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FireflyThe Battle of Serenity Valley to The Battle For Serenity’s Box Office
By Joe Pasquarelli
Saturday 22 October 2005, by Webmaster
So you’ve seen the ads and you’re wondering just what in the tian xaio de’s so great about this movie Serenity. What is it? What’s so special? What’s special is that fans worldwide resurrected a cancelled series for one last hurrah-a season/series finale that the too-shortly-lived FOX series Firefly never got.
But this column’s not about that. If you want a cut-and-dried movie review, aim your eyes at the movie review below this column. This column concerns what came before. Firefly, and the rabid fanbase that kept the cast and crew going long after FOX swung its well-oiled cancellation axe. During the peak of Joss "not Josh" Whedon’s two 20th Century Fox produced television shows (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel), FOX executives eagerly asked him for a third show. They were looking for a hit. What they got in the fall of 2002 was Firefly, a sci-fi/western in the most literal of senses with a heavy Asian influence. First off, a scraggly (albeit so very pretty) crew scraping out a life of thievery while avoiding the oppression of an evil totalitarian government? On a FOX show? Did these guys pay attention to the pitch? Are they aware of their own network’s political slant?
Apparently so, because despite pouring a reported $2 million per episode into Firefly, FOX not only aired the episodes in the wrong order, but they also slapped it in what is commonly referred to as "the Friday night death-slot." at 8 p.m. Unless, of course, there was a baseball game. Or they chose to replay episodes of some new reality show. Or Hell wasn’t chilly enough.
While the show may not have raked in the ratings FOX would’ve liked (they wanted "instant hit," not "let it simmer and watch the fanbase grow"), it did have fans. The vocal kind. And, unlike Trekkies, Firefly fans had the far-cooler-sounding distinction of being called "Browncoats." These were the kind of fans who would post on the official Firefly message board (along with countless fan boards) and remind Whedon and company exactly why they were making the show and who they were making it for. The fans adamantly tried to keep Firefly on the air-they signed petitions, initiated letter-writing campaigns, anything they could that had a chance of working.
And then came that big cancellation axe. Whedon shopped Firefly about to many a studio, hoping to find a new home for the show or someone to back a movie as a worst-case scenario. During this time, 20th Century Fox did the second-smartest thing it ever would do with the Firefly license: it released the series to DVD. This allowed fans to "convert" friends and family with four shiny discs.
And it’s on that cliffhanger event that we must wrap up this edition. Stay tuned for the next. Until then, love, luck, and, of course, zombies! BWA!