Firefly,” the short-lived science fiction western created by joss whedon represents one of those wistful “what might have been” events that fans of the show still pine about a decade and a half later. The series did not last a single season and, even though a big screen motion picture sequel was created three years later, “Firefly” could not be called a commercial success. Reasons for the fact that the series did not last ten seasons as it surely deserved to remain a matter of debate, though sabotage by executives at Fox is the favorite theory.

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‘Firefly’ was the anti-Star Trek

Star Trek” was the first popular space going adventure TV show to make a major impact on popular culture. The crew of the Enterprise, though, were part of a quasi-military organization called Star Fleet that paid attention to regulations (except when they didn’t) and had a mission that was greater than themselves, to explore those strange new worlds, and so on.

The crew of the Serenity, the ship on “Firefly,” was a different lot altogether. They were rebels and renegades, living on the line between the law and criminality. Their mission was to rake it in as much as they could and as often as they could while keeping one step ahead of the law. The goal was to keep the ship flying, no matter what.

The most libertarian science fiction show on television

One of the aspects of “Firefly” that is most remarked upon was how libertarian it was. The governing body was called the Alliance. It was not, as its servants were quick to point out, the Evil Empire. It was a bureaucratic nanny state that believed that it knew better than its citizens how to run their own lives. Years before the series, a civil war occurred, not to preserve slavery but to avoid it.

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Just as with the American Civil War, the interplanetary version ended in defeat for the rebels.

Just because the Alliance government claimed not to be an evil empire did not mean that it was not capable of evil. “Serenity,” the feature motion picture version of “Firefly” featured an experiment conducted by the Alliance to use drugs to calm the violent impulses of its citizens (like questioning authority one imagines.) The result, which took place on a colony planet called Miranda, was horrific. The revelation caused the crew of the Serenity to realize that there were things greater than themselves worth fighting for. It also elicited one of the greatest calls to action in cinematic history. “I aim to misbehave.” And indeed they did, to their everlasting glory.

Ironically, the show’s creator, Joss Whedon, is a committed leftist who has extolled the virtues of socialism and has tweeted hateful things about Republican politicians. The fact that he brought into being a show that took a side opposite to what he believes is one of the great unanswered questions.