Can't agree with you there. Remember, not only were they the only humans around, they'd lost all their written history. What would they re-create? Printing presses, when the population's too small to need anything beyond gossip? Trains? To go where?
I agree it would have fit better in the first two seasons, but I'm glad we got it at all.
Also: "North Star" made a hell of a lot more sense than the Firefly
'verse, and with about a hundredth of the affectation.
I never actually watched Firefly. Everyone says it's great, but it was canceled. So either it wasn't that great or I'd just be setting myself up for disappointment.
To the points you make on North Star, your comment on their population brings up another good point. There should be enough people to fill a continent by now. Especially back then, people had lots of kids. They had to grow their food, get water for them and their farms, get metal for their smithies, get timber for their houses, and so forth. There would be every reason for them to expand and figure out better ways of transporting their metal/timber, irrigating their crops, etc. Just because they're in a comparatively primitive setting doesn't mean they're stupid. While the chances of their smaller population producing AS MANY people who figure new things out and implement them is less than that of Earth, they still shouldn't be completely stagnant. Except that the writers just randomly decided they wanted to do a "Cowboys in Space" episode.