Mad thanks to sirvinegar, for hooking me up last night with free passes to a pre-screening of Serenity. I only caught a few episodes of Firefly when it originally aired – and thankfully the film stands on it’s own whether or not you’re familiar with the series. (You could tell there were some serious fanboys and girls in the crowd, however, as the appearance of certain characters garnered applause from the audience.)
The film itself is entertaining space opera sci-fi…not too cerebral but not too hokey either – simply well-balanced and fun. What’s more interesting to me, however, about this film is how it all came about. From Serenity’s website:
The film is based on Whedonâ€™s critically acclaimed, short-lived television series Firefly, which aired on the FOX TV Network during the fall of 2002. Set in a futuristic, post-Earth universe dominated by a planetary Alliance, the series chronicled the adventures of the ragtag spaceship Serenity and her eclectic crew of outcasts, led by Captain Malcolm â€œMalâ€? Reynolds, played by NATHAN FILLION. Although FOX TV cancelled the show after only 11 of the 14 produced episodes had aired, Fireflyâ€™s quirky mix of humor, complex characters and sci-fi had attracted a loyal and passionate following.The heartbroken fans, the cast and Whedon wouldnâ€™t allow the cancellation of the series to equal the end of this universe. For Whedon, â€œthis story was not done being told. It wasnâ€™t out of me yetâ€¦and it wasnâ€™t out of these actors.â€? While efforts to find a new home for the series on another network or cable channel proved fruitless, all parties were nonetheless determined to keep the campaign alive. Lobbying for the release of the series on DVD, they saw the Firefly fan base multiply dramatically after the episodes went on saleâ€”almost exactly one year after the last airing on FOX. Once on shelves, the sales of Firefly resoundingly expressed both the loyalty of the fans and the potential for creating new ones.
Still, as much as they refused to give up the good fight, everyone invested in the series knew it would take a miracle to see their beloved show resurrected…(A)n online campaign, coupled with strong DVD sales and support from critics, provided just the ammunition Whedon needed to bring his vision to the masses. Browncoats identified with the daily struggles of the Firefly crewâ€”misfits who refused to be assimilated into an Alliance-ruled universe. Online portals for fans of the show were deluged with cries to bring Firefly back. Hopeful fan mail reached studio executives. Advertisements were taken out in Variety to keep the show alive. Browncoats who had found a home on this battered cargo ship were showing their collective muscle…The rebirth came when Whedon and producer BARRY MENDEL (The Sixth Sense, The Royal Tenenbaums) took the idea for a feature film to Mary Parent, who at the time was vice chairman of worldwide production for Universal Pictures. â€œA lot of people have asked how hard it was to convince the studio to do this, and itâ€™s weirdâ€¦it wasnâ€™t that way at all,â€? explains Mendel. â€œMary was a fan of Joss and kept in touch with him and with me. And to Universalâ€™s credit, they understood that Joss had a passion to do this.â€? The studio believed in both Whedonâ€™s vision and this story and purchased the rights to make a major motion picture out of his unique television series.
Anyway, I know that’s a lot of back story for a film that isn’t mind-boggling good, but it’s an interesting look at the power geeks (and their collective wallets/purses) hold. Now if only Carnivale geeks could band together…
In other news,
TKC on Ehrenreich
Tony, you should get out more and write about it. 🙂
Posted by: FlyGuy