The hero is Malcolm Reynolds. He owns a spaceship, Serenity, that hauls cargo and passengers. Serenity is a "firefly" class ship, called so because the tail lights up when power is engaged. These are sublight ships. The story is set in the early 26th century. FTL does not exist. Terraforming does. China and America have united to dominate Earth; and Earth dominates the Alliance of human worlds. (There are no other sentient species.) Reynolds had been a "browncoat," a fighter in a sessionist faction whose revolt failed. Now, he seeks the frontiers, not quite far enough away from the Alliance. His crew of three consists of a former combat comrade and her husband who is the pilot, and also an engineer. Also along for the ride are a hired gun, a non-denominational Christian "Shepherd," a professional Companion (prostitute), and two refugees, a doctor and his sister.
Each of them has a defined self-interest. Usually, those coincide, thus the crew can function. Often, however, their values are in conflict as their different goals require independent choices in each situation.
The ship's hired gun, Jayne Cobb, was bought out from the men who hired him to kill Malcolm Reynolds. Cobb says, and Reynolds understands, that if the deal is ever good enough, he will turn Reynolds over to the Alliance. Yet, Jayne Cobb is there, at the ready, when he is needed because it is in his self-interest to do so.
"... value is objective (not intrinsic or subjective); value is based on and derives from the facts of reality ... Every proper value-judgment is the identification of a fact: a given object or action advances man’s life (it is good): or it threatens man’s life (it is bad or an evil). ... since every fact bears on the choice to live, every truth necessarily entails a value-judgment, and every value-judgment necessarily presupposes a truth. "Fact and Value" by Leonard Peikoff, Ph.D. here.
Malcolm Reynolds is a smuggler. He achieves that by not getting caught and having the right-looking papers. He and his crew do not need the attention that comes from having the doctor and his sister on board. They are fleeing the Alliance because Simon Tam broke River out of a government lab that was deconstructing her super-genius mind. But Captain Reynolds knows himself and his values. Doctor Tam and River are his passengers, even as they endanger his mission.
The show was touted on Atlasphere (http://www.theatlasphere.com/columns/040...).
You can watch the show on Hulu, http://TV.com, and Xfinity.Comcast. If you watch it on DVD, you can enjoy the backstory and commentary about the struggle to create and maintain the integrity of the work. A movie, Serenity, was released in 2005. Much more about Firefly will be revealed by your web browser.
This was originally brought to my attention by "Ba'al Chatzoff" a non-Objectivist on the discussion board "Objectivist Living."
Read the IMDB blub, cast and crew credits here:
The Wikipedia article is here: