FireflyOn Serenity, Life Imitates Art
By Scott Nance
Wednesday 7 July 2004, by Webmaster
Emotional Resonance & Rocket Launchers: On SERENITY, Life Imitates Art
" ... To seek out new worlds and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before."
Contrast that with: "...A captain’s goal was simple: Find a crew, find a job, keep flying."
So ends the introduction to Joss Whedon’s scifi TV series, FIREFLY. Big difference, no?
The distinction is one of expectations. STAR TREK’s "boldly going" ethos is all about what the human spirit can do when given the best circumstances: a peaceful, harmonious Federation; the finest spaceship in the galaxy with the most sophisticated technology aboard and available; and the best officers to crew her. And through the years, STAR TREK has used that ethos to tell many great, optimistic stories about what is best in the human spirit.
"Find a crew, find a job, keep flying...." FIREFLY’s motto, however, implies a decidedly more meager set of circumstances: an oppressive galactic government, a second-hand spaceship with a lack of all but the most essential resources, and a deeply flawed human crew. It represents a different storytelling philosophy, all about what the human spirit can do—and will do—when presented with a much more paltry existence.
In the world of STAR TREK, a successful day is a peaceful first-contact, a major new scientific advance, or other similarly grand undertaking. But in the FIREFLY universe, if you’ve simply found whatever work is available (legal or not), and stayed alive and free, you’ve had yourself one heck of a day.
Step out of the fictional realm, and back into the real world, and you’ll see the reality that these productions have had to deal with behind the scenes really reflects the storylines of the two shows. Despite creative ups and downs, for more than 20 years, Paramount has produced four TREK TV series and 10 films, lavishing on the franchise practically whatever was asked for. Distinguish that with Whedon and his FIREFLY. The show ran in a Friday night "death slot" on the schedule, and was pre-empted early and often for baseball and other sports. Fox finally killed the show late in 2002 after just a few months on the air, and never even aired three episodes the network had paid for.
Where TREK has had it all, FIREFLY could only scrape by.
Yet, like the characters he created, Joss Whedon never gave up. He didn’t just roll over and accept the death of this show he loved so much. He fought back. He took the concept and looked for a new home for it. The result is that a year-and-a-half after FIREFLY left the airwaves, its cast and crew are at work on a new FIREFLY film for Universal called SERENITY.
They’re several weeks into production on the film, which is set for release next spring.
"He’s very good at persevering," Jewel Staite, who plays engineer Kaylee in the series and the film, said of Whedon. "I think he truly loved this project, and he believed in it, and he had this great deal of determination to find someone else that believed in it, too. He wasn’t prepared to let it go. Filming the series went so well, so smoothly, and it was such a shame to have that end the way it did. I think it was too good of a thing for him to let go of."
"Where TREK has had it all, FIREFLY could only scrape by..." The "FIREFLY crew" has been faced with the greatest of adversities, and yet it still doesn’t get discouraged very easily, Staite told me in an email from the set. "The characters have seen too much and lived through too much to become discouraged easily, you know?" she said. "I guess what I can say is, because we are getting a second chance at this, so to speak, with SERENITY, there is no chance that any of us will take this for granted.
"We are living in the moment, but we’re appreciating the moment. No one’s getting too excited about sequels or anything like that because we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves—and to even get as far as making a sequel, this first movie has to be the best it can possibly be. We’re working hard at that. We’re putting forth all of our energy and positive thoughts, and we’re respecting the project. We’re up in the air. As long as we don’t look down, or behind us, or too far ahead, everything will work itself out."
That all sounds a lot like, "Find a crew, find a job, keep flying," and that says something about the strength of what the human spirit can accomplish when faced with the least advantage — not the most.
Original article here :