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The Browncoats Rise Again

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the since-i-found-serenity dept.

Sci-Fi 271

The Original, One and Only, Hippy of Death writes "There's an interesting read posted on The Weekly Standard website talking about Joss Whedon and the unusual marketing campaign he is waging for the upcoming Serenity/Firefly movie." From the article: "It was ignored and abandoned, and the story should end there--but it doesn't. Because the people who made the show and the people who saw the show--which is, roughly, the same number of people--fell in love with it a little bit. Too much to let it go. . . . In Hollywood, people like that are called unrealistic, quixotic, obsessive. In my world, they're called Browncoats."

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271 comments

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Brownshirts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908475)

Damn. And I thought this was about the brownshirts rising again - this time in the service of GWB.

While we're on the topic, Occult History of the Third Reich [amazon.com] is a must see! Download it with eMule! NOW! Unbelievable!

Re:Brownshirts (1)

TummyX (84871) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908487)

Al Gore...is that you?

Re:Brownshirts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908930)

Al Gore a brownshirt? So he is a liberal AND a fascist. What's next? Your gonna tell me he invented the Internet?

Re:Brownshirts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908496)

righ,t I will just leave a comment here and wait for the guys to say something useful

Re:Brownshirts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908549)

I heard somewhere that Napoleon dressed his army in red so that if the soldier got shot, you couldn't see the bloodstains on the shirt. Similarly, the officers of the Soviet army (and also the Brownshirts and Browncoats) were dressed in brown so that you couldn't see the shit dripping...

speaking of browncoats (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908485)

Now that US capitalism is morphing into a
form of fascism (many of our constitution's
amendments are eliminated for example
by the "patriot" act) controlled by
corporate interests, it would behoove us
to keep a close watch on corporations.

http://malfeasance.50megs.com/ [50megs.com]

Yeah well... (-1, Troll)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908490)

...it still doesn't mean it will be a good movie. WTG for helping their marketing departement, though.

Re:Yeah well... (1)

galatea2.2 (887936) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908517)

Doesn't mean it won't be a good movie, either. The odds are very good that it will be a good movie, however. Joss Whedon can write and direct and this isn't just a "let's milk our franchise to death" project. Com'on, be happy!

The word on the street (2, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908769)

I haven't seen the rough cut myself, but several friends have, and they're all wildly enthusiastic about it. As in, enthusiastic enough to see it again, for money, when it comes out in a few months.

Uncertain, so it's not a spoiler (-1, Troll)

StarKruzr (74642) | more than 9 years ago | (#12909080)

But I've heard either Mal or Wash die.

If it's true, I need to stab Joss in the eye.

Re:Yeah well... (1)

dezzikitty (894999) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908836)

...except it is. A good movie. One of the best I've seen in years. I've seen it twice, and I can't wait for September 30th to roll around so I can see it again. I already want to buy it on DVD, and coming from someone who *never* buys movies (I own like, six), that's saying something. :) Just because it's an unconventional marketing strategy doesn't mean the movie's not worth marketing.

Re:Yeah well... (1)

Petrol (18446) | more than 9 years ago | (#12909053)

Way to RTFA, it's a human interest story, it's not about the movie.

Serenity (0, Redundant)

mikeporter (526673) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908503)

I've seen it twice and it was great both times.

Re:Serenity (1)

greyhoundpoe (802148) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908632)

I've seen it twice and it was great both times.
(Score:0, Redundant)

Best. Mod. Ever.

Just saw a preview a couple of days ago ... (5, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908506)

... and yeah, pretty much everything the article says is right. (How often does that happen?) The crowd was much less over the top than, say, the stereotypical Star Wars / Star Trek / LOTR opening night crowd; very few costumes. We were there to see the movie, and we did, and we walked out grinning from ear to ear. It's great stuff.

Oh, it's not perfect yet (lots of editing still to be done, I think) but it was still, in its unfinished form, the best movie I've seen in a long time. And the fact that Whedon et al. are actually paying attention to the fans -- treating us as part of the effort of making the movie instead of $TARGET_DEMOGRAPHIC -- is really damn cool.

It occurs to me that what's happening with Firefly/Serenity is very similar to what happened with Star Trek way back when. The fans basically kept alive what was originally considered a failed series for over ten years between the cancellation of the series and the greenlight for the first movie. We should count ourselves lucky that things moved faster this time around.

Anyway. This is some of the best storytelling you'll ever see on screen. Don't miss it.

Re:Just saw a preview a couple of days ago ... (3, Insightful)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908576)

treating us as part of the effort of making the movie instead of $TARGET_DEMOGRAPHIC -- is really damn cool.

You don't think Whedon knows this? People who want to feel like they are involved in the making of the movie ARE the demographic Whedon is going after.

Re:Just saw a preview a couple of days ago ... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908591)

Oh, I'm sure he does know that, and that's fine; we're happy because we feel included and get a great movie, he's happy because we buy tickets to his movie, everybody wins. My point is that it feels a lot less cynical than the standard Hollywood formula of, "Okay, here's an action sequence for the guys, here's a romance subplot for the chicks, here's something cute for the kids, here's something dramatic for the critics ..." etc.

Re:Just saw a preview a couple of days ago ... (1)

localman (111171) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908957)

And every kind act is really a selfish act to get people to like you!

Who cares? As long as you're giving me what I want, I'll give you what you want. And we can each view it through whatever cynical or romantic glasses we wear.

Cheers.

Re:Just saw a preview a couple of days ago ... (2, Informative)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908672)

Re:Just saw a preview a couple of days ago ... (-1, Troll)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908745)

Re:Just saw a preview a couple of days ago ... (2, Informative)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908896)

Warning for the paranoid or purists, parent poster is a referrer link. If you have a problem with that, don't click. If you don't care, no worries.

Here is my question (0, Redundant)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908510)

Why is the submitter, the self proclaimed "hippy of death" reading the Weekly Standard?

Re:Here is my question (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908600)

He was using it as a blanket when the homeless shelter was too full to take him in for the night...

Re:Here is my question (2, Funny)

Neoncow (802085) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908872)

Redundant? Whay is this redundant?

Oh by the way, don't mod me insightful.

Saw the movie *minor spoilers* (4, Interesting)

DeafDumbBlind (264205) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908513)

I really liked it until the last 3 or 4 minutes.
I hope that they change the ending before the final release.
Having the bad guy behave the way he did at the end cheapened the whole 'believe in something' theme that they were trying to push throughout the movie.
It was totally weak for the guy to change his entire world view based on one unsubstantiated news clip.
Other than that, I thought that movie kicked ass.

Re:Saw the movie *minor spoilers* (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908554)

FWIW, the impression I got wasn't that he'd lost his belief in the Alliance, but that he'd lost his belief in himself -- i.e., his whole purpose in life was to be scary-deadly-secret-agent-guy, and having failed in that, he "fell on his sword."

Re:Saw the movie *minor spoilers* (1)

tpconcannon (619066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908609)

Why not? Idiots change their opinions all the time based on unsubstantiated news clips. Today, the media controlled cattle line up one by one to go into the slaughter house. Zzzap. Thud. Done.

Re:Saw the movie *minor spoilers* (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908634)

Nope. People like to hold contradictory facts in their head, but very few people actually change who they are based upon what they learn. Real change in behavior is rare.

For example: I think time is way to precious to be reading Slashdot commentary, yet here I am ;)

Re:Saw the movie *minor spoilers* (3, Funny)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908833)

American movie in being extremely good until the last 5 minutes shocker!

Seriously, I'll never understand what's up with you and super-happy cliche endings.

In my world (1)

ninja_assault_kitten (883141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908529)

All women have at least a full C.

The true question is... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908555)

The Browncoats Rise Again, eh? Could this open some eyes and increase interest in alternative (Linux, Mac) offerings?

What A Gamble (4, Interesting)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908573)

I thought a long time about what I'd seen after a four hour drive home from a preview showing, and the main thought I came up with is this. We live in very uncertain times and the main attraction of Firefly that inspired its cult following was the comfort of a family that would weather all dangers. That comfort is gone in this movie. It is a GREAT movie, but it somewhat lacks the core quality that drew people to Firefly in the first place. SO, whether this is just a better than average movie release or the beginning of the pop cultural phenom the fans had hoped it would be remains to be seen.

Re:What A Gamble (0, Redundant)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908710)

Re:What A Gamble (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 9 years ago | (#12909044)

We live in very uncertain times and the main attraction of Firefly that inspired its cult following was the comfort of a family that would weather all dangers. That comfort is gone in this movie.

Curse their sudden but inevitable betrayal!

Re:What A Gamble (1)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12909054)

Snicker. An appropriate quote on several levels.

Brownstains? (1, Interesting)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908574)

I promise not to troll. I've seen exactly one episode in its entirety, the one they play backwards with the captain being shot. I've seen bits and pieces of maybe another 2 episodes.

From what I've seen, I wasn't impressed at all, not even a little. Maybe It was the worst of the entire series, short lived as it was. I'll even admit there is 1 B5 episode out there, that if it was the first I had seen, well, it would have been the last.

That said, this marketing campaign doesn't seem all that great. I'm assuming that those of you that have loved the show (and I know you're out there, I once went from 2 to -1, Troll in 30 some seconds on a Firefly story) will go see it no matter what. Marketing exists for people like me. I like science fiction, but need some encouragement to want to see this movie.

Anyone care to try explaining to me what's so great about it, without sounding like you just converted to a cult 2 weeks ago?

Re:Brownstains? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908592)

How is this not a troll? You're posting to bitch about a show you don't like, and it's fairly obvious that you don't really want to be convinced to watch the movie. If you're any kind of geek, at least one of your friends, assuming you have them, should be willing to loan you the DVDs.

It's perfectly fine not to like something popular, but it doesn't make you special, and whining about it is just bothersome. I like Windows, but I don't go into Linux threads to complain, I just don't read them.

Re:Brownstains? (3, Funny)

toopc (32927) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908595)

From what I've seen, I wasn't impressed at all, not even a little. Maybe It was the worst of the entire series, short lived as it was. I'll even admit there is 1 B5 episode out there, that if it was the first I had seen, well, it would have been the last.

Would that "1 B5 episode" be the entire first season?

Re:Brownstains? (2, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908612)

If you've only seen one episode, see a couple more. Rent the series DVD, or if you're really tight, download a couple of episodes ("The Train Job" or "Our Mrs Reynolds" perhaps). If you're so convinced that it's not worth watching that you won't invest the time to see a couple more episodes and decide for yourself, then nothing anyone says here is likely to convince you. On the other hand if you're going to be open minded about it, an hour or two of your time watching what I think is some of the best tv sci-fi ever can't be that painful, even if you don't end up liking yourself.

Re:Brownstains? (4, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908637)

The episode you saw (also titled Serenity, IIRC) was neither the worst nor the best of the series, but it happened to be one that required having watched a good deal of the series to really get into that particular storyline. This is a problem with a lot of Whedon's work, actually -- not a problem for serious fans, of course, but it does sometimes put off the more casual viewer. OTOH, the long, intricate story arcs in all of his series are one of the reasons the guy has so many dedicated fans, so it cuts both ways. He's telling stories, not episodes; if a story takes one episode to tell, that's great, but he'll also tell it in ten episodes if needed.

If you're willing to give Firefly another shot, I'd recommend finding someone who has the DVD boxed set, and watching the series premiere (the real premiere, the two-hour one, not the fairly mediocre episode that Fox actually showed first) and then, if you like it, watching the rest of the episodes in sequence.

What's so great about it? Well, for me, it's pretty much the same stuff I think is so great about all of Whedon's work to date: terrific dialogue, immensely likable characters, intricate storytelling, and a willingness both to use cliches as needed and then discard them the instant they're no longer useful. Buffy, Angel, and Firefly all managed to surprise me, repeatedly, just when I thought I was being led down a familiar path. Hardly any TV shows ever do that, and few enough movies.

It's the characters who make it work, ultimately. You may not always agree with them, or admire them, or even understand them, but you like them, and you care what happens to them. They're not archetypes; they are, even when they're fighting vampires or flying spaceships, people you feel like you could sit down and have a beer with. This is Whedon's great talent, and it's what keeps his fans coming back to his work.

Not sure if this answer is un-cult-like enough for you, but it's what I've got. ;)

Re:Brownstains? (1)

drxenos (573895) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908798)

Serenity? Why would he have to watch a "good deal" of the series to enjoy the pilot episode??? I believe the episode he is referring to is "Out of Gas," my personal favorite. I think his reference to it being "backward" is a misunderstanding with the flashbacks, which I guess would be confusing it that is the *only* eptisode you saw.

Re:Brownstains? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908855)

Oops, you're right. Not sure why I thought the flashback episode was the one called "Serenity" -- maybe because the ship was really the central character of that one?

Anyway. Yeah, the point is, that particular episode was hard to make sense of for anyone who hadn't seen at least a couple of preceding episodes, so it's too bad that that's the only one OP has seen in its entirety.

B5 and FF (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908853)

Good answer, but I'm not certain it's going to change his mind, and I'm not sure it should.

Firefly is a character-driven series, which keeps the stories fairly small. It's a western set in space, a conceit I know some people didn't care for. Its writing is sharp and incisive in that Joss Whedon way, which not everybody goes for.

This guy appears to be a fan of B5, and seemingly nearly episode of it. I'm a Firefly fan and found B5 offensively bad: terrible writing, flat characters, a host of truly dreadful performances, cheesy special effects.

But clearly it appeals to many, many people. I'd say that those are people looking for different things in a TV show. Everybody who likes B5 raves about its long story arcs, which Firefly mostly lacks. There are a few continuing threads, but it doesn't have the enormous sweep that B5 has. Not to mention that B5 has nifty space battles that feel like a Flash Gordon episode (with better special effects.)

I did watch the entire series of B5, and it definitely gets less bad starting around the middle of season 3. I'd go so far as to say it was even OK, and occasionally good. There must be some overlap between Firefly fans and B5 fans, but I'm betting those in the overlap like each for very, very different reasons.

It's entirely possible that this guy would like the series if he saw it from the beginning, but if he wasn't at least intrigued by that one episode, I wouldn't bet on it. To each his own.

Re:B5 and FF (1)

sgtrock (191182) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908908)

The PP is right. B5 and FF probably draw from different fan bases. I admit to being both a B5 and FF fan, a fan of SG1 from the time I first saw it in Showtime, the new BSG, Buffy, Angel, etc. (I've always had pretty eclectic tastes. Why eat just vanilla and chocolate ice cream? :) ) Anyhow, I think there's a lot of underrated sci-fi on the small screen. Every series has its strong points, and I tend to look for what any particular series or movie does right and downplay the things that they got wrong. Yet even I had a hard time getting excited about something like Farscape, for example. Not that I thought Farscape lacked for storytelling. It's just that I couldn't get into the story or the characters.

Back on topic. I'm not surprised by Joss's marketing approach. The man has consistently demonstrated an ability to think outside the box that much of Hollywood lacks. He has also demonstrated a respect for his stories, his characters, and his fans that again, much of Hollywood lacks. IMO those qualities combined with his very real talent for writing a good story will mean that his series will probably be watched 30 to 50 years from now. And no, I don't mean just on TV Land, but in widespread syndication. How many current series do you think can make the same claim?

Re:B5 and FF (2, Insightful)

2short (466733) | more than 9 years ago | (#12909067)


"It's a western set in space, a conceit I know some people didn't care for"

Personally, it's not the conceit I don't care for. I just don't care for westerns. I like SciFi, and watched a bunch of Firefly, but concluded it's not, as billed by some, a Sci-Fi Western. It's a Western. The props are Sci-fi, but the premises, stories and charachters are all western.

I've no problem with other people liking it. I just don't think you should expect others to if you are basing that expectation on whether they like Trek or Babylon 5. It would be more relevant to ask if they liked Bonanza or The Magnificent Seven.

Interesting question. . . (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908698)

Anyone care to try explaining to me what's so great about it, without sounding like you just converted to a cult 2 weeks ago?

I always find questions of this sort fun; they challenge me to examine my own reactions so that I understand them well enough to explain them to others. But what are you asking about exactly?

Are you asking about the series, the promotional campaign, or the film, (which I've not yet seen and so cannot comment on.)?


-FL

Re:Interesting question. . . (1)

Chancellorgriffin (748769) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908770)

you realy need to wach it from the begging, to get a feal for why its so dam, l33T (ok shoot me).

Re:Brownstains? (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908793)

Marketing exists for people like me.
Um, no. Marketing does not exist for people who have decided what they like before they've seen the show in question. It exists for people who are likely to be convinced to try something new, and you are not in that group.

Brand Loyalty (1)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908854)


Um, no. Marketing does not exist for people who have decided what they like before they've seen the show in question. It exists for people who are likely to be convinced to try something new, and you are not in that group.

IANAM, but I have heard that the purpose of marketing is to reinforce brand loyalty [google.com] .

Re:Brownstains? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908942)

I promise not to troll.

You already did in your subject.
And you do it again in the last sentence. Ah, trolls who keep going "no no, I'm trolling, I sweaaaar"... sigh.

Anyone care to try explaining to me what's so great about it, without sounding like you just converted to a cult 2 weeks ago?

and this is on slashdot because...? (0, Troll)

manavendra (688020) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908593)

Oh and mods, go on, mark this as troll please

Re:and this is on slashdot because...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908660)

hey fucktard: it's 'ENTERTAINMENT' if you don't like it, go someplace else you asshole.

Firewhat? Serenity? (1)

Council (514577) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908599)

I was so confused, when the Firefly/Serenity stories started showing up on /., because the overwhelming response was along the lines of: "Oh, wow, they're finally listening to the will of the world and making this wonderful, wonderful show into a wonderful, wonderful movie. Oh my God. We all need to decide how to get together and celebrate. And of course it goes without saying that it will be a great movie." And then there would be twenty comments ALL vigorously agreeing.

And I've been a bit confused, because until the slashdot comments, I had never heard of Firefly. I'm still awful lost, but everyone seems to take it for granted, as if it were Star Trek or something. Did I miss something huge? Am I the only one who didn't know about this movie?

And most importantly, why is it so good? All I've been able to tell is that it's (a) a good story, and (b) set in space. I know I need to read plot summaries and all, but can anyone fill me in on why they like this show?

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (0, Redundant)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908620)

Check out the 1300+ reviews over on Amazon [amazon.com] , then spend the best entertainment $30 you will ever spend and see for yourself.

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (1)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908636)

Actually, through the end of today, there are some 20% off coupons over at Deep Discount DVD that will get you the box set of Firelfy for under $25, shipped.

The coupons are listed at slickdeals.net, if you can't find them.

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908670)

That has to be the cheapest box set of an entire show ever. It has to be the cheapest box set of an entire season ever for that matter. Hell, it's only $10 more than a movie. I've never seen a single episode, but at $30 whats the risk?

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (2, Interesting)

unlinear (235476) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908633)

First of all, serenity doesn't care about technobabble, which was increasingly my pet peeve with 'trek.

"The engine is dead." "Well, go 'n fix it, damn it."

Second of all, the universe is incredibly well thought out. It's a universe that actually feels like It Hasn't Been Done Before which this day and age is rare.

Third... It's funny. damn funny. Characterization is awesome, and the use of humor is on the highest level of Whedonness. I remember having diet coke come up my nose when in episode "Jaynestown" the locals on one planet started their tribute to Jayne. (This makes more sense if you see the whole episode - Jayne's not really one you'd expect to have a tribute written for.)

I could go on, but I'm a horrible rambler, so that's it for now.

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908802)

The lack of technobabble rocked.

You hear they're in a spaceship, and it's broke, and you expect all sort of crazy crap, and you prepare by turning off all knowledge of science and technology, and you get:

Catalyzer's broke. Gonna need a new one.

No 'charging the emitters', no gibberish about pulling power from life support, no 'phases', no 'modulation'...it's just 'broke'.

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908639)

People like it cos Fox cancelled it. Fox cancels the good shows early on, like Wonderfalls.

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908640)

Find a friend that has the series on DVD, take a long weekend and sit and watch. The original premise struck me as "Stagecoach" in space, but after three episodes, I got hooked. The acting was superb, the plots just hokey enough to hook and the love of craft shown through like a beacon. Yeah, Fox had Joss for another series, but it was the suits that killed this one. Somewhat similar to "John Doe", it has more bright, shining moments than dull ones.

And watching Inara walk down a flight of stairs more than made up for the weak parts.

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908655)

Check out this thread for a good summary of what fans think make this show great:

http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/16688 [gamerswithjobs.com]

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908657)

Did I miss something huge?
Yes

Am I the only one who didn't know about this movie?
Yes ...can anyone fill me in on why they like this show?
Because it's bloody entertaining. Go borrow/rent the DVD and watch it, that'll be worth far more than testimonials.

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (4, Interesting)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908755)

The reason you don't know about it is the reason it failed.

Fox delibrately purchases sci-fi series so it can shoot them in the foot. Which it did to Firefly. It was delibrately destroyed, played in the wrong order, preempted by random shit, not promoted at all.

It's not the least bit surprising you hadn't heard of it.

It had the potential to be the next Buffy, minus the weird image problem Buffy has to this day. Get rid of the silly name, get rid of the silly premise, get rid of the much mocked manner of speakage, keep the important concepts. Instead of the 'best show you're not watching', maybe people would watch it. (And there were a lot of Buffy fans to pull in. Except, of course, Fox never purchased any ads during Buffy or Angel to actually locate them. Not that ads would do any good when you move the damn show around.)

Or it could have been the next Star Trek, written by someone who actually understands characters and plot. (The next next Star Trek, I guess, as B5 would be the next one.)

Or, hell, fans would have settled for a cult classic.

Instead the show got cancelled before all the episodes ever aired. It is possibly unique in TV history for being canceled before the pilot aired, because they showed the episodes out of order.

The only reason anyone heard of it is that fans pestered the studio for months. Not to renew the series, which is hopeless, but to release the DVDs....which they then proceeded to purchase like madmen. They didn't manage to break any records I'm aware of, but they did manage to convince the studio the movie would sell.

And people like it for different reasons, so it's nearly impossible to explain.

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (2)

gilroy (155262) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908947)

blockquoth the poster:

Fox delibrately purchases sci-fi series so it can shoot them in the foot. Which it did to Firefly. It was delibrately destroyed, played in the wrong order, preempted by random shit, not promoted at all.

OK, I disdain Fox as much as the next sci fi fan, and they've honked me off too. But this makes no sense: Why would they spend the money just to ditch a show? Is Rupert Murdoch on some sort of anti-SF crusdae?

Firefly got canceled because they expected it to do, proportionally, what Buffy did for the WB -- but since Fox was already established and a much bigger network, that was impossible.

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (1)

Neoncow (802085) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908757)

I heard about it from Scott [pvponline.com] and Tycho (you have to scroll a bit) [penny-arcade.com]

I didn't pay much attention to it until I heard that there was a movie coming out and both comics comics put up strips about the trailers..

Joss Whedon is the creator of Firefly. [pvponline.com]

Comic on the previews.. [penny-arcade.com]

Just watched the series a few weeks ago. Downloaded the series and now have the DVD set. Actually, I bought the DVD soon after being disappointed by Star wars...

What I like is:
Fun characters + The way the show wrenches with your expectations all the time + The weirdness of the western in space concept.

I suggest you watch the first 2 or 3 episodes. If you don't like it, then you probably won't end up liking it later.

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908785)

why is it so good? All I've been able to tell is that it's (a) a good story
What more do you need? If it's a good story it's worth seeing, right? Especially compared with what we've seen for Holywood this year.

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (1)

pupdog311 (617396) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908799)

1. It does everything that Lucas started out with and then changed, right - your main characters are real people, without a black and white worldview.

2. The series tells fun stories, tehre's guys with guns and horses and spaceships and fighting, and oh yeah, whores...

3. And if all you;ve been able to tell is that "it's (a) a good story, and (b) set in space", what else do you really need? Tom Cruise? Michael Chiklis in foam rubber? It's a good movie, built around telling a good story, with shit that blows up and people that fight, and cry, and love, and not based around some star just so they have a movie out...

Re:Firewhat? Serenity? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908975)

And I've been a bit confused, because until the slashdot comments, I had never heard of Firefly. I'm still awful lost, but everyone seems to take it for granted, as if it were Star Trek or something. Did I miss something huge? Am I the only one who didn't know about this movie?

If only there was a series of online comics [pvponline.com] that explained the interest in a humourous way...

Its not slashdotted yet! (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908644)

Thats something! But I did notice it was slowing down while I was downloading the HD version. Maybe someone should torrent it? I would if I could.

This isn't really a new thing... (4, Insightful)

Dinosaur Neil (86204) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908661)

Once upon a time, there was a TV show that was very popular with the geek crowd. It was cancelled two seasons in, then resurrected for one final season (in the worst time slot possible). The fans refused to keep quiet, so four years later the studio created a really bland animated version of the show. That didn't shut them up either; fans still demanded more. Ten years after the show went off the air, a theatrical movie was released. Even though it was a special effects showcase loosely held together with an unlikely plot and really wooden acting, it was financially successful enough that Paramount studios finally gave in and decided that they'd let the fans shower them with money for the next twenty-five years.

I think it's great that Joss found a way to bring back Firefly, but I wonder if the press is taking this serisously is because they've burnt themselves out from thirty-five years of mocking the people who kept Star Trek alive (after a fashion).

Re:This isn't really a new thing... (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908717)

So far, the reaction hasn't been mockery, but rather interest and a degree of respect for Whedon and the fans for pulling it off.

A big part of it, I think, is that there isn't (yet, and hopefully won't be) the same cult-like display that the worst of the Star Trek crowd puts on (and which then turns into a stereotype of everyone who likes ST, regardless of whether or not they're fanatics.) You know, we're not seeing people having Firefly weddings and insisting that they have a Constitutional right to wear their brown coats at work and, for God's sake, getting cosmetic surgery to make them look more like characters on the show. As long as we don't display that degree of kookiness, I think it'll be all right.

Re:This isn't really a new thing... (1)

DavidBrown (177261) | more than 9 years ago | (#12909066)

Does this mean 30 years from now there will be a really crappy "Firefly: Serenity" prequel TV series with an opening song lip-sync'd by Jessica Simpson's less-talented sister?

I'm all for it.

I believe (2, Interesting)

Bruzer (191590) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908697)

I had never seen the Firefly series and a friend told me about the Serenity screening (http://www.cantstopthesignal.com/ [cantstopthesignal.com] ). I went to it not expecting much and not knowing anything of the story. It turns out you don't need to know anything about the series to enjoy this movie. The screening was a great story it was already a well done movie. I enjoyed the movie so much I bought the series on DVD the next day.

When Serenity comes out do yourself a favor and watch this movie. I share many similar interests with other people here on Slashdot and I feel that many of the nerds here will like it.

what subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908723)

Some birds arn't meant to be caged, their feathers are just to bright.

Rise again? (2, Funny)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908743)

Rise again?

From the article, this sounds like the first time they've "risen". If this was the second Firefly movie, then that would be "again".

However, I have to admit the "Brownshirts rise again" has a better ring to it than "Movie studios realize that nerds are a profitable target demographic."

Re:Rise again? (1)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908771)

BrownSHIRTS [wikipedia.org] rising again would indeed be a scary thing. We are BrownCOATS.

Re:Rise again? (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908835)

s/shirts/coats/g

My bad.

I saw the show (1)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908751)

And it was recycled, tepid, unadulterated crap.

There's just one thing which bothers me... (3, Insightful)

Mac Degger (576336) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908804)

...and that is the fact that, even if the movie bombs [as the article points out, but even moreso if the movie does well], it will send FOX the message that there's nothing [fiscally] wrong with totally buggering up the handling of a series.

Re:There's just one thing which bothers me... (1)

doormat (63648) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908946)

Thats what I worry most about.

Fox knew they had another Family Guy on their hands. So they made sure they kept ALL the rights to the show. Whedon cant take the show to another network without Fox's permission (which isnt likely now since most of the sets were destroyed and the actors are going, trying to do other TV projects - movies are easier coz they can shoot most of them during the spring/summer when TV shows aren't being filmed). They get a cut of the DVDs, they get a cut of everything. For doing what? Putting it on a friday night and making sure that it wouldnt get good ratings just like UPN did with Enterprise (just because its targeted to geeks doesn't necessarily mean we're home on friday nights). Yes, you too can get a pissload of money for being a TV executive and writing up ultra-binding contracts.

Worked for Star Wars. . . (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908819)

The release of the original Star Wars happened back in 1977, about a month before the end of school. There were no such things as previews, and movie marketing was a matter of placing ads in the newspapers, putting up some posters, releasing the film and then letting it simmer in theaters for as long as word of mouth took to spread. And a liberal amount of praying and lip chewing.

Lucas twisted within that rule-set so that a new and effective angle was achieved. He did this: Released Star Wars long enough for some kids to see it during school and talk it up among all the other children. (Schools are the hot-house pressure cookers of 'word of mouth'). Then when the summer holidays began and parents were looking for things to do with their kids, "Star Wars" would come up around the breakfast table.

I don't really know if Lucas planned it that way, but that's how it went down in my family. Regardless, the thing I really like about such a marketing tactic, is that it only works if the film is worth seeing.

The only prejudice I have against Whedon's current approach to twisting within the boxed-rule set has nothing to do with Whedon. It has to do with the sharks.

I hate hearing stories about marketing people speculating on methods of herding the population. Speaking openly about it as though it isn't deliberate manipulation, which it is. I mean, Yuck! A little respect, please. It would be nice if they would at least pretend they're not manipulating people with bullshit about renegades and love for the medium, etc. --Which are both true things in their own degrees! But knowing that there's some money-person at the top of the chain rubbing his/her hands together in soulless glee makes me want to puke. It sullies the fun when money is the prime target. Good stories don't flow from love of money. They flow from love of Story.


-FL

Oh man thats bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908827)

Judging from that trailer, this movie will STINK!

"Hi, we're a bunch of pretty faced americans with soap opera appeal!"

Re:Oh man thats bad (1)

pupdog311 (617396) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908876)

Would it be asking too much to have you spell out your problems with the trailer? Keep in mind this is the first teaser trailer, really just designed to grab attention, and make the existing fans cheer a little...

Re:Oh man thats bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908892)

I just did. That faked quote says it all I think.

Re:Oh man thats bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908989)

Hollywood just can't resist the soap opera appeal. Its almost impossible to have a good science fixtion movie our of that "sophisticated" Hollywood croud.

I'm sure they are going to include some kind of Political Correcness bit and probably promote gay sex in one fashion or other.

Joss Whedon (0, Troll)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908883)

I've never seen any of his stuff. I've seen previews and such.

From the outside looking in, it seems like his career is based on setting up situation where a hot young chick in a tight outfit kicks people (and things that aren't exactly people) a lot.

I'm being sincere, here. Are Joss Whedon fans just a bunch of guys with young-hot-chicks-who-kick-a-lot fetishes, or is there some deeper thread I'm missing?

Don't get me wrong, I dig young hot chicks in tight pants. Nothing wrong with that. I'm just trying to figure out what gives him the tight-panted-girl-kicking-a-lot midas touch.

-Peter

Re:Joss Whedon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908919)

Welcome to Firefly. A series that isn't like that. Joss did exactly ONE series like that.

Re:Joss Whedon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908958)

Did you watch the serenity trailer? It certainly gives the impression of being like that.

Re:Joss Whedon (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908928)

Ac because I moderated this thread. The preview to Serenity appears to be a hot girl kicking ass because that's what appeals to people. The actual series has one girl who does any ass kicking, and she is not a member of the crew. The girl you see in the preview doing the ass kicking has a storyline about her that explains somewhat what is going on, but throughout the series she does 0 kicking.

Also, having seen small amounts of the series Angel, I don't believe that there are girls kicking ass in it.

Re:Joss Whedon (1)

Neoncow (802085) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908970)

When I watched the trailer, I'd heard that the show and movie were written by the same mav who wrote buffy.

Later when I actually watched the series, it took me a while to realize that the butt kicking character in the trailer is totally different. Instead, the series focuses on who she is and why she's so crazy. There's no kicking from her.

Okay, the AC's got to it first.. Someone mod them up.

Re:Joss Whedon (2, Informative)

toxfox (581548) | more than 9 years ago | (#12909062)

Why stay on the outside? Borrow or rent a few DVDs and watch a few episodes of any of his shows. On TV, you'll find reruns of Buffy on FX, Angel on TNT, and in July, Firefly on SciFi. Overall, Whedon fans trend slightly more female than male. I managed to get tickets to the most recent "Serenity" screening, and the crowd looked to be about 50-50 men and women. And slightly older than I was expecting - I think the 30-somethings were most strongly represented. The "deeper thread" that draws in fans is primarily the characters themselves, their individual arcs and their relationships. The creative supernatural or scifi worlds he's created are certainly a great part of the fun of being a Whedon fan, but the resonance of the shows comes from the dynamic of the created families for each series.

Ironically Enough... (3, Interesting)

McD (209994) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908901)

I saw this third preview (w00t!), thanks to some quick clicking from my alert wife (who's also a fan).

It was fun to watch everyone in our theater checking their cell phones prior to the movie starting. We're in one of the most densely populated areas on the east coast, but apparantly "Service not available" was all anyone got. Folks all around us kept commenting on it as they switched their phones off.

Yes, that's right - at the fan preview, somehow they managed to stop the signal.

Peace,
-McD

The hollywood croud are real scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908939)

I always love it and cheer when I see engine and explosion sound effects in space.

Especially when those crafts with wings move around in space with the characteristics of flying in air.

Re:The hollywood croud are real scientists (1)

Neoncow (802085) | more than 9 years ago | (#12908987)

Watch the series first.. The space scenes are silent except for the music. And there are space stations with no wings.

I was surprised at the sounds when I saw the trailer..

Re:The hollywood croud are real scientists (1)

pupdog311 (617396) | more than 9 years ago | (#12909042)

And without giving away anything important, it's just in the trailer... But then again, having silence in an 'action movie trailer' would be a bad thing too...

do77 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12908977)

Word of Mouth goes Prime TIme (1)

Ridgelift (228977) | more than 9 years ago | (#12909010)

The marketing plan rises to evil-genius levels when you realize all the ways the move from April to September pried open six months' worth of free-publicity for the entire Firefly/Serenity franchise.
The apex of effective advertizing is, as we all know, word of mouth. Of course word of mouth doesn't scale as well across large geographic areas or even continents.

Until now.

What the producers realize is the blogosphere [wikipedia.org] is practically a synonym for word of mouth. If they think the product is good (which it probably is), then marketing this way is an advanced form of releasing the movie on Wednesdays so word of mouth will help make the opening weekend big.
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