Science Channel Does Reruns Right with Firefly

By Tim Surette

Feb 17, 2011

Reruns are a great way to catch up on shows that you've missed—like, duh, obviously. But what's the point in tuning into reruns of a show you love when you could just as easily pop in the discs from your [name of the TV series that's being rerun] DVD box set, skip the annoying commercials, and watch it on your own time?

That's where Science Channel comes in with a simple, yet genius way to add to the experience. Instead of just buying rights to re-air an old show, the Discovery Channel offshoot will add something to the formula when it begins re-airing the cult hit FireflyJoss Whedon's much beloved sci-fi Western—on March 6, starting with the two-hour pilot.

Rather than just throwing the show willy-nilly to ads for commercial breaks, super-scientist Dr. Michio Kaku will add commentary, "explaining why the science fiction featured in the show really isn't that far from science fact," according to Discovery. Kaku is a science rock star who has been featured on all kinds of shows, and he's one of those passionate scientists who can make the subject both entertaining and fascinating. While it's unclear how Dr. Kaku's commentaries will be added to the broadcasts, he's great on camera, so I hope they will be short videos. [UPDATE: Yes! Discovery has confirmed that Dr. Kaku will appear in interstitial videos throughout each episode.]

This is how networks should air reruns, and it's so easy. Add something to the mix by offering some inside information, some extra explanation, anything. And no, those pop-up bubbles on Lost reruns don't count. Imagine if Dr. Kaku tackled that show!

What shows would you like to see get the same hyper-exploratory treatment?

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • a1racy Apr 24, 2011

    Great idea! I tell my kids about the science fact or fiction of sci-fi when I watch with them. And Firefly has more science in their science fiction than any other I've ever seen. ie: guns needing oxygen to shoot, and no sound in space, and ejecting oxygen to put out a fire, to name a few things.

  • cmarivett Feb 25, 2011

    Firefly is a great series ,anyone who watched it will agree. I can't believe it was cancelled, who in their right mind would do such a thing. This only goes to show how stupid network executives are. I wish they would do a little reserch instead of killing such a great series. What are they getting paid for? How can we force them to fire the dummies and replace them with someone who will actually do some market reserch. My hat goes off to all the cast and crew of Firefly ,the best sci-fy since Star Wars......simply genius.......

  • JohnPeterson5 Jul 03, 2014

    Network execs get paid to make money through advertising, art and entertainment be damned. They aren't invested in the shows they create (or, rather, buy), just the money they make by producing statistics that advertisers find attractive.

  • elainecleo Feb 23, 2011

    @scarpad1701 Wrestling is perfect for Syfy, since that is what it is..fiction.

  • netgoddess Feb 22, 2011

    I like Dr. Kaku but he seems to be more of an entertainer than a scientist.

  • shootingstar609 Feb 20, 2011

    Firefly is indeed one of the best shows about space/future space travel ever created. It basically takes reality in the early 21st century and shoots it into the 26th century, adding affordable space travel along the way. LOVE!

  • fatfreeoreos Feb 20, 2011


  • Bottron Feb 18, 2011

    Of course Star Trek would be the obvious show to run exploratory commentary to. But if you really want to get into it, do Joss Whedon's "Angel" to Vampire mythology. I just think faux science is limited, it's not like you can do "The 4400" and talk about genetic engineering.

  • Yaspaa Feb 18, 2011

    A bit late.

  • scarpad1701 Feb 18, 2011

    I love Firefly and all but Maybe science channel should stick to showing.. I Don't Know.. Science Programs... I'm so sick of the dilluting of all the channels. Wrestling on SyFy, Reality on A&E; , it's really making me tink quite hard about disconnecting.

  • dark7angel Feb 18, 2011

    I think it's an awesome idea! ;)

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