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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I'm so evil, and skanky. And I think I'm kind of gay."
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August 31 2004

Captain on deck at official Serenity board. (reg. req) Filming's done but he can't stay away from Universal set. Link to message board (registration req'd) where he posted in thread, Captain On Deck, rather than in blog.

Nathan Fillion's a guy you could hang out with all night at the local. Anyone game?

All I can get to is the comment he made a few weeks ago regarding the caterers. Is there a newer entry?
Never mind, poppin' up now. Thanks!
Ugh. Required registrations completely irk me. Can anyone provide a summary?
You can read the summary without registering here.
I'm working on a few people here at work...just bought another (my 7th) Firefly DVD set, which should arrive here in a day or two, specifically for a young fellow who is ripe for the plucking.

Damn, my wife and I watched "Out of Gas" and "Ariel" last night...simply breathtaking.

I have a buddy who writes for The Hollywood Reporter who was highly dubious about the DVD set I gave he says, "Man, Fox totally blew it...this could have been the greatest show ever!" He is eagerly anticipating April.
Thank you, Simon. You are my fearless defender against the Universal marketing monkeys.

Counting my husband, I've converted at least 5 people, one of whom works at a SunCoast video store - and now actively foists the DVD's into the hands of hapless Buffy andAngel fans. But there are more pilgrims out there whom I must reach before April. Mwah-hah-ha-ha-ha!
Chris in Virginia and wren, you should be working on royalties.

My recent bragging rights come from persuading a friend to give Firefly as a parting gift to a federal judge, who is already a Trekkie. Don't think the judge has any influence over Fox, but hey! every little bit helps ;).

And this past week my wife and kids were away for a few days so I watched "Serenity", "The Train Job", "Bushwhacked", "Out of Gas", "War Stories", "Trash", and "Objects in Space" with Joss's commentary on (for, unbelievably, the first time - it's terrific). On what must be my 4th or 5th viewing the show just doesn't get old or stale - just ever more rich and wonderful.
Just watched "Out of Gas" a couple days ago. It is one of my favorite episode (with "Objects in Space" a close second). Like you all - I can't wait for the movie to be released.

I converted my sister to Buffy and Angel but still haven't got her on Firefly; however my sister in turn is currently busy converting two of her friends to Angel and Buffy so I get some credit there right??
I've converted 5 people to Firefly, but only one of them to Buffy/Angel. Firefly seems to be a much easier sell.
Buffy and Angel requires a bit more time and commitment to get into, Firefly tens to grab people from "Serenity".

With that said, I've gotten twelve people into Firefly, all of them are now eagerly awaiting Serenity, and 4 of them have their own DVD sets.
I'm doing my best to spread the word about "Firefly," however, a lot of people turned it down the moment I said the word, "spaceship." It leaves me pretty irritated. WHY is there such a stigma about scifi? The masses will watch any piece of reality crap the networks throw at them, but they stick up their noses at science fiction.
"The masses will watch any piece of reality crap the networks throw at them, but they stick up their noses at science fiction."

Because of the stereotypical image science fiction has garnered over the years.

Don't get me wrong here guys as i don't happen to believe this is deserved anymore but conventions have seriously affected the way genre shows are envisioned. All you have to do is watch Trekkies, the docu-movie Denise Crosby did, to see exactly the image that scifi fans have.

Now personally i happen to know i'm nothing like your average trekkie stereotype despite still having a soft spot for the shows. However i think it is fair to say that there really does exist a certain number of fans who do live up to the reputation. Those that wear the uniforms, speak the languages and can give you the full specifications for any class of Federation starship. The big problem is that these are the fans that get noticed and it is assumed that all the fanbase is like this extreme.

As i said before, this is hardly fair as most fans are very normal, down to earth people such as ourselves who may like to get together with other fans and meet the stars of their favourite shows. No big deal as far as i'm concerned.

Trouble is, as long as there exists the extreme trekkie type, we will all be tarred with the same brush and shows like Firefly, Farscape and Stargate will just be more scifi rubbish to anyone who won't give them a chance.

Star Trek obsessives have a lot to answer for! ;)
If you mention a spaceship, no go. If you mention a vampire slayer and a vampire hero, people start to giggle uncontrollably.
Neopagan, I take far less issue with "Star Trek obsessives", even the most extreme ones, who find an honest pleasure in their imagination, than with those people who find the vapid mumblings and fumblings of "Brad" or "Brandi" (most of which, however, are scripted in advance anyway) on a date or desert island to be somehow worthy of viewing or commentary.

After 30-some years I have finally come to embrace my inner fantasy geek (if such it is). The fact that cop shows, lawyer shows, gangster shows, drek reality shows, and others are all deemed to be more serious and valid may be taken as an indictment of our pop culture - or simply ignored. I think many of us take pride in our embattled minority status. The only place it bites is in the networks' apparent rejection of quality "genre" TV. Still, the wheel will keep on turnin' . . . Anyhow, the success of the Matrix and LOTR shows that it is still very possible to get the "masses" to go and see, and even enjoy, fantasy and sci-fi.

Where it hurts me is, as lissie biff says, when even some of my most "broad-minded" friends twitch and appear to be humoring me when the subject of Buffy et al. comes up. I think in that case, it's the combination of vampires and the perception that it's a "high-school" show that I should already have grown out of. Feh.
Even in the Firefly chat room there are those that don't "get" Buffy. One chatter said he just couldn't get past the "teenage gobbledygoop".

I had to leave the room.

I can't fathom being such a diehard fan of only one of Joss' shows. What's even worse, is I know if this chatter and I lived in the same town, I could convert him with a few well placed episodes.

*bangs head against wall*
Here's my secret: I, and most of the people I've turned on to Buffy/Angel (I'm only on my first Firefly lend now - sorry) are all grad students/ex-grad students and PhDs. Whenever we're talking Buffy and anyone else rolls their eyes, we tell that, maybe if they had spent a few more years in school, they might be able to appreciate the show.

It's not really all that effective, but it's pretty funny.
"Neopagan, I take far less issue with "Star Trek obsessives", even the most extreme ones, who find an honest pleasure in their imagination, than with those people who find the vapid mumblings and fumblings of "Brad" or "Brandi" (most of which, however, are scripted in advance anyway) on a date or desert island to be somehow worthy of viewing or commentary."

I couldn't agree more. My "dig" at Trekkies was meant in a tongue in cheek way as i'm of the opinion that you live your life in whatever way you choose providing you aren't hurting anybody else. If obsessing over Star Trek starship details gets you through the day then i say go for it, you know?

The fact that this particular tv show obsession has been singled out as nerdy and pathetic whilst wanting to know every detail about what is happening on the latest reality show fad is perfectly acceptable is a constant annoyance to me. How are the two thing any different? Either way you are enjoying something you watch on television.

I'm very open about my love of the slayerverse despite having friends who won't give either show the time of day. However i will make no apologies to them for my tastes and thankfully they respect that. If more people around the world were like my group and just allowed everyone to get on with their lives and loves in whatever way they choose without judging or condescending then things would be a hell of a lot better.

However in the real world it ain't that way and probably never will be so the best we can do is be honest and not shy away from admitting what we like to watch. Don't let small minded people control what is "cool" and what is not because the truth is that being true to yourself no matter what is the coolest thing you can ever be.

Maybe you won't turn everybody on to your favourite show but it's only the open minded ones that really matter anyway. The ones that won't listen when you try to explain why Buffy, Angel or Firefly are so brilliant don't deserve to watch them anyway ;)
we tell that, maybe if they had spent a few more years in school, they might be able to appreciate the show.

Ooh, this is a good one! Snarky, but useful.
I've managed to convert maybe 10 people to Buffy and Angel, two or three to Alias, but have yet to rack up a Firefly convert. It seems like a harder sell for me for some reason, partially because of the Star Trek stigma. You mention a television show with a spaceship and people tend to think of those Trek characters in their stuffy uniforms. Tell them it's a space western and it's even more confusing. I don't even try to explain the Chinese influence.

I'm still working on it and doing my best though! I just hope that Universal finds a way to sell the movie that doesn't confuse people or scare them off.
I find its easy to pique people's interest in Firefly if you start with a discussion about the box. "Now see here's Mal, he's the Captain and he's a badass. Here's Jayne, a mercenary they took on whom they don't trust at all and he's really funny, this one's Kaylee, she's a woman mechanic/engineer, and here's Zoe, Mal's 2nd in command warrior woman..."

That usually gets 'em. I don't even get to Simon, Wash, Book, Inara or River before they're saying "When did you say you needed this back?"

My point is, its the people that sell Firefly, not the premise. Start talking about the "Space Western" and everyone's eyes glaze over...
we tell that, maybe if they had spent a few more years in school, they might be able to appreciate the show.

Ella, very wife has a Ph.D (economics) so I trot that out sometimes when it looks like it might be effective (I have only a BA--government and politics).

I've gotten easily over a dozen people into Angel and Buffy, and about the same number into Firefly. (Oddly enough, it's not a perfect overlap.)

Got my Firefly tee shirt and will wear tomorrow to the DC Buffy Meet-up (if I can get there.)
I've gotten my mother, my sister and her husband on Firefly. My mom on Buffy and Angel too, hehe. Every little bit...

As for the rep genre fans have, yeah it's sad. I've been a comic book reader all my life too, so I've always been out there even though I don't really fit most of the stereotypes connected to it. What I really find sad is that there is no real difference between someone who knows exactly what all the buttons on the Star Trek ship mean or someone who knows exactly what pitcher played in what game in 1957 or something.

Yet the first is ridiculed and the second is almost seen as extra cool. To me there's no difference. Both are just really into something. Way more than other people. And what's wrong with that? I'd rather see my kid do something like that than hit the streets with 'cool' friends that might have him vandalizing someones' car or going joyriding.

Ah the pendulum swings. At least Lord of the Rings has made fantasy cool again for whole new generations. But SF is on the down swing again. The new Star Wars films dissappointing people doesn't help either. I hope Serenity will be the sleeper of the year, the surprise hit, but it's a hard-to-label project that might be hard to sell to the mainstream.

[ edited by EdDantes on 2004-09-01 23:45 ]
"What I really find sad is that there is no real difference between someone who knows exactly what all the buttons on the Star Trek ship mean or someone who knows exactly what pitcher played in what game in 1957 or something.

Yet the first is ridiculed and the second is almost seen as extra cool. To me there's no difference. Both are just really into something."

Exactly my point Ed.

I have a few obsessions in my life. I'm very much into the paranormal and something of an expert on haunted locations in Britain. I'm a massive fan of Buffy and Angel, admittedly almost to the slayerverse equivalent of a trekkie where i know all the episode titles of both series in order and can identify demon types on sight. Also i'm a football fanatic, Manchester United supporter specifically, and so know a hell of a lot about the clubs, the players, the rules etc.

So explain to me then why it is that i could be ridiculed for my knowledge of the slayerverse, considered strange for my study of ghosts and yet applauded for following a game so thoroughly?

Double standards anyone?

Ah well, like i said before, i'll keep trying to convert people to our shows but i'm not losing any sleep over those who refuse to open their eyes to the excellence of Joss Whedon. It's their loss, not mine.
If this has been discussed before, I'm sorry.....I was watching Alien Resurrection tonight and I was just struck by just how much of Firefly is there lurking around. You could do a quick rewrite on Ron Perlman's dialogue and easily picture him as Jayne. Anyway, it had been several years since I had seen the film and felt like it was hitting me over the head.
It's always interesting to me the stereotypes people (myself included) bring to various genres. I have friends who are diehard fans of Alias (they even buy the novels) who laugh at the idea that maybe they should give Buffy a try. People who the minute you mention fantasy, or vampires, dismiss it as trekkie geekness, but who run out to see the latest LOTR epic on opening night. I've never been either a TV watcher (I didn't own one for years) or particularly a fantasy person, and I laughed the first time my boyfriend told me he was watching a show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which I'd vaguely heard of but knew nothing about - I was equal-opportunity illiterate about all TV shows). Now I'm a much bigger fan than he is and he kids me about my obsession.
It took me a while to warm to Firefly. I half-heartedly watched one episode (I think it was bushwhacked) when it aired on Fox because I knew Joss was behind it, but I've never been much of a sci-fi person (machines just don't do much for me, and i always figured a big part of sci-fi was the spaceships and futuristic age - i prefer the nonmechanized versions of fantasy) and was totally lost in the episode i saw. Plus it was on friday nights. Once it came out on DVD, i finally started renting it on netflix and became hooked sometime around the second disc. I was devastated when it ended so early and soon bought my own copy. What brought me in was the classic Joss characters and stories (which I should, of course, have known would be there) that existed despite the futuristic setting. I loved that Serenity was a lug of ship, that there were no "brave new worlds" to be explored or aliens to face.
But, I still have a hard time convincing friends who like Angel or Buffy to try it - they never make it past the spaceship, as I at first didn't, because of all the stereotypes and past movies/tv shows it conjures up. And with people who don't know joss at all, I find Buffy an easier (though certainly not easy!) sell. On the other hand, a friend who adores Firefly dismisses Buffy as "cute and not bad, but only for teenage girls."
And, as others have mentioned, it's somehow socially acceptable to gossip for hours about the latest soporific episode of the Bachelorette at work the next morning. Impossible to fathom people's taste and stereotypes.

On the positve side - i never ceased to be amazed at the places Buffy fans turn up. I work at a newspaper with extremely literate and thoughtful folks, and discover new buffy fans (and fanatics) among my coworkers all the time, often among the least likely (old, buttoned-down, rather stodgy) suspects. I suspect it just took an episode or two to shatter any stereotypes.
I think acp brought up some very good points. A lot of the problems with getting more people to give Joss' work a chance is the fact that they are stopped by the stereotypical associations to some of the elements.

As acp said, some people laugh at the title of Buffy (I used to), some just stop at the concept of 'fantasy', or 'vampires' and those that don't can be turned off by 'spaceship' stuff in Firefly....and the sad thing is, (apart from the fact that as you said, they do go to LotR and stuff) that what is so good about the shows is hard to explain! You just have to sit down and watch it and get into it.

I hated the Buffy movie and didn't even glance at the show until S3. And I only slowly got sucked in as I caught episodes completely out of order in reruns. When I realized I was hooked (Staying home because it was 'Buffy night' buying the early european DVD sets, etc) my then-girlfriend-future-wife thought it was just so 'cute' that I watched 'that Buffy show'. (well, you all know how that went;-)

But there was always some threshold to cross. I completely missed Firefly on TV and it took us a while to buy the DVD set. ('Is Joss going 'Star Trek' on us?') And I like SF fine but I'd gotten tired of all shows resembling Star Trek in some form. Tired of the aliens with their ugly latex noses and ears. And my wife didn't like SF much to begin with.

When we finally bought it and watched it one by one in the right order we were, like with Buffy and Angel, hooked. And it is the first SF show since the original Star Trek that really has done something different with the genre. (I think anyway)But even for us there had, again, been that threshold.

And it's kinda sad that Joss so often has to fight through that. Maybe people who like SF don't like the lack of hitech and aliens and such...maybe people who like westerns don't want the spaceships flying over...I don't know. I so hope this movie is a success. But we live in a high-speed pop culture where people are used to clear labels. And I worry......I worry a lot.

(My apologies to my wife for the 'It' quote there. She hates it when I do that;-)
For some reason I actually remember the announcement on one of those entertainment shows that a series was going to be made based on the Buffy movie. I hadnít seen it, just the scenes with Pee Wee Herman and I thought ďTheyíre trying to make a series out of that? Something called Buffy the Vampire Slayer?Ē I didnít give it a chance until the sixth season and now I could almost kick myself for all the eye rolling I did.

Presently, Iíve just started on Firefly (next episode: ďBushwackedĒ) after inexplicably resisting again--even though I knew to expect great writing and characterizations. I like some SciFi, but Iím not fond of westerns. Stupid labels. They donít matter with Firefly. It has elements of those two, but it is unique and the whole thing just seemed to hit the ground running, like it was always there. Iím trying to space out my viewing, but itís hard not to watch it all in one go. The challenge is to see past the premise and be drawn in by the stories and complex characters. Not a challenge, really, more like a revelation. Already I canít wait for Serenity.
The challenge is to see past the premise and be drawn in by the stories and complex characters. Not a challenge, really, more like a revelation.
Exactly. And it's true for every show, not just fantasy - stories and characters and human emotion are what make a show, not the setting. But unfortunately, seeing past the premise to the story itself is what so many people can't seem to do, and why genre shows always struggle. Always strange to me that so many far-more-ridiculous premises seem fine to people, but they can't get past the setting with fantasy and scifi. I'd say it's just their loss, except that the uphill battle for viewers with genre means that it's tough to get even the high-quality ones produced.
Have fun with Firefly! I'm jealous you're getting to see them for the first time. It just keeps getting better, and (IMO) really hits its stride by the third disc.
what is so good about the shows is hard to explain! You just have to sit down and watch it and get into it.
Very, very true EdDantes. I have SO many friends and family who i know would adore Buffy and Angel as much as I do (well, Ok, maybe not quite THAT much) if they'd only watch a few episodes. But explaining it isn't going to do it, and sometimes when i try i just end up feeling ridiculous ("and then there's this vampire with a soul and a curse... and later she gets a sister, who's really a ball of energy converted to human form by monks... but really, i swear, it's all very intelligent and metaphorical and the dialogue, believe me, it's fabulous!"). Even one episode is rarely enough. It really takes watching several and getting the feel for the show, the characters, the ongoing plot arcs. But only once or twice have I succeeded in getting people to sit down and give it a try. Usually i just get a disbelieving, dismissive, "ok, right, if you say it's good i'm sure it must have something to it," and I know they'll never watch it.
As acp says, it's hard to get folk to be the captive audience (short of, well, taking them captive - when my mum was visiting from England last year, she effectively was a captive, and was prime for Buffy conversion).

But assuming that there they are, sitting down with you, somewhat cool and diffident, while you are struggling to master your excitement and not come across as a complete doofus, I have greatest success with "Hush". Despite the depth and wonderful continuity, it's actually relatively self-contained as a story, it's visually and audibly arresting, the direction, acting etc. are completely self-assured, and it's just really creepy. Most people can deal with a fairy- or ghost-story (reminds them of childhood), and then the superior writing just knocks 'em down.

For my mum, I played a carefully thought-out selection, including "Angel", to provide essential background, "Prophecy Girl", for the first real sign of depth and darkness in the Buffyverse, "Hush, and "OMWF", because she just adores musicals. Despite not really getting the song references etc. she loved it as pure entertainment. Although she won't be buying the boxed sets any time soon, she has completely overcome the initial "vampires? high school? Buffy the what?" reaction to my passion. So my "teaching" is, know your audience. There's an episode of BtVS and/or Ats to meet everyone's tastes.
Chris in Virginia,

What D.C. meetup? I'm in D.C. Thanks for any details you can give me.....

I've converted only two people to the Whedonverse, alas. At least now they're both ardent fans. I'm writing my PhD right now so I've trotted out the "educated folks love the Whedonverse" (I was also converted by a PhD'er) whenever I get the so-expected-it's-boring eyerolls. That seems to stop people in their tracks. I've also printed out a selection of effusively positive articles from respected newspapers, journals, and magazines about Whedon's work and have put them in a binder I've entitled "Readings For The Ignorati Who Think They're the Literati" (thanks to one of Buffy's reviewers for that phrase). But I've yet to circulate said binder beyond my family. Maybe I'm still a little timid. Time to cast off timidity and stand on street corners with a megaphone and scream out Whedonverse praise to passersby!

Well, maybe not. But I promise to talk up Serenity to anyone who will listen and I have an extra set of the Firefly DVDs at the ready for the one-two conversion punch. (One: talk up the show. Two: lend the DVDs. Presto! Conversion. Anyone who isn't converted by this method is a charter member of the Ignorati, obviously).
phlebotinin, it's at the Cheesecake Factory restaurant in upper northwest DC (Friendship Heights Metro.) Starts at 8, people meet in front of the restaurant on the street level. Last month, we met there and there was a long wait for a table for 8 and we wound up going to Maggiano's, just down the street, which worked very well. But the plan tonight is for the Cheesecake Factory. Hope you can make it.

I WILL be wearing my Firefly t-shirt!
Thanks, Chris in Virginia. 75% says I'll be able to make it and if so, I'll look for a group of people outside the Cheesecake Factory, one of whom WILL be wearing the Firefly t-shirt!

SoddingNancyTribe, I lassoed my two converts by showing them first "Hush" then "OMWF." As you say, "Hush" is self-contained enough for it not to confuse. And it's so brilliant that you can't help but appreciate it. "OMWF" is a great follow-up to "Hush" because we see the characters two seasons on and thus the newbie viewer can appreciate the marvellous character development. Plus who wouldn't be impressed by "OMWF?"
I have multiple copies of Season One which I lend out indefinitely, just urging people to watch in succession. It's only 12 episodes, so it's not so imposing, and it gives them a chance to see who the characters are and how they develop.

phlebotinin, hope to see you!

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