Firefly was an American science-fiction television program created by Joss Whedon. It was introduced as a mid-season replacement on the Fox channel in 2002. Fox cancelled the program after airing 11 of the 14 produced episodes. The show captured a small but extremely devoted fan following, and high DVD sales led to the production of a follow-up feature film directed by Whedon, Serenity, in 2005.
The show is set 500 years in the future, after humanity has fled earth and terraformed the planets and moons of a neighboring star system. The story follows the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity, whose captain and first mate are former members of the Independents, a recently defeated military movement against the system's centralized government, known as the Alliance. The war for Independence in the Firefly universe has strong parallels to the American Civil War, and indeed despite its space-opera setting, Firefly's locations and characters are strongly reminiscent of American westerns. The show often had funny dialogue.
The show is notable for its total lack of aliens and its use of muted sounds in space, both of which are unusual in space opera.
Firefly was rated TV14 in the United States and as such, parental discretion is advised for young viewers. The series contains many strong themes which may not be appropriate for children:
- Killing is commonplace in the series, but when the main characters kill, it is almost always for self-defense.
- The character Inara Serra is a "companion," a euphemism for prostitute who manages her own business and is subject to strict governmental & guild regulation.
- Sexual content is occasionally shown.
- In one episode, another character River Tam rips pages out of Shepherd Book's Bible in a misguided attempt to "fix it." Book stops her and tries to explain why you cannot change the bible. River apologizes and gives him back the pages she tore out.
Religion in the show
The show featured some form of Christianity, and sacred rituals related to the companions. The captain of Serenity is an atheist who comes into conflict with Book on the issue of religion. For example, in the first episode Book asks to say a prayer before the crew eats. The captain agrees but begins eating in the middle of the prayer. The show occasionally had jokes centered around religion.