As a pretty big fan of sci-fi TV and movies, I am embarrassed that it took me this long to watch Joss Whedon’s critically-acclaimed and short-lived TV series Firefly. For those who are unfamiliar with it, Firefly is a 14-episode sci-fi series documenting the travels and missions of the spaceship Serenity. It is set about 500 years in the future when humans have relocated to a new star system controlled by a group of central planets called The Alliance. Though a band of rebels try to overthrow the corrupt Alliance, they are defeated and The Alliance remains in power. In the pilot episode we meet Serenity’s captain Mal Reynolds and his second-in-command Zoe, who were on the losing side of the war with The Alliance and now take odd jobs (mostly smuggling) to get by. The rest of the crew is a compelling cast of characters including adorable mechanic Kaylee, professional companion Inara, and pilot Wash. To make some extra money the crew picks up some folks willing to pay for transport, including a preacher and a doctor with very mysterious cargo.
Being a unique hybrid of sci-fi and western, Firefly is like nothing else I’ve watched before, and that’s one thing I really love about it. Despite the futuristic technology, the planets on the outer rim of the new star system (where the outlaw crew of Serenity spend most of their time) aren’t as well-off as the core Alliance planets, so they have a very rustic Old West look and feel. But my favorite thing about this show is probably the characters. There are nine very different members of the Serenity crew, and I can’t possibly pick a favorite or a least favorite because they’re all compelling and interesting in their own way. Firefly was unfortunately cancelled before fans could get answers to a lot of the biggest questions of the series, including the full backstory of the show’s most mysterious character: crazy genius River Tam, who was experimented on at the hands of The Alliance. But luckily for us, fans of the show rallied and a follow-up movie was made called Serenity, which serves as a very satisfying conclusion to an incredible series.