Firefly is a science fiction television series that premiered in the United States and Canada on September 20, 2002. Its naturalistic future setting, modeled after traditional Western movie motifs, presents an atypical science fiction backdrop for the narrative. It was conceived by writer and director Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, under his production tag, Mutant Enemy. Whedon served as executive producer, along with Tim Minear.
Prologue[edit | edit source]
When originally aired on the Fox network, each season-one episode of Firefly featured an introductory monologue. These monologues have been removed from the DVD release. Each of these introductions has been transcribed below (two versions of Mal's introduction were aired, one with additional words inserted; they are in parenthesis). The monologues are included with the episodes on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Note: These passages are currently considered non-canon and contain information contradictory to established elements of the Firefly universe.
- Book: "After the Earth was used up, we found a new solar system and hundreds of new Earths were terraformed and colonized. The central planets formed the Alliance and decided all the planets had to join under their rule. There was some disagreement on that point. After the War, many of the Independents who had fought and lost drifted to the edges of the system, far from Alliance control. Out here, people struggled to get by with the most basic technologies; a ship would bring you work, a gun would help you keep it. A captain's goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying."
- Mal: "Here's how it is: (The) Earth got used up, so we (moved out, and) terraformed a whole new galaxy of Earths, some rich and flush with new technologies, some not so much. (The) Central Planets, them as formed the Alliance, waged war to bring everyone under their rule; a few idiots tried to fight it, among them myself. I'm Malcolm Reynolds, captain of Serenity. She's a transport ship, Firefly class. Got a good crew: fighters, pilot, mechanic. We even picked up a preacher for some reason, and a bona fide companion. There's a doctor, too, took his genius sister from some Alliance camp, so they're keeping a low profile, (you understand). You got a job, we can do it, don't much care what it is."
Cast[edit | edit source]
Directing Crew[edit | edit source]
|Joss Whedon||3 episodes, 2002|
|Vern Gillum||2 episodes, 2002-2003|
|Tim Minear||2 episodes, 2002-2003|
|James A. Contner||1 episode, 2002|
|Vondie Cutris-Hall||1 episode, 2002|
|Marita Grabiak||1 episode, 2002|
|Michael Grossman||1 episode, 2002|
|Allan Kroeker||1 episode, 2002|
|David Solomon||1 episode, 2002|
|Thomas J. Wright||1 episode, 2003|
Writing Crew[edit | edit source]
|Joss Whedon||14 episodes, 2002-2003|
|Tim Minear||4 episodes, 2002-2003|
|Ben Edlund||2 episodes, 2002-2003|
|Jose Molina||2 episodes, 2002-2003|
|Cheryl Cain||1 episode, 2002|
|Jane Espenson||1 episode, 2002|
|Drew Z. Greenberg||1 episode, 2002|
|Brett Matthews||1 episode, 2003|
Episodes[edit | edit source]
- "The Train Job"
- "Our Mrs. Reynolds"
- "Out Of Gas"
- "War Stories"
- "The Message"
- "Heart Of Gold"
- "Objects in Space"
Theme Song Lyrics[edit | edit source]
- Title: The Ballad of Serenity
- Performed by: Sonny Rhodes
- Lyrics by: Joss Whedon
Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me.
Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain't comin' back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me.
Leave the men where they lay
They'll never see another day
Lost my soul, lost my dream
You can't take the sky from me.
I feel the black reaching out
I hear its song without a doubt
I still hear and I still see
That you can't take the sky from me.
Lost my love, lost my land
Lost the last place I could stand
There's no place I can be
Since I've found Serenity
And you can't take the sky from me.
Reception[edit | edit source]
Fandom[edit | edit source]
Firefly generated a loyal base of fans during its three-month original broadcast run on Fox in late 2002. These original fans, self-styled Browncoats, first organized to try to save the series from being canceled by Fox. 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 in December 2003. A subsequent fan campaign then raised over $14,000 in donations to have a purchased Firefly DVD set placed aboard 250 U.S. Navy ships by April 2004 for recreational viewing by their crews.
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 were held for existing fans in an attempt to create a buzz and increase ticket sales when it was released widely on September 30, 2005. The film was not as commercially successful as fans had hoped, opening at number two and making only $40 million worldwide during its initial theatrical release.
On June 23, 2006, fans organized the first worldwide charity screenings of Serenity in 47 cities, dubbed as Can't Stop the Serenity or CSTS, an homage to the movie's tagline, "Can't stop the signal". The event raised over $65,000 for Whedon's favorite charity, Equality Now [Equality Now awarded Whedon for his support of women's rights in 2013]. Can't Stop the Serenity continues to support Equality Now by hosting charity screenings of Serenity and other events around the world. As of 2016, Can't Stop the Signal has raised more than $1,200,000 . In 2007, $106,000 was raised; in 2008, $107,219; and in 2009, $137,331.
Another campaign on June 23, 2006 referred to the date as Serenity Day, on which fans bought—and got others to buy—copies of the Se'renity and Firefly DVDs in hopes of convincing Universal that creating a sequel was a good business decision. On this day, Serenity and Firefly were ranked second and third, respectively, on the DVD Best Sellers list. The dates for both campaigns were chosen because it is series creator Joss Whedon's birthday.
In July 2006, a fan-made documentary was released, titled Done the Impossible, and is commercially available. The documentary relates the story of the fans and how the show has affected them, and features interviews with Whedon and various cast members. Part of the DVD proceeds are donated to Equality Now.
NASA Browncoat astronaut Steven Swanson took the Firefly and Serenity DVDs with him on Space Shuttle Atlantis' STS-117 mission in June 2007. The DVDs were added to the media collection on the International Space Station 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 website, 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. Community discussion continues regarding screenings in conjunction with the Can't Stop the Serenity project.
Firefly and Serenity also spurred the creation of many commercial products (or "merchandise") to be sold to fans, ranging from t-shirts, artwork, graphic novels, prop replicas, and action figures to name a few. In fact, Firefly and Serenity merchandise became so popular among fans that Fox, Firefly's initial producer, licensed Ripple Junction to produce and distribute merchandise for the series.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
- Though the show had a loyal following during its original broadcast, it was canceled by FOX in December 2002 after 11 episodes shown in the USA and Canada. Low ratings were blamed for the cancellation. In the hopes of getting another network such as UPN to pick up the canceled show, fans formed the 'Firefly Immediate Assistance' campaign, but were unsuccessful in promoting the show's continuance. Fans attributed the low ratings in part to some actions of Fox Network executive Gail Berman. In an interview, Berman confronts and challenges the criticism she has received from Firefly fans since its cancellation stating, "Fans will never give me credit for putting it on the air, but they will blame me for canceling it." Firefly was promoted as an action-comedy rather than the more serious character study it was intended to be; episodes were occasionally pre-empted for sporting events, and the episodes were not aired in the order that the creators had intended. Most notably, the two-hour episode "Serenity" was intended to be the pilot episode, as it contains most of the character introductions and back-story. However, FOX decided that Serenity was not a suitable pilot, and so the second episode, "The Train Job", was rushed into production to become the pilot episode. Berman herself expressed regret at some of her decisions, but claimed in an interview that in the end the show would not have succeeded anyway.
- Firefly won the Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series.
- The DVD won the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films' 2004 Saturn award for Best DVD Television Release; and was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award in the Best DVD extras category.
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
- Chonin, Neva (2005-06-08). "When Fox canceled 'Firefly,' it ignited an Internet fan base whose burning desire for more led to 'Serenity'". San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/06/08/DDGQJD4D2O1.DTL&hw=firefly&sn=001&sc=1000. Retrieved on 2006-11-09.
- Sci-Fi Series "Firefly" Available through Navy's Afloat Library Program. Retrieved on 2009-09-30.
- Russell, M.E. (June 24, 2006). The Browncoats Rise Again. The Daily Standard. Retrieved on 2006-07-16.
- Can't Stop the Serenity. Cantstoptheserenity.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-01.
- Can'tStopTheSerenity.com | The Global Event. Cantstoptheserenity.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-01.
- The Global Charity Event. Cantstoptheserenity.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-01.
- Past Events. Retrieved on 2010-06-10.
- ''Serenity'' Day. Fireflyfans.net. Retrieved on 2009-12-30.
- Meet Your Browncoat Astronaut. Breaking Atmo (June 8, 2007). Retrieved on March 22, 2011.
- Welker, DeAnn (June 27, 2007). "Firefly" and "Serenity" arrive at the space station. The Oregonian. OregonLive.com. Retrieved on March 22, 2011.
- Taylor, Dawn. Quick Reviews: Serenity: Collector's Edition. The DVD Journal. Retrieved on March 22, 2011.
- Firefly and Serenity DVDs to the International Space Station aboard the shuttle Atlantis. Whedon.info (June 27, 2007). Retrieved on February 21, 2011.
- Johns, Anna (June 28, 2007). Firefly & Serenity in space. AOL TV. Retrieved on September 9, 2011.
- Browncoats: Redemption; Charities. Retrieved on 2010-01-01.
- Browncoats: Redemption. Retrieved on 2011-09-13.
[edit | edit source]
- Firefly at Wikipedia
- Firefly wiki
- Firefly at the TV IV
- Firefly and Serenity on Whedonesque
- "Bring Back Firefly" Facebook Fan Page
- Firefly timeline
- Chinese words in Firefly
- FireflyFans.net - The primary Firefly fansite.
- Browncoats.com - An unaffiliated Firefly fan community and resource site
- Browncoat board - Forums set up for Browncoats when the Universal forum was closed down
- Firefly at Prospero forums, the original Firefly board (aka OB)
- alt.tv.firefly (Google Groups)
- The Signal - Firefly/Serenity podcast
- Firefly Talk - A weekly Firefly podcast
- Into The Black - A Canadian fansite that is creating "spin-off" web-distributed episodic content based upon the Firefly universe but not involving original show characters
- Bellflower - An Australian Firefly Fanfilm that is currently in Production.
- Bellflower: Pre-Production Diaries - A Behind The Scenes of Bellflower: A Firefly Fanfilm.
- Firefly:Old Wounds - Fan Fiction Audio Drama taking place between the TV series and the movie
- Virtual Firefly - A fan-based site dedicated to a "virtual continuation" of Joss Whedon's Firefly in the form of scripts of additional episodes
- Firefly Virtual Seasons - A collection of fan-based stories of what "might have been" in future seasons of Firefly
- Big Damn 'Verse - A Firefly role-playing and fan fiction site.
- Worlds of Serenity - A hard SF author examines the plausibility of the 'Verse.
- Geekson - podcast interviews Lisa Lassek, editor of the show, and Christina Hendricks, who played Saffron
- The Korean Firefly wiki