but the only thing that scares me are the Browncoats.
Keith DeCandido
57. krad
Quoth Emily: "So the show is a lot of fun, yes, and the opening episodes showed loads of potential."

Well, actually, no, the two opening episodes were total crap. "The Train Job" and "Bushwhacked" are two simply dreadful episodes. It's not a coincidence that the ratings went over a cliff, from which the show never recovered, after those two episodes.

I still wonder what happened in the alternate reality where the network actually led with "Serenity," the two-hour pilot, which had its flaws, but which actually succeeded in introducing the world, something which "The Train Job" not only failed at, but actively worked against.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
58. Crash55
Firefly was great but I think it woudl not have been loved as much had it continued. What we have is a small amount of great episodes and it ended before it could be screwed up.

For me the best space based Sci-Fi series is Babylon 5. Its science and ship designs actually made sense
59. TheSaint08D
No it is in fact the best...I'm sorry Emily but you...have not won the internets...goodbye
60. Sean Bircher
I'm still mad about Wash.
61. shadowsong
a1ay: Tam is also an English surname, likely deriving from "Thames", and a Scottish shortening of "Thomas". I don't think they're necessarily supposed to be Chinese - and if they are supposed to be, then Whedon pulled a "The Last Avatar" by having them portrayed by white people.

I think the Chinese window-dressing is probably what bothers me most about Firefly. I would have loved to see more depth to the Chinese influence on the 'verse.
62. DougL
I wouldn't be surprised if the lack of Asian actors was a point made about how the white folks had been socialized to see some Asian things as totally normal and not think about how they spoke Chinese or had tea services and such. I don't know crap about China, so I don't know if any of it was accurate or not. To the characters it was hum drum normal and that was the point. It would lack that point, to a degree if one of the characters was Asian in this case; maybe.
Clare McBride
63. The Literary Omnivore
Humpin' word, Emily. Firefly's longevity as a fandom is due to the fact that it's unfinished. Michael Chabon argues that fandom is generated by the empty spaces on the map, and Firefly has one of the biggest empty maps in recent history.
64. Gerry__Quinn
Losing my sensitivity to hypersensitivity...
65. manmiles

Fawlty Towers is also completely self contained, has no continuing plot arc or character development and thus, twelve episodes is enough. The two shows aren't comperable. The writers John Cleese and Connie Booth decided against a third season so as to not allow for diminshing returns. Something Red Dwarf could have learnt a lesson from.
j p
67. sps49
EmilyAP, I respect/ fear you and your power to drive away someone with one post!

We will have different opinions on whether "ended too soon" is a reason to not really really like a show, but some of your later points are probably understood by many, even if under the surface.

Mal in not alone in his low regard for Inara's profession- Atherton (Mal's duellist) and the Spitfire landspeeder guy go straight to a more familiar view of women sharing themselves for money. I would expect some of the more Chinese/ Oriental worlds to view this differently, similar to today. (I also doubt Inara would have really died.)

I also trust and have some goodwill toward Joss Whedon, and expect that we would've seen more than just European and African descended actors as the series continued. He did have the idea, which is more than many before or since have done.

Heck, someone might go away from the 'verse and the Co-Dominion (US & USSR) to what might be more likely- African and South Americans surviving nuclear exchanges to move into space.
Noneo Yourbusiness
68. Longtimefan
I was over Firefly when I sufferd through the first 10 episodes. I could not stand any of the charaters. I never understood why anyone every liked this show and it has made sense to me that it was cancelled.

I cannot pinpoint why the show was so bad but I can say that I never saw anything amazing about it.
69. Dianthus
Wow! This...we need more of this...JW is a writer with strengths and weaknesses, just like most writers. He's definitely not my master.
I watched all 7 seasons of BtVS and all 5 of AtS. I saw Serenity with a group of friends before I saw a single ep of Firefly.
The thing is, I saw a lot of Angel and Spike in Mal and Jayne (who's basically Spike, only taller and less complicated). I told a friend about the movie, and I said it was very Whedonesque. Her response: 'So he makes you care about people and then he kills them?' Basically summing up his entire body of work in a single sentence.
After watching Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, I got the same Angel/Spike vibe from Captain Hammer/Dr. Evil. Whedon really needs some new schtick.
I too was very upset about the black man threatening the white woman with rape. I think Whedon was trolling us, tho' I can offer no direct proof of this. He knew some folks would be outraged by it, but for the 'wrong' reason.
Also, I've seen other criticism of a lack of racial/ethnic diversity on his shows. It's too bad that he doesn't really seem to care about this, but when you point it out, some folks will fall all over themselves to defend him. I was informed in a convo elsewhere that the actress who plays Skye on AoS is half-Chinese thank you very much, so I should just STFU (okay, that last bit was implied).
70. BDG
I was wholly underwhelmed by Firefly to be honest. I've recently watched in over the summer and maybe it was the hype or the uncomfortable white-washing or the lionization of reconstructionist POV in SPACE!!!! But at the end of the day I found that in the media of television that is much better written T.V. and within the context of SF or even Space Opera there is much better written works, more imaginative works, and most importantly for myself more inclusive works.
71. manmiles
Firefly was fun, but that's pretty much it. Babylon 5 and Blake's 7 though?
72. Fred B. Smith
Firefly shot 14 episodes (of which 11 wer aired during the original run); it would be an interesting thought experiment to Google the first 14 episodes of ST:TOS, for a comparison.
James Nicoll
73. JamesDavisNicoll
The first season of Star Trek for anyone who wants to play Mr Smith's game:
James Nicoll
74. JamesDavisNicoll
Couldn't we compromise and say that as flawed as Firefly was, it wasn't as problematic as either Dollhouse or Agents of S.N.O.O.Z.E.?
75. Bill Bacon
Its easy to see why Firefly is so well loved (among those who love it): Firefly is the JFK of sci-fi. A show with incredible potential, cut down far too early in its run. Its fans see it as Camelot - a bright, shiny moment.

(See what I did there?)
76. Matt Doyle
I'm a huge Firefly fan. It's one of my all-time favorites, something I have rewatched dozens of times in its entirety...

... and I get so annoyed every time I see a "bring Firefly back" petition. I didn't used to. Before Castle was on the air I sometimes signed them! But the time has passed, and the irrational fixation, the outrage and entitlement, that are visible on display from a portion of the fandom here or elsewhere when their delusions are challanged... I'm sick of it. Heck, Joss is reportedly sick of it. I'd love to see a spin-off, sure, but the original is long since in its grave - all the better for us to venerate it. And I do. I do! But I don't want it back.
Sky Thibedeau
77. SkylarkThibedeau
Earth Above and Beyond is another dead before it's time. For some reason it's never in reruns or streaming online and never gets the love it's due.
Shelly wb
78. shellywb
Are people actually stomping away because someone on the internet disagrees with them? That's so 90's...

This post reminded me of Shatner's "Get a life!" I liked his version better.

People on the outside or fringes of a fandom usually don't get what makes people inside adore something and stick with it and see it as the best thing ever. Those same people also tend to think those within it don't see its flaws. It's really condescending.

I don't love Firefly; I only mildly like it. But I do love other things that people tell me I should get over, sff for one. People like explaining to me why what I love isn't love-worthy. I'll occasionally try to explain the draw, but most of the time it isn't worth the time.

Talk about a show's flaws, please do; they all have them. But don't assume the fans don't see them. They do. They just love it despite them.
Jo Febo
79. bellatrixknits

I will concede that the notion of begging to bring back the show picking up where it left off needs to be laid to rest. If anything else were to return in the 'verse it would have to be a spin-off, set differently, etc.

But the reasons cited for degrading Firefly are based on potential as much as fans' love if it is. You can't call potential problems (and the sheer STUPIDITY of television executives) the reasons Firefly isn't great.

But the power of art is its ability to project beyond its own boundaries, and that's where Firefly shines. The potential for more, the hope it represents.
80. Ryamano
@ 41 Zorra

The actress playing Innara is a Brazilian of Persian descent; her cosmetics, dresses and decor are all evocative of Indian high end temple prostitute-dancers-artists

I'd like confirmation on the first part of your statement. I live in Brazil and I've never seem a Brazilian of Persian descent (they're most likely very, very rare). Brazilians with Egyptian, Lebanese or Syrian ancestors, yes, but Persian? Never. And from all I've read about her, Morena Baccarin has no Persian ancestors (her father is Italian-Brazilian, by the way). The features you're most likely confusing with Persian come from the mixture most Brazilians have (Native Brazilian, African and European admixture).
81. Wbrekke
It was a science fiction show. And an entertaining one at that. By micro-analyzing it and blogging about how it's overrated or that we should get over ourselves for liking it in itself keeps it flying. Course, your angle of disparaging a popular television series is one sure way of getting lots of reads, shares, and controversy. Now get off my lawn.
82. sadm500
I love this article, and I want to agree with it. I want to stop overhyping Firefly so that other people aren't underwhelmed when they dont love it as much as I do.

But I just can't because thats not how I feel about it...
83. Michael Thau
This article came off as shallow. Firefly dealt with current themes society is currently grappling with such as the relationship of government to the individual (both anarchy and totalitarianism are portrayed), the merits and devastation of war, and how faith can exist in the face of rationalism. Also non traditional family (the crew) and Apache love. The argument that there were not enough episodes to be worthy of fandom is basically that quantity trumps quality. This is a post modernist fallacy. The level of quality was exceptional per minute.
84. jkdjr25
Allow me to say that not only do I disagree but this is exactly the kind of fandom snobbery that I thought we were all trying to get past.

I am quite proudly a Browncoat and I rank Firefly as one of my all time favorite Science Fiction series. I rank it up there with Babylon 5, Doctor Who, Space Rangers (yes I liked that one sue me), Star Trek: TOS, and others. Even now I enjoy Supernatural and other series because they're escapism and for what it's worth that's what Firefly is for many of us.

Even with it's deeper subject matters and rich characters it lets us not be in this world for a little while, and as someone who values freedom of the mind and soul I find it offensive that people like you look down on people like me for promoting it as much as we do. It is our duty to help others escape and what better way than to head out into the black with Mal, Wash, River and Simon?
86. Colin R
It's kind of weird that "Firefly is great but not the best and it has a few problems" is being interpreted as some sort of denigration of the character or taste of people who like it. It's ok to like things that aren't perfect or even have some significant problems.

Also um... "Apache love"? I'm almost afraid to ask.
Sky Thibedeau
87. SkylarkThibedeau
@67 Mote in God's Eye/Niven-Pournelle-Sterling rec for 'Co-Dominium'. Putin maybe in the process of reviving that timeline now!
Rob Munnelly
89. RobMRobM
Wow. Emily - you really have that Leigh-esque touch at getting people riled up. Impressive.

I'm a big Firefly fan but I wouldn't treat the season as flawless. I'd view some as relatively weak (Bushwacked and the one with the Bunny ranch, for example) but when they were strong they were very very strong (Jaynestown, Our Mrs Reynolds, etc - and the scene where River freaks Kaylee out by killing the invaders without looking at them - amazing).

Really interesting question whether the one season format should be held against it in judging greatness. For example, I'd put HBO's True Detective against most anything (even with a couple of flaws in the finale) and if Orphan Black somehow didn't manage to make it to a second season I'd have a similar conniption. But I would argue that a show designed to last one season only (such as the Matt and Woody True Detective) differs from the one or two season show that is prematurely brought down (such as Firefly, Carnivale or my hypothetical Orphan Black scenario) - as the latter has hanging points and long term build up without payout (due to the cancellation) that diminish the actual and potential effectiveness of the show that we did experience.

So, both sides are right. Firefly was great and it was handicapped in terms of historic greatness by the one season format.
David Foster
90. ZenBossanova
In many ways, I feel the same way about Stargate (SG-1, Atlantis, Universe) even though it lasted more seasons than Firefly had episodes.

Sure, it had great episodes, and some terribles ones. But in the end, that is all we have, and we are not realistically going to get any more. I have to let it go. And I really don't like doing that.
91. Bob Finegold
On reflection, I find I will more readily rewatch an episode of Firefly than one from any other sci fi television series.

I respect others may have a similar experience with other shows, and I do not begrudge them this.
Emily Asher-Perrin
92. EmilyAP

There seems to be a little confusion in some of these comments, so I thought I'd just lay out a few things:

1. Nowhere in this article does it say, "I hate Firefly and therefore think anyone who likes it is silly." In fact, I say the opposite of that thing. I happen to enjoy the heck out of Firefly, and generally find its fans to be warm, welcoming, lovely human beings. (No guys, I don't think you understand, I used to write Firefly fanfic in college.)

2. For those who think I'm trolling: well, I suppose I see why they would think that, as the internet is full of contrary opinions for the sake of contrariness. Doesn't change the fact that I do think all of the things written down here, and have for a while now.

3. There is a profound line between criticism and "denegration." Denegrating something implies ill-intent. I bear Firefly and it's fans (of which I am one, as I said) no ill will whatsoever. I am offering a criticism of a show that, though great in many respects, is not so great in some others. Most fiction is that way, and I do this with many things that I adore. If that's not your cuppa, cool! There are lots of places on the internet that praise Firefly to space and back! In fact, it has been praised here on quite thoroughly! And if you thoroughly disagree, that is a-okay by me as well. But this piece is not about the fandom--it is about the show.

Thanks, all!
93. Dennyfan
Completely agree. Well written.
94. Dan Ives
So based on you saying Firefly isn't the best, what would you deem 'the best', or better than Firefly? As I'd personally like to watch them, seeing how much I enjoy Firefly, if there is stuff better I'd like to know and enjoy that also :)
Emily Asher-Perrin
95. EmilyAP
@Tammy L - Just caught this, and felt that I should say that if the opening line was triggering in any way, I do apologize.

@Dan Ives - I always go directly to Farscape in this case. It's got a lot of the things I love about Firefly, and it's certainly not without it's flaws, but it is a real gem. (That fans actually got an ending for when it was cut off before it's last season!) Personally, I have deep abiding love for original Trek and Doctor Who as well, though I know they're not everyone's cup of tea. Though it seems awfully dated now, for feel-good SF, you can't beat Quantum Leap. Pushing Daisies is excellent (also cut off early, though, sadly). The UK's original version of Being Human is pretty amazing as well. I feel like there are obvious other ones that I'm missing...
D. Bell
96. SchuylerH
@95: If we're talking about westerns, space and space westerns, then I would like to bring up Cowboy Bebop...
Rob Munnelly
97. RobMRobM
For well written, well acted, quality sci-fi, I'm all over Orphan Black these days (if you couldn't tell from my earlier post).
98. LarryK
What!!!!?? Firefly was cancelled!!!!??? What in the H E L L have I been watching???
Alana Abbott
99. alanajoli
I don't actually disagree with anything you've said, but that doesn't stop Firefly from being one of my favorite television shows ever. In part because it wasn't around to get disappointed in -- and while that might not make it "great" in terms of long-running SF shows, I think it does make it a great *season* of a show. And I talk about many shows in terms of seasons. (I always recommend Eureka season 4 over starting at the beginning, for example, because I don't think the show hit its stride until at least season 3, and the season 4 reboot is a good place to get introduced -- and committed -- to the characters.) And there are seasons of Buffy I'd just skip in entirety on a rewatch. So.

That said, one of my favorite fan reactions to Firefly was the review of season 7 by Michael Patrick Sullivan that recapped the entire series arc that might have been. It reads just like a Whedon show would for seven seasons, and I think it gives a flavor of what we might have had -- disappointments and glories -- if the show had gotten its full run.

Link, if this works, is here:
100. Ace Hamilton IV
Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!
101. sacason
This gave me even more Firefly feels
102. MonaLS
This is a great time to be a Firefly fan. We have a role playing game, a great new board game, a card game, graphic novels and upcoming an online game. Time to get over it? Hardly.
103. Marx
For any future comics they should employ Steven Brust or Jim Butcher to write them. Both have a talent for hitting that Whedonesque type banter. Brust did a great Firefly Fanfic story several years ago that got me hoping for a book series by him. Fingers crossed someone takes up the Verse and runs with it, certainly lesser works have been continued in book form.
105. Exegeek
Well said! Huzzah! etc.
But I still like to watch the sky:D
PS for the fans
- there are TWO roleplaying games, the latest one is just better advertised thanks to Kickstarter;
- comics don't count unless they come before the movie, likewise books written after a film.
106. ScottSF
Even though I disagree with most of the article, I'm ok with it. What I'm not OK with is the "get over it" message. That is an attack on the fans. Note the difference betweent: "I think Dr. Who is goofy, melodramatic garbage." and "I think Dr. Who is goofy melodramatic garbage and it's sycophanitc fans need to stop puting it in top 10 sci-fi lists where it clearly does not belong."

In disagreeing with the article itself I think the show was not merely potential, it was fully realized potential. It delivered in every way possible. The show is self contained with a propper ending. Firefly and SGU were the best science fiction of the decade. We don't love them because they were cancelled, they were cancelled because they were too ground breaking for the TV execs to wrap their head around.
107. (Your name)
I saw lots of nitpicking in this article, but one can nitpick any show into oblivion. I didn't see any suggestions for better shows. I've watched Star Trek, TNG, DS-9, Voyager, and Enterprise. While I enjoyed them somewhat, I didn't like them nearly as much as Firefly. I saw Serenity only a couple of months after Star Wars Episode III and there was no comparison. I would go so far as to say that Serenity blew every single Star Wars movie there is out of the water. What other sci-fi contenders do we have? Dr. Who? Red Dwarf? Galactica? Buck Rogers? All of them pale in comparison to Firefly.

Sure, it's derivative of westerns. Westerns happen to be awesome. I have to say that I wasn't keen on the idea of confederates in space either, and I think that Fox marketing the show as such sped it to an early demise. In its conception the show may have been reminiscent of the American Civil War, but in its execution the conflict between the Browncoats and Alliance was more closely resembled the American Revolution. This article writes the show off as "cowboys in space," but that in itself wouldn't have been enough to carry it. If the idea is so awesome how come Cowboys vs Aliens flopped? If the Lone Ranger angle carried the show how come it couldn't carry the Lone Ranger movie?

About the only point I agree with in this article was that the show died before it could commit any egregious sins. It never reached the shark, so no jump dimmed its luster. As Shakespeare put it, "The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones." So it is with shows and movies. If Heroes had been cancelled at the end of its first season, for instance, we would remember it fondly. That having been said, the fact that there were no horrific plot developments to mar the show's legacy doesn't negate the fact that it had a strong legacy to start with.
108. Alayna
Personally, it would have to take something really special to knock Firefly off my top 5 list. I've been a fan since it premiered on tv. It's unique and hit the ground running in just a couple of episodes. That is rare. It took Farscape, Babylon 5, and TNG most of their first season to "find their feet". It's quirky and will always hold a special place in my heart like Farscape, Doctor Who, and Babylon 5. Plus it's inspired so many charity events (which gets bigger every year) and done a lot of good. But I'm curious, if you want Firefly out of the running, then what new sci-fi show do you suggest to replace it? Older shows do not count since we should be "over them" by now. There's not a lot out there right now that is new and what we do have tends to be more on the fantasy end of things.
109. Lil McD
On an intellectual level, I agree.... However, you cannot apply reason to a subject without rationale, ie: our emotions. At 60 years old, I've watched the trends in literature veer from hero to anti- and from Utopian to dys- and all the shades & shadows between.

Heroes sing to our hearts.

The heart has no reason... which is why, in my heart of hearts, I'm still wishing for the return of the hero of my earliest youth: Paladin. There have been at least a hundred shows, big screen & little, presenting like characters, better or worse production values & acting, each with their own bent - but NONE of them have been Paladin!

I wish...
Lee Anderson
110. DSNiner
This article -- and the one about Steven Moffat 'trolling' fans by saying the Doctor could be human (which, in point of fact, he never said) -- are pure clickbait. Times must be tough here at
112. Ideas
It seems to me with todays technology and with 15 works to draw from a virtual cast could be rendered. Mannerisms, voice inflections, sets, and much more could be rendered and used to make a new film/series. I guess knowing that it is all possible I ponder what could be. Virtual characters could be indistinguishable from real ones.

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