The Interwebs are abuzz with rumors that Serenity -- the 2005 film that was a follow-up to Joss Whedon's short-lived TV series Firefly -- may yet spawn a sequel. The news comes from an apparently reliable source (cast member Alan Tudyk), and while the current idea is that it would go straight to DVD, the show's fans, who are called Browncoats, are positively orgasmic with excitement.
Well, almost. A straight-to-DVD sequel actually comes a bit down the list on the rabidly devoted Browncoats' perfect world wishes. The list looks like this:
BEST POSSIBLE SCENARIO (AND REALLY, IF THE FOX NETWORK HAD ANY BRAINS, THIS IS WHAT THEY WOULD BE DOING, BECAUSE THIS SHOW WOULD TOTALLY BE A HUGE HIT THIS TIME): Firefly returns as a weekly prime-time series in a luxurious time slot and is permitted to stay on the air indefinitely.
NEXT BEST POSSIBLE SCENARIO (AND STILL A GOOD OPTION): A franchise of Serenity films released in theaters, one a year, for the next 10 years AT LEAST, each of them given full promotional and advertising support by the studio.
SOMEWHAT LESS DESIRABLE OPTION: One more Serenity film in theaters, just to wrap up some more of the stories.
ACCEPTABLE BUT NOT REALLY WHAT WE WANT: A straight-to-DVD sequel.
ENTIRELY UNACCEPTABLE: Online articles mocking hardcore Browncoats as mouth-breathing parents'-basement-dwellers.
DVD sequels are generally the province of trashy horror films and soft-core porn. It seems beneath Serenity's dignity to suffer such a fate, but again, it's better than nothing.
Or is it? There is a serious risk in breathlessly anticipating another offering from your creative gods. George Lucas was once beloved and revered, and then he made the Star Wars prequels. Fans hated those films, and punished Lucas by only paying to see them 10 times in the theater instead of 20. Now Lucas is a joke.
Granted, Joss Whedon has a much better track record. With Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly/Serenity, he has proven to be more than just a one-trick pony. But the Browncoats are passionate and eager. Could any Serenity sequel possibly live up to their standards?
I approach this subject as a Firefly fan myself. I live in Portland (the cool one, not the one in Maine), where a theater-pub recently showed the entire series on the big screen, two episodes every Tuesday night for seven weeks, and capped it off with a screening of Serenity. I was there every week, experiencing most of the series for the first time and loving every minute of it. I missed out on the phenomenon when it originally aired, and now Fox's cruel canceling of it was tearing my heart asunder five years after the fact. I would love for there to have been more episodes to watch.
But there comes a time when you just have to let it go. I understand the pain of seeing a great series die, but let it die a dignified death. It was embarrassing to see my fellow Arrested Development fans cling to every shred of hope for that series: a pickup by Showtime, a theatrical film, a straight-to-DVD fourth season, anything, PLEASE, just give us more!
If Whedon and the gang have some great ideas for a Serenity sequel, and if they get the budget they need to do it right, then I suppose there's no harm in going forward. (They will have to deal with the fact that there are only nine major characters and two of them died in the first film.) But maybe it's best to just enjoy what we have rather than trying to recapture old glory. Let us re-watch the 15 episodes and one movie over and over again, and memorize the lines, and make hats just like the one Jayne's mom sent him in "The Message" (episode 12), and let that suffice.
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Eric D. Snider (website) would live in his parents' basement if they had one.