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February 19 2011

Yet another fan campaign to bring back Firefly. The fandom is littered with many failed attempts to get the show back. This latest effort is getting some press in the usual quarters. No word on who the organisers are, so caveat emptor.

And here's a better idea. Warning: it's mine, so your mileage may vary.
I have an analogy to offer - you know that TV trope where a nerdy weakling has to fight a big bully, and through some fluke he actually beats him? Sometimes that trope develops into said nerdy weakling getting over confident, and trying to beat another big bully, at which point he gets his ass handed to him because HE NEVER BEAT THE BULLY IN THE FIRST PLACE!

We didn't save Firefly, people. We didn't actually make Serenity happen, that's just a cute story. Don't waste your money trying to get a TV show back on the air. What we did do is turn a whole lot of negativity and sighing into positivity and help for a bunch of charities. Let that be Firefly's legacy, not some abortive effort to dig it up and put a pretty hat on its rotted corpse.
Great blog post, b!X. Firefly to me seems like the perfect story for the web.

Telling Firefly stories through a web-based series is like Firefly in microcosm. The lone ship out in the black, bucking the system and forging its own way. Too bad the creatives seem married to the Alliance still. Telling stories without the wealth and privilege of the central planets? Impossible.

Let that be Firefly's legacy, not some abortive effort to dig it up and put a pretty hat on its rotted corpse.


Okay. Hmm. You know what? I was pushing hard for the Buffy: the Animated Series campaign a few years ago. I dreamed big, I had fun doing it, and the worst part of the experience for me was the bitter slaps I got from weary fans who'd been there, done that and would everyone please realize how we fans are unimportant and know our place?

If the warnings come from a place of altruism, I'd tell people to save the breath they're expending on my behalf: I'd rather dream big and fall than never dream at all. (Hey, that rhymes. Go me.)

I'm not thankful to the people who were trying to "save" me from the painful realization that my dreams would never come true and that I should just get over it. I'm not going to thank people who tell me to kill my dreams preemptively because the bubble's gonna burst and the fall's gonna hurt. Frankly, as long as the activity is relatively harmless, it's no one's place to give unsolicited advice on how others should spend their time or money.

I recognize these petitions simply as fans showing the love. I wish people would stop trying to kill the dreams and the love because they're unrealistic and impractical. To coin a popular Sunnydale phrase: duh. Dreams and hope are an end unto themselves--they aren't worthwhile only if they achieve realistic results.

I'm checking the box for Live and Let Live here. As long as they're coming from genuine fans, these sorts of petitions aren't hurting anyone that I can see. Unless watching fans be enthusiastic and hopeful literally burns a cynic's heart (but I'm sure there's an antacid for that).

[ edited by Emmie on 2011-02-19 01:16 ]
I agree with b!x , there are other much better options.
This is the second funniest thing I've seen all day. Right after the epic clip of the Beiber getting destroyed in a bloody hail of bullets. Save your money, folks. :)
Firefly is dead. It died when Fox cancelled the show. It got resurrected with the Serenity franchise so why not target Universal to do something. I know it's been tried before, but if you're going to something target the right people. Otherwise you're just howling at the wind.
Shoot, we (as in people who spent some man hours writing, clicking, linking) couldn't even get noticed trying to get Nathan cast over Marky Mark as Nathan Drake in the David O. Russell film, Uncharted. And that's only because Nathan tweeted he'd like us to rise up and try to do it. It's a losing proposition without a) money, and b) the television/film rights from Fox.

We need a second true miracle. The first was that Joss thought it, wrote it, and got it done, even if for one season. And then he figured out and wrote a great film that even non-series viewers watched and enjoyed.

It's good to see the love, though.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2011-02-19 01:02 ]
Wow. Just wow. I mean, I miss Firefly as much as the next guy, (Well, probably moreso. The next guy in this case is my friend sitting a few feet away who hasn't ever seen firefly, so I can guarantee I miss it more than him.) but I just don't see something this silly actually working out.

Of course, on the miracle chance that it does, I will eat my words.

Gotta say, after reading b!x's post, I am very inclined to agree with him. I especially am fond of the radio play idea. I think, in this modern age of fancy special effects in visual media, people have forgotten that plain audio entertainment can be exceptionally effective at conveying a story through dialogue alone. I also see no reason for it to only be, as b!x says, small stories. Sure, they could be, and it would be awesome. But audio isn't anywhere near as limiting as video. Just saying.

Also, an audio series would get very close to eliminating issues with cast availableness, as they don't have to record at the same time as each other. (Granted, it'd be nice to have them do that to help the acting, but it can be flexible.)
@NathanFillion:
Looks like there are Browncoats at California Lottery. Stay shiny. http://yfrog.com/h38hvwj


We didn't save Firefly, people. We didn't actually make Serenity happen, that's just a cute story. Don't waste your money trying to get a TV show back on the air. What we did do is turn a whole lot of negativity and sighing into positivity and help for a bunch of charities. Let that be Firefly's legacy, not some abortive effort to dig it up and put a pretty hat on its rotted corpse.

It's no more dead than Star Trek was, and - speaking as a lifelong Trekker Trekkie? - has a lot more going for it artistically speaking.
Smells scam-y to me. Unless Nathan himself gives it the ok, I'm staying away.
Ace Underhill, is that you?
Not sure why so many are so negative. Surely it's just a bit of fun and a good way to keep Firefly relevant. It's been getting shout outs here and there on TV and Nathan has now made his statement that started this off.

I can't believe anyone actually thinks they will get enough money to actually buy the rights, unless Bill Gates is a big fan. But if it means some studio who like Nathan and is thinking about putting him a film picks up on the hype then it may put an idea in their head or if Fox like the idea of experimenting with a series of shorts on the net this gives them a guaranteed audience to experiment with.

If nothing happens big deal put the money towards a charity of Nathans choosing. Not everything has to be so serious.
So, right, 300 million to theoretically buy the rights to Firefly? I'm utterly clueless as to how much the rights would be, but how much money would that leave for an actual production and you know, building Serenity, paying the crew and creating another pilot/film? It seems so bizarre. And I know Nathan would hand it over to Joss, but it still seems weird going to him over the creator a bit.

Be all kinds of ridiculous if this happened though.
Oh my, how saddly spanked so many fans are! If you have a need to pop peoples dreams, go down somewhere else. They said they would never make another Lethal Weapon movie: they lied. They said they would never make another Die Hard: they lied. They said Star Trek had nowhere else to go: they were wrong. They said Buffy was finished, but there went season 8. It might be crap. But dont pop my bubble.
I think the main objection is that whoever is doing this and they are suspiciously anonymous is asking for our MONEY. Money. Money. We've seen fans duped and fans stolen from and cheated.

Also, it won't work. :) Sorry, but that bubble needs to be popped.
The odds of this working are vanishingly small. The odds of some well-intentioned fans never getting their money back once it does fail seem pretty damn high.
I think they were waiting for Nathan's blessing before they actually collected money-- they were starting with pledges, which are a lot easier to redact than money.

I do think it's silly, and slightly embarrassing, because I imagine that's not how Nathan intended for us to react to his offhand comment. I love that he would still do it, and I miss Firefly as much as everyone else here, but this is never going to be the way to "bring it back". I'm also one who is happy that we have been benefiting Equality Now every year since Serenity, and I think what's come out of Firefly's cancellation has been amazing.

If there were to be some web series junkie *coughFeliciaDaycough* who could pull lots of strings and get people together, that would be an amazing thing that I would firmly support.
From their FAQ-type thing:

This has been tried before, what makes you special? Who the heck are you?! Link us to some prior attempts. And tried before isn’t a guarantee of failure. One must try. And as for us, we’re Browncoats.


This, Nathan's comment, the misleading info about the episodes on the Science channel (which really has fooled some folks into believing there are new episodes I think)... It all just makes me want to put my head down and nap.

If you wish to spend your money on this, that's keen. It's not money that's the problem for me. It's been more than 8 years since the Firefly: Immediate Assistance campaign started, and almost that long since it had its last hurrah with the DVD drives and charity campaigns organized by Shell and the others who graciously took leadership roles after Allyson, Kristen and myself had completely burned out. (I just went back and read lots of old posts from the Prospero board about this last week or the week before.) I love Firefly. I will probably never love anything like it again. But I just can't do this anymore and every time someone tries it breaks my heart a little harder.

b!X, I think the audio drama is a fine proposal. I feel like the Sessions videos aren't exactly comparable to a full length episode of Firefly in scope of story. If you want to go that direction the stories need to look a lot more like The Guild in terms of plot scope. If I were to hear from Joss, Tim, or Chris Buchanan that a thing like that was worth supporting, I could get behind it.

In the meanwhile, I'm going to go play Kaylee in Firefly Between the Lines and get my new Firefly content that way.
That FAQ just irritates me more. "We're Browncoats" is not an answer. Browncoat convention runners have screwed their fellow Browncoats. Browncoat charity organizers have screwed their fellow Browncoats. Saying "we're Browncoats" says absolutely nothing.

HNBFF people, it's simple: Who. Are. You. Answer the question.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-02-19 05:46 ]
I feel like the Sessions videos aren't exactly comparable to a full length episode of Firefly in scope of story.

No one argued they were (and I think looking at it that way is self-defeating). My argument simply is not to fetishize either the show or the format. If there's a story to tell, make it happen in whatever way (1) suits it and (2) is feasible.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-02-19 05:49 ]
b!X I'm with you. I just was reading your post and thinking it could mean that Session video = evidence that the show could be done like that. But I see that you mean we could have more stories in different ways, and I'm right there with you.

These people don't even have names, handles, nothing. People gave us a hard time with F:IA, if they didn't know us from other fan communities and we were very up front from Day 1 about who we were, as far as I can remember. (I'm not going to the Internet Archive to check. If I'm wrong, I'm open to correction.)

And I think you're totally right - people fetishize the show to pieces. Sometimes it's cute but when money gets involved, and people talk of crushed dreams, it gets sad.
I'm going to agree with @JoseMolinaTV:
Why revisit something great only to make a lesser product?


I have felt that Buffy season 8 is a lesser product for a long while now. I really wouldn't care to feel that of anything Firefly-related.

But I do agree with Kiba (and b!x) about the money. People have been screwed over before. I'd hate to see it happen again.

[ edited by menomegirl on 2011-02-19 06:12 ]
Some people also hated S6, and that was on TV with a budget. So, again, we need to not fetishize the medium or format.

And the irony of Jose's tweet is that he himself revisited Firefly in a "lesser" form by writing a short story in the third companion book.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-02-19 06:28 ]
And as for us, we’re Browncoats.


And yet I don't feel reassured by this.
By gum, the thought thrills me. Hang the probabilities, let's get some stories! I'm all for other stories in other formats, Doctor Who was kept alive with audios, novels and even some animated stories released online. In this day and age we have so many media to choose from, let's use them! The Firefly verse is so wide and beautiful, not every story in it would be suited to television. Let's hear some of these others!

Let's remember the struggles Doctor Who had between the classic and new series, kept alive by novels, a film, and many audio adventures. And of course Star Trek, cancelled, failed to be revived, animated, cancelled, brought back as four movies and then finally a new TV series was made. Good stories were chosen for good media, and while every time I rewatch Firefly I ache when I finish the last episode and wish there had been more, the franchise can and should be kept alive in other means.

If and when Firefly is ready to return to television, I will salute it.
B!x, a few points about (or against) your blogpost:

You do realize that the $300 million figure was A) something Nathan just made up as he was giving an interview, and B) not related to the production costs at all? No one said it takes $300 million to tell good stories. Nathan was talking/joking about buying the rights to Firefly. Joss has said he'd do a radio drama, as long as he got to work with that cast again--clearly it's not production costs that have prevented that.

That also answers "Why wait?" Because Firefly is a corporate property that you don't get to play with unless you convince its owners that you'll make them a lot of money and will only make their property more valuable.

About Session 416? That worked exactly because it was related to the bigger story of the movie. As a Browncoat, I'd happily watch any of your suggestions for low-budget webisodes, but as a storyteller, I feel that the limitations are prohibitive. You'd be restricted to filling in little moments in the existing narrative, which is catering to the existing fans and no one else. Something I doubt would get Fox or Universal very enthusiastic.

I also disagree that Molina's short story would count as "lesser". The medium isn't the problem--a proze story basically has unlimited budget for stars, locations and SFX. Letting severe limitations on what you're able to do determine the story, that would be lesser. (Yes, you can do a brilliant The Guild on few resources, but Firefly is not about people sitting behind their computers.)

I'm conflicted myself--yes, I'd love more Firefly and have my doubts about fundraisers such as linked here. But I only want new Firefly if it's good and true to the existing material, no matter how much or how little it costs.

[ edited by Niels on 2011-02-19 12:01 ]
Firefly will never happen again, I think we know that.

However, I still smile whenever its mentioned. Guess it's one of those dreams that will never see light.

Still, nothing wrong in the wishing and hoping.
I'm going to agree with @JoseMolinaTV:
Why revisit something great only to make a lesser product?

Because imo even that "lesser product" would be worth having.
Never give money to something like this. I love the fact people still care, but yeah...
I'm with the doubters on this one. For me, it's the money element of it. I see no harm in a petition or internet campaign, but when they start asking for loot, that's when I put up the stop sign. Now I'm not Mr. Generosity, but aren't there more important things to spend our money on? I guess you could argue that about anything I spend my money on, but in this case I'd rather give to charity than to something like this.
Their latest posting on who they are still doesn't reassure me. Why still remain anonymous? Be open, it's the only way.

http://helpnathanbuyfirefly.com/?p=16
I just can't do this anymore and every time someone tries it breaks my heart a little harder.


This is how I feel, when we were promoting Serenity in the UK it was HARD, and Universal gave us little no help (in fact they hindered us by printing thousands of matchbooks with a web address that re-directed to a porn site). Every time I see people trying to do things like this I wonder if they realise how much work they are in for, and if they're ready for it to take over their lives.

They want to raise millions? Do they even know where this money would be paid or if the rights are even for sale? People don't like to give up rights to things because they don't really cost money to keep hold of. Do they think that if Joss et al thought there was even a remote possibility of getting this money together that they wouldn't have tried? Joss has a career to think of, he's made such headway with getting the Avengers gig that if I were him I wouldn't want to come across as some sort of Miss Haversham figure sitting weeping in a room full of boxed Mal Reynolds figures.
When I imagine Firefly returning, all I can think about is Serenity's double character kill. Neither was my favorite, but watching a version of the show without them would be genuinely depressing for me. You know, like the depression you feel when your deceased loved ones crawl out of the ground with rotting clothes and decayed skin, unable to do anything but stumble around saying "BRAAAAINS".

I just hate that.
Dreams and hope are an end unto themselves--they aren't worthwhile only if they achieve realistic results.


Dreams are easy to achieve if hope is all you're hoping to be.
I want to see books- full length novels with loads of dialog and texture- if Joss is willing. Joss would pick the writers and would provide the story arc and outlines, or the writers would come up with their own ideas and submit them to him. In either case, Joss would be the editor and have final approval over every book. I can imagine that not only Firefly writers would get involved, but top-notch science fiction writers who love the show as well.
Can anyone link to where Joss said he would do a radio drama if he could get the cast together again?

(I've done an audio drama for quite some time -- Second Shift -- and we've had several discussions about trying to do just that.)
For the sake of argument let's say the rights were ten million, and I can't imagine it being much more than that. Ten million fans giving one dollar each or five million fans giving two dollars each doesn't seem unreasonable or unobtainable and if it helps you sleep at night you could donate a matching amount to the charity of your choice. Joss could never publicly endorse something like this, for obvious reasons, but if it were successful and the rights were offered to him, I can't imagine he'd turn them down. People should be wary until the legal particulars are worked out but I'm not convinced they can't be.

[ edited by Barry Woodward on 2011-02-19 18:33 ]
I'm curious, has this sort of thing worked before? Ever? Not just Whedon-related shows but ANY show or property? Has there ever been a time where fans raised enough money (specifically money, not advertisement and awareness) that they were able to buy or fund a studio owned property?

As for this attempt, I find it deluded, but harmless. They aren't asking for money yet and when they eventually do it's an adults privilege to spend their hard earned money on whatever they want. Even throwing it away on some hopeless cause like this. If they are gullible enough to give money without any further information from the organizers, so be it.
Money is money. If the legal particulars can be squared away, I can't imagine Fox cares who buys the rights. Wealthy individuals often pool their money together to fund entertainment ventures for profit. We're not wealthy but we're many. Why can't we do something similar in a non-profit way. Just because it hasn't been done before doesn't mean it can't be.

P.S. If we want Joss to have full rights to the Verse shouldn't we also consider buying "Serenity" from Universal?

[ edited by Barry Woodward on 2011-02-19 18:43 ]
Fox might not care who buys the rights, but they care if they sell the rights.

Should they sell it and new Firefly made even a modest profit, the people who sold the rights would be looking for new jobs. They'll err on the side of caution.

Just imagine: What if Star Trek fans had managed to buy the rights of that cancelled show say in the early seventies and gone on to produce a Motion Picture? No studio will risk a loss like that, particularly now that everything gets remade and rebooted eventually.
Entertainment properties switch hands all the time. It's possible Fox might not want to sell, which would render all this moot, but until we know for sure it's worth looking into.

[ edited by Barry Woodward on 2011-02-19 18:57 ]
Some other points that I thought of.

1) You know who could buy the rights or get a consortium around him? The multi-millionaire Joss Whedon.
2) What happens to the overseas rights?
3) What happens if the fans don't like the finished product? Do they get their money back?
4) Are actors supposed to break their existing contracts to sign on for new Firefly?
5) Will Universal be bought off?
Joss may be wealthy, but maybe he doesn't have $10 mil just laying around for that purpose. And, it could be he knows what the issues are in buying the rights and he'd rather be doing other things. We just don't know. Of course, it is a tantalizing prospect, but there is also the question, "Would Joss really want to do it?" and it's an equation for him that is probably equal parts desire, cash flow, and opportunity in-between other projects. He shouldn't do it because we all want him to.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2011-02-19 20:31 ]

[ edited by Tonya J on 2011-02-19 20:32 ]
I think Joss wants to do movies for a long time. Had Dollhouse continued I think he would have handed over the reins to Jed and Maurissa.
I keep seeing numbers thrown around about the size of the fanbase that are crazy unrealistic. No way in hell there are 5 million Firefly fans willing to give money. No way. Maybe 500,000. Maybe. Still would be a stretch. Fans and the media are constantly over estimating our numbers and this is why there is no and never will be a sequel to Serenity.We are very small in number and not so mighty. It's been proven. Repeatedly.
I keep seeing numbers thrown around about the size of the fanbase that are crazy unrealistic. No way in hell there are 5 million Firefly fans willing to give money. No way. Maybe 500,000. Maybe. Still would be a stretch. Fans and the media are constantly over estimating our numbers and this is why there is no and never will be a sequel to Serenity.We are very small in number and not so mighty. It's been proven. Repeatedly.


Totally, if there were 10 million of us Firefly would still be on air!
You mention "mighty", which brings to mind a Twitter conversation earlier today. It does tend to seem that these campaigns crop up from corners of the fandom that never had the chance to feel just that: mighty. (Setting aside the argument as to just how mighty the fandom has or has not been in this or that case.)
Yes, I've always been interested in how many of us there *really* are. Enough that Castle is allowed to make Firefly jokes repeatedly, but not enough to support a 50 million dollar movie.
I think it's likely the fanbase has grown - as a latecomer myself, I didn't go see Serenity because I wasn't aware of it at the time. But now I watch Castle and smile at the references, and recommend Firefly to people, and wish it would come back (though I doubt it will). How many people are like me, and how does that number compare to people who were fans at the time Serenity came out but have since drifted away?

This kind of argues in favor of the idea that a fan-supported campaign might eventually gain enough traction, but I think the longer time goes on the less likely it is. The comparison with Doctor Who doesn't take into account that that show had been on the air for 26 years before it was canceled. Even Star Trek got three seasons. Firefly got less than one, and yes, it's had a movie, but that was more than five years ago now.
Doctor Who also has (1) the BBC and (2) a premise that is built upon the characters changing.
Anyone remember Joss saying he'd investigated and discarded the idea of fan-funding his work? So why, exactly, does HNBF think it should be pursued for Firefly?
It does tend to seem that these campaigns crop up from corners of the fandom that never had the chance to feel just that: mighty.


It does always seem to be folks newer to the fandom, doesn't it? It's not hard to find out whether or not anybody tried to save the show before. Even if some of the details in timelines are off a bit, they make it clear: if this were going to happen, it would've happened by now.

I think Simon's right about Joss's move to film as well. A new acquaintance recently asked me, "So, when is Joss Whedon going to make another dynamite TV show?" and I just told her, "No." And suggested she pick up Buffy Season 8 and plan to watch Avengers, because that's where she'll be able to find his work.
Wow, some people can't let go. We got a movie, we got comic books, we even got something on a space station named after the show. Isn't that enough? More than most cancelled shows get. I'm just saying, we need more people focusing on the POSITIVE
Wow, some people can't let go. We got a movie, we got comic books, we even got something on a space station named after the show. Isn't that enough? More than most cancelled shows get. I'm just saying, we need more people focusing on the POSITIVE

You mean like the possibility of there eventually being more, in whatever shape or form? That IS a positive - at least in my book.
Nathan couldn't appear in Firefly as he's under contract with ABC for Castle.

There's a whole load I could say about this topic, but utimately it's all noise. 5 million people who watched the show on TV didn't turn up for Serenity at the theatres. 5 million people have watched Dr Horrible on YouTube. They didn't all buy the DVD.

Joss Whedon fans are amazing. You gals and guys have raised over half a million dollars for Equality Now since Serenity came out. You can't make another movie or show -- to quote joss himself, 'Firefly is a thing which is dead now'. But people did more important things. They changed lives. That's the legacy the show leaves behind with fans.
There are two separate issues for me: 1. As unlikely as it may be, I feel it would be worthwhile for fans to snatch Firefly from the grasp of Fox and give it to Joss (not Nathan, as much as I like him) to use whenever and however he sees fit. 2. The pushy, presumptuous and unrealistic aspect of trying to get more episodes ASAP is what will sink this or any campaign.

[ edited by Barry Woodward on 2011-02-20 14:02 ]
I know nothing about past endeavors to save Firefly or Serenity, because I was slow on the uptake. (I still might be -- I'd clearly be the last to know.) My take one the situation is that as long as legalities regarding any and all funds were clear and solid, I'd give it a go -- particularly if any and all funds accumulated, including interest -- would be donated to a charity if the project fell through. The anonymity of the people involved can be interpreted in two ways, the way I see it -- they are evil people trying to get Browncoats' green backs, or they are semi-well-connected people trying to reach a goal without burning any bridges in the early stages.
Either way, I always enjoy fan enthusiasm and the ignition of hope, no matter how feeble and far-fetched.

But how great would it not be at the end of the day to sit down and say: "We've done the impossible, and that makes us mighty."
If these are semi-connected people, it saddens me that people that unprepared have semi-connections. They're doing all their homework in real-time rather than before launch. They didn't open a site with counter-arguments about prior failed attempts, or examples of crunched numbers. They simply said "hey kids, let's put on a show".

It's a sad state of affairs if any semi-connected people are that unprepare and unprofessional. Far more likely it's just the same standard nonsense of people not valuing transparency as a value in and of itself.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-02-20 14:42 ]
My guess is this is being run by people or a person who knows that they would be called out for past mis-dealings with fandom if their identity was known effectively killing the project. There is no legitimate reason to stay anonymous with a project like this.
I love the idea of fan-funding a whole new series of firefly,I do. I'd give them money,no problem.
but, only if Joss,cast and crew are behind it.
the cast are busy with other projects. Joss is busy with other projects.
who knows if universal will even sell the rights?
are jane,tim,and the rest of the writers available to write more episodes?

like I said, I love the idea but it doesn't seem realistic at all.
present a proper project, and with names behind it, and I'm on board.

and while we discuss fan-funding, why not hold a fundraiser to release goners? I bet they're more willing to sell goners than firefly.
I don't think Nathan needs any help buying lottery tickets.
Entertainment Weekly has jumped on the story.

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