We’ve Done the Impossible. That Makes Us Mighty.

Have you ever thought about what it could be that keeps the media from bringing Firefly back? I do.  Here’s what I think.

In the ‘verse of Serenity, the generic ism’s of our current world have been put by the wayside. However in current time that is not the case.

True that many of us say, “if we could stop racism (insert any ism here) the world would be a better place.”   We even put plans in motion to help the other humans see all colors (sexes, ages, genders, etc) as equal.   We rally, we promote, we teach, we march. But until everyone is on the same page, the isms win. Why was Firefly taken off the air? My theory says that it is because of 2 major points.

The first point being that it shows a world in which the (current) isms are gone. True there is still poverty and wealth, crime and law, sickness, and many other things that makes the suffering of humanity an ongoing occurrence, but they are not related to the isms of today’s world.

The only real distinctions now are Fringe planet peoples, Brown Coat Rebels, and Reevers. Hair or eye or skin colors make no difference. Distinctive male and female roles are non-existent. Culture has become a unique blend of all from Earth That Was. The people that survived whatever happened to the Earth and escaped to other planets came together as a human race and blended. People wear bamboo hats, boots, silks, and aviator jackets at the same time. Everyone speaks English and Chinese interchangeably.

And this is my second theory as to why Firefly was cancelled: American media just couldn’t handle that American culture wouldn’t top out all the others if the world was to end. We can’t share the limelight with another super power in the world and certainly not blend so seamlessly with China. That is un-American don’t you know?

I can’t think of another show in my lifetime that has the long-standing devoted following Firefly has, the public outcry to bring its return and yet the networks won’t. Joss Whedon did the impossible and created a world that didn’t conform to what the media moguls feel we the American people should see. But this world he created appeals to so many of us. It is the impossible, but we have had a taste of it, and I for one want more.

I want more shows that show people without the isms; more shows that show people unafraid to blend without conforming. I want to see more people talking about the ability for any color or gender to hold any position. I want to see more shows where people are making morally good decisions and using good old-fashioned ingenuity with true American spirit that is beautifully mingled with ancient Chinese wisdom.

We’ve seen the impossible and we are mighty.


  1. Caretaker says:

    I think you miss the wider juxtapositions throughout the show that not only make it appealing, but encourage people to evaluate their isms. The idea of the companion being of elite status. Big government versus martial law versus independence. Medical ism as an occupation akin to god. Cycles of violence, karma, the phrasing of the language, the mix of technology and on and on. I think the movie script reflected the short time allowed for script writing as the series as it could have been much tighter leaving room for a resurrection of the series. It’s my take that Joss closed the door on a comeback. But yeah I’m a fanatic I’d give him the creative freedom to make 20 seasons of that quality of story in that universe in the 6 months from Objects to Serenity. I’m not one to rewatch fiction except in this one case. Those 10 (that aired in Austin) may singlehandedly justify the last ?50? years of not using television for any beneficial purpose like, oh say, educating the people.

  2. Tatts says:

    I like the commentary on the show but I’m pretty sure the show got dropped for one reason. It was set up to fail by Fox, they considered it a long shot and didn’t market it well or give it a beneficial time slot. When it wasn’t producing above average ratings half way through season 1 they pulled it as they expected too.

    I like most fans I know didn’t know about the show before it was already cancelled meaning it didn’t get directed to it’s target audience before it was deemed a failure. Sadly that means a good show failed from bad marketing. I don’t care if you like it or hate it, it has a ridiculous following and would be an instant ratings success if aired today.

    The thought that media executives aren’t airing something because it’s too forward thinking in it’s cultural perception is kind of ludicrous. I can’t imagine a corporation of any kind trying to explain a lower bottom line by saying their world views are too conservative to make buckets of money.

    I’d imagine that they aren’t re-airing the show as they’re waiting. Honestly some of the crappiest shows out there have been re-released and I think they’ll do the same to Firefly with a new cast and writers if they wait too long. I think it’ll fail miserably as fans won’t appreciate the changes but it’ll linger on for a few seasons at least and maybe catch on but that depends on more factors than I can guess. The only reason they’re not using it’s fame now is that they’re waiting to use it later on.

  3. Def says:

    While its true Fox had the biggest hand in Firefly’s demise, the fact of the matter was that it was a 1 million dollar an episode show that couldn’t sustain any sort of advertisement income.

    • James G. Halpin says:

      DVD sales, merchandising, cross promotion. If they were worried about per episode expenses, they wouldn’t have greenlighted the project in the first place.

    • Nicole says:

      Once the initial fan base got wind of the plans to cancel the show, they rallied and tried to raise funds, gather signatures, and do whatever they were capable of to prevent the show from being pulled. Unfortunately, as it was mentioned before, the show was aired out of episodic order, in a terrible time slot, with virtually no advertisement whatsoever. If it had reached the right audience in time, there’s not a power in the ‘verse that could stop it.

      • Firefly was averaging nearly 5 million viewers by the time the eleventh episode was aired, and they still chose not to air the remaining episodes that had already been produced.

        If that wasn’t good enough, no power in the ‘verse could have saved that show on the network. Solution? If Josh Wedon can manage to wrestle the rights back, he should sign up with Zombie Orpheus Entertainment so that the fans can fund the show’s continuation and he can release it in the order intended.

    • ReadWryt says:

      It’s hard to develop a steady viewership when you A) Refuse to air the episodes in order, thus sowing confusion into the continuing dramatic storyline, B) constantly pre-empt the show for Sporting Events and C) Target the wrong audience. Advertisers didn’t flee a good show, a good show was never sold to the right audience in the right way. Fox has consistently demonstrated that they have trouble understanding how to market such things, Sticking “Sarah Connor Chronicles” and “Dollhouse” in the Friday Night Death Slot, something they shared with “Firefly”…pre-empting shows like “Fringe” with “American Idol” and the like, which nearly got THAT series canceled… They have demonstrated time and again that unless it’s some base, crass comedy, or Animated series (Or any combination thereof)…or “Reality T.V.”, which I lump the aforementioned “American Idol” into, than they are like a pre-teen boy with an inflatable love doll, amused but not able to actually get any use out of it. (With the exception of “Terra Nova”, which they cleverly pitted against the “low rated” “Monday Night Football”, I guess presuming that Science Fiction fans NEVER watch NFL events…)

    • deannacat says:

      That’s crazy. When that stupid “Friends” was on those actors were getting a million EACH for EACH episode. So don’t tell me a show can’t support huge advertising revenue. Some of these shows are raking in fortunes every night they are on.

      • Richard says:

        They got that money at the END of the series, not the start.

        What happened is that the producers were stupid enough to brag about how much money they were raking in and the cast united together as one to make sure that they got a cut for a change.

        Unlike the rest of the seasons, that season actually LOST money in the sense
        that advertising did not cover NBC’s payments. They made up for it by the
        boosted ratings of other shows. And I’m sure that it was made up over time
        because of the halo effect they got by putting the stars on the various talk shows, etc.

  4. mike says:

    Firefly failed for the same reason a number of FOX shows failed back then; BASEBALL. You can’t start a new show in Sept. and break for the month of Oct. to show the Playoffs. And for scifi fans, Friday nights back then were dominated by the Scifi channel (you know, back when they aired actual scifi, before they became SYFY)

  5. James G. Halpin says:

    My theory is executive$ $aw a growing fanba$e, wanted creative control, couldn’t get it. If they had, we would have seen “legit” full scale alien invasion 3 episodes into season 2, if not sooner. They’d want to attract every demographic and multiple target, mainstream audiences. We might have had more episodes airing but it wouldn’t have been the Firefly we all know and love. I can only assume Fox execs have blacklisted further Firefly development because it doesn’t make “business sense” to negotiate with series creators who refuse to compromise on artistic integrity just to squeeze out more ad revenue.

  6. Bla says:

    Or it could be the show sucked and all you nerds need to move on, or go back to watching Star Trek reruns

  7. Auntiegrav says:

    It’s gone because it presented all of the -isms as secondary to one: the Class War ( http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2005/12/the_simulacran_.html ) between those that Have and the rest of humanity and environments. It showed industrial planets with clean air and water but ‘Third World’ planets as broke, dirty, lawless and harsh. Firefly didn’t shy from showing how that happened and how the Haves would go to any lengths to maintain the illusion that Authority is always Right.
    We have no places left for Mal and Zoe to travel without papers, to make a living under the radar, or for special people to escape exploitation by both the industrialists and the ‘non’profit organizations that take money from the industrialists consuming our world.
    “I’m not going to LIVE there, Malcolm. There’s no place for men like us in that world.”
    The problem is that Firefly was too truthful.
    Our world is consuming its own future by serving the perpetual economic growth God. To realize our parts in the present world means to choose one of three things: to either be ignorant or pretend to be ignorant of the evils done in our name (to supply the things we buy), or to step up and enjoy the fruits of the evils done in our name (admit and become evil), or to go mad.
    Firefly was a temporary escape from madness, and the truth it presented only makes our predicament seem even more hopeless. We don’t have other planets to fight the corporate/government/military Alliance FROM.
    On the other hand, We Don’t Need Them. They need us.

  8. theBaron says:

    I disagree that the “-isms” of today are gone, in the “Firefly” ‘verse. “Firefly” depicts a world that is still divided between Statists and their society, the Alliance, and individualists. In that sense, “Firefly” is a truly conservative story. The heroes follow a worldview in which the individual is supreme over any authority, in battle with those whose worldview subjects the individual to the State. That battle is waged today, and it’s waged at the rim of the galaxy in “Firefly”. If the media are waging a silent or barely veiled campaign to keep the show from coming back, maybe that’s why.

  9. Kayte says:

    Listen – Firefly was cancelled because it was on Fox. Period.

    They did a very poor job of promoting. I did see a couple promos, but they just talked about “cowboys in space” which is stupid. Had they said “from the mind of Joss Whedon,” I would have been there and seen it while it was on air.

    Fox put it on a bad night and had the wrong expectations. They screwed up with the movie too. Idiots.

    This is a show that, had it been on SyFy or even HBO/SHO/etc. would have met the requirements/expectations for viewership and lived to a ripe old age. To be on network means a much higher viewership is required.

    All networks are idiots. The real value is in a rabid fan following and selling advertising within the show (like on Chuck). Commercials are a waste of time. People DVR and skip now. There are still channel changers. People who walk out of the room. It’s just noise. Meanwhile, within the show it lives on in DVD and online and EVEN WHEN CONTENT IS PIRATED! So, advertisers can, essentially, advertise for all of eternity and… THEREIN LIES THE POWER OF FIREFLY. Shows with rabid followings will last much longer, ensuring advertisers a longer advertising life (could they be billed for each DVD sold? for each online view?) including that *every* rabid fan will by each DVD and upgrade EACH TIME there is a special edition (as long as you offer a half decent upgrade in the special edition “package”).

    They’re using an old, outdated way of evaluating television shows and they are using an old, outdated way of billing/selling advertising and, the stupidest thing of all???, the advertisers are doing the same thing.

    Come on – how much money was made for Converse (and still is!) because David Tennant wore those shoes? The BBC should have cashed in on that money train… the memes and shared pics alone…

    Trust me, Fox isn’t intelligent enough for your grand ideas above. They just want money. Murdoch wants it however he can get it. If he could get it selling “Touched by an Angel” then he’d stop putting LCD (lowest common denominator) pornographic drivel on his network and, speaking of, OMG! He’s got the Christian right supporting him mindlessly… really? Have they paid attention to the beastiality, homosexual (and not loving relationship), pedophilia, rape, etc. in those Sunday night shows??? I would never let a child watch that crap but Fox animates it and he sells Sodom and Gomorrah to the devout. EW!

  10. Claude Parish says:

    The conspiracy theorist in me used to think that Fox tried to take Whedon’s attention away from Buffy and Angel on UPN and WB by giving him an hour a week for Firefly. Angel still did well. Buffy got kind of too busy for one show and Firefly got lost in the shuffle. Whedon has said that he LOVES Firefly/Serenity. Well, I’ll take him at his word. But, why is the only trace of the series we can see just a few comic books every couple of years. Nobody gets to write a novel. Joss won’t let anyone else play with his toys. Even the ones he’s hidden away in the attic.
    It CAN come back. There’s that most precious of all things to a network exec, the built in audience.
    Joss just needs to put Tim Minear or Ben Edlund or Jane Espenson in charge of it or of finding someone who will shepherd it into life.
    After Avengers, he has the clout to do whatever the hell he wants to do in Hollywood.
    Firefly should be on the menu.

  11. Shari Tarbet says:

    Well, first of all, all those isms you refer to were gone including a few that remain if Firefly in the Star Treks, all of them. Secondly of all whereas I do agree with you that a lot of people in our culture can not handle not being the winners and coming out on top in a conflict like the one in Firefly, my understanding of why it was cancelled was a decision made b Fox because they felt that it wasn’t the show they’d signed on for. They wanted one that would appeal to a certain male audience that would only be interested in fight scenes, chase scenes, you know, the usual macho thing. It seems that currently, thought many of the actors are in favor of returning to reprise their roles if the show would go back into production, it’s Whedon who is reluctant.

    • Rusty says:

      Poor Wash no coming back for him. Unless they clone him, which would be a great story arc. You they are doing salvage and hiests etc for this mysterious goal, then at the end the big reveal is they have collecting money to bring Wash back, then the problems that presents when he is back.

  12. Maynard says:

    There’s much to chew on here, but will stick to one point that if already made I didn’t notice:

    If the Firefly placement/cancellation fiasco had happened now, I believe that another non-network channel (or emerging IPTV content producer like Netflix – see Arrested Development, or others) would have picked it up and kept it on the air.

    That alas, is unlikely to happen now as all the actors are in different life stages and wouldn’t fit into their situations seamlessly if it were to try and basically pick up where the TV series left off – even assuming they and Joss were all contractually and logistically available to do so.

    So anent a fairly complete reboot – and Whedon did leave a rich universe barely explored, so I’ll never say never, we’re likely left with the Firefly and Serenity we had.

  13. Terence says:

    I notice that everyone here has their own take on the Firefly series. Here’s one that you may not have considered: The series debuted on 20 September 2002, just over a year after 9-11. During that year after the towers fell, patriotism and nationalism surged to levels unseen since 1941′s Pearl Harbor attack. President Bush stated, (sic), “If you’re not with us , you’re against us.” The New England Patriots became everyone’s team (except Steelers fans); all of the shows going onto the major networks were all law-enforcement themed (24, CSI, more that were cancelled).Did the government push the network for “Rally ‘Round the Flag” programming, or was it just that they took advantage of an opportunity? I don’t know. But then suddenly this quirky little sci-fi show pops up on Fox that gives us the tale of a group of people who lost a war for freedom AGAINST their evil, oppressive, controlling government (I give them credit for even giving it a green-light in the first place; attribute that to Joss Whedon’s previous successes for them). I don’t remember the show being marketed at all; but I wasn’t watching much TV at the time. However, I recall all of the ads for all of the other shows saturating my little viewing time. So here it is: I think Firefly suffered due to lack of marketing for a message that wasn’t popular at that point in history. The story of a group of failed revolutionaries who defied the over-reaching authority of a totalitarian government, especially one that tortured and experimented on children, was not a story that the network felt would be received well in the given social and political climate of 2002. There you go.
    I feel it’s a shame that Joss has adamantly refused to visit the Firefly ‘verse again; but, I can see why. The actors age, and move on; and unless the writing is just so perfect, so synchronized with the previous story/mindset, the resulting second-generation of episodes can suffer badly, and even destroy the beauty of the original run. I think Joss wants the series to rest in peace.

    • Richard says:

      Last I heard, Joss figures that they will not be able to recapture that certain magic that was there. I think they could do it and I know that actors are willing, or at least they say they are in interviews.

      I think if you do have Firefly, it will have to be different than it was, and I’m not sure that it would work. One would think that if it was really viable, on paper,
      that one of the companies like Netflix would want to make it. Hell, I would finally
      get them if they did.

  14. Lisa says:

    There have been other shows that presented a world/universe where isms were obsolete (Star Trek, for one).

    I would posit the greatest issue is that by the time Firefly hit the air, we had already entered the “reality” show phase of television and the dumbing down of America was in full swing. After the writers’ strikes showed the network execs they could still make money (and more money) without a script, smart, thoughtful, truthsome TV was endangered.

    Sorry, because I enjoy thought-provoking shows of any genre.

  15. Carlie says:

    I hate to break this to you since you worked so hard coming up with reasons why we aren’t smart enough for Firefly and that the Networks won’t bring it back, but I’m afraid it’s off the mark. Initially, yeah, Fox wasn’t keen to the idea and thought it a long shot. Publicity and the actual showing of the first season were half-assed.
    But, as to why they won’t bring it back, are you kidding? The networks now see Firefly as a powerhouse of money making and would probably pick it up in a moment. However, Joss Whedon has stated that he does not have the time to start another Firefly season. He is in with Marvel now and has quite a few projects in the works. Go and find some of his commentary on the subject and you’ll see that he is unwilling to begin Firefly again due to current projects.

  16. masterbat3 says:

    Thanks for finally writing about >We’ve Done the Impossible.
    That Makes Us Mighty. | Fans Pages <Liked it!

  17. Kirbert says:

    Sorry, but the reason Firefly was cancelled was because the ratings were down. And the reason the ratings were down is because the network decided, in their infinite wisdom, to air the episodes out of order, so nothing made sense. Viewers got tired of trying to figure out what the hell was going on, and tuned out. I dunno about most of you, but I became a fan when I got ahold of the DVD of the entire series and was able to watch the episodes in order.

    Oh, and the movie royally sucked. It jumped the shark numerous times.

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