Firefly's cancellation

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 12:14
VIEWED: 3342
PAGE 1 of 1

Monday, June 18, 2007 3:17 PM


ok, why exactly did Firefly get cncelled so early? Is the president of FOX allergic to good shows?


Monday, June 18, 2007 3:28 PM


I believe Firefly was cancelled because, the idiots at FOX showed it out of order, pre-empted it with sports, and never understood it to begin with, among other things.
Also, WELCOME ABOARD! Have a Mudder's Milk!

Fe'nos Tol
JOSSIS(Most Definitely)AGOD

Self appointed Forsaken! Been on the list for a while now!
98% of teens have smoked pot, if you are one of the 2% that haven't, copy this into your signature.
"Look at me, I'm STUPID!" The Doctor.


Monday, June 18, 2007 3:47 PM


This guy had it pretty darn close to the mark I reckon.

Swatting the Firefly
by Hank Parnell
Posted on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 16:43


Originally published in The Texas Mercury

The very week that Fox TV finally deigned to broadcast the pilot episode of its unique, ground-breaking sci-fi show Firefly, they also announced its cancellation.

You may recall that I predicted this. It gives me no pleasure to be right about these things. Further, while I consider mocking irony to be a force of nature as real and pervasive as gravity and the convection of heat, the way in which Firefly was mishandled by Fox seems a little too calculated to be anything but deliberate. Yes, I tend to be paranoid; but sometimes, you know, even paranoids have real enemies.

One thing became utterly clear while I was watching "Serenity," the pilot episode: there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. It had action, it had adventure; it had character and development. It was smart, funny, tough-minded, and 100 percent different. It set everything up perfectly. Unless the programming executives at Fox are retardate morons who need to be in an institution rather than making millions as the heads of a TV network, the decision not to air the two-hour pilot first and the rest of the series' episodes in sequence is too big a blunder to be a simple "mistake" or "accident."

They wanted to kill this show. I believe that, as surely as I do that the sun rises in the east. Had they really been behind the series, and wanted it to "go" somewhere, they would have first of all given it a decent time-slot, one in which it would have had a chance to find an audience—the nine-o'clock (Eastern) slot on Sunday nights, vacated by that overwrought piece of dreck The X-Files*, would have been perfect. It is—was—not an eight o'clock primetime "kiddie" show. It was a serious drama with a fantastic setting. And it was simply without question the best show of its type ever made for television.

So why did Fox kill Firefly so deliberately? Did they want to punish creator Joss Whedon for his "unexpected" successes with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel? Demonstrate to him conclusively that it is not the few genuinely creative people in Hollywood who hold the real power in the industry, but the men and women who hold the purse strings?

Long ago I reached the conclusion that the medieval system of patronage, whatever its faults and drawbacks, was infinitely superior to the modern "market" system of "free-enterprise" for encouraging the creation of lasting works of literature and art. I put these in quotes because market economics is only a tool, and hence is only as good—or bad—as those who wield it. A society of intelligent, thoughtful individuals could, no doubt, produce the highest art ever known to man through a market economy. A society of lowest-common-denominator swine, sheep, slaves and mindless, pap-programmed robots could only, I submit to you, produce the kind of utter dreck that is foisted on gullible audiences today as "entertainment," and for which the swine, sheep, slaves and robots are only too eager to pay, and, by so doing, to support its continuance.

Bear in mind that medieval society was likewise comprised of swine, sheep and slaves (they didn't have the John Dewey-style system of "public education" in those days required to turn out the robots), so that the system of patronage actually could work; rich aristocrats who genuinely had an interest in the arts could selectively choose who to support and who not to with a taste and consideration which, clearly, the vaunted "common man" of any age is incapable.

But now this hints at another problem with Firefly, and which may have contributed to its undoing. This was an uncommon show, aimed at uncommon people. It had depth, sensitivity and intelligence—things notably lacking in every other show on television. The latest Star Trek incarnation, Enterprise, for example, is as shallow as a puddle of dog urine, has a ton of squeamishness masquerading as "sensitivity," and is as stupid as only the post-original Star Trek clones can be. (My favorite pastime, when I bother to watch it, is spotting the inconsistencies and incongruities between this milieu, purportedly taking place a century before the exploits of Kirk and Company, and that of the original series.) The only other sci-fi show I have come to watch regularly is the eccentric Starhunter, a syndicated Frog-Limey-Canuck co-production that is simply not in anywhere near the same league as Firefly, though it is perhaps more "scientifically correct" in its vision of the future and has, in ways, echoes of the frontier aspect so adroitly utilized by Firefly—this is another show where they wear long-tailed coats and tied-down guns in the future. (Starhunter is obviously made on the very cheap, and is in its third year of production in Europe, though the first season has just now made it to American TV.)

But Firefly was just light-years beyond anything before it. Given its fate, there is surely likely to be nothing anywhere near it in the future. As I said before when I tried to interest you in it, Firefly never stepped too far out of line for an American TV series in the early twenty-first century, but it also, in its stubborn, eccentric way, refused to toe that line. Yes, Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) was a "good" man, ultimately, in the conventional sense; but he had to work at it, and in his case "being good" was an act of tragic nobility, for he believed in the life-darkened depths of his otherwise pure soul what little psycho-psychic River (Summer Glau) elicited from him with her mind-reading powers in the last sequential episode, "Objects in Space"—that "none of it means a damn thing."

You see, as with your author, it "meant" something only to him; and his decision to be good was, indeed, a conscious act—he was "good" because he believed that was the way human beings should be. He had no "proof" of it and every evidence against it. He also had the skills and knowledge, the talent and ability, to be more ruthless and clever than either of the series' crimelords, the slovenly Badger (Mark Sheppard) or the fiendish Niska (Michael Fairman). By all reason and logic, believing as he does that, ultimately and objectively, "none of it means a damn thing," he should at least have been as mindlessly and passionately mercenary as his shallow counterpoint Jayne (Adam Baldwin). But he is not.

Yes, he passed judgment and killed people on his own authority, and that is decidedly a "bad" thing in today's "law and order" climate—you are supposed to beat the crap out of them, then arrest them and turn them in for trial and prosecution; we have, in this society, supposedly a "rule of law" that ensures "justice." (Please pardon the hysterical and derisive guffaws in the background.) Malcolm Reynolds lived by a rule of honor that demands justice. He was in this respect quintessentially American—and, to be more specific about it, quintessentially Southern American.

And that, my friends, may really have been a problem for Firefly. The conscious patterning of the Firefly milieu on the Confederate defeat that Whedon publicly stated was the case may have not set very well in the Yankee-dominated halls of Political Correctness that rules modern America, be they "liberal" or "conservative" ("neoconservative"; again, the two are virtually indistinguishable). Firefly was an unabashed post-Civil War space Western where the losers were the good guys; and everything about the series echoed that, from the desert settings of the frontier moons and planets, the costumes, the music, even the characters' patterns of speech. We knew who these people really were. They had no slavery to fight for, only the right of self-governance—and, just the other day, I read where the National Park Service is "renovating" the Gettysburg Battleground to rid it of its purported "pro-Southern bias," the "myth of a Lost Cause" that was "based on the notion that the war was fought over states' rights, not slavery."

Here's a hint for you modern would-be "historians": the war was fought over states' rights. Slavery was just the pretext. Read the accounts of the time. Everybody said so, including, foremost of all, the "great emancipator" himself, Dishonest Abe Lincoln, who said, some of you may recall, that he was out to "preserve the Union," which he would do if it meant freeing all the slaves, or freeing none of them at all. But of course, the "new" Gettysburg will be patterned after the "Holocaust Museum," i.e., another shrine to political victimhood. (Contrary to popular present-day propaganda, World War Two was not fought over what Hitler was doing to the Jews—nobody on "our" side knew or, if they did, even cared what was happening to the Jews back then.) Which is to say, another excuse for the black man to get his "historical revenge" against the white man by making believe that punishing people for the sins and/or crimes, real or imagined, of their ancestors somehow constitutes "justice."

There were hints, of course, that some sort of racial and social antagonism existed in the Firefly universe. For one thing, the Alliance, to which Reynolds and his crew were opposed, is officially known as the "Anglo-Sino Alliance"; the crew was prone to breaking into Chinese when agitated (admittedly a ploy to bypass the censors); and there is a line in the original script to the pilot episode, "Serenity"—though it is missing from the episode as aired—in which the barker who attempts to get Reverend Book (Ron Glass) to board his ship, the Brutus, announces, "We are not interested in Asian or Catholic passengers, thank you." These elements, I suspect, would have been manifested as the series developed, if it had been allowed to develop, Whedon not wishing to overwhelm his audience with too much at once, and wanting to have something to draw upon in the series' future, if it had been allowed to have a future.

Firefly's greatest transgressions against the modern American Statist Quo, however, were in my estimation twofold and related. To be sure, this was not the mindlessly smarmy "optimistic" vision of the future that is Star Trek in its post-original incarnations; and that, to be sure, is a "sin." But Firefly, in its way, was, in this post 9-11 climate, almost downright seditious. The Alliance enforcers—the "bad guys"—were called "Feds." The attempt to unite and homogenize people was seen, by Firefly, as not a "good" thing; and yet it is the undeniable Zeitgeist of the modern age and behind every bit of mischief and misadventure in the world today, including what happened on September 11, 2001. Most people believe in it, reflexively. Nor do most people agree with Captain Reynolds' words (as quoted by Reverend Book in the episode "War Stories"), "The government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned." It is, after all, supposedly "our" government, "the system" over which we, the people, are presumably "sovereign," simply because we have a "choice" between drinking a bottle of slow poison or shooting ourselves in the stomach, politically-speaking, come election day. Do not think that Firefly was not drawing allusions and parallels to our own society and its attendant beliefs, or that this implicit criticism went unnoticed by the powers-that-be.

But most of all, living "beyond the law" as Reynolds and his crew had to, the moral universe of Firefly depended not on the "rule of law," but on its much-maligned and deliberately-misunderstood alternative, the rule of honor. And Firefly made the case, through Reynolds, as persuasively as it has ever been made in American fiction, print, TV, film or otherwise, in my opinion, for the ultimate superiority of the rule of honor over the rule of law—at least for uncommon people, if not the run-of-the-mill herds of swine, sheep, slaves and robots held to be so dear today.

For you see, the rule of honor demands what law must defer: individual responsibility, personal culpability, what is fair and what is just, of every man (and woman) who lives by it. Nowhere is this made more clear than at the climax of the episode "Ariel," in which Reynolds is about to space Jayne for betraying River and her doctor brother to the Feds. Jayne, after some hemming and hawing, admits his guilt, and his reasons for the betrayal: "The money was too good. I got stupid." This makes little impression on Reynolds, who turns and walks away: he knows Jayne is guilty, and why. What turns him back around and stops him is when Jayne asks what Reynolds plans to tell the others, and says, rather pathetically:

"Make something up. Don't tell 'em what I did."

I, for one, could see the wheels turning in Mal Reynolds' head: He's ashamed. There may be something of a man in him after all.

It is then, of course, that Reynolds closes the outer hatch before Serenity leaves the atmosphere, and spares Jayne's life.

Some of you may think this is only in my imagination; and to be sure, I do not imagine that Joss Whedon has sat down and thought about the rule of honor as I have, or would even support or espouse it, as I do, other than as a fictional device for the development of one of his characters. And yet there it is; consciously or not, it is in there, and it underlies every single thing that Reynolds does. Honor is his roadmap in life, his way of finding his way through the wilderness. It says to him at every turn: This thing I can do and live with myself; this thing I can't. It is in the end what makes him a "good" man, in the conventional sense, and an American, and, ultimately, a Southerner.

And it is the greatest offense, the greatest affront, that Firefly could give to our vaunted modern age, and why, in my opinion, Fox never gave the show any kind of a chance.

There is a petition to save Firefly, hopefully by getting the United Paramount Network (UPN), owners of the Star Trek franchise (and where Whedon already has one "hit" series, Buffy), to pick it up. I support any and all efforts to save this show, if it can be saved, which I honestly doubt. It is genuinely worth something, in my estimation; worth more than all the rest of the TV shows currently on the air. I still think it's the best thing that's ever been on American television; and I can't escape thinking that that is exactly what killed it.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007 8:47 AM


Well, now that I finally own the series I can say that Fox sucks balls. They fail at life and they need to know it. so, im gonna throw a rock through their window


Tuesday, June 19, 2007 9:17 AM


America loves a winner!

The suits at that network thought they were getting a series something like Galaxy Quest, and Joss went and made something really good. Go figure.

People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don't like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy. - Joss

" They don't like it when you shoot at 'em. I worked that out myself. "


Tuesday, June 19, 2007 10:04 AM


Well I had not read that one before, and I must say that that was one of the best written articles about it's cancellation that I have ever read. I am going to be sure to copy that one.

"This is why we lost, you know. Superior numbers." "Thanks for the re-enactment, sir."


Tuesday, June 19, 2007 10:08 AM


When it comes to Firefly's being canceled, there is a possible way to get Fox to renew it. Write in to Fox requesting that they bring it back. Course one or two people alone couldn't get it back. So try to get others to help you do so. That's what I've started trying to do. And if nothing else, threaten to stop watching the channel at all. If you can't beat 'em, screw 'em over.

Visit my site!


Tuesday, June 19, 2007 11:43 AM


Thanks for posting that, Calhoun.

I hadn't read that before. I think it's pretty much dead-on.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007 12:11 PM


Odin, I don't think FOX is going to care if they lose a few hundred viewers.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007 12:14 PM


Depends on how clever you are. Namely in writing to Fox.

Visit my site!






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