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Firefly in the 20 of the most epic failures in network science fiction TV

Friday 24 September 2010, by Webmaster


Network: Fox

Premiere: Sept. 2002

Episodes Aired Before Cancellation: 12 (15 were produced)

What It Was About: In the distant future, man has colonized the cosmos. And in this frontier-esque tomorrow, Capt. Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion)—and his mostly faithful crew, made of doctors, prostitutes, preachers, mechanics and the mentally damaged—plies his trade as a thief, scoundrel and occasional big damned hero. Interesting Facts: Of all of Joss Whedon’s TV shows, this one had the shortest life—and has the biggest, most active fan community. There are Browncoat fan films, charity events and even miniconventions.

What People Said About It: The critical response swung between rapturous ("Firefly benefits enormously from Whedon’s ability to take the clichés of any genre and give them a good, hard yank," said Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker) and savage ("To call Firefly a vast disappointment is an understatement. Whedon has proven he’s capable of brilliance, but this is mere folly," said Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle). Ratings: Firefly averaged just over 4.5 million viewers and ranked 98th in the Nielsens, which was well below expectations. Fans blamed this on the fact that Fox showed the episodes out of order and didn’t run the actual pilot until very late in the run. Fallout: Whedon was able to continue the story he began in Firefly in the cult-hit feature Serenity. And, even though he was burned by the way Fox treated his show, he got back into bed with the network for Dollhouse. Which ended only marginally better.