the years: 2002-2003
the seasons: 1
the episodes: 14

the creator: Joss Whedon
the top directors: Joss Whedon (3 episodes), Vern Gillum (2 eps.) & Tim Minear (2 eps.)
the top writers: Joss Whedon (14 episodes), Tim Minear (4 eps.) & Ben Edlund (2 eps.)

the cast:

  • Nathan Fillion as Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds
  • Gina Torres as Zoe Alleyne Washburne
  • Alan Tudyk as Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburn
  • Morena Baccarin as Inara Serra
  • Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb
  • Jewel Staite as Kaywinnet Lee ‘Kaylee’ Frye
  • Sean Maher as Dr. Simon Tam
  • Summer Glau as River Tam
  • Ron Glass as Derrial Book


Ranking the Characters:

9. Simon Tam


the acting: Sean Maher
their episode: “Ariel”

Simon finds himself here for a few reasons, the main one being boredom. He actually brings a good amount to the ship and the show, yet he still seems so underdeveloped and expendable, as if his character probably would have been killed off at the end of season one or somewhere in season two. My only hope is that Mr. Whedon had big mysterious (and groundbreaking) plans for River’s brother, otherwise, meh.


8. Zoe Washburne


the acting: Gina Torres
their episode: “The Train Job”

This character never really did anything for me, like Simon her character was quite boring and awfully one-dimensional. Actually the only reason she takes the #8 spot instead of #9 is because of the actress and her ties to Alias. Torres has been all over television throughout her career, apparently making a difference wherever she goes, which is why I give her character the benefit of the doubt that she was just starting to unravel.


7. Inara Serra


the acting: Morena Baccarin
their episode: “Heart of Gold”

Inara plays the Companion with a heart of gold and the reluctant love interest to Captain Malcolm Reynolds. Though she is not technically a member of the crew, Inara shows the gravity of her character’s existence on Serenity by saving the lives of the ship’s occupants multiple times through devious means. It would have been interesting to see how long the show held out before finally bringing Mal and Inara together… oh well.


6. Derrial Book


the acting: Ron Glass
their episode: “Safe”

Every show needs their Shepard Book, that old wise man/woman constantly handing out solid life lessons left and right whether or not anybody wanted them. Book’s highlight episode opened up the possibility of an exciting back story filled with conflict and controversy, unfortunately after this concept was unearthed in the fifth episode it was never spoken of again. Yet another causality of Firefly‘s early exit.


5. Hoban Washburne


the acting: Alan Tudyk
their episode: “War Stories”

All the main characters of Firefly are funny in their own right (more or less), but ‘Wash’ is the clear comic relief. His resume consists of piloting Serenity, the submissive husband of Zoe, and being played by Alan Tudyk, which means he has roughly two of those three things going for him. Pretty much all scenes where ‘Wash’ is present are enjoyable to watch. Tudyk has done quite a bit of voice work in the industry since Firefly‘s end in 2003, but I will always remember him for this (and A Knight’s Tale).


4. River Tam


the acting: Summer Glau
their episode: “Objects in Space”

River should be higher up on this list, but unfortunately the good people over at Fox decided to cancel the show right when her character was starting to show true promise. We were given glimpses of her psychic abilities – including one instance of her unparalleled talent with a gun – and a landscape view of her craziness, but I still can’t help to think there was so much more on its way. We’ll never truly know what exactly Whedon had in store for River, but the movie helped a bit.


3. Kaylee Frye


the acting: Jewel Staite
their episode: “Shindig”

Ah Kaylee, the most lovable character in the series. She’s Serenity’s engineer and an absolute genius when it comes to ships, putting her in the running for most valuable person of the crew. Her innocence instantly entices your intrigue, so much to the point where you’re constantly worried for her well being, and luckily the same can be said for the people aboard the Serenity.


2. Jayne Cobb


the acting: Adam Baldwin
their episode: “Jaynestown”

Realistically, Jayne should be #3 or #4, but I’m an Adam Baldwin fan so… Here we have our wildcard, the character that could do good or bad, stay loyal or betray, anything and everything is on the table. Jayne is the hired gun of Serenity and plays very much into the stereotype, he’s dumb, gun crazy, and only cares about money. This character has some of the finest moments of the show and adds a needed element only Baldwin could perfect (as we will see again in Chuck)


1. Malcolm Reynolds


the acting: Nathan Fillion
their episode: “Out of Gas”

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