Come a day there won’t be room for naughty men like us to slip about at all. This job goes south, there well may not be another. So here is us, on the raggedy edge. Don’t push me, and I won’t push you. Dong le ma? -Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity (2005)
The final episode of Firefly to air on network television aired ten years ago today. Although it was the eleventh episode Fox showed, “Serenity” was actually the two-hour pilot. Among the many flaws in Fox’s treatment of Firefly, it showed those eleven episodes completely out of order.
I remember watching that day, December 20, 2002. The episode had an odd feeling of completion, as if they were ending the story of Serenity’s crew by showing us the beginning. Not everyone’s beginning, of course, just Simon, River, and Shepherd Book. We got to see a bit of the origin of Serenity’s crew in the episode “Out of Gas.”
Reams of virtual paper have been dedicated to pondering Firefly‘s demise. I doubt I can add much of substance to the discussion that hasn’t been screamed into the abyss a thousand times before. Fox gave Joss Whedon and the brilliant cast and crew the opportunity to create fourteen episodes, plus a feature film, that stands out as one of the truly great iconic science fiction stories (I’m trying to avoid hyperbole, but this show is just plain fucking good, okay?)
If there is any sort of silver lining to Firefly’s short, yet brilliant, burst through our culture, it is this: unlike so many other great shows, it never had a chance to get bad.