When Fox premiered Firefly on Friday, Sept. 20, 2002, all things seemed possible. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were still on the air and Joss Whedon was a god to us. He could do anything, and a bright, shiny new television show about a motley crew of smugglers who traveled aboard a Firefly-class spaceship called Serenity in the year 2517 seemed like it had infinite possibilities.
That was seven years ago, and I have to admit I fell in love at first viewing. Unfortunately, only me and 4.7 million or so of my best friends tuned in to watch Firefly on Friday nights. That wasn't nearly enough for Fox, and Firefly was canceled with only 11 of the 14 filmed episodes aired.
I was left wondering if I'd ever see those final three episodes, but luckily the DVD gave us a chance to see them, and then that did well enough to convince Universal Pictures that the crew's story wasn't done yet. The movie Serenity allowed Joss to tie up some stories—and kill off some characters.
Meanwhile, the cast and crew, of course, has moved on. Seven years later, here's what Joss and the cast of Firefly and Serenity have been up to.
After all of his shows left the air, Joss Whedon got busy with Web sensation Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, writing comic books and screenplays. Then he had lunch with actress Eliza Dushku and came up with the concept for her new show, Dollhouse, on the spot. He made friends with Fox again, which seemed like a mistake in so many ways. Paired with Terminator on Friday nights, Dollhouse never gained momentum, and it didn't seem to have a chance. Then a miracle happened and the sci-fi spy show was picked up while Terminator was canceled. The second season of Dollhouse debuted last Friday with approximately 2.7 million viewers, a couple million less than Firefly managed on Fridays when it was canceled. Color that ironic.
Since he starred as Capt. Mal Reynolds, Nathan Fillion has done well at playing rascals in a variety of roles, including the lead in a couple of short-lived series, Miss Match and Drive. However, it looks like he may have found a home on ABC's Castle as roguish novelist Richard Castle, who works with the police to solve crimes while annoying his pretty police detective partner.
The statuesque Gina Torres started off with such projects as Hercules, Cleopatra 2525 and The Matrix Reloaded before taking on the role of the tough and beautiful Zoë Washburne, Mal's loyal first officer. After Firefly, Torres appeared in regular roles on Angel, 24, Justice League, Alias and Standoff. Coming up, you'll be able to catch her guest-starring on ABC's FlashForward.
I'll never understand how Whedon could have killed off the charming Wash Washburne, the ship's pilot and Zoe's husband, in Serenity. (Not that I'm bitter!) Still, his character's death hasn't held him back. Alan Tudyk has been in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, 3:10 to Yuma and the Halo 3: ODST video game. Last season, Whedon cast him as the twisted Alpha in Dollhouse, a role that begs for a return at some point. This season Tudyk will guest-star in the pilot episode of ABC's V, which premieres in November.
Morena Baccarin played Inara Serra, the comely companion and only respectable person on the ship. She's taken on a wide variety of roles in Still Life, Justice League, The O.C. and Heartland. Still, she continues to be pulled back toward sci-fi. Her most notable role for sci-fi audiences is as Adria on Stargate SG-1. However, she'll soon be appearing in a leading role this season on V as Anna, the leader of the visitors.
You've got to love a rough-and-tumble guy named Jayne, especially if he's played by Adam Baldwin. The busy actor has guest-starred in Angel, Stargate SG-1, Jackie Chan Adventures, The Inside and the quickly canceled Day Break. But NBC's Chuck seems to have made the best use of his talents as the gruff NSA operative John Casey. Chuck returns for its third season after the Olympics in March of 2010.
Jewel Staite played the gifted ship's mechanic, Kaylee Frye, and she's had guest-starring roles in Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls and The Forgotten Ones. However, it wasn't until Stargate: Atlantis that she began appearing in a ongoing role again, playing Dr. Jennifer Keller. Rumors are that Dr. Keller will return, despite the fact that the series finished its run. Reports are that Staite is starring in the first Stargate Atlantis movie, Stargate: Extinction, which would air first on Syfy and then be released on DVD.
Sean Maher co-starred as Dr. Simon Tam, the sensitive yet determined brother who'd do anything to protect his sister, River. Maher has guest-starred in Ghost Whisperer, CSI: Miami and Drop Dead Diva and starred in the A&E movie Wedding Wars. He is currently working on a romantic comedy called Timing, starring opposite Eureka's Colin Ferguson as his love interest.
Summer Glau's role as River Tam, the schizophrenic young genius who's on the run from the Alliance with her brother Simon, was one of her first. Since then she's gone on to have recurring roles in The Unit and The 4400 and most notably to star in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as the Terminator Cameron. Ironically for Glau, it's been confirmed that she'll join Fox's Dollhouse (the show that was renewed in place of Terminator) this season in the recurring role Bennett, an eccentric programmer for a rival Dollhouse.
Character actor Ron Glass brought some real depth to Firefly in the role of Shepherd Derrial Book. Like Wash, Book deserved a better death than the one he got in the movie Serenity. Glass has guest-starred in The Division, Shark, Dirty Sexy Money and Lakeview Terrace. His comedy about misplaced bodies and family secrets, Death at a Funeral, is due out in the spring of 2010.