Spun: Firefly

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Every now and then, a successful TV show creates a spinoff that fans fall in love with (Frasier, Daria, even The Simpsons, believe it or not). Unfortunately, these gems are heavily overshadowed by the worst of the worst (Joey, Joanie Loves Chachi, Saved by the Bell: The College years). The term “spinoff” is now met with rolling eyes and groans, when its full potential hasn’t even been tapped. In the new Golden age of television, the fields are ripe for harvest! Sick of waiting for Hollywood to hurry the hell up, we’re just going to do it ourselves. Your favorite shows are about to be Spun.

The teaser trailer for Nathan Fillion’s new show “The Rookie” came out last week, and it’s gotten a pretty decent amount of attention (especially considering how little the teaser shows). My major complaint about the footage shown is that it doesn’t properly show off any of Fillion’s strengths as an actor. Strengths that were fully explored in past projects of his like Slither, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, Castle and of course, the piece de resistance, Firefly. 

Firefly aired on Fox in ’02-’03, and only produced 14 episodes. The show was created and written by a young Joss Whedon, who attracted a bit of attention from his show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it’s new spinofff Angel. His vision for the series had an interesting dichotomy rarely seen in film and never seen on television; part soap opera, part western. 

It’s been 15 years since the Firefly was cancelled, and fans are still left with this feeling that the series, once believed to be the next Star Trek, is incomplete. In many ways, it was doomed from the start. The two hour season premiere, introducing us to the characters, narrative, and universe wasn’t actually what premiered. The first episode audiences saw  was “The Train Job”, which was the second episode in the series. That was the first step in a series of mis-steps that Fox made with their handling of the series, which had a clear season-long narrative many viewers never got to see. Luckily, the show had a completely new life on DVD. In 2003, the entire Firefly series was released (mere months after DVD sales officially topped VHS sales) bringing in a new era of serialized tv watching that we’d come to know as binging. 

Coupled with Fox’s seemingly renewed interest (I’ll get to that in a minute) is the whole Fox/Disney acquisition. There are too many properties to list, but among those now owned by Disney is Firefly. Among all of those properties, is Firefly something Disney would take an interest in? Could we actually live to see the shows return?? No one else seems to be talking about, so let’s start the conversation here. 

Title: Firefly

The series needs to be a straight revival. There was nothing wrong with it, so why change anything? Some executives may be cautious due to the ratings Firefly’s original run brought in, some may prefer to move ahead with a sequel to 2005’s Serenity. But if we’ve learned anything from Twin Peaks or the X-Files, what may work best in this situation is a Limited Series. Test the waters, see what kind of interest is out there, get the cast back for a limited run, and write one short and sweet serialized narrative. 

What makes this conversation exciting is now is based off of an Interview from last year with Fox President of Entertainment David Madden. In the interview, Madden said that a Firefly Revival is definitely possible at Fox, but that the idea would only be considered if Joss Whedon returned to run the series. The odds of that seem slim, sure, but this is the most hope that fans of the original series have ever had. Whedon also has a meal ticket in Hollywood. This is the man that made the Avengers a possibility. You may not remember that far back, but there were some serious doubts about that many main characters (6 of them, 7 if you count Nick Fury) sharing screen time fairly. 

Oh how far we’ve come.

Whedon is in a position to do almost anything he likes at this point. He’s expressed excitement about getting to work on his own passions and his own projects, so he may not have any interest in returning to television. However, Firefly is his passion; it is his project. No one championed that series more than it’s creator. With the exception of an untitled project he’s been working on (a slasher film set during WWII…sign me up!) Joss doesn’t really have a lot going on right now. 

Then there’s the cast (or what’s left of them after Serenity). This was an incredibly gifted group of young talent that Whedon put together, and their careers post-firefly are proof of that. It would be hard, near impossible to get everyone back on board for a revival to the series. But hey…we can dream, can’t we?

The Pitch: 

After 10 years of traveling virtually unnoticed by the Alliance, the crew of Serenity encounter a problem after a routine stop on the planet Hera; River Tam has been sedated, and kidnapped. After Malcolm does a little investigating, he’s stunned to learn that the kidnapping party didn’t come from the Alliance as he assumed, but actually came from a disgruntled veteran platoon from his own army, the Browncoats. Is the platoon trying to get Mal’s attention for an unknown cause, are they considering Mal a traitor and trying to lure him into a trap, or does their kidnapping of River point to something more strategic, and far more Sinister than the crew of Serenity could imagine. 

The Characters: 

Our characters would be the cast of the original firefly (at least those that survived Serenity), with one or two new faces. Joss Whedon is quoted as saying that Malcolm Reynolds is a hero who is “everything that a hero is not”. Nathan Fillion brought him to life brilliantly, winning multpiple awards for his portrayal over only 14 episodes, and drawing comparisons to the likes of Han Solo and Indiana Jones along the way (so, Harrison Ford). He'll lead his crew which will bring back River Tam, Inara Serra, Kaylee Frye, Zoe Washburne, Jayne Cobb and Simon Tamm. 

As for the regular Plan B pitch…there is no Plan B here. Fans have cried to see Firefly return for over a decade, and past comments from Fox or Whedon that try to deter any such thoughts don’t seem to slow them down. The demand is clear: Joss Whedon coming back to do Firefly with the original cast. What do you guys think? Is this a pipe dream? Does the Disney acquisition of Fox or David Madden’s comments bring us closer to a revival? Would an audience slip into into the series as easily as Nathan Fillion slipped back into his costume last week? 

Great. Now I have to start watching American Housewife.

Source: JoBlo.com

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