by Tami Katzoff (@tvtamijo)
If you’ve been paying attention to all the buzz leading up to Comic-Con, you might have noticed some excited chatter about a certain panel hosted by Science Channel involving Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, and a TV show that’s been off the air for about a decade.
If you know “Firefly,” especially if you’re a Browncoat, then there’s no real need to read further (though we’d love for you to stick around). But if you’re not familiar with the show and want to know what all the fuss is about, here’s a handy guide to the basics.
“Firefly” premiered on Fox in the fall of 2002 (hence the 10th anniversary celebrations). It was the third TV show created by Joss Whedon, after “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.” For reasons which defy any sort of logic, the network decided to air the episodes out of order. Eleven aired before the show was cancelled; three additional episodes were produced but never aired. Fans (otherwise known as Browncoats) made a huge stink about the cancellation of “Firefly” and then Universal Pictures had the chutzpah to make it into a feature film, “Serenity.”
There’s no Buffyspeak in “Firefly” (there is, however, lots of Chinese) and the show’s setting couldn’t be more different than the Buffyverse. First of all, it’s a few hundred years in the future. It’s also in space. Much of the action takes place on Serenity, the Firefly-class ship lovingly owned by Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Fillion). Mal had fought on the losing side of a war for independence, and now he just wants to be left alone to do petty crime with his former fellow soldier, Zoë (Gina Torres), her husband Wash (Alan Tudyk) who happens to be Serenity’s pilot, a prodigious mechanic named Kaylee (Jewel Staite), a simple, gun-loving thug named Jayne (Adam Baldwin), and Inara (Morena Baccarin), a classy prostitute.
Serenity has some guest passengers as well: Shepherd Book (Ron Glass), a preacher with a mysterious past, young Simon Tam (Sean Maher), a rich doctor, and Simon’s little sister River (Summer Glau), whose brilliant brain has been tampered with by the Alliance - the meddlesome folks Mal had fought against in the war. The Alliance wants River back, and her presence aboard Serenity brings much more attention and danger than Mal would like. There is also a troubling threat in the form of ugly sociopathic predators called Reavers; in “Serenity” their origin is explained.
That’s all you really need to know about “Firefly.” We hope you’re intrigued enough to watch the show – the one good thing about being cancelled so quickly is that you can see the entire series, plus “Serenity,” in a day. And watch this space all week long for more “Firefly” goodness.
Previously on The Weekly Whedon:
» Warren Mears: a Weekly Whedon appreciation
» ’Firefly’ at Comic-Con: our shiny hopes and dreams
» Jane Espenson's 'Husbands' to feature Whedonverse favorites
» Joss Whedon's birthday: celebrating with those who know him best
» Still Slaying: Comic Buffyverse continues to expand
MTV News producer Tami Katzoff presents The Weekly Whedon, a column exploring all corners of the Whedonverse from "Marvel's The Avengers" to "Buffy" and beyond. Assemble your reactions in the comments section!