10 Ways of Looking at FireflyS

Fans of the series Firefly call themselves Browncoats, and they're one of the most formidable fandoms on the web. The cult show means many things to many people. Here are just 10 possible ways to look at Firefly.

Firefly's cast of characters fly "out into the black" the same way Huck Finn once said he'd "light out for the territory." They're Old West-style rebels and rascals, always getting into trouble. Though this show is swashbuckling fun, it also has broader messages that keep the fans coming back for more. Last week we contemplated 10 ways of looking at Blade Runner, and this week we turn to Firefly . . .

1. It's a space opera with no aliens. Therefore, all wars are civil wars.

2. When the frontier moves into space, it's still just like the old frontier. You know, full of tiny towns that lack sanitation, alcohol-saturated saloons, and bad guys who ride horses and steal from innocent folk.

3. If you can't beat the Man, you can at least steal from him.

4. The worst kind of authoritarianism is scientific authoritarianism.

5. Your best weapon is a delicate, crazy girl-child. Which is to say, don't fuck with the weak. I think you know exactly what I'm talking about.

6. In the future, we will recognize sex workers as the royalty they are.

7. Minor acts of rebellion are still legitimate rebellion.

8. Creating a makeshift family, and carving out a tiny volume of freedom in a jalopy spaceship, is a way of keeping hope alive after a great defeat.

9. The mindless, lawless Reavers are one of the most dangerous threats out in the black. Authoritarian regimes create chaos rather than order.

10. Technological advances do not automatically lead to social advances.