Firefly wins TeeVee Awards ’03: Most Unjust Cancellations Award.
But we still must wail against the cancellation of Firefly. Granted, the show’s first aired episodes were a bit shaky. But those who saw the final part of its run (as well as the pilot episode Fox refused to air until it was far too late) saw the strength of its writing, its premise, and its fantastic cast.
A sci-fi western, Firefly really began to work when it more deftly mixed genres, shifting from western to action to techno-sci-fi with ruthless efficiency. It was uncompromising in its quirks — all the outer space scenes were silent, since there’s no air (and therefore no sound) in space — and that idiosyncracy probably didn’t help it with your average TV viewer.
But people who say Firefly was a flop probably didn’t watch more than one episode. And many uneducated folks simply look at its sudden cancellation and jump to a bad conclusion: that after his success with Angel and Buffy, Whedon couldn’t reach his built-in audience with Firefly. The problem with that reasoning is, more people watched Firefly than either of Whedon’s other two creations last year, combined. It’s just that the ratings bar is set a bit higher on Fox than it is on UPN and The WB.
Fox has cancelled more good shows than UPN and The WB have aired in their combined existences: Firefly, The Tick, Undeclared, Andy Richter Controls the Universe just in recent history.
Why? To bring us Joe Millionaire 2, coming this fall.