For the two or three people who may actually read this, I am going to recommend a TV show. While fictional television is usually a muck pit that effectively appeals to the ubiquitous and insatiable bottom feeders, occasionally a gem pops through. In the past seven or eight years, three of those gems were attributable to Joss Whedon. While most TV watchers are aware of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and its successful spinoff “Angel,” not many are probably aware of “Firefly.” (Links to more information about the show itself can be found here and here.)

I gave the show a glance when it was first aired on Fox, but, despite the attractively quirky originality of it, I had a tough time following it or maintaining interest in it. As I’ve discovered lately, that was likely due to the Fox Network’s bungling of the show. My wife recently decided to rent the show through Netflix (what a great service!). The DVD release of the show is packaged the way Joss Whedon originally intended it to be aired, which means that the rental viewer need not suffer the confusion of Fox’s pinheaded corporate meddling. Such bean-counting nitpicking included refusing to air the two-hour pilot, which deftly and succinctly introduced the “Firefly” universe and the Serenity’s crew and passengers. Furthermore, Fox aired the remaining episodes out of sequence. In the end, the show didn’t make the ratings that Fox desired, so it was cancelled. Go figure.

In any case, I’ve just completed watching all fourteen episodes in order, and I have to say that this is one of the best sci-fi series I’ve ever seen. As fiction goes, this is about as good as it gets. I was a big fan of the ensemble cast sci-fi shows “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Farscape,” and “Firefly” easily ranks with them. While it would have been nice to see this series go on for a couple more seasons, I’ll just have to settle for buying the DVD collection and waiting for Joss Whedon’s planned big-screen adaptation.

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