Firefly (TV series)
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''Firefly'' is an American space Western
drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a g ...
television series, created by writer and director
Joss Whedon Joseph Hill Whedon (; born June 23, 1964) is an American filmmaker, composer, and comic book writer. He is the founder of Mutant Enemy Productions, co-founder of Bellwether Pictures, and is best known as the creator of several television serie ...
, under his Mutant Enemy Productions label. Whedon served as an
executive producer Executive producer (EP) is one of the top positions in the making of a commercial entertainment product. Depending on the medium, the executive producer may be concerned with management accounting or associated with legal issues (like copyrights o ...
, along with Tim Minear. 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 In a dramatic production, an ensemble cast is one that is composed of multiple principal actors and performing arts, performers who are typically assigned roughly equal amounts of screen time.Random House: ensemble acting Linked 2013-07-17 Structu ...
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 a group of people, some of whom fought on the losing side of a
civil war A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change go ...
, who make a living on the fringes of society as part of the pioneer culture of their star system. In this future, the only two surviving superpowers, the United States and China, fused to form the central federal government, called the
Alliance An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
, resulting in the fusion of the two cultures. According to Whedon's vision, "nothing will change in the future: technology will advance, but we will still have the same political, moral, and ethical problems as today." ''Firefly'' premiered in the U.S. on the
Fox Foxes are small to medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the family Canidae. They have a flattened skull, upright, triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned snout, and a long bushy tail (or ''brush''). Twelve sp ...
network on September 20, 2002. By mid-December, ''Firefly'' had averaged 4.7 million viewers per episode and was 98th in
Nielsen ratings Nielsen Media Research (NMR) is an American firm that measures media audiences, including television, radio, theatre, films (via the AMC Theatres MAP program), and newspapers. Headquartered in New York City, it is best known for the #Nielsen TV ...
. It was canceled after 11 of the 14 produced episodes were aired. Despite the relatively short life span of the series, it received strong sales when it was released on
DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical disc data storage format. It was invented and developed in 1995 and first released on November 1, 1996, in Japan. The medium can store any k ...
and has large fan support campaigns. It won a
Primetime Emmy Award The Primetime Emmy Awards, or Primetime Emmys, are part of the extensive range of Emmy Awards for artistic and technical merit for the American television industry. Bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), the Primetime E ...
in 2003 for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series. ''
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'' ranked the series at No. 5 on their 2013 list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon". The post-airing success of the show led Whedon and
Universal Pictures Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also known as Universal Studios, or simply Universal; common metonym: Uni, and formerly named Universal Film Manufacturing Company and Universal-International Pictures Inc.) is an Americ ...
to produce '' Serenity'', a 2005 film which continues the story from the series. The ''Firefly'' franchise expanded into other media, including
comics a Media (communication), medium used to express ideas with images, often combined with text or other visual information. It typically the form of a sequence of Panel (comics), panels of images. Textual devices such as speech balloons, Glo ...
and a
role-playing game A role-playing game (sometimes spelled roleplaying game, RPG) is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal ...
.


Premise


Backstory

The series takes place in the year 2517, on a variety of 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". Re-runs start with Book or Captain Reynolds providing the backstory. Book's narration runs as follows: The film '' Serenity'' makes clear that the planets and moons are in an extensive system, and production documents related to the film indicate that there is no
faster-than-light Faster-than-light (also FTL, superluminal or supercausal) travel and communication Communication (from la, communicare, meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is usually defined as the transmission of information. The term may a ...
travel in this
universe The universe is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmology, cosmological description of the development of ...
. 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 Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. While large list of largest lakes and seas in the Solar System, volumes of water can be found throughout the Solar System, only water distributi ...
to a new
star system A star system or stellar system is a small number of star A star is an astronomical object comprising a luminous spheroid of plasma (physics), plasma held together by its gravity. The List of nearest stars and brown dwarfs, nearest sta ...
in
generation ship A generation ship, or generation starship, is a hypothetical type of interstellar ark starship that travels at sub-speed of light, light speed. Since such a ship might require hundreds to thousands of years to reach nearby stars, the original occ ...
s: "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", and many of these were
terraformed Terraforming or terraformation ("Earth-shaping") is the hypothetical process of deliberately modifying the atmosphere An atmosphere () is a layer of gas or layers of gases that envelop a planet, and is held in place by the gravity of th ...
, a process that was only the first step in making a planet habitable. The outlying settlements often did not receive any further support in the construction of their civilizations. This resulted in many border planets and moons having forbidding, dry environments, well-suited to the Western genre.


Synopsis

The show takes its name from the "''Firefly''-class" spaceship ''Serenity'' that the central characters call home. It resembles a
firefly The Lampyridae are a family (biology), family of Elateroidea, elateroid beetles with more than 2,000 described species, many of which are bioluminescence, light-emitting. They are soft-bodied beetles commonly called fireflies, lightning bugs, ...
in general arrangement and the tail section, analogous to a
bioluminescent Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by living organisms. It is a form of chemiluminescence. Bioluminescence occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as in some Fungus, fungi, microorganisms including ...
insectoid
abdomen The abdomen (colloquially called the belly, tummy, midriff, tucky or stomach) is the part of the body between the thorax (chest) and pelvis, in humans and in other vertebrates. The abdomen is the front part of the abdominal segment of the torso. ...
, lights up during acceleration. The ship was named after the Battle of Serenity Valley, where Sergeant Malcolm Reynolds and Corporal Zoe Alleyne were among the survivors on the losing side. It is revealed in "Bushwhacked" that the Battle of Serenity Valley is widely considered to have sealed the Independents' fate. The Alliance is shown to govern the star system through an organization of "core" planets, following its success in forcibly unifying all the colonies under one government. DVD commentary suggests that the Alliance is composed of two primary "core" systems, one predominantly Western, the other pan-Asian, justifying the mixed linguistic and visual themes of the series. The central planets are firmly under Alliance control, but the outlying planets and moons resemble the
American Old West The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, encompasses the geography, history, folklore, and culture associated with the forward wave of United States territorial acquisitions, American expansion in mainland North Amer ...
, under little governmental authority. Settlers and refugees on the outlying worlds have relative freedom from the central government but lack the amenities of the high-tech civilization that exists on the inner worlds. The outlying areas of space ("the black") are inhabited by the Reavers, a cannibalistic group of nomadic humans. The captain of ''Serenity'' is Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds ( Nathan Fillion). The episode " Serenity" establishes that the captain and his first mate Zoe Washburne, née Alleyne ( Gina Torres) are veteran "Browncoats" of the Unification War, a failed attempt by the outlying worlds to resist the Alliance. A later episode, " Out of Gas", reveals that Mal bought the spaceship ''Serenity'' to live beyond Alliance control. Much of the crew's work consists of cargo runs or
smuggling Smuggling is the illegal transportation of objects, substances, information or people, such as out of a house or buildings, into a prison A prison, also known as a jail, gaol (dated, English language in England, standard English, Australi ...
. The main story is that of River Tam ( Summer Glau) and her brother Simon (
Sean Maher Sean Maher (born April 16, 1975) is an American actor. He is known for his portrayal of List of Firefly characters#Simon Tam, Simon Tam in the science fiction television series ''Firefly (TV series), Firefly'' and follow-up movie ''Serenity (200 ...
). River is a child prodigy whose brain was subjected to Alliance scientists at a secret government institution; she displays symptoms of schizophrenia and often hears voices. It is later revealed that she is a "reader", one who possesses telepathic abilities. Simon gave up a career as an eminent trauma surgeon in an Alliance hospital to rescue her, and they are 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 episode of a DVD commentary, every show he does is about creating a 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 blends elements from the
space opera Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes science fictional space warfare, space warfare, with use of melodramatic, risk-taking space adventures, relationships, and chivalric romance. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it ...
and Western genres, depicting humanity's future in a manner different from most contemporary science fiction programs in that there are no large space battles. ''Firefly'' takes place in a multi-social future, primarily a fusion of Western and East Asian societies, where there is gross class inequality. As a result of the Sino-American Alliance,
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Chinese (Sinitic) dialects that are natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's Li ...
is a common second language; it is used in advertisements, and characters in the show frequently curse in Mandarin. According to the DVD commentary on the episode "Serenity", this was explained as the result of China and the United States being the two superpowers that expanded into space. The show features slang not used in contemporary culture, such as adaptations of modern words or new words. "Shiny" is frequently used as the real world slang "cool", and "gorram" is used as a mild swear word. 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 show's mood 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 Train Job" pilot when Mal is thrown out of a
holographic Holography is a technique that enables a wavefront to be recorded and later re-constructed. Holography is best known as a method of generating real three-dimensional images, but it also has a wide range of other Holography#Applications, applic ...
bar window. The DVD set's "making-of" documentary explains the distinctive frontispiece of the series (wherein ''Serenity'' soars over a herd of 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, epitomized by the moment he suggests he might "space" Simon and River, throwing them out of the airlock. Fox was not happy that the show involved the "nobodies" who "get squished by policy" instead of the actual policymakers.


Cast


Main

''Firefly'' maintained an ensemble cast that portrayed nine crew members and passengers 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 operatives of a secret agency which is part of the
megacorporation Megacorporation, mega-corporation, or megacorp, a term originally coined by Alfred Eichner in his book ''The Megacorp and Oligopoly: Micro Foundations of Macro Dynamics'' but popularized by William Gibson, derives from the combination of the prefi ...
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 incredibly complicated by the divergent motivations of the individuals on board ''Serenity'', but the show's brief run hampered complex
characterization Characterization or characterisation is the representation of persons (or other beings or creatures) in narrative A narrative, story, or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional (memoir, biography, ...
. All nine of the main characters appeared in every episode, except " Ariel", from which Book is absent. * Nathan Fillion as Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds – the owner and captain of ''Serenity'' and former Independent sergeant in the pivotal Battle of Serenity Valley. Malcolm grew up on a ranch and was raised by his mother and the ranch hands. In the Unification War, he fought as a platoon sergeant in the 57th Overlanders of the Independent Army, the " Browncoats". He is cunning, a capable leader, and a skilled fighter. Mal's primary motivation is his will for independence. While he is not above petty theft, smuggling, or even killing to maintain his free lifestyle, he is generally honest in his dealings with others, fiercely loyal to his crew, and closely follows a personal moral code. He is openly antagonistic toward religion as a result of his war experience. * Gina Torres as Zoe Alleyne Washburne – second-in-command onboard ''Serenity'', a loyal wartime friend of Captain Reynolds and Wash's wife. Her surname during the Unification War was Alleyne. She was born and raised on a ship and served under Mal during the war as a corporal. Described by her husband as a "warrior woman", she is a capable fighter who keeps calm even in the most dangerous situations. She demonstrates an almost unconditional loyalty to Mal. The only exception noted being her marriage to Wash, which the captain claims was against his orders. * Alan Tudyk as Hoban "Wash" Washburne – ''Serenity''s pilot and Zoe's husband. Deeply in love with his wife, Wash expresses jealousy over his wife's "war buddy" relationship and unconditional support of their captain, most particularly in the episode " War Stories", in which he confronts Mal, even as a dissatisfied customer is torturing them. 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 light-hearted and tends to make amusing comments, despite the severity of any situation. * Morena Baccarin as Inara Serra – a Companion, which is the 26th century cross between a
geisha {{Culture of Japan, Traditions, Geisha {{nihongo, Geisha, 芸者 ({{IPAc-en, ˈ, ɡ, eɪ, ʃ, ə; {{IPA-ja, ɡeːɕa, lang), also known as {{nihongo, , 芸子, geiko (in Kyoto and Kanazawa) or {{nihongo, , 芸妓, geigi, are a class of female J ...
and a
courtesan Courtesan, in modern usage, is a euphemism for a "kept" mistress (lover), mistress or prostitute, particularly one with wealthy, powerful, or influential clients. The term historically referred to a courtier, a person who attended the Royal cour ...
or
mistress Mistress is the feminine form of the English word "master" (''master'' + ''-ess'') and may refer to: Romance and relationships * Mistress (lover), a term for a woman who is in a sexual and romantic relationship with a man who is married to a d ...
, who rents one of ''Serenity''s two small shuttles. 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. Inara displays great dignity, civility, and compassion. There is strong romantic tension between her and Mal, who share many character traits, but each jokingly objects to the other's work as "whoring" or "petty theft", respectively. Both refuse to act on their feelings and try to keep their relationship professional. *
Adam Baldwin Adam Baldwin (born February 27, 1962) is an American actor. He starred in ''Full Metal Jacket'' (1987) as Animal Mother, as well as in the television series ''Firefly (TV Series), Firefly'' and its continuation film ''Serenity (2005 film), Seren ...
as Jayne Cobb – a mercenary. He and Mal met when they were on opposite sides of a dispute; Mal, while held at gunpoint, offered Jayne his own bunk and a higher cut than his current employer, so Jayne switched sides and shot his then-partners. In the original pilot, "Serenity", he intimates to Mal that he did not betray him because "The money wasn't good enough." However, previously he had pointedly asked the Alliance agent whether he would be required to turn on the captain to help him. In "Ariel", he defends his actions in alerting the authorities regarding Simon and River by claiming he had not intended to betray Mal. He is someone who can be depended on in a fight. 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. Even though he is a macho character, he has shown a particularly intense fear of 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, again suggesting that there is more to his character than what he presents to the rest of the crew. *
Jewel Staite Jewel Belair Staite (born June 2, 1982) is a Canadian actress. She is known for her roles as Kaylee Frye in the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox television series ''Firefly (TV series), Firefly'' (2002–2003) and its spin-off theatrical film ''Ser ...
as Kaywinnet Lee "Kaylee" Frye – 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 is the only one who loves all of them incredibly genuinely." She has a crush on Simon Tam. Kaylee is the heart of the ship: according to creator Joss Whedon, if Kaylee believes something, it is true. *
Sean Maher Sean Maher (born April 16, 1975) is an American actor. He is known for his portrayal of List of Firefly characters#Simon Tam, Simon Tam in the science fiction television series ''Firefly (TV series), Firefly'' and follow-up movie ''Serenity (200 ...
as Simon Tam – a 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 A safe (also called a strongbox or coffer) is a secure Lock (security device), lockable box used for securing valuable objects against theft or fire. A safe is usually a hollow cuboid or cylinder, with one face being removable or hinged to form ...
", it is revealed that he and River had a privileged upbringing with access to the best education. In rescuing River over his stern father's severe objections, Simon sacrificed a highly successful future in medicine. His bumbling attempts at a romantic relationship with Kaylee are a recurring subplot throughout the series. At every turn, he seems to find a way to foil his attempts at romance unwittingly. His life is defined by caring for his sister. * Summer Glau as River Tam – smuggled onto the ship by her brother. She is a brilliant, compassionate, and intuitive
child prodigy A child prodigy is defined in psychology research literature as a person under the age of ten who produces meaningful output in some domain at the level of an adult expert. The term is also applied more broadly to young people who are extraor ...
. Experiments and invasive brain surgery at an Alliance secret facility left her delusional, paranoid, and at times violent, though her uncanny ability to seemingly sense things before they happen leaves questions as to where the delusions end and reality begins for her. The experiments seemed to have made her a
psychic A psychic is a person who claims to use extrasensory perception (ESP) to identify information hidden from the normal senses, particularly involving telepathy or clairvoyance, or who performs acts that are apparently inexplicable by natural laws, ...
. The experiments also gave her a seemingly innate ability in hand-to-hand combat, and she is capable of killing or incapacitating several opponents with ease. She gets frequent fits of anxiety and experiences post-traumatic flashbacks of her time in the Alliance facility. Her mental instability and uncanny abilities, paired with several erratic and violent acts, are a recurring source of fear and doubt among the crew, especially with Jayne, whom she once slashed with a knife. Jayne frequently requests that River and Simon be taken off the ship. * Ron Glass as Derrial Book – a Shepherd (equivalent to a pastor). Although presented as a devout Christian, Book has profound, unexplained knowledge about criminal activities, police corruption, and military strategy, tactics, and weapons. In "
Safe A safe (also called a strongbox or coffer) is a secure Lock (security device), lockable box used for securing valuable objects against theft or fire. A safe is usually a hollow cuboid or cylinder, with one face being removable or hinged to form ...
", he was shown to have sufficient status in the Alliance to receive emergency medical treatment from an Alliance ship, with no questions asked. He is also proficient in hand-to-hand combat and the use of firearms. While objecting to violence most of the time, on a rescue mission, he joins the fight, stating that while the Bible is quite specific about killing, it is "somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps". Book is a moral guide for Mal and the rest of the crew, a voice of reason, conscience, and spirituality. At the same time, he seems to get along well with the amoral mercenary Jayne, with the two spotting each other while working out using a
bench press The bench press, or chest press, is a weight training exercise in which the trainee presses a weight upwards while lying on a weight training bench. Although the bench press is a full-body exercise, the muscles primarily used are the pectoralis ...
. His hidden backstory would have been gradually revealed had the series continued but was instead explored in the 2010 comic book '' The Shepherd's Tale''.


Recurring

Despite the series' short run, several
recurring character A recurring character is a Character (arts), fictional character, usually in a prime time TV series, who frequently appears from time to time during the series' run. Recurring characters often play major roles in more than one episode, sometimes ...
s emerged from the inhabitants of the ''Firefly'' universe: * Mark Sheppard as Badger – an established
smuggling Smuggling is the illegal transportation of objects, substances, information or people, such as out of a house or buildings, into a prison A prison, also known as a jail, gaol (dated, English language in England, standard English, Australi ...
middleman on the planet 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 initially written with Whedon himself playing the role. Badger appeared in the original pilot "Serenity" and in " Shindig", with a return in the comic book series '' Serenity: Those Left Behind''. * Michael Fairman as Adelai Niska – a criminal kingpin who has a reputation for violent reprisals, including severe, prolonged
torture Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe pain or suffering on a person for reasons such as punishment, extracting a confession, interrogational torture, interrogation for information, or intimidating third parties. definitions of tortur ...
, against those who fail him or even irritate him. He appeared in "The Train Job" and "War Stories". * Christina Hendricks as "Saffron" – a con artist whose real name is unknown. She first appeared in the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" as Mal's involuntarily acquired wife. She has a habit of marrying her marks during her
scam A confidence trick is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust. Confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, confidence Confidence is a state of being clear-hea ...
s. She returns in the episode " Trash", where Mal jokingly addresses her as "YoSaffBridge", from the three of her aliases known within the show: "Yolanda", "Saffron", and "Bridget". * Jeff Ricketts and Dennis Cockrum as "The Hands of Blue" – two anonymous men wearing suits and blue gloves who pursue River, apparently to return her to the institute from which she escaped, 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 hemorrhaging in anyone at whom it is aimed.
River A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of wate ...
, during anxiety attacks or psychological meltdowns, has repeated the phrase "Two by two/hands of blue" in a way that resembles poetic meter. This suggests that River has had close experience(s) with them.


Episodes


Production


Origin

Whedon developed the concept for the show after reading '' The Killer Angels'' by Michael Shaara chronicling the
Battle of Gettysburg The Battle of Gettysburg () was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union Army, Union and Confederate States Army, Confederate forces during the American Civil War. In t ...
during the
American Civil War The American Civil War (April 12, 1861 – May 26, 1865; also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States. It was fought between the Union (American Civil War), Union ("the North") and t ...
. He wanted to follow people who had fought on the losing side of a war, their experiences afterward as pioneers and immigrants on the outskirts of civilization, much like the post-American Civil War era of
Reconstruction Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "reconstruction"), a late 20th century Soviet Union ...
and the
American Old West The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, encompasses the geography, history, folklore, and culture associated with the forward wave of United States territorial acquisitions, American expansion in mainland North Amer ...
.Whedon, ''Serenity: The Official Visual Companion'', p. 8 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. Whedon also read a book about Jewish partisan fighters in
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
. 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 created a ship in the image of a firefly.


Format

During the pilot episode filming, Whedon was still arguing with Fox that the show should be displayed in widescreen format. Whedon filmed scenes with actors on the edge of both sides so that they could only be shown in widescreen.Whedon, ''Firefly: the complete series: "Serenity" commentary'' This led to a few scenes on the DVD (and later Blu-ray) where objects or setups that were not visible in the original 4:3 broadcasts were displayed—such as the scene in the pilot where Wash mimes controlling the ship with a non-existent
yoke A yoke is a wooden Beam (structure), beam sometimes used between a pair of oxen or other animals to enable them to pull together on a load when working in pairs, as oxen usually do; some yokes are fitted to individual animals. There are several ...
. The Fox executives rejected the pilot, who felt that it lacked action and that the captain was too "dour".Whedon, ''Firefly: the complete series: "Train Job" commentary'', track 1 They also disliked a scene in which the crew backed down to a crime boss since the scene implied the crew was "being nothing". 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". 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.Whedon, ''Firefly: the complete series: "Train Job" commentary'', track 7. For the new pilot, Fox made it clear that they would not air the episodes in widescreen. 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.Whedon, ''Firefly: the complete series: "Train Job" commentary'', track 6 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 mis-framed and out-of-focus subjects.Whedon, ''Firefly: the complete series: "Train Job" commentary'', track 3 As Whedon related: "don't be arch, don't be sweeping—be found, be rough and tumble and docu entaryand you-are-there".Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 12 Computer-generated scenes mimicked the motion of a hand-held camera; the style was not used when shooting scenes that involved the central government, the Alliance.
Tracking Tracking may refer to: Science and technology Computing * Tracking, in computer graphics, in match moving (insertion of graphics into footage) * Tracking, composing music with music tracker software * Eye tracking, measuring the position of t ...
and steady cameras were used to show the sterility of this aspect of the ''Firefly'' universe. Another style employed was
lens flare A lens flare happens when light is scattering, scattered or flared in a lens (optics), lens system, often in response to a bright light, producing a sometimes undesirable artifact (error), artifact in the image. This happens through light scatt ...
s harking back to 1970s television. This style was so desired that the director of photography, David Boyd, sent back the cutting-edge lenses which reduced lens flare in exchange for cheaper ones. Unlike other science fiction shows which add sound to space scenes for dramatic effect, ''Firefly'' portrays space as silent, because sounds cannot be transmitted in the vacuum of space.


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.Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 11 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."Whedon, ''Firefly Companion, Vol 1'', 10 He wanted to convey that it was utilitarian and that it was "beat-up but lived-in. Ultimately, it was home." 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. Besides evoking a mood associated with the character who spends the most time in each area, the color scheme also alludes to the heat generated in the ship's tail. Whedon was also keen on using vertical space; having the crew 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 set 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, "The Reward, the Details, the Devils, the Due", ''Finding Serenity'', 8 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 Flat Yucca Flat is a closed desert drainage basin, one of four major nuclear test regions within the Nevada Test Site (NTS), and is divided into nine test sections: Areas 1 through 4 and 6 through 10. Yucca Flat is located at the eastern edge of NTS, ...
s 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. A reviewer averred that he also wrote for the characters, stating: "Edmonson has developed a specialized collection of musical symbolism for the series."Goltz, "Listening to ''Firefly''", ''Finding Serenity'', 209–215 To help illustrate the collection, the reviewer gave
leitmotif A leitmotif or leitmotiv () is a "short, recurring phrase (music), musical phrase" associated with a particular person, place, or idea. It is closely related to the musical concepts of ''idée fixe'' or ''motto-theme''. The spelling ''leitmotif ...
s, or "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 in secret; it was "the sound of their home". The slide guitar and fiddle used in this piece are portable instruments that 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" used at the end of the Battle of Serenity Valley but also to set up the joke when Mal tells Simon that Kaylee is dead in the episode " Serenity". The most memorable use of "Sad Violin" 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'' farewell. To denote 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 Niska has a 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 contrasts with 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 signatures were mostly established in the first pilot, "Serenity", and helped enhance the narrative. Whedon's use of music in his television shows has been regarded as "filmic", in that he has been argued to use it to remind viewers at "pivotal moments" of earlier events, resulting in a tighter continuity throughout the season. The musical score expressed the social fusion depicted in the show. Cowboy guitar blended with Asian influence produced the atmospheric background for the series. As one reviewer stated: The show's 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. Fox Music released a 40-minute soundtrack in September 2005 as a digital EP. "The Ballad of Serenity" was used by NASA as the wake-up song for astronaut Robert L. Behnken and the other crewmembers of
STS-130 STS-130 (ISS assembly sequence, ISS assembly flight 20A) was a NASA Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS). 's primary payloads were the Tranquility (ISS module), ''Tranquility'' module and the ''Cupola (ISS module), Cupol ...
on February 12, 2010.


Casting

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; while making the original pilot "Serenity", Whedon decided that
Rebecca Gayheart Rebecca Gayheart (born August 12, 1971) is an American actress and model. She began her career as a teen model in the 1980s and subsequently appeared in a student short film by Brett Ratner Brett Ratner (born March 28, 1969) is an American fil ...
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", Baccarin recalled. Whedon approached Nathan Fillion to play the lead role of Malcolm Reynolds; after Whedon explained the premise and showed him the treatment for the pilot, Fillion was eager for the role. 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 canceled. Fillion has called his time on ''Firefly'' the best acting job he ever had, and compares every job he has had to it. Alan Tudyk applied through a casting office and several months later was called in for an audition, where he met with Whedon. He was called back to test with two candidates for the role of Zoe (Wash's wife) and was told that it was down to him and one other candidate. The Zoes he tested with were not selected (Gina Torres eventually received the role), and Tudyk was sent home but received a call informing him he had the part anyway. His audition tape is included in the special features of the DVD release. Gina Torres, a veteran of several science fiction/fantasy works ('' Cleopatra 2525'', ''
The Matrix Reloaded ''The Matrix Reloaded'' is a 2003 American science-fiction action film written and directed by the Wachowskis. It is a sequel to '' The Matrix'' (1999) and the second installment in the ''Matrix'' film series. The film stars Keanu Reeves, ...
'', '' 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, "you had these challenged characters inhabiting a challenging world, and that makes for great storytelling. And no aliens!" For
Adam Baldwin Adam Baldwin (born February 27, 1962) is an American actor. He starred in ''Full Metal Jacket'' (1987) as Animal Mother, as well as in the television series ''Firefly (TV Series), Firefly'' and its continuation film ''Serenity (2005 film), Seren ...
, who grew up watching westerns, the role of Jayne Cobb was particularly resonant. Canadian actress
Jewel Staite Jewel Belair Staite (born June 2, 1982) is a Canadian actress. She is known for her roles as Kaylee Frye in the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox television series ''Firefly (TV series), Firefly'' (2002–2003) and its spin-off theatrical film ''Ser ...
videotaped her audition from
Vancouver Vancouver ( ) is a major city in western Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. As the List of cities in British Columbia, most populous city in the province, the 2021 Canadian census recorded 662,248 people in the ...
and was asked to come to
Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; es, Los Ángeles, link=no , ), often referred to by its initials L.A., is the largest city in the state of California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, located along the West Coast of ...
to meet Whedon, at which point she was cast for the role of Kaylee Frye, the ship's engineer. She was asked to put on weight for the role.
Sean Maher Sean Maher (born April 16, 1975) is an American actor. He is known for his portrayal of List of Firefly characters#Simon Tam, Simon Tam in the science fiction television series ''Firefly (TV series), Firefly'' and follow-up movie ''Serenity (200 ...
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". Two weeks later, Whedon called her to tell her she had the part. Veteran television actor Ron Glass has said that until ''Firefly'', he had not experienced or sought a science-fiction or western role. Still, he fell in love with the pilot script and the character of Shepherd Book.


Production staff

Whedon selected Tim Minear to be the show runner, who serves as the head writer and production leader. According to Whedon, " inearunderstood 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." Many of the other production staff were selected from people Whedon had worked with in the past, except 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 writers were selected after interviews and script samplings. Among the writers were José Molina, Ben Edlund, Cheryl Cain, Brett Matthews, Drew Z. Greenberg and Jane Espenson. Espenson wrote an essay on the writing process with Mutant Enemy Productions. 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 writers (except the one working on the previous week's episode) meet in the anteroom to Whedon's office to begin 'breaking' the story into acts and scenes. One of the key components to devising acts for the team 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." For instance, in " Shindig", the break for commercial occurs when Malcolm Reynolds is gravely injured and losing the duel. "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 develop 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 modifications 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 World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, the
American Civil War The American Civil War (April 12, 1861 – May 26, 1865; also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States. It was fought between the Union (American Civil War), Union ("the North") and t ...
, the American
Old West The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, encompasses the geography, history, folklore, and culture associated with the forward wave of United States territorial acquisitions, American expansion in mainland North Amer ...
, and 1861
samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of History of Japan#Medieval Japan (1185–1573/1600), medieval and Edo period, early-modern Japan from the late 12th century until their abolition in 1876. They were the well-paid retai ...
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. Since the characters were often getting shot, Trpcic would make up to six versions of the same costume for multiple takes. * 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. * 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 originally the "dandy", but as the show progressed, he loosened up slightly. * For Kaylee, Trpcic studied Japanese and Chinese youth, as originally the character was Asian. Other inspirations for Kaylee's costumes were
Rosie the Riveter Rosie the Riveter is an allegorical cultural icon in the United States who represents the women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new ...
and Chinese Communist posters. * 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 could fit into the clothes made for Whedon. * For the Alliance, besides the grays and cool blues, Trpcic had in mind
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945) was ...
, but mixed it with different wars, as the first sketches were "too Nazi". The uniforms of the Alliance soldiers are from the 1997 film '' Starship Troopers''. * In the commentary for the pilot episode, Whedon points out that "bad guys wear hats, good guys don't."


Unproduced episodes

Since the cancellation of the series, various cast and crew members have revealed details they had planned for the show's future: * Alan Tudyk had the idea for an episode about a planet that is always day on one side and night on the other. On the night side, Jayne accidentally spills a type of pheromone on himself and the crew, which attracts many dogs. The crew is chased back to the ship by these dogs. There River uses her mind powers to domesticate the dogs. * Adam Baldwin wanted to make an episode in which Jayne goes up against Mal as captain of his ship. * Tim Minear revealed the secret of Inara's syringe, as seen in the
pilot episode A television pilot (also known as a pilot or a pilot episode and sometimes marketed as a tele-movie), in television in the United States, United States television, is a standalone episode of a television series that is used to sell a show to a te ...
; she is infected with a deadly disease. There would have been an episode where Reavers gang-rape her. Because she injected herself with the syringe, all of the Reavers on the ship die. * According to Nathan Fillion, there was an episode in which the crew land on a dying planet. The inhabitants try to steal ''Serenity'' after explaining to the crew about their need to get off the planet. The problem is that unless they were to run into another ship along the way, with the extra passengers, ''Serenity'' would not have enough fuel and oxygen to make it to the closest destination. While everyone else is asleep, Mal takes the ship himself and discovers that help would never have arrived.


Broadcast history

''Firefly'' consists of a two-hour pilot and thirteen one-hour episodes (with commercials). The series originally premiered in the United States on Fox in September 2002. The episodes were aired out of the intended order. Although Whedon had designed the show to run for seven years, low ratings resulted in cancellation by Fox in December 2002 after only 11 of the 14 completed episodes had aired in the United States. The three episodes unaired by Fox eventually debuted in 2003 on the
Sci Fi Channel Syfy (formerly Sci-Fi Channel, later shortened to Sci Fi; stylized as SYFY) is an American basic cable cable television, channel owned by the NBCUniversal Television and Streaming division of Comcast's NBCUniversal through NBCUniversal Cable En ...
in the United Kingdom. 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 canceled, 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 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 A première, also spelled premiere, is the wikt:debut, debut (first public presentation) of a Play (theatre), play, film, dance, or musical composition. A work will often have many premières: a world première (the first time it is shown anywh ...
, and therefore contained most of the character introductions and back-story. Fox decided that "Serenity" was unsuitable for opening 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 Variety may refer to: Arts and entertainment Entertainment formats * Variety (radio) * Variety show, in theater and television Films * Variety (1925 film), ''Variety'' (1925 film), a German silent film directed by Ewald Andre Dupont * Varie ...
'' noted Fox's decision to occasionally preempt the show for sporting events. Fox remastered the complete series in
1080i 1080i (also known as Full HD or BT.709) is a combination of frame resolution and scan type. 1080i is used in high-definition television (HDTV) and high-definition video. The number "1080" refers to the number of horizontal lines on the scre ...
high-definition for broadcast on Universal HD, which began in April 2008. On March 12, 2009, the series was the winner of the first annual Hulu awards in the category "Shows We'd Bring Back". The
Science Channel Science Channel (often simply branded as Science; abbreviated to SCI) is an American pay television channel owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. The channel features programming focusing on science related to wilderness survival, engineering, manu ...
began airing the series on March 6, 2011. All episodes aired in the intended order, including episodes "Trash", "The Message" and "Heart of Gold", which were not aired in the original Fox series run. Along with each episode, Dr. Michio Kaku provided commentary about the real-life science behind the show's science fiction.


Home media releases

A box set containing the 14 completed episodes (including those which had not yet aired in the United States) was released on region 1
DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical disc data storage format. It was invented and developed in 1995 and first released on November 1, 1996, in Japan. The medium can store any k ...
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 Anamorphic format is the cinematography technique of shooting a widescreen picture on standard 35 mm movie film, 35 mm film or other visual recording media with a non-widescreen native aspect ratio (image), aspect ratio. It also refers to the ...
transfers and
Dolby Surround Dolby Pro Logic is a surround sound processing technology developed by Dolby Laboratories, designed to decode soundtracks encoded with Dolby Surround. Dolby Stereo (also known as ''Dolby MP'' or ''Dolby SVA'') was developed by Dolby in 1976 fo ...
audio. By September 2005, its DVD release had sold about 500,000 copies. The series was re-released on
Blu-ray Disc The Blu-ray Disc (BD), often known simply as Blu-ray, is a Digital media, digital optical disc data storage format. It was invented and developed in 2005 and released on June 20, 2006 worldwide. It is designed to supersede the DVD format, and c ...
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 September 19, 2017, the series was reissued on Blu-ray as a ''15th Anniversary Collection''. The set included new packaging that came with character cards and a fold-out
map A map is a symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between o ...
of the solar system in which the series is set.


Reception


Critical response

On
Rotten Tomatoes Rotten Tomatoes is an American review aggregator, review-aggregation website for film and television. The company was launched in August 1998 by three undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley: Senh Duong, Patrick Y. Lee ...
, the series has an approval rating of 77% with an average score of 7.8 out of 10 based on 44 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "''Firefly'' earns its audience's adoration with the help of Nathan Fillion's dry delivery, a detailed fantasy world, and compelling storylines – even if it doesn't stand with creator Joss Whedon's most consistent work."
Metacritic Metacritic is a website that review aggregator, aggregates reviews of films, TV shows, music albums, video games and formerly, books. For each product, the scores from each review are averaged (a weighted arithmetic mean, weighted average). M ...
collected 30 reviews and calculated an average score of 63 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Many reviews focused on the show's fusion of Wild West and outer space motifs. ''
TV Guide TV Guide is an American digital media company that provides television program listings information as well as entertainment and television-related news. The company sold its print magazine division, TV Guide Magazine LLC, in 2008. Corpora ...
''s Matt Roush, for instance, called the show "oddball" and "offbeat" and noted how 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. Several reviewers, criticized the show's setting; Tim Goodman of the ''
San Francisco Chronicle The ''San Francisco Chronicle'' is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. It was founded in 1865 as ''The Daily Dramatic Chronicle'' by teenage brothers Charles de Young and M. H. de Young, Michael H. de ...
'' 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 called the series a "vast disappointment", and Carina Chocano of Salon.com said that while the "space as
Wild West The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, encompasses the geography, history, folklore, and culture associated with the forward wave of United States territorial acquisitions, American expansion in mainland North Amer ...
" metaphor is fairly redundant, neither genre connected to the present. Emily Nussbaum of ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership reported in 2020 to comprise a declining 840,000 paid print subscribers, and a growing 6 million paid d ...
'', 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''". The ''
Boston Globe ''The Boston Globe'' is an American daily newspaper founded and based in Boston, Massachusetts. The newspaper has won a total of #Pulitzer, 27 Pulitzer Prizes, and has a total circulation of close to 300,000 print and digital subscribers. ''The B ...
'' described ''Firefly'' as a "wonderful, imaginative mess brimming with possibility". The review further notes the difference between the new series and other programs was that those shows "burst onto the scene with slick pilots and quickly deteriorate into mediocrity ... ''Firefly'' is on the opposite creative journey." Jason Snell called the show one of the best on television, and one "with the most potential for future brilliance". Tim White, writing for '' The Objective Standard'', focused his review on the show's depiction of heroism. He concludes that "''Firefly'' is not perfectly accurate in its attempts to depict the essential natures of heroism and villainy, but its successes are much more uplifting than its failures are problematic. It's also consistently funny, skillfully written, and passionately acted." Reviewers also compared ''Firefly'' to Whedon's other series, ''
Buffy the Vampire Slayer ''Buffy the Vampire Slayer'' is an American supernatural fiction, supernatural drama television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon. It is based on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer (film), 1992 film of the same name, also written by W ...
''. Chocano noted that the series lacks the psychological tension of ''Buffy'' and suggests that this might be attributable to the episodes being aired out of order. MSN, on the other hand, pointed 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". Princess Weekes from ''
The Mary Sue Daniel Abrams (born May 20, 1966) is an American media entrepreneur, television host, legal commentator, and author. He is currently the host of the prime-time show ''Dan Abrams Live'' on NewsNation, ''On Patrol: Live'' on Reelz and ''The Dan Abr ...
'' stated that she "really enjoyed" the series, but wrote that, "it lacks Chinese actors, so if it's going to be brought back, that's a really easy fix." Writing for
Syfy Syfy (formerly Sci-Fi Channel, later shortened to Sci Fi; stylized as SYFY) is an American basic cable cable television, channel owned by the NBCUniversal Television and Streaming division of Comcast's NBCUniversal through NBCUniversal Cable En ...
, Alyssa Fikse described the show as a "problematic fave", calling the lack of Asian characters in the show "negligent at best, racist at worst".


Fandom

''Firefly'' generated a loyal base of fans during its three-month original broadcast run on
Fox Foxes are small to medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the family Canidae. They have a flattened skull, upright, triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned snout, and a long bushy tail (or ''brush''). Twelve sp ...
in late 2002. These fans, self-styled Browncoats, used online forums to organize and try to save the series from being canceled by Fox only three months after its debut. Their efforts included raising money for an ad in ''Variety'' magazine and a postcard writing campaign to UPN. While unsuccessful in finding a network that would continue the show, their support led to a release of the series on
DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical disc data storage format. It was invented and developed in 1995 and first released on November 1, 1996, in Japan. The medium can store any k ...
in December 2003. A subsequent fan campaign 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. These and other continuing fan activities eventually persuaded 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 of rough film cuts were held for existing fans starting in May 2005 as an attempt to create a buzz to increase ticket sales when the final film cut 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". The event raised over $65,000 for Whedon's favorite charity, Equality Now. In 2007, $106,000 was raised; in 2008, $107,219; and in 2009, $137,331. 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 features interviews with Whedon and various cast members. Part of the DVD proceeds are donated to Equality Now.
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA ) is an independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the US federal government responsible for the civil List of government space agencies, space program ...
Browncoat
astronaut An astronaut (from the Ancient Greek (), meaning 'star', and (), meaning 'sailor') is a person trained, equipped, and deployed by a List of human spaceflight programs, human spaceflight program to serve as a commander or crew member aboard ...
Steven Swanson took the ''Firefly'' and ''Serenity'' DVDs with him on
Space Shuttle Atlantis Space Shuttle ''Atlantis'' (Orbiter Vehicle designation: OV‑104) is a Space Shuttle orbiter vehicle which belongs to NASA, the spaceflight and space exploration agency of the United States. ''Atlantis'' was manufactured by the Rockwell Inte ...
's
STS-117 STS-117 (ISS assembly sequence, ISS assembly flight 13A) was a Space Shuttle mission flown by Space Shuttle Atlantis, Space Shuttle ''Atlantis'', launched from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39, pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center on 8 June ...
mission in June 2007. The DVDs were added to the media collection on the
International Space Station The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest Modular design, modular space station currently in low Earth orbit. It is a multinational collaborative project involving five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos ( ...
as entertainment for the station's crews. A fan-made, not-for-profit, unofficial sequel to ''Serenity'', titled ''Browncoats: Redemption'', premiered at Dragon*Con 2010 on September 4, 2010. According to the film's creator and producer, Whedon gave "his blessing" to the project. The film was sold on DVD and Blu-ray at the film's website, with all proceeds being distributed among five charities. The film was also screened at various science-fiction conventions across the United States, with admission receipts similarly being donated. All sales ended on September 1, 2011, one year after its premiere, with total revenues exceeding $115,000.


Cult status

In 2005, ''
New Scientist ''New Scientist'' is a magazine A magazine is a periodical literature, periodical publication, generally published on a regular schedule (often weekly or monthly), containing a variety of content (media), content. They are generally financ ...
'' 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. In 2012, ''
Entertainment Weekly ''Entertainment Weekly'' (sometimes abbreviated as ''EW'') is an American digital-only entertainment magazine based in New York City, published by Dotdash Meredith, that covers film, television, music, Broadway theatre, books, and popular cultu ...
'' listed the show at No. 11 in the "25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years", commenting, "as it often does, martyrdom has only enhanced its legend." Brad Wright, co-creator of ''
Stargate SG-1 ''Stargate SG-1'' (often stylized in all caps, or abbreviated ''SG-1'') is a military science fiction Adventure fiction, adventure television series within Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Stargate, ''Stargate'' franchise. The show, created by Brad Wrigh ...
'' has said that the 200th episode of ''SG-1'' is "a little kiss to ''Serenity'' and ''Firefly'', which was possibly one of the best canceled series in history". In the episode, "Martin Lloyd has come to the S.G.C. targate Commandbecause even though ' Wormhole X-Treme!' was canceled after three episodes, it did so well on DVD they're making a feature ilm. The follow-up film, '' Serenity'', was voted the best science fiction movie of all time in an '' SFX'' magazine poll of 3,000 fans. ''Firefly'' was later ranked #25 on ''TV Guide''s Top Cult Shows Ever. The name for the Google beta app Google Wave was inspired by this TV series. In an interview on February 17, 2011, with ''
Entertainment Weekly ''Entertainment Weekly'' (sometimes abbreviated as ''EW'') is an American digital-only entertainment magazine based in New York City, published by Dotdash Meredith, that covers film, television, music, Broadway theatre, books, and popular cultu ...
'', Nathan Fillion joked that: "If I got $300 million from the California Lottery, the first thing I would do is buy the rights to ''Firefly'', make it on my own, and distribute it on the Internet". This quickly gave rise to a fan-run initiative to raising the funds to purchase the rights. On March 7, 2011, the organizers announced the closure of the project due to lack of endorsement from the creators, with $1 million pledged at the time it was shut down. Joss Whedon, Tim Minear, and cast members Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin, and Sean Maher reunited at the 2012
San Diego Comic-Con San Diego Comic-Con International is a comic book convention and nonprofit multi-genre entertainment event held annually in San Diego, California San Diego ( , ; ) is a city on the Pacific Ocean coast of Southern California located i ...
for a 10th-anniversary panel. Ten thousand people lined up to get into the panel, and the panel ended with the entire crowd giving the cast and crew a standing ovation. A tenth anniversary special, ''Browncoats Unite'', was shown on the
Science Channel Science Channel (often simply branded as Science; abbreviated to SCI) is an American pay television channel owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. The channel features programming focusing on science related to wilderness survival, engineering, manu ...
on November 11, 2012. The special featured Whedon, Minear, and several of the cast members, in a discussion on the series' history. According to ''
Reason Reason is the capacity of Consciousness, consciously applying logic by Logical consequence, drawing conclusions from new or existing information, with the aim of seeking the truth. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activ ...
''s Julian Sanchez, ''Firefly''s cult following "seems to include a disproportionate number of libertarians". The story themes are often cautionary about too-powerful central authority and its capacity to do bad while being considered by the majority as good. The characters each exhibit traits that exemplify core
libertarian Libertarianism (from french: libertaire, "libertarian"; from la, libertas, "freedom") is a political philosophy that upholds liberty as a core value. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and political freedom, and Minarchism, minimize the ...
values, such as the
right to bear arms The right to keep and bear arms (often referred to as the right to bear arms) is a right for people to possess weapons (arms) for the preservation of life, liberty, and property. The purpose of gun rights is for Self-defense#Armed, self-defens ...
(Jayne, Zoe), legal prostitution (Inara),
freedom of religion Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom ...
(Book), logic and reasoning (Simon), and anti-conscription (River). Joss Whedon notes this theme, saying "Mal is, if not a Republican, certainly a libertarian, he's certainly a less-government kinda guy. He's the opposite of me in many ways."


Podcasts

''The Signal'' is a ''Firefly'' and ''Serenity''-focused podcast developed by fans of the Joss Whedon property. Hosted by Kari Haley and Les Howard, ''The Signal'' is a fan-driven podcast dedicated to
Joss Whedon Joseph Hill Whedon (; born June 23, 1964) is an American filmmaker, composer, and comic book writer. He is the founder of Mutant Enemy Productions, co-founder of Bellwether Pictures, and is best known as the creator of several television serie ...
's short-lived TV series ''Firefly'' (2002) and its film ''Serenity'' (2005). Initially created as
guerrilla marketing Guerrilla marketing is an Advertising, advertisement strategy in which a company uses surprise and/or unconventional interactions in order to promote a Product (business), product or Service (business), service. It is a type of publicity. The ...
to promote ''Serenity'', the podcast features discussions about the franchise's
role-playing game A role-playing game (sometimes spelled roleplaying game, RPG) is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal ...
,
fan fiction Fan fiction or fanfiction (also abbreviated to fan fic, fanfic, fic or FF) is fictional writing written in an amateur An amateur () is generally considered a person who pursues an avocation independent from their source of income. Amateurs ...
as audio dramas, and interviews (e.g. with PJ Haarsma, Jane Espenson, and Marc Gunn). Haley and Howard described the podcast's purpose as " oingwhatever we can to see that more new ''Firefly'' is created in any format." In early 2006, Mur Lafferty described the show as " PG-rated", about an hour long, and publishing an episode every two weeks. That December, ''The Signal'' released a
compilation album A compilation album comprises tracks, which may be previously released or unreleased, usually from several separate recordings by either one or several performers. If by one artist, then generally the tracks were not originally intended for re ...
of filk music that had previously featured on the podcast: ''Songs from the Black''; the album featured music by Luke Ski, Lich King, and Greg Edmonson. In 2006, ''The Signal'' received a People's Choice Podcast Award in the categories of "TV & Film" and "Best Produced"; it received the former again in 2008. ''The Signal'' was awarded the 2007 Parsec Award for "Best Fan Podcast", and in the category of "Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (Specific)", it won the 2010 and 2012 Parsecs. Writing for Maximum Fun, Ian Brill praised ''The Signal'' as surprisingly professional with well-produced segments, though he unflatteringly compared Haley and Howard to Whedon's character
Xander Harris Alexander Lavelle Harris is a fictional character created for the action-horror/fantasy television series ''Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series), Buffy the Vampire Slayer'' (1997–2003). He was developed by Joss Whedon and portrayed throughout t ...
: "They say mildly clever and cutesy things to each other and then sound tremendously satisfied with themselves while saying it."


Awards

''Firefly'' won the following awards: *
Emmy Award The Emmy Awards, or Emmys, are an extensive range of awards for artistic and technical merit for the American and international television industry. A number of annual Emmy Award ceremonies are held throughout the calendar year, each with the ...
: '' Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series'', 2003 * Visual Effects Society: ''Best visual effects in a television series'', 2003 (episode "Serenity") *
Saturn Award The Saturn Awards are American awards presented annually by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. The awards were created to honor science fiction, fantasy, and Horror fiction, horror in film, but have since grown to reward ...
: ''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 Series/Television'', 2006 * 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 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 effect A sound effect (or audio effect) is an artificially created or enhanced sound, or sound process used to emphasize artistic or other content of films, television shows, live performance, animation, video games, music, or other media. Traditi ...
s/ foley'', 2003 *
Hugo Award The Hugo Award is an annual literary award for the best science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to Sci-Fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts s ...
: '' 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

At the time the series was canceled by Fox, it averaged 4.7 million viewers and ranked 98th in
Nielsen ratings Nielsen Media Research (NMR) is an American firm that measures media audiences, including television, radio, theatre, films (via the AMC Theatres MAP program), and newspapers. Headquartered in New York City, it is best known for the #Nielsen TV ...
.


In popular culture

The cancellation of ''Firefly'' is a running gag in the
CBS CBS Broadcasting Inc., commonly shortened to CBS, the abbreviation of its former legal name Columbia Broadcasting System, is an American commercial broadcast television Television, sometimes shortened to TV, is a telecommunication m ...
sitcom, ''
The Big Bang Theory ''The Big Bang Theory'' is an American television sitcom A sitcom, a Portmanteau, portmanteau of situation comedy, or situational comedy, is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who mostly carry over from episode to epi ...
'', which ran from 2007–2019. The character
Sheldon Cooper Sheldon Lee Cooper, Ph.D., Sc.D., is a fictional character In fiction, a character (or speaker, in poetry) is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a novel, Play (theatre), play, Radio series, radio or television series, music, ...
is a fan of the show. When he and
Leonard Hofstadter Leonard Leakey Hofstadter, Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D., is a fictional character portrayed by Johnny Galecki in the CBS sitcom ''The Big Bang Theory.'' Leonard is an experimental physicist, who shares an apartment with colleague and best friend ...
discuss their roommate agreement, they include a passage in which they dedicate Friday nights to watching ''Firefly'', as Sheldon believes it will last for years. Upon its cancellation, he brands
Rupert Murdoch Keith Rupert Murdoch ( ; born 11 March 1931) is an Australian Americans, Australian-born American business magnate. Through his company News Corp, he is the owner of hundreds of List of assets owned by News Corp, local, national, and intern ...
, the owner of
Fox Foxes are small to medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the family Canidae. They have a flattened skull, upright, triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned snout, and a long bushy tail (or ''brush''). Twelve sp ...
, a traitor. During the show's second season, in episode 17 ("The Terminator Decoupling"), Summer Glau appears as herself, encountering Sheldon, Leonard, and their friends on a train to San Francisco. When Raj tries to hit on her, he says that although he is an astrophysicist, she was actually in space during the shooting of ''Firefly''. Glau chides him for believing this, and Raj backtracks, saying, "Those are crazy people!" In season 8, episode 15, Raj and Leonard recognize Nathan Fillion in a café and insist on taking a selfie with him, though he denies being the ''Firefly'' star. On the NBC comedy ''
Community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as place, norms, religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, text ...
'', the characters
Troy Troy ( el, Τροία and Latin: Troia, Hittite language, Hittite: 𒋫𒊒𒄿𒊭 ''Truwiša'') or Ilion ( el, Ίλιον and Latin: Ilium, Hittite language, Hittite: 𒃾𒇻𒊭 ''Wiluša'') was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in prese ...
and Abed are fans of the show. They have an agreement that if one of them dies, the other will stage it to look like a suicide caused by the cancellation of ''Firefly'', in the hopes that it will bring the show back. In the 2003 ''
Battlestar Galactica ''Battlestar Galactica'' is an American science fiction media franchise created by Glen A. Larson. The franchise began with the Battlestar Galactica (1978 TV series), original television series in 1978, and was followed by a short-run sequel se ...
'' miniseries/pilot, a ship resembling ''Serenity'' appears in the background of the scene with Laura Roslin ( Mary McDonnell).David Bassom (2007), ''Battlestar Galactica: the official companion'', p. 148 ''Serenity'' is one of several spaceships inserted as cameos into digital effects scenes by Zoic Studios, the company responsible for digital effects in both ''Firefly'' and ''Battlestar Galactica''. The webcomic '' xkcd'' commented on ''Firefly''s conspicuous absence of Asian characters in the 2009 comic "Well". When a character drops a coin into "The Uncomfortable Truths Well", it responds, "For a universe that's supposed to be half Chinese, ''Firefly'' sure doesn't have any Asians." Critics have drawn comparisons and parallels between ''Firefly'' and the anime '' Outlaw Star''. The television series ''
Castle A castle is a type of fortified structure built during the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, ...
'', where Fillion plays the lead character Richard Castle, has made ongoing homages to ''Firefly''. Castle has props from ''Firefly'' as decorative items in his home, has dressed up as a "space cowboy" for Halloween ("You wore that five years ago", cracked his daughter), speaks Chinese that he learned from "a TV show eloved", and has made rapid "two-by-two" finger motions while wearing blue surgical gloves. He has been humorously asked if he has ever heard of a spa known as "Serenity", and ''Firefly'' catchphrases such as "shiny", "special hell", and "I was aiming for the head" have been used as punchlines during various dramatic scenes in ''Castle''. He has worked a murder case at a science fiction convention with suspects being the cast of a long-cancelled space opera that only ran for a season, and has had direct and incidental interaction with people portrayed by ''Firefly'' cast members. '' Con Man'', a 2015 comedy web series created by Tudyk and co-produced by Fillion, draws on the pair's experiences as cult science fiction actors touring the convention circuit. Though it is not autobiographical, the show's fictional ''Spectrum'' echoes ''Firefly'' and Tudyk's and Fillion's roles reflect their own ''Firefly'' roles. Staite, Torres, Glau, Maher, and Whedon made guest appearances. Maher played himself as a former ''Firefly'' actor.


Media franchise

The popularity of the short-lived series served as the launching point for a
media franchise A media franchise, also known as a multimedia franchise, is a collection of related Media (communication), media in which several derivative works have been produced from an original creative work of fiction, such as a film, a work of literature, a ...
within the ''Firefly'' universe, including the feature film '' Serenity'', which addresses many plot points left unresolved by the series' cancellation. Additionally, there are two comic-book mini-series, '' Serenity: Those Left Behind'' (3 issues, 104 pages, 2006), '' Serenity: Better Days'' (3 issues, 80 pages, 2008) and a one-shot hardcover '' Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale'' (56 pages, 2010), along with the one-shots ''Serenity: Downtime and The Other Half'' and ''Serenity: Float Out'' 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 two mini-series were later published in collected form as hardcover and paperback graphic novels. A six-issue series titled ''Serenity: Leaves on the Wind'' began in January 2014 and the series takes place after the events of the film. A six-issue series titled ''Serenity: No Power in the 'Verse'' began in October 2016 and the series is set about 1.5 years after ''Leaves on the Wind''. In July 2018,
Boom! Studios Boom! Studios (styled BOOM! Studios) is an American comic book and graphic novel publisher, headquartered in Los Angeles, California, United States. History Origins In the early 2000s, Ross Richie and Andrew Cosby had been working in Hollyw ...
announced that they had acquired the comic book and graphic novel publishing license to ''Firefly'' with plans to release new monthly comic book series, limited series, original graphic novels, and more. In July 2014, the release of the video game '' Firefly Online'' was announced that planned to have the cast reprise their roles. Although never officially cancelled, there have been no updates about the game's release since March 2016. In January 2018,
Titan Books Titan Publishing Group is the publishing division of Titan Entertainment Group, which was established in 1981. The books division has two main areas of publishing: film and television tie-ins and cinema reference books; and graphic novels and co ...
announced that they would begin publishing original canon ''Firefly'' novels. Seven books have so far been released.


References


Further reading

* * * * * * * * *


External links

* *
''Firefly''-''Serenity'' Chinese Pinyinary
English translations of the Chinese words and phrases used in ''Firefly'' and ''Serenity'' {{Authority control 2002 American television series debuts 2002 American television series endings Television series set in the 26th century 2000s American science fiction television series Serial drama television series English-language television shows Fox Broadcasting Company original programming Libertarian science fiction Saturn Award-winning television series Space adventure television series Space Western television series Television series by 20th Century Fox Television Television series created by Joss Whedon Television series set on fictional planets Television shows filmed in Los Angeles Television series set in the future Television shows adapted into comics