I have just recently experienced the various stages of Firefly fandom. First there was elation at how good the series was, judging from the pilot, then there was rage at the Tah mah duh hwoon dahn who thought it was a good idea to start the series with “Train Job”. Elation set in again when I found the high drama of the show tempered by its humor, and then rage again that there were only 14 episodes and one movie.
I bought the movie of course, but then I realized something. My connection to this series didn’t have so much to do with the quality of the stories or the characters as much as the legend surrounding it. Don’t get me wrong, the series is tons of fun to watch. It’s the only show I’ve ever seen to effectively build on the cinematic style that was established in the first Star Wars movie back in the 1970’s. I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if the series had kept going. After all the cast changes, filler episodes and producer “notes”, would we have the same ragtag band of criminals we fell in love with?
Science fiction fans have now been spoiled to the point of saturation. We’ve got the Lord of the Rings released as a movie trilogy, 10 seasons of Star gate, and Battlestar Galactica is now one of the greatest shows on television. We as a people are a long way from that potato-chip scented civic centre meeting room where arcane tales played from forbidden tapes on a cursed VCR connect a television whose manufacturer’s name, if spoken, opened the gate to a billion universes from which none returned.
Firefly made a legend of itself by being a story about a pack of rogues downtrodden by the establishment, which was in turn downtrodden again by network executives. As the series left we re-discovered what we had lost in the years between the crash of the comic book speculative market and the release of the Star Wars prequels. Our show was rare again. It was gone before it could make it’s mark on television, so now it was up to us keep it alive. Through Sci-fi club meetings and all night episode marathon parties, we discovered ourselves again. Fans remember Firefly as one of the great tragedies of sci-fi. It may have been the best thing that ever happened to it.