For a "sci-fi western" set 500 years in the future, whose pilot cost more than $8 million, Firefly is most noteworthy for what it doesn't have. There are no aliens, no teleporters and no lasers. And sadly--given creator Joss Whedon's track record with Buffy the Vampire Slayer--no laughs or thrills. There seems to be an interesting back story: the crew of a salvage spaceship scratches out a living just after a bitter galactic civil war. (An alliance of Americans and Chinese won--and they're the bad guys.) But to locate it under the sleepy heist plots is beyond your TV's primitive technology. --J.P.