• Network: FOX
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 20, 2002
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 30
  2. Negative: 5 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Feb 23, 2013
    100
    A very funny, very hip, very terrific sci-fi show.
  2. Reviewed by: Aaron Barnhart
    Feb 23, 2013
    90
    Each person in the ensemble is distinct and intriguing. This show is loaded with possibilities.[20 Sept 2002, p.E1]
  3. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Feb 23, 2013
    90
    A wonderful, imaginative mess brimming with possibility. About a dysfunctional family of space cowboys, the sci-fi series arrives not fully formed, like an elaborate photo that's still clarifying in developing fluid. While many shows burst onto the scene with slick pilots and quickly deteriorate into mediocrity, I'm thinking Firefly is on the opposite creative journey.
  4. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    Feb 23, 2013
    90
    In a new season largely bereft of innovative ideas or daring concepts, Firefly stands out like a supermodel at a bus stop... The end result is a new and different form for storytelling and characters with engaging stories to tell. [19 Sept 2002]
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Feb 23, 2013
    88
    Firefly offers the same well-balanced blend of humor, action, sharply drawn characters and unexpected twists on genre conventions. And if you have so far resisted the vamp-call of Buffy, this more mainstream sci-fi adventure may be your ticket into Whedon's TV universe.
  6. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Jun 14, 2013
    83
    'Firefly' benefits enormously from Whedon's ability to take the clichés of any genre and give them a good, hard yank.
  7. Reviewed by: Mark Dawidziak
    Feb 23, 2013
    80
    While often great fun, the series' premiere occasionally shows the strain of trying to blend all of those genres into one sleek package. On the plus side of the Firefly universe, the show is expertly paced and is full of those wickedly humorous asides that fans of "Buffy" and its ever-improving spinoff, "Angel," expect from the mischievous Whedon. [20 Sept 2002, p.E1]
  8. Reviewed by: Mike Duffy
    Feb 23, 2013
    80
    And you don't have to be a sci-fi fanatic to get a kick out of Firefly, which brandishes playful bits of Whedon's signature wit and snappy repartee. [20 Sept 2002]
  9. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Feb 23, 2013
    80
    The interaction between Mal and the other characters boasts the same seamless savvy that makes Buffy and her pals so winning. [20 Sept 2002, p.1E]
  10. Reviewed by: Michael Speier
    Feb 23, 2013
    80
    Cheeky and charming, Joss Whedon's attempt to fuse oaters with "Star Trek" is just silly enough to work -- and there's absolutely nothing else like it on TV.
  11. Based on tonight's premiere, this mix of "Star Wars" and "Stagecoach" could prove to be visually ambitious, thematically provocative and full of crackling dialogue. [20 Sept 2002, p.1]
  12. Reviewed by: Amy Amatangelo
    Feb 23, 2013
    75
    The good news is the characters created here are so interesting that we want to know more about them. Whedon continues to slay viewers. [19 Sept 2002, p.48]
  13. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Feb 24, 2013
    70
    The whole space cowboy gimmick shouldn't work, but Whedon and co-creator Tim Minear have managed to create a world where space stations and men on horseback can plausibly co-exist. Little touches like deliberately old-fashioned dialogue - one character describes the bar fight as "just an honest brawl between folk" - help immensely. [19 Sept 2002]
  14. Reviewed by: David Zurawik
    Feb 23, 2013
    70
    While the action genre and, indeed, Friday nights on Fox, are most targeted at young men, particularly adolescent males, I have to admit I kind of like Firefly. I'm not sure, though, whether that says more about my level of maturity than it does the series' potential appeal to older viewers. [20 Sept 2002, p.1E]
  15. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Feb 23, 2013
    70
    It's a provocative mishmash of future shock and peculiar anachronisms. [19 Sept 2002, p.E1]
  16. Reviewed by: Phil Rosenthal
    Feb 23, 2013
    63
    The characters, initially at least, aren't nearly so original and fully imagined, and that's a problem in any show. Fortunately, in space, no one can hear you yawn.[20 Sept 2002, p.46]
  17. Reviewed by: Hal Boedeker
    Feb 23, 2013
    60
    Whedon's approach is intriguing, and the storytelling refuses to settle for simple heroics...Unfortunately, the drama and acting could be more compelling. [20 Sept 2002, p.E1]
  18. Reviewed by: Manual Mendoza
    Feb 23, 2013
    60
    If there's hope, it lies in the original version, which after getting off to a slow start did a wonderful job of distinguishing who was who and made you want to know more about them. Hopefully, Fox and Whedon can find a happy compromise, and the cultists can start their keyboards. [20 Sept 2002]
  19. Reviewed by: David Bianculli
    Feb 23, 2013
    60
    I'm not sure it's the best first impression a show could make, but it's different and daring enough to warrant a return for a second, and a third. [20 Sept 2002, p.35]
  20. Reviewed by: Steve Johnson
    Feb 23, 2013
    60
    Whedon's dialogue here, without contemporary pop culture to play against, feels a touch heavy. And there's only one great laugh, rare for so clever a writer. The result is that Firefly is intriguing but not compelling, but it least has the promise of a bright fellow at the helm. [20 Sept 2002, p.C3]
  21. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Feb 23, 2013
    50
    If Firefly weren't from Joss Whedon, the talented, respected creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," this review would probably be a lot more dismissive. Because of his track record -- six seasons of "Buffy," five of them good; the successful and ultimately distinctive spinoff series "Angel" -- Firefly gets the benefit of the doubt despite an inauspicious debut. It's not good, it's not bad, it's just so-so. [20 Sept 2002, p.40]
  22. Reviewed by: Howard Rosenberg
    Feb 23, 2013
    50
    Early Firefly lacks majesty, and also that its laborious pace is hardly Star Warsian. [20 Sept 2002, p.C1]
  23. Reviewed by: Ann Hodges
    Feb 23, 2013
    50
    For now, we have a prologue to set the scene and a large cast to get to know, amid unspectacular special effects, a few punch-and-shoots, and no alien beings at all. [20 Sept 2002, p.1]
  24. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jun 28, 2013
    40
    There are no aliens, no teleporters and no lasers. And sadly--given creator Joss Whedon's track record with Buffy the Vampire Slayer--no laughs or thrills.
  25. Reviewed by: Tom Shales
    Feb 24, 2013
    40
    Firefly does some pretty fancy flitting now and then, but for the most part it's a trip that's been taken too many times before.
  26. 37
    Every situation, every character is a cliché, whether from the Western story shelf or the discount sci-fi stock. Judging from the dusty, rocky scenery, it might have been shot on the planet Borrego.
  27. Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Feb 23, 2013
    30
    A disappointingly forced effort from Joss Whedon...the show lacks any trace of the humor and subtlety that makes Buffy so much fun. [20 Sept 2002, p.D13]
  28. Reviewed by: Caryn James
    Feb 23, 2013
    30
    This time the wrenching together of genres is tortured. In its rough first episode on Fox tonight, Firefly is even more of a confusing mess than the description makes it sound. It's a crazy quilt of "Star Wars," "Mad Max" and "Stagecoach," just to mention the most obvious films it calls to mind. [20 Sept 2002, p.E26]
  29. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Feb 23, 2013
    25
    To call Firefly a vast disappointment is an understatement. Whedon has proven he's capable of brilliance, but this is mere folly.
  30. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Feb 23, 2013
    20
    The only thing deep in tonight's Firefly premiere, though, is the well of cliches into which Whedon dips for what passes for plot and exposition. [20 Sept 2002, p.B02]
User Score
9.2

Universal acclaim- based on 296 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. May 3, 2011
    10
    perfect. smart, funny, action packed. Such an amazingly enjoyable show. I cherish the few episodes that were made because in my opinion they are some of the very best television produced. Full Review »
  2. Apr 23, 2011
    10
    Brilliant dialogue full of intrigue, drama suspense and ass-kickery. There is a lot of character development over its short episode list and will keep viewers pining over what might have been. Its fourteen episodes are some of the most best sci-fi television ever made. Full Review »
  3. Mar 30, 2011
    10
    Firefly transcends the sci-fi genre. The characters are multi-dimensional, the writing superb and the chemistry between the actors and actresses are palpable. The spaceship was just an added bonus. It's too bad the show did not really get off the ground due to Fox's incompetence of airing the show out of order. Full Review »