Special guest post by Shana Lieberman (@evilapprentice).
Edited by Blaire Knight-Graves (@blairelovestv).
“5 Things” is a weekly column in which a writer, group of writers, or contributors may offer 5 facts or opinions related to all things television. We invite you to contribute your thoughts by submitting your own “5 Things” or leaving comment. “5 Things” runs every weekend on welovetvmore.com.
1. It’s a Joss Whedon Masterpiece.
If that doesn’t tell you all you need to know, then I’m not sure if I can help you. Fabulous writing, an ensemble cast that is perfect for their roles, witty dialogue, deeper meaning that doesn’t kick you in the face like some kind of lame after school special, and ANGST. Admittedly, Joss didn’t get a chance to kill quite as many people in Firefly as he probably would’ve wanted, but 2005’s Serenity certainly made up for lost ground. Prepare your emotions for #BrowncoatBinge now. We’re gonna get Whedoned!
2. Malcom Reynolds was Nathan Fillion’s first leading role.
I can’t even. Mr. Fillion was absolutely brilliant as Mal, and the lovefest that is mandatory at every Firefly panel in the history of ever would seem to imply that he’s a great leading guy on set. Despite all of that, we may never have known just how brilliant he could be if it weren’t for Joss. After years of smaller roles in films and television series (including daytime soaps), Nathan Fillion finally got his leading role as Malcolm Reynolds. Fillion has been quoted many times in saying that nobody would give him a chance — nobody but Mr. Whedon, that is. So, again, I’m going to have to say that I can’t even. Can you imagine the world being deprived of those rugged good looks?
3. Yes, that’s Mandarin (Chinese).
In the future, curse words and expressions of exasperation, sadness, anger, and malcontent are all in Chinese. At least that’s how Joss Whedon saw it. The best part? The curses in Firefly aren’t just made up to sound like they’re coming from some sort of Asian dialect; they’re actually Mandarin Chinese. The internet is full of translations. They’re not for the weak at heart, but hey! If you want to make it look like you know the language, you can always just memorize Firefly dialogue.
4. Arguably, FOX never even gave the series a fighting chance.
Riddle me this: Why would a network pick up a show, air the episodes out of order, and then cancel the thing when only 11 of the 14 completed episodes had been aired? Why not just politely decline in the first place? The world may never know, but this is exactly the situation that happened with Firefly. The planned episodes 2-10 were aired in spots 1-9. “Objects in Space”, which should have been episode 14, was aired 10th…and…drum roll please…”Serenity”, the two-part pilot? Yeah, that was aired last out of the 11 episodes that FOX actually bothered to show. Perhaps if episodes had been aired in order, more people might have understood what was going on and kept watching. That might have saved the show, although with FOX’s track record, it probably wouldn’t have. Alas, we’re eternally left to wonder what could have been.
5. We’re still flying.
From the original pilot, “Serenity”:
Simon: Are you always this sentimental?
Mal: I had a good day.
Simon: You had the Alliance on you, criminals and savages…Half the people on the ship have been shot or wounded, including yourself, and you’re harboring known fugitives.
Mal: Well, we’re still flying.
Simon: That’s not much.
Mal: It’s enough.
Little did we all know that, over 10 years after Firefly was given the axe, this snippet of dialogue would still be a rallying cry for Browncoats everywhere. Despite FOX’s best efforts at killing the show and leaving it buried, the mere 14 episodes that we were gifted with still live on. Firefly continues to be a cult hit, with fans all over the world demanding that the show be brought back. Firefly panels at Comic Cons across the country (and even some internationally) are by far the hardest to get into, as not only does the original fanbase still support the show, but new Browncoats are born every second. As (evil) showrunner Joss Whedon himself said at last year’s SDCC, the worst thing that could’ve happened was that Firefly stayed dead. It didn’t. We’re still flying.