In the beginning there was the TV series. Set in 26th century, ‘Firefly’ was created by Joss Whedon, who got inspired by Michael Shaar’s ‘The Killer Angels’ – a chronicle describing the Battle of Gettysburg. Joss became interested in the people who fought the Civil War and were defeated, how they lived on. His TV series reflects that interest. The main character - Malcolm Reynolds (portrayed by Nathan Fillion), is a former sergeant of the Browncoats, who, after the Alliance won the war, lives a life of an outcast. He buys a shabby Firefly class spaceship, which he names after the lost battle of Serenity Valley, he gathers a crew and tries to make a living as a mercenary taking jobs, often illegal. He smuggles various goods and provokes bar fights in Alliance-friendly bars on Unification Day.
Joss Whedon didn’t make ‘Firefly’ a one man show. He gives a fair share of screen time to every member of the crew and it’s the interactions between them that make the series interesting. Every crew member has their own, devoted group of fans and some memorable quotes. Aside from the captain the crew of ‘Serenity’ consists of: Zoë Washburne (Gina Torres), Hoban „Wash” Washburne (Alan Tudyk), Kaylee Frye (Jewel Staite), Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin), Inara Serra (Morena Baccarin), shepherd Derrial Book (Ron Glass), River Tam (Summer Glau) and doctor Simon Tam (Sean Maher). There are also some memorable recurring characters such as Saffron (Christina Hendricks) and Badger (Mark Sheppard).
Unfortunately, ‘Firefly’ wasn’t very lucky – the air times were changed, the sequence of episodes has been rearranged, and three of them have been omitted, and then the series was cancelled entirely. The fans didn’t forget it though – they organized events and fought for their favorite series. Their activities finally led to the production of Serenity – a feature film that resolved some storylines of the show. The universe of ‘Firefly’ continues to live on in comic books and role playing games.
The most important thing is that ‘Firefly’ has a very well-organized fan base. In every part of the world, groups of Browncoats form and they not only promote the show, but also live by their film counterparts’ motto: ‘If you can't run, you crawl. If you can't crawl – you find someone to carry you’. This means that the fans engage in helping those in need. American Browncoats support various charities promoting reading among children, and fighting for gender equality around the world.
Of course this is not the only reason for the Browncoats’ existence. They also gather to watch the series and the film, they make numerous things like wool Jayne hats or many t-shirts inspired by the show, but, what is most important – they can count on each other and they help each other whenever possible.