Best of the Small Screen, Limited Run Series No. 2


Over the next 22 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today the countdown continues with one of the best cult series of all time.

Firefly (2002-2003)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 1/14
Network: FOX
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Jewel Staite, Adam Baldwin, Morena Baccarin, Ron Glass, Sean Maher, and Summer Glau
Creator: Joss Whedon
Favorite Season/Episode: 1.08, "Out of Gas"
About: In the fall of 2002, FOX aired this new series from Joss Whedon, the mega producer who created "Buffy The Vampire Slayer." It was, simply, one of the best shows of all time. But it was a series that defied description and understanding, even for FOX. "Firefly" is a space western, which featured a largely unknown cast at the time and a future world with a mixture of English and Chinese. It was like a traditional western, but it was also a show set in space. And it featured an original theme song written by Whedon. Everything about the series is brilliant, but it was sometimes hard for audiences to get into the show. FOX struggled with it, too, airing the episodes out of order and showing several in the fall of 2002 before dumping the rest in the summer of 2003. In fact, FOX didn't seem to air a single episode in order, something most people only discovered when the series was put on DVD. In fact, the pilot wasn't even the first episode of the series that aired. In fact, my favorite episode — "Out of Gas" — was the fifth episode FOX aired but was the eighth episode in terms of story. All the episodes are great, but "Out of Gas" is my favorite because it shows the powerful bond between the characters, it's a great showcase for Fillion, and it gives a lot of backstory and history on how the crew came together. Fortunately fans of the series got a bit of closure in the form of a feature-length film, "Serenity," which featured the complete original cast and was released in 2005. That's actually how I found this world. I watched the feature film and loved it. Then I discovered it was previously a TV series, picked it up, and have watched the whole thing nearly a dozen times. It's a near perfect series — one I wish I'd have found when it was on the air. But I didn't, nor did many others, and it quickly saw its run come to an end. But this is a series that has developed a passionate fan base in its afterlife, and it remains one of the most beloved sci-fi shows of all time.

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