7 Realizations Upon Introducing Our Kids to Firefly

Geek Culture Television


I’ll admit, we’re probably a little behind the curve, but we finally introduced our boys (both teens, 14 and 15) to that mythical show, Firefly. It wasn’t so much any parental worry over the subject matter that delayed us. Yes, there’s some PG-13 stuff in there, but nothing they haven’t already seen elsewhere, and most of the swearing is just cute. There just hasn’t been time previously, but this year with the holidays and a reasonable time off, it was possible to power-watch through the series over a couple weeks.

And as geeks, we all know how much fun it is to introduce people to things you already love (doubly so when it’s your kids). It was a blast to watch the show with them, because being good geeks themselves, they really, really got it. And it’s pretty special to be able to watch a show like this through your kids’ eyes, too. Here’s a few things I’ve realized:

  1. The show holds up. 12 years later, and the plots are still fresh, and better-written than much of what’s on TV today. I think that’s saying a lot, because there’s a lot of great television being made today.
  2. The show hit the ground running when it started. My boys were hooked from the start, especially with Wash’s “crazy Ivan.”
  3. According to my boys, their top three favorite characters: Jayne, Wash, Book.
  4. My younger son says the ship, Serenity, looks like a horse to him, not an insect. Now I’m having trouble not seeing that.
  5. It’s amazing to be reminded at how much of genre television Mark Sheppard has been involved with. My sons are already fans of his via his work on Supernatural and Doctor Who. We compete to see who can do a better impression of him.
  6. Alan Tudyk is a comic genius. The boys love Wash, and we’ve continually pointed out to them that he did the voice of King Candy in Wreck-it Ralph, one of the highlights there. I’m planning on showing them Dale & Tucker vs. Evil very soon.
  7. Other than his inability to acknowledge his feelings for Inara, Mal Reynolds is a heck of a role model. His code of honor makes him a perfect future-Robin Hood (though he tries to keep a fair amount of the loot for himself and his team). Actually, I’d suggest he’s more Han Solo than we ever got to see Han Solo actually be (there’s a major geek debate: who’s the better space smuggler?).

I’m still waiting for “gor-ram” to enter their vocabulary as a swear word (they do already use “frak”). But the challenge now is that we’ve watched the entire series, and are just waiting for the weekend to watch Serenity. Knowing what happens, I’m almost hate to do it. Wouldn’t we all rather live in a universe where all the characters we love survive? But then, maybe this is all part of growing up.

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18 thoughts on “7 Realizations Upon Introducing Our Kids to Firefly

  1. We had our almost-14yo watch the series two years ago … minus the quite scary Reaper episode. He’s always had a good sense about what his triggers are and how much he wants to be exposed to things, but we didn’t even give him the option on that one. He’ll pick it up when we go through the short series again as a prelude to watching Serenity, which we’ve also kept him from seeing until he gets a bit older.

  2. I always thought Serenity was *supposed* to resemble a horse — part of the space-western theme.

    I’ve been introducing my parents to Firefly, since I don’t have kids. Similar shared experience, though!

  3. I introduced my father-in-law (who is a huge Clint Eastwood fan) to Firefly and he absolutely loved it. Unfortunately my kids are still young and we have years to wait before introducing Firefly to them. Who knew waiting could be so painful? They already know a few characters from jokes my wife and I pass back and forth to each other via social media, but the show has to wait. We have introduced other shows that are fun (Star Trek, et al and maybe even Stargate soon), but Firefly was just so good, I wish I could let them watch it while they are still young and impressionable. At least they have something to look forward to. It’s on the shelf next to Cowboy Bebop and Princess Mononoke.

  4. We had an interesting geek-crossover moment recently because my daughter (age 11) is a big Doctor Who fan. However, her Doctor Who ‘Future Companion’ T-shirt meant something altogether different to the Firefly fans we met on vacation… oops.

  5. Alan Tudyk also voiced the Duke in Disney’s Frozen, the film that surpassed all Disney records for earnings except for Lion King – and likely will blow past that this weekend.

  6. I’m still at a loss for why this show has such geek cred. I tried to watch it, and I only got through the first two episodes. And the best description I could come up with was Its like days or our lives, in space. I couldn’t see my sons sitting through this for any length of time.

    1. I understand where you are coming from. I had the same experience with the new Battlestar Galactica. Just couldn’t get into it, but I liked Caprica for some reason.

      It has geek-cred because it is loved by lots of fans (geeks) and they love it obsessively. That’s the basis of “geek-cred” isn’t it?

      The reasons vary. This article lists some of them (and you are welcome to disagree of course). In my experience it is basically this: The characters are well liked, the dialogue is great and the writing is top-notch. Jos Whedon is a big name in geek shows and he made a great one here with a complex narrative and a larger than normal group of characters that were each fully fleshed out. Then there are all the common sci-fi trappings, heists and hijnks, some fun western frontier and chinese elements, and a little horror and cyberpunk as well. That lends it geek-cred too. But mostly it’s just because people fell in love with the characters.

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