Earlier in December, I read an interesting article on Cinemablend discussing the theoretical potential for Netflix to be the missing link in what could be the resuscitation of long-dead space opera Firefly. The article summarizes Marc Bernardin’s blog post in which he lays the mental groundwork for why Netflix has the fiscal potential to make deals with their long-time collaborator Fox in order to get the show up and running again. Bernardin has a habit of thinking up great ideas to get the internet buzzing, having previously had a large hand in the “Donald Glover for Spider-Man” movement during summer of 2010.
Cinemablend also caught wind of a tweet from one Malcom Reynolds — A.K.A. Nathan Fillion– linking the blog article with an ominous, “Hmm. Hmmmmm. HMMMMMM.” Fillion has made it very clear that he has a deep love for the Firefly universe and would throw on his Brown coat at a moment’s notice. Obviously Bernardin’s post has gotten some important people thinking. With Netflix’s cash and their status as a growing powerhouse in the film industry, it seems like with enough above-the-line support our favorite band of space pirates could very well be on their way back to the small screen. My only problem is that no one is thinking about the real question at hand: Why should it?
I want to make this clear. I love Firefly. I own it. I watch it semiannually. There is not an episode I hate. There is not a character on the show that I find boring. I recommend it highly to everyone I meet. There is no taste requirement for the show. You don’t have to like sci-fi or westerns or any other specific genre to enjoy it. It is a genre and an entity all on its own. It is simply likable.
All of that being said, they should never make another episode of Firefly. Ever.
I can think of two reasons why I hold to this argument. The first is simple enough. What is done is done. I believe that the reason Firefly is so special is because its lifespan was cut short. Essentially, they didn’t have the time needed to screw it up.
There was no jumping of sharks. In fourteen episodes Mr. Whedon said as much as he could. The film’s ending put us in a place of contention, yet it was still very open. The lives these characters lead were so limited that in the end it left them limitless.
Obviously, they left things open-ended most likely so they could come back if the money showed up, but I think it left the series in a place of bitter sweetness that few shows are allowed to have. In a production world where no horse is left unbeaten, Firefly got out with its purity intact.
I would like to think that Mr. Whedon had years worth of ideas for the show, that his characters have well-written histories and futures that will now only exist in his mind. I wish that if the show is somehow brought back to the screen that every grip, costumer and set dresser will excitedly return to their jobs with the same enthusiasm as during those first fourteen episodes. I want it to return as if there was never a hiatus.
The only problem is, I don’t think it would. The cast and crew is off on one hundred different projects all at once and with its previous track record I’m sure there would be heavy influence from any number of producers hoping to ensure their investment doesn’t take a similar road as the first season. It would all lead to a different product being released. I can only imagine the disappointed fan base wishing for something that has been gone for almost ten years.
Beyond negative predictions of the future of this show, I have one other reason why I don’t think Firefly should come back. Frankly, we all need to learn a lesson. If you like a television show and you want it to continue past the first season, sit down every week and watch it. Tell your friends about it. Have them tell their friends to do the same.
The tragedy that befell Firefly and Arrested Development (and is currently haunting my beloved Community) is that nobody watched the damn show when they were on! They had mild-at-best followings during their run-times. I know what you’ll say. You’re going to go on about how you didn’t even hear about the show until it had already gotten the axe. I call bull shit. You know as well as I do that some time during the history of its airing someone you know mentioned this “really great show you should watch” and all you did was condescendingly nod and go about your day.
We live in a world of brats. That is undeniable. What the resuscitation of these dead shows is teaching the fans is that you don’t have to watch a television show to keep it on the air. All you have to do is make enough of a fuss after the fact.
For example, you like Community. You normally have to work during its air time so you illegally downloaded every episode. Now you hear that it’s possibly going to get cancelled and you are outraged. You don’t have that privilege. You never watched the episodes online, nor did you buy the DVD seasons. The network has no idea you exist. Your love of the show is not part of their calculations. If you want their product, you need to pay for it. It’s as simple as that.
There is a lot wrong with the way television shows are currently being produced and rated. In honesty, I could write an entirely different article about the television industry’s delusional desire to clutch to their antique business strategies, and perhaps some day I will. Until we somehow drastically alter (read: overthrow) the way our television programming is chosen for us, we have no choice other than comply to their archaic system. The get-out-of-jail-free card being teased for Firefly is not sending the correct message.
I do enjoy the idea of fighting for something you love. By taking an active part in a campaign to bring these shows back, the fans are becoming part of the show. I think that’s great. My true problem with this logic of “do little until you’re in trouble” attitude is that it will not work every time. Every funny niche show that does not succeed is one less niche show television executives will be willing to green light the following year. And currently, as far as bringing back dead fan favorites, the odds are stacked somewhere along the lines of one Arrested Development to basically every other TV show that has been given such a fan campaign.
Am I going to be excited if these Netflix dreams hold weight and I am allowed to bask in additional episodes of my favorite space opera? Absolutely. Am I holding my breath in anticipation for the announcement of its triumphant return. No, not really. But if it does come back, I only hope that you and I can take an active part in keeping it alive, instead of just whining about it after it’s dead.
Amazon has a good deal going for Firefly: The Complete Series right now. Check it.