Mar 01 2013

A Pitch to Netflix: Revive Firefly Next

Published by at 12:00 pm under Editorials,Television

firefly new1

How do you make people simultaneously love you, while reminding them how much they hate your competitors? In the case of Netflix, the answer is clear: revive a critically beloved show that a network carelessly killed.

Obviously I’m referring to Arrested Development, which is coming back for a shortened fourth season this summer, fully funded by Netflix, after the show has been off the air since 2006.

Every major character is returning, in addition to the writers and creators that accompanied the show the first time around. Obviously we’ll have to wait and see how it actually turns out, but at this point even if it’s a letdown, Netflix is clearly the good guy here for giving them the opportunity.

But what will they do next? After House of Cards and Arrested, what’s their next plan to keep socking it to cable? Well, I bet they’ll do at least one more original show, and another season of House of Cards, but past that, I have their answer.

It’s time for resurrect Firefly.

firefly new3

Saying that almost makes me cringe, lest I sound like a fanboy who pines away his nights crying into his Mal Reynolds bodypillow, but with the frankensteining of Arrested Development, anything really does seem possible right now.

Obviously, it would be difficult. The vast majority of the actors are series regulars or stars on one show or another. Nathan Fillion has Castle, Morena Baccarin has Homeland and of course Joss Whedon has to devote a huge chunk of his life now to ensuring the continued profitability of The Avengers until god knows when.

But they want to make it, they really do. Here’s Fillion talking about it as recently as this week:

“We talk about it, we dream about it. I don’t think you could find a cast member, a writer, a director, any of the crew who’d say, ‘No, I’m out,’” Fillion admitted of “Firefly.” “People are pretty busy right now, Alan [Tudyk] is always working, and obviously Joss is pretty busy. But that would be something that I would do again in a heartbeat. There’s something about ‘Firefly’ — it was my first love. So if you get a chance to go back to your very first love, you’ll do it, right?”

mal

And Whedon:

“I’ll never really accept [that it ended]. And I always, in the back of my head, think, ‘What if I could get the old gang back together? … It’s something I would love to do.”

Now, Netflix has a model that could allow them the ability to do exactly what they want. The company is smart enough to recognize an opportunity to please a long-slighted fanbase. They’re doing it with Arrested, which will win them millions of fans (and more importantly, subscriptions), and they could do the same with Firefly.

As with Arrested, the show could be something of a miniseries. We don’t need eight more seasons of Firefly (though that could be great), but starting things out with a 10 or 12 episode order would be good enough for fans.

Yes, it’s in space, but the special effects back when the show was on Fox were pretty decent even when there was a tight budget. They would be ten times as good all these years later, and likely still wouldn’t be that pricey. And to be honest, we’re not tuning in for the epic space battles, meaning there really wouldn’t have to be all that much CGI at all, so long as good stories were being told.

serenity

As for series continuity? Well, either you could ret-con the end of Serenity and bring a few deceased characters back to life, or you could simply set the series between the events of the end of the show, and those of the movie. There’s a gap there that could be filled with untold adventures, but honestly, I wouldn’t even really care all that much about a ret-con at this stage. “You died!” “I got better.” Fans would roll with it, if it meant their cast could remain intact.

I think this would be an opportunity for Netflix to win even more fans that it already has, and prove that they respect good television when the networks won’t. Yes, it would be an immense challenge to execute, but so was a new season of Arrested Development, yet here we are. Arrested and Firefly are perhaps the two most beloved “killed too soon” shows in existence, and if they could resurrect both of them? That would be an achievement worthy of a cable-slayer.

What do you think? Am I crazy to think this is possible or do you agree this could work?





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22 responses so far

  • willroyboy

    it’s just too good of an idea. just like the original handling of the show on fix, it was just a brilliant idea made at the wrong time and place. if only they played the show in order i really things would have been different.

  • Excitebike

    Firefly got a movie. It’s over. There are much better 1 season shows than Firefly:

    Wonderfalls
    Profit
    Rubicon
    The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr
    Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
    Kings
    The Black Donnellys
    Keen Eddie
    My So-Called Life
    Terriers
    Caprica
    Clone High
    Undergrads
    The Good Guys

  • David R

    If I may indulge my cynical side, I doubt that Netflix is the “good guy” in any scenario. They’re a business, and acquiring Arrested Development is more of a brilliant business decision than it is any sort of benevolent act. And IF Arrested Devlopment is a letdown, that would be a darker stain on the series than anything Fox did to them, IMO.

    Serenity provided me with enough closure. I know I’m in disagreement with many, many people here, but I’d rather see Whedon, his crew, and his fans keep moving forward instead of remaining fixated on something that happened ten years ago.

  • Mr B

    I was thinking the other day that seeing as Avengers made a bazillion dollars and sequels/spin-offs likely to do the same, that Joss would now have enough clout to virtually demand Firefly be brought back.

    Couple that with Netflix maybe being the new champion for the ‘died before their time’ shows, if nothing else, there hasnt been a bigger opportunity for the show to come back.

    And more Christina Hendricks!

  • trashcanman

    Wow at the guy who prefers My So-Called Life over Firefly. Just…..wow. I’m guessing troll who just googled single-season shows for kicks in hope of kicking a Browncoat hornet’s nest. Trust me, NF has looked at the possibility and if it were able to be done, it would be done. The show is immensely popular and is the most obvious candidate for revival, but I just think too much time has passed. I think it’s time to let go, my fellow Browncoats. The actors have moved on, the creators have moved on, and Serenity will fly on in our DVD collections and melancholy fantasies about what could have and should have been.

  • Alec

    Never too late! And yes, a shortened season that would allow others to accommodate their other work would be fine.

    I do think, however, it would have to happen after the movie, as it has been long enough that it might be better to assume some time has past. Too many of the actors just look so much older it would be really hard to suspend disbelief and assume it was continuing next day. But setting the series a few years ahead would also allow for a bit of a fresh start, which would be less confusing to new people coming to the show.

    -Admitted fanboy who can’t let go

  • Gene Starwolf

    We need an ending to The Riches too!

  • Shalekendar

    If it meant getting Wash and Zoey back together, I’d even swallow the old “I’m his twin brother” cliche without even batting an eye!

  • RBourn

    I’ve got to say, I think Trashcanman is right here. Too much water under the bridge, the actors have moved on too far. It’s become something that is far more fun to dream about than actually get made.

    Yes Firefly was killed before it’s time, but now it’s time has passed and I think the weight of expectation would be so great that I doubt hardcore fans would be pleased, and the show’s still too niche to attract a wider fanbase.

  • Lobotaku

    Well, if Netflix can bring so many great shows from its grave… I demand Buffy and Angel back!
    Specially Angel, another Whedon show without a proper ending, and no, Angel comics are not remotely the same….
    And if we could demand more, Netflix could save beloved show that soon will be out of air, like Young Justice.
    It’s never to late as we, the fans, are still here (if they bring shows back when 20 years has passed, with a new cast and so, we are going to be more concerned about our grandchildren than Netflix shows,hehehe)

  • Jadis

    While I’d like to see the actors continue to move forward in their careers, as a fan I’d love to see more Firefly. I’m happy about Arrested Development as well. As far as anything else so far mentioned being “much better 1 season shows than Firefly” that is most defiantly an opinion and one I absolutely do not agree with in the least. Firefly was one of the best shows ever on T.V. Period.

  • Banneff

    I want to see the live action version of The Tick again. Patrick Warburton was too perfect for that role.

  • Cobra

    In a single, short sentence: if Netflix revived Firefly, I’d start subscribing immediately.

    Currently, I have no reason for subscribing to Netflix — here in Canada, the selection of shows is not that great, and the bandwidth limits that most of our ISPs impose makes streaming video a no-no. But for Firefly, I’d subscribe — 8 bucks a month would be more than worth it.

  • Steve

    I liked Firefly a whole lot, but the biggest thing Firefly has going for it is that it wasn’t on the air long enough to get bad. At 13(?) episodes, we look back and wonder what might have been in a very positive way. If there were 13 new episodes of pure crap, it would stain the whole thing

    Plus, the show was cancelled a decade ago. Time to move on, kids.

  • JD

    It’s not time to move on. if they bought Firefly back, i’d take out a lifetime subscription for me, my future kids and their kids kids.

  • Trespasser

    Ow maaaaaaaaan … a new season of Firefly on Netflix .., I am living in Europe but I swear I will pay for a US proxy and Netflix subscription in an instant …

  • kyle

    I read someplace that the main thing keeping this show dead isn’t actually just that the shows creator’s and actors have moved on. That is a problem that can be overcome, but is just difficult to overcome. The main thing that is keeping the show dead is how expensive it is to create the sets for the ship. The ship is so detailed that it is incredibly expensive to create and that is something that intimidates a lot of people, even Netflix. Maybe they might consider it in the future, and that is a big maybe, but I am not counting on it. They revived Arrested Development, yes, but that is the first show they ever acquired the rights to. They probably won’t be acquiring any other shows until they see how acquiring Arrested Development pans out. After they have a few shows under their belt and are bringing in more revenue, this might be something they would take on, but that is a very remote possibility.

    • eAbyss

      It’s been said before and it’s completely true; if they were to revive Firefly, fans would rebuild the set for free.

  • Julie

    I wonder if they ever considered making really cheap, un- detailed sets? Sure, sets on caliber with the old ones would be great, but fans wouldn’t care if the sets were kind of crappy if it meant we got the old cast back together and we got to watch wonderful new stories.

    New firefly episodes shouldn’t aim to attract new watchers in their own right. They should aim to generate buzz to get new people to watch the old episodes already on Netflix; and then the newly born firefly fans will watch the new episodes and love every minute of them despite the low budget, and the unbelievable reason why Wash was brought back to life/why the actors have aged so much when we’re picking up where season 1 ended. As fans (the rabid ones in existence and the new ones that don’t even know they exist) we’ll love new firefly episode with all of their flaws so long as they are given a chance to exist.

    I read somewhere that firefly grew in popularity after the DVDs were released, and fans have continued to buy firefly and serenity DVDs even though the show ended so long ago. I think Netflix can bank on the fact that fans are still going to spend money on DVDs of the new fitrefly episodes if Netflix puts then out there (you know, with behind the scenes extra and stuff) so that’s another opportunity to make money in addition to the increase in Netflix subscribers.

    Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic (no wait, I definitely am), but firefly deserves another opportunity to shine. Please do it, Netflix. Thousands of fans still attend each firefly panel at various conventions across the US every year, so you can tell our love of firefly still burns hard. DVD sales will tell you our loyalty is true. The cast and crew is still very much in love with the idea of bringing back this show as well, and isn’t this the kind of people you’d want to entrust your business to; devoted people who love what they do and haven’t given up hope after a decade of waiting? Fans want it, the people behind the show want it, and I’m going Netflix wants it to.

    See you in the ‘verse, Serenity. Let’s moon ‘em.

  • Matt

    I would love Netflix to resurrect Firefly. Is there a petition I can sign? The problem is that sci fi is expensive to produce which might turn them off trying it. The hype if they did it would be off the charts though….

  • Amanda

    I am totally on board with another Firefly season!!!! That would make my life complete. I have even gotten my 13 year old niece addicted to Firefly lol Never been another show like it :)

  • Jayne Cobb

    REally?! Zero comments?? Sounds like somebody failed to even try to post this on facebook as part of any (lack of) a marketing strategy. I can say this with all confidence, unrealitymag, you dropped the ball on this one. Republish this and act like you are on the 21st century please.

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