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Review: Firefly (the series)

Firefly is an uncontested part of the nerd canon. i assumed this was because it was set in space and therefore it was nerdy etc.

but after watching the series, i'm left wondering...what is so nerdish about it? is it just that geeks have latched on to this and therefore it's geeky? let's talk about what makes Firefly awesome and see if we can't get to the bottom of this quandary, shall we? okay!

  • okay, so it is a space western. i think a lot of the elements that make this show awesome certainly could have been re-purposed to a different setting and i CERTAINLY don't think that being in space makes it so nerdish that it would kick out mainstream viewers. the western element makes it seem historic, not necessarily futuristic. i mean, i only saw awesomely cheesy lasers like 3 times (not enough, imo).
  • the main storyline is this crew of misfits transports goods - legally or illegally - across space. kinda like Futurama. and who doesn't love Futurama? of course there are character dramas and minor story arcs etc but the core purpose of why they are where they are, are the deliveries. 
  • the costumes are mostly modern with a few western pieces thrown in now and again. nothing sci-fi heavy or super futuristic. the set is a bit industrial (i mean, it is a spaceship and all), but again...not inherently nerdy.
  • the main character is a sexy guy who says sassy and sarcastic things and is secretly a big softie. guys love him because he's totally in control and protects his crew and is their leader etc. girls love him because of his sexiness and secret soft side. again, this is not the main character i'd imagined for show with such a hard core geek following.
  • the minor storyline involves a girl named River who underwent some mysterious testing at the hands of the government. she's a nut and a half, and also has what some might say is a special power...but that's stretching it a bit to declare that this element is what makes this a nerdy show. i just don't buy it. plus, i really REALLY don't like or care about the River storyline. i have watched the entire series but NOT the movie...yet. more on that in a minute.
  • there are no aliens. there are no weird animals. only people who are still struggling against an oppressive government and small settlements on the frontier who deal with the challenges of ethical and moral dilemmas.
  • this show is witty and snarky and funny. and as if the sarcasm coming from all directions all the time isn't enough, my favorite splash of humor in the series is most assuredly Wash. he's snarky and sassy, but he's also downright silly and goofy. plus, Alan Tudyk is kind of a beast and i love him. 
so there you have it. after watching the entire Firefly series, and LOVING it, i can't figure out what makes it so nerdy. is it just that Joss Whedon has his name on it? i'm not sure why he would necessarily denote a nerdish following...but you KNOW how many geeks love Buffy.

so what do you think? what makes Firefly a nerdy show? 

in the meantime, i'll be watching Serenity, the Firefly movie that was made to wrap up the loose ends from the series. it was cancelled with some outstanding questions still looming, and rumor has it that the movie covers a lot of those. as for me personally, i hope we learn more about who the hell the Shepherd is!

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Firefly! I think it's considered nerdy because it's in space yes, but I think the main reason is that it was shortlived and the fanbase is DIEHARD. Because I guess only we nerds willingly show that much love for our favorite things?

  2. I love Firefly, and the Serenity movie, and this question of nerdity is interesting to ponder. My first thought was that it has something to do with such a completely imagined future, and especially with the casual use of Chinese. I mean, is there anything more (awesomely) nerdy than cursing in foreign languages? Than anticipating the secondary language of the future? Than *not* translating the foreign language for viewers? Also, I nominate both the cross-genre vibe and the comfort with ambiguity and mystery regarding not only storyline, but also backstory. I love being dropped into that world and having to figure it out on the fly. I have heard many a complaint about that kind of storytelling from the decidedly non-nerdy population.

  3. pep - i agree with you that nerds are unabashed about what they love and to what degree they show that love. good point.

    merie - i'm pumped for the Serenity movie! the futuristic aspect is a touch nerdy, and oh my GOSH yes i love the Chinese swearing. i didn't really consider how intellectual Firefly could come across as far as figuring things out on your own. good point!

  4. I really need to get around to watching this! I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, and this is really the only thing I've avoided. I think because of the slash western part... not sure how I feel about that. But it's Whedon, so its gotta be good right?! :)

    I like any sci-fi show automatically gets the nerd label... which is funny, because while there are some uber nerdy space shows (old star treks), so many of them are very non nerdy because they are amazing dramas (battlestar galactica!)

  5. i think it is considered a nerd show because it was cancelled early and is only sought out by die-hards. so really what pepsivanilla said.

    also, the plot seems a lot like outlaw star which seems a lot like cowboy bebop. how is that for a nerdy comment?

  6. Erika - I think you'll really like it. It's clever, funny, and the characters really drive the show. I tried to watch BSG, but my hubs watched it faster than I could keep up so I got left behind. It's definitely on my to-watch list though!

    Eriks - I suppose a straight up comparison to a famed anime is pretty nerdy.


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