No Power In The 'Verse: The Making of Firefly

No Power In The 'Verse: The Making of Firefly

This year mark the fifteenth anniversary of the single-season and movie hit "Firefly" - so how did it even happen in the first place?

We all have that one thing we loved, yet it didn't catch on so it quickly disappeared. For some, it's an indie band that had one or two good albums, or a product that you bought on impulse, but never saw again in the stores. For others, it's a TV series – more specifically, Firefly. This year marks fifteen years since the show was first broadcast on Fox, and also fifteen years since the unjust cancellation. The production wasn't difficult, nor was it an accidental success. The show and the movie sequel, Serenity, became what they are today because of the fans, and out of the desire of the creator to make his story complete, no matter what it took. From studios getting in the way to being continued in several comic book titles, a series that didn't even make it a completed season in the first run has become a major sci-fi franchise beloved by many.

Firefly was created by Joss Whedon, then known for the hit shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. This new idea was to combine the classic Western genre with the science fiction world, in such a way that it would be up to the individual episode to fit into either side. Whedon had an interest in writing a series about a losing army in a war, and with a name for himself already in the industry, set out to make this possible – by writing a two-hour character driven pilot episode introducing our main cast and the iconic ship, Serenity. Several then-unknown actors were cast in the show, including Nathan Fillion (who went on to star in Castle) and Alan Tudyk (K-2SO in Rogue One), along with television veteran Ron Glass. The story was simple - a group of smugglers, led by a soldier from the losing side in a galactic civil war, travel from planet to planet, with the "aim to misbehave." The pilot was filmed, edited, and screened before the executives at Fox – and as per many projects proposed to the studio, they demanded Whedon write a more action-focused pilot, to be aired in place of the two-hour one, along with adding more villains to be closer to their recently-ended X-Files (the pilot would eventually be aired as the final episodes on Fox). Following the weekend writing, a new episode was turned in and Fox gave the go-ahead to make an additional eleven episodes (not including the pilot “Serenity” and the second pilot “The Train Job”). However, it was becoming increasingly obvious that Fox did not like the way the series was being handled by Whedon, as they wanted something more along the lines of X-Files science fiction and not Gunsmoke in space – and during filming on the episode “The Message,” the crew received the cancellation notice. It was over before it could even start, causing Fox to air only eleven episodes – and not in order, which in turn caused confusion on the part of the home audience. Whedon attempted to get other networks to buy the show, but none were interested, and the first season of the planned seven became the only one.

Despite the few episodes and little care from the network, Firefly grew to having a large amount of fans, who bought the DVD releases in droves to prove to Fox that there was an interest. Whedon himself was done with dealing with network demands, and upon realizing he owned the rights to the story and characters (just not the name), he began work on a sequel movie – also thanks to the “Browncoats” that showed there was more than just a few people tuning in. Universal greenlit the film for a Fall 2005 release, and despite giving a lot of creative freedom to the crew, the studio did come in and make some demands, such as killing off the characters of Wash and Shepard Book, as Alan Tudyk and Ron Glass could not commit to doing an immediate sequel. The script was written down from a three hour epic into a much more manageable two hour film, and the intention was reworked to act as a series finale, over a sequel to create more movies out of. The film, titled Serenity, was released in September 2005 to positive reviews, and reignited the Firefly fandom. However, due to being a September release and not getting an awful lot of advertisement, Serenity bombed at the box office, and hopes for a sequel were put down – until the DVD sales came in, and even then, Universal was not too interested in a full-budget film. And so, like the show it continued off of, Serenity stands twelve years later as a single film, made to finish a story the fans needed closure on.

Since then, Firefly has been held up alongside Star Wars, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica as one of the all-time great science fiction franchises, as well as often topping lists of shows canceled too soon. Roleplaying games, editions of Clue, toys, Funko Pops, and comics have been made, all continuing the story. But what makes it still have such a large group of dedicated fans when the series has been over for years now? Simply put, it's because the show was never given the time to get to the point where you go “oh great, another season.” Every episode and every moment hold up, and they're all there for a reason to serve the greater story. It started the idea of using a movie to finish up a canceled series, something that Veronica Mars, The X-Files, and possibly even Community have done or are rumored to be doing. People from all walks of life enjoy the series, from those who can't get enough of space cowboys to those who hate most science fiction but like Westerns. As with anything, the fans keep the series going and keep the story alive, passing it on to others who in turn, tell more people about it – a fifteen-year word of mouth campaign. Every now and again, the cast reunites, and rumors circulate over a relaunch. For now though, we only really have the fourteen episodes and the movie as the main points in the franchise, and with the occasional comic or short story sequel, there is still plenty of room to explore the 'Verse.

Cover Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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