There are a multitude of reasons why any sci-fi movie (or sci-fi show for that matter) is a good idea. In current times, with the economy being as unstable as Lindsay Lohan’s driver, sci-fi presents pure escapism. Sci-fi on TV has given fans so much to be thankful for lately, with Battlestar Galactica, Terminator: TSCC and Dollhouse mixing good business for the suits with drama and spectacle for the viewers. And yes, it is debatable whether TV execs actually care about their sci-fi programming, but the numbers don’t lie.
With this in mind, I decided to take a look at one of my all time favourite sci-fi universes: Firefly, and in particular, Serenity.
The movie, born from the wreckage of the cancelled TV show, was well received by critics and audiences alike, and did solid business on DVD to boot, then… nothing. The fan chatter continued, as did the rumours of a sequel, but nothing materialised. It was said to be on and off Universal’s production slate throughout 2006/2007, with many of the principal cast going on record as saying they would do it but alas, nothing came.
So, here are eight reasons (in no particular order) why I think 2009 would be a great year to reacquaint ourselves with Mal, Jayne, River, and the crew aboard the good ship Serenity.
The current state of the world financially should, potentially put studio bosses off making more risky movies. But with The Dark Knight recording the second biggest gross of all time, reaching nearly a billion dollars in worldwide revenue, and even ‘risky’ pictures such as Watchmen hitting the $100 million mark, it is clear that the movie-going public will not be put off. In terms of Serenity, Universal have a crowd-pleasing, escapist fantasy that costs little and makes loads, which in the current climate, should be looked at as a blessing for movie bosses.
The Original’s Success
It is completely mystifying how, after the business drummed up by both its theatrical run (not amazing, but respectable) and business on DVD (beyond all expectation), Serenity wasn’t immediately green-lit for a sequel. Original sci-fi properties are all well and good for television, but for a movie outside of an established franchise to put up such numbers was phenomenal, so much so, in fact, that sales of Firefly on DVD were on the up after its success.
Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog
Joss Wheddon is a God. It is widely established that anything this man creates turns to gold. Nothing backs this up more than the bewildering success of this obscure, net-only comedy. That Dr Horrible managed to get the cast that it did (Nathan Fillion, Neil Patrick Harris) is just further proof of the immense respect Wheddon is afforded in the industry.
Firefly on the Sci-Fi Channel
Ridiculous network name changes aside (what was the point?), Serenity’s predecessor has been putting up good numbers for a show that was shit-canned by the Fox network. That it was cancelled in the first place is a travesty, but it’s showing on Sci-Fi proves that, if a show is run as it was meant to be (I’m looking at you here, Fox), IT ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE!
With BSG coming to a close, leaving behind a rich history of unprecedented success, movie studios, if there were any sense and justice in the world, should be optioning sci-fi scripts left, right and centre. And with a Serenity sequel on a lot of fans’ wish lists, They could look to Joss Wheddon for another instalment.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
With Serenity’s own River Tam at its heart, TSCC has taken the Terminator franchise in a new, exciting direction. But will it give Summer Glau any more clout with studio bosses?
Joss Whedon’s current TV hit appears to be starting to get interesting, but with the Fox network’s itchy trigger finger with regards to sci-fi , he may suddenly find himself looking at other projects if the network gets impatient.
After piloting Serenity through a muddled TV series (again, thanks, Fox) and movie counterpart, the man behind Mal Reynolds made the leap to leading man in horror-com Slither, and indie sleeper hit Waitress. Hopefully these solid turns might persuade Universal that he is capable of carrying a big studio movie, if his turn as Mal in the original wasn’t persuasion enough.
Leave your thoughts on the matter in the comments…