Serenity now: Across the Whedonverse with the Arizona Browncoats
The TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran for seven seasons and totaled 144 episodes. I double-sourced and tripled-checked, cause were dealing with the Buffyverse, a subset of the Whedonverse, hallowed home to Joss Whedon fanatics, who have lives outside of their obsession, but not really. I know a Buffy freak who can rattle off the names of the episodes and their numbers.
I said, Yeah, right. Season five, episode 21.
The Weight of the World. The one where Buffys in a coma.
Okay, theyre zealots, but theyre pretty benign as zealots go. Just dont try to argue doctrine or semantics with em. Theyll get in your grill. It can get ugly.
And thats just the Buffy crowd. The real space cases reside in the region of the Whedonverse where Firefly burns bright six years after it was canceled. Firefly is a type of fictional space freighter and the title of the TV show on which its based. Joss Whedons galactic oater managed just 14 episodes, of which only 11 aired. It was Whedons third TV series (the Buffy spinoff Angel was second), and by far his least successful. After it was butchered by Fox (the network ran the episodes out of sequence) and unceremoniously axed, it looked like the end of the line for the folksy quasi-outlaws of Serenity, the crews Firefly-class ship (and thus the name of the show).
Holy crap, you couldve heard the ruckus from here to Alderaan. (Sorry, mixing metaphors and obsessions.) Within the context of the sci-fi community, it was like somebody was whacking a bag full of cats with a bat. In fact, it was Star Trek Classic redux. Gangs of angry young geeks roamed the Earth, all sporting brown Independent Faction dusters in the style of their hero, Captain Malcolm Mal Reynolds (marvelously portrayed by Nathan Fillion). The geeks brayed and they bawled, to no avail. What turned the tide was when they bought the DVD, that is, in large numbers. Theres nothing like bringing bigwigs to their knees with their own weapon: moolah.
After much wooing and wheedling by Whedon, the bigwigs at Universal Pictures agreed to bankroll a big-league retooling of Joss modest cult show. The result was 2005s Serenity, whose worldwide haul of $38.8 mil represented a modest hit for banker men and a giant leap for geek kind. Even better for the Browncoats as Firefly/Serenity groupies are known -- the Hollywood treatment didnt overpower Fireflys quirky, character-centric charm. Hey, Im no hardcore, but thats my take.
Judge for yourself when our own Arizona Browncoats host two big-screen showings of Serenity. The events optimistically titled Cant Stop the Serenity go Team Whedon! and its the local manifestation of a national phenomenon that happens every year in more than 40 cities. Here in our dusty corner of the Whedonverse, therell be a Firefly/Serenity costume contest and a Buffy Shadow Cast performance in addition to the screenings. All proceeds go to the nonprofit organization Equality Now.
Sat., June 28, 3 & 7:30 p.m., 2008
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