Oct 22, 2009

Passions - Evolution of a Browncoat

I’m a Browncoat.

Many of my readers (all four of you) might not know what that term refers to. In fact, the definition of what a Browncoat is has been a manner of contention on some popular web-sites. Here is my simple definition:

Browncoat - A fan of the “Firefly”/“Serenity” universe (TV Series & movie) that gets involved (however subtly) in the promotion of the series for non-commercial purposes.

FIREFLY was a show created by Joss Whedon on FOX. Joss Whedon is the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and more recently Dollhouse. All of these were, and still are, excellent shows. When FIREFLY originally aired it was on Friday nights. The network that commissioned the show, FOX, played around with the show (changing the order in which the episodes were shown, asking Josh to lighten up the content, continuously changing its timeslot, pre-empting it for baseball playoffs, etc.) so much so that it never had a real chance. I only caught a couple of the episodes (14 were filmed, 11 were aired) when it first came out and I liked it a lot. It received the axe after only 11 weeks and I was bummed, but not devastated because like I said, I only was able to catch a few episodes.

The show had developed a tremendous following in those 11 weeks (Whedon has a devoted fan base because of his previous shows) and because of the drive and determination of Joss Whedon and that fan base, they were able to get the show released on DVD and get a commitment to make a feature movie (SERENITY) based up the series. The rabid fans became known as Browncoats (a reference to a military group in the series that the main character was part of).

I’m what you would call an above average television viewer. That means I usually can tell you what night of the week something is on and usually how it is doing in the ratings. Like everybody, I have my favorite shows. Just to give you a sense of what I enjoy, my favorites this year are FRINGE, FAST FORWARD, MEDIUM, LOST, NCIS, GREEK, LIE TO ME, DOLLHOUSE, MODERN FAMILY, THE MENTALIST and NCIS. How do I watch so much television and get any writing done? Let’s just say the DVR is a wonderful thing!

I have always found it confounding how some shows which appear to be perfectly fine entertainment get cancelled, and other shows are allowed to survive. Don’t get me started on Reality TV. But overall, most of the time the shows cancelled deserves to be, and other times they are border line and just need time to find their audience.

So if I barely registered a whimper when FIREFLY was cancelled, you might ask how I can now claim to be a Browncoat. The answer is simple. When I heard that a full length movie was being released based upon a cancelled series (one that I liked) I became curious. I knew that the series was available on DVD, so I rented the first disc (there are 4) from Netflix and my wife and I watched it one weekend. FIREFLY was an awesome! I had no idea at the time it was originally cancelled what I was missing. We both fell in love with all of the characters interactions, the story-lines, and the wit. My wife, who begrudgingly watched the first episode with me when I started, had me march down to our local Hastings and purchase the entire DVD set after we had watched all 14 episodes! How can a show this good get cancelled? This was quality TV that most of America had no clue about. DAMN YOU FOX! When the movie (SERENITY) came out in 2005, although it didn’t make a ton of money it was one of the best reviewed Sci-fi movies that year.

Rent the DVD’s and see for yourself!

So now I consider myself a Browncoat because I sing the praises of Firefly/Serenity with the hopes of getting more people to fall in love with it. Maybe someday they’ll consider making some kind of sequel (movie or resurrected TV series), but I’m not holding my breath. This is an underdog story about a short-lived TV series that goes on to justify a major motion picture. It’s a story I like to hear . . . and tell.

So consider yourself enlightened. Check it out for yourself and make your own judgment.


  1. I first encountered the FIREFLY greatness when we rented (and later purchased) the movie SERENITY a year or so ago (honestly don't remember exactly when it was). Loved it. But the best part? The outtakes at the end. HOLY SHIT I NEVER LAUGHED SO HARD IN MY LIFE. Still had no clue about the TV series, though. I'm not a big TV watcher. Sorry.

    So last holiday season I got an e-coupon from Borders that showed the FIREFLY boxed set in the advertisement. I was like...really?...AND I have a coupon? I couldn't drive to the store fast enough.

    I've been meaning to do a FIREFLY post on my blog that just lists a bunch of my favorite quotes, but haven't got around to it yet. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Lydia (sorry - you'll always be Lexi to me),

    I was surprised to see that you found my blog. I know it doesn't compare to The Sharp Angle, but I'm slowly making my way.

    As far as Firefly goes, I could totally see you and Joe being into it. Every now and again our family will have a Firefly marathon, and each time when we're through we curse the TV gods for its fate. A list of favorite quotes from the series or the movie would go on and on, but the one that I always come back to is the one that was the basis for my call tag on many forums.

    "I aim to misbehave!"