Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Andonagio, Sep 18, 2009.
Or in some cases, counter-program, do something different to stand out from the pack.
Which is why not everyone should shoot for the exact same audience.
There are underserved demographics who aren't looking for the same pablum, the kind that watch Dancing With The Stars (whom Tom Delay is now listed as a coming contestant, yeesh).
It really only bothered me to the extent that I would have liked to have seen a couple more seasons. I definitely don't think it was a show meant to run for ten years or even more, but I certainly wish it could have gone two or three times around the block. It was at the time some of the best character-driven sci-fi I had seen on TV in quite some time, and I think that only would have gotten better.
If it pays the bills.
What you're talking about will never pay the bills of the big studios or networks. The reason shows like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars survive is because that's what pays the bills, that's what they can sell to mom, dad, sis, and little bro over and over again in first run, reruns, DVDs, school supplies, etc, etc.
The only outlet for niche audiences in the 'net. And I don't mean fanfilms, I mean people taking chances and making original dramatic fiction shows and movies purely for release on the internet. It's been toyed with off and on for years and there's been a few productions. But it's never took off cause no one's ever put their backbone in trying to make it work; there's not been money in it-- not at the levels the studios want-- so it's never taken seriously.
"Paying the bills" is whatever pays for itself, plus some over, ie "profit".
And there are PLENTY of niche products that have done this.
Not everyone or everything has to shoot for the broadest and the blandest. And not everything that does hits the mark.
Fortunately, there are some folks in the studios who actually have vision and backbone enough to realize this.
Personally, I believe that while the show was not as godlike as the diehard Whedon fans believe, it also was a world apart from Whedon's previous work.
In other words, Firefly was where Whedon was /beginning/ to get serious and was consciously struggling to raise himself out of the "hack" category, putting the good parts of his abilities to use. People who dismiss the show as being "just like all his other stuff" are reading in what isn't there; not all the characters are his stock characters, they actually have different voices and personalities, and the universe he was setting up had much more nuance and was damned intriguing.
Truthfully, Firefly showed the most potential of any major sci-fi to make it on television in years, especially because it showed signs of being a postmodern space opera: its rethinking of space opera tropes was more in line with modern authors like Alastair Reynolds than with the Star Trek-age ideas that have fueled (and been mined clean) mass market sci-fi for decades. It was a better show than Moore's BSG in many ways. (For one thing, while it was clear Whedon and Mineer were interested in turning sci-fi on its ear, they didn't show open disdain for the genre that Moore did and caused BSG's mythology to fall apart.)
So yeah, there's a really bitter pill to swallow. To draw a comparison: what if say, NuBSG had been suddenly canceled after the first 13 episodes, at the episode 13 cliffhanger? How much brutal sting of wasted potential would have been felt, and how much bad blood would have been directed at the network involved? I suspect it would have made the Farscape cancellation look like a girl scout campfire.
While lots of "browncoat" fans have been very annoying, I think you can argue Firefly getting screwed over is maybe the biggest missed opportunity in television sci-fi in the 21st century.
While it was clear that Firefly represented a maturation in his capabilities as a creator, you aren't giving his previous work enough credit. Buffy and Angel's characters were just as diverse and interesting, and had voices just as distinct. Only the setting was different.
I am absolutely in favor of the statement that Firefly is nothing like what most people's preconceptions of Buffy and Angel would lead them to suspect. However, since most people's preconceptions of Buffy and Angel are inevitably wrong once they actually see the things, that doesn't translate to a statement about the shows' relative merits.
There's no question in my mind that, had it continued, Firefly would have surpassed them both. But as it stands, I still think Angel is the strongest of the three.
And we will not any time soon. So nu?
Firefly is not the best thing that Whedon has done - on balance Buffy is still head and shoulders above his other work; it contains more variety, more interesting themes and remains the best expression of, for lack of a better phrase, his agnosticism regarding virtue as an ideal. Firefly happens to be set in the future on a spaceship and therefore hit a little bigger with the skiffy crowd.
This isn't solely directed at TheGallifreyanSith as it seems to have come up in lots of places lately. I am so sick of being told that I'm a tween, annoying, a cult member, tasteless, etc. for liking Whedon's shows. So you don't like his work. Congratulations on that. Can't you express this sentiment without taking jabs at those who do?
I came to Firefly late in the game but its cancellation still affects how I watch TV. I'm definitely aware that most shows aren't given much of a chance by networks, so I'm unwilling to get invested in them. All of the shows I currently watch I caught on DVD or Hulu after they'd been well established (House, Lost, The Office).
Ok first it would help if people actually understood that all of things that happened to Firefly happen to many shows.
First Firefly wasn't a tightly scripted serial,and even some serials do get run out of order. In other words, one episode didn't directly tie to the next.
Yeah the pulot was aired last, but there are may shows where they never air the pilot (the reason they did was most likely just to have something to show, that didn't cost them anything else for a property that they were no longer going to produce).
Fox makes a tremendous amount of money (plus great ad time at the most sought after demo's Males 18-34 and males 18-49) with Baseball. This consumes a huge part of the Fall schedule. Most of Fox's programming gets preempted at some time (and sometimes often) during this time of the year.
Many shows get changes of schedules where they move from night to night or to a different time slot.
Again you are looking at one show. The studio has to look at really 6 nights and whats best for those nights. They also get extremely detailed demo breakdown (age, gender, income) and most of that we never saw) and that plays a huge part.
Promotions, the show got tons. It started as one of the most promoted shows on that season for Fox. And when it couldn't hold those ratings, the ads stopped (and thats how the business works), you don't throw a ton of money after something that isn't performing (and again we got viewer totals and the 18-49 adult demo, we never saw any more and that could have been a huge, huge factor.
No matter your feelings on the show, FOX screwed it up they didn't get it and tried to change it...Critics and fans agree FOX were idiots.
I'd be more impressed if the folks who do that championed better shows and better writers than they in fact usually do.
And back then I tuned in, saw "The Train Job," and wondered who these peeps were, and why I should care about them. Later I saw the pilot on DVD, and realized my mistake.
Bottom line: the suits are stupid.
Heck, I wasn't even following the show during its run, (got into it through DVD) and still curse FOX for canning it. Why? Because it was damn good, and it always sucks *insert colorful metaphor* when a show you've been following gets the axe. There is so much wasted potential in the Firefly universe that never got to be explored.
How the hell is the Friday night slot more of a death slot than the time before the Simpson's on Sunday slot? Seriously, Futurama had pretty much everything like Firefly...some episodes were either ran out of order or pushed back or halfed the season, it was in one of the worst slots ever (football game ran over, canceled Futurama without any warning), but unlike Firefly, Fox toyed with canceling it forever. Yes they did get an ending and they lasted a little longer but they were starting to really get their legs by that season.
As far as I'm concerned, Firefly is far from the most painful TV cancellation I've ever endured. Wonderfalls is the one that got truly boned, cancelled after only 4 episodes. I'd certainly choose a 2nd season of Wonderfalls over a 2nd season of Firefly. (But then, I'd choose a 2nd season of Firefly over the 2nd season of Dollhouse that we're actually getting.)
Heck, Firefly has had such enduring popularity, I'm surprised SCI-FI didn't revive it. (Of course, now that's a lot less possible since Nathan Fillion is busy on Castle.)
For many people, it was just the last straw that broke the camels back. You know?
We had suffered oh so many prior cancellations of good shows that only died because they where on FOX, a network notorious for perhaps the most cancellations per-year in the entire industry. Space: Above and Beyond, Dark Angel, so on and so forth.
Firefly was just the one that happened to be, simultaneously, people's breaking point.
Now I myself didn't like the show when it was on TV. Because it was aired out of order, because it was spotty on times, I couldn't get into it. I saw the first few episodes, I watched the premiere, but without the pilot it failed to click with me. I, like many, where thrown in the deep end without a life vest and gave up quickly. It was only later when I, too, got tired of the browncoats lamenting it's loss, that I was challenged -- and provided with the episodes -- to watch it in order, in full.
I did so. I was intrigued by the end of the pilot. I was hooked by the end of the second regular episode, which I'd seen on broadcast but been lost during.
FOX is... all together, bad.
They're a bad news network. They're a bad TV network. They're a bad business network. They're all run badly.
Network FOX seems to be run by impatient 8 year olds. They got spoiled very early on, which is the root of things. Many FOX station carried TNG in it's first run syndication, when they had little of their own programming. It introduced them to sci-fi and very good ratings. Then they did X-Files, which again, sci-fi and very good ratings. Those two shows basically convinced them, sci-fi was super-ratings. So when they put a sci-fi show on that failed to achieve such heights? It got the axe quickly. Because they couldn't give anything a fair shake.
Hell, the only sci-fi show not to be cancelled on FOX in recent years, prior to Fringe, was Dark Angel. And it only got a second season because it was Jim Cameron's, and he had enough pull to keep it around that long. Otherwise it would have died in season 1 too.
The sad fact is, FOX is the only network to regularly give true sci-fi shows a shake; none of the other networks want to touch it. After LOST in 2004, they all tried here and there, but no one made a complete effort.
So say we all.
Yeah, but that's pretty much standard operating procedure.
I'm not a huge Family Guy fan, but that bit they did where Peter listed off every new show that came and went in Family Guy's absence was priceless.
Heck, watching Dollhouse now, the line is CLEAR where Fox is meddling, and where Joss is allowed to pursue his muse with the show.
And when Fox backed off, the show was obviously much better.
Separate names with a comma.