Firefly DVD Cover

TV Series: FIREFLY (2002 - 2003)

Leading role: In Firefly, Summer Glau plays River Tam, a 17-year old psychic genius. She and her brother are taken in by the crew of Serenity after he rescues her from an Alliance Academy where she was subjected to medical experimentation and brainwashing.
Plot summary: Firefly is an American space western drama tv series set in the year 2517, after that humans arrived to a new star system, and follows the adventures of the crew of Serenity, a "Firefly-class" spaceship, led by Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion). The show explores the lives of a rag tag group of rebels who fought on the losing side of a civil war who now make a living on the outskirts of the society, as part of the pioneer culture that exists on the fringes of their star system.
Captain Mal Reynold's decision to take aboard three new passengers brought him face to face with bounty hunters, Alliance solders, Blue-Handed Men, and comrades. All revolving around the secrets of the mysterious River Tam (Summer Glau)...Brought aboard by her brother Simon, River is an enigma. Experimented on by the Alliance, she seemingly possesses psychic abilities, as well as an incredible sense of wonder at all around her. She truly is a gifted child... But unfortunately, the Alliance wants her back...
Creator: Joss Whedon
Network: FOX
Release date: 20 September 2002 (USA)
Genre: Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi 
Production credits:  Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox Television
Nathan Fillion : Captain Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds
Gina Torres : Zoë Washburne
Alan Tudyk: Hoban 'Wash' Washburne
Morena Baccarin : Inara Serra
Adam Baldwin: Jayne Cobb
Jewel Staite : Kaylee Frye
Sean Maher : Dr. Simon Tam 
Summer Glau : River Tam
Ron Glass : Shepherd Book


LINKS: Pictures - Videos - Forum thread

Summer Glau as River Tam
Summer Glau as River Tam

EPISODE GUIDE, including the original air date and a short description of the episode.  (click on the title of the episode for more information).

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x01 Serenity


S1, Ep1 | 20 Dec. 2002 (number 1 on the DVD set but was aired as number 11)
Nathan, Wash, Zoe, Jayne and Kaylee are the crew of the Serenity. When they discover that the freight they lifted has marks of the Alliance, they take on passengers for respectability and an extra buck or two. Among those passengers are Simon Tam (a doctor), the Shepherd Book and an undercover Alliance agent after Mr. Tam. It all revolves around the mysterious freight that Simon has brought aboard their ship - his sister, River

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x02 The Train Job

The Train Job

S1, Ep2 | 20 Sep. 2002
Serenity continues to travel through space conducting illegal runs across the star system, which is under the control of The Alliance. A powerful and fearsome mobster named Adele Niska demands that the crew of Serenity pull a train robbery. The train is carrying medical supplies for a community, and Reynolds and Zoe get held on suspicion. They get free with Inara's help but realize they were tricked and try to return Niska's money. His henchman isn't too happy, but Mal "persuades" the next guy to take the money back. Meanwhile, two blue-handed, black-suited operatives close in on River.

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x03 Bushwacked


S1, Ep3 | 27 Sep. 2002
On a salvage mission aboard a drifting colony ship, the Serenity crew find signs that the crew were killed by the cannibalistic Reavers. They find one survivor, but things take a turn for the worse when an Alliance ship looking for an unspecified Firefly-class ship with brother-and-sister stowaways shows up and takes them in.

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x04 Shindig


S1, Ep4 | 01 Nov. 2002
On the planet Persephone the crew are contacted by their old "friend" Badger the ruthless crimelord to transport some goods on behalf of a local lord. While at a ball to arrange a transport job with the lord, Mal defends Inara's honor when her current customer insults her. By local custom he unintentionally challenges her date, Atherton Wing, to a duel.

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x05 Safe


S1, Ep5 | 8 Nov. 2002
Simon and River are captured by border people even as Book is seriously wounded and in need of their attention. When River discerns things about a mute child, the border people accuse her of being a witch. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew are forced to seek medical help from an Alliance ship in order to help for the critically wounded Book.Simon staves off her punishment for enough time for the two of them to be rescued. 

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x06 Our Mrs Reynolds

Our Mrs Reynolds

S1, Ep6 | 4 Oct. 2002
While completing a job on a backwater world, Mal is married to a village girl without his knowledge. The girl, Saffron, gets onboard and the crew does not find her until they're already in the air. Mal is not sure what to do with her, but let her come along. Unfortunately for Mal, things aren't as smoothly straightforward as they thought them to be.

 Summer Glau in Firefly 1x07 Jaynestown


S1, Ep7 | 18 Oct. 2002
Serenity sets down at the mudder colony of Canton where it turns out Jayne is a hero for having dropped a bunch of money there years ago that he and his partner Stitch stole from the local magistrate. The drop was unintentional but Jayne doesn't turn down the attentions. Meanwhile, Kaylee and Simon dance, River rewrites Book's bible, and Inara beds the magistrate's son, a virgin.

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x08 Out of Gaz

Out of Gaz

S1, Ep8 | 25 Oct. 2002
In a delirious state after Serenity's engine explodes, draining the ship of its oxygen supply, Mal has a series of flashbacks about how he came to own Serenity and form his crew.

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x09 Ariel


S1, Ep9 | 15 Nov. 2002
The ship heads to central world Ariel to drop off Inara for her yearly companion health check-up. Simon realizes River's condition is getting worse and decides to sneak her into an Alliance hospital in Ariel for a brain scan. Mal and the others agrees to help him with his plan, but also takes this opportunity to steal some valuable medical supplies in the hospital and sell it at the street market.

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x10 War Stories

War Stories

S1, Ep10 | 6 Dec. 2002
Jealous of Zoe's relationship with Mal, Wash insists that he go with Mal to try to sell some of the medical supplies the crew stole from the Alliance. In the middle of the deal, Mal and Wash are kidnapped by men working for Niska the crime lord, who wants revenge against Mal for the botched train heist. Meanwhile, Inara extends her services to a council member. To the crew's surprise, it's a woman. And Simon continues to treat River with some of the medicine he stole, but she suffers the occasional relapse.

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x11 Trash


S1, Ep11 | 28 Jun. 2003 (UK)
Saffron (from "Our Mrs. Reynolds") returns - after Mal breaks up her current gig, she convinces him and the crew to help out with a "perfect crime" that isn't. The crime: go to Bellerophon and steal a criminal's prototype laser gun from his collection. The plan: Saffron and Mal sneak in and dump the gun down the trash, bypassing security, and the Serenity crew grab it from the disposal system. Of course, this is Saffron, and things don't quite turn out as planned...
Meanwhile, Simon figures out Jayne betrayed them (in "Ariel") and the two have words.

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x12 The Message

The Message

S1, Ep12 | 15 Jul. 2003 (UK)
An old war comrade of Mal's and Zoe's, Tracey, mails his corpse to them. He also leaves a message asking them to deliver his body to his family. Some men claiming to be with the Alliance are on the trail of the body and catch up to them demanding the body. The crew can't find anything on Tracey's corpse, but as they prepare to cut it open, Tracey comes back to life. He explains he is smuggling super-organs in his own body. They flee to the planet with the men in hot pursuit and eventually/supposedly agree to give up Tracey. Tracey gets wind of the plan and makes a break for it with Kaylee as a hostage – they shoot him down and Mal reveals they were going to send the officer off since he's out of his jurisdiction and on a personal mission with no authority. Then Tracey dies and they deliver his body for real this time.

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x13 Heart of Gold

Heart of Gold

S1, Ep13 | 19 Aug. 2003 (UK)
The crew of the Serenity are in for a gunfight when one of Inara's former colleagues asks for their help. The Serenity crew defends a bordello from a gunslinger who got a prostitute pregnant and now intends to collect the child; Mal falls for the bordello's madam.

Summer Glau in Firefly 1x14 Objects in Space

Objects in Space

S1, Ep14 | 13 Dec. 2002 (UK)
A bounty hunter named 'Jubal Early' sneaks aboard Serenity, hoping to capture River for an enormous reward. He takes Simon captive, hoping he will lead him to River. But River, feeling unwelcome on the ship, takes a novel approach to escaping from the long arm of the Alliance.