Firefly: Easing the Pain, Filling the Void

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There are two fun Firefly things coming out soon, to help ease the pain of Firefly‘s premature cancellation (which was years ago, but the Browncoats aren’t over it.) First, from the very company that canceled Firefly, comes Firefly Online, a massive multiplayer online role-playing game. Grab a ship, hire a crew, and start doing jobs to earn a living out in the ‘verse or on land. I guess it’s going to be pretty cool, but Joss himself actually has nothing to do with it, and I maintain that without his dialogue and characters, it’s going to be hard to bring the essence of Firefly back. In theory, the game will be out in the Summer of 2014.( If you can’t wait, you can get the Firefly Board Game  which is exactly the same thing, only a board game version. And it’s already out.)

Second fun Firefly thing is Firefly: Leaves on the Wind, hitting comic book racks January 29, 2014 (that’s really soon!) This will be more authentically Firefly-y, on account of being created by Joss and Zack Whedon and written by Zack. Unlike other Firefly comics, it will continue the story as it was left off at the end of the movie Serenity. Here’s an interview with Zack Whedon about the new book.

But if it’s TV or movies that you want, and not comic books and games, if you have a hankering for more Firefly, I recommend the movie “Titan A.E.”  It’s an animated film starring Drew Barrymore and Matt Damon. The screenplay was co-written by Joss and I defy anyone to watch it and not see the connection to Firefly. This movie would make a nice gift for the Joss Whedon fanatic on your holiday gift list, which is probably you.

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New Firefly Comics… Yay?

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Firefly fans rejoice! The story of Serenity and her crew will be continuing via comic, penned by Zack Whedon.  Unlike the previous Firefly comics, this one will be taking the story into new territory as characters move on from the events in the movie Serenity and try to deal with all sorts of new stuff & some new characters. Zack Whedon is responsible for some mightily good stuff, including the comic Dr. Horrible! And Other Horrible Stories as well as one of the best songs in Commentary! The Musical, “The Rap.”

I have been reading most of the Whedon comics as they come out, including Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Dr. Horrible, Tales, and Fray. They’re ok. In general, although these comics help somewhat to fill the void left by our favorite long-gone-but-not-forgotten TV shows, they’re not anywhere near as good as the shows themselves. Joss Whedon’s storytelling genius does not translate to comics all that well, though it hurts my heart me to say it. Even his arc of Runaways and his Astonishing X-Men left me underwhelmed.

The best comic I have read by Joss Whedon was actually based on his original screenplay for the movie Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The movie that was horrible because it was directed all wrongly. The comic was done as if Sarah Michelle Gellar had starred in the movie – it’s drawn to look like her, and comicbook Sarah Gellar delivers lines the way the real Buffy would. It has the feel of a real Buffy episode. The comic tells the story of Buffy the way it was meant to be told – as if Joss had directed his own movie, and then it was made into a comic. But if he’d written the story originally for a comic, I doubt it would be anywhere near so good.

There’s something missing in Joss’ comics (which is not to say it will necessarily be missing from Zack’s Firefly.) The stories just aren’t big. They may span centuries and cross universes, and do any number of flashy and surprising things, but they don’t feature whatever it is that makes Joss’ tv shows so great. They’re light on the character development and witty dialogue, heavy on the flashy. I don’t mean to say that the Whedon bros. comics (often, multiple Whedon brothers will work on a comic) suck. They do not. I always look forward to them. But they’re not like having Buffy back.

Will the new Firefly be like having Firefly back? I think that if that’s our expectation we’ll probably be disappointed. The show is over, and done. Despite the yearnings of the Browncoats for Firefly to be resurrected, it’s not going to happen. It was wonderful while it lasted, and then Joss gave us a gift with Serenity. That is more than fans of any other show ever got. With the new comics, let’s just hope for some good stories & stop pestering Joss to return to Firefly. He’s moving on, and so should we.