I’ve never been one for getting obsessed about anything, but for some reason (OK, many reasons) I’ve become addicted to Joss Whedon’s TV series Firefly. I never got into Whedon’s “teenager-y” stuff like Buffy and Angel, but Firefly caught my attention because it was witty, sexy, and the cast just seemed to have so much fun! It became the fastest selling DVD TV series of all time, and is still doing well, despite first being broadcast nearly a decade ago.
Firefly is about the same powerful human stories we have now, set 500 years in the future. Earth-That-Was has become so overcrowded, another solar system with many planets was terraformed over several decades for human settlers. China and America are the remaining two great superpowers which form a hybrid Alliance, allowing the series to be hugely creative in its dialogue, cultures and costume.
The series focusses on a knackered old spaceship called Serenity, named after the battle where Capt. Mal Reynolds and his fellow soldier and crew mate Zoe had fought as Browncoats against the Alliance, which gained full control of all the central planets. The characters are well drawn, dealing with real issues and relationships onboard, as well as some incredible adventures stealing from the Alliance to sell to the border planets. It’s Robin Hood meets the Wild West, and I almost cringe when I tell you it’s a space western, but you know what? It just works. The dialogue, sets,casting and everything about it is just perfect.
Which makes it even more of a travesty when you find out how the bean-counting executives at the Fox Network broadcast the series episodes out of order, demanded a second pilot, aired the first pilot later, and postponed episodes in favour of sporting events. Then they wondered why the viewing figures were down, so they cancelled it. Like the Browncoats against the mighty Alliance, Firefly never really stood a chance.
There had been talk of Mark Zuckerberg (yeah the Facebook fella) buying the rights to make another series, but it turned out to be a cruel April Fool’s joke. The lead character Nathan Fillion joked that if won the lottery he would buy the rights and put Firefly out on the internet for free. The fans rallied round and set up helpnathanbuyfirefly, a Facebook group that pledged over $1 million, as well as other sites that helped raise funds with charity screenings of the full length Universal feature film Serenity made by Joss Whedon to help tie up a few loose ends.
Not bad for a cancelled TV show. There are many dedicated websites, and masses of webpages have been written about Firefly. I’ve yet to see anyone come up with genuine reasons why they don’t like it (I’ve spotted literally one saddo type trying to stir up a response, but that’s about it. Everyone who watches it loves it.)
I can’t really do it justice here, but for a passionate, comprehensive look at the show and the evils of the Fox Network, take a look here.
The Science Channel has just started showing Firefly again, and the latest news is that Netflix has made Firefly available online, regenerating talk of resurrecting the show. But that’s it – just talk. There would be too many obstacles to overcome; buying the rights, rebuilding the sets and releasing the cast members from their current projects. All highly unlikely. Having just one series to look back on makes it even more special; like the twelve episodes of Fawlty Towers, each episode is a rare and precious thing. But another film, perhaps? We live in hope.
The theme tune Ballad of Serenity was written by Joss Whedon too (the man’s talent knows no bounds) and it really gets in your head. I swear I’ll never get sick of it. For the first time ever, I’ve wanted a personalised ringtone for my phone. I went for the end credits intrumental because it is well cool.
Firefly credits on YouTube
I did a bit if research and found a good mobile ringtone site called Myxer. There are no subscriptions or any fees, except for the text they send to your phone if you have WAP and can pick up the link.