I Wish I’d Never Watched Firefly

I hope you're proud of yourselves, Fox.
Captain Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of Serenity

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.

14 thoughts on “I Wish I’d Never Watched Firefly

    1. This is very true. I’m just sad that Firefly wasn’t revived the way that Family Guy was. As much as I love Family Guy, Firefly is a much more enjoyable show.

  1. See? That’s why I don’t plan on watching it. Too many series have been awesome and then over too soon. Im still pissed about Carnivale.

    1. Oh my god. The disappearance of Carnivale is my second great TV heartbreak after Firefly. That show was honestly one of the most brilliant things HBO created.

      But in defense of watching Firefly, they wrap it up nicely with the movie and give you a little beautiful, if bittersweet, closure. It’s one of those things so good that it’s worth the little heartbreak. You come out of it feeling like a veteran of something so great that no one else understands. A Browncoat for life.

  2. Yeah, it does seem that Fox sabotaged this series. I was so irritated when I discovered that Fox wasn’t going to air the pilot first and then became angry when I saw that episodes were being aired out of order. That’s when I knew the bozos were going to cancel the series. *_* At least there’s the series and movie on Blu-ray.

  3. I couldn’t agree more. I got turned onto this show far too late, and I found myself taking my sweet time in watching the last 4 episodes because I dreaded an unsatisfying end. The movie offered a bit of closure, and the comic books provided a bit of consolation as well (the one about Book answered a number of my questions), but it still doesn’t feel like enough. I don’t consider myself a full-on Browncoat, but I’m thinking I might have to catch my local screening of Serenity this summer with the uber-fans (Can’t Stop the Serenity hosts charity screenings in various cities around the world, http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com/about/ ).

  4. I too just started watching thanks to the Science Channel. This isn’t typically my kind of genre, but I’m loving it. I’m also upset that I know it will not last!

  5. I feel the same way watching the last 10 episodes of Stargate Universe knowing that it’s already been canceled. While it’s not in the same league as Firefly, I do enjoy the show and I’m upset that the vast story arc they’re building will never get resolved.

  6. yes, I JUST got hooked on the show, am 3 episodes in, and cant get myself to watch more…why? because I am so let down that it ends so quickly, I want to make it last as long as possible….

    why cant they just bring it back, the actors loved it, whedon loved it….I think there may be the following to actually get ratings….

  7. The beauty about Firefly is that it is highly rewatchable. There are so many layers that you can always notice something new. Jayne is always eating. The cast is always doing something even when they aren’t the focus. Everyone adds a little something; the music, the lighting, the costumes the dialogue. I was there when Firefly first aired and I still get that same feeling of joy at watching something so beautifully crafted. Enjoy what you have. Rewatch as needed.

    Of course I still want more and crazy things happen in Hollywood all the time. Maybe whoever is blocking Firefly at Fox will stop blocking it. After Joss is done with the Avengers we’ll see if anyone has a change of heart in the Powers That Be.

    Meanwhile watch Firefly and enjoy the ride. It’ll be nine years in September since Serenity first appeared on tv.

  8. …. WHYYYYYYYYYY….. I just watched the series on Netflix.. I’m hooked, yet there’s no one to pull me in.. Firefly is now my #1 favorite show of all time, followed by Stargate SG-1.. It’s one thing to cancel a show when it has great potential.. and.. It’s another thing to cancel a show in the middle of the thickening plot… This is why I hate Fox… :(

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