Fortunately for Arrested Development, it will be getting another season exclusively on Netflix, and will be released May 26th. However, when Netflix exec, Ted Sarandos, was asked about bringing back Firefly (along with other shows, like Jericho and Buffy the Vampire Slayer), this was Sarandos’ answer:
Let me give you one broad statement about these recovery shows. In almost every case the cult around the show gets more intense and smaller as time goes by. Arrested Development was the rarest of birds in that the audience of the show grew larger than the original broadcast audience because people came to discover it years after it was cancelled. The Firefly fan is still the Firefly fan from when it was on TV and there’s fewer of them and they’re more passionate every year. Whereas with Arrested Development we’re going to be serving a multiple of the original audience. Any of the other shows we could bring back would be a fraction of the original audience.
What bothers me about this excuse is that it’s patently untrue. Firefly’s original fanbase is a fraction of what it is now. I didn’t even know it existed when it was on air. The only reason I saw the movie was because a friend had heard about the show from a friend who had heard about the show from someone who watched the original airing.
Essentially, I would like to know exactly where Netflix comes by this logic. It’s been my experience that every year the Firefly fanbase grows. Friends I have that don’t even share my interests in sci-fi are calling me up and asking if I’ve ever seen Firefly, and demanding why I never made them watch it. On top of that, the increase in “Jayne Hats” at cons alone suggests that the trend of Firefly is growing larger with every year.
I understand that this evidence is anecdotal at best, so I’ll move on to other reason why this is patented BS.
Every single actor from the show has expressed that they would come back for moreFirefly, and have insinuated strongly that they would take less pay. Some of the actors, Nathan Fillion in particular, are far more popular and famous now than they were the show first aired, which would bring in new fans. The cherry on top is, of course, Joss Whedon, who is probably one the most popular writers and producers of the past decade what with his blockbuster summer.
I’m not sure if Netflix is looking at their streaming numbers for the show and find them to be not good enough, or if they are and are forgetting that there are only 13 episodes for hits to be averaged out across, or if they don’t understand that everybody who watches one episode of that show seems to inevitably buy the boxset and watch independently of Netflix. There has to be a better reason than what the Netflix is saying, and I’m betting it’s the same reason we always get when it comes to scifi:
- Making sci-fi is too big of risk. It’s expensive, and the payoff isn’t enough.
To me, that’s probably the real crux of the matter.
But really, having famous actors and famous writers, and a cult that will make sure the show gets advertised makes the show seem far less of a risk. So, I join the Browncoats, and yell at the top of my lungs: “Somebody! Make Firefly now!”