'Firefly: Browncoats Unite' Is A Labor Of Love


by Tami Katzoff (@tvtamijo)

At 10pm on Sunday, November 11, Science Channel will premiere its “Firefly” reunion special. Like the Joss Whedon series it celebrates, “Firefly: Browncoats Unite” is a labor of love.

“I’m a huge fan of “Firefly” myself,” says Bernadette McDaid, Science’s VP of production and executive producer of the special. “It was originally conceived as a bit of a birthday present for me.”

But McDaid isn’t the only Browncoat in her office: Everyone involved with the 60-minute special is passionate about the series. “Every frame is crafted with love, across the board,” McDaid says. “It’s been an incredibly uplifting and inspirational experience to make this film and to be working with so many people who believe in it.”

“Browncoats Unite” marks an important milestone for the short-lived but long-adored series. “It’s the tenth anniversary this year, and we thought it would be a huge coup for the fans if we would be able to get the primary cast and crew back together again to celebrate what’s become a sci-fi phenomenon,” McDaid says.

Most of “Browncoats Unite” is devoted to a reunion discussion which was shot right before Joss and Co.’s epic panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Present that morning were Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Sean Maher and Adam Baldwin, as well as executive producer Tim Minear and story editor Jose Molina (Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite and Gina Torres couldn’t make it to the ‘Con because of their shooting schedules, so they appear in the special as individual interviews. From the core cast, Ron Glass is the only absentee).

Seated around a wooden table crafted as an homage to the communal dining area aboard Serenity, the cast and writers reminisced about their various “Firefly” experiences, from the first days on set to the show’s cancellation. Some stories might be familiar to fans; others were revelatory to even the cast members themselves.

The hour’s last act is comprised of footage from the Comic-Con panel, and that’s where the really big emotions come out. Five thousand lucky fans witnessed it firsthand, and the rest of us had to settle for live blogs, tweets and shaky amateur video. With “Browncoats Unite” we can all properly see the tears of Nathan Fillion as he remembered his greatest gig and the sweet humility of Joss Whedon as he reacted to his well-deserved standing ovation.

Whedon’s message to his audience that day is echoed by the creators of Sunday’s reunion show. “We wanted to give a shout-out to the fans, and give them the credit that they are due for keeping this alive for ten years,” says McDaid. “It’s because of them that 'Firefly' is still flying.”

Previously on The Weekly Whedon:

» ’Firefly’ special exclusive clip: how Nathan Fillion joined Serenity crew

» Jane Espenson’s ‘Husbands’ gets comical

» Charge up the freeze ray: Here comes Dr. Horrible!

» Maurissa Tancharoen: agent of W.H.E.D.O.N.

» 'Firefly' anniversary: saluting Serenity's big damn heroes

MTV News producer Tami Katzoff presents The Weekly Whedon, a column exploring all corners of the Whedonverse from "Marvel's The Avengers" to "Buffy" and beyond. Assemble your reactions in the comments section!

Movie & TV Awards 2018