Before I start I just want to make one thing perfectly clear. I enjoyed Firefly, even loved a few of the episodes, and I wished it had gotten more than 14 episodes, of which I think only 12 were aired. I’m not sure because when it was on Fox I watched it every so often. It was the kind of show I knew wouldn’t last long so I didn’t want to get attached to it. Guess that was my fault because it seems you can’t be a geek or a nerd without loving the show and cursing Fox out for canceling it too soon. I’m a bad nerd because I don’t scream in indignation every time someone mentions that fact. I always think to myself, “Well, they did a movie out of it, guess we can’t get too mad.”
It’s would be like if that girl you dated for a month gave you a really nice car because she felt bad about the breakup. We got a good movie out of a show that lasted 14 episodes, what more could they do to quell the nerd rage? And really, if the movie had done well we’d have a series of movies to look forward too. So, to me, it wasn’t Fox that killed Firefly, it was everyone else who killed it. I just looked at the number on IMDB and the budget for the movie was 40 million, and the movie only made 25 million. Wonder why we’re not seeing any more Firefly? Would you want to commit to a franchise that lost you that much money because you thought the nerd community (the same community that helped make Spider-man and X-men megahits) would support it? Well, guess what? Most of the nerds seemed to have rejected it, at least in 2005 anyway.
I can’t really tell if Firefly is more, or less, popular now than when it first aired. I think it’s becoming like Star Trek, which gained in popularity the longer it was off the air. I ask myself, why? I’m sure the DVD release of the series helped, I’m also sure that word of mouth has gotten some people to check it out. But, I think what really makes it more popular is the fact that it wasn’t all the popular when it first aired, which means it was rejected by most of society, much like the people who love it.
Okay, stick with me here, If I ever got any comments on my blog I’d ask you not to troll me, I know that was a pretty insulting thing to say but listen to my logic please.
For so many years nerds and geeks were relegated to the background of society. I know what I speak of because I am one of those nerds, I am one of the guys who was rejected by large groups of people because I was weird. Because I saw Star Wars dozens of times while in school. It wasn’t until I met other people who shared my interest that I finally started to come out of my shell a bit. I was a very outgoing kid but there’s a difference between geeking out about Boba Fett when you’re 8 and geeking out about him when you’re 16. So, for most of my school life I was the weird guy who loved weird things. I learned to suppress all that enthusiasm for what I loved down so I appeared normal when you first meet me, you didn’t know I was a geek until you really got to know me.
Being a geeky nerd made you an outsider. That was until 2000 when X-men came out. It was a huge hit, normal people suddenly started talking about Wolverine, Storm, and being a mutant. Nerds who were ignored were suddenly called on by people who used to mock them to explain who Magneto was and where to find out more about him. Then we got Spider-man, a movie that made almost a billion dollars worldwide, then Spider-man 2, then X-men 2. Suddenly, in Hollywood, geeky things started to make money, the press became interested and geekdom wasn’t as dorky anymore as more and more people found their inner geek and they loved it!
In all this madness came Firefly and I’m sure Fox thought the geeks who loved Spider-man and X-men would flock to it. After all, it was directed by the guy who brought us another staple of Geek culture, Buffy and Angel. How could it fail?
Well, it did and it failed badly, and was canceled but the geeks wouldn’t have it so they convinced Fox to do a movie, which they did and it flopped. Those who thought of themselves as geeks rejected it, those who called themselves geeks loved it. It became a rallying point. Here was something that the people who used to mock them hated. So, these people who were geeks all their lives had something to make them outsiders again. In essence, loving Firefly was revenge against the geek things that were once outside the mainstream and was now universally loved. If you mention Firefly to the layman he’ll just look at you and say, “I gave that show a try, but I didn’t like it.” And you’ll be back to where you’re comfort zone is, and outsider who knows more about something than an insider. That’s a flag us geeks love to carry around, you might be able to throw a ball further than me but I know that Serenity is named after the place were Mal fought the last battle of the Unification war. (I think, that’s how I remember it anyway, I’m not that steep into the mythology of the show.)
Now that Josh Whedon has become more popular thanks to the Avengers movie I wonder how many people will go back to his old stuff and start discovering it. Will that ever make Firefly popular enough to warrant its return, and if it does return and become more popular will the Geeks and Nerds reject that popularity? I guess only time will tell.