I’ve been known to approach people wearing Firefly shirts and say: “Shiny shirt!” It usually provokes a smile, laugh and/or conversation (and so far, no restraining orders). There’s almost an instant bond because I know I have a shared history with the person wearing that shirt.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been fourteen years since Firefly had a bumpy landing into our hearts (thanks to Fox airing the series out of order, and cancelling it without showing the last three episodes). But those few episodes (and one movie!) continue to collect and keep loyal fans. Those who proudly wear images and phrases of this short-lived series.
What is it about the show that is so enduring? Here’s some thoughts.
It Was A Short-Lived Summer Romance
Yes, I know it premiered in September, but even if you watched it on DVD or home video or later reruns, it felt like a summer romance. Quick, intense and ending far too soon. But we still think of it fondly, and often, perhaps, revisiting it on vacations and holidays. We will forever wish there was more, but know it can never be (and yes, Serenity gave you hope that you were getting back together, but once that fling was over, the relationship felt a little more final).
But in all seriousness, it does suck that there were only 14 episodes. But we also never had to watch it “jump the shark” or have a character we love leave due to contract issues. Sometimes short relationships are the best.
A Colorful Cast of Characters
A Han Solo-esque captain. A kick-ass first mate. A comedic pilot. An adorable Tomboy maintenance gal. An untrustworthy mercenary who may have a heart somewhere under that scary chest. The no-nonsense preacher. The doctor with a secret. His sister with a mysterious past and scary superpowers. And the prostitute with a heart of gold. All on one show!
And yes, those are very thin descriptions of nine character with great depth. But from episode one, these characters were so real, we fell in love with them all. Even Jayne. And the casting was perfect. You couldn’t even imagine anybody else playing these roles. And from what I’ve seen behind the scenes, they were (and still are) very fond of each other.
Most of them have gone on to TV shows and movies that may be more popular by the masses, but there is no doubt they still look fondly on their short time aboard Serenity. These actors help keep the legacy alive.The Mash-Up to End and Begin All Mash-Ups
Yeah, there had been some space/sci-fi westerns in the past. But Firefly blended the feel of the old time western frontier stories with futuristic science fiction elements. And they also blended both eastern and western cultures.
On top of that, the scope of the world Joss Whedon created is grander than most television shows, especially at that time. The story takes place post the Unification War, and feelings can still run hot about that. Especially if you’re a “Browncoat” like Captain Mal. We got smugglers, gangsters and the most terrifying of all: Reavers.
The show also had it’s own slang as well as lots of Chinese cursing. Which brings me to:
So Many Quotes, Inside Jokes, etc.
For a short lived television show, it sure did spawn some great references. So many quotes like “Shiny!” “I am a leaf on the wind” and “I aim to misbehave.” Let’s not forget:
Shirts with the Blue Sun logo started showing up as Firefly way growing in popularity. It was a great subtle reference for fans to share. Though when it comes to products from that world, I prefer Fruity Oaty Bars:
And then there’s Jayne’s hat:
So much great stuff packed into 14 episodes (and one movie!). I bet it’ll be popular until the year 2517.
Here’s some more shirts to show off your fellow Browncoat pride.