I didn't come to any of these series as a sci-fi/fantasy fan. I was a fan of well-written dialogue and interesting storylines, and both of these series met the bill. I have criticisms of Joss Whedon's writing - he sometimes becomes a little too enamored of a particular phrase (count the number of times various characters say "It's a thing" in the last two seasons of Buffy), but I like how he takes cliches of the genre and turns them inside out.
I first heard about Firefly from pissed off Buffy fans who were mad that Joss's attention was diverted from their beloved vampire slaying heroine. They felt the show suffered from Joss's absence and placed the blame squarely on the new baby. (Personally, I felt Marti Noxon was the real culprit in the diminishing quality of Buffy - for evidence, I point to Point Pleasant, a show that, to paraphrase Buffy, both sucks and blows)
But I have a lot of faith in Joss Whedon as a creator and writer, and I was very excited as I started to follow the news of Firefly. I got concerned when Fox put the pilot on hold, and I began to wonder if maybe my faith was misplaced.
But then I saw the first episode (which was actually the second episode, re-tooled with lots of exposition since Fox wasn't running the pilot), and my faith was restored. My love for Buffy and Angel revealed itself as a mere infatuation when compared to my deep and abiding love for the Firefly class ship Serenity and her crew. I checked the ratings and sent postcards and donated money to try to convince the Fox execs to keep the show. I got pissed with every promo for John Doe and Joe Millionaire, two crap shows that were the darlings of Fox execs. But alas, the series was canned. The final episode that Fox aired was the pilot episode, and I couldn't believe the idiots at Fox didn't realize what a gem it was. I got the DVD's the day they were released and savored the series in the order in which it was intended to air. I was kind of heartbroken, to be honest.
Last night I got to see the advance screening of the Firefly movie, Serenity. Before the movie started, Joss Whedon filmed an introduction to tell the rather remarkable story of how a cancelled TV series became a major motion picture.
Hi, my name is Joss Whedon. Before we begin the special screening, I have a little story I want to tell you. It's about a TV show called Firefly.
Firefly went on the air a few years ago and was instantly hailed by critics as one of the most canceled shows of the year. It was ignored and abandoned and the story should end there, but it doesn't, because the people who made the show and the people who saw the show (which is...roughly...the same number of people) fell in love with it a little bit...too much to let it go, too much to lay down arms when the battle looked pretty much lost. In Hollywood, people like that are called 'unrealistic' ... 'quixotic' ... 'obsessive'.
In my world, they're called 'Browncoats'.
Whether you've watched the show, or saw the DVD's, or whether you've never set foot in the Firefly universe before tonight, the fact that you're here means that you are part of something...something that is a little bit remarkable. This movie should not exist. Failed TV shows don't get made into major motion pictures unless the creator, the cast, and the fans believe beyond reason.
It's what I've felt. It's what I've seen...in the DVD sales, the booths at the cons run by fans, the websites, the fundraisers... all the work the fans have done to help make this movie. It is, in an unprecedented sense, your movie...which means, if it sucks, it's your fault. You let us down, but let's not dwell on your failures because the work is not done.
I have to finish making it. Obviously not quite the final cut and you will notice some placeholders in music and effects, but we're very close. Once we are finished, we have to get people to see it. Now, obviously the studio is going to do their thing. There will be ads and trailers and all that joy, but this movie doesn't have stars and it doesn't have a giant mega-budget or even a simple salable premise. What it has is us, the people who believed unreasonably.
If this movie matters to you, let somebody know. Let everybody know. Make yourselves heard. If you don't like the movie, this is a time for quiet, silent contemplation. But, when the unfinished credits roll, if you still call yourself a Browncoat, remember the millions of people who don't...who might.
I want us to do this together. The cast is going to be appearing wherever they can. I'm going to be blogging and stumping and whatever I can think of. We've got Can'tStopTheSignal.com up and running...I'm fairly certain. We're all doing everything we can to make this the event that it should be.
Just remember, they tried to kill us...they did kill us...and here we are. We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty. Thank you for helping to get this movie as far as it has gotten.
Welcome to Serenity.
The movie itself? Was hilarious, heartbreaking, tragic, hopeful, terrifying (seriously, it's really scary in parts), moving, with so much action it made the movie title ironic. In a metaphoric way, the story of Firefly, the cancelled show that became a movie, is the plot of Serenity. If you want to catch an advance screening, check the website cantstopthesignal.com, or sign up with the Browncoats. I had high expectations going into the movie, and I was kind of blown away, which I think means it's a pretty damn good movie.