Stupid Fox network. Stupid, stupid, stupid. They cancelled the show Firefly after only airing ten episodes (14 were shot). Yeah, this all happened in 2002, so I'm a little behind the curve. Tracy and I recently borrowed the boxed set of the series , after hearing positive things about it from so many friends.
I was unimpressed by the two-hour pilot. It seemed like Joss Whedon was taking himself way too seriously, and the whole space western thing seemed like an awkward beast to me. But by the second or third episode I was totally hooked. The plots were definitely meant for grown-ups, with some fun but complicated relationships between the characters, which I liked, and a good mix of humor and seriousness. The writing was sharp and the chemistry between the actors sparkled. I've read that Whedon intended the series to run for seven years, and even in the first half of a season, you can see seeds being planted. I was actually surprised at how fast we got to know the characters, which made the sudden end of the series feel all the more jarring.
Most TV series that vanish do so for good reason, but every once in a while, you can't help but think the network executives passed up something really cool. Firefly is one of those times, one of those things I see, and say, I wish I could have worked on that. Damn shame. Watch it if you get the chance.