* The planet Miranda in ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' is a ShoutOut to Creator/WilliamShakespeare's ''Tempest'' and by extension, Huxley's ''Brave New World''. Of course, this is also a reference to real-world naming conventions, as all the moons of Uranus are named after Shakespearean characters, and one moon is in fact named Miranda.
* River's GirlInABox introduction is seen by many as a ShoutOut to the anime ''OutlawStar.''
* Alan Tudyk's character in ''Series/{{V 2009}}'' was [[spoiler: impaled by a stake...]] Sound familiar?
* In the pilot, when the crybaby is released, Wash gives a shout out to Music/TheBeatles song of that name.
* In "Out of Gas", we learn that Serenity's first mechanic was a guy named "Bester." Later we hear Mal call him "Alfred." Alfred Bester was an important author in the post-war, founding era of modern sci-fi (as well as a character in Series/BabylonFive).
* In a deleted scene from the pilot episode, Simon's encyclopedia can be heard mentioning a General Richard Wilkins who led the Alliance forces at the Battle of Serenity. Mayor Richard Wilkins was the BigBad of season 3 of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', also created by JossWhedon.
* "I was aiming for his head." - Avon says exactly the same line with regards to Travis in ''Series/BlakesSeven''.
** This ShoutOut gets a ShoutOut in the ''Series/{{Castle}}'' episode "Boom!"
* [[{{Pixar}} A113]] can be seen on top of the train in "Train Job".
* A subtle one to ALittleNightMusic. [[FanNickname YoSaffBridge]] ran off with a security program named Heinrich who worked for her husband. At the end of ALittleNightMusic [[spoiler: the main character's wife runs off with his son named Heinrick.]]
* The [[{{Franchise/Alien}} Weyland-Yutani]] logo is visible on the heads-up display of the anti-aircraft gun used by Mal in the pilot.
* Jayne's line "I was gonna get me an ear too" is very likely a Shout Out to ''Film/ReservoirDogs''.
* One of the fictional historical figures is called [[{{Disney/Mulan}} Shan-Yu]].