The Firefly and Serenity Database
Firefly dvd

Our favorite show Firefly will be airing a special called Browncoats Unite on the Science Channel next month! It's a reunion special showing footage from the panel at Comic Con and also an in-depth behind-the-scenes roundtable interview that will dive deeper into burning fan questions about the beloved series! AHHH SO EXCITING!! Soon, we will get to see River Tam, Malcolm Reynolds, Zoë Alleyne Washburne, and the rest of our favorite characters!!

If you just started getting into Firefly though, here is our starter's guide of what you should know about the series!

What is Firefly?[]

Joss Whedon-7551

The Show[]

First of all, Firefly is an American space western television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon (yes, you read that correctly! The creator of classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel!). Whedon served as executive producer, along with Tim Minear. The show premiered in the United States and Canada on September 20, 2002.

The World[]

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. That means it resembles a firefly in general arrangement, and the tail section lights up during acceleration (like a firefly's lights up). The ensemble cast portrays the nine characters who live on Serenity. The show explores the lives of some people who fought on the losing side of a civil war and others who now make a living on the outskirts of society, as part of the pioneer culture that exists on the fringes of their star system.


In this world, the only two surviving superpowers, the United States and China, fused to form the central federal government, called the Alliance, resulting in the fusion of the two cultures. Throughout the series, the Alliance is shown to govern the star system through an organization of "core" planets, following its success in forcibly unifying all the colonies under a single government.

Firefly class ship

The central planets are firmly under Alliance control, but the outlying planets and moons have relative freedom from the central government at the cost of the amenities of the high-tech civilization that exists within. In addition, the outlying areas of space ("the black") are inhabited by the Reavers, a cannibalistic group of nomadic humans that have become savage and animalistic

Who are these people??[]

The captain of the crew of Serenity, Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, and his first mate Zoë Washburne are veteran "Browncoats" of the Unification War, a failed attempt by the outlying worlds to resist the Alliance's assertion of control. Zoë's husband Hoban Washburne is also a member of the crew as Serenity's pilot.

Other members on the Serenity include: Inara Serra is known as a Companion, which is the 26th century equivalent of a courtesan or oiran, who rents one of the Serenity's two small shuttles, a hired gun named Jayne Cobb, Kaywinnet Lee Frye the ship's mechanic, and Derrial Book who is a Shepherd (the equivalent of a pastor).


In Firefly, two characters named River Tam and her brother Simon Tam join the crew too. River was a child prodigy, whose brain was subjected to experiments so she displays schizophrenia and often hears voices, but it is later revealed that she is a "reader", one who possesses telepathic abilities. Simon gave up a highly successful career as a trauma surgeon to rescue her from the Alliance, and, as a result of this rescue, they are both wanted fugitives.

Why you should watch this show[]

Firefly has a giant group of fans, and you could be one of them! Firefly generated a loyal base of fans during its three-month original broadcast run on Fox in late 2002. The initial gathering point where they met was the Internet message board started by Fox for viewer commentary on Firefly. This site, now known as the Original Board or OB, is still in active use a decade later!

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.


In 2005, New Scientist magazine's website held an internet poll to find "The World's Best Space Sci-Fi Ever", and Firefly came in first place, with its cinematic follow-up Serenity in second! At the 2012 San Diego Comic Con, Joss Whedon, Tim Minear, and cast members Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin and Sean Maher reunited 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!

Even now, Firefly and Serenity have cult status with millions of fans watching the reruns and episodes online, which has to mean there's something great about it!

So brush up on your Firefly knowledge, catch up on the episodes, and prepare yourself for the reunion special on November 11, 2012 on the Science Channel!

Fans with any other need to know tips about the show, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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