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December 23 2010

Joss Whedon gives his perspective on the creation of Firefly. To mark Firefly's arrival on Ovation in January, the cable channel has unearthed an old promo video (from 2002?) of Joss talking about the show. Btw it's more than likely that the video can only be viewed inside the US.

Is this related at all to the videos aired in, I think, in the UK in 2005 before each episode?
Pass. I don't remember those ones at all.
I didn't even know about them, but I accidentally stumbled across a post referencing them here the other day.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-12-23 21:48 ]
For what it's worth, I've got no issues watching this from the US.

ETA: Oh, did that always say inside the US? I may be illiterate.

[ edited by Jobo on 2010-12-23 22:54 ]
I don't think I ever heard/saw this before (I would have remembered the curls). This is wonderful... I miss Firefly so much.
It's not working for me and i live in Australia, but that could just be my computer trying to be a pain in the you know what. SAD, i wanted to watch it. Anyway, Merry Christmas EVE!! Whedonesquers- Every one of you is awesome!
Only partially on topic (It's Firefly-related, give me some credit) but not strictly worth a post of its own, here's an amusing Firefly one page comic:

Enjoy, xkcd is always pretty funny. The random button brings up all sorts of things :')
What a find! Thank you so much. ~ Sigh ~ Where it all started.
In light of how Dollhouse turned out, I find his comments very interesting. Specifically, the one about not liking shows where, if you miss an episode, you don't understand what's happening.
I thought Joss didn't always like stand alone episodes? Am I wrong?
I thought Joss didn't always like stand alone episodes? Am I wrong?

All his shows have had arcs and all his shows have had a number of standalones, particularly early on - they're not mutually exclusive (this was one of my issues with the whole "Boo, standalones suck" attitude from some fans when 'Dollhouse' started, left me wondering if they'd actually watched Buffy, 'Angel' or 'Firefly').
Ah yes, how it all got started. For what it's worth I never seem to get tired of these videos and anything about the show Firefly. I'll be reading 'Shepherd's Tale' during this Christmas break. Keep Fly'n and Happy Holiday's to all the Browncoats
I can't believe I've never seen this before. Nice! Thanks for making my day.
I thought he has made it pretty clear all along that stand-alones are great but if you want to have your characters progress you have to write some kind of over-arching plot or you'll get Lost. ;)
How nice. Since I missed Firefly when it was broadcast (thank the gods for DVDs), this is fun to see--a younger, pre-cancellation Joss, talking in the present tense about the show.
That was cool.

I miss Firefly.

Anyone ever read The Killer Angels?
No. I was going to ask the same thing. We should start a Whedonesque book club based on what the Whedonites are reading. hahaha
Yeah! I would love a book club, people who say the written word is dead have never seen how much i read. VERY off topic but anyone ever consider a Veronica Mars Comic book, God there's another show that should never had been cancelled. Ooh, Ooh Joss could write it.
I can't access the video. What does he say in it?
Some of it's a bit indistinct but at one point he mentions next week's lottery numbers. Oh and that the entire cast has been sequestered with Joss in secret making a 'Serenity' sequel which is out next week. Not bad considering he recorded it 5 years ago.

(or in other words, I can't access the video either ;)

ETA: ... people who say the written word is dead have never seen how much i read.

To all people who say the written word is dead I hereby extend a friendly Christmas warning - if you say it in front of me, expect violence. That is all... Err, peace out.

[ edited by Saje on 2010-12-24 13:25 ]
I know nothing can really take the place of Joss's unique inflections, emphasis, and rhythm, but I think this is a fairly accurate transcript:

[Joss is sitting in the dining/kitchen area of Serenity in front of the doors leading to the crew quarters (I think.) with a stack of two painted old aluminum military storage chests in the background: one orange on top of a red one. He's wearing a red t-shirt layered over a white one. A few tiny clips play at intervals throughout that illustrate a little what Joss is talking about. But we mostly see Joss.]

"The premise for the show The show is about... the crew of a very small transport ship who are just trying to make ends meet by doing anything--which might be criminal, which might not. It's about the sort of people who just get trod underfoot by history and who live on the frontier, on the fringes of society and what they have to do to sort of make their own world and...and... and create life where there's none to be found.

"We start out with a basic crew and then they take on some passengers, um, who all have hidden agendas of one kind or another or appear to... And uh, uh as the first episode progresses they all become revealed. Some of them uh, are on our side and some of them are not. And uh, um, I can't say much about how, but by the end of the show we sort have found a few people who don't really seem like they belong on this ship but who are along for the ride. Though they may conflict with the other characters, are very much a part of what's gonna... what's gonna be the family of the ship.

"There are no aliens in this view of the future. There's not really even any alien planets. We've made everything is Earth. Uh, we went out and terraformed and colonized every planet we could after we used up earth. And so it's really just a story about... people. It took me going to outer space to finally just make, you know, a story that's just sort of a straight action drama really, about these nine people and... and the worlds they visit. But no, it's not... it's not science fiction in the sense of future visions, or aliens, or trying to completely recreate-- It's more about what we know of ourselves as people and what we go through in history.

"This is a straight-on drama. There will always be comedy in everything I do-- 'cause I get bored otherwise. And the actors are very fun and funny and... and you want to play. Part of life--which is what the show is about, um, is sudden comedy, sudden funny. There's-- It's not jokes the way we have in 'Buffy' and 'Angel' but it's-- There's just great comedy to be found in every day life. The way people think about things, the way people react to things. You know, so, inevitably there'll be some funny.

"I've loved science fiction my whole life. It's probably my first great love. I used to read it constantly as a kid. Um, never really thought about doing a science fiction show, uh, until after um... A few years ago in London I happened to read The Killer Angels, which is an account of the Battle of Gettysburg. And it made me think "Oh. I'll make a science fiction show kinda like this." Uh, which is a little odd, but uh, the idea was just-- It, it... History and science fiction are very much sisters and I was raised by history teachers. I love history. And uh, just getting into the mindset of somebody who lives in a different era and really going through their day--and that's what that book does. It goes through one day. It really put me in a... in a mindset of: I wanna... I wanna look at people, you know, who live every day in a world we don't know, but we understand perfectly because ultimately what's important about the world never changes.

"And the whole reconstruction era as a concept, later on, post war... And uh, what... what that did to people... And the way society was structured after the Civil War particularly, became sort of... really interesting to me as a template for what the future might be like. Um, I also wanted to make a show that was... that was full of life and... and history and different eras and cultures and different styles and different languages and... and clutter . And um, everything that I haven't seen much of in science fiction. Now I haven't watched a lot of the new shows--'cause yeah, you either make t.v. or you watch it. You don't do both. Um, and I always try to get through these things without sounding like: (says with "important voice) 'My brands better than the other guy's brand.' But I do... you know, science fiction always has a sort of very alien, pristine... you know, everything kind of... is a sort of... future-y. (small laugh) And I wanted to make a future show that felt very present. (ironic, self-aware glance to the side) By basing it on the past.

"Um, you know... I try to do stand alone episodes, but every show I do... the characters always progress. So ultimately we'll have a mythology, but the idea will be to have the kind of show where you can come in at any episode, having seen nothing, and understand enough about what's going on to become involved. I don't like shows that are so complex, that you miss an episode and you can never watch it again.

"Visual effects inevitably play a large role, because they're on a space ship and we're designing different spaceships, and they all have characters. They represent different cultures, different characters, different worlds. So the special effects are very much a part of it. They're not the point of it. It's very much a drama about these people. And um, the special effects are being designed to specifically to feel integrated with the kind of film making we're doing. Which is a little bit different than is usual from most science fiction. It's a little rougher... you know, it's a little less studied. It's trying to make you feel like you're there and the special effects will work in the same way."
This video was a lovely treat, but it reminds me how much I miss all the Firefly that could have been...
Anyone ever read The Killer Angels?

I have and remember it being sad and inspiring

=but I have been meaning to re read ever since I heard that was where Joss got his idea for Firefly
Thanks so much for doing that transcript, BreathesStory. It's a really interesting read. Makes me want to revisit Firefly again (not that it takes much ;).
Have read it, and it is awesome (I particularly liked Major General Reynolds' triumphant arrival scene - as well as the one that came after...)

It's funny, but - since having read that one book - every time I go back to one of my film/tv/book favorites I automatically start identifying all the things about it which remind me of Michael Shaara's writing style - because he is seriously that good.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2010-12-24 19:35 ]
Thanks rivergirl and brinderwalt. I will definitely have to check it out.

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