Three Reasons Why Firefly Failed

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

It’s been said Gene Roddenberry pitched the original Star Trek TV show as “a western in outer space.” I can appreciate the simplicity of that statement, but think it’s a bit off the mark. However, that would’ve been perfect for the TV show Firefly.

Firefly truly was a western in space. (Lest you think the idea a bit crazy, consider the movie Cowboys and Aliens.)

Firefly, like Star Trek, also had its pilot episode rejected — and was then given the green light to shoot a second one.

Firefly debuted ten years ago and only lasted half a season. This was not because of any problems with the show, but with its network. There are three reasons why Firefly failed:

1) The shows were aired out of sequence: Though each show was self-contained, it also built on the prior one. There’s no excuse for showing them out of order.

2) It was often preempted: It’s hard to build a following if people can’t form a habit of watching you each week.

3) The plug was pulled too soon: Only 14 episodes were shot and only 11 aired. Had it been given a full season, an audience would have developed. It was in the unaired episodes that the story really took off.

Firefly creator Joss Whedon had a unique concept, an intriguing storyline, and a seven-year story arc mapped out. Had the network not bungled it, Firefly could have been the next Star Trek.

I encourage you to check out Firefly but don’t watch them in the order aired, rather in the order they were filmed (as listed in Wikipedia and Netflix).

[Tip: The original two-hour pilot was named Serenity, as was the movie sequel, shot in 2005. Watch the pilot Serenity first and the movie Serenity last.]

Read more in Peter Lyle DeHaan’s Sticky Series books, including Sticky Customer ServiceSticky Sales and Marketing, and Sticky Leadership and Management featuring his compelling story-driven insights and tips.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an entrepreneur and businessman who has managed, owned, and started multiple businesses over his career. Common themes at every turn have included customer service, sales and marketing, and leadership and management.

He shares his lifetime of business experience and personal insights through his books to encourage, inspire, and occasionally entertain.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.

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