A little while ago I powered down the DVD player and pulled myself up from the couch, having finished watching a Christmas gift to myself: a 4-disc set of the television show called Firefly. Although I have a few more of the DVD extras left to watch, I’m in the mood to post my thoughts about the show at this moment because I finally understand the passion that drives the show’s fans and wanted to tell my friends who don’t care for science fiction that you need to see the 14 original episodes of this show.
In the world of fiction and science fiction Firefly isn’t terribly groundbreaking.
Each of its facets have been done again and again. And yet, I find that there is something remarkably engaging about the show. The writing, the casting, the chemistry, the long form approach to serialization… each made its contribution to the show’s flavor and by dint of that happy marriage there existed a framework that allowed for a little attention to detail; a state many projects fail to achieve with more time, more money and a “shared vision” with the producing network.
The shortsightedness that the Fox Network exhibited when they failed to cultivate an audience for Firefly is frustrating given its quality. Even if I may understand (conceptually anyway) the rarified atmosphere in which programming decisions are made and the ever-changing relationship between networks, viewers and advertisers, it certainly seems a sure bet to give the creator of Firefly, the same guy who guided Fox’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” into a mega-hit status, enough resources and time to execute his next big idea.
But, as I’ve seen Fox at work firsthand, I’m not surprised at the outcome for Firefly. I recall an occasion in the late 90’s when 9 (nine!!), totally useless mid-level executives from the Fox Network flew into Atlanta and descended on our set for a pilot starring Daniel Baldwin. What a bunch of maroons.
There’s a featurette on the final DVD that provides interviews with the cast and crew about Firefly. It reminded me of a couple of shows that I worked on where the cast and the crew jelled into something bigger than the show itself. I’ve experienced it twice in 20-something shows and realize how rare it is when it happens. For it to have happened on a show that didn’t even go for one full season’s order of shows speaks volumes toward the project’s spirit. It must have been such a fun, challenging show to shoot. It also makes it easy to understand why Joss Whedon would dare to make a feature film followup to his cancelled series.
That feature film, ‘Serenity’, ran several test screenings in Atlanta in 2005 and I was invited to attend one of those screenings by an enthusiastic fan of the show. Being a non-fan of the show at the time I couldn’t follow all the nuances of the story but I was struck by the relationship that the writer/creator had with his audience. His opening remarks before the film began displayed a shared passion for the characters and the story.
I’ll soon be buying a copy of ‘Serenity’ on DVD and will finally be able to share my enthusiasm for the show with its fans. I guess maybe I’m finally a Browncoat.
[tags]firefly, serenity, DVD, browncoats, joss whedon, joss, whedon, jaxx, wheelie, jarks, whoodoo[/tags]