2002, TV Show


This week on Surface or, as I...

This week on Surface or, as I prefer to call it, "Lake Bell Has Really Tan Legs," we learn several more key elements in the sea monster mystery. Perhaps most important: You may think you're safe if you move your water-sport shenanigans to a freshwater lake, but apparently the ground can still open up and create a bottomless whirlpool of death. OK, oceans bad. Lakes bad. We can still hang out at Yellowstone, right? Wrong. Old Faithful's trying something a little new this year, and it's called spewing molten lava. Sorry, campers. So Miles is still having big electrocute-y fun with little Nimrod, and Laura's trying to get her career back on track by, uh, waiting tables and holding clandestine meetings with Creepy All-Knowing Scientist Guy. But this episode's high drama pretty much belongs to Rich, who isn't handling his brother's death all that well. He comes off looking pretty normal when you compare him to the other nut jobs trying to uncover the world's Hidden Biology read more

Behind-the-Scenes at Serenity's Shoot

Nathan Fillion in Serenity

Movie sets can be notoriously cold and impersonal places where busy cast and crew members scurry around barely looking each other in the eye, but that wasn't the case with Serenity, writer-director Joss Whedon's big-screen take on his short-lived sci-fi Western series, Firefly. No, it was the kind of set where Whedon begins a take by yelling to his actors, "OK, everybody, be awesome!" It was a place where the cast openly joked about rubbing each other's behinds, and a mysterious bottle labeled "Extra Longlasting SEXY Powder" could be found where the actors relax in between takes. In short, everyone had a grand old time. And why not? After all, the chance to revive a canceled TV series as a feature doesn't come along every day, and that's something that everyone involved with Serenity is keenly read more


Buffyverse ruler Joss Whedon — whose Firefly flick Serenity hits theaters one week from today — has inked a seven-figure deal with Universal to write and direct the fantasy thriller Goner. "It's the story of a young woman's journey that involves a great deal of horror and some heroics," he tells Variety. "It's certainly darker than Serenity, and there are a lot of left turns along the way. It is something I had in mind for a while, and it just poured out of me when I finished my film." Of course, Goner will have to wait until Whedon finishes Warner Bros.' big-screen Wonder Woman flick and (hopefully) gets the ball rolling on that long-rumored Spike TV movie (hint hint, nudge nudge, slap slap). read more

There has been a lot of ...

Question: There has been a lot of mention of some of the TV makers who garner a cult following (you've expressed your J.J. Abrams love, while I am a card-carrying member of the Cult o' Joss). With Veronica Mars being lifted up for a second season off the backs of a couple of million people, Firefly becoming a major motion picture, and Abrams being ABC's new golden boy (especially with some major motion pictures of his own coming), which following has the most TV pull? Also, are networks starting to take such cult popularity more seriously with the continuation of shows like Mars, Arrested Development and Scrubs, considering none of them is a ratings dynamo? Answer: Given that J.J. Abrams has a monster hit with Lost, and is entrenched in the making of a potential movie blockbuster, he probably wins this particular sweepstakes as well. But the minute Joss Whedon decides to throw his hat back into the TV ring, I would imagine it would spark a bidding frenzy to get his next project (unless ... read more

It's Serenity Now for Firefly Doc

Sean Maher in Serenity

Pink Lady and Jeff. Manimal. Hello, Larry. None of those short-lived TV series ever commanded feature-film follow-ups. But Fox's Firefly — woefully promoted, questionably handled and then unceremoniously yanked off the air after just 11 episodes in 2002 — is big-screen bound. Serenity, which hits theaters Sept. 30, catches up with the transport ship's crew, led by Captain "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), as they fend off big-government interest in some precious cargo they are carrying. Tending to the occasionally wounded is the Serenity's Dr. Simon Tam, played by Sean Maher, who was more than happy to speak with about the revival of little show that read more

Is there any possibility that ...

Question: Is there any possibility that Fox would bring back Firefly, should Serenity prove to be a success? Surely Fox realizes that they made a mistake in canceling that show.
Answer: If anything, it's more likely that the Sci Fi Channel, which is currently running repeats of the series, would commission movie or miniseries sequels depending on how well Serenity does or doesn't do. (And, knowing Sci Fi, depending on the budget.) When I saw the movie at a screening, I was struck by how much I enjoyed seeing these characters again, but how much more satisfying Serenity might have been if this story could have played out over several chapters, like a TV miniseries. Fox is out of the picture altogether, and given the way the show was treated the first time around, that's probably a good thing for everyone ... read more

I'm always up for a new alien ...

Question: I'm always up for a new alien show, but I only have so much time in a week, though, and I'll probably only watch one. Which alien show looks the best so far: Threshold on CBS, Invasion on ABC or Surface on NBC? So far, based on the casts and what I know about the plots, I'm thinking that I'll be tuning into Threshold regularly, but the clips from Invasion also look promising (as does its post-Lost time slot). I doubt I'll check out even one episode of Surface. Which do you recommend? Answer: Surface is easily the least of this lot, but it's still such early days on the other two shows that it's tough to rank one above the other. In the Fall Preview issue, we single out Invasion as the best new drama pilot, but that's because we've actually seen the whole thing. Threshold opens with a two-hour premiere, and we've only seen 30-odd minutes of the first hour — which were pretty great. In terms of cast and characters, I'm with Threshold immediately, but Invasion has such a differen ... read more

I'd like to back up Kelly ...

Question: I'd like to back up Kelly H.'s comments about watching a movie with objectionable words or gratuitous nude scenes edited out. I personally don't want to hear the F-bomb, and Kelly made an astute point in saying that Deadwood and The Sopranos would probably have a wider appeal were it not for the profanity. I don't agree that PAX programming was insipid, though, because Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye and especially Hope Island are on my list of favorite shows ever, along with State of Grace, Homefront and Now and Again, which never resorted to profanity  to attract interest. Plus, I could watch them with my kids. Even shows like Firefly, Wonderfalls and Veronica Mars, which are aimed at viewers who are teens and up, are well-crafted and engaging without the lewd content that CSI seems so intent on. I love the show, but some weeks, I can't handle watching it. (I admit that I am a Desperate Housewives fan — I just watch it when my kids are in bed.) Family-friendly viewing and interesting, ... read more

Will Joss Whedon's comments ...

Question: Will Joss Whedon's comments raving about the quality of our favorite show, Veronica Mars, have any bearing on the coming season, and UPN's idiotic move to Wednesday opposite Lost? Or am I just being way too optimistic that the creator of my favorite shows, Buffy and Firefly, actually has that much power over the viewing public? Answer: Joss' adorable and understandable rhapsody over Veronica Mars was great, a cult hero responding to new cult brilliance. If anything, it should encourage his acolytes who haven't yet sampled the show to give it a shot, and stop getting all huffy that people had the nerve to compare Veronica to Buffy. Joss' Mars gush makes it clear he sees the connection, that genre material done right and with passion can be a transcendent experience. Will this have any impact on Veronica's ratings? Doubtful. It's not like Joss' shows were ratings magnets. But if ever a Veronica Mars fan was looking for validation, knowing it would never come in the Nielsens o ... read more

Now that Sci Fi has picked up ...

Question: Now that Sci Fi has picked up the original season of Firefly, and the movie Serenity (which I've seen, and love) is set to hit box offices far and wide Sept. 30, what are the chances of Sci Fi making new episodes of the series? I think I read that Joss Whedon closed down his production company, Mutant Enemy, but could he reopen it if Sci Fi wanted to do a new season? Ultimately, I'd guess much of it comes down to rights issues. Did I read that the same company that is doing the movie also owns Sci Fi, and if so would that make a revival more plausible? I do hope it has a chance of being a series again someday (even if after a couple of more movies), and I think it would make a great permanent addition to Sci Fi's Friday-night lineup. Sorry to be long-winded, but I always appreciate your support of and insight into Whedon's shows (and other great underdogs)! Thanks! Answer: I know a lot of people are anxious to see how Serenity does (especially the brains behind Farscape) so ... read more

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Premiered: September 20, 2002, on FOX
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (223 ratings)
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Premise: A former rebel and his shady crew embark on galactic missions for profit in a transport ship, the ironically named Serenity, in this space swashbuckler set 400 years in the future. 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' creator Joss Whedon pitted the crew against the Alliance, a totalitarian interplanetary regime. 'It plays like a normal drama except that it's floating in space,' said Whedon. It was an ambitious and original sci-fi enterprise, but 'Firefly' never caught on and was gone in three months.



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