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I am – Hercules!!

When Universal mounted its first test-screening of “Serenity” in Chatsworth, Calif., last month, everyone I spoke to in line seemed to know what they were seeing, even if they weren’t terribly familiar with its writer-director or the TV show on which the movie is based.

Now it looks like the studio arranged a second test-screening of Joss Whedon’s directorial debut Tuesday night in Ventura, Calif., but this time invited people who had no idea what they were seeing until they were in their seats.

Our reviewer counts himself as a Whedon fan, but says he didn’t much care for “Firefly” before he saw the movie. Now he’s keen to catch up with every episode.

Call him “Artie Dodger”:

What happens when a Whedon fan sees "Serenity" with the uninformed? FRUSTRATION!

The Century theater in Ventura held a secret screening last night. It turned out to be "Serenity". I was quite happy when the title was announced along with a few others who whooped and hollered but most had never heard of it. There were a few awkward chuckles. Meanwhile we were burning up in the theater and packed pretty tight. This was going to be tough crowd.

I absolutely loved the movie. I was not in love with the show before, but now I will be pulling the box set off the shelf and watching the 10 episodes I haven't seen.

The crown reaction seemed mixed. I heard laughs and cheers and one good scream during a scary part ... and a lot more laughter after that. I don't think most people were expecting sci-fi. Some of the women had a problem with the violence. Not me ... bring on the Reavers!!! Still I think a lot of non-Whedonites left pretty pissed off. I heard stuff like "waste of time", "worst movie ever" " why didn't they have laser?" ... blah blah blah... I'm sure they'll all line up to see "Constantine" with Keanu Reeves.

Joss, if you're listening, don't change the film based on these morons. Don't let the studio push you around. It's a great film. Mal, River, and the rest of the cast rocks!

Seconded! “Serenity” will never appeal to every demographic, but it's a precision-forged entertainment and certain to create legions of fiercely loyal advocates. If the studio tries to sand off its edges in a bid for universal appeal, there’s every chance it won’t appeal to anybody.

It launches into cinemas Sept. 30.

Looking for bumper stickers, plush toys and girls’ underwear covered with cute cartoon double-amputees? Visit The Herc Store!

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 27, 2005, 2:15 a.m. CST


    by 81666


  • Jan. 27, 2005, 2:17 a.m. CST

    Why, it's so quiet. Could it be I'm first?

    by Big Dumb Ape

    Anyway, the reviewer liked it but didn't really tell us why. I'm more curious now that the people who DIDN'T like it found lacking about it. Was it action? Were the effects TV quality? Just what was right vs. what was wrong in the eyes of others? The person writing in needed to say more than "Josh, don't change a thing!" That's hardly informative to those of us looking for some inside dirt before the movie officially hits.

  • then again, i could be totally wrong and end up loving it. hell, it happened with "nip/tuck." i guess i'll wait until i see this movie and then decide whether i'll spend the time watching the series. when is the release date?

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 3:39 a.m. CST

    wow, whedon makes something that only appeals to his immediate f

    by MiltonWaddams


  • Jan. 27, 2005, 3:41 a.m. CST

    Firefly is cool except

    by hypermog

    Reavers are unoriginal, not scary, and uninteresting. Men with blue hands are just plain silly.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 3:44 a.m. CST

    It helps to chain-watch all the episodes at once, since each one

    by FrankDrebin

    Apparently there are people who intentionally don't watch shows like The Sopranos on tv/cable, but wait for the dvd. Makes sense. A book wouldn't have the same impact if you only read one chapter per week.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 4:28 a.m. CST


    by MisterCynic

    every time someone uses that black font i think someone died. dont do that to me.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 4:45 a.m. CST

    Hey I'm one of those people! I just recently watched all five se

    by Anlashok

    Did the same thing with Babylon 5, Farscape and Curb your Enthusiasm. Frankly, I think it's the best way to go. (Although I doubt the sponsors would agree)

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 5:43 a.m. CST

    3 words about this movie's future: Straight. To. Video.

    by Swarmy

    Seriously, this suckers gonna flop hard if the studio actually does bother to release it in theaters. If the studio ever comes to their senses and realizes that only about 0.01% of the population has ever even heard of this show, expect it to land on your DVD rental shelf soon. Whoever greenlit a big budget movie based off a cancelled, cult sci fi series needs to be fired.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 6:39 a.m. CST

    "Whoever greenlit a big budget movie based off a cancelled, cult

    by vertigo93

    Yeah. Never worked for Star Trek did it?

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 6:42 a.m. CST

    Swarmy: Serenity is hardly a big budget film.

    by Barry Egan

    The last figure I heard was about $30 million dollars, which, by today's inflated standards, is a pretty low budget. That's about half of the average cost to make a film these days. It's 1/7 the production budget of Spider-Man 2. Hell, Meet the Fockers somehow cost $80 million to make. Serenity does not have to be a big hit to be profitable for the studio.

  • Different time. Different marketing conditions. Different audience members. Years of fan campaigning from the time the show is cancelled to the point the studio makes a movie. A big time sci fi push thanks to a little movie called 'Star Wars', without which the first Trek movie would never have been made. Apples. Oranges.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 6:54 a.m. CST

    This year's Sky Captain...

    by Critch Starblade

    As much as I loved Firefly, and love Joss, this thing has "Sky Captain" or "Riddick" written all over it. Despite it's $40 Million pricetag, the chance of this being a success in theatres is slim to none due to it's release in the craptacular September season. However, I'm sure Universal is aware of this. It's going to be HUGE on DVD, like the other two, so at the end of the day I'm sure all parties will be happy with it.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 6:56 a.m. CST

    Hey Swarmy

    by ChorleyFM

    Yeah many people haven't heard of the show which is the reason it is called Serenity not Firefly, so idiots like you don't become confused. Not that I am saying that it is going to be as big or as good a hit at Star Wars (I don't think so at all), but how many people had r heard of something called a Jedi before Star Wars came out, how many people knew about a director called Steven Spielberg who had mainly done TV work and a Goldie Hawn vehicle before bloody Jaws, what about Sixth Sense, some jerk who directed Wide Awake and wrote Stuat Little. By your thinking anything that isn't an already established ip or a remake would be crap and make no money. Sorry mate, but that is a moronic attitude, this film, like most which aren't based on successful intelectual properties, will succeed or fail based on its quality, if a film gets good reviews and has a buzz it will do well, if it is a shit film, which I doubt, it will fail it is that simple.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 7:18 a.m. CST

    "Hell, Meet the Fockers somehow cost $80 million to make."

    by Commando Cody

    Since you seem somewhat incredulousness over that figure -- relative to the cost of FIREFLY -- I think you're forgetting that the "somehow" portion of that equation had a little something to do with paying the A-level salaries of Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman, not to mention what it cost to get Barbra Streisand to make a movie again. Toss in the fact that the studio had to pay more money to get the director to come back again, too, and the fact that even Stiller can now probably ask for more money up front than ALL of the FIREFLY cast put together...and that would explain the costs. Though to Universal it was worth it. The movie's up to $250 million, and it'll clean up on Home Video too.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 7:29 a.m. CST

    Just my 2 cents, but change the name of this thing!

    by Commando Cody

    Overall, I'll give the movie a chance when it comes out simply because (1) I like sci-fi movies (2) I'll be curious to see if its big screen incarnation and larger budget makes for a more exciting interpretation than the TV show ever was (which shouldn't be too hard to achieve since the show was a total snoozefest) and (3) what the hell, it's coming out in September which is usually a desert wasteland at the multiplex, so at least now there'll be SOMETHING of slight interest to see. But without trying to fling the testosterone too much, I'm sorry, but Whedon and Universal should really consider changing this thing's name. I know I'm not the only one thinking "SERENITY? Sounds like a total chick flick! How good of an action flick could this be if it's called SERENITY?" Just my 2 cents, but I'll bet Universal marketing is really gonna have to work overtime on that problem...

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 7:40 a.m. CST

    Firefly really is that great.

    by Sean38

    Whoever posted the Nip/Tuck ananogy was spot on. I had ZERO interest in that show until my wife got the Season 1 DVD for Christmas and I promised her I'd watch the first episode with her. Now I'm hooked. We're currently catching up with Season 2 which is in reruns. Go out, buy the box set and start watching. By the end of the first episode you'll be hooked. It's quite simply the finest show to ever be on TV. Even if it did only last a handful of episodes.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Commander Cody, I read that Deniro, Hoffman, and Streisand accou

    by Barry Egan

    I don't know how accurate this figure is. My point was that "Fockers" is a great example of bloated budget films: the money simply isn't on the screen. I still contend that a small budget picture like "Serentity" doesn't have to be a mjor hit to make a profit for the studio.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Swarmy, re- Fan campaigns

    by RenoNevada2000

    There was a very successful fan campaign to show support for FIREFLY. It was called DVD sales. Look at the numbers. It was DVD sales that fueled the decision to make the movie.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 9:16 a.m. CST


    by War_Tourist

    Sorry people who don't like firefly are slow and stupid. But seriously, that's the least of those peoples worries..

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 9:17 a.m. CST

    C'mon, It has a shot

    by KingKrikkit

    I am one of those that is a Whedon fan, but for some reason never bothered to watch the show when it aired, and I did truly regret it once It was cancelled and I decided to pick up the DVDs. I honestly loved ot to death and I apologize to Joss for not showing my support. Joss seems to some reason be able to write relationships so well, and from so many different aspects. I know Joss has a small, loyal fan base (in comparison to, say, Star Wars and Star Trek) so I think that what will make "Serenity" (keep the name, it has MEANING) successful is word of mouth that its just a good movie. I think history has proved on more then a few occasions that a small budget, great cast, good chemistry and good word of mouth can make it a smash. Im confidant as a FAN that I'll love it, and its a hope of other fans out there that everyone else will too, skeptics and all. All we really ask of everyone is that you give the Firefly class ship, Serenity, and its crew, a fair try. (PS, watch the show, it doesnt really pick up for a couple of episodes, so dont dismiss it right away). See you all in September.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Bitter much?

    by Sith42

    You gotta love the backhanded Constantine bashing.. nothing like reliving the genre wars of Summer 2003 all over again.. it's going to be interesting to see all the crow people have to eat once they actually SEE Constantine.. I'm calling plant on this one.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 9:32 a.m. CST

    late September is not the dumping ground that is early September

    by Hercules

    Some movies from recent history with their domestic theatrical grosses in millions: * Rush Hour (9/18/98) $141.1 * American Beauty (9/15/99) $130.0 * Remember the Titans (9/29/00) $115.6 * Sweet Home Alabama (9/27/02) $127.2 * School of Rock (10/3/03) $81.2

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 9:39 a.m. CST

    BUT it's a better movie than Sky Captain

    by jancola

    I saw this movie in Chatsworth. Sky Captain was not bad, but this is great. The actors are engaging and they have great chemistry; they don't look like they are dazed by greenscreens. The villain is a real person and not the ghost of Lawrence Olivier. It still has problems, but honestly, it will be a great film when it comes out. Sometimes that can make a difference...

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Sept 30th is too far away!

    by bedidi

    I can't wait! I wish there was a Chicago screening!

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Firefly's failure had nothing to do with the quality of the show

    by Barry Egan

    Fox totally dropped the ball launching this show. As has been widely reported, Fox ran the shows out of sequence and relegated it to the worst possible time slot. This would be about as stupid as running "24" out of sequence and putting it on Friday night. How many good shows have been dropped due to mishandling by the network? Hundred? How many crap shows have run for years because the network supported them?

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 10:49 a.m. CST

    And Wolf at the Door is totally right! Test screening is the de

    by Barry Egan

    It's one thing to screen a film to see how it plays to an audience. However, the testing of films has gotten to the point where most movies are aimed at the lowest common denominator of person out there. Stupid people ruin everything.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Count me among...

    by Childe Roland

    ...those who will wait for a DVD compilation if it's too inconvenient to try and catch a show piecemeal (or if I have to pay an extra $20 a month to subscribe to the channel). Having recently watched all four discs of Firefly for the first time (and having completely missed the series when it originally aired), I can say I don't regret spending the time or money on renting them, but I could go my whole life without watching them again and not jones for them the way I sometimes do for Farscape or old Trek. It was a reasonably well written show (the believability of the characters and their interactions being what sold me on it), but many of the concepts used in certain episodes were lifted from various comic books (Revaers, anyone?) and the western trappings of the whole thing became quite tedious at times. Again... not a bad show. I enjoyed watching each episode once (although sometimes I would pick up the laptop mid-show and work on something while listening to the story, as it often wasn't as visually interesting as sci fi can be). But I'm the kind of guy who, when a show is really good (Rescue Me, The Sopranos, Angel, Nip/Tuck, Farscape, Star Trek DS9, Quantum Leap, The Shield, etc.) like a really good movie, I can watch the best episodes over and over again. This just wasn't quite that good. I'll see the movie, though.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 10:51 a.m. CST

    off topic

    by Cory849

    Someone mentioned School of Rock. School of Rock has Jack Black. Jack Black should be Green Lantern. I know I am the only one that thinks so. Which is sad. and I know the idea has already been squashed. Which is also sad. Because I fucking love the idea. Yes, I promise to go get checked for braint tumours and such. I now return you to your regularly scheduled bitchfest.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 11:03 a.m. CST


    by Mafu

    You obviously have a strong opinion about "Firefly," which is fine. You believe most decisions Whedon made regarding its name, cast, and plot was bad, right? That's cool, you have a right to express your opinion. That said, your diatribe on why the movie will fail isn't based on fact, it's based on your opinion. You hate the show and you'll hate the movie. I can't convince you otherwise, but don't pretend the information on which you based your opinion means anything. The movie cost between 30-40 million to make, so it's a low-budget movie, which means it's low risk. It also has a huge built-in audience, and could potentially attract a bigger audience than expected. Not to mention DVD sales, which will be its bread and butter. For a 30 million dollar investment, this movie stands to make a lot of money. That's why Universal greenlit "Serenity."

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 11:22 a.m. CST

    only good thing to come out of this...

    by dr.bulber

    more NEW buffy on tv!!

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Screw the bitching, it's time for action...

    by The Nihilist

    ...everybody who loved this show, we CAN make a difference. Assuming that Joss has done his part and made a good movie, we can help ensure that the movie is a success and that Firefly/Serenity/Whatever gets a second chance at life, either through sequels to the movie or another series. It's real simple: convert your friends. Give the DVD set as birthday presents, or loan yours out. Talk about it in other forums at other websites. SPREAD THE WORD!

  • especially when they have not even seen it. Look, I'm not ready to say this movie's gonna tank, but I just thought the TV show was crap. And guess what? Sooner or later people are going to realize that a difference of opinion on a movie or TV show does not make someone an idiot. Personally, I don't expect the movie to be any better than the TV show, so my belief is that without improvement it will bomb. Plus, I'm not prepared to say that any movie starring Ron Glass will be a $100 million hit.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 12:46 p.m. CST

    Sci fi movies must have a big name to be a success

    by Dented Helmet

    Sci fi movies are for dorks, everyone knows that, and the only thing that will get asses in seats is if a 'cool' big named actor is in it. suddenly it doens't seem too dorky if brad pitt's cock is being sucked by an alien. or it's tom Cruise carrying around a "pre-cog" and not some unknown. Other genres can get by without a star, but sci fi must have one, otherwise the audience won't see it. This is why Serenity will fail.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 1:23 p.m. CST

    I disagree, Dented Helmet

    by Mafu

    You stated: "Other genres can get by without a star, but sci fi must have one, otherwise the audience won't see it." For the most part I agree with your statement, but there are several exceptions to your rule. "Star Wars," "Pitch Black," "Alien," and "Dark City" are all movies that utilized largely unknown casts, or at least cast unknowns as the lead actors. If you believe a movie "fails" by making less than 120 million including DVD sales, then any movie -- not just science fiction movies -- can be judged by your "sci fi movies fail without big stars" argument. And another point to consider is the fact that many science fiction movies have "failed" in recent years, even ones including big stars. So I disagree with your premise that science fiction movies always need a big star to make money for the studio. One final note: this year's winner at the Sundance Film Festival was a science fiction movie called "Primer," a film made for $8000 with complete unknowns. Several companies vied for the right to distribute the DVD, and now the movie will end up making significant money.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Where's The Spoiler?

    by fenario80

    This is just some Joss Whedon fan saying, hey, he loved the movie & the reavers are scary! I love Buffy & Angel but Firefly still eludes me, having watched the first 4-5 episodes in the box set. I will see this movie, but I agree that "Serenity" is a TERRIBLE name for a sci-fi/ western action movie. By definition, this word has zero punch, and it really should be changed.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 2:26 p.m. CST

    No one cares about this film...

    by BigTuna

    It will bomb. AICN is the only site that gives Serenity any publicity.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Whedon, schmedon

    by kintar0

    Here's a challenge for you Whedonites: give us a TOP TEN THINGS THAT MAKES FIREFLY/SERENITY GOOD list. That's 10. I doubt any of you can do it. I'll put your lists up against my Farscape list any day. Twats.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 2:30 p.m. CST

    This film will do fine

    by Hjermsted

    Whedon was scoffed at when he attempted to make a TV series out of a failed motion picture (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) but that series went on to great critical acclaim. BTVS developed a rabid cult and mainstream audience which, in turn, led to a spin-off series with similar results. With 'Serenity' Whedon will once again defy expectations by adapting a network hindered TV series into a successful small budgeted film franchise. The DVD set of the Firefly series continues to sell well which is proof enough that the audience for 'Serenity' is in fact growing as we speak. This film is in no way dead in the water. It is a small scale phenom waiting to happen and it will force the doubters and skeptics to redefine whatever parameters they use to predict winners and losers. The Whedon haters can keep on hatin' if it makes them feel better... it won't change any of what's about to happen. -mattro

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 2:59 p.m. CST

    I've never understood...

    by Childe Roland

    ...why peoople so gleefully speculate about the potential for failure in a film without having seen so much as a single scene or screen capture. I mean, it's one thing for fans of the series to be hopeful that the movie will do well, because then they'll get their sequels and, possibly, a second chance on TV. But for someone who has never seen Firefly to proclaim triumphantly that this movie will fail strikes me as pointless and childish. I've seen the show. Didn't love it, but am interested enough that I may see the movie in the theater. More likely I'll rent it. But I am fully aware that there are fans out there who will likely see this thing multiple times, if not because they are purely delighted by it then because they want to drive up the box office and ensure continuation of the story. But there's no way to know at this point whether the movie is going to sail or fail. There are just too many unpredictable elements still at play. What if the movie actually does kick ass? I'll even allow for this possibility (theatrical budget could mean more spectacular effects than we saw on TV and two hours instead of one could lead to a more engrossing story). What if, like me, other non-fans are hounded by their fan friends enough that they finally give in and plunk down $8.50 to check this out, if for no other reason than to confirm it's not their thing? The movie could do gangbusters on its second weekend. You don't know and, more importantly, if you already know you won't be among those going to see it under any circumstances and have never even watched the show it's based on, why would you care? Just strikes me as odd, is all.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 3:05 p.m. CST

    Of course this is a low budget film!

    by Barry Egan

    It's being made for about half of what is average today! This film will make money. I'm not saying it will be a $100 million movie, but it will be nicely profitable. Since when is $100 million the standard for whether or not a picture has been successful? Sideways is not going to approach $100 million, but it will turn a very nice profit for Fox Searchlight.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 3:27 p.m. CST

    The X-Files movie wasn't huge...

    by Wormie

    Remember when The X-Files was massive - it was a genuine pop culture phenomenon, everyone knew what it was, and when the movie came out, it only did about $80m. It probably made money, but if a flick based on that well-known a show, with two very famous leads, only did that amount of business, what chance has Serenity got, based as it is on a very short-lived show that no-one except Whedon worshippers have even heard of? The last two Star Trek movies did poor business too, and everyone knows those characters. I liked Buffy and Angel, but what little I saw of Firefly was fairly dull.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Hey BigTuna-

    by eggrolls

    Serenity is gitting publicity. I just saw a blurb in TV Guide about Serenity, in an article about the upcoming pack of TV properties that are being made into big screen properties (Bewitched, A-Team, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Honeymooners) . I wouldn't call the most read periodical in America "no one". Heck, how much publcity outside of places like AICN is Star Wars chapter 3 receiving? THe first big article outside genre press is just frickin' VANITY FAIR! How's that for hitting your target demographic???

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 4:48 p.m. CST

    They could not even mention Firefly

    by LordSoth

    The way for this movie to make money is to not advertise that it was based on a TV show most have never heard of. Sell it on its own merits and may do pretty decent. If people hear that it was based on some short-lived TV show they quickly forgot about, most likely it will curl up and die. Although I found Firefly moderately amusing, I really have no interest in seeing the movie. However, I might if it looks like a good stand alone story that is better than the series.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 4:55 p.m. CST

    The Final Word on Test Screening

    by Sean38

    Didn't Taxi test incredibly well? I think that's all that need be said about the validity of test screening.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 5:43 p.m. CST

    Getting to see Firefly in Oz right now

    by AttackingClone

    Ive been waiting a while to see how this show is and after about 8 or 9 episodes must say I really love it. My only complaint about the whole series is the "no sound in space" thing, is a little weird. Apart from that I love it and will be there opening day. BTW anyone know if the "No sound in space" thing will be in the movie, or will Joss change it?

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 5:56 p.m. CST

    I predict...

    by boodoffstage

    It amazes me how some people have this need to show their expertise about movies by predicting how & why a movie is going to be a flop, yet its obvious by there statements how little they know about the project and thereby showing how little they know about movies. Swarm & Critch and others must have read some film books and decided that based on some set standards of the movie industry that Serenity is bound to fail. There main reasoning being that its not popular enough. Which is a valid point & I think the reason why the movie was moved to September. Realistically this small unknown sci-fi movie would not be able to compete with the usual summer blockbuster fare but in Sep. it wont have any competition taking away potential viewers. It is not a sign that the studio has no faith in the movie. In the end, a movie, any movie, will always be successful all it needs are two things, a smart marketing campaign to get as large an audience into the theaters & a great story to keep them coming into the theaters through word of mouth.. I have seen the entire Buffy series and followed him into the Angel Spin off plus I

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Mr. Miracle may be a Farscape fan, but he's still an idiot!

    by Daredevil

    I'm not a Whedon fan. I only saw a couple episodes of Buffy and still prefer the original movie. I've seen even less Angel. I did however like Firefly, and it had nothing to do with Joss Whedon. I still prefer Farscape, and wish I was about to see a Farscape movie this fall, but Firefly was better sci-fi than just about anything else in the last couple decades and is one of the movies I'm looking forward to the most this year. Granted, I've only seen 3 episodes, and none in order, but I can give you several reasons it's cool. 1. It's science fiction, which gives it an automatic possibility of being cool. 2. It's also a western with western stylings. 3. Spaceships. 4. A ragtag cast of interesting characters who all have their own agenda at times and don't always get along...being a Farscape fan you should get this one. 5. Adam Baldwin. Animal Mother himself playing a great character. He's like Archie Bunker and Jack Burton rolled into one and given a big gun. 6. Main characters who are a preacher and and a prostitute. 7. Did I mention a prostitute? And she's a drop dead hottie. 8. Good, strong characters with plenty of development possibilities (at least they were at the beginning of the season...not sure how they ended up.) 9. It's own style and flair, such as no sound in space, bullets instead of laser beams, etc. 10. Cut out most technobabble in favor of plot/character development and having human solutions to problems instead of magical technology saving the day (another thing it has in common with Farscape.) Well, there's ten for you. I'm sure someone who saw more of the series could add a couple. I just don't understand the point to bashing one show which may not be as good as your favorite. How can you love Farscape but hate Firefly? It's like saying you like cheeseburgers, but puke when you eat a hamburger. Sure, a hamburger isn't quite a cheeseburger, but it's almost as good.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 7:23 p.m. CST

    People are suggesting a name change, how about They Call Me Sere

    by Daredevil

    The western fans should at least get that one and realize it's not a chick flick. Anyone have any suggestions on the name? Personally, I thought the TV show should have either been called Serenity, or the ship should have been called Firefly (instead of that just being the model of the ship.) I think Serenity will work as a title as long as the font used is suitably western looking. Also, the posters and trailers should focus as much on it being an western adventure set in space.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 7:51 p.m. CST

    We need Greg Edmonson as composer!

    by Vision

    They fired the other guy, now is the perfect time to get the perfect composer: Greg Edmonson!

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 8 p.m. CST

    Whedon's influence on "Alias".

    by CynicKil

    I don't know if anyone has mentioned this but the past couple weeks has seen a huge infusion of the Whedonverse on "Alias" this season. It's to the point where the show feels like a Whedon show. It's great. Couldn't be happier.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 8:45 p.m. CST

    Sci-fi is one of the few genres that DOESN'T need a big star, yo

    by Hercules

    Just off the top of my head, Star Wars, E.T., 2001, Star Trek, the Jurassic Park series, Spider-Man, X-Men, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, the list goes on and on and on!!! Where do you kids get these theories???

  • Ya know, there are days when it feels like the universe does indeed have a grand design...and that design is to piss you off. Le sigh. "Firefly" rocks, by the way, and I'm of the mind that Universal better not tinker with it either. Same reason (sort of) that Fox doomed the show, which gained a few more acolytes once it was released on DVD, is that by trying to please the most people possible you often end up pleasing the least. Let it be; for what it's worth, you've already got my ticket.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 9:04 p.m. CST

    cutestofborg, the ironing is delicious

    by Ribbons

    I find it humorous that you're one of the Tail-Enders who waged a near holy war against "haters" of 'Lord of the Rings' ("why are you here ruining our fun?" and all that crap) only to inform us (primarily, the show's fans) what a critical failure that 'Serenity' is doomed to be. Maybe it will. And what of it? Tell me once more that associating yourself with certain films and filmmakers isn't some attempt at power or validation, in which case you just became one of the chief things that you opposed: an obnoxious troll.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 10:48 p.m. CST

    Yeah, because how dare I

    by Ribbons

    You certainly don't feel shy about making quote-unquote observations.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 11:01 p.m. CST

    LMAO at cutest of borg

    by Commando Cody

    Warn me next time you're going to do a "future cutest" post. I was taking a drink at the same time as I read your post and almost spit it up laughing so hard. And you're right -- my guess is FIREFLY will appeal to it's diehard base, but then have trouble breaking out to the masses unless Universal marketing really pulls a rabbit out of its ass (hint again: change its sleep-inducing name!), meanwhile KONG will be a 1,000 pound gorilla at the box office. No pun intended. Well, ok, it was, but it was spur of the moment!

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 11:41 p.m. CST

    Hercules: "Sci-Fi is one of the few genres that DOESN'T need big

    by Commando Cody

    Herc, we all KNOW you love Whedon, so we all KNOW you'll come riding over the hill on your horse to defend him. But give me a break with your list. You wrote "Just off the top of my head, Star Wars, E.T., 2001, Star Trek, the Jurassic Park series, Spider-Man, X-Men, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, the list goes on and on and on!!! Where do you kids get these theories???" ******** Ok, let's run through that list, shall we? (1) STAR WARS -- movie debuts minus stars, but it DID arrive with a good promotional push from Fox (something we've yet to see how well Universal does with SERENITY), not to mention word of mouth instantly turns it into a legendary Hollywood-redefining film. In short, it comes out of the gate so strong it has lines round the block for weeks after it debuts and is still packing them in. Now, do you really think FIREFLY will have that pull? That there will be lines around the block? That the lines for SERENITY on opening day will match the opening lines of even EPISODE III? If you think so, take your medicine now... (2) E.T. and 2001. No big stars? Sorry, they both did have stars -- their "stars" were Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick, both of whom were well-known names and proven box office directors, which thus ensured that both films would have immediate pull in the marketplace from day one, unlike Whedon who the average person on the street has no idea who he is... (3)STAR TREK had stars, far more so than FIREFLY. Sure, Trek had the similar story as Firefly of being a failed TV show being upgraded to the big screen, but the difference you're conveniently forgetting is that the Trekkie fanbase (even back then) clearly outnumbers the Firefly fanbase. And you're forgetting the far more relevant fact that Trek had YEARS to run in syndication over and over again, thus gaining far more of a pop culture status and far more momentum for a feature film debut than FIREFLY has going for it... (4) JURASSIC PARK SERIES. Herc, snap out of it! Jurassic Park was a behemoth BEFORE it debuted as a film. In case you forgot, it was a fucking blockbuster BEST-SELLING BOOK. And when it came time to bring it to the theaters, it had freakin' Spielberg's name attached, thus giving it added momentum. Again, he was the "star" since everyone KNEW that he would deliver a great summer popcorn flick. Sorry, but the general masses KNOW who Spielberg is -- far more so than they know Whedon. Plus, Universal ramped that baby up. By the day that movie premiered, every kid in the world knew "what" it was, they knew it was about Dinos, and they just knew they had to race out and see it. In anticipation of the movie, kids had already been scarfing up dino toys for weeks that Universal shipped before the movie opened. Again, there was a "star" here. To kids, the "star" was a fucking T-Rex that they could see actually eating people... (5) SPIDER-MAN and X-MEN. Herc, these have stars -- they're called the fucking CHARACTERS. For crying out loud, X-Men has only been the best-selling comic for the last 15 years, so in the era of comic book movies, it had a momentum all its own and unlike any other. And Spider-man is even larger. For crying out loud, in a survey done globally, Spider-Man isn now actually one of the 10 MOST RECOGNIZED CULTURAL ICONS IN THE WORLD. So again, unlike Firefly people KNEW what to expect the minute they heard there was a Spider-man movie. They didn't need to know "who" was putting on the suit. The character was the selling point... (6) LOTR and HARRY POTTER. Go back and re-read number 4 and "Jurassic Park." Again, neither of these needed "stars". Both films were based on best-selling books. Hell, in the case of LOTR, it was based on a literary property that's had print runs second only to the BIBLE in the English speaking world. And in the case of Potter you're talking about a movie based around a publishing phenomenon that resulted in the best-selling novels of the last 20 years. It didn't need "stars." It could have starred a raccoon and kids would have packed theaters opening day. Hey, I'm glad you want to defend FIREFLY and Whedon -- here's hoping the movie is everything you want it to be, buddy -- but contrary to your argument, EVERY example you gave was an example of a movie that DID have "star power". Unlike FIREFLY, those were all pre-sold properties with a helluva lot more weight behind them either creatively or simply from name brand recognition with the general public from day one. Something FIREFLY (and Universal marketing) drastically needs to work on by September...

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 3:46 a.m. CST

    It probably won't do well. Who cares? As long as its A) Firefly

    by Tall_Boy

    cash the movie make usually means F-All to me. Unless you're talkin Star Wars movies. That's a source of personal pride.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 4:46 a.m. CST

    Why Firefly will tank.

    by AnnoyYou

    And yes, I saw a few episodes and if the movie is anything like the series, it's got big problems. It will tank because: 1. It has no recognizable stars. 2. It has no aliens. 3 Relatively speaking, very few people worship at the Shrine of Whedon (which is why Buffy/Angel/Firefly went bye-bye for various reasons, the biggest being LOW RATINGS)(and yes, I know Gellar effectively deep-sixed Buffy, but the ratings sucked all the same). 4. It is based on a failed series on a second-tier network. And finally -- its opening has already been pushed back into the no-man's-land between the big summer and holiday releases, which is industry shorthand for "dog," AND it's still being "secretly tested" in the hinterlands. A lot of smoke, etc.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 9:05 a.m. CST

    Mr. Miracle

    by Voice O. Reason

    I also like Far cape, and both shows are excellent. The two programs have some similarities on the surface, but have entirely different themes. Have you ever even watched the show? It seems like every time there's a Firefly talkback you gotta act like a dick about it. >>>>>>>>>>>Here's what I think makes it a great show: 1. Doesn't rely on imaginary technological advances to tell a story. 2. Nathan Fillion's performance. 3. Doesn't rely on imaginary alien races to tell a story. 4. The mystery surrounding River's mental powers. 5. The relationship between Zoe and Wash. 6. The relationship between Mal and Inara. 7. The entire episode "Out of Gas", one of the finest hours of science fiction aired on broadcast television in the last few decades. 8. The fact that the characters are very much criminals, and do many illegal things entirely for their own personal gain. 9. Jayne is consistently hilarious. 10. The subtlety conflicted, yet respectful, relationship between Shepherd Book (a man of God) and Mal (an atheist).>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Now, go ahead and write your typically dick-like reply in which you ignore the fact that I met your challenge you said I couldn't, and come up with a bunch of whiney excuses why my list wasn't good enough. Or go fuck yourself. The choice is yours.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Mr. Miracle: Your List

    by Voice O. Reason

    I also like Farscape, and both shows are excellent. The two programs have some similarities on the surface, but have entirely different themes. Have you ever even watched the show? It seems like every time there's a Firefly talkback you gotta act like a dick about it. >>>>>>>>>>>Here's what I think makes it a great show: 1. Doesn't rely on imaginary technological advances to tell a story. 2. Nathan Fillion's performance. 3. Doesn't rely on imaginary alien races to tell a story. 4. The mystery surrounding River's mental powers. 5. The relationship between Zoe and Wash. 6. The relationship between Mal and Inara. 7. The entire episode "Out of Gas", one of the finest hours of science fiction aired on broadcast television in the last few decades. 8. The fact that the characters are very much criminals, and do many illegal things entirely for their own personal gain. 9. Jayne is consistently hilarious. 10. The subtlety conflicted, yet respectful, relationship between Shepherd Book (a man of God) and Mal (an atheist).>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Now, go ahead and write your typically dick-like reply in which you ignore the fact that I met your challenge you said I couldn't, and come up with a bunch of whiney excuses why my list wasn't good enough. Or go fuck yourself. The choice is yours.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Voicebox5, the last figures I read for Serenity

    by Barry Egan

    were for a $30 million budget. That was on the internet (possibly unreliable) and a while ago. My information would be flawed. I was just thikning about this: Weren't a lot of the sets saved after the show was cancelled? That would stretch the budget evern further if they could work on already existing sets. Jumping tracks here a little bit, isn't part of the delay of Serenity due to Universal moving The Interpreter back to that Aprill 22 slot?

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 12:36 p.m. CST

    star trek almost similar

    by boodoffstage

    out of all those other scifi movies you have been comparing Serenity with,Star Trek seems to be the closest. They both were launched as movies on the basis of a strong loyan fan base. They were both shows that were initially cancelled due to low ratings. The fact that Firefly didnt even get one season before it got cancelled and Star Trek had 3 years is not proof that one show was "better" than the other.All that shows it that networks have different standards as to when to cancell a show. Hell if you want to say that Firefly sucked because it got cancelled so fast then what does it mean when Star Trek got cancelled, what?, like three times. The point is that both movies based on cancelled shows Firefly and Star Trek where both being written off before they even went on the screen. & here is my main point. The first Star Trek movie was considered both critically and box office wise a complete flop.The main gripe being that it was a snooze fest. Yet, here we are with now with how many Star Trek sequels and how many Star Trek tv shows over the years? In the end,If Serenity turns out to be a good story wether or not it flops, it will still continue to have a strong fan base equal or greater than star trek over time which will lead to more movies and tv shows. Plus,the star trek actors where never considered STARS by the mainstream audience. More like celebrities really, who were struggling actors even after there star trek success.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 12:49 p.m. CST

    "I only saw a couple episodes of Buffy and still prefer the orig

    by Voice O. Reason

    Every show has its bad episodes. The Buffy series was better than the movie in every way possible. I suggest watching something from season 3.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 2:51 p.m. CST

    you peeps crack me up.

    by BRTick

    why would you want a movie to fail? and what the heck does the box office have to do with how good a movie is? i could name dozens of great movies that didn't make anything at the box office, and hundreds of awful movies that made hundreds of millions. but if its really that important to you how much a movie makes, remember that the Firefly DVD box set is one of the best selling TV show dvd sets. methinks maybe universal knows this and has their eyes on the dvd sales as much, if not more, than the box office numbers. but hey, if you're dead set against hating something you've never seen, stay home and watch meet the fockers on dvd that week.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 5:18 p.m. CST

    wolf at the door

    by Ribbons

    Semantics, semantics. The main conflict between a movie with or without stars is the recognizability factor. If there's a movie I'm on the fence about that stars an actor that I like, I'll admit, sometimes that will tip the scales in favor of the movie. Vice versa, I'd assume. A bad example: A friend of mine wants to go see 'Hide & Seek,' which I hope I don't offend anyone by saying looks awful. They usually have good taste in films, and I'd imagine they'd dismiss the movie right away were it not for the presence of Robert DeNiro. But, as we all know, stars come with their own built-in fanbase. I think what you guys are arguing about is whether or not high-concept sci-fi flicks can sell themselves. It may or may not be true, but in the case of all the films listed (except, arguably, 'Star Wars,' but as much as I love "Firefly," 'Serenity' is not going to duplicate that movie's success) by Herc, each one had that recognizability factor going for it beforehand, which is what made them events. Every time a Spielberg movie comes out (perhaps moreso in his heyday and with less dilution in the market), a strong opening was guaranteed. The same, I'd assume, can be said for Stanley Kubrick. As for 'Spider-Man,' well, do you think that people lined up to see it because they liked the trailer so much? If the movie is GOOD sci-fi and it gathers strong word-of-mouth, then its "star," pardon the horrible pun, will probably rise. But I'm not sure that 'Serenity' could open big in the middle of summer merely by calling itself a horse opera in space.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 6:01 p.m. CST

    You didn't offend me, Ribbons. Hide and Seek looks horrible.

    by Barry Egan

    DeNiro must have wanted a new boat or something.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 8:17 p.m. CST

    If this comes of as a Sci-Fi made-for-tv movie, it will fail.

    by Ted Striker

    I never saw the TV show, but I've heard it's good.

  • Jan. 29, 2005, 1:54 a.m. CST

    I love the series, and yes, all Whedon's shows have sissy names,

    by Lezbo Milk

    Buffy was a very successful show, and it would have been much more successful had it not been named "Buffy". Face it, the name sounds stupid. There is a huge chunck of the public out there who would enjoy the hell out of the show, but they arn't intersted, and never watched, because they can't get past the stupid name of the show. Firefly is the same. Sounds a bit light in the loafers. Angel? Also light in the loafers. What's Whedons next show going to be called? Cream Puff Zombie Killers? Lace in Space? Fluffy the Female Cop? Serinity sounds like it lacks grit. It is not a punchy, solid or interesting name. It doesn't call attention to what genera it is a part of. It wounds like a Spa Opra visits on the weekends. Buffy success was in spite of the name. Whedon got lucky, and the show found an audience against the odds. The shows name did not help it. Firefly did not help itself out with a lame, weak ass name like that (and Fox screwed it up too, never playing the show on the same goddam night and all out of order...hell I wanted to watch but never knew when they were gonna fucking play the thing). If Serinity is going to be a box office success, they are going to have to change the name, or market the ever loving shit out of it, because the title isn't going to spark any interest outside of Whedendom.

  • And that matters why? Do you own stock in Universal? Like I said, lots of really great movies never made much at the box office. Especially great sci-fi/ fantasy movies. Ever hear the term

  • thats funny. you know, you could have said a very similar thing about "Star Trek" the movie or "Lord Of The Rings" the movies. Never underestimate fandom.

  • Jan. 29, 2005, 11:37 a.m. CST

    'Pitch Black'

    by Ribbons

    If I remember correctly, 'Pitch Black' opened in the middle of February and only grossed $20-odd million.

  • Jan. 29, 2005, 12:22 p.m. CST

    I don't know why I just wrote that

    by Ribbons

    What I said before was that good sci-fi films may or may not draw crowds, but that the ones mentioned by Herc and Commando Cody were definitely not sold on their premise and quality alone. Since 'Alien' and 'Pitch Black' were not among those, getting into an argument about them being successful or unsuccessful is silly. You may have a point there, w.o.t.d, about 'Alien,' although I'm not familiar with the circumstances surrounding its release, so you wouldn't be able to prove it by me.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 1:10 a.m. CST

    boodoffstage - ST: TMP was in no way a "box office failure" it m

    by Tall_Boy

    Sci-fi genre history is fun kids, wheee!! And yes, I do dig Firefly alot (and I don't watch Angel or Buffy) and yes, I do think it'll tank. It ain't got no draw whatsoever outside of Whedon fans and that ain't alot. Still pumped to see the movie and hope the Universal execs don't shave off any violence either.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 2:05 a.m. CST

    BRTick, I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at?

    by Lezbo Milk

    I am not underestimating fandom, I am sure that most of Whedons fans will go and see the movie. My point was, the silly titles of Whedon's material don't help him out in gathering interest outside of his current fan base. As far as Star Trek is concerned, it was in syndication for longer than most of the nerds on this site have been alive. I think it had good "brand recognition" when they made it into a film franchise (how many people fans or non-fans have heard of Star Trek? A shitload)...unlike the measley 14 episodes of Firefly (the movie doesn't even share a common name with the failed show). And LoTR's? Good lord, how can you compare the fan base of LoTR to Whedon's fan base? The book was written back when my Parents were drooling at the tit, and only the Bible has been published more, good God man, how big a fan base do you think Whedon has compared to the Rings? Anyways you missed my point entirely but I just had to comment on your bad examples. My point, once again is, Whedon's movie will be good...the sissy name will hinder the potential success of the film. I'm sure I will enjoy the movie whether or not it is successful, but I would like it to be a box office hit, as that would increase the odds of reprising the series or making more films.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 4:44 p.m. CST

    someone fill me in, has Whedon ever given something a badass tit

    by Tall_Boy

    Ok "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" is a good title, just for the juxtaposition of those 2 names. However it got shortned to the wussier "Buffy". "Angel" - also lame. "Firefly" & "Serenity" - also pretty wimpy. The first arc for AXM is called "Gifted" - something that really had little, if anything, to do with the main plot of "curring" mutants (and Colosus' comeback). Hell, the only halfway decent title I think the man has come up with was "Fray" - that was pretty sweet.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 4:51 p.m. CST

    I actually like the title "Firefly"

    by Ribbons

    I think it suits the show. Certainly better than "Badassness in Space" would.

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 10:15 p.m. CST

    "when people talk about movies and someone asks "does it have an

    by The Killer-Goat

    Um, actually, YES, they WOULD, dude. Because this is a pretty well media-informed public we live with. I mean, we've only got tv and the internet jacked into every single household nowadays. Jeez, man, my friends who watch jack and squat in the theatres still overhear tidbits on morning radio. The term "stars" has become predominantly attached to acting professions, but "star power" and recognizability are far broader in definition now. That's the whole point. Try that simple test: go out and ask if anyone's heard of the new War of the World's movie. See the reaction. THEN tell them Spielburg is directing, don't even mention Cruise. See if any faces light up and say "oh! it might be good, then, like Schindler's list or his last 2 films yadda yadda..."

  • Jan. 31, 2005, 6:25 p.m. CST

    the math is simple voice box.

    by boodoffstage

    You make a movie that costs 30 million & hope that it makes 100 million & maybe even creating a frachise of future movies with the potential of millions of dollars in revenue. & if by chance it doesnt make money at the box office,then there is still a good chance it will make the company a lot in video sales. So the math is Low risk & potential high profits. That was the reason why "Serenity" a go. It strikes me odd that you use the same close minded arguments to put down "Serenity" that many movie executives use to not greenlight these original movies you crave so much over. Plus, Im curious to know what you consider original. In my opinion, even though its not original in concept, its definitely original in execution. The main character alone is a unique character both a bad ass captain but in with many human flaws. A broken man in many ways who is still trying to keep a bit of his honor & dignity. Plus the relation between the preacher and the prostitute offers a lot of potential for story lines & of course the character River, a powerful being with a damaged personality yet still a vulnerable and sweet girl.It was a show that was not given the proper support by fox and whos ratings although low were not awful. Xfiles ratings were not so great the first season & neither was Buffy the first season but they were given the opportunity to grow and get an audience. Firegly was never given that opportunity.