It’s been said Gene Roddenberry pitched the original Star Trek TV show as “a western in outer space.” I can appreciate the simplicity of that statement, but think it’s a bit off the mark. However, that would’ve been perfect for the TV show Firefly. Firefly truly was a western in space. (Lest you think the idea a bit crazy, consider the movie Cowboys and Aliens.)
Firefly, like Star Trek, also had its pilot episode rejected — and was then given the green light to shoot a second one.
Firefly debuted ten years ago and only lasted half a season. This was not because of any problems with the show, but with its network. There are three reasons why Firefly failed:
1) The shows were aired out of sequence: Though each show was self-contained, it also built on the prior one. There’s no excuse for showing them out of order.
2) It was often preempted: It’s hard to build a following if people can’t form a habit of watching you each week.
3) The plug was pulled too soon: Only 14 episodes were shot and only 11 aired. Had it been given a full season, an audience would have developed. It was in the unaired episodes that the story really took off.
Firefly creator Joss Whedon had a unique concept, an intriguing story line, and a seven-year story arc mapped out. Had the network not bungled it, Firefly could have been the next Star Trek.
I encourage you to check out Firefly, but don’t watch them in the order aired, rather in the order they were filmed (as listed in Wikipedia and Netflix).
[Tip: The original two-hour pilot was named Serenity, as was the movie sequel, shot in 2005. Watch the pilot Serenity first and the movie Serenity last.]