There are many shows that I really and truly love. I think Battlestar Galactica was perhaps the most consistently brilliant television drama on television throughout it’s 4-season run, and that’s even eclipsing other non-sci-fi. I think Dollhouse and Pushing Up Daisies had brilliant potential and were canceled before their time.
But even as I fall in love with True Blood and Leverage, there’s one show that stays with me… literally, like the tattoo on my skin, but also in my mind, in the way I accept new shows, and even in the way I speak. It’s the show I proclaim as “the greatest single season ever aired on television” to anyone who asks about the symbol on the back of my neck.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m talking about Firefly.
It’s the show with the most amazing fans, and some of the most irritating, people who can’t get over a cancellation from nearly 10 years ago rather than celebrating the amazing things our favorite actors have done since. Yes, the show’s premature cancellation and reaction to it has become so legendary it’s spawned its own namesake on TVtropes.com, “The Firefly Effect“, but I prefer a more celebratory approach to my appreciation for the show rather than mourning.
You don’t need me to walk you through what Firefly is; if you’re visiting I’m sure you’ve at least heard about it. Maybe you haven’t watched because it’s been overhyped. A reasonable excuse (and one I’ve used to explain that I’ve still never seen a single full episode of TNG or Babylon 5). Maybe the idea of a “space western” sounds hokey, or maybe you just don’t like Joss Whedon. Again, fine.
That said, I continue to proclaim it “the greatest single season ever aired on television”. Rich characters, where even the bad guys make you want to learn more about them…Who doesn’t love to hate Badger? Who wasn’t left wanting to know more about Niska? Amazing chemistry, blazing hot tension, and a healthy dose of love, loss, faith, fear… every emotion being tested and tempted with each episode. And my god the writing… who has seen the show and not finished an episode reciting a line or two? Or name me a Browncoat who doesn’t break out a “gorram” now and again, or make certain phrases part of their regular vocabulary?
This show doesn’t just inspire fandom. It inspires obsession. Every year at Dragon*Con, this show that was on television for a single season is easily one of the most well-repesented fandoms. And I get it. Years later I still watch it constantly. I brought my DVDs with me on my honeymoon to Spain, where we spent our most memorable night of our 10 days there cuddled up on the sofa in our rented apartment, eating baguettes with cheese and honey and watching “Ariel” on our laptop. It’s our “bad day” show that we watch when we need a pick-me-up, and it’s the one and only series where I know each and every episode by name.
I don’t know what it is about the formula for this show that hit everything so perfectly besides spot-on casting leading to the flawless execution of a truly brilliant script. I just love it so very much. I don’t pine for it to come back; it was a truly once-in-a-lifetime combination of elements coming together, but I do look forward to the wonderful things the cast has had the opportunity to do and you can bet if I hear about a cast member’s appearance on a new show, it’s on my must-see list.
Sometimes I feel silly for having such an obsession for something as simple as a television show, but I’ve found it to be something that brings people together. I’ve never met a Browncoat I didn’t immediately click and connect with, either at conventions or even in the office, or at parties (well, except for maybe the whiny ones who continue to distribute petitions for it to come back…). The joy we have when we get the opportunity to talk about Firefly is a common thread that brings those of us who fell in love with this show together, and that’s easily the most special thing about it.