Ten years ago today, a Golden Age of television began. Though it only lasted three months, we still feel its impact today. I am talking, of course, about the premiere of Joss Whedon’s Firefly on September 20, 2002.
Simon: I’m trying to put this as delicately as I can… How do I know you won’t kill me in my sleep?
Mal: You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake, you’ll be facing me, and you’ll be armed.
Simon: Are you always this sentimental?
Mal: I had a good day.
Simon: You had the Alliance on you… criminals and savages… half the people on the ship have been shot or wounded, including yourself… and you’re harboring known fugitives.
Mal: We’re still flying.
Simon: That’s not much.
Mal: It’s enough.
The show had a small following during its run, myself included, and I tried to do my part to support it. Perhaps one of my most-prized possessions is this thank-you note I received from the “Cast & Crew” of the show. It would have been cooler if they had all signed it, but I’m not really that greedy.
Firefly‘s release on DVD brought it much of its fame. That, and the anguished cries of people who never saw it on television yet wanted to know how such a good show could have such a short run. I suspect Firefly‘s DVD popularity helped prove the viability of releasing whole TV seasons (or shows) as DVD sets. Fan pressure even helped get a feature film made that, disappointingly but aptly, wrapped up some of the longer threads of the series. (Fun fact: the dead city on the planet Miranda in the movie is actually a high school campus in Pomona, California.)
It would make me sound like an annoying Whedon fanboy to say that Firefly was ahead of its time, that the television-watching masses were not ready for this type of show, or that Fox condemned the show from the start with bad marketing and scheduling. All of those things are true to some extent, but let’s just take a moment to appreciate that good television shows do exist. As that guy in Blade Runner said, the light that shines twice as bright only burns half as long. That quote probably applies here somehow.