• Michael T. Christensen

Don't Bring Back Firefly

I remember when the internet was full of people constantly proclaiming that Firefly should come back. Then we got a pretty movie out of it, so that worked out pretty well. And I do wish that the movie had done better, and we could've seen more movies in that universe.

But over time, as Nathan Fillion went on to star in several TV shows that sometimes made overt references to Firefly, I realized I was getting tired of hearing people call for the show or movies to come back, for many reasons (more on those in a minute).

These days, with the rise of Disney+ and all the various remakes and re-imaginings and reboots - and especially the revivals - it feels like I can't go more than a few days without seeing somebody talk about Firefly coming back.

So this is an open letter to anyone at Disney+ who might be in charge of such things:

Don't bring back Firefly.

Now, I understand why it's tempting. Even though there isn't that much content out there in the Firefly universe, it's a recognizable brand that's still very popular with nerdy audiences. Shows like The Mandalorian proved that you can do a space Western with movie-level special effects on a weekly schedule/budget. The short season of Firefly accidentally feels like a precursor to the modern Netflix format, and we've seen any number of shows use a movie to bridge a gap between seasons.

But please. Don't bring back Firefly.

If you really are considering bringing this show back, I've prepared an itemized list of reasons why you shouldn't.

1. Joss Whedon sucks. As I discussed in a previous blog, a lot of terrible things have come out about Joss Whedon in the past few years. Additionally, his work seems to be actively suffering, as each film he's involved in seems to be worse than the last. I'll grant you that, in 2002, he was an innovative voice in TV and a valuable resource to have on your show, but his time has passed. Now, you can find any number of talented creators to take the lead on a show, and you'd be better served by avoiding any new business with him.

2. Adam Baldwin sucks. I used to be a big fan of Adam Baldwin, who played Jayne in Firefly/Serenity and had a number of other great roles in nerdy projects in the 2000s. But then he advocated for "ethics in gaming journalism" that targeted female voices in the video game field, and launched GamerGate. Don't bring him back.

3. The premise doesn't hold up. Don't get me wrong, it's internally consistent - there's not any glaring plot holes or anything. But the premise is "Isn't it interesting what the losers did after they lost a civil war?" And I'm sorry, but no. That premise does not work today. We are too close to it. Also, the mindless hoard of Reavers do a lot of sexual violence, and I get that it's "realistic" or whatever, but we don't need to keep talking about that as a scary trait of these villains.

4. It's been too long. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing about the age of any of these actors that means they couldn't do Western-style antics - they're still younger than half of the main characters in Westerns anyway. But it's 2021, and if the show came back on the air today, we would be seeing them for the first time in sixteen years. And the implication would be that these characters haven't had anything interesting happen to them in more than a decade. If they had, we would've seen it. (And yes, I'm aware they do books and comics about Firefly, but ask the folks behind Star Wars if we should consider those canon.)

5. Firefly is not a proven commodity. Sure, it's popular among nerds, but it was also popular among nerds in 2005, and Serenity still failed to launch a franchise. The nostalgia just isn't strong enough for it to be a safe bet.

6. Learn from Star Wars. Lucasfilm already tried to do a time jump sequel series of films for a beloved sci-fi franchise, and I wasn't wild about how that shook out.

7. Don't recast either. The other option is to recast the characters with younger actors. But they did that with another series of films based on a cancelled sci-fi TV series, and while the cast was fantastic, some of the films themselves were not that great.

8. Firefly: The Next Generation? If you want to keep telling stories in the Firefly world, bring in brand new characters and explore a totally different corner. You can have occasional cameos from the original cast, but it would be better if they were just doing their own thing. Disney+ currently has an original space Western show on the platform that's doing pretty well with that platform.

9. Screw it, just cast the Firefly actors in Star Wars instead. It'll make everybody happy.

10. But still no Adam Baldwin. He's still on time-out.

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