'Firefly' turns 20: a season, a movie and a wish

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Writed by - Andy Gocker
"Firefly" wird 20: Eine Staffel, ein Film und ein Wunsch
Nathan Fillion (middle) with Adam Baldwin and Gina Torres in 'Firefly'. © imago images/Everett Collection, SpotOn

'Favorite Job Ever'

A unique aesthetic, lovable characters and adventures like in a western have helped the sci-fi series 'Firefly - Der Aufbruch der Serenity' to achieve cult status. But will the crew of the 'Serenity', a transport starship of the eponymous Firefly class, ever return to the bridge? The US television network Fox showed the first episode 20 years ago, on September 20, 2002. Or: Fox should have shown the first episode back then.

Why was Firefly canceled?

It has been widely reported in recent years that the network may have wanted a new series in the style of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', which was also based on an idea by director and writer Joss Whedon (58). But even the start was strange and was not under a good omen.

Because the first episode was not shown on television at the time and Fox started with the actual second episode. Some of the other episodes were also not shown in chronological order, which probably contributed to the fact that the TV ratings at the time did not meet expectations. In addition, according to US media reports, there was also bad advertising for the series, which, according to the 'Screen Rant' portal, was never able to capture the essence of the production.

In addition, 'Firefly' ran on the dreaded 'Death Slot'. At that time in the USA, series were almost doomed to die if they were seen on Friday evenings. And Fox was notorious for that. The space western was canceled after only 11 of 14 episodes had aired. But the charming heap of junk that flew through space at least got a small comeback. In 2005, after good DVD sales of the series, the film 'Serenity - Escape to New Worlds' landed in the cinemas.

What about further seasons?

Among other things, because of its sometimes adorable characters and funny dialogues, 'Firefly' is now considered one of the best series that only ran for one season - even if viewers initially punished the production with poor ratings.

The humorous but sometimes cunning Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion, 51), the pragmatic pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk, 51), his wife and badass Zoë (Gina Torres, 53) and the robust mercenary Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin, 60) were the heart of the series as well as the charming mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite, 40), the bright ship's doctor Simon (Sean Maher, 47), his younger sister River (Summer Glau, 41), the priest Shepherd Book (Ron Glass, 1945- 2016) and the companion Inara (Morena Baccarin, 43), who sometimes took on an almost motherly role on board. In addition, there were also today's stars such as Christina Hendricks (47) and the young Zac Efron (34) in guest roles.

The series is considered 'fresh' on the 'Rotten Tomatoes' portal. This status is awarded when at least 60 percent of the collected critic opinions are positive. The 'Firefly' season is here at 77 percent and the audience even at 97 percent. In the 'Internet Movie Database' 'Firefly' is also currently listed among the 30 best-rated series of all.

What about further seasons?

Many fans around the world still want the series to get more seasons. And some stars would certainly be on board. Nathan Fillion has repeatedly emphasized over the past few years how much he loved working on the series. 'Firefly' was 'my favorite job I've ever had' until the series 'The Rookie' came into his life, the actor said at '[email protected] 2020'. Now balance it out.

'It was my favorite job of all time,' he said in a 2011 interview with Entertainment Weekly. 'Yes, yes,' he replied when asked if he would be back if Fox did return to the series. First, however, he would look closely at the network's arguments for renewed interest. Instead, he would like to direct new episodes himself, he said at the time: 'If I won $300 million in the California Lottery, the first thing I would do is buy the rights to 'Firefly', do it myself and distribute the series on the Internet.'

'Why shouldn't I do it? It was one of the best things that's ever happened to me,' Fillion said recently in the podcast 'Inside Of You With Michael Rosenbaum' when asked about a possible reboot or sequel. Fillion would immediately work with Whedon again for this, even if the director has been heavily criticized in recent years.

Among other things, Whedon was repeatedly accused of abusing his power and behaving inappropriately. In early 2021, actress Charisma Carpenter (52) shared on Instagram that Whedon allegedly created 'toxic and hostile work environments' on the sets of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel.' He also threatened several times to fire her. Actor Ray Fisher (35) and his colleague Gal Gadot (37) had previously made allegations of misconduct.

Fillion experienced this differently with 'Firefly'. 'That wasn't my experience with this man,' he said on the podcast. It remains to be seen whether the series can actually make a comeback again. There are no concrete plans so far - but according to the actor at least careful considerations: 'We talk, we joke, we fantasize.'

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