I have a great deal of affection for Joss Whedon’s prematurely ended science-fiction series, “Firefly”, which aired on Fox Television in the United States in late 2002, and was viewable in Ireland via the old Sci Fi Channel in 2003. It was an odd but effective “space western” which initially baffled most audiences and critics, a problem not helped by the network’s decision to broadcast the episodes out of sequence, losing much of the linear plotting and character development. Rather than being gradually introduced to the world created by Whedon and co-producer Tim Minear, viewers were more or less dumped into the middle of the story, many no doubt further confused by Fox’s disdainful decision to promote the series as a sort of SF-tinged action-comedy (though admittedly narrative-based humour is one of the show’s more endearing strengths).
Watched in the intended sequence the show is far more accessible which is of course what happened once it was released to the DVD and later Blu-ray markets, gaining it a cult status beyond the dedicated and newly internet-savvy fanbase established in its initial run. Joss Whedon attempted to tie up some of the loose ends left after the programme’s sole and only series (or season, as they say Stateside) with a cinematic sequel, 2005’s modest box office success, “Serenity”, which satisfied most fans while meeting with some approval from more general audiences. The Digging Deeper crew now have an interesting analysis of the movie, referencing everything from John Ford’s legendary 1956 film, “The Searchers”, to John Carpenter’s “The Thing”, a chilly 1982 part-update of “The Thing from Another World” which was released some three decades earlier in 1951. It’s well worth a watch if you still have brown coat hanging somewhere in the back of your mental wardrobe.