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Firefly - "Serenity" Movie - Joss Whedon’s Fans are Scaring Me ...

Saturday 8 October 2005, by Webmaster

Since reviewing the movie "Serenity" last week, I’ve become convinced that the new film by writer/director Joss Whedon has spawned the most hard core science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts ever to walk this planet. This includes people who learn to speak Klingon, people who remain in character after they leave the Renaissance Faire and people who boycotted the "Lord of the Rings" movies because there were elves at Helm’s Deep. This is the greatest movie ever. We should all stop seeing other movies and just watch this one over and over. ... Now please stop sending angry e-mails.

As you may be able to tell — if nothing else by the fact that I casually use words such as "Klingon" and "Helm’s Deep" — I am a huge geek. I recently went to a screening of "Serenity" and gave it a glowing review. Out of nearly 50 movies I reviewed this year, it was one of only three that I gave the coveted Chronicle clapping-guy-falling-out-of-the-chair rating.

Then the hate mail started. From "Serenity" fans.

They were angry that the review didn’t praise Whedon’s TV show "Firefly" enough ("Serenity" is the movie version of "Firefly"). They were angry that I pointed out that critics generally didn’t like that show. One reader saw the review as an attack on all of science fiction: "Probably the only way you could have made this a more reprehensible article would have been for you to posit that hacking and phishing crime would decrease if you aborted every Star Trek fan’s baby."

My feelings certainly aren’t hurt, and believe it or not most of us greatly appreciate feedback from readers — even those who accuse us of seeking the genocide of Trekkies. But as a lifelong dork, who wishes there was more science fiction on the screen, these responses make me worry: Is this a rogue geek faction or is this what science fiction fandom is becoming? What are our chances of seeing more movies like "Serenity" if fans are ranting at the critics who loved the movie the most?

I should clarify that science fiction fans in general are greatly misunderstood and the majority of "Serenity" fans are probably perfectly normal. I wrote an article on "Firefly" when that Fox network TV series came out and was quickly canceled three years ago, and none of the fans I talked to spoke in tongues or smeared feces on the wall.

The movie would certainly never have been made without the support of fans, who I assume were communicating rationally when they helped convince Universal to green light the project. But in terms of the extremists, I’m putting the "Serenity" uber-fans at the top of the list of zealous letter-writers, just edging out people who hate Michael Savage, people who love Nancy Grace and people who love Michael Savage (in that order).