You can’t stop the signal. Almost nine years after Fox infamously cancelled Joss Whedon’s space cowboy series Firefly, Science Channel will give Serenity and her crew another run on the airwaves.

The entire series will be broadcast in high definition with special editorial features from the cable network.

Science Channel announced its plans in a press release earlier today. The two-hour Firefly pilot will air Sunday, March 6th at 8 PM. Subsequent episodes will move to 10PM immediately after the premiere – with encore airings of the previous week’s episode shown at 9PM. To put the science in Firefly‘s science fiction, Sci-Fi Science host Dr. Michio Kaku will offer commentary on the various scientific themes and sci-fi tropes the series employs.

Firefly was originally created for Fox by Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Due to low viewership (which many fans later attributed to poor marketing and a schedule shift to the “Friday night death slot”) the series was cancelled before finishing a single season. Only 11 of 14 episodes created were ever aired. In spite of the early cancellation, die-hard fans kept up a constant Internet and word-of-mouth campaign for the return of the series – and the DVD set became an underground hit.

While the series itself was done for, the cast and crew were reunited for the feature film Serenity in 2005. The Firefly IP has since expanded to comics, role-playing games, and a host of toys and memorabilia. Considering its humble beginnings, the show has made an impressive impact on science fiction fandom and geek culture in general.

Despite its inauspicious start, Firefly and Serenity proved to be feathers in the cap of many of the shows stars. Leading man Nathan Fillion has secured a spot on ABC’s Castle, as well as voice acting jobs on direct-to-DVD DC animated movies like Wonder Woman and the upcoming Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. Summer Glau has starred in two series since, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and The Cape. Unfortunately, the former was cancelled and the latter seems to be on its way out. Morena Baccarin plays the head member of the malevolent alien race on the V reboot. And of course, Whedon is writing and directing the superhero team-up tentpole The Avengers, currently set for a summer 2012 release.

Fox remastered the original episodes for Universal HD in 2008 and a Blu-ray box set was released shortly thereafter. But, according to industry estimates, less than 20% of households have a Blu-ray player and DVDs still outsell Blu-Ray discs by a nearly ten to one – making the Science Channel’s Firefly airing the first time many fans will see the show in high definition.

Picking up Firefly is a smart move for Science Channel. Sci-fi fans and educational TV viewers have a large amount of overlap, and securing a cult classic could drive up the cable channel’s ratings and mindshare. You can bet that the Discovery subsidiary will use the relatively high-profile ad space to highlight its original programming, especially Sci-Fi Science.

Firefly aims to misbehave on Science Channel Sunday, March 6th at 8 PM. Following episodes will air at 10 PM through the spring.

Source: The Futon Critic