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Sci-Fi Media Television

Sci-Fi Channel Picks Up Firefly 406

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-show-ever dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Firefly, a science fiction series that was canceled midway through its first season on Fox, has found a new home on the Sci Fi Channel. Fans of the cult-hit series Firefly will be pleased to learn that the show has been picked up by the Sci Fi Channel--just two months before the release of Serenity, a Universal Pictures film based on the series. Looks like they'll be airing all the ones we've already seen, plus 3 that never got aired the first time around. A bonus - They'll be seen in the correct order."
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Sci-Fi Channel Picks Up Firefly

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  • by Banner (17158) on Wednesday June 15, 2005 @11:52PM (#12829741) Journal
    That's what I'd like to know. Maybe if Serenity does well in the theaters?
    • Will there be more episodes?

      Well, Farscape was picked up for a mini-series after the Fans pushed it, and now FireFly is going to the Theaters. I'd say there's a reasonable chance that we might have a revival of Star Trek proportions on our hands. :-)
      • by Anonymous Coward
        When negotiating for the rights to make a Firefly movie, Fox's contract specifically says that Joss can never bring the tv series back in any form. It did not, however, preclude additional feature films.
        • Loophole:
          A new feature film every week on Sci Fi! :D
        • by Rei (128717) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @12:43AM (#12830003) Homepage
          Whedon: We will rule over this time slot, and we will call it... "This Time Slot".

          Fox: I think we should call it... your grave!"

          Whedon: Ah, curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

          Fox: Ha ha HA! Mine is an evil laugh...now die!
        • by jdbo (35629) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @12:55AM (#12830040)
          Can you cite something on that? I thought I had read that the contract specified a 3 film commitment (i.e. the studio could make up to 3 films if they wished to), subsequent to which the show could return to the air (if anyone wanted to pick it up, that is)
        • by Oinos (140188) * on Thursday June 16, 2005 @01:19AM (#12830120)
          When negotiating for the rights to make a Firefly movie, Fox's contract specifically says that Joss can never bring the tv series back in any form. It did not, however, preclude additional feature films.

          Actually, when Fox picks up a television program the contract that they make everyone sign says that Fox owns the broadcast rights to the series for ten years. This is Fox's idea of controlling what is shown on TV. If a show doesn't pan out the way Fox thinks it should, they can it, and no one else can pick it up. There was no stipulation about feature films in the broadcast contract, that's why Joss decided to take the story to the big screen.

          If the Sci-Fi channel is showing the series, they would have had to buy out the broadcast contract from Fox. Assuming that the show pulls in some decent ratings, I wouldn't be surprised to see Joss writing a new season and production starting as early as this fall depending on availability of the cast.
          • Not necessarily -- Cartoon Network picked up Family Guy and Futurma, but the new episodes of Family Guy are for Fox. I think it's more of a licensing agreement.
          • by fm6 (162816) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @02:38AM (#12830338) Homepage Journal
            If the Sci-Fi channel is showing the series, they would have had to buy out the broadcast contract from Fox.
            Not at all. They could have simply bought permission to show the episodes once or twice. I would be very much suprised if Fox let all broadcast rights go for the amount of money Sci-Fi Channel can afford to pay. Note that Sci-Fidoes not have deep pockets any more. They did back when they bankrolled Farscape, but then their parent, Vivendi Univesal, went thoroughly bankrupt. Ever since then, they've refused to look at any big-budget project.

            Of course, Firefly doesn't cost that much to make. But before Sci-Fi can make more episodes, they have to get Fox's permission, 'cause its their property. If Fox holds out for more than Sci-Fi can pay, that's the end of it.

            You're saying, "But that's stupid! Firefly isn't making them any money for Fox sitting in a vault!" Perhaps. But media companies sit on properties all the time, and never give them up cheaply.

        • by Txiasaeia (581598) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @01:21AM (#12830124)
          In other news, Joss Whedon announced his latest series "Bumblebee." A group of renegades are on the run from Feeble OXygen Corporation, led by Commander Melvin ("Mel") Richardson, a former officer in the Packers Independence Flotilla (i.e. the "Green Skins"). Other memorable characters include Chloe, the steely (but feminine) first mate that served under Commander Mel during the Independence war, Oregon, the wisecracking pilot whose won the heart of Chloe, and Mary Kay, the loveable grease-monkey-cum-sweetheart whose bubbly cheerfulness is her trademark.

          Although actors such as Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, and Jewel Staite have signed on to the show, Whedon denies that the show has anything to do with his previous sci-fi drama, "Firefly." "They're two completely different insects!" Whedon said in a telephone interview. "They're both sci-fi shows, so there might be some similarities in that regard, but otherwise they're completely different. Promise!"

          Sources have confirmed that Whedon will be singing the theme song for this show too, containing the lyrics "Can't never take away my blue clouds, y'hear?" Look for "Bumblebee" in Fall 2006 on the Sci-Fi channel.

          • Whedon only wrote the themesong... the 4th DVD of the set has a bonus feature of a recording of him actually singing it, played to the opening sequence. He sang it to capture the feel of the song, how he wanted the actual artist who would perform it to portray it.

            He doesn't sing all that well, so it's a good thing they got a real singer to do it. Not to slight him, it's just obviously not a talent/skill he's developed. He makes a much better writer...
      • Yeah, that's what I'm hoping too! :-)

        It was a really good show over all. At first I thought it was just 'cowboys in space' but as I started to watch it I could see there was a lot more going on there. I STILL want to know just what the heck is up with Ron Glass's character.

        I also like 'Beware of the hair!'
        • I STILL want to know just what the heck is up with Ron Glass's character.

          That's seriously weirding me out (I just watched the last half of the series on DVD recently). I had assumed "hey, maybe this guy's a reformed criminal or a veteran", since he seemed a little too handy with guns. And then in the bounty-hunter episode (which I guess was the last on the DVD), the bounty hunter makes an offhand remark to Simon to the effect of "that's not a Shepherd." Very quick and I almost missed it. So he's obvio
          • Having just watched the entire series on DVD recently, I think the story has given 4 distinct clues to the fact he's something other than 'just a shepherd':

            1) In the first episode, he has a small monologue about what he's experienced during his first few days aboard Serenity, in which he says something to the effect of 'the captain just shot the man I swore to protect, and I'm not sure I feel bad about it'

            2) In the episode where Book gets shot, the alliance refuses to treat him until they take a look at h
        • I wasn't going to discuss his character, but if it's a lecture you want, I've a few very catchy ones prepped...sin and helfire... one has lepers.
      • I'd say there's a reasonable chance that we might have a revival of Star Trek proportions on our hands. :-)

        *shudder*

        You mean that all of the original episodes get wiped out in an inane time loop???

        hawk
    • I hope so, I mean I already have all the episodes on DVD.
  • Awesome... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brxndxn (461473) on Wednesday June 15, 2005 @11:53PM (#12829745)
    I think it's about time networks start to realize they need to have a 3-season investment, at least, in order to establish a larger viewership. All these reality TV shows score big on their first season and then never add up once the hype is gone.

    Also, changing the time every week and having them be interrupted by the 'MJ verdict' doesn't do much for people trying to set up a schedule around the shows. Ya, people have Tivo.. but then again, the networks aren't targeting those people anyway.
    • Re:Awesome... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mattdm (1931)
      I think it's about time networks start to realize they need to have a 3-season investment, at least, in order to establish a larger viewership. All these reality TV shows score big on their first season and then never add up once the hype is gone.

      Which do you think is cheaper: a dozen new hyped-up shot-on-video minimal-effects minimal-EVERYTHING reality shows, or a 3-season investment in developing the fanbase for a quality show?
    • Re:Awesome... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @12:38AM (#12829978) Homepage Journal
      "I think it's about time networks start to realize they need to have a 3-season investment, at least, in order to establish a larger viewership. All these reality TV shows score big on their first season and then never add up once the hype is gone."

      Actually, they do realize it. The reason why 3 seasons is a magic number is because they end up with enough episodes to make money off of the airing of reruns. For them to cancel it when they did, they probably ran across some VERY bad numbers. Perhaps they realized they could spend that hour on a show that was more likely to succeed. Perhaps the ratings just weren't what they wanted given the cost of making the show. Perhaps a new fad came along that they really wanted to tap into.

      It's hard to say. Sci-fi, however, is notoriously difficult to hold on to for a long period of time. It's expensive (compared to a reality show, for example) and, let's face it, sci-fi doesn't have the mass-market appeal we'd like it to. Shows like Star Trek and BSG are the exceptions, not the rules.

      Yes, these shows get unfairly dumped. However, you have to remember that TV's a business, not an art form. It's a business built on the whims of a constantly changing mass-market audience. The original Star Trek series, for example, wasn't all that popular. Years after it ended, the 'space race' happened, and suddenly there was interest again. A few years later, bam, Star Trek: The Motion Picture came along. *That* wouldn't have happened if not for the success of both Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third kind. (It was quite a shock that either of those movies did so well.) It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that the numbers these guys use to figure out of a show is worth the risk or not are about as accurate as a Magic 8-ball. With the millions of dollars involved in producing a show like FireFly, I can't say I'm all that shocked they'd pull out when they did.
      • Re:Awesome... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Bishop923 (109840) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @01:46AM (#12830188)
        The original Star Trek series, for example, wasn't all that popular. Years after it ended, the 'space race' happened, and suddenly there was interest again.
        <nerd mode="anal-retentive">
        Actually The original series ran from 1966-1969 [imdb.com], during the final 3 years of the "Space Race"
        </nerd>
        • by Bazzargh (39195)
          NanoGator: The original Star Trek series, for example, wasn't all that popular. Years after it ended, the 'space race' happened, and suddenly there was interest again.

          Bishop923: Actually The original series ran from 1966-1969, during the final 3 years of the "Space Race"

          He wasn't talking about our space race, dude. It was the one on Vulcan.
      • Re:Awesome... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Keeper (56691)
        For them to cancel it when they did, they probably ran across some VERY bad numbers ...and I bet showing the episodes out of order, frequently pre-empting the show with sports, and placing it in the worst time slot on tv had nothing to do with it... /me wants to shoot Fox execs

        At times I wonder why they even bothered producing the series in the first place.
      • Re:Awesome... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dzerzhinski (695880)
        Television drama is an art form. Television broadcasting is a business. Television production straddles these two sides. There is always a little business in art, and there is often a little art in business. But the screenwriter can't forget that he is paid to be an artist, and the network executives can't forget that the commodity they deal in is art. And you can't forget that Fox torpedoed Firefly from the beginning. The first episode aired was the second (or third, if you count the pilot as a two-p
    • I think it's about time networks start to realize they need to have a 3-season investment, at least, in order to establish a larger viewership.

      What do they care about a large viewership. All they care about is short-term profit. Fox seems to have developed a cute little game - run about half of the episodes of a show - just enough to hook a decent sized number of fans and then cancel it. Later that year, release the entire show on DVD so those fans can buy it - it is like they get paid to run commerci
    • There's a few problems with that.

      Reality shows and basic dramas (think Desperate Housewives) are relatively cheap to make. You don't have the big up-front expense of maintaining large sets on large soundstages, nor do you have the continuing expense of effects work.

      Firefly failed for a number of reasons. For one, it's premise made it seem hokey, reducing the number of people willing to give it a chance. Even those that did were turned off by the mediocre first episode that didn't match with the adverti
  • old news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 15, 2005 @11:53PM (#12829748)
    "Fans of the cult-hit series Firefly will be pleased to learn that the show has been picked up by the Sci Fi Channel."

    Correction: were pleased to learn... over a month ago.
  • You can't take the sky from me . . .
  • Misleading (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Knara (9377) on Wednesday June 15, 2005 @11:53PM (#12829754)
    Looks like they're just airing the original episodes in-order to help promote the upcoming movie (not a bad thing, mind you). When I hear "picked up" in relation to a TV show, I usually associate it with "making new episodes".
    • One does not preclude the other. If they find that with the replay shows and the movie that there is a large enough audience, they will probably bring it back and bump Andromeda from the Friday lineup (which they should have done a while ago). This show is right up SciFi's alley, the market might be too small for Fox but just right for a Cable channel.
      • I'd love if a channel that was dedicated to the show picked it up and gave Joss free reign.

        As much as I love Firefly, I won't be watching it... I already have it on DVD :). Hopefully enough people that don't own the DVD will watch the episodes, in order to show SciFi there is interest in it. After much prodding, I finally got my college roommates to watch the show and they loved it. They were very hesitant at first, but once they saw what a quality show it was, they were begging to see more. Actually, to b
    • When I hear "picked up" in relation to a TV show, I usually associate it with "making new episodes".

      Not to mention that "fans of the show" tend to already own the entire thing on DVD by now.

      It might make new fans, that's interresting, but what a deceptive headline and blurb, really.
    • Re:Misleading (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ajs (35943)
      Speaking of the upcoming movie, I hear that, after 3 instant sell-out sneak previews, the studio is considering re-thinking their plan to hold on to it until the fall to avoid competing with the memory of the Star Wars movie.

      Everyone I've heard from who saw the sneak preview (fan or not, regardless of if they'd seen the series or not) really enjoyed it. I think if anything could convince Fox to sell the series rights to the Skiffy channel, the reception this movie is likely to get is probably it.
  • New? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zeebs (577100) <rsdrew@gmaiCHICAGOl.com minus city> on Wednesday June 15, 2005 @11:54PM (#12829756)
    I know there was something about and agreement between fox and Universal(was it?) about no more tv. Damn I got my hopes up for about 10 seconds when I read the headline, but no mention of new eps. Damn again.
    • Re:New? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday June 16, 2005 @12:00AM (#12829793) Homepage Journal
      I wouldn't give up just yet. Sci-Fi picked up both Sliders and Stargate SG-1, and poured quite a bit of development money into both. Plus, the amount of money they spent of Battlestar Galactica and the Farscapre Mini-Series (another cancellend show, remember?) shows that the Sci-Fi channel will most certainly make new episodes if they smell money.

      So everyone with a Neilson device, make sure you turn on every episode of FireFly! We need to make Sci-Fi think that FireFly is the hottest show since the original Star Trek got cancelled! ;-)
      • So everyone with a Neilson device, make sure you turn on every episode of FireFly! We need to make Sci-Fi think that FireFly is the hottest show since the original Star Trek got cancelled! ;-)

        If there's even a single person with a Neilsen device who is a regulary visitor on /. I'd be surprised

        What we need is for TiVo users to give this show three thumbs up and set their season passes to record the show. And of course not opt out of the anonymous data aggregation [tivo.com] that TiVo does.

        Networks are fast d

  • oh, *reruns*. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mattdm (1931) on Wednesday June 15, 2005 @11:54PM (#12829762) Homepage
    Okay, that's nice and all, but man that headline got my hopes up. Oh well. This'll probably be good for the few potential Firefly fans who haven't already seen the show yet are avid Sci-Fi channel watchers -- but for the existing fan base, it's not that exciting. I mean, who *doesn't* already have the DVD set?

    As I understand it based on random internet rumor, Fox has the TV contract for approximately until the MP3 patent expires. So, if things go well with the Serenity movie this fall, we can maybe hope for a few more movies in the coming years, but no more TV series in the reasonable-at-all future.
  • Well, that means SciFi will definitely be airing a "Making of" special for Serenity.....
  • Picked up? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ErikZ (55491) on Wednesday June 15, 2005 @11:55PM (#12829772)

    When I see "Picked up" I think "Own it and is developing new shows."

    It's nice that they will be getting more FireFly awareness out there. But they're just popping in the dvds into a player and broadcasting it.

    Not too impressive from where I'm sitting.
  • ...looks like they just bought broadcast rights for the episodes already made. I would have been happier if it were for a contract to make new ones.
  • Hooray, SciFi! If Serenity [serenitymovie.com] does well in the theater, perhaps we'll see a lot of renewed interest in the series. I understand there's a three movie deal, but hey - hopefully the gang will be game for reviving the series.

    Just re-watched my DVD collection, but for the folks who haven't seen FireFly [imdb.com] check it out. The writing and acting are both excellent and it has a feel of authenticity. "Old West" in space.

  • Woah... (Score:5, Funny)

    by MagicDude (727944) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @12:00AM (#12829794)
    First news that the Super Mario Brothers Super Show [slashdot.org] is being released on DVD, now this. Next think you'll be telling me is that they're bringing back crystal pepsi. Oh damn, just thinking about that makes me feel tingly...
  • It would be awesome if shows that will never see the light of day ever again were donated to some kind of PBS channel, rumour has it that there are countless programs that have been made, but are just sat on the shelves because noone want's to buy them..

    Imagine an advertless channel, full of free shoes that none of the normal stations can justify paying for....aaaaaaaaaah nirvana!
    • The "countless" programs are pilots. One episode gets made, and that's it. For the most part, if you'd seen them, you'd know why they never got made. If you hate the trash that makes it to TV now, you should see the crap that even studio executives can't stomach. Even if it was good, all you'd see is one episode and that's it.
  • ...and maybe, just maybe we'll see more of Firefly than the first 1/2 season.

    Browncoats: http://browncoats.serenitymovie.com/serenity/ [serenitymovie.com]

    It was a great show that Fox in its short-sightedness cancelled way WAY too early to tell if its was going to be a hit or not. I have the DVDs and share them with as many people as I can in hopes that they will see the quality of the writing and acting and get hooked. Now that the show has been picked up for broadcast in the 'states again this should help the word get


    • I'm in independant browncoat.
      That OUGHT to be redundant, but there we are.

      I looked at the site, its "win credits" thing appaled me. Though apparently it's a good place to learn about preview screenings that aren't anywhere near where I live... restricted to "central cities", you might say. Are you enjoying the irony at all? ;-)
  • by tenchiken (22661) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @12:02AM (#12829809)
    There will not be a TV series if Serenity does well. Rather there will be two more movies as most of the actors are under contract for all three.

    They have the option of doing a TV series at some point in the future, but only after the movie has been out for some period of time.

  • by WombatControl (74685) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @12:03AM (#12829813)

    ...at least not for a long while.

    Universal produced the show, but as a condition of picking up a series, a network gains the exclusive first rights to air the series on television. The rights to Firefly are still held by Fox, and Fox has expressed no interest in transferring those rights back.

    Universal retains all the other rights, which is why Serenity got made, but unless someone's willing to cough up a very large amount of dough, it's unlikely that Fox would let their first-run TV contract drop.

  • by bucky0 (229117) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @12:05AM (#12829824)
    Please, let there be more episodes done. A friend of mine casually showed me the pilot movie (she bought the DVDs). Two days later, I had watched them all and craved more. I'm gonna echo everyone else's sentiment that I really wish that more of this would be on tv as opposed to whatever crap reality show is undergoing it's 15 seconds.
  • This isn't the show you were looking for. There are no new episodes of Firefly. The Sci-Fi Channel thought farscape was too expensive, so I really, really doubt they'll fund new episodes. I think UPN or WB networks would be a better place for it anyway if it were to be ressurected. You are better off buying the Firefly DVD set so you don't have to watch the other crap The Sci-Fi Channel shows.
  • by Mateorabi (108522) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @12:05AM (#12829830) Homepage
    Too bad the FOX execs were a bunch of BUN tyen-shung duh ee-DWAY-RO the first time arround.

    Give the show to a network that knows what it's doing and appreciate what it has got.

  • by VivianC (206472) <internet_update@ ... m minus math_god> on Thursday June 16, 2005 @12:08AM (#12829844) Homepage Journal
    This Sci-Fi must live somewhere warmer than Chicago. We won't be picking up any fireflies until later this month.

    I guess I'll go read the article now....
  • Spoiler (Score:2, Funny)

    by RickPartin (892479)
  • The canadian sci-fi channel Space [spacecast.com] has been showing Firefly reruns all last year.
  • Maybe Scifi has their collective heads on straight now, but they've really had some bizarro priorities when it comes to programming in the past, particularly shows they pick up from elseware.

    Case(s) in point:

    Sliders : Cancelled at it's peak of popularity, and as I remember, it was the No. 1 rated show on the channel.
    MST3K : Cancelled because the show couldn't bring in more ratings, or because it was too expensive, depending on what time of day it is when you ask. Of course, the fact that Scifi never
  • Then, they'll let it run and mature for a few seasons, develop a strong fan base and a good show.

    Then, they'll cancel it. On a really good cliff hanger.

    Fuckers
  • Pass (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trawg (308495) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @02:33AM (#12830325) Homepage
    After reading the overwhelmingly positive ejaculations about this series on Slashdot and a few other places, I thought I'd check it out. It was described as a 'space western' in one thread I read and that was the phrase that stuck in my mind.

    When I heard the phrase 'space western', I imagined that it was a bit more metaphorical - like, it was the Space Rush days and everyone was getting out into space, it was rough and tumble, and all that jazz.

    However, I was (somewhat unpleasantly) surprised to see that it was simply that - a western, set in space. That was pretty much it.

    I didn't dig the main character; I thought he was bland and boring. I hated the swearing in Chinese; after watching Deadwood I find just about everything else is completely boring if its sanitised for a G rating. The sexual tension between the main character and the 'companion' is like, straight out of a highschool TV series, dude. The only common thread throughout the whole story was the doctor and his sister, which didn't progress enough to keep me interested. Token lesbian scene was a bit lame, too.

    Special effects were nice and some of the scripts were vaguely entertaining; the character of Jane (Jayne?) was the only one that I really WANTED to keep seeing.

    Anyway, I'm sure this comment won't see the light of day as it seems everyone else on Slashdot digs it, but that's my 2c.

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