A Shiny Legal Analysis of Firefly

tumblr_mb1eb5q5sb1qehzkcI recently offered a wee tribute to Firefly, the show that revolutionized television for at least five or six people ten years ago. It later found new life on DVD, developed a bigger following, and made me sound like an elitist hipster when I talked about how I watched it when it was still destined for cancellation.

One feature of the show that I never really considered until today was what it had to say about contract law. Thankfully, the Legal Geeks had the idea before I did (dangit) and offered their thoughts on the matter:

Firefly was wickedly creative, well-written and had fantastic humor. Spaceships and wardrobe that ranged from Western to Steampunk to Chinese aside, Firefly presented excellent Contract formation issues.

Contract formation consists of 1) Offer; 2) Acceptance; 3) Consideration; and 4) Performance.

In the world of Firefly, it was often 1) Offer 2) Acceptance 3) Gunfight (also known as breach).

The show was actually like a brilliant 1L contracts class:

  • Offer (Mal: “We’ve got some Alliance-imprinted goods for sale”);
  • Acceptance (Patience: “I think we can do business”);
  • Rescission (Scary tattoo-face guy: “You are thinking of taking Mr. Niska’s money.” Mal: “No, we changed our minds.”);
  • Restitution (Mal: “This is all the money Niska gave us in advance”);
  • Breach (Badger: “You’re later than I would have liked;” or Patience: “I never part with money I don’t have to.”); and
  • Expectation damages (Mal: “Here’s how this works: I do a job, and then I get paid.”)

And that was just the first two episodes.

If you want to get super geeky, and maybe a little bit blue, we could talk about in-kind service exchanges as consideration in the episode “Heart of Gold.”

Anyway, I don’t want to steal the Legal Geeks’ thunder. I’ll even link to their post a second time so you’ll be sure to visit them.

Until next time, keep flyin’.

Photo credit: Via alwayswithapplesandcherries.tumblr.com.


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