I was a big Buffy fan, and then became an even bigger Angel fan, but Firefly never sounded like something i ever wanted to see, so when it sputtered to an end i felt no great sense of loss. But another Joss fan raved about it, and now that it's out on DVD she's lending her copy to me. I've only seen the pilot so far, and i think it's fantastic. But honestly, i can't imagine how this got greenlighted at Fox in the first place. The viewer actually has to engage with the material and trust that the characters' secrets, the settings, the frontier themes will all develop into a thoughtful, coherent universe with resonance for the viewer. This being a Joss Whedon show, i believe absolutely that it will. Your average viewer would never have the commitment to deliver up ratings that would keep this ship flying. Of course it didn't help that Fox seems to have sabotaged Firefly from the outset.
Most of these comments show exactly why interesting and innovative shows, or indeed any show that's not in the same mold as every other show, don't get made. Or if they get made, they don't attract viewers quickly enough for the networks and they get dumped, whereas junk like "Veronica's Closet" just keeps getting renewed. "Action" was brilliant, and i'm glad it had its short perfect run. "Freaks and Geeks" was great. "Undeclared" is great. "Once and Again" had the best-written teens on televison, maybe ever. "The Tick" took a brilliant cartoon and somehow made it even better in live-action. And they all failed, because the American people want jokes in their comedy, jokes that come at regular intervals. They don't want comedy that's closer to drama, or to "real life", or to tragedy. They want a laugh track to tell them when something's funny. "Watching Ellie" is really funny, mostly because Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a brilliant physical comedienne. You watch her expressions, what she does with her eyes and mouth and hands, reacting to the frustrations of life, and she is just brilliant. The 22-minute limit is a gimmick, but it's actually fun to see what new situation the writers come up with to attach the ticking clock to. This show is going to die a quick death, and in five years it's going to come out on DVD and everyone will declaim its brilliance. Too bad it's a network show. Cheers to Julia Louis-Dreyfus (and even to Brad Hall).