Alright *deep breaths* here I go…the most infamous show in the “cancelled too soon” category has to be Firefly, a show from the brilliant mind of Joss Whedon that only aired eleven episodes (out of fourteen) before being summarily cancelled by Fox. Now I’ve hinted before that I have a confession to make regarding this show and here it is….
I have never seen Firefly. EVER. (I know that’s a terrible thing for a science fiction researcher like myself to say, but it’s true.) It’s not that I don’t WANT to, it’s just things keep coming up and as a result I’ve yet to see this show (or Serenity for that matter).
That being said, here is the gist of Firefly: In the year 2517 the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity travels in and around a distant star system ferrying cargo or doing smuggling for various clients. It is implied that a very long time ago, a large population of humans left Earth (due to overpopulation) and moved to this system to start over. All of the planets and moons are controlled by the Alliance (a fusion of the governments of the former United States and China, resulting in a fusion of Eastern/Western culture).
The crew of the Serenity is lead by Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (Nathan Fillion); he and his first mate Zoe Washburne are veterans of the Unification War where Independents fought to keep the Alliance from taking total control, but ultimately they lost. Mal then bought the Serenity to keep beyond Alliance control.
Now why was such an amazing show cancelled so quickly? Well….apparently the answer is a little complicated. The short excuse is that Fox cancelled the show due to ratings (which isn’t uncommon). The longer reason is that the network aired the episodes out of order (making the plot harder to follow), episodes were pre-empted for sporting events, and what is possibly worst of all: the show aired on Friday nights!! Fridays aren’t considered the “death slot” for no reason, and I think that greatly contributed to the show’s early demise despite its enthusiastic fandom.
Fifteen years later, Firefly retains a cult following that dreams of hearing the news that the show is being relaunched. I haven’t seen the show (yet) but I sincerely hope that their wish is granted, even if it was only for a few episodes (like when the X-Files came back for a limited series).
If you’d like to read more about the great television shows that left us far too soon, see the list below:
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