Firefly is an American space western drama television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon, under his Mutant Enemy Productions label. Whedon served as a producer, along with Tim Minear. The series is set in the year 2517, after the arrival of humans in a new system and follows the adventures of the renegade crew of Serenity. The ensemble cast portrays the nine characters who live on Serenity, Whedon pitched the show as nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things. In this future, the two surviving superpowers, the United States and China, fused to form the central federal government, called the Alliance. According to Whedons vision, nothing will change in the future, technology will advance, but we still have the same political, moral. Firefly premiered in the U. S. on the Fox network on September 20,2002, by mid-December, Firefly had averaged 4.7 million viewers per episode and was 98th in Nielsen ratings. It was canceled after eleven of the fourteen produced episodes were aired, despite the relatively short life span of the series, it received strong sales when it was released on DVD and has large fan support campaigns. It won a Primetime Emmy Award in 2003 for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series, TV Guide ranked the series at No.5 on their 2013 list of 60 shows that were Cancelled Too Soon. The series takes place in the year 2517, on a variety of planets, the TV series does not reveal whether these celestial bodies are within one star system, only saying that Serenitys mode of propulsion is a gravity-drive. The film Serenity makes clear that all the planets and moons are in one large system, the emigrants established themselves in this new star system, with dozens of planets and hundreds of moons. Many of these were terraformed, a process in which a planet or moon is altered to resemble Earth and this resulted in many of the border planets and moons having forbidding, dry environments, well-suited to the Western genre. The show takes its name from the Firefly-class spaceship, Serenity and it resembles a firefly in general arrangement, and the tail section, analogous to a bioluminescent insectoid abdomen, lights up during acceleration. The ship was named after the Battle of Serenity Valley, where Malcolm Reynolds, former sergeant in the Independents and it is revealed in Bushwhacked that the Battle of Serenity Valley is widely considered the loss which sealed the fate of the Independents. Throughout the series, the Alliance is shown to govern the system through an organization of core planets. The central planets are firmly under Alliance control, but the planets and moons resemble the 19th-century American West. Settlers and refugees on the worlds have relative freedom from the central government. In addition, the areas of space are inhabited by the Reavers
The spacecraft Serenity was digitally rendered by special effects house Zoic Studios. The shape was inspired by the shape of the firefly insect, and its tail section lights up in imitation of it.