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  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 20, 2002
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Firefly Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 279 Ratings

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  • Starring: Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher, Adam Baldwin
  • Summary: "Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand. I don't care I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me. Take me out to the black, tell them I ain't coming back. Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me......There's no place I can be since I found Serenity, you can't take the sky from me."

    Firefly is set five hundred years from today in a new planetary system after humanity abandons "Earth That Was". Under the leadership of Malcolm Reynolds, a renegade who fought against the new unified central government (the "Alliance"), the crew of the Firefly-class vessel Serenity struggles to survive any way they can. They fly between the border planets to keep away from the Alliance and below its radar. This series was described as a "science fiction western" but is different from other space-based shows as it features no aliens.

    (For stations and individuals seeking the intended air order of the series as specified by creator Joss Whedon, as opposed to the order Fox originally aired them or that they are informing stations is the order they should be shown in, see here)

    Each of the crew members has a special role:

    Malcolm Reynolds holds the duty of Captain - he is a defeated soldier who opposed the unification of the planets by the Alliance to no avail. He strives to keep all his crew members on task and Serenity flying safely, while trying to make a living and do the right thing...in his rather flexible moral framework.
    Zoe (aka The Soldier) is extremely loyal to Reynolds as she served with him during the war and owes her life to him. Zoe has the strength and experience to take command of the ship, if necessary.
    Wash is Serenity's pilot (and Zoe's husband) - unassuming, self-deprecating, and calm with a sense of humor. Kaylee is the ship's mechanic - an experienced engineer who keeps Serenity flying.
    Inara is a 'Registered Companion,' most easily described as a high-priced courtesan or geisha. She is also the person with the highest social standing on the ship and acts as the crew's Ambassador.
    Jayne is the muscle of the crew. A tough, uncultured Mercenary, unpleasant and offensively direct, but loyal to those on his crew...usually.

    The newcomers are:

    Simon Tam is the Doctor on Serenity and comes from a wealthy family and has a privileged upbringing. He has spent his life savings and future to save his sister, River.
    River (aka The Fugitive) was experimented on by the government. Her psychic visions (a result of the experiments) are taken at first as babble by the crew but they slowly come to realize that there's more going on than what shows on the surface.
    Book or "The Shepherd," is a wise minister who knows far more about military matters and battle tactics than a man of the cloth should, and his past is shrouded in mystery.
  • Genre(s): Drama, Suspense, Science Fiction
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 30
  2. Negative: 5 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Feb 23, 2013
    A very funny, very hip, very terrific sci-fi show.
  2. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    Feb 23, 2013
    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]
  3. Reviewed by: Mark Dawidziak
    Feb 23, 2013
    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]
  4. Reviewed by: Phil Rosenthal
    Feb 23, 2013
    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]
  5. Reviewed by: David Bianculli
    Feb 23, 2013
    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]
  6. Reviewed by: Howard Rosenberg
    Feb 23, 2013
    Early Firefly lacks majesty, and also that its laborious pace is hardly Star Warsian. [20 Sept 2002, p.C1]
  7. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Feb 23, 2013
    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]

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. 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. Expand
  2. 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* =(
  3. 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. Expand
  4. 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. Expand
  5. 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. Expand
  6. 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
  7. 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.

See all 38 User Reviews

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