(From the official Fox Firefly website.)
Set 500 years in the future in the wake of a universal civil war, FIREFLY tells the tale of Serenity, a small transport spaceship without a homeport. Captain Malcolm ("Mal") Reynolds commands Serenity for legitimate transport and salvage runs, as well as, more "entrepreneurial" endeavors.
On Serenity, crew and passengers live together in close quarters as they shuttle between the Alliance governed galaxy and the border planets that delineate the new frontier. The crew undertakes almost any job -- legal or not -- to stay afloat and put bread on the table. Each of the passengers has his or her own motivation for being on board - some honorable, some more questionable. All have unique pasts and different reasons for wanting to get to their destination.
Serenity and its crew flies to the border planets, many of which are barely inhabited, because they want to stay away from the Alliance and below its big radar. Thrust together by necessity, the disparate men and women of Serenity face constant challenges, which test and reveal their true identities. FIREFLY is about their unpredictable lives and relationships, as well as their search for meaning in a very uncertain time.
"You're probably safer on the move," the captain of the Serenity tells a reluctant, new crewmember, "and WE NEVER STOP MOVING."
- Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, "The Captain"
- Mal is the Serenity's captain. He is a defeated soldier who opposed the unification of the planets by the Alliance to no avail. The world he called "home" now gone, Mal does what he needs to do to keep Serenity flying and its crew intact. Uncertain of his role in peacetime, Mal wants a normal life, but at the same time knows he'll probably never have one - an ongoing internal conflict.
- Zoe, "The Soldier"
- Zoe served with Mal during the war and is very loyal to him. She owes her life to Mal and is torn between that debt and her future with her husband Wash. Zoe has the strength and experience to take command of the ship, if necessary.
- Wash, "The Pilot"
- Wash flies Serenity and is Zoe's husband. He is unassuming, self-deprecating and not at all the fiery hero type. He is the calm one with a sense of humor.
- Kaywinnit Lee "Kaylee" Frye, "The Mechanic"
- The ship's engineer and bright light, Kaylee is more comfortable on "her" ship than on the ground.
- Inara Serra, "The Ambassador"
- A "Companion" by trade, Inara has her own space on the ship's shuttlecraft. She is a high-class courtesan in a time when prostitution is perfectly legal on most planets. Why she is on the decidedly working class Serenity remains a mystery.
- Jayne Cobb, "The Mercenary"
- Big, tough and unpleasant; Jayne's a loyal soldier... until he gets a better offer and for now, the best one he's got is Serenity's. For now.
- Simon Tam, "The Doctor"
- Simon is the doctor on board Serenity. He comes from a wealthy background and has had a privileged upbringing. He constantly disagrees with Mal and the captain's decisions.
- River Tam, "The Fugitive"
- Borderline psychic, River can read most minds and tends to speak not only what is on her own mind, but others' as well. The Alliance is eager to "recover" their genius. She is also Simon's sister.
- Book, "The Shepherd"
- He is a priest, older and a little wiser than the rest of the crew. It is unclear if Book on a mission to spread the word of God throughout the universe or on a personal "walk-a-bout." He's found God, but he still needs to find himself.
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