Created by Joss Wheadon in 2002, Firefly is considered by many science fiction fans to be one of the best series ever created. The show took the term, "space cowboy" literally, combining elements of classic westerns with science fiction staples, with bits of horror mixed in, in the form of the zombie-like Reavers. The show follows the adventures of Captain Mal Reynolds, portrayed by Nathan Fillion
, and his crew, but the true focus is the mystery surrounding siblings Simon and River Tam, played by Sean Maher
and Summer Glau
. Aboard Mal's ship, Serenity, a Firefly class spacecraft, they depend on Mal and his crew to help hide them from the governing Alliance while Mal engages in a series of smuggling operations with the help of husband and wife team Zoe and "Wash" Washburne (Gina Torres
and Alan Tudyk
), hired gun Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin
), and mechanic Kaylie Frye (Jewel Staite).
It is during the smuggling operations that the western flavors of the show become apparent, with a definite late 1800s influence on dress and technology. Characters are often seen on horseback in one scene and aboard a spacecraft in another. It is this juxtaposition of old and new that helped earn the show an Emmy in 2003 for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Series. Firefly won several other awards, including a SyFy Genre Award for Best Series in 2006. Although it only lasted one season, TV Guide listed Firefly as one of "The 30 Top Cult Shows Ever" in 2007.