This past weekend, Nathan Fillion and the rest of the Firefly cast gathered together for a special panel at Long Beach Comic Con.
The audience of course asked about the show’s possible continuation. While some of the actors, including Sean Maher and Jewel Staite, are more than ready to jump back on board Serenity and travel the universe once again, others aren’t so eager.
Nathan Fillion, who played the eccentric and lovable Captain Malcolm Reynolds, said that he didn’t know where they would go with the series if it were picked up by a service like Netflix.
"I loved every minute of it," Fillion said, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. "It's really hard to look at that kind of stuff and say ‘give me more.’ Because enough is enough. Oh my god. It was everything. It was everything. How can everything not be enough?"
Firefly is as beloved as it is today because it didn’t have enough time to get bogged down by lore or forced seasons. It was the premature canceling of Firefly that made it the adored cult show that it is.
Even Buffy had a few bad seasons
It’s rare that a show that’s on the air for longer than two or three seasons has an immaculate run. Most shows tend to fizzle out around season four or five, but they continue due to critical success or high ratings. Dexter, House, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer all suffered from sluggish seasons.
It’s not the showrunner's fault. Nor is it the actors', the writers' or the producers'. There’s only so many new ideas that creatives can bring to the table; no network wants to end a show that's doing well. This can lead to a couple of things happening: the showrunner decides to leave (Aaron Sorkin on The West Wing, for example); actors decide to leave; writers take other jobs. The result is a cancellation that happens too late and feels like a mercy killing.
It’s something that Joss Whedon, creator of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, knows all too well. Whedon has spoken before about battling with the network over the direction of the show and wanting to end Buffy before it actually did. When fans demanded Firefly be brought back in some capacity, Whedon shuts them down.
Simply put, both Whedon and Fillion know that bringing Firefly back would be a terrible idea. We're in love with the possibility of more story, the promise of fulfilling answers to the show's questions. Reality would be a disappointment. Firefly feels perfect because it never had the chance to fail.
"It was everything. How can everything not be enough?"
If we were to bring back Firefly, it could suffer the same fate as Mr. Robot, one of my favorite shows on the air. Mr. Robot had a near-perfect first season. Everything about it, from the writing and the show’s photography to Rami Malek’s award-winning portrayal of solitary hacker Elliot Alderson, was immaculate.
So much so, in fact, that there were concerns from a variety of critics and reporters that the show wouldn’t be able to sustain that level of quality in its second season. They were right. The second season hasn’t been great, and while it’s not True Detective-level horrible, there are considerable issues with it that make the upcoming third and fourth seasons shakier than once thought.
But because Mr. Robot pulls in ridiculous ratings for USA, a network that doesn’t have much else going on for it aside from Law & Order marathons, it will likely continue to get renewed, no matter what happens to the core creative team.
If Mr. Robot had just existed as a 10-episode season, it would be remembered as one of the greatest series of television’s modern age. There wouldn’t have been time for the series to be screwed up. The fact that Firefly only had one season was the best thing that could have ever happened for the show’s integrity, even if that reality stings a bit. Cancellation can be a gift to your legacy.
We aren’t entitled to anything
The cast and crew of Firefly have moved on. That doesn’t mean that they don’t love what they were a part of, and to argue that Firefly isn’t special would just be ignorant and wrong. That’s why they reunite for panels at comic conventions or other events, but they don’t live within that world anymore.
Fans still don't seem to have given up the fight. There have been petitions to bring it back, Q&A’s with Whedon about why he isn’t doing more to make it happen and constant demands for more Firefly on social media.
When fans demanded Firefly be brought back in some capacity, Whedon shut them down
Bringing Firefly back might be exciting in the short term, but it will end in disappointment. Most of us were disappointed with Mr. Robot’s second season, True Detective’s second season, and, if we’re being honest, the reboot of The X-Files wasn’t all that great. Let's not get started on Arrested Development. After a while the body rots. Bringing it back to life is just painful for everyone.
The best way to honor Firefly would be to let it forever exist as one perfect 14-episode season and never bring up the idea of a reboot ever again. We were given a gift, and sometimes it's worth simply being thankful for what we have without asking for more.