If you’ve never seen Firefly, it’s a show well worth checking out on DVD. I don’t get cable (or actually any channels besides our local PBS station, OPB) so I never saw the show when it first ran. I think I’m glad. Apparently, Fox did everything they could to screw it up, including playing the episodes out of order, not promoting it, putting it on at a bad time, etc. On DVD, you can watch the whole first (and only) season in its entirety, in order, with three episodes that never aired.
All I can say is that if further convinces me of the outstanding genius of Joss Whedon. It’s amazing what you can do if you start from the premise that your viewers are not only reasonably well educated, but that they actually pay attention. My wife thinks Firefly is even better than the better known Joss Whedon work, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I haven’t finished the whole series yet, so I’m not sure if I’d go that far yet, but I love what I’ve seen so far.
Firefly is the classic space-western. It takes place 500 years in the future, but it’s not a clean, pretty Buck Rogers kind of future, it’s a lot more like the Wild West. Most of the places they visit are wild little border planets full of immigrants and indentured servants doing hard labor, just trying to get by. At the same time, the “Alliance” (read, the Empire) is breathing down everybody’s necks trying to maintain (fascist) order. Good premise to start with.
They also got some really great (though relatively unknown) actors who really do a great job. It’s not often that you see a pilot that actually establishes characters that you care about in less than two hours. Joss Whedon’s direction focuses around subtlety and dialog, with great care given to facial expressions and dialog inflection. It’s so nice to watch TV designed for smart people, instead of the absolute dreck that inhabits most or the airwaves these days, designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
Anyway, if you like Sci-Fi and or BtVS, check out Firefly. Rumor has it that there’s a movie version in the offing, and my hope is that it might spark a return of support for the series. There are several open questions that you can tell where meant to be revealed in the second season that never was.