Firefly is a space western science-fiction television series created by Joss Whedon in 2002. Set in the year 2517, the story follows the crew members of a Firefly-class ship called Serenity, as they travel through the fringes of known space. The crew is a hodgepodge, billed by Whedon as "nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things." The cast includes Captain Malcom Reyonds and his first officer Zoe Washburne, both former members of the "Bowncoats," a group who rebelled against the ruling power of the Alliance but ultimately lost; mercenary Jayne Cobb, who turned on his former partners when Mal offered him more pay; Inara Serra, a Companion or escort; River and Simon Tam, a brother and sister in hiding from the Alliance, which wants to exploit River's psychic powers; ace pilot Hoban "Wash" Washburne, Zoe's husband; optimistic and cheerful mechanic Kaylee Frye, known as the "heart of the ship;" and Shepherd Book, a priest with a surprising amount of knowledge of combat, military strategy, and criminal activity.
The show aired for only 14 episodes before its cancellation, but it almost immediately produced a cult following of dedicated fans who attempted numerous times to convince Fox network to revive the series. However, their efforts did lead to a DVD release of the series in 2003, and a separate fundraiser in 2004 netted over $14,000, which was used to stock donated copies of the DVDs on 250 U.S. Navy vessels as entertainment. Fan enthusiasm also led Universal Studios to produce a feature film called Serenity, released in 2005. Beginning in 2006, fans arranged yearly screenings of the movie in cities across the country, a program they called "Can't Stop the Serenity." These showings served to increase the popularity of the movie, and raised money for Equality Now, a charity heavily championed by Whedon.