You may recall the Therefore I Geek editorial recap of Mikey Mason’s performance at Atlantis Comics & Games this spring. While we were there, we asked Mikey to do a guest blog for us. He got the biggest grin and asked if he write an argument against bringing back Joss Whedon’s Firefly. I said no, but sadly, I was overruled by Andrew. Therefore, here is Mikey’s guest post. -T
Warning: This blog post probably contains some of those so-called spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen the entire Firefly series and the Big Damn Movie (Serenity, for the uninitiated.) I say that because, even though the series and movie have been out on DVD since 2005 (nearly a decade) somebody will cry. Here’s your warning. Also, I abuse the hell out of parentheses and ellipses. If you can’t abide such a thing, well… get out now.
I’m known (to some, at least) as an unabashed Browncoat, the “She Don’t Like Firefly” guy. I’ve played at least one Can’t Stop The Serenity event each year for the past couple of years and plan to continue so long as they’ll have me. Hell… I’ve even written a song called “Please Bring Firefly Back For Christmas.” But the secret truth I harbor in my little Browncoat heart is this: I think that it might (MIGHT, mind you) be a good thing that Firefly was limited to 14 episodes and a movie. Furthermore, I propose that it might (again MIGHT) not be a good thing to bring Firefly back. Before you scream at me, hear me out. Then scream at me (or your computer screen, rather. Or type in all caps in the comment section and pretend I’m reading it. I’ll be doing other things…)
I’ll address the first part first: the one about why it might have been a good thing the series was cancelled. We have fourteen episodes and a movie. I love ’em (all except the bit where Wash dies, at least.) I watch ’em a couple times a year (at least.) I impose them on my family. I think they’re pretty keen. And maybe, just maybe the key to their unsullied reputation is that short life span. They never had a chance to jump the shark. Never had an episode where the actors were no longer in love with their characters, or where they were tired of each other, or the grind of making the show. Never had to deal with third season ratings drops, a between seasons re-casting, or the introduction of a character with the sole intention of boosting the ratings in their final season. Think of shows, solid shows, like Roseanne and Married…With Children, that completely sucked in their final seasons. One had a cast member leave and the plot change dramatically, only to learn it “was just a story written by the main character” in the final episode, and the other had a child character named Seven dropped into the mix, a throwback to the last ditch ratings efforts of the Brady Bunch‘s cousin Oliver–which also failed.
I’m not saying any of that would’ve happened. I’m simply saying it never had the chance to. It’s a mosquito larva, preserved in amber. It stayed perfect and never got the chance to suck. In a perfect world, Fox would’ve aired the pilot before they aired episode two, instead of well afterwards, and they would’ve kept the show in a consistent time slot. I trust that Joss and crew would have ran the tightest ship they could have, and that we’d have enjoyed every episode of every season, and that there never would be contract disputes or budget disputes or any of that. But we’ll never know–and that means it’s possible that we dodged the bullet of watching something we love slowly degrade into something we despise. Ever catch yourself saying something like, “I really love (*series*,) but only the first (x) seasons. After season (x), it’s all downhill”? It’s a popular refrain from fandom, and luckily something we don’t say about Firefly.
Now for the second part: why bringing it back might not be a good thing. It’s simple really. You’ve read or seen Pet Sematary, right? They bury the dead cat; it comes back… changed. They bury the dead kid; he comes back… changed. And that’s what we’re talking about. We’re not casting a Phoenix Down on the series, here. What we’re talking about is necromancy, and what we may end up with is a zombie. At the very least, it’s going to be different–perhaps very different–from the Firefly we’ve loved these past many years.
The actors (many of them) have other contractual obligations, and possibly couldn’t return. And Wash and Book are DEAD. Remember that feeling in the pit of your stomach when your favorite dinosaur figurine-playing pilot took a shaft of metal through the torso? How exactly are you going to feel when they try and replace him with another lovable, offbeat pilot? Oh… They won’t do that? The pilot will be completely different? Bam. Chemistry changed. Show changed. And now the cat has come back with glassy eyes and a musty smell, and it’s not the lovable kitty we buried in the Sematary… What? You think we should just retcon that bit? Yeah. Fans always react well to retcon situations, and it seems fan support is more than half the reason this series would ever get rebooted. I thought you wanted this thing to happen… And you really don’t expect Joss Whedon to drop directing huge movies and give up being the warden and guardian angel of Marvel Studios movies in order to write and direct this series, right? He’d want too much control—control a network will be very reluctant to give.
Look: *IF* Joss would and could have total control, and *IF* the actors (the ones whose characters were still alive) could return, and *IF* a network were really willing to front the requisite monies and forfeit series control, and *IF* the network were willing to commit to a complete story arc submitted by Joss in advance, regardless of ratings, I’d be all in. Frankly, I’ll be excited if there’s ever another series set in the ‘Verse (which seems far more likely than a Firefly revival.) Even a Firefly Christmas special… But I’m not expecting any of those things, and if they do come, part of me will actually be wary, looking for the changes (and hoping when I find them, as we all assuredly would, that they’re GOOD things. Not the same as before, but still good.)
Until then, I’m just gonna sit here counting my blessings, cooing over this mosquito larva preserved in amber, and still feeling pissed that Wash died, but happy to have seen him fly at all.
Check out Mikey’s music videos and his own blog, Beer Powered Time Machine, at http://www.mikeymason.com