Serenity Doesn't Have a Prayer

Joss Whedon, the creator of the film Serenity and the Firefly TV series that preceded it, offers a correction to an Entertainment Weekly item declaring an end to the franchise:

EW is a fine rag, but they do take things out of context. Obviously when I said I had 'closure', what I meant was "I hate Serenity, I hated Firefly, I think my fans are stupid and Nathan Fillion smells like turnips." But EW's always got to put some weird negative spin on it.

Geeks love Serenity, a great space western that's now a role-playing game, comic book and action figures with 14 points of articulation.

The rest of the world keeps trying to kill it off. The TV series was cancelled in 2002 after only 11 episodes and the $40 million film earned only $25 million at the box office.

Wikipedia still harbors a grudge against Fox:

Firefly was promoted as an action-comedy rather than the more serious character study it was intended to be. Episodes were occasionally preempted for sporting events, and episodes were not aired in storyline-chronological order as the creators had intended.



DISCLAIMER: I'm not a Joss Whedon zealot.

I'd expect Serenity to make a profit from the DVD's. Most movies do. So, the box office doesn't end the story of Serenity.

The DVD's for Firefly will likely be a strong performer as geeks spread the word.

PS> I'm working on the grudge re: blogroll inclusion. Jeanne succumbed to my shamelesss groveling but you appear to be heartless. Of course, laebling you as a Dave Winer stooge MAY have some impact on my request... and that fact that your blogroll may actually reflect sites that you subscribe to or read occasionally... but I don't care about that... I just need more in-bound links to justify my ego... will grovel for links... or go snarky... I HAVE stopped the snarky posting... I even de-snarked by blog and started over again. The Winer Stooges post is gone... except for Bloglines cache... all the Winer bashing is gone. Too bad... it was generating a lot of traffic... a lot more than my current approach.

I'm glad everyone has a sense of humour about this. I'm sure Reinhold Niebuhr wouldn't mind a little irreverence about his Serenity Prayer.

I like the show/concept despite some irksome points about the science. But then, what is science fiction if not incorrect science displayed in a fictional setting?

I was actually kind of excited to see that EW bite. I've been trying to remember what's considered an acceptable domestic gross ever since I heard the $25 million figure.

Serenity and the television show it was born out of, Firefly, where great - when aired in proper order. I remember when Firefly was first aired on Fox and I wasn't impressed by it. Now I realize it wasn't the actual first episode after purchasing the DVD boxed set. It would be neat if SciFi Channel would pick up the television rights and produce it for another weeknight line-up.

Serenity was named Film of the Year 2005 in a recent poll on UK's BBC Film 2005.

Obviously, being a poll, it meant that fanatical fans could pull together a block vote and push it to the top ... never the less, the host of the BBC Film 2005 programme (Jonathan Ross) was also very complimentary about Serenity when it first came out. It also topped the box office on it's opening weekend over here.

There have been several series (including Due South and Baywatch) that have survived being axed by their original network. The hardest part of continuing Serenity is likely to be getting the original cast (and non-appearing artists!) back together for anything other than a continuing mid-budget series.

Firefly was the best, most original show on TV in a LONG, long time - and that's what got it killed. The suits who've been working from ideas canned and regurgitated ad infinitum for DECADES just couldn't step out of the box for this one. To be fair, in an era where scripted shows are under the budget gun like never before I can't say I entirely blame them, but considering Whedon's considerable body of work leading up to that point I really think they should have given it more of a chance.

I saw the first episode Fox aired and was left somewhat confused (not realizing they hadn't aired the pilot episode that introduced the whole situation), but saw that the show was well-written & executed, and so decided to try it again. It took my wife and I about four episodes to really start to feel comfortable that we basically understood what the show was about (although, being the Sci-Fi geek I am, I had to explain a good amount of it to the wife - she came to enjoy it almost as much as I).

Although I was into Star Trek (not enough to ever attend a convention, mind you) and other Sci-Fi, I never "got into" a show anywhere near as much as I did Firefly. It was the first time I felt a Sci-Fi show was truly believable in that it was not only NOT a squeaky-clean perfect future, but life there actually mirrored what it's been like throughout humanity's history -- I could identify so readily with the characters and the day-to-day challenges they faced.

Firefly was the first show for which I ever bothered to visit the web site (and I've been online since '96). When I found out about the non-aired pilot episode and that it had been leaked to the torrents (in a rough, second or third gen form with the time code still on it), I immediately went about learning how to download it.

I'd never heard of Whedon before -- I was actually initially appalled to learn he was behind Buffy, but after further reflection it explained how that incredibly campy show (which I still haven't managed to sit through an episode of to this day) survived so long and had such a following. When I learned he'd also been a top writer on Rosanne and Toy Story (among other things), it all made sense to me.

Since the show got killed, my interest in TV has dwindled to virtually none. I occassionally watch whatever my wife is watching, but there's not a single show I bother making sure I catch anymore. The loss of a show as incredible as Firefly has turned me off to investing anymore energy in getting to know a new show - especially in this era where they are getting killed off by the dozens -- often before they've been given even half a season.

I had hoped that the talk in Washington of legislation forcing cable companies to allow customers to subscribe only to specific channels rather than forcing them to take entire "tiers" would start to alieviate this problem down the road, but the cable companies bought their way out of that one again. It sickens me that I'm forced to subsidize such limited-interest crap as "The Golf Channel" because somehow it benefits the cable companies. And why does my cable company feel it's adding any value by creating it's own channel, hiring expensive newscasters and such? Why am I forced to pay for this BS?

(Sorry for getting a bit off-topic there, but it leads to my point:)

If we could stop being forced to subsidize the cable channels then there wouldn't be such a proliferation of targets for advetisers to worry about spreading their limited budgets across. Real money could be made again by the networks that have an audience worth a damn and they could afford to invest in the shows that need time to develop an audience (because they're not just some overused concept being re-packaged again for the umpteenth time, nor are they something created/written for the lowest common denominator).

Imagine if Star Trek just arrived on the scene today -- it'd be cancelled even quicker than Firefly was. It was the fact that there were three full seasons' worth of episodes to re-run and help build an interested audience over time that got the first movie made. Paramount managed to milk that baby for a long while and any studio head would love to duplicate that success, but the incredibly short life-spans of shows today means the chance of that happening are incredibly more remote than they've ever been. How long can the mere 14 episodes (plus the pilot) of Firefly that managed to get filmed be re-run before the audience is bored of it? At least Star Trek had a decent 79 (or so) episodes to go through.

I loved Firefly, but Serenity wasn't up to par with the TV show's excellence and as such I fear it has only managed to put the final nail in the coffin for the most interesting series to come along in far too long. Along with it went my interest in anything the networks might have to offer in the future as well...

(Sorry for the ramble, but this steam has been building up for a long time and I guess it chose now to finally blow...)

There have been a few efforts on the Sci-Fi Channel along the lines of Firefly -- Farscape and the new Battlestar Galactica come to mind. I saw the latter series a few times and was impressed with it, though it's odd to see how little it borrows from the goofy '70s series I loved as a kid.

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