If there’s one thing that resonates in the “Firefly” 10th anniversary special that aired on Science Channel Sunday night (Nov. 11), it’s a wistfulness for what might have been.
In talking-head interviews and a roundtable with several cast members, executive producer Tim Minear and writer Jose Molina, everyone talks about the feeling they had during the show’s lone season that they could be canceled at any time, and how it affected their work.
“We were on the chopping block from the get-go,” recalls Adam Baldwin, “so we all knew we had o make the best show we could because we didn’t know how long we were going to be around.”
That feeling ended up informing some the writers too. Minear notes that the episode “Out of Gas” — considered one of the show’s best — sprung from the ax hanging over their heads.
“[Creator Joss Whedon] said, ‘Can we start the episode with Mal being shot in the gut?'” Minear recalls. “‘How did this happen’ became ‘How did this happen'” in the larger sense, giving way to an origin story for the crew of Serenity.
“We thought if we could get the audience more excited, and they’d tell 17 million of their best friends …,” Gina Torres says with a rueful laugh. That wasn’t to be, of course, but the show has had a remarkable afterlife with the feature film “Serenity,” comic books and crazy-devoted fans. The special ends with clips from a Comic-Con panel in which the fans cheer almost every word Whedon and the cast say.
(The Comic-Con clips, though, are the only time Whedon appears in the special. We’re guessing it was a scheduling thing and not a lack of interest on his part.)
Here’s a piece of the roundtable discussion, with Nathan Fillion discussing a scene where Mal went from “Captain Tightpants” to “Captain No-Pants.”
What did you think of “Browncoats Unite”?