Tube Talk: 10th anniversary special of ‘Firefly’ airs Nov. 11

By Paula Hendrickson
Contributing Writer

Castle star Nathan Fillion has been beloved by sci-fi fans since he played the lead character, Captain Mal Reynolds, on Joss Whedon’s short-lived sci-fi Western series Firefly (2002-2003) and the 2005 feature film based on it, Serenity.

Playing Mal wasn’t Fillion’s only stint in the Whedonverse. He played evil preacher villain Caleb in the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the vacuous Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (which recently added the first new installment since the original 2008 run, go to for details).

Yes, Castle fans, Nathan Fillion sings, and sings well.

Monday’s episode of Castle was set at a sci-fi fan convention, no doubt as a nod to many of Fillion’s long-time fans.

As if the new Dr. Horrible episode and the fan-con setting of this week’s Castle weren’t exciting enough for Fillion’s fans, Sunday, Nov. 11, Science Channel — which has been running old Firefly episodes for about a year — will air a 10th anniversary special, Firefly: Browncoats Unite, at 9 p.m. Central.

(For the uninitiated, “Browncoats” is the name of the independent resistance fighters in the Firefly universe. It’s also what hardcore Firefly fans call themselves.)

The fact that a series that didn’t even last an entire season spawned a feature film and a 10th anniversary special is a testament to its enduring popularity. One of the biggest draws at this summer’s Comic-Con in San Diego was a Firefly reunion — with a panel that included Fillion, Whedon, Executive Producer Tim Minear and cast members Alan Tudyk (Suburgatory), Adam Baldwin (Chuck), Summer Glau (Alphas) and Sean Maher (Make it or Break it). The special also goes behind-the-scenes of that landmark event where tears and laughter flowed freely, and offers plenty of footage from the panel, as well. It also includes special interviews with all cast members — including Gina Torres (Suits) and Morena Baccarin (Homeland).

To help you prepare for the special, Science Channel is airing a full series marathon starting at 6 a.m. (Central), Sunday, Nov. 11. Be on the lookout for several familiar faces like Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Mark Sheppard (Supernatural, Leverage), Benito Martinez (The Shield), Gregory Itzin (24, The Mentalist), Melinda Clarke (Nikita, The O.C.), even a young Zac Efron a couple of years before he hit it big in High School Musical.

Browncoats are an extremely dedicated group, and it’s obvious that the show’s creator, cast and crew appreciate the passion they share for this quirky sci-fi Western. Nearly 10 years have passed since the final episode aired, but the fire(fly) is still burning bright.

Programming notes

Firefly: Browncoats Unite, airs at 9 p.m. (Central), Sunday, Nov. 11, on Science Channel.

Castle airs at 9 p.m. (Central), Mondays on ABC.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Follow her on Twitter at P_Hendrickson and send your suggestions to

From the Nov. 7-13, 2012, issue

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