Much praised and much missed after its premature cancellation, Firefly is the first SF TV series to be conceived by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy and cocreator of Angel. Set five centuries in the future, it is a show where the mysterious personal pasts of the crew of the tramp spaceship Serenity continually surface. In fact, it's a Western in space where the losers in a Civil War are heading out to a barren frontier. Mal Reynolds is a man embittered by the war, yet whose love of his comrades perpetually dents his cynicism--even in the 14 episodes that exist we see him warm to the bubbly young mechanic Kaylee, the preacher Book, the idealistic doctor Simon, even to the often demented River, Simon's sister, the psychic result of malign experiments.
Firefly is also about adult emotional relationships, for example Kaylee's crush on Simon, the happy marriage of Mal's second officer Zoe and the pilot Wash, the disastrous erotic stalemate between Mal and the courtesan Inara. Individual episodes deal with capers going vaguely wrong, or threats narrowly circumvented; character and plot arcs were starting to emerge when the show was cancelled. Fortunately, the spin-off movie Serenity is planned; and in the meantime, what there is of Firefly is a show to marvel at, both for its tight writing and ensemble acting, and the idiocy of the executives who cancelled it