I just got a request for a shoutout from Katie about SFX’s recent poll, which asked 3,000 readers what the best sci-fi movie of all time was. And guess what beat Star Wars? Serenity won 61% of the vote and Star Wars got 28%.
Of course, polls like this are not tremendously scientific. But it’s fair to say the same about the Nielsen ratings, which told Fox the show was attracting too many women viewers, which inspired Fox to cancel Firefly (according to Chris Buchanan). And then the under-marketed movie didn’t earn enough for Fox’s movie division – less picky about the gender of the person who buys that ticket – to want to continue the franchise.
But Firefly/Serenity is one of those cases of cultural “WTF?” It’s just not obvious why it failed. Katie refers to it in her email as “one of the most gender-fair items on the top 10 list”. It certainly has its flaws, but I’d have to concur with Katie there. Did the gender fairness really drive away male viewers? Or did the Nielsens measure wrong, seeing as they weren’t counting kids in college back then?