'Castle' is done, so let's bring back 'Firefly'
Posted May 21, 2016
“Castle” has been cancelled. The series, which follows the adventures of a novelist who hangs out with cops to solve crimes, has been a pleasant enough diversion over the course of its eight seasons, due in no small part to the easy charm of its lead actor, Nathan Fillion. Now that the good Mr. Fillion unexpectedly finds himself with time on his hands, I suggest the powers that be put his considerable talents to their highest and best use.
Yeah, it’s time to bring “Firefly” back.
For you non-Browncoats unaware of what is inarguably the worst cancellation decision in the history of television, “Firefly” was the show that introduced Nathan Fillion to the world in 2002.
Set 500 years in the future, “Firefly” follows the adventures of the crew of spaceship Serenity, led by the Fillion-portrayed Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, an officer who fought on the losing side of an interplanetary civil war. The show has been described as a Western in space, with Reynolds and his crew struggling to make their way along the outer fringes of the final frontier. It’s the brainchild of wunderkind Joss Whedon of “Avengers” fame, and Fillion himself has repeatedly said playing Mal Reynolds was his “favorite job ever” and one he’d return to in a heartbeat.
I cannot overstate how magnificent this show was. If you haven’t seen it, see it. It’s on Netflix; it’s on Hulu; it’s on DVD and Blu-ray. You have no excuse. It won’t take you long to binge-watch the thing because only 14 episodes were produced.
That’s right, just 14 episodes. When first broadcast on the Fox network, they were aired out of order and often pre-empted for baseball games, giving the series little opportunity to find an audience. The outcry at the time of cancellation was so great that Joss Whedon directed a cinematic follow-up in 2005 called “Serenity,” which, while providing some closure on some story lines, still left “Firefly” fans hungry for more. In the intervening decade, there have been comic book adaptations, conventions and a rising clamor to bring it back to television, all to no avail.
Why not now?
I’m pretty sure both Whedon and Fillion would be game. Whedon hasn’t done anything of note since directing “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and he’s gone on record as saying the film “a little bit broke me.” Surely the tonic for whatever ails Whedon creatively would be to get the good ship Serenity flying again. Just last year, he told collider.com “more than with any other crew, I would love to get that crew back together.”
As for Fillion, in 2011, he told Entertainment Weekly if he were to win the lottery, “the first thing I would do is buy the rights to 'Firefly,' make it on my own and distribute it on the Internet.” That launched a grassroots movement that raised a million dollars to buy the “Firefly” rights before logistical realities put the kibosh on the whole thing. There’s no question, given the opportunity, the Serenity’s original captain would be willing to once more take his place at the helm.
I recognize there are many other obstacles to overcome. It's probably unrealistic to think we could get the whole cast back together, and surely some adjustments would have to be made. But isn't now the time to try?
“Castle” had a good run. Isn’t it about time “Firefly” got eight seasons, too?
Jim Bennett is a recovering actor, theater producer and politico, and he writes about pop culture and politics at his blog, stallioncornell.com.