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Firefly is an Americanmarker space western television series created by writer/director Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, under his Mutant Enemy Productions. Its naturalistic future setting, modeled after traditional Western movie motifs, has been praised as an "oddball genre mix". Whedon served as executive producer, along with Tim Minear.

Firefly premiered in the United States and Canada on the Fox network on September 20, 2002. Despite high expectations for the Joss Whedon-led project, by mid-December 2002 Firefly had averaged only 4.7 million viewers per episode and was 98th in Nielsen Ratings. It was cancelled after only eleven of the fourteen produced episodes were aired. Despite the series' relatively short life span, it received strong sales when it was released on DVD and has large fan support campaigns. It won an Emmy in 2003 for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series. The post-airing success of the show led Whedon and Universal Pictures to produce a film based on the series, Serenity. The Firefly franchise expanded from the series and film to other media including several comics and a role-playing game.

The series is set in the year 2517, after the arrival of humans in a new star system, and follows the adventures of the renegade crew of Serenity, a "Firefly-class" spaceship. The ensemble cast portrays the nine characters who live on Serenity. Whedon pitched the show as "nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things".

The show explores the lives of people who fought on the losing side of a civil war who now make a living on the outskirts of the society, as part of the pioneer culture that exists on the fringes of their star system. In addition, it is a future where 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 as well. 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."

Production

Origin

Nathan Fillion as Malcolm Reynolds, featured in a print advertisement for Firefly in 2002
Whedon developed the concept for the show after reading The Killer Angels, a novel chronicling the Battle of Gettysburgmarker during the American Civil War. He wanted to follow people who had fought on the losing side of a war and their experiences afterwards as pioneers and immigrants on the outskirts of civilization, much like the post-American Civil War era of Reconstruction and the American Old West culture. He intended the show to be "a Stagecoach kind of drama with a lot of people trying to figure out their lives in a bleak pioneer environment." Whedon wanted to develop a show about the tactile nature of life, a show where existence was more physical and more difficult. After reading The Killer Angels, Whedon read a book about Jewish partisan fighters in World War II that also influenced him. Whedon wanted to create something for television that was more character-driven and gritty than most modern science fiction. Television science fiction, he felt, had become too pristine and rarefied.

Whedon wanted to give the show a name that indicated movement and power, and felt that "Firefly" had both. This powerful word's relatively insignificant meaning, Whedon felt, added to its allure. He eventually wound up creating the ship in the image of a firefly.

Format

During filming of the pilot episode, Whedon was still arguing with FOX that the show should be displayed in widescreen format. Consequently, he purposely filmed scenes with actors on the extreme edge of both sides so that they could only be shown in widescreen. This led to a few scenes on the DVD (and later Blu-Ray) where objects that should be visible (such as the ship's yoke) are not since they would not have been needed in a non-widescreen format. However, the pilot was rejected by the FOX executives, who felt that it lacked action and that the captain was too "dour". They also disliked a scene in which the crew backed down to a crime boss, since the scene implied the crew was "being nothing". Thus, FOX told Whedon on a Friday afternoon that he had to submit a new pilot script on Monday morning or the show would not be picked up. Whedon and Tim Minear closeted themselves for the weekend to write what became the new pilot, "The Train Job". In this new pilot, the captain was more "jolly" and, at the direction of FOX, they added "larger than life" characters such as the henchman "Crow", and the "hands of blue" men, who also introduced an X-Files-type ending.

For the new pilot, FOX made it clear that they would not air the episodes in the widescreen format. Whedon and company felt they had to "serve two masters" by filming widescreen for eventual DVD release, but keeping objects in frame so it could still work when aired in pan and scan full frame. To obtain an immersive and immediate feel, the episodes were filmed in a documentary style with hand-held cameras, giving them the look of "found footage", with deliberately misframed or out-of-focus subjects. As Whedon related: "...don't be arch, don't be sweeping—be found, be rough and tumble and docu[mentary] and you-are-there." Computer-generated scenes mimicked the motion of a hand-held camera. This style was not used, however, when shooting scenes that involved the central government, the Alliance. Tracking and steady cameras were used to show the sterility of this aspect of the Firefly universe. Another style employed was lens flares, hearkening to 1970s television. This style was so desired that the director of photography, David Boyd, sent back the state-of-the-art lenses, which reduced lens flare, for cheaper ones.

Unlike most other science fiction shows, which add sound to space scenes for dramatic effect, Firefly portrays space as silent, because a vacuum cannot transmit sound.

Set design



Production designer Carey Meyer built the ship Serenity in two parts (one for each level) as a complete set with ceilings and practical lighting installed as part of the set that the cameras could use along with moveable parts. The two-part set also allowed the second unit to shoot in one section while the actors and first unit worked undisturbed in the other. As Whedon recalled: "...you could pull it away or move something huge, so that you could get in and around everything. That meant the environment worked for us and there weren't a lot of adjustments that needed to be made." There were other benefits to this set design. One was that it allowed the viewers to feel they were really in a ship. For Whedon, the design of the ship was crucial in defining the known space for the viewer, and that there were not "fourteen hundred decks and a holodeck and an all-you-can-eat buffet in the back." He wanted to convey that it was utilitarian and that it was "beat-up but lived-in and ultimately, it was home." As Joss Whedon discusses in the DVD commentary, each room represented a feeling or character, usually conveyed by the paint color. He explains that as you move from the back of the ship in the engine room, toward the front of the ship to the bridge, the colors and mood progress from extremely warm to cooler. In addition to evoking a mood associated with the character who spends most time in each area, the color scheme also alludes to the heat generated in the tail of the ship.Whedon was also keen on utilizing vertical space; thus, having the crew's quarters accessible by ladder was important. Another benefit of the set design was that it also allowed the actors to stay in the moment and interact, without having to stop after each shot and reset up for the next. This helped contribute to the documentary style Whedon strove for.

The set had several influences, including the sliding doors and tiny cubicles reminiscent of Japanese hotels. Artist Larry Dixon has noted that the cargo bay walls are "reminiscent of interlaced, overlapping Asian designs, cleverly reminding us of the American-Chinese Alliance setting while artistically forming a patterned plane for background scale reference." Dixon has also remarked on how the set design contributed to the storytelling through the use of color, depth and composition, lighting, as well as its use of diagonals and patterned shadows.

Their small budget was another reason to use the ship for much of the storytelling. When the characters did go off the ship, the worlds all had Earth atmosphere and coloring because they could not afford to design alien worlds. "I didn't want to go to Yucca Flats every other episode and transform it into Bizarro World by making the sky orange", recalled Whedon. As Meyer recalled: "I think in the end the feel was that we wound up using a lot of places or exteriors that just felt too Western and we didn't necessarily want to go that way; but at some point, it just became the lesser of two evils—what could we actually create in three days?"

Music

Greg Edmonson composed the musical score for the series. He stated that he wrote for the emotion of the moment. However, one reviewer averred that he also wrote for the characters, stating: "... Edmonson has developed a specialized collection of musical symbolism for the series ..." To help illustrate the collection, the reviewer gave key "signatures" various names, noting that "Serenity" recalls the theme of the show and is used when they return to the ship, or when they were meeting clandestinely; it was "the sound of their home." The slide guitar and fiddle used in this piece are portable instruments which fit the lifestyle of the crew: "... the music they make calls up tunes played out in the open, by people who were hundreds of miles away yesterday. 'Serenity' conjures the nomadic lifestyle the crew leads and underlines the western aspect of the show." Another emotional signature was "Sad Violin". It was used at the end of the Battle of Serenity Valley, but also helped set up the joke for when Mal tells Simon that Kaylee is dead in the episode "Serenity". The most memorable use of "Sad Violin", however, is at the end of "The Message", when the crew mourned the death of Tracey. This was also the last scene of the last episode the actors shot, and so this was seen by them, and Edmonson, as Firefly's farewell. To denote impending danger, "Peril" was used, which is "a low pulse, like a heartbeat, with deep chimes and low strings." The reviewer also noted character signatures. The criminal [[List of minor characters in the Firefly universe#Adelei Niska|Niska]] has his own signature: Eastern European or Middle Eastern melodies over a low drone. Simon and River's signature was a piano played sparsely with a violin in the background. This is in contrast to the portable instruments of "Serenity": the piano is an instrument that cannot be easily moved and evokes the image of "the distant house and family they both long for." The various signatures were mostly established in the first pilot, "Serenity", and helped enhance the narrative. "In every episode, the musical score intensified my experience of this intelligent, remarkable show. Using and combining all these signatures, Greg Edmonson brought out aspects of ''Firefly'''s story and characters that were never explicitly revealed in the other elements of the series." The musical score expressed the cultural fusion depicted in the show. [[Western music (North America)|Cowboy guitar]] blended with Asian influence produced the atmospheric background for the series. As one reviewer stated: {{quote|Old music from the future — the music of roaring campfires and racous{{sic}} cowboys mixed with the warm, pensive sounds of Asian culture and, occasionally, a cold imperial trumpet, heralding the ominous structural presence of a domineering government. Completely thrilling.|Steve Townsley|{{cite web |last=Steve |first=Townsley |title=Music in the 'Verse: Firefly and Serenity |publisher=tracksounds.com |url=http://www.tracksounds.com/reviews/firefly_serenity.htm |accessdate=2006-07-01}}}} The theme song, "The Ballad of Serenity", was written by Joss Whedon and performed by [[Sonny Rhodes]]. Whedon wrote the song before the series was greenlit and a preliminary recording performed by Whedon can be found on the DVD release. The soundtrack to the series was released on CD on November 8, 2005 by [[Varèse Sarabande]], although a 40 minute soundtrack was released by Fox Music in September 2005 as a digital EP.{{cite web |last=Jarry |first=Jonathan |title=SoundtrackNet: Firefly Soundtrack |date=2005-10-01 |publisher=SoundtrackNet |url=http://www.soundtrack.net/albums/database/?id=3862 |accessdate=2008-02-22}} {{tracklist |collapsed = yes |headline= Track listing{{cite web |last=Henry |first=Susan |title="Track and Cue List for Published Version of Firefly Soundtrack" |url=http://www.itasca.net/~sgh/fireflystk.html |accessdate=2008-03-02 }} {{nobold|(tracks 1–17 appear in both the digital and CD releases)}} |title1 = Firefly - Main Title |length1 = 0:52 |title2 = Big Bar Fight |note2 = from "[[The Train Job]]" |length2 = 1:56 |title3 = Heart of Gold Montage |note3 = from "[[Heart of Gold (Firefly)|Heart of Gold]]" |length3 = 2:10 |title4 = Whitefall/Book |note4 = from "[[Serenity (Firefly episode)|Serenity]]", "[[The Message (Firefly)|The Message]]" |length4 = 2:20 |title5 = Early Takes Serenity |note5 = from "[[Objects in Space]]" |length5 = 2:36 |title6 = The Funeral |note6 = from "The Message" |length6 = 2:36 |title7 = River's Perception/Saffron |note7 = from "Objects in Space", "[[Our Mrs. Reynolds]]" |length7 = 2:14 |title8 = Mal Fights Niska/Back Home |note8 = from "[[War Stories (Firefly)|War Stories]]", "[[Shindig (Firefly)|Shindig]]" |length8 = 1:54 |title9 = River Tricks Early |note9 = from "Objects in Space" |length9 = 3:30 |title10 = River Understands Simon |note10 = from "[[Safe (Firefly)|Safe]]" |length10 = 2:04 |title11 = Leaving/Caper/Spaceball |note11 = from "[[Trash (Firefly)|Trash]]", "Objects in Space", "[[Bushwhacked (Firefly)|Bushwhacked]]" |length11 = 2:39 |title12 = River's Afraid/Niska/Torture |note12 = from "[[Ariel (Firefly episode)|Ariel]]", "The Train Job", "War Stories" |length12 = 3:21 |title13 = In My Bunk/Jayne's Statue/Boom |note13 = from "War Stories", "[[Jaynestown]]", "Bushwhacked" |length13 = 2:28 |title14 = Inara's Suite |note14 = from "The Train Job", "Serenity", "War Stories" |length14 = 3:29 |title15 = Out of Gas/Empty Derelict |note15 = from "[[Out of Gas]]", "Bushwhacked" |length15 = 1:50 |title16 = Book's Hair/Ready for Battle |note16 = from "Jaynestown", "Heart of Gold" |length16 = 1:59 |title17 = Tears/River's Eyes |note17 = from "Serenity", "Objects in Space" |length17 = 1:59 |title18 = Cows/New Dress/My Crew |note18 = from "Safe", "Shindig", "Safe" |length18 = 2:11 |title19 = Boarding the Serenity/Derelict |note19 = from "War Stories", "Bushwhacked" |length19 = 2:02 |title20 = Burgess Kills/Captain & Ship |note20 = from "Heart of Gold", "Out of Gas" |length20 = 3:26 |title21 = Saved/Isn't Home?/Reavers |note21 = from "Out of Gas", "Train Job", "Serenity" |length21 = 2:55 |title22 = Reavers Chase Serenity |note22 = from "Serenity" |length22 = 3:22 |title23 = River's Dance |note23 = from "Safe" |length23 = 1:50 |title24 = Inside the Tam House |note24 = from "Safe" |length24 = 2:22 |title25 = Dying Ship/Naked Mal |note25 = from "Out of Gas", "Trash" |length25 = 2:10 }} === Casting === [[File:Firefly cast 2005 flanvention 1.jpg|thumb|right|(''From left to right, top to bottom'') Adam Baldwin, Ron Glass, Summer Glau, Alan Tudyk, Sean Maher, Jewel Staite, Morena Baccarin, and Nathan Fillion: eight of the nine main actors in 2005.]] In casting his nine-member crew, Whedon looked first at the actors and considered their chemistry with others. Cast member Sean Maher recalls, "So then he just sort of put us all together, and I think it was very quick, like right out of the gate, we all instantly bonded."Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 132 All nine cast members were chosen before filming began. However, while filming the original pilot "Serenity", Whedon decided that [[Rebecca Gayheart]] was unsuitable for the role of [[Inara Serra]], and shot her scenes in singles so that it would be easier to replace her. [[Morena Baccarin]] auditioned for the role and two days later was on the set in her first television show. "Joss brought me down from the testing room like a proud dad, holding my hand and introducing me,"Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 68 Baccarin recalled. Whedon approached [[Nathan Fillion]] to play the lead role of [[Malcolm Reynolds]]; after explaining the premise and showing Fillion the treatment for the pilot, Fillion was eager for the role.{{cite web |url=http://www.whedon.info/article.php3?id_article=1531&img= |title=Interview with Nathan Fillion - Dreamwatch Magazine 107 |publisher=whedon.info |year=[[2003-09-09]] |accessdate=2006-07-11}} Fillion was called back several times to read for the part before he was cast. He noted that "it was really thrilling. It was my first lead and I was pretty nervous, but I really wanted that part and I wanted to tell those stories."Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 26 Fillion later said he was "heartbroken" when he learned the series had been cancelled. [[Alan Tudyk]] auditioned through a casting office and several months later was called in for a test audition, where he met with Whedon. He was then told to come back in to test with the possible Zoes (Wash's wife) and that it was down to him and one other candidate. The Zoes did not work out (Gina Torres eventually received the role) and Tudyk was sent home, but received a call informing him he had the part anyway.Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 60 His audition tape is included in the special features of the series' DVD release. [[Gina Torres]], a veteran of several science fiction/fantasy works (''[[Cleopatra 2525]]'', ''[[The Matrix Reloaded]]'', ''[[Alias (TV series)|Alias]]'', ''[[Hercules: The Legendary Journeys]]''), was at first uninterested in doing another science fiction show, but "was won over by the quality of the source material."Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 40 As she recalled, "So you had these challenged characters inhabiting a challenging world and that makes for great storytelling. And no aliens!" For [[Adam Baldwin]], who grew up watching westerns, the role of [[Jayne Cobb]] was particularly resonant.Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 94 Canadian actress [[Jewel Staite]] videotaped her audition from [[Vancouver]] and was asked to come to [[Los Angeles]] to meet Whedon, at which point she was cast for the role of [[Kaylee Frye]], the ship's engineer.Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 114 [[Sean Maher]] recalls reading for the part and liking the character of [[Simon Tam]], but that it was Whedon's personality and vision that "sealed the deal" for him. For the role of Simon's sister, [[River Tam]], Whedon called in [[Summer Glau]] for an audition and test the same day. Glau had first worked for Whedon in the ''Angel'' episode "[[Waiting in the Wings (Angel episode)|Waiting in the Wings]]". Two weeks later, Whedon called her to tell her she had the part.Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 142 Veteran television actor [[Ron Glass]] (''[[Barney Miller]]'', ''[[All in the Family]]''), has said that until ''Firefly'', he had not experienced or sought a science-fiction or western role but he fell in love with the pilot script and the character of [[Derrial Book|Shepherd Book]].Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 166 ===Production staff=== Tim Minear was selected by Whedon to be the [[show runner]], who serves as the head writer and production leader. According to Whedon "[Minear] understood the show as well as any human being, and just brought so much to it that I think of it as though he were always a part of it."Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 6, 8 Many of the other production staff were selected from people Whedon had worked with in the past, with the exception of the director of photography David Boyd, who was the "big find" and who was "full of joy and energy."Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 8 The [[List of Firefly writers|writers]] were selected after interviews and script samplings. Among the writers were [[José Molina (writer)|José Molina]], [[Ben Edlund]], [[Cheryl Cain]], [[Brett Matthews]], [[Drew Greenberg]] and [[Jane Espenson]]. Espenson wrote an essay on the writing process with Mutant Enemy.
"A meeting is held and an idea is floated, generally by Whedon, and the writers brainstorm to develop the central theme of the episode and the character development. Next, the staff meets in the anteroom to Whedon's office to begin "breaking" the story into acts and scenes. The only one absent is the writer working on the previous week's episode. For the team, one of the key components to devising acts is deciding where to break for commercial and ensuring the viewer returns. "Finding these moments in the story help give it shape: think of them as tentpoles that support the structure," wrote Espenson.{{cite web |url=http://www.fireflyfans.net/firefly/espenson.htm |last=Espenson |first=Jane |title=The Writing Process |publisher=FOX Broadcasting Company |accessdate=2006-11-05}} For instance, in [[Shindig (Firefly)|"Shindig"]], the break for commercial occurs when Malcolm Reynolds is gravely injured and losing the duel. As Espenson elaborates: "It does not end when Mal turns the fight around, when he stands victorious over his opponent. They're both big moments, but one of them leaves you curious and the other doesn't."
"Next, the writers develop the scenes onto a marker-filled whiteboard, featuring a "brief ordered description of each scene." A writer is selected to create an outline of the episode's concept — occasionally with some dialogue and jokes — in one day. The outline is given to showrunner Tim Minear, who revises it within a day. The writer uses the revised outline to write the first draft of the script while the other writers work on developing the next. This first draft is usually submitted for revision within three to fourteen days; afterward, a second and sometimes third draft is written. After all revisions are made, the final draft would be produced as the 'shooting draft'."
===Costume=== Jill Ohanneson, ''Firefly'''s original costume designer, brought on [[Shawna Trpcic]] as her assistant for the pilot. When the show was picked up, Ohanneson was involved in another job and declined ''Firefly'', suggesting Trpcic for the job. The costumes were chiefly influenced by [[World War II]], the American Civil War, the American Old West, and 1861 samurai Japan. Trpcic used deep reds and oranges for the main cast, to express a feeling of "home", and contrasted that with grays and cool blues for the Alliance.Whedon, ''Firefly Companion'', Vol. 1, 150. Since the characters were often getting shot, Trpcic would make up to six versions of the same costume for multiple takes.Whedon, ''Firefly Companion'', Vol. 1, 154. * For River, mostly jewel tones were used to set her apart from the rest of the ''Serenity'' crew. River had boots to contrast with the soft fabrics of her clothes, "because that's who she is — she's this soft, beautiful, sensitive girl, but with this hardcore inner character," recalled Trpcic.Whedon, ''Firefly Companion'', Vol. 1, 128. * The designers also wanted to contrast Simon, River's brother, with the rest of the crew. Whereas they were dressed in cotton, Simon wore wool, stiff fabrics, satins and silk. He was the "dandy", but as the show progressed, he loosened up slightly.Whedon, ''Firefly Companion'', Vol. 1, 127. * For Kaylee, Trpcic studied up on Japanese and Chinese youth, as originally the character was Asian. Other inspirations for Kaylee's costumes were [[Rosie the Riveter]] and Chinese Communist posters.Whedon, ''Firefly Companion'', Vol. 1, 24. * Inara's costumes reflect her high status, and are very feminine and attractive. * Trpcic designed and created the clothes for the minor character of Badger with Joss Whedon in mind, since he intended to play that part. When [[Mark Sheppard]] played the role instead, he was able to fit into the clothes made for Whedon.Whedon, ''Firefly Companion'', Vol. 1, 120. * For the Alliance, besides the grays and cool blues, Trpcic had in mind [[Nazi Germany]], but mixed it with different wars, as the first sketches were "too Nazi".Whedon, ''Firefly Companion'', Vol. 1, 66. The uniforms of the Alliance soldiers are surplus armor from the 1997 film ''[[Starship Troopers (film)|Starship Troopers]]''. Whedon: "... That would be because we rented the suits from the ''[[Starship Troopers (film)|Starship Troopers]]'' people ... again, no money." DVD commentary for "[[The Train Job]]", 17:30 minutes. == Plot == ===Backstory=== The series takes place in the year 2517, on several [[List of Firefly planets and moons|planets and moons]]. The TV series does not reveal whether these celestial bodies are within one star system, only saying that ''Serenity'''s mode of propulsion is a "gravity-drive". The film ''Serenity'' makes clear that all the planets and moons are in one large system, and production documents related to the film indicate that there is no [[faster-than-light]] travel in this [[fictional universe|universe]]. The characters occasionally refer to "Earth-that-was", and the film establishes that, long before the events in the series, a large population had emigrated from [[Earth]] to a new [[star system]] in [[generation ship]]s: Serenity Blu-Ray databanks "Earth-that-was could no longer sustain our numbers, we were so many." The emigrants established themselves in this new star system, with "dozens of planets and hundreds of moons." Many of these were [[terraforming|terraformed]], a process in which a planet or moon is altered to resemble Earth. The terraforming process was only the first step in making a planet habitable, however, and the outlying settlements often did not receive any further support in the construction of their civilizations. This resulted in many of the border planets and moons having forbidding, dry environments, well suited to the Western genre. === Synopsis === [[Image:Fireflyserenityhorses.jpg|thumb|right|Mal and Zoe in the original pilot "Serenity". It depicts the harsh environment and the frontier culture.]] The show takes its name from the "Firefly-class" spaceship, [[Serenity (Firefly vessel)|''Serenity'']], that the central characters call home. It resembles a [[firefly]] in general arrangement, and the tail section, analogous to a [[bioluminescence|bioluminescent]] [[insect]]oid [[abdomen]], lights up during acceleration. The ship was named after the Battle of Serenity Valley, where Mal and Zoe were on the losing side. It is revealed in "Bushwhacked" that the Battle of Serenity Valley is widely considered the loss which sealed the fate of the Independents. Throughout the series, the Alliance is shown to govern the star system through an organization of "core" planets, following its success in forcibly unifying all of the colonies under a single government. [[Audio commentary (DVD)|DVD commentary]] suggests that the Alliance is composed of two primary "core" planets, one predominantly [[Western culture|Western]] in culture, the other pan-Asian, justifying the series' mixed linguistic and visual themes. The central planets are firmly under Alliance control, but the outlying planets and moons resemble the 19th century American West, with little governmental authority. Settlers and refugees on the outlying worlds ("out in the black" or "heading for the black") have relative freedom from the central government, but lack the amenities of the high-tech civilization that exists on the inner worlds. In addition, the outlying areas of space are inhabited by the [[Reaver (Firefly)|Reavers]], a [[cannibalism|cannibalistic]] group of nomadic humans that have become savage and animalistic. Into this mix are thrown the protagonists of the show. The captain of the crew of ''Serenity'' is Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) and the episode "[[Serenity (Firefly episode)|Serenity]]" establishes that the captain and his first mate [[Zoe Washburne]] (Gina Torres) are veteran "[[Browncoat]]s" of the Unification War, a failed attempt by the outlying worlds to resist the Alliance's assertion of control. A later episode, titled "[[Out of Gas]]", reveals that Mal bought the spaceship ''Serenity'' in order to continue living beyond Alliance control. Much of the crew's work consists of cargo runs or [[smuggling]]. One of the main story arcs is that of [[River Tam]] (Summer Glau) and her brother [[Simon Tam|Simon]] (Sean Maher). River was a child prodigy, whose brain was subjected to experiments. As a result, she displays schizophrenia and often hears voices. It is later revealed that she is a "reader", one who possesses psychic abilities. Simon gave up a highly successful career as a trauma surgeon to rescue her from the Alliance and as a result of this rescue they are both wanted fugitives. In the original pilot "Serenity", Simon joins the crew as a paying passenger with River smuggled on board as cargo. As Whedon states in an episodic DVD commentary, every show he does is about creating family. By the last episode, "[[Objects in Space]]", the fractured character of River has finally become whole, partly because the others decided to accept her into their "family" on the ship. === Signature show elements === The show blended elements from the [[space opera]] and Western genres, depicting humanity's future in a manner different from most contemporary science fiction programs in that there are no alien creatures or large space battles. ''Firefly'' takes place in a multi-cultural future, primarily a fusion of [[Western culture|Occidental]] and [[Culture of China|Chinese cultures]], where there is a significant division between the rich and poor. As a result of the Sino-American Alliance, [[Standard Mandarin|Mandarin Chinese]] is a common second language; it is used in advertisements, and characters in the show frequently use Chinese words and curses. According to the DVD commentary on the episode "Serenity", this was explained as being the result of China and the United States being the two superpowers that expanded into space.This Sino-American heritage is illustrated by labels on crates in the episode "The Train Job", consisting of a Chinese flag superimposed over a United States flag. The show also features slang not used in contemporary culture, such as adaptations of modern words, or new words altogether. For example, "shiny" is frequently used in a similar manner as the real world slang "cool". Written and spoken Chinese as well as Old West dialect are also employed. As one reviewer noted: "The dialogue tended to be a bizarre purée of wisecracks, old-timey Western-paperback patois, and snatches of Chinese." Tim Minear and Joss Whedon pointed out two scenes that, they believed, articulated the mood of the show exceptionally clearly. One scene is in the original pilot "Serenity", when Mal is eating with chopsticks and a Western tin cup is by his plate; the other is in the "The Train Job" pilot, when Mal is thrown out of a [[Volumetric display|holographic]] bar window. The DVD set's "making-of" documentary explains the series' distinctive [[frontispiece]] (wherein ''Serenity'' soars over a herd of unshod horses) as Whedon's attempt to capture "everything you need to understand about the series in five seconds." One of the struggles that Whedon had with FOX was the tone of the show, especially with the main character Malcolm Reynolds. FOX pressured Whedon to make Mal more "jolly", as they feared he was too dark in the original pilot. In addition, FOX was not happy that the show involved the "nobodies" who "get squished by policy" instead of the actual policy makers. == Cast == ===Main characters=== ''Firefly'' maintained an ensemble cast that portrayed the nine crew members of the ship, ''Serenity''. These characters fight criminals and schemers, Alliance security forces, the utterly psychotic and brutal Reavers, and the mysterious men with "hands of blue" — who are apparently operatives of a secret agency which is part of the mega-corporation referred to in the DVD commentary only as The Blue Sun Corporation. The crew is driven by the need to secure enough income to keep their ship operational, set against their need to keep a low profile to avoid their adversaries. Their situation is greatly complicated by the divergent motivations of the individuals on board ''Serenity'', but complex [[characterization]] was hampered by the show's brief run. *'''[[Malcolm Reynolds|Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds]]''' ([[Nathan Fillion]]) is the owner of ''Serenity'' and former Independent sergeant in the pivotal Battle of Serenity Valley. Very little is known about the enigmatic Captain; the little he reveals about his past life betrays nothing of his character (a mystery of its own). Malcolm reveals that he grew up on a ranch, and was raised by his mother and the ranch hands. The only other scenes of his past life that are shown are about the Unification War, in which he and Zoe fought for the Independent Army, the "[[Browncoats]]", as a platoon sergeant in the 57th Overlanders. He is an efficient leader and is skilled with guns as well as in hand-to-hand combat. Mal's character is full of contradictions. He is constantly fighting his demons, and his true self remains something of a mystery. *'''[[Zoe Washburne|Zoe Alleyne Washburne]]''' ([[Gina Torres]]) is second-in-command onboard ''Serenity'', a loyal wartime friend of Captain Reynolds, and the wife of Wash. Described by her husband as a "warrior woman", she has great knowledge of combat. Her past is a mystery; the only thing known is that she was born and raised on a shipShooting script for "Heart of Gold", in ''Firefly: The Official Companion, Volume 2'', p 169. and served under Mal during the war as a corporal.{{cite web|url=http://www.ugo.com/tv/joss-whedon-spotlight/?cur=zoe-washburn |title=Gina Torres as Zoe Washburne - The Women of Joss Whedon |publisher=UGO.com |date= |accessdate=2009-02-01}} She demonstrates an almost unconditional loyalty to Mal, the only exception noted being her marriage to Wash, which the captain claims to have tried to prevent. Her maiden name is Warren, seen in a [[Serenity]] DVD Easter Egg. *'''[[Hoban Washburne|Hoban "Wash" Washburne]]''' ([[Alan Tudyk]]) is ''Serenity'''s pilot and Zoe's husband. Wash expresses jealousy over his wife's "war buddy" relationship and unconditional support of their captain, most particularly in the episode "[[War Stories (Firefly episode)|War Stories]]", in which he confronts Mal regarding their relationship. While more of Wash's past is disclosed than most other characters, his background is still sparse: he joined pilot training just to see the stars, which were invisible from the surface of his polluted homeworld, and he joined ''Serenity'' despite being highly sought after by other ships. He is very light-hearted and tends to make amusing comments, despite the severity of any situation. *'''[[Inara Serra]]''' ([[Morena Baccarin]]) is a Companion, which is the 26th century equivalent of a [[courtesan]] or [[oiran]]. Like her Renaissance counterparts, Inara enjoys high social standing. Her presence confers a degree of legitimacy and social acceptance the crew of ''Serenity'' would not have without her on board. She and Mal have a strained relationship, with unspoken sexual tension playing a significant part in several episodes, as well as in the movie. Inara arguably represents Mal's heart, and Mal is a noticeably darker character when Inara is absent (as during the first half of "[[Serenity (Firefly episode)|Serenity]]"). She rents one of the ship's two small shuttles. *'''[[Jayne Cobb]]''' ([[Adam Baldwin]]) is [[mercenary|hired muscle]]. He and Mal met on opposite sides of a rivalry; Mal, while held at gunpoint, offered Jayne his own bunk and a higher cut than his current employer, so he turned coat and shot his then-partners. In one episode, he admits freely to Mal that he would have sold Mal out to an Alliance agent if the money was good enough. He is someone who can be depended on in a fight.Whedon, ''Firefly: the complete series: "Train Job" commentary'', track 10 He tends to act like a "lummox" who thinks he is the smartest person in space, but occasional hints of intelligence peek through this façade, giving the impression that he acts dumber than he is. As Whedon states several times, Jayne is the man who will ask the questions that no one else wants to.Whedon, ''Serenity: Director's Commentary'', track 7 "Mr. Universe" Even though he is a macho character, he has shown a particularly intense fear of [[Reaver (Firefly)|Reavers]], more so than the rest of the crew. Despite his amoral mercenary persona, he sends a significant portion of his income to his mother. *'''[[Kaylee Frye|Kaywinnit Lee "Kaylee" Frye]]'''{{cite book |last=Staite |first=Jewel |editor=[[Jane Espenson]], Glenn Yeffeth |title=Finding Serenity, anti-heroes, lost shepherds and space hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly |year=2004 |publisher=BenBella books |location=Dallas |isbn=1-932100-43-1 |id=PN1992.77.F54F56 2005 |page=227 |chapter=Kaylee speaks: Jewel Staite on Firefly |quote=Aside from playing Kaywinnit Lee "Kaylee" Frye in Firefly and Serenity}}{{cite book |coauthors=Jane Espenson, Abbie Bernstein, Bryan Cairns, Karl Derrick, Tara DiLullo |title=Firefly: the official companion, volume one |url=http://www.titanbooks.com/products/uk/9724-firefly_the_official_companion_volume_one/ |edition=Paperback |year=2006 |month=July |publisher=Titan books |location=London |isbn=9781845763145 |page=112 |chapter=Shindig |quote=Miss Kaywinnit Lee Frye and escort [...] Mal and Kaylee make their way into the party.}} ([[Jewel Staite]]) is the ship's mechanic. In the episode "[[Out of Gas]]", it is established that she has no formal training, but keeps ''Serenity'' running with an intuitive gift for the workings of mechanical equipment. Jewel Staite explains Kaylee's character as being wholesome, sweet, and "completely genuine in that sweetness", adding "She loves being on that ship. She loves all of those people. And she's the only one who loves all of them incredibly genuinely."{{cite web |last=Lee |first=Michael J. |date=2005-09-15 |title=Interview with Jewel Staite |publisher=Radio Free Entertainment |url=http://www.radiofree.com/profiles/jewel_staite/interview02.shtml |accessdate=2007-07-13}} She has a crush on Dr. Simon Tam. Kaylee is the soul of the ship: according to creator Joss Whedon, if Kaylee believes something, it is true. *'''[[Simon Tam|Dr. Simon Tam]]''' ([[Sean Maher]]) is a medical researcher and trauma surgeon of the first caliber (top 3% in his class at a top core-planet institution), who is on the run after breaking his sister River out of a government research facility. In the episode "[[Safe (Firefly)|Safe]]", it is revealed that he and River had a privileged upbringing with access to the best education and that Simon sacrificed a highly-successful future in medicine, over his stern father's severe objections, when he rescued River. His bumbling attempts at a relationship with Kaylee are a recurring subplot throughout the series, and at every turn he seems to find a way to unwittingly foil his attempts at romance. His life is defined by caring for his sister. *'''[[River Tam]]''' ([[Summer Glau]]) was smuggled onto the ship by her brother. River was a [[child prodigy]] of unparalleled [[genius]], but she was experimented upon at the hands of Alliance doctors, leaving her delusional, erratic, and at times violent. Her personal journey of self-discovery is a running theme throughout the series and the movie. River is constantly at war with her own demons. She sees and hears things that others do not, and experiences waking dreams of her memories of the Alliance "academy" experiments. Opinions of her vary among the crew: some value her, Jayne fears her, and the rest just want her to stay out of trouble. She is also psychic. *'''[[Derrial Book]]''' ([[Ron Glass]]) is a Shepherd (equivalent to a pastor). Although presented as a devout Christian man,''Firefly: the official companion, volume one'', p. 166 Book demonstrates a depth of knowledge about the activities of criminals (in "[[Our Mrs. Reynolds]]") and corrupt police (in "[[The Message (Firefly)|The Message]]"). He is also proficient in hand-to-hand combat and the use of firearms. When questioned on his non-Biblical intentions during the rescue in "[[War Stories (Firefly episode)|War Stories]]", Book replies somewhat ironically that while the Bible is quite specific about killing, it's "somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps." In "[[Safe (Firefly)|Safe]]," he was shown to have sufficient status in the Alliance to receive medical treatment from the military with no questions asked. Book represents Mal's guide, conscience, and lost spirituality, while his hidden backstory was to have been gradually revealed, had the series continued. Except for Book being absent from "[[Ariel (Firefly episode)|Ariel]]", with the explanation that he was meditating at an abbey, the nine regular characters appear in every episode. Four members of the ''Firefly'' cast appeared on Joss Whedon's other TV series as major villains. Fillion was cast as [[Caleb (Buffyverse)|Caleb]] in the final season of ''[[Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series)|Buffy the Vampire Slayer]]'' and later as [[Captain Hammer]] in the internet series ''[[Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog]]'', while Torres and Baldwin took on recurring roles on ''[[Angel (TV series)|Angel]]'' in its fourth and fifth seasons respectively, as the characters of [[Jasmine (Buffyverse)|Jasmine]] and [[Marcus Hamilton]]. Tudyk portrayed the rogue character Alpha in Whedon's current series, ''[[Dollhouse (TV series)|Dollhouse]]''. Baccarin was also originally intended to portray [[Eve (Buffyverse)|Eve]] in ''Angel'''s final season, but in the end was unable to commit to the role due to other pursuits. Summer Glau had appeared in the third-season ''Angel'' episode "[[Waiting in the Wings (Angel episode)|Waiting in the Wings]]" before she was cast in ''Firefly''. She is now scheduled to appear in ''Dollhouse'' as well this season. In addition, Jewel Staite also appeared in several episodes of the Tim Minear-produced ''[[Wonderfalls]]''. ===Recurring characters=== {{Main|List of characters in the Firefly universe}} Despite the short run of the series, some [[recurring character]]s emerged from the inhabitants of the ''Firefly'' universe: *'''Badger''' ([[Mark Sheppard]]) is an established [[smuggling]] middleman on the planet [[List of Firefly planets and moons#Worlds featured in Firefly|Persephone]]. He provided jobs for ''Serenity'' on at least two occasions. In the DVD commentary for the episode "Serenity", it was revealed that this part was originally written with the intention of Whedon himself playing the part. Badger appeared in the original pilot "Serenity" and in "[[Shindig (Firefly)|Shindig]]", with a return in the comic book series ''[[Serenity: Those Left Behind]]''. *'''Adelei Niska''' ([[Michael Fairman]]) is a criminal [[wikt:kingpin|kingpin]] who has a reputation for violent reprisals, including severe, prolonged [[torture]], against those who fail him or even irritate him. He appeared in "The Train Job" and "War Stories". *"'''Saffron'''" ([[Christina Hendricks]]) is a [[con artist]] whose real name is unknown. In the series she also used the aliases "Bridget" and "Yolanda", leading Mal to jokingly address her with the blended term "YoSaffBridge" in the episode "[[Trash (Firefly)|Trash]]". She has a habit of marrying her [[mark (victim)|mark]]s in the course of her [[Confidence trick|scam]]s. She first appeared in the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" as Mal's involuntarily acquired wife. *"'''The Hands of Blue'''": Two anonymous men wearing suits and blue gloves who pursue River, apparently to return her to the institute she escaped from, as shown in "The Train Job", "Ariel", and the ''Serenity: Those Left Behind'' comic. They kill anyone, including Alliance personnel, who had contact with her, using a mysterious hand-held device that causes fatal bleeding to anyone in its proximity, except them. == Reception == ===Critical review=== The ''[[Boston Globe]]'' described ''Firefly'' as a "wonderful, imaginative mess brimming with possibility." The review further notes the difference between the new series and other programs to be that those shows "burst onto the scene with slick pilots and quickly deteriorate into mediocrity..."Firefly" is on the opposite creative journey."{{cite web |url=https://verify1.newsbank.com/cgi-bin/ncom/BG/ec_signin |title=Far-out "Firefly" May Take Wing |date=September 20, 2002 (subscription needed) |publisher=The Boston Globe |accessdate=2009-03-13}} Tim Goodman of the ''[[San Francisco Chronicle]]'' felt that the melding of the western and science fiction genres was a "forced hodgepodge of two alarmingly opposite genres just for the sake of being different", and suggested that calling the series a vast disappointment would be an "understatement".{{cite web |url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/09/20/DD141692.DTL&hw=firefly&sn=003&sc=537 |title=Sci-fi 'Firefly' is a bonanza of miscues from 'Buffy' creator |date=September 20, 2002 |publisher=The San Francisco Chronicle |accessdate=2006-11-09}} Carina Chocano of [[Salon.com]] notes that the series lacks the psychological tension that made Whedon's other series, ''[[Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series)|Buffy the Vampire Slayer]]'', successful. She points out that while the 'space as [[Wild West]]' metaphor is fairly redundant, neither genre connected to the present. Chocano concedes that this might be attributable to the episodes being aired out of order.{{cite web |url=http://archive.salon.com/ent/tv/diary/2002/10/03/firefly/ |title=Giddyup, spaceman |last=Chocano |first=Carina |date=October 3, 2002 |publisher=Salon.com |accessdate=2006-07-15}} In contrast, Jason Snell called the show one of the best on television, and one "with the most potential for future brilliance."{{cite web |url=http://www.teevee.org/archive/2002/12/13/index.html |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20060814235449/http://www.teevee.org/archive/2002/12/13/index.html |archivedate=2006-08-14 |title=''Firefly'' vs. the Firing Squad |last=Snell |first=Jason |date=December 12, 2002 |publisher=teevee |accessdate=2006-07-15}} ''[[TV Guide]]'''s Matt Roush called the show "oddball" and "offbeat", and noted how literally the series took the metaphor of space operas as Westerns. Roush opined that the shift from space travel to horseback was "jarring", but that once he got used to this, he found the characters cleverly conceived, and the writing a crisp balance of action, tension and humor.Matt Roush. "Out (Or Up) Yonder" ''[[TV Guide]]''; November 9, 2002 Emily Nussbaum of the ''[[New York Times]]'', reviewing the DVD set, noted that the program featured "an oddball genre mix that might have doomed it from the beginning: it was a character-rich sci-fi western comedy-drama with existential underpinnings, a hard sell during a season dominated by ''Joe Millionaire''."{{cite news |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/21/arts/television/21NUSS.html?ei=5007&en=c508df9532d71a84&ex=1387342800&adxnnl=1&partner=USERLAND&adxnnlx=1152994428-SRzXGWQ2CEWBejqgzRixZQ |title=A DVD Face-Off Between the Official and the Homemade |publisher=New York Times |last=Nussbaum |first=Emily |date=December 21, 2003 |accessdate=2006-07-15}} [[MSN]] points out that after viewing the DVD boxed set it was easy to see why the program had attracted many die-hard fans. "All of Whedon's fingerprints are there: the witty dialogue, the quirky premises and dark exploration of human fallacy that made ''Buffy'' brilliant found their way to this space drama."{{cite web |url=http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=150653&mpc=2 |title=Canceled TV Shows |publisher=MSN.com |accessdate=2006-07-15}} ===Fandom=== Firefly generated a loyal base of fans during its short original broadcast run. These original fans, self-styled [[Browncoat]]s, first organized to try to save the series from being cancelled by FOX. Their efforts included raising money for an ad in [[Variety (magazine)|''Variety'' magazine]] and a postcard writing campaign to [[UPN]]. While unsuccessful in finding a network who would continue the show, their support led to a release of the series on [[DVD]] in December 2003. A subsequent fan campaign then raised over $14,000 in donations to have a purchased Firefly DVD set placed aboard 250 U.S. Navy ships by April 2004 for recreational viewing by their crews.{{cite web|url=http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=12580 |title=Sci-Fi Series “Firefly” Available through Navy’s Afloat Library Program |accessdate=2009-09-30}}. These and other continuing fan activities eventually convinced Universal Studios to produce a feature film, ''Serenity''. (The title of ''Serenity'' was chosen, according to Whedon, because Fox still owned the rights to the name 'Firefly'). Numerous early screenings were held for existing fans in an attempt to create a buzz and increase ticket sales when it was released widely on September 30, 2005. The film was not as commercially successful as fans had hoped, opening at number two and making only $40 million worldwide during its initial theatrical release. On June 23, 2006 fans organized the first worldwide charity screenings of ''Serenity'' in 47 cities, dubbed as Can’t Stop the Serenity or CSTS, an homage to the movie’s tagline, "Can’t stop the signal."{{cite web|url=http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com/ |title=Can’t Stop the Serenity |publisher=Cantstoptheserenity.com |date= |accessdate=2009-02-01}} The event raised over $65,000{{cite web|url=http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com/2006/ |title=Can'tStopTheSerenity.com | The Global Event |publisher=Cantstoptheserenity.com |date= |accessdate=2009-02-01}} for Whedon's favorite charity, [[Equality Now]]. In 2007, $106,000 was raised,{{cite web|url=http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com/2007/ |title=›› The Global Charity Event |publisher=Cantstoptheserenity.com |date= |accessdate=2009-02-01}} with a goal of $150,000 in 2008. Another campaign on June 23, 2006 referred to the date as ''Serenity'' Day,[http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.asp?b=2&t=21111&newsid=0 ''Serenity'' Day] on which fans bought—and got others to buy—copies of the ''Serenity'' and ''Firefly'' DVDs in hopes of convincing Universal that creating a sequel was a good business decision. On this day, ''Serenity'' and ''Firefly'' were ranked second and third, respectively, on the DVD Best Sellers list. The dates for both campaigns were chosen because it is series creator Joss Whedon’s birthday. In July 2006, a fan-made documentary was released, titled, ''[[Done the Impossible]]'', and is commercially available. The documentary relates the story of the fans and how the show has affected them, and also features interviews with Whedon and various cast members. A percentage of the DVD proceeds are donated to Equality Now. [[NASA]] [[Browncoat]] [[Astronaut]] [[Steven Swanson]]{{cite web|url=http://www.breakingatmo.com/status/2007/06/meet-your-browncoat-astronaut |title=Meet Your Browncoat Astronaut |publisher=Breaking Atmo |date= |accessdate=2009-02-01}} took the ''Firefly'' and ''Serenity'' DVDs with him on [[Space Shuttle Atlantis]]' [[STS-117]] mission, which lifted off on Friday June 8, 2007. The DVDs will permanently reside on the [[International Space Station]] as a form of entertainment for the station's crews.{{cite web|url=http://www.livescience.com/blogs/2007/06/07/board-game-sci-fi-to-ride-shuttle-atlantis-to-iss |title=Board Game, Sci-Fi to Ride Shuttle Atlantis to ISS |publisher=Livescience.com |date=2007-04-23 |accessdate=2009-02-01}} === Cult status === In 2005, ''[[New Scientist]]'' magazine's website held an internet poll to find "The World's Best Space Sci-Fi Ever". ''Firefly'' came in first place, with its cinematic follow-up ''Serenity'' in second.{{cite web |url=http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn8211 |title=The World's Best Space Sci-Fi Ever: Your verdict |date=October 26, 2005 |publisher=NewScientistSpace.com |accessdate=2006-08-06}} Also, as of May 2007, it was the most popular science fiction show amongst users of [[tv.com]].{{cite web |url=http://www.tv.com/science-fiction/genre/10/topshows.html?g=10&era=&l=&pop=&tag=gen_subtabs;genre;7 |title=Top Science-Fiction Top Shows |publisher=tv.com |accessdate=2007-05-23}} On May 9, 2006, the ''Firefly'' episodes were added to the [[iTunes Music Store]] for download as part of FOX Television Classics along with ''[[Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series)|Buffy the Vampire Slayer]]'' and ''[[Lost in Space]]''. The episodes were initially listed in the order FOX originally aired them, but due to comments from fans in the Store, the episodes were listed in the order in which Whedon originally intended. As of Sept. 25 2009, The first five episodes are available on-demand through the [[Hulu|Hulu.com]] service launched by FOX's parent [[News Corporation|News Corp.]] and [[NBC Universal]].{{cite web |url=http://www.hulu.com/firefly |title=hulu:Firefly |accessdate=2008-03-14}} [[Brad Wright]], co-creator of ''[[Stargate SG-1]]'' has said that "[[200 (Stargate SG-1)|200]]", the 200th episode of SG-1, is "A little kiss to ''Serenity'' and ''Firefly'', which was possibly one of the best cancelled series in history." In the episode, "Martin Lloyd has come to the S.G.C. [Stargate Command] because even though "[[Wormhole X-Treme!]]" was canceled after three episodes, it did so well on DVD they're making a feature [film]."{{cite web |url=http://www.gateworld.net/interviews/wright_on_target.shtml |title=Wright on Target |date=July 14, 2006 |publisher=GateWorld.net |accessdate=2006-07-17}} The follow-up film, ''Serenity'', was voted the best science fiction movie of all time in an [[SFX magazine|''SFX'' magazine]] poll of 3,000 fans.{{cite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6517155.stm |title=Serenity named top sci-fi movie |publisher=BBC Online |accessdate=2007-03-02}} ''Firefly'' was later named as number 25 on ''[[TV Guide]]'''s list of "The 30 Top Cult Shows Ever".

The name for the Google beta app Google Wave was inspired by this TV series.

Awards

Firefly won the following awards:
  • Emmy Award: Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series, 2003
  • Visual Effects Society: Best visual effects in a television series, 2003 (episode "Serenity")
  • Saturn Award: Cinescape Genre Face of the Future Award, Male, 2003 (Nathan Fillion)
  • Saturn Award: Saturn Award for Best DVD Release (television), 2004
  • SyFy Genre Awards: Best Actor/Television Nathan Fillion, 2006
  • SyFy Genre Awards: Best Supporting Actor/Television Adam Baldwin, 2006
  • SyFy Genre Awards: Best Special Guest/Television Christina Hendricks for "Trash", 2006
  • SyFy Genre Awards: Best Episode/Television "Trash", 2006
  • SyFy Genre Awards: Best Series/Television, 2006


The series was also nominated for the following awards:
  • Visual Effects Society: Best compositing in a televised program, music video, or commercial, 2003
  • Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA, "Golden Reel Award": Best sound editing in television long form: sound effects/foley, 2003
  • Hugo Award: Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, 2003 (episode "Serenity")
  • Hugo Award: Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, 2004 (episodes "Heart of Gold" and "The Message", which at that time had not been shown on television in the USA)
  • Golden Satellite Award: Best DVD Extras, 2004


Ratings

Season U.S. ratings Network Rank
1 2002 4.7 million Fox #98


Broadcast history

Firefly consists of one two-hour pilot and thirteen one-hour episodes. The show originally aired in the United States in 2002 on FOX, although FOX aired the episodes out of the intended order and did not air three of the fourteen episodes. These first were aired with the rest of the series during repeat broadcasts on the Sci Fi Channel.

Although Whedon had designed the show to run for seven years, and the show had a loyal following during its original broadcast, low ratings resulted in cancellation by FOX in December 2002 after only eleven episodes had aired in the United States and Canada. Prior to cancellation, some fans, worried about low ratings, formed the Firefly Immediate Assistance campaign whose goal was to support the production of the show by sending in postcards to FOX. After it was cancelled, the campaign worked on getting another network such as UPN to pick up the series. The campaign was unsuccessful in securing the show's continuation.

The Onion A.V. Club cited several actions by the FOX network that contributed to the show's failure, most notably airing the episodes out of sequence, making the plot more difficult to follow. For instance, the double episode "Serenity" was intended as the premiere, and therefore contained most of the character introductions and back-story. However, FOX decided that "Serenity" was unsuitable to open the series, and "The Train Job" was specifically created to act as a new pilot. In addition, Firefly was promoted as an action-comedy rather than the more serious character study it was intended to be, and the showbiz trade paper Variety noted Fox's decision to occasionally preempt the show for sporting events.

A box set containing the fourteen completed episodes (including those which had not yet aired in the United States) was released on region 1 DVD on December 9, 2003, region 2 on April 19, 2004, and region 4 on August 2, 2004. The box features the episodes in the original order in which the show's producers had intended them to be broadcast, as well as seven episode commentaries, outtakes and other features. The DVDs feature the episodes as they were shot in 16:9 widescreen, with anamorphic transfers and Dolby Surround audio. By September 2005, its DVD release had sold approximately 500,000 copies and was one of the top movers at Amazon.com for months. At Amazon.com the DVDs had average daily rankings of between 1st and 75th in 2003, 22nd and 397th in 2004, 2nd and 232nd in 2005, and 2nd and 31st in 2006 as of June 27, 2006.

FOX remastered the complete series in 1080i hi-definition for broadcast on Universal HD, which began in April 2008. The series was re-released on Blu-ray Disc on November 11, 2008, comprising three discs; exclusive extras to the Blu-ray release include extra audio commentary from Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk and Ron Glass for the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds", as well as an additional featurette, "Firefly" Reunion: Lunch with Joss, Nathan, Alan and Ron.

On March 12, 2009, the series was the winner of the first annual Hulu awards in the category "Shows We'd Bring Back".

Episode # Title Original Air Date Broadcast # Production #
1 "Serenity" December 20, 2002 11 1AGE79
2 "The Train Job" September 20, 2002 1 1AGE01
3 "Bushwhacked" September 27, 2002 2 1AGE02
4 "Shindig" November 1, 2002 6 1AGE03
5 "Safe" November 8, 2002 7 1AGE04
6 "Our Mrs. Reynolds" October 4, 2002 3 1AGE05
7 "Jaynestown" October 18, 2002 4 1AGE06
8 "Out of Gas" October 25, 2002 5 1AGE07
9 "Ariel" November 15, 2002 8 1AGE08
10 "War Stories" December 6, 2002 9 1AGE09
11 "Trash" June 28, 2003 12 1AGE12
12 "The Message" July 15, 2003 13 1AGE13
13 "Heart of Gold" August 19, 2003 14 1AGE10
14 "Objects in Space" December 13, 2002 10 1AGE11


Franchise

The popularity of the short-lived series served as the launching point for the other media within the Firefly universe, including a feature film Serenity which addresses many plot points left unresolved by the cancellation of the series.

Additionally there were two comic-book mini-series, Serenity: Those Left Behind (104 pages, 2006), and Serenity: Better Days (80 pages, 2008) in which Whedon explored plot strands he had intended to explore further in the series. The comics are set, in plot terms, between the end of the TV series and the opening of the feature film. The mini-series were later published in collected form as hardback graphic novels.

A role-playing game has since been produced in book form.

References

  1. http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b44314_fox_squashes_firefly.html
  2. Whedon: "This movie should not exist," he continues. "Failed TV shows don't get made into major motion pictures—unless the creator, the cast, and the fans believe beyond reason. ... It is, in an unprecedented sense, your movie."
  3. Whedon, Serenity: Relighting the Firefly, DVD extra
  4. Whedon, Serenity: The Official Visual Companion, p. 8
  5. Whedon, Firefly Companion, Vol 1, 6
  6. Whedon, "Interview with Joss Whedon", Done the Impossible
  7. Whedon, Firefly: the complete series: "Serenity" commentary
  8. Whedon, Firefly: the complete series: "Train Job" commentary, track 1
  9. Whedon, Firefly: the complete series: "Train Job" commentary, track 7
  10. Whedon, Firefly: the complete series: "Train Job" commentary, track 6
  11. Whedon, Firefly: the complete series: "Train Job" commentary, track 3
  12. Whedon, Firefly Companion, Vol 1, 12
  13. Whedon, Firefly Companion, Vol 1, 11
  14. Whedon, Firefly Companion, Vol 1, 10
  15. Whedon, Firefly Companion, Vol 1, 10–11
  16. Dixon, "The Reward, the Details, the Devils, the Due", Finding Serenity, 8
  17. Whedon, Firefly Companion, Vol 1, 130
  18. Goltz, "Listening to Firefly", Finding Serenity, 209–215
  19. {{cite web |date=October 7, 2002 |url=http://www.tvguide.com/News-Views/Columnists/Todays-News-Our-Take/default.aspx?posting={D109A6F9-CE33-43B3-93A8-9E4BDD81D619} |title=Entertainment News |publisher=TV Guide |accessdate=2006-11-09}}
  20. Hulu - Hulu Award winners
  21. Firefly: the complete series, disk one backcover
  22. Firefly: the complete series, disk two backcover
  23. Firefly: the complete series, disk three backcover
  24. Firefly: the complete series, disk four backcover




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