The Anti Hero. It’s a term that refers to a character that is put into a hero position but doesn’t have any of the hero characteristics. This is the epitome of Firefly. It’s also what makes this show so great.
Americans love the anti-hero or the vigilante hero as I like to call it. Think about our pop culture heroes for a moment: Batman, Blue Brothers, Han Solo and Chewbacca, any cowboy from the Wild West era…..
This brings us to Captain Malcolm Reynolds. He has very little hero characteristics. He is all about his survival, rude, immature and is always up for a fight. However, it’s these characteristics that create his central conflict. He was once a hero, as a captain in the rebellion but as war often does, he was changed for the worst. The old Malcom fights to come through, sometimes winning (hence the addition of the doctor and his sister) and other times it loses, especially when it comes to money. Granted he is not the biggest anti-hero that has graced the screen, however, he has that classic quality to him. The anti-hero is nothing new in our culture. They have been around since post World War II and it is shown so well in this show and movie.
Frankly, all of the characters are conflicted. Each one flawed in their own way. Except for Kaylee. She is the only one that has very little to no flaws. Unless your count being nice to everyone a flaw.
But why is this show so compelling? Why has it grown so much in popularity over the years. Perhaps it’s the great anti-hero aspect of it. The majority of the characters are flawed and complicated. Much like we are in real life. Kaylee, our non-flawed friend is perhaps our ideal of perfection. She is someone whom we strive to be like or protect (think of child-like innocence). Combine this with their struggle to just get by and you have an easily relatable show for an audience to love.
It’s these basic fundamentals that given this show its incredible fan base which has kept it alive against all odds (a.k.a. Fox ).