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Firefly (television)

Firefly is a science fiction television series, which was first aired in the United States and Canada on September 20, 2002. It was created by Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. The show takes its name from the "Firefly-class" starship owned and operated by the central characters; the ship's class name is itself a reference to the appearance of the ship, with its tail section that blinks when accelerating for interplanetary flight.

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers

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

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

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


  • Nathan Fillion[?] plays Mal Reynolds, Serenitys captain.
  • Gina Torres[?] plays Zoë, crew member and wartime friend of Reynolds.
  • Alan Tudyk[?] plays Wash, the pilot.
  • Morena Baccarin[?] plays Inara Serra, a prostitute (an honored profession in this society) with special status on the ship and a mutual unspoken crush and love-hate relationship with Mal.
  • Jewel Staite[?] plays Kaylee Frye, ship's mechanic.
  • Adam Baldwin[?] plays Jayne Cobb, crew member and another former rebel. A dull-witted, violent, and treacherous bandit that Mal bought off while in the very process of being robbed by him.
  • Sean Maher[?] plays Simon Tam, a medical researcher and physician of the first caliber, on the lam after breaking his sister River out of a research facility.
  • Summer Glau[?] plays River Tam, a stowaway. Previously suffered exploitation in medical experiments for unspecified reasons (but with strong hints of brain tampering to bring out a natural psionic ability), presumably by the agency whose operatives include the "men in blue gloves".
  • Ron Glass[?] plays Book, a holy man, though there are hints that he is the agent of some organization with an interest in the welfare of River and Simon.

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

Airing and Cancellation Though the show had a loyal following during its lifetime, it was cancelled by the Fox Network in December 2002 after only eleven episodes shown in the USA and Canada. Low ratings were blamed for the cancellation; it has also been suggested that Whedon's additional responsibilities on Angel after co-creator David Greenwalt's departure from that show was a contributing factor. Some have attributed the low ratings in part to decisions made by the Fox Network; in particular, the episodes were aired out of order with respect to the creators' intent, and the show was promoted as an action-comedy rather than the more serious character study it was intended to be.

In the hopes of getting another network such as UPN to pick up the cancelled show, fans formed the Firefly Immediate Assistance (http://www.fireflysupport.com/) campaign, but so far have been unsuccessful in promoting the show's continuance. Fillion and Firefly co-star Gina Torres appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, respectively, following the show's cancellation.

In the USA and Canada, the order Fox broadcast the episodes was: 2, 3, 6; 7, 8, 4, 5, 9; 10, 14, 1; with 11-13 still unaired. Episodes were shown on Fridays at 20:00+?, with the exception of the second hour of the pilot which was shown at 21:00+?.

In South Africa, the order the SABC3[?] broadcasting the episodes, starting on April 15, 2003, was: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 1a, 1b, 11, 12, 13. All episodes were shown on Tuesdays at 19:30+02:00.

In the United Kingdom, the altered episodes of the first season were shown in the originally intended order on SCI-FI UK[?], starting on May 12, 2003. Episodes were shown on Mondays at 21:00z, with the exception of the first hour of the pilot which was shown at 20:00z.

First season episodes
DVD Name Premiere Channel Prod. Code
1 "Serenity" (2 hours) December 20, 2002 Fox 1AGE79
2 "The Train Job" September 20, 2002 Fox 1AGE01
3 "Bushwhacked" September 27, 2002 Fox 1AGE02
4 "Shindig" November 1, 2002 Fox 1AGE03
5 "Safe" November 8, 2002 Fox 1AGE04
6 "Our Mrs. Reynolds" October 4, 2002 Fox 1AGE05
7 "Jaynestown" October 18, 2002 Fox 1AGE06
8 "Out of Gas" October 25, 2002 Fox 1AGE07
9 "Ariel" November 15, 2002 Fox 1AGE08
10 "War Stories" December 6, 2002 Fox 1AGE09
11 "Trash" July 8, 2003 or July 21, 2003 SABC3 or SCI-FI UK 1AGE12
12 "The Message" July 15, 2003 or July 28, 2003 SABC3 or SCI-FI UK 1AGE13
13 "Heart of Gold" July 22, 2003 or August 4, 2003 SABC3 or SCI-FI UK 1AGE10
14 "Objects in Space" December 13, 2002 Fox 1AGE11

Whedon said in a USA Today interview in April 2003 that he hasn't given up on the show yet, and hopes to continue it in any format he can. The completed first season's episodes are scheduled to be released on DVD in December 2003[?].

Jane Espenson[?], one of the writers of Buffy and Firefly, has announced in June 2003 at a Buffy convention in England, that Whedon has taken 6 weeks off to write a script for a Firefly movie, and rumors of a movie in the works have been confirmed by both Fillion and Baldwin on the official Fox forum.

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