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What’s So Great About Firefly? Part 1

Last Saturday I went to Comic Con and since it was my only day there, (would’ve gone the whole weekend if I could’ve gotten off work) I decided to try to get into the IGN theater where all the big panels are held. Of the many awesome ones I saw that afternoon, I was pretty psyched for the last one of the day: Firefly:the tenth anniversary.

Can you believe it’s been TEN YEARS since it was on?

Anyway, the moderator came out to start the panel and introduced the first guest. About three words into the intro, the crowd exploded with cheering/applause/insane yelling because we all knew he was talking about Jewel Staite (Kaylee). This went on a good thirty seconds before the crowd settled. The same thing happened, again, three words into the intro of the next guest, Sean Maher (Simon). The last guest, Nathan Fillion, was calling from his cell and people STILL went nuts for just his voice coming out of a speaker.

To put the crowds reaction in perspective, the panel before it was for The Walking Dead, which is the highest rated show on basic cable. Averaging between seven to ten million viewers, it does as well as or better than lower rated shows on the big networks. A good portion of the main cast (including Norman Reedus who is the most popular) was at this panel and the crowd went crazy as they walked onto the stage.

But not Firefly crazy.

And The Walking Dead is currently airing, in other words, very fresh in people’s minds. In a decade, the Firefly signal has not been stopped and probably gets new fans every year. For show that lasted only fourteen episodes, that is REMARKABLE.

Back to the panel.

So, Jewel, Sean and Nathan were having a good time talking about their experience on the show in a very “we’re still good friends and like each very much” kind of way, when Nathan starts describing what Jewel and Sean are wearing. At this point, everyone’s looking all over the theater to see where Nathan is hiding. He tells Jewel to point to the back of the theater and directs her further by saying “warmer” or “colder” while we’re scanning the area for him. Meanwhile, he was sneaking up behind Jewel and once we realized it, an even bigger explosion of cheers/applause/insane yelling that continued at least a minute.

Obviously, you can’t have a Firefly panel without discussing the cancellation (it came up so much, Sean started busting the moderator’s chops by frequently suggesting they talk MORE about it) and Jewel mentioned how, creator, Joss Whedon was literally “shaking” with anger. Nathan added that after they got news, they only had four more days to work together. He figured everyone’s performance was going suffer because of low morale, but the complete opposite happened. They worked HARDER and milked as much enjoyment as they could out of those four days. How many of us can say we’d work harder at a job when we knew we’d soon lose it? Goes to show the level of love and passion that went into each episode.

Another cool story came from Jewel, who originally auditioned for the role of River Tam, but Joss wasn’t having it. He told her flat out, “You’re Kaylee.” After getting the role, she was told to GAIN twenty pounds and if I remember correctly, she had, maybe, a month to do it. Nathan jumped in to say when he later saw Jewel at the craft services table he was like, “Hey, how’re feeling?” and she replied, “Full.”

This lead to Nathan and Sean sharing stories on how they got their parts and had similar answers: Joss’ vision of the show sold them.

In Nathan’s case, there was no script to read. He had a production deal with FOX and had roles presented to him regularly. After a pitch, he’d ask for more details about the show, like character motivations, themes, etc and the response went something like, “Well, I don’t know, but that stuff will work itself out after we get started.” Joss, on the other hand, had all those details worked out to the smallest degree and Nathan knew he was in good hands. It was also his first show as the lead and was incredibly grateful for Joss giving him the chance. From then on, he decided he’d accept any role Joss offered, even if if he didn’t know what it was. Jewel and Sean agreed.

That’s enough for now. I’ll go into the Q&A portion of the night next week.

4 comments on “What’s So Great About Firefly? Part 1

  1. I just finished watching Firefly and then Serenity a few weeks ago on Netflix. I cannot for the life of me figure out why this show was cancelled. It was so good!

    My favorite character was Simon. I can’t explain why. I just liked him for some reason.

    • FOX mismanaged the show and (surprise, surprise) it was never able to generate the numbers they wanted. Ironically, the show FOX cancelled to make way for Firefly had much higher ratings.

  2. You may find this shocking, but I’ve never watched Firefly. But after joining social media and meeting Amber West, it’s on my radar now… I just have to find the time for a marathon!

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