The Universe Does Not Owe You That Thing That You Want
Amid the coverage articles for the short-run of GILMORE GIRLS, this comment jumped out from the din of “OMG I CAN’T WAIT”
“What? Wait! Did *anyone* ask for this? I didn’t ask for this! Bring back FIREFLY — a show that more people will watch and love!”
…okay. Let’s unpack this, shall we?
I’m writing this as someone who loves SERENI-FLY. In 2006, I was part of the initial group to put on CAN’T STOP THE SERENITY screenings globally (now in its ninth year and growing strong). I have a thousand stories about friends I have made because of our love of fifteen hours of programming. So, please understand when I say this:
We. Will. Not. Ever. Get. Any. More. FIREFLY. EVER.
“…but… but… you said you love the show! How can you say that?”
It’s simple. You are the reason. You, rabid “go tell it on the Mountain Of DEADLINE.com Comments” Browncoat. You got the best thing anyone could hope for — you convinced Universal that your DVD sales and (unauthorized) merch purchases would equal a sleeper-hit movie audience. They even went to Fox and asked for the feature film rights — and FOX AGREED. (Ask Marvel fans how easy it is to get movie rights away from a rival studio.)
There are dozens of shows that found an audience that will never even sniff that kind of studio response.
Now that we’re ten years removed from SERENITY’s release, the principles have all moved along. Nathan Fillion has CASTLE. Morena Baccarin has GOTHAM. Gina Torres has SUITS. Adam Baldwin has THE LAST SHIP. Yes, all of the principles dig each other’s company, and would love to work with Joss Whedon again. But, more than half of them are busy (or deceased on-screen, dammit, Joss).
Oh, yeah, Joss. After helming the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the last few years, the experience of filming AGE OF ULTRON really took its toll. He’s been quite public in wanting to spend some time away, and not be under crushing expectations from studios looking to make a 10:1 return on their production dollars. And, as much as we all would love Whedon to bring us all back to that little corner of the ‘Verse… he’s moved on. He’s ready to make something else that’s personal, and would be equally beloved. (And if you think the same people who make comments like the ones above won’t come out in droves whining “This would be so much better if it were FIREFLY,” you haven’t spent any time online. That’s a prospect that no creator ever wants.)
Now that’s out of the way, something bothers me even more than the “Bring Back FIREFLY” drumbeat, because I see it in all corners of fandom. Everywhere. It’s the spoiled aftermath of genre fans who now see the things they were ostracized for in school becoming popular and successful, and thinking it’s being made just for them.
Simon Pegg got whacked in Commentistan for opining in a RADIO TIMES article that genre fans were becoming infantilized — and he was dead right.
“Before Star Wars, the films that were box-office hits were The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Bonnie and Clyde and The French Connection — gritty, amoral art movies. Then suddenly the onus switched over to spectacle and everything changed,” Pegg said. “Now, I don’t know if that is a good thing. Obviously I’m very much a self-confessed fan of science-fiction and genre cinema. But part of me looks at society as it is now and just thinks we’ve been infantilised by our own taste.”
“Now we’re essentially all consuming very childish things — comic books, superheroes… Adults are watching this stuff, and taking it seriously.”
It’s far worse than Pegg let on. The infantilization has reached temper tantrum levels, when a studio or network does something that fans don’t understand. Kill off a character in THE WALKING DEAD that we love? Stage a protest that demands the character be brought back! Produce a revival of a show that isn’t one we love that’s still off-the-air? Rage about it on every forum you can find!
There are countless business reasons why you’ll see more GILMORE GIRLS and not FIREFLY on Netflix. For starters: the cost of producing one hour of a FIREFLY redux would fund the entire run of GILMORE GIRLS (or, half of Series 2 of DAREDEVIL). Space is expensive on screen.
We all know and understand there are a legion of Browncoats out there. Hollywood knows it as well. They also know that vocal fans do not equal eyeballs. Yahoo! spent a good chunk of change betting people would watch COMMUNITY in droves, and took a bath on it. ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT had a highly visible fourth season on Netflix, and was not rewarded with a flock of new subscribers to watch more of the Bluth family.
(And, while we’re here together: your love of one show does not negate or diminish someone else’s love of another show. SUPERNATURAL fans are no superior or inferior than Browncoats, and so on. It is absolutely possible to love STAR WARS and STAR TREK equally. I feel this is another therapy session in the making, but someone’s love of GILMORE GIRLS is no different from your love of FIREFLY. The second you stop belittling other fandoms, the less outsiders will hate Browncoats. Trust me. I’ve seen it. It’s appalling.)
If I’m proven wrong, so be it. I swore up, down and sideways that we’d never see more TWIN PEAKS, or EVIL DEAD with Bruce Campbell strapping on the chainsaw again. If those two projects are successful, it might stoke the fires once again for one more stab at bringing the band back together on that little spaceship that could. Until then: let it rest. Please.