Saturday, December 09, 2006

Can't Stop The Signal

For those of you that haven't seen Firefly the series, or Serenity the movie, you're missing out, particularly if you're a SF fan. Snappy dialogue, clever direction and good plots in a 13-episode series that Fox most likely now badly regrets it cancelled back in 2002. I tried very hard to see every episode when it was broadcast, Fox didn't help by moving the series 3 times over the 11 episodes it actually aired.

Firefly did manage to assemble quite a fan base, though, and when it came out on DVD the fans performed an incredible viral marketing job, with somewhere around 600,000 series sets sold since it came out. This pile of change coming into the coffers did make people notice, and with the Internet an international fan base was created virtually instantly. With this interest, the feature movie Serenity was made and released in the fall of 2005. Box office wasn't superb for the movie, but the movie itself was great -- in my opinion on par with Episode IV of Star Wars and better than any of the Star Wars movies except The Empire Strikes Back. It's worth a watch, too.

What's so interesting about this show is that it's not just the fans, but the actors who seem to really love the show. Ron Glass, a veteran of Barney Miller, practically cries in the DVD extras when he talks about how much he enjoyed the series. Due to a misspelling somewhere along the Internet journey, fans of the series became known as "Flans", and there was supposed to be a "Flanvention" this past weekend with people coming in from all over the world, literally. The company that was putting together the Flanvention abruptly canceled the event, just a few days before the planned date.

With a bunch of fans in town for a canceled event, do the actors from Firefly shrug and stay home? No. They go to the hotel and an improptu party begins in the bar, with Nathan Fillion ("Captian Malcom Reynolds") passing out gifts, Alan Tudyk ("Wash", the hilarious pilot) and others posing for pictures. Most likely what began as a massive disappointment has become a huge 'high' for the Firefly/Serenity fans that showed up. That's impressive, and that's how you build fan loyalty.

Apparently, when Adam Baldwin ("Jayne") walked in, the crowd began singing a song from one of the episodes called "The Man Called Jayne", too funny. Christina Hendricks ("Saffron" from my favorite episode, "Our Mrs. Reynolds"), Mark Sheppard ("Badger") and at least two other actors showed up, apparently unpaid, just because some fans of their work were there. Now, you can argue that actors are attention-starved junkies desperate for adulation, and really, who wouldn't want to get to be a real hero to some supremely disappointed people? Nevertheless, I think it's really cool that they would take time out of their lives to make some people's day.

When I get off call, I think I'm going to watch Serenity again.


Reel Fanatic said...

Serenity is indeed a tremendously entertaining little sci-fi flick ... It pains me a bit to watch it because I just think about the demise of "Firefly" and how unlikely it is the great Joss Whedon will return to TV any time soon

SG said...

I read something in your Christmas letter about a blog you update "every few days"
Do you have another blog?

Troy M. Stirman said...

I agree with "SG", mate! It's time to update your blog. Your readers are getting anxious for more wisdom...