This week Browncoats Unite, the 10 Year Reunion of Joss Whedon’s best television series, Firefly, aired in the US garnering 1.2million for the Science Channel. The series only lasted 14 episodes and not all of them were shown in order. Fox refused to show the pilot episode as they felt it was too slow and the lead character, Captain Mel Reynolds (a pre-Castle Nathan Fillion) did not smile enough. But what are you to do with a frontier story set in space? 500 years in the future. An ensemble, a crew of nine, on a ship called Serenity, making legal and illegal trips on the outskirts of the galaxy, run by the Alliance (the resulting merge of two superpowers the US and China). Basically cowboys in space. Whedon and show runner Tim Minear built an intricate world for these characters to inhabit, and told some great stories.
It must have been a really hard sell to even get it made, I am not surprised Fox did not give it a go. They had no clue that they had captured lightning in a bottle with a great cast and crew. This show found life after cancellation and was a precursor to the change in public viewing habits. This show is all about the fans. The original Star Trek has nothing on Firefly. This is the show that was cancelled after 14 episodes then came back as an original motion picture, Serenity in 2005. It was not commercially successful, but DVD sales over the years have proved it different. Again, all down to the fans, who call themselves Browncoats, watch the show to find out why. This is what Wikipedia says about some of what the Browncoats have done:
- tried to save the series from being canceled by Fox only three months after its debut, which included raising money for an ad in Variety Magazine and a postcard writing campaign to UPB.
- their support led to a release of the series on DVD in December 2003
- a subsequent fan campaign then raised over $14,000 in donations to have a purchased Firefly DVD set placed aboard 250 U.S. Navy ships by April 2004 for recreational viewing by their crews.
- these and other continuing fan activities eventually persuaded Universal Studios to produce a feature film, Serenity.
- on June 23, 2006, fans organized the first worldwide charity screenings of Serenity in 47 cities, dubbed as Can't Stop the Serenity or CSTS, a homage to the movie's tagline, "Can't stop the signal". The event raised over $65,000 for Whedon's favourite charity, Equity Now. In 2007, $106,000 was raised, in 2008, $107,219; and in 2009, $137,331.
- another campaign on June 23, 2006 referred to the date as Serenity Day, on which fans bought—and got others to buy—copies of the Serenity and Firefly DVDs in hopes of convincing Universal that creating a sequel was a good business decision. On this day Serenity and Firefly were ranked second and third, respectively, on the DVD Best Sellers list. The dates for both campaigns were chosen because it is series creator Joss Whedon's birthday.
- NASA Browncoat astronaut Steven Swanson took the Firefly and Serenity DVDs with him on Space Shuttle Atlantis’ STS-117 mission in June 2007. The DVDs were added to the media collection on the International Space Station as entertainment for the station's crews.
Gotta love sci-fi fans. This reunion show has most of the cast, writer Jose Malina and show runner Tim Minear remanicsing around a kitchen table at Comic Con 2012 in San Diago which looks a lot like the table the characters had meals around on the show. They then go on to do a talk at Comic Con with Joss Whedon. The emotions run high, not only for the fans, but for the actors and creators. It is good to remember the show, but it is even better to go and watch it again or recommend it to others. If you haven’t seen it, go and watch it. Check out the trailer below.