Well folks, it’s official. It’s been twenty years since Fox Network made one of the biggest programming blunders in science fiction history. I’m of course referring to the inexplicable decision to first, show its episodes out of order, and second, to cancel Firefly outright. Josh Whedon’s spaghetti-western-in-space has since developed full-on cult-like, fan-favorite status, and rightfully so. This year the ensemble cast, headlined by The Rookie’s Nathan Fillion, celebrates the show’s twentieth anniversary. It still remains one of the sharpest, wittiest, science fiction shows ever.
Following the adventures of the crew of the Serenity, Firefly brought an incredible breadth of storytelling, emotion, and humor to the genre. The chemistry between Fillion’s Captain Malcolm (Mal) Reynolds and Morena Baccarin’s Inara Serra was downright palpable. This wasn’t a show that relied on its headliners, however. Adam Baldwin’s Jayne Cobb, Jewel Staite’s Kaley Frye, and especially Alan Tudyk’s “Wash” each often stole the show in their own right. Making their way in the ‘Verse, often against all odds, the Serenity crew proved just how special a group of people they were.
Firefly celebrates twenty years
Rounding out the main cast were Sean Maher and Summer Glau (as Simon and River Tam, respectively), Gina Torres as Zoë Washburn, and the immeasurably talented Ron Glass as Shepherd Book. Together the cast gave Firefly an air of authenticity you wouldn’t otherwise expect from show set centuries in the future. Everything about it felt very real, fully endearing the production to its fans. Why Fox really cancelled the show remains, to this day, a mystery.
The show was so beloved that fan-led efforts even resulted in a follow-up, major motion picture. Serenity premiered in 2005 as a direct sequel to Firefly, to fans’ delight. The show still enjoys a tomatometer score of 77% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an overwhelming audience score of 97%. While all its stars have moved on, the show remains very much alive in fans’ minds and hearts to this day.
To borrow from Mal from the very first episode, in keeping Firefly going, we the fans “have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty.”
Have a shiny anniversary, crew of the Serenity.
(All episodes of Firefly are currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.)