When Joss Whedon wanted to create a sci-fi TV show but realized he couldn't top Star Trek or Star Wars, he decided to add hookers and a race of cannibals capable of causing people to shit their pants at the mere mention of their name.
Keep in mind that this was the "pre-Avengers Whedon" who, up until this point, only had TV shows like Rosanne and Buffy the Vampire Slayer adorning his resume. I mean, come on, really? Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Television executives presumably laughed louder than Brendan Fraser upon hearing Whedon wanted to create a "science fiction western taking place in the year 2517."
But, guess what — it turned out to be an AWESOME show, and people went ape shit when it was canceled. Firefly has consistently shown up on numerous, and I mean numerous, and numerous, and numerous (you get the point) lists of television shows that shouldn't have been canceled.
So What the Hell Happened?
FOX. FOX is what happened. Apparently the "cancellation after only eleven episodes wasn’t due to the quality of the show, but more due to the way that FOX handled the show: Showing episodes out of order, never having aired three of the series’ fourteen episodes, and even going so far as to not air the first episode (which was double-length episode) of the series, which contained most of the characters’ backstory and set up the show for the future."
FOX cited "low ratings" as the reason for cancelling Firefly. If you read the previous paragraph, the first words out of your mouth should be: "Yeah, no shit." Watching a show like your DVD player's chapter select is set to "Random" will leave you confused as hell after a few episodes.
FOX is notorious for cancelling shows, and if you watch Family Guy (also cancelled by FOX) you might remember this classic scene:
The success of the series' DVD sales pushed Universal Pictures to greenlight a movie, named "Serenity," which would tie up all the loose ends of the series. You would think garnering the attention of a major motion picture company and being completely vindicated would be enough for fans. Oh hell nah! Fans — or "Browncoats as they like to be called — have been building websites, setting up Facebook groups, and even petitioned Joss Whedon to bring back the series on Netflix. Give it up, bro.
At the time of this article (August 2014), Firefly and "Serenity" are available on Netflix. For someone like me who doesn't like sci-fi movies nor westerns, this really turned out to be a kickass show.