Before I move on to a few other things – more comics, RPG’s, documentaries, fan-fiction – I’d like to take just a short moment to re-iterate I thought I may have expressed earlier, but didn’t feel the need to elaborate too much on.
Firefly is dead.
Sure, there’s still the odd comic, the one-shots that pop up out of the blue and fall out of the news cycle just as quickly. Sure, there’s still Firefly Online, though it appears more likely to be vapourware with every passing day of no new development.
But Firefly/Serenity, the visual medium franchise, is done and dusted. And I say this as someone who experienced the full heartbreak of such a reality many years ago, and has since become deadened to ever decreasing, but once near-constant, talk of reviving the show or the film.
I’m not sure where it was exactly that I realised that the obsession from fans for a revival – driven by cast members who didn’t know how to watch what they said in public and a community of nerd media happy to propogate such dross – was starting to really bother me, but perhaps the most potent flashpoint was when Nathan Fillion, Mal himself, decided to enunciate a desire to buy the rights to Firefly from Fox, if he could only get his hands on €300 million dollars to do it with. Of course, it was just a spur of the moment comment, not at all thought out, but it prompted a fan campaign that was ready to start pouring money into a trust for just that purpose.
My social media feeds at the time were dominated by two things: talk of this fan campaign – that eventually did go nowhere, as Nathan Fillion came to his senses and asked fans to stop – and the reaction to the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake in New Zealand, that killed 185 people. Maybe it was just that unique dichotomy that made me realise that something was wrong: horrible suffering on one hand, a country begging for help, and people prepared to spend a vast amount of money to bring back a dead TV show at the same time.
I’m not saying that humanitarian concerns must always trump such things of course, merely commenting on that contrast in that moment, that caused such revulsion in me. From then, having once been the kind of browncoat that religiously followed every last scrap of news regarding any possible revival/sequel, I became a bit more jaded and cynical about the idea, and increasingly hostile to anyone else – cast or fan – suggesting the same, as someone with their head in the clouds, or someone who should know better.
Firefly is never coming back to our screens, and Serenity is never getting a sequel, for the following reasons:
-Expense: Firefly cost over a million an episode to make, for negligible returns in viewers for Fox. And, as discussed, Serenity didn’t make anywhere near enough profit to justify the idea of continuing it into a film series. Simple as. You can talk about skewed broadcasting and lacklustre promotional campaigns all you want, but it always comes back to that. The support wasn’t there when it really mattered, and in a time when every conceivable genre is tumbling out of TV’s and laptops, there’s no reason to believe that the support would be there tomorrow.
-The cast: They’ve all moved on. Fillion had Castle and will likely be headlining something else soon, Torres has Suits, Tudyk is Disney’s resident villain and will be in a galaxy far, far away soon enough, Baccarin had V/Homeland and now has a burgeoning movie career, Baldwin had Chuck and has now successfully transferred into a full-time role as a Twitter troll, Staite has had numerous TV appearances, Glau has headlined several shows, and both Maher and Glass appear to be semi-retired. None of them needs Firefly to come back: their careers, with the exception of Baldwin maybe, are going just fine. Talk is cheap: it’s easy to play to a crowd at a convention and say you’d jump at the chance of getting Firefly going again, but actually taking that step is something else.
-The creator: Whedon appears to be very much done with Firefly/Serenity. His subsequent projects diverted his attention, and as discussed his last effort in the ‘verse wasn’t his best, all of it subsequently left to family members and others. Whedon hasn’t the time to belabour attention on something that just isn’t working, and he doesn’t appear to be happy with keeping Firefly as a focus, not with opportunities like those presented by Marvel to focus on instead.
But what about Netflix? What about Kickstarter? What about this, that and the other? It’s over. Netflix has better things to be spending its time and money on, and too much time has passed anyway. The streaming option has revolutionised how we think about TV shows and how they can be financed and presented, but it isn’t an all powerful medium: streaming shows get cancelled too, and there has never been an indication that Firefly or Serenity can be successful enough to justify their continuation.
Leave the memories alone. Let’s leave Firefly and Serenity as they are, and not sully them with a revival both unnecessary and potentially legacy ruining. The movie gave us an ending that the TV show deserved. Best to leave it at that.
And now back to our regularly scheduled commentary.