[No Worries, No Spoilers]
Don’t cry for me Minneapolis, but I had to work last night. I had to go help a
As a kid, I watched every episode of all the prime-time TV staples: Hart to Hart, Love Boat, Good Times, Fantasy Island, The Dukes Of Hazzard, What’s Happening, Riptide, Simon and Simon…
But No More. Television is not free. It takes time away from other things I would rather be doing (Writing, music, blogging…) Ever since Xena and The X-Files ended their seasons several years ago, I have not watched more than a few hours worth of television.
I don’t recall how I ended up watching the premere of Joss Whedon’s “Firefly”, but I enjoyed it enough to watch it the following week. And the next week too.
It is a fresh perspective on sci-fi that blows the doors off of Star Trek and all of its cash-in-clones. The mix of Old West meets High Tech is a great idea, and well done. Finally, we have a group who do NOT wear clean-pressed and startched Federation uniforms. They carry revolvers, not phasers. They get into fistfights. They don’t have transporters, or clean plastic hallways with running lights. They don’t have an endless supply of dilithium crystals. They use ladders, not elevators. No computer to make them “Earl Grey, hot.” They deliver cattle to outer-rim planets, fercrissakes. They take any job they can get to keep gas in the tank and food on the table.
Every character in Firefly is more interesting and more believable, and has more depth than any character from any Star Trek show or movie without becoming a Political Science case study, like Deep Space Nine.
Firefly was a fresh and unique variation of the Sci-Fi theme, with great writing, realistic characters and dialog, and clever plots in an interesting world.
Did I mention I was hooked?
Well, that hook was forcibly removed by the networks using something I will henceforth call “The Firefly Effect.”
The Firefly Effect
I don’t recall how many episodes I watched before the network moved the time slot of Firefly. I think it got bumped to earlier in the day on Friday. Then, they moved it again. At one point it was moved to Sunday, where one episode was aired at the same time as the Super Bowl.
The networks also chose to show the Firefly series out of order, meaning that the overarching plot was difficult to follow.
When the series changed time slots again, I gave up.
All in all, I probably caught six episodes before the network cancelled the show due to poor ratings. The great plans Joss Whedon had for a second season or a follow up movie were trounced.
But the truth was, that there was an audience who enjoyed this show. People like me, who really were hooked, but gave up on trying to follow the network’s constant re-scheduling.
In the end the networks only hurt themselves. I skipped the rest of the season, (and all their advertising) and bought the DVD. And going forward, I think I’ll continue this trend. There’s no need for me to readjust my schedule and put up with commercials, not anymore. All thanks to the Firefly Effect.
A lot of other people bought the DVD too. The industry couldn’t understand how a series with such low numbers would snatch up the DVD so fast they couldn’t keep it on the shelves.
Fans fumed the online forums. The truth came out – the real reason Firefly was cancelled was that the network jacked around their audience. Joss Whedon heard it, and took action. He got funding and approval to make a movie to end the series. A movie I got to see for FREE last night. The movie called Serenity.
Serenity remains faithful to the Firefly TV series, and finishes the story arc set up throughout the season (although it is not necessary to have seen the series, it helps.) Serenity retains all of the great elements of Firefly, but it does stand alone.
You might say, “Well then, isn’t Serenity just like two of the TV episodes, except now you have to pay to see it on a big screen?”
Yes. It is. But instead of belittling the movie, I think the proper response is to point out how amazing the TV show was. It’s not that the Serenity movie is like a double episode of the TV series, it’s more like the TV episodes are mini-movies.
The story is well written. It’s even better if you know the story, and already have the questions in your head (“What happened to River?” “Why does the Federation want her back so badly?”).
The dialog is great, plenty of quotable one-liners, which I really enjoy. The SFX go without saying, so I won’t say. The music is an odd combination of Spanish/Western/Asian/Classical mostly on Acoustic guitar; very fitting to eclectic feel of the movie.
I had high expectations for this movie, and I was not disappointed. It is a must-see for any sci-fi fan. Hopefully, the success of Serenity and the Firefly DVD teaches the industry a lesson not to jack their audience around. Shouldn’t this have been obvious?