Sorry, fans: Joss Whedon's cult space Western isn't for sale, but look for reruns to come to Science Channel

By James Hibberd
Updated February 25, 2011 at 05:00 AM EST

Firefly repeats are coming to basic cable, but if fans had their way, the cult space Western would return with new episodes. The Science Channel will air the short-lived series in its entirety starting March 6, and the network will include interstitial segments with renowned physicist Dr. Michio Kaku, who will discuss the theoretical science behind the show’s sci-fi concepts. ”It was my favorite job ever,” recalls star Nathan Fillion, who played the iconic Captain Mal. ”If I got $300 million from the California lottery, the first thing I would do is buy the rights to Firefly, make it on my own, and distribute it on the Internet.”

Fans, it turns out, are listening. When Fillion’s comments hit, diehards quickly set up a ”Help Nathan Buy Firefly” website and Facebook page, and Firefly writers Jose Molina and Jane Espenson tweeted their support for the idea. Visions of Captain Tightpants seizing control of the franchise may be a tad unrealistic: The rights held by Twentieth Century Fox are not up for grabs. Which doesn’t mean that the studio wouldn’t get on board with a revival effort if creator Joss Whedon and the cast were willing. But for now, Whedon is prepping the big-screen version of The Avengers, and Fillion is on ABC’s Castle.

One could make a case for fresh Firefly. Ratings back in 2002 averaged about 4.4 million viewers with a 2.0 in the 18 — 49 demo, survivable by today’s standards. Plus, DVD sales of its single season were reportedly robust. The rising number of niche cable outlets also gives genre titles more opportunities than ever to succeed. More Firefly? Not today. But stranger things in the ‘verse have happened.