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I know the Firefly episodes were originally aired out of the order that Joss Whedon intended, and that many fans think this contributed to the show's early cancellation. Looking at Firefly on Netflix, I don't see an original air date for any of the episodes.

  1. Serenity
  2. The Train Job
  3. Bushwhacked
  4. Shindig
  5. Safe
  6. Our Mrs. Reynolds
  7. Jaynestown
  8. Out of Gas
  9. Ariel
  10. War Stories
  11. Trash
  12. The Message
  13. Heart of Gold
  14. Objects in Space

Is this list in order by air date, or is this the order the show's creator intended they be viewed?

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3 Answers 3

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That list matches the Wikipedia listing, which claims to be the originally intended order. Having seen them in that order myself, I can say it does make much more sense than the aired order would have.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Firefly_episodes

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I didn't realize there was also a 6 month break before the last few episodes aired. –  Bill the Lizard Jan 15 '11 at 16:38
    
Yep, it was cancelled with 3 episodes unaired, and those weren't aired at all in the USA before 2005. Unsure what country aired episodess 11-13 first, but it was probably Canada. –  Nellius Jan 17 '11 at 10:19
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In my experience, the order in which episodes air is not to be trusted. In the third and final season of seaQuest, for example, a major character dies in one episode and is magically alive again in a later one. NBC couldn't be bothered to air the episodes in order for some reason (probably because the show had been cancelled). –  Chad Levy Nov 10 '11 at 2:58
    
Don't recall that about seaQuest, but then again I don't remember if I even watched to the end. Not surprising though - aired order doesn't always fit, especially when a show is on the way out. –  Saiboogu Nov 10 '11 at 15:40
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Production codes are for internal accounting. They may have something to do with the order they were filmed, produced, ordered, written, etc - not something the public is generally privy too. –  Saiboogu Jan 28 '12 at 3:28
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Wikipedia is wrong. That is the order of the DVD set, but the internal chronology of the later and un-aired episodes yield this order:

1–10. Serenity through War Stories (as on the DVD and Netflix)
11. Heart of Gold [#13 on the DVD & Netflix] (Inara plans to leave Serenity)
12. Objects in Space [#14 on the DVD & Netflix] (reveal of River’s psi abilities; Mal & Inara talk about Inara’s plans to leave)
13. Trash [#11 on the DVD & Netflix] (the crew make explicit reference to River’s psi abilities: “Afraid we’ll know”, “I can kill you with my brain”)
14. The Message [#10 on the DVD & Netflix] (reference to River’s psi abilities: “Mind-reading genius that can’t eat an ice planet”; reference to theft of the Lassiter in Trash)

Aside from the pilot Serenity, this is the same order as that of the production codes in Wikipedia’s List of Firefly episodes. (Related to the production order: In interviews of Greg Edmonson [the composer of the incidental music for the series], he mentions that the music for the funeral scene in The Message was intended as a goodbye for the show, since it was the last episode being worked on.)

On the other hand, Objects in Space has a more satisfying finish than the other episodes, so I conjecture that for the DVD release (when the show had been cancelled and the movie not yet planned), it was chosen to end the series.

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Incorrect. At the end of Heart of Gold, Inara makes the definitive decision to leave. At the beginning of Objects in Space, she's contacting places she could go. She leaves after that - those are the final two in the season, as in the other list. It's also the strongest we've ever seen River's abilities in th series, as well as the best she's ever fit in (at the end of the episode) so it makes even more sense to be the last one. –  Izkata Mar 12 '12 at 23:39
    
You’re explaining the DVD order; if you see my answer, I explain it the same way. Nevertheless, Trash & The Message have conversations that only make sense after the characters learn of River’s abilities in Objects in Space. Put it this way: If there had been a Season 2, the order of episodes would have been as I listed them. –  J. C. Salomon Mar 13 '12 at 0:07
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You forget the events of "Safe", where she shows similar psychic abilities. It's implied by Mal's line "Yeah, but she's our witch" that she's been doing minor stuff like that since she was unfrozen. Additionally, the composer's note about "The Message" means nothing; episodes are sometimes produced out of order. Just because it was the last one made doesn't mean it was intended to be last of the ones that did air. –  Izkata Mar 13 '12 at 0:21
    
We're agreeing that "Objects in Space" is after "Heart of Gold" and "The Message" is after "Trash"; however, Inara's insistence about leaving is why Heart and Objects are after Trash and Message. –  Izkata Mar 13 '12 at 0:24
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River had many times she demonstrated unusual abilities even before Objects in Space. Hence the few mentions given. Trash in particular should be before Heart of Gold. The Message is slightly less clear, "Mind Reading Genius" is a bit more than had been seen from the crew. –  PearsonArtPhoto Jul 16 '13 at 19:55
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In the special features of the Firefly box set, Joss Whendon tells the viewer that "The Message" was intended to be the last episode of the box set.

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