After being told by multiple people that I was basically committing geek sacrilege by not watching Firefly, I decided to sit down and watch what is easily one of the most loved Sci-Fi series of all time. After watching a couple of episodes I am regretting that decision. I shouldn’t have hit the play button. I should have just let it go.
As many people who know me are already aware, until recently I had never watched even a single second of Joss Whedon’s beloved Firefly. I didn’t watch it when it was on television because in 2002 I was living in the barracks on Camp LeJeune and I didn’t have cable. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of the series at all until several years later when I was a newly married man and money was tight so buying DVDs of a series I wasn’t entirely sure I would enjoy was completely out of the question. Eventually it became one of those “I’ve gone this long without it, so why bother” situations. Unfortunately for me, many of my friends did not feel the same way. The most compelling argument came from my friend Travis who said:
“But… (long pause here)… but it’s Nathan Fillion!”
And we all know that that is the end of the argument because there’s no good excuse for not watching something starring Nathan Fillion. Don’t even try to come up with one, because you can’t.
After finishing the first episode, I was hooked. I wanted more Firefly and I wanted it immediately. About halfway through the 3rd episode it dawned on me: I was setting myself up for deep disappointment. As good as Firefly is, as I watch each new episode I can’t help but be excited and sad at the same time because I know that it is building toward an end-of-season cliffhanger. All of this is setting up a Season 2 that never was. It is absolutely heartbreaking. I love the show, but I know that it is just going to hurt me.
At times I am reminded of another great show that was canceled far too soon – The Book of Daniel. It was a show about an Episcopal priest that was dealing with some big problems. He was addicted to painkillers, his wife was a mild alcoholic, his son was gay, his mother had Alzheimer’s, his father was boinking the bishop, his adopted Asian son was engaging in “relations” with the daughters of some people in the church that hated Asians, and his 16 year old daughter got arrested for drug possession. Oh wait… did I mention that all of that happened in just the first 3 episodes? Yeah, this family was interesting to watch. The Book of Daniel was canceled for an entirely different reason than Firefly which I won’t go into because that will spawn an entirely different discussion. But just from the description I gave (and the fact that the last aired episode had almost 6 million viewers), you can probably figure it out on your own. You seem like an astute individual. The reason I think about The Book of Daniel is because it was cut off mid-season with no warning at all. That was the first time I would make it a point to be in front of the television to watch a show because it was telling a great story that I wanted to see more of. But this time around I’m fully aware of the impending end of the show that has captured my attention. I know that it’s coming very soon and every time I watch another episode I get that sick feeling in my stomach because I know that I’m a little bit closer to the end.
I just want to make sure that we are 100% clear on this. I really enjoy watching the show. The writing is great, the effects are really good, the characters are engaging and interesting, and the acting is superb across the board. Everything about Firefly is wonderful and that’s part of what makes it so hard to watch. I’m eagerly anticipating more adventures from Serenity’s crew and each time I get my wish it is tainted by the knowledge that I’m one step closer to the inevitable (and easily visible) end.
I started doing some reading about this and it seems like Fox was doing everything they could to ensure that the show would fail. They moved the time slot more than once, they aired the episodes out of order, they told Joss that they wouldn’t air it in the widescreen format, and they made him re-write the pilot episode over the course of a single weekend. Some sources have suggested that there was an upper management “changing of the guard” which created a situation where the bigwigs that green-lit Firefly weren’t the ones overseeing things after it began to air. The show was doomed before it even hit the air, and that’s a damn shame.
So yes, I am sorry that I ever started watching this damnable show in the first place. I was perfectly happy simply knowing of its existence and not ever experiencing it for myself. Now I have been given a taste of the Whedon-y goodness and I fear that my thirst for more will never be sated. Oh, and I also keep waiting for Nathan to burst into song and I keep getting my feelings hurt there, too.