• Network: FOX
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 20, 2002
  • Season #: 1 , 2
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 290 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 290

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  1. May 3, 2011
    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.
  2. Apr 23, 2011
    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.
  3. Mar 30, 2011
    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.
  4. Nov 19, 2010
    Truly brilliant. Firefly delivers clever storytelling along with perhaps one of the finest ensemble casts ever assembled. The witty dialogue, the drama, the fantastic humor... everything is absolutely top-notch. Joss Whedon is perhaps the most talented mind in the television industry. Firefly, Buffy, and Angel are easily three of the best shows from the modern era, if not for all time. Too bad Dollhouse was a trainwreck. Expand
  5. Feb 23, 2011
    Absolutely amazing. Truly clever writing, great acting, interesting stories, superb cinematics. This show is quite possibly the best show to be cancelled. Don't listen to what professional critics say, they are used to giving thumbs up to anything that fits in with what is 'the norm', this show is breaks the mold, and is definitely unlike anything else I've seen on television.
  6. Feb 12, 2012
    Best cancelled show ever. I curse FOX forever for cancelling this sci-fi masterpiece. I know quite a few failed tv shows that I like but Firefly is the only show that I wished they continued. Each episode is absolute gold and its storylines leave such a huge impact even with only 14 episodes available. The main reason to watch Firefly and what made it so great is its cast of characters, the Serenity crew. In just 14 episodes, you grow attached to these characters because of their unforgettable and likable personalities. If you come across the dvd of this great show, don't even hesitate. Buy it. Expand
  7. Oct 30, 2011
    This has to be the best TV show ever. The mix of sci-fi and western themes make for a show that simply can't be missed. Why are you still reading this? Go rent it on Netflix or something!
  8. Apr 30, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. You all are going to think I am nuts, but I did not think it was that good. It is not as low as The Avengers, but it is just in-between something and nothing. But I will give the show the benefit of the doubt because of its unfortunate end.

    The first season of any show is rough, and to end it there is just plain sad. Shows nowadays never get a chance to reach their potential, not even the film Serenity satisfied me.

    Some characters never get a chance to show their true colors, except if you are the star of course, and the Tam siblings, even though Rivers character was so formulaic that I knew where they are going with this character, and Jane Cob, which despite one particular episode, I did not find him interesting at all.

    Kaylee was the only character that stood out from the crew; it really was the performance that sold me.
    Wash however was very hard for me to see, because when he is not on screen I completely forget he exists. As much as Jane is somewhat dull, he at least is memorable. And the pilot’s death in the feature film, while shocking, goes over my head as soon as the next scene starts.

    But as stated, if not for the shows untimely end, this review would be different.
    The cast and crew should be fortunate that there are loyal fans out that will fall on to the sword for their success, because honestly, they would be dead and forgotten without them.
  9. Oct 18, 2011
    Firefly is a masterpiece and a very special series of the sort which only ever happens once. Every aspect of the series is profoundly well done, and comes together perfectly. The setting is highly creative, and completely convincing. The way it brings together western themes with a sci-fi setting and combines it with multicultural elements is risky, but works like a dream. The characters are all completely unique and have real depth. I love the way all nine of them are equally important. It is impossible to imagine Serenity having even one less character. The acting is astonishingly good. Every single actor is perfectly cast, and I honestly can't imagine a better performance from any of them. I want to give special mention to Summer Glau as River. I thought her performance had nuanced depth and complexity. She acted a difficult role at a young age but made River utterly convincing. The relationships between the characters are realistic, and we can identify with them. In fact, one quality of Firefly is that it avoids excess. There are no tiring soap opera elements, nor does it include any aliens. Even River's physic characteristics are deliberately understated. The story in each episode was creative and gripping, and there was no recycling, nor any weak episodes. Each episode bring new ideas to the table, and the series stay fresh all the way through. The themes combine exciting western/sci-fi characteristics with universal human elements. The cinematography is also bold. The camerawork is deliberately rough, which really complements the down-to-earth western and human themes. Overall I rate this series a ten, because I honestly can't think of a single flaw. It's tragic that it ended early, but at least it ended on a high note. Expand
  10. Apr 10, 2012
    If there was one show that should have never been cut off, it was Firefly. There's not another TV series that captured the imagination like Joss Whedon's Firefly. And though it received a movie (Serenity) to bring some form of closure, there has never been a greater travesty than the cancellation of this absolutely wonderful TV series. One can only hope that a day is coming where a TV executive has the brains to get the band back together for an encore season or two. Expand
  11. Sep 7, 2012
    Firefly will change you. Believe the hype. The characters, the feel, the setting is so original it almost haunts you, in a good way. I'm being lying in bed daydreaming and found myself on board Serenity, conversing with the characters. They all have a special place in my heart. I didn't know I could enjoy a show so much until I watched this.
  12. Oct 13, 2011
    This is the best TV show of all time. I would like to have 5 minutes alone in the room with the old-fat-retarded-SciFi-hating TV execs who canceled this show.
    I have never seen a better first season to any TV show - can you imagine how good this could have gotten if it had been given a fair chance? All TV shows get better after the first season, and getting better than this season would
    have been near-impossible.
    Serenity was a small consolation prize for those who did like this show - but not near enough.
    bring this show back!!!
  13. Aug 17, 2011
    It's TV series like Firefly that let us know what true entertainment is. Firefly is part of our history, a part of it we will never forget. And although it is very unfortunate that the show was canceled, (way to soon I mite add!) 14 episodes is all we need to call Firefly one of the greatest series of our time. We will never forget the fun, and adventurous times we had with this spectacular series, and will continue to have, for many, many more years. Expand
  14. Aug 24, 2011
    the best sci-fi tv show ever made. from the perfect cast to the amazing script there will never be a show that can touch how Firefly melded a group together and still came up with great plot lines to go with them
  15. Mar 13, 2012
    More than just another sci-fi show. The interactions among the characters and the development of said characters is superb. It is a shame that it didn't air for more than one season.
  16. Jul 3, 2012
    Firefly has characters and dialog that are truly memorable. In a single season, I really felt like I got to know these people and it is a crime that I won't likely see them again. Where is the Kickstarter campaign for Firefly the TV series? I'd contribute to that.
  17. Apr 9, 2013
    Fun and adventurous following this incredible team is an amazing journey as you see the relationships that have depth and meaning. Seeing the secrets of the team reveal themselves and characters grow and flourish is exactly what you look for in a show.
  18. Nov 28, 2011
    Having just revisited Firefly, again I'm amazed how good it is: the casting, dialog, acting and sets are all top notch, and the whole thing is just a ton of fun. Whedon's finest hour. It just makes me sad that it can never return in its current form.

    [spoiler] Killing off Wash and Book in the movie feels like an angry Whedon smothering his baby out of spite over its cancellation.

    The movie also lacks the humor which made this short-lived series so much fun. So, I'm going to treat myself to a rerun of what could have panned out to be my favorite series of all time. *sigh* =(
  19. Jun 12, 2012
    I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. These characters, and the episode plots were simply wonderful. I can't think of anything off the top of my head that I did not like about it.
  20. Dec 30, 2011
    Look, I know its a fan favorite, but it is not the greatest show, especially not in sci-fi. Its a good show. I watched it when it aired and rewatched it on DVD and saw the movie (which was terrible by the way). Its a fun ride, but the characters, contrary to what many say in these critiques, are one dimensional, in fact they are the same tired old western archetypes, which isn't bad when you consider that is what this show is supposed to be. I am not beating up on Firefly but there are a number of better, even great scifi shows that got the axe after one season (Space: Above and Beyond for example). Yes Fox has a horrible track record properly pushing its sci fi shows (SAAB, Dark Angel, the list goes on and on) but the bottom line is ratings. The new BSG wouldn't have survived on Fox, Star Trek (at least the good Next Generation) wouldn't have survived on Fox. But Firefly survived as long as it should have. At least they got a movie to wrap things up. Expand
  21. Jun 29, 2011
    While Firefly may not be quite as amazing as some make it out to be, it certainly features a strong cast of characters, great humor, and an abundance of fun and adventure. Firefly showed a lot of promise in its one season, and would have probably become even better if given more time to grow. A few episodes aren't up to the standard of the rest, but "Ariel" and "Out of Gas" stand out in particular of Firefly at its best. Joss Whedon showed once again his strengths at writing believable characters who still spout out witty, amusing dialog. This "space-western" has great re-watch potential and it was a crime that it did not get a chance to further the mythology with more seasons. Luckily, the excellent film "Serenity" gave some resolution to the show, but it deserved even more. Firefly is a lot of fun. Overall score: 8/10 Expand
  22. Apr 14, 2014
    I retrieved this 2002 14-episode series from Netflix, and I’ve watched almost every episode. It is an excellent sample of Western-scifi, which is not an easy genre to pull off. The noble Hollywood failure, Cowboys and Aliens, is a good example of how problematic it can be to mix outer space with the good old-fashioned Wild West.

    Why the series got canceled after one season is still
    speculative. The former president of Fox said the numbers simply weren’t there; others say the series was aired out of sequence and doomed to a bad Friday night slot. The cast should have been a winning combination—an eclectic group of unique characters, each one with their own history, quirks, and emotional problems. Nathan Fillion was positively charismatic in his role as Captain Malcolm (“Mal”) Reynolds, and even looked like he was set to inherit the mantle that had been left behind by the young Harrison Ford. Unfortunately, that never happened. All of the cast are still active and working today, mostly kept employed in other television series. Firefly became a major feature film that was well received in 2005—the title was changed to Serenity, which was the name of Captain Mal’s spaceship. Serenity was a “Firefly,” which was the name of the class of spaceship that Captain Mal was flying. The first time he saw the used Firefly, he fell in love with it and purchased it.

    I have a different theory about why the series could not become a mainstream hit. There exists throughout the series a preoccupation with the theme of legalized prostitution; it is a major thread in every episode and comprises the entire plot line of Episode 12, entitled “Heart of Gold” (as in “a whore with a heart of gold”). The character of Inara, played to perfection by Morena Baccarin, embodies the role of what would seem to be a geisha or a courtesan. She is a licensed prostitute, called a “companion,” and she is a permanent part of the spaceship crew, although she has her own shuttle attached to the ship, which means she can leave at any time to visit rich clients on other planets. As a registered companion, she is extremely selective, charges high fees, and is considered to be therapeutic in her role.

    A spiritual side of Inara’s profession is alluded to but not enough to lift her completely out of the stigma of being a prostitute. Captain Mal often refers to her as a “whore,” but she always rebukes him for using that word. The “whores” as seen in Episode 12, are freelancers who work out of brothels and are looked down upon because they are not properly trained and licensed. Inara dresses lavishly, her shuttle looks like an Asian boudoir, and she does what looks like a Japanese tea ceremony for her clients. There is a plot thread regarding her secret feelings for Captain Mal; she is in love with him, but he is off limits to her. How a legal prostitute can have her own personal love life is never clarified, so it is easier for her to be in love with a man who has only a peripheral interest in her and often plays mind games to keep her hanging on.

    I personally believe that the overemphasis on legalized prostitution is what brought this series down. It could not have possibly become a new Star Trek under those circumstances. What kind of message would that send to children and adolescents? Legalized prostitution does not have to be consigned to the futuristic world of science fiction. Prostitution is legal in Italy, although brothels and pimps are not. Prostitutes in Italy are considered to be sex-care workers, and there are government guidelines and laws to protect them. Coincidentally, in the Italian vernacular, they are known as “Lucciole,” which translates into English as “fireflies.” Needless to say, the reality of legalized prostitution could not be nearly as glamorous or as beautiful as Inara (who in only one episode has to go in for a government-mandated medical examination). As with the glamorization of prostitution in the 1990 film, Pretty Woman, much damage can be done to impressionable young girls by idealizing this kind if life. The prostitution theme is infused into nearly every episode of the Firefly series, a peculiar and obsessive plot device that may have proved to be the series’ fatal flaw.
  23. Jan 18, 2012
    Favourite show, would love to see it return. Whedon's finest hour. 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 is a shame it has not been picked up again.
  24. Jan 12, 2014
    This is undoubtedly one of the best shows I've ever seen. It combines the crew and episodic adventure of Star Trek with the old-school gritty western feel of the original Star Wars and, taking away the fantastical elements of aliens and "the Force" (though River is damn near a Jedi at times), merges those elements into a wonderful show. The characters are all dynamic and interesting and their relationships with one another feel genuine and real, not forced or superficial. The little nuances of the show also give it a certain amount of charm that most other shows fail to create. Honestly, I could go on and on but I'll end by saying that I absolutely loved the show, am disappointed that there are so many idiots out there that it only lasted one season, and I will continue to watch reruns whenever the opportunity arises. Thank you Joss Whedon for another gem. I just wish this one last half as long as some of your other ones. Expand
  25. Jan 15, 2012
    This was a terrific show. I just recently started watching it about a year ago and I was so upset to find it had been cancelled after the first season. I mean what happened Fox? Did you hire a bunch of morons who decided it wasn't good enough? Joss Whedon did such an excellent job with the plot and characters of this show and it's a shame Fox had to ruin it.
  26. Zal
    Dec 19, 2012
    Having watched this series from start to finish, I can definitely understand why Firefly is the cult classic it is. The characters were fun and interesting, the acting was supurb, the writing was clever, and the sets were creative. It's really a shame that this show got cancelled after the first season yet awful shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager are only cancelled after 5 SEASONS (on the bright side, it's finally going to end)! Oh, what a world. Expand
  27. Mar 9, 2012
    As cautious as cats held close to fire by metallic creatures, their hands guarded by angular men with rounded features, this world, this space opera is where I want to live. A real estate agency should be established, an asteroid with enough atmosphere to somehow make rural California arise long enough for filming. But here is the ramblemancy a pocket deep or rather more wide and deep to hold a gun and a coat and a future detective author. There is, there must be, an episode sixteen. To create a spaceship and fly it to other planets, to dodge and flee from either those with great power or those with intents to theft and to create "skin made lamps", to bring along a brother of many famous men and lovely woman who eventually will love her Marine Husband despite his terrorist leanings and some other types whose careers vary from a slow cave dice to simply mowing lawns in East Hollywood, to do all of this, these words, a ramblemancy of text, surely meant they created more episodes. Maybe they are waiting, as some might wait, for the curse and collection of future networks, some broadband something. Expand
  28. Jul 16, 2014
    Acting amongst the cast is moderately inconsistent, with a portion performing above the average and a portion performing disturbingly below it. Disregarding this blemish, Firefly is a suspenseful, well-written, and engaging show with memorable, original and textured characters and a sci-fi disguise with a heart of red-blooded drama.
  29. Jan 19, 2013
    Great, original characters and a fantastic setting makes this one great TV series that should not have been cancelled. A great cast and a great director has made Firefly an unforgettable experience.
  30. Mar 9, 2013
    Its smart and sexy, but Firefly sometimes falls into way too many elements of your every day action film, making it a rather silly show. But Firefly stills fits its definition of fun.
  31. Apr 12, 2013
    A fantastic show that got cancelled too soon. Great premise, great characters and great episodes. The first few episodes were a little rough around the edges, but that quickly went away once the actors were comfortable in their roles. A dying shame that it never got a chance to grow into what it could have been. At least there's Serenity.
  32. Apr 19, 2013
    Undoubtedly the best sci-show to have ever aired for such a short period of time. This shows first season(and only season) was enough to demonstrate it's potential. This genre of western and science fiction blend in perfect harmony. If this show was given a chance, there's no telling how good it could have gotten.
    Remember it is a TV show, many people who have only watched chopped
    portions will give it low ratings. Ignorance are no grounds for a bad review. Expand
  33. May 2, 2013
    An excellent show by far the best live action TV show I have ever seen. It provided a complex, deep, and perfectly put together form of entertainment that network TV shows almost never have. The acting is excellent, the stories are interesting and intriguing, and the script is great. Its cancellation doesn't surprise me I know that the typical folks watching FOX on weekdays have no interest in such a show I think this sort of show is more suited for cable and premium like AMC, SyFy, HBO, Showtime etc. Overall, I would reccommend this to anyone a great show. Expand
  34. May 1, 2013
    Although the series was as short as 14 episodes it was probably the best thing I've ever watched,the characters and the story blended together so well,the humor was well applied and each character also had a personal story or a secret .Every episode had an enjoyable scenario and an interesting outcome.All in all i would like to congratulate fox for ruining something so brilliant just because they felt like it. Expand
  35. Jun 3, 2014
    Firefly was easily the best sci fi show Fox developed aside from the X-Files. It had science fiction staples spaceships, laser pistols, and tech, but also a nice retro quality of frontier western speech, horses, and guns. The humor alone made this one of the best shows on television. The Joss Whedon ability to spin a familiar plot convention/line in a surprising direction and the top notch cast of talented and charismatic actors help make this cancelled science fiction Fox casualty a cult favorite and upcoming movie. Expand
  36. Oct 14, 2013
    Firefly was sci-fi/western ahead of its time and sadly I didn't hear about it till after it was cancelled. The characters, casting, and writing were well done and it is a real shame that this show has never gotten the attention and recognition that it deserves. Serenity (the movie Joss Whedon used to continue the story) suffered from the same problem, which again, is a real shame.
  37. Apr 28, 2014
    This has to be one of my favorite TV series of all time. Have been a fan of Joss Whedon's work and was not sure about this. Read a few mixed reviews and was put off from first, I found the DVD box set for sale in a charity shop and took the chance, I'm glad I did.if your only interested in flashy alien Sci-Fi movies then I would give this a miss, if like me you like stuff that's designed to make you think then this is a must watch. Expand
  38. May 5, 2014
    I love this show! Once again FOX makes an asinine decision to cancel something that is well written and much loved by fans. I cannot say enough good things about this show! It has such a large following and I wish they would sell the rights to it so someone could bring it back!
  39. Jul 11, 2014
    Watched it this year, the characters/ actors are just great, good chemistry funny Humour. the Special effects even 10 years later are okay to watch. too bad it was cancelled
  40. Jul 21, 2014
    Good show but for the overarching storyline hte number of episodes is just too great. The first one or two and the last one or two were good the episodes in between seemend to be just "today the crew meets people on this planet and gets into trouble" - episodes (bvasically filler), which may be ok for a show but i don't like it.
    Also the weapons and technology in general doesn't add up
    for me, sometimes it's futuristic, sometimes it's wild west 19th century. I know it's a premise of the show and it makes it special and sometimes interesting but mostly it's just unrealistic for this setting. Expand

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: James Poniewozik
    Jun 28, 2013
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Jun 14, 2013
    'Firefly' benefits enormously from Whedon's ability to take the clichés of any genre and give them a good, hard yank.
  3. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Feb 24, 2013
    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]