What's the deal with Firefly?

I’m really late to the party, but seeing as the Serenity trailer looked good and I’d seen the first few episodes of Firefly via bittorrent last year, I picked up the box set and am working my way through it.

What the heck happened with this show? It’s good… I mean, really good. And it’s by someone who, at the time, was a pretty good golden boy in TV. How the hell did this show tank? (I assume it has something to do with the fact that disc 3 and 4 have episodes which were never even aired, and the fact that I don’t recall hearing anything at all about it in 2002.) Was this carried in syndication or something else weird? Surely it should have been at least as popular as Andromeda or Enterprise or friggen’ Mutant X in terms of watchable TV sci-fi?

Yeah, we missed it the first time around and my wife rented some episodes over the weekend. She’s shocked that this show was on, that she missed it, and that it vanished.


The problem was that it was on Fox

For the love of Mike, bring back the Firefly series!!

Well, let’s see what the cockholst^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hgeniuses at Fox did:

  1. They chose to air the episodes out of order, I dunno, for fuck all reason.

  2. They put it in the “death slot” of Friday nights at 8pm.

  3. They routinely pre-empted the show to show anything else.

  4. They routinely moved the time slot around with no notice.

Then, after all this, they complained that the ratings sucked, and decided to pull the show without showing the last few episodes.

For this alone, every TV exec at Fox needs to be boiled alive in a vat of their own putrid bile. That, or killed, raped, eaten, and have their skins worn as clothes. Not necessarily in that order.

And no one else wanted to pick it up either.

— Alan

There’s some speculation floating around as to why the show was cancelled. The most likely answer is ratings. First of all, they aired the show out of order; episode 2 was the “pilot,” and so of course going into episode 2 you had no idea who any of these people were and what they were doing. They then proceeded to air every subsequent episode out of order as well and – get this – they showed the real pilot last. This really just made everybody confused and ratings dropped because people couldn’t follow it. They’ve done this with other good Fox shows as well, like Wonderfalls, which was also incidentally cancelled. You really have to wonder what’s going on over there. Second, the Friday timeslot. It’s Friday, nuff said. (edit: balut beat me to this one)

The second and less plausible answer is only rumor. Supposedly Firefly was the pet project of an exec that Fox fired just before airing the series, and rather than look like idiots for firing a guy who nabbed them a spectacular show, they sabotaged it by playing it out of order and giving it a screwy timeslot.

Really though, why does Fox do this? It almost seems like sabotage, because I just can’t think of any reason why someone would intentionally play timelined episodes out of order and think it would benefit their ratings. It really baffles.

Cause Fox execs are a bunch of witless cockwads who wouldn’t know a good show if it ran up and kicked them in the collective junk.

Uh this can happen often, especially at Fox. Witness House; didn’t seem to hurt it much. It kind of depends how it impacts the plot - Fox wanted a more singular, more exciting episode for the first episode, which makes sense as the pilot is a bit slow in building.

Wonderfalls was also out of order - hell even the production numbered episodes were actually out of order (one of the unaired episodes obviously doesn’t fit in its slot, I forget the one).

— Alan

It only made 10m this weekend :(

New shows fail all the time. Looking at an old Entertainment Weekly, I’d guess half the shows that debuted last season aren’t back this season. This show just happened to develop a small cult following, do those people think Fox was out to get them. Does it suprise anyone that a quirky sci-fi dramedy with western elements, starring a bunch of nobodies, wasn’t a huge success? High quality has nothing to do with success in movies, television or literature.

What does?

It surprises me a bit in that the show is fantastically written with some truly great characterization and dialogue, and other shows seem to be doing gangbuster now (and at the time) which are significantly worse. (Look at Andromeda sometime.) There may be economic differences that dictate this, but I’m somewhat surprised that a show like Firefly apparently didn’t have the legs that the latest Kevin Sorbo vehicle did, especially since both would assumably be held up by sci-fi fans as a base constituency.

Mainly I’m just disgruntled that something of this quality couldn’t hack it on TV, but The Simple Life got three or more seasons. There ain’t no justice! :P

Because Kevin Sorbo is Hercules?

— Alan

Am I the only person who heard the Hercules theme que when they read that line?

With the success that the Sci-fi channel has with the SG1 series and BSG I think it could be a good idea for them to get the rights to this series now. I think they could market it better, and the shows don’t need the same viewer numbers to be considered a success.

From what I understand when Fox sold the rights to Universal for the film there was some sort of clause prohibiting a return to TV until 2010 or something extreme like that. Otherwise I would think that Sci-Fi would look into it- Firefly reruns this summer were pulling in half the audience of original episodes of Battlestar Galactica. Pretty impressive considering that most of the those who had already seen Firefly probably didn’t watch. New Firefly on Sci-Fi would likely equal the rest of their lineup in the ratings.

Then again, I think Whedon has sworn off running another TV series for now. He might come back but only if Goner and Wonder Woman tank.

What does?[/quote]
Watch Stacked and see if you can figure it out. At least on Fox.

What does?[/quote]
Watch Stacked and see if you can figure it out. At least on Fox.[/quote]

I can’t

The world doesn’t make sense.


If he does, I doubt he’d come to Sci-Fi. They can’t afford him.