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Big Damn Heroes
October 31, 2012 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Browncoats: Redemption was an unofficial and independent, not-for-profit film based in the Firefly/Serenity universe. The movie, which was filmed, funded and produced entirely by volunteers, followed a new ship and crew three months after the events of the movie Serenity. It also featured cameos from Adam Baldwin and Michael Fairman.

Browncoats Redemption premiered at Dragon*Con 2010, was then screened at sci-fi conventions throughout the US for a year and sold on DVD at the film's official site. All proceeds (over $115,000) went to charity. The DVD is no longer available for sale.

Extras

Trailers
* Teaser Trailer
* Trailer 1
* Trailer 2
* Trailer 3

Big Damn Interviews
* Adam Baldwin
* Alan Tudyk
* Felicia Day
* Mark Sheppard
* Geoffrey Mandel
* Greg Edmondson

Promotional Videos
I Am A Browncoat: (The producers asked people to film their own “Why I’m a Browncoat” message and submit it for the DVD.)
* One
* Two
* Three
* Four (Wil Wheaton at :50)
* Five
* Six
posted by zarq (58 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Also of interest:

Done the Impossible: The Fans' Tale of Firefly and Serenity a full-length documentary narrated by Adam Baldwin. Contains interviews with fans, as well as the Firefly and Serenity cast and crew.
posted by zarq at 7:01 PM on October 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Let me be clear that I do not mean to besmirch the efforts of these brave volunteers.

That said: I cannot understand how fans can view the effort to produce Serenity as a triumph, given how awful it turned out to be. I wonder what I am missing.
posted by grobstein at 7:37 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I liked Serenity just fine. Thought it was stronger than some entries in the series for sure.
posted by smoke at 7:40 PM on October 31, 2012 [15 favorites]


I wonder what I am missing.

That it was the Phantom Edit of a three-movie series that never existed.
posted by mhoye at 7:44 PM on October 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Please Bring Firefly Back (for Christmas).
posted by Ad hominem at 7:50 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


That said: I cannot understand how fans can view the effort to produce Serenity as a triumph, given how awful it turned out to be.

I didn't think it was that bad. My only real gripe was the 'sound in space' thing, when the silent space scenes were done with such elegance in the series.

IMO, the fans view the effort as a success because they got some closure, which is what they wanted. I was at the Australian premiere of Serenity, which was packed to the rafters with Firefly zealots of the highest order. They lapped it up.

A particular fangirl of my acquaintance managed to organise the whole theatre to sing the Firefly theme song (a capella) to Joss Whedon when he came out for the Q&A. The lyrics got projected on the theatre screen. It was dreadfully atonal, and he looked mortified.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:04 PM on October 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


That said: I cannot understand how fans can view the effort to produce Serenity as a triumph, given how awful it turned out to be. I wonder what I am missing.

The series had a lot of potential, but was cancelled before everyone could really hit their stride., Serenity on the other hand was well done, and imo lived up to expectations (as much as any film does).
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 8:07 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I liked Serenity just fine.

I should add, I say that as someone with no stake as a fan of the universe etc. I enjoyed the tv show but didn't go out of my way to watch it. I thought the movie was fun, and Honsou was an excellent villain.
posted by smoke at 8:10 PM on October 31, 2012


Really I like to pretend Full Metal Jacket, Sg:1,V,BSG, Doctor Who, Sarah Connor Chronicals, and Big Bang Theory are all alternate realities within the Firefly verse. Just tell me Animal Mother and Jayne Cobb are not the same person.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:11 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Serenity was a better sci fi flick than any of the star wars prequels... I mean at least Serenity had a fucking set piece fleet battle for christ sakes! All we got in ROTS was 5 minutes of convoluted buzzsaw droids bs and crash landing a cruiser onto a landing strip.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:27 PM on October 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Serenity takes itself a little too seriously for me. I don't mind the bigger budget and better fx of course, I just like the vaguely cheesy serial undertone that Firefly has.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:49 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that tone would work in a movie, btw, just saying for that universe I prefer something serialized and very slightly cornball.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:53 PM on October 31, 2012


Just don't touch the cornballer.
posted by arcticseal at 8:54 PM on October 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


More power to people creating large tributes pieces like this, but 5 minutes into it, and there's something about it that makes it really hard to watch. I don't know if it's the writing, the acting, the uneven audio or the shaky camera. I want to give it a chance, but it's really hard.
posted by willnot at 9:04 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Firefly is great and all, but I'm surprised no one's jumped on its cult status and produced a similar show already. Joss Whedon didn't create Space Westerns, nor did he invent ensemble misfits in space (I was going to link to Lexx but then realized there's far more series, from Farscape to the disappointing Andromeda to the Canadian production no one remembers Starhunter). Someone can easily create an ensemble human-focused space opera set in a futuristic society that blends existing cultures and fill it with quirky dialogue. There's clearly a void left by the end of Battlestar Galactica and Stargate, and the dormant Star Trek franchise for a new space opera. So why doesn't SyFy whip something up? Even if it sucks at least it's a continuation of the style that Firefly popularized.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:06 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


It breaks my heart to say it but I think Cowboy Bebop was a better space western/space misfits show in a lot of ways. The absolute ridiculousness of everything about Firefly really tickles me though.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:15 PM on October 31, 2012


Someone can easily create an ensemble human-focused space opera set in a futuristic society that blends existing cultures and fill it with quirky dialogue.

It's easy, really? I saw Starhunter, and it's no Firefly. If it were easy, there'd be Dr. Horrible x 1000, and the world would be a better place. But it isn't.
posted by Huck500 at 9:19 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like a reboot of The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. It had an Amazing song as well.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:25 PM on October 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Because wrestling and shows about ghosts cooking are SO much cheaper to produce.
posted by Naberius at 9:34 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought the movie was fun, and Honsou was an excellent villain.

Perhaps this is a jab that is too subtle for me, but this is Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was in Serenity, and this is Djimon Hounsou who was, y'know, not.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:36 PM on October 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


to the disappointing Andromeda

Andromeda had one perfect episode: Angel Dark, Demon Bright. Parts 1, 2, 3, 4. "My people have a legend about the Battle of Witchhead...."

...and it's a bit frustrating to watch now, because you can see how much potential the series had, but failed to live up to.
posted by zarq at 10:37 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's easy, really? I saw Starhunter, and it's no Firefly. If it were easy, there'd be Dr. Horrible x 1000, and the world would be a better place. But it isn't.

Cowboy Bebop predates Firefly, and it isn't even live-action. Okay so it's not really a western but jazzy noir + space is still a novel concept and it pulled it off successfully. And Lexx, being an influence for Firefly, also predates it. The only reason why there isn't x1000 is because people haven't tried it, and studios seem to prefer other random subgenres like "supernatural specialists who can talk to the dead" or "boring family drama in a high concept world radically different from us." A "spiritual successor" space western series does not have to live or die by the inclusion or absence of Joss Whedon's dialogue and characters.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:45 PM on October 31, 2012


A "spiritual successor" space western series does not have to live or die by the inclusion or absence of Joss Whedon's dialogue and characters.

It is possible that the fervent fandom is related, though.
posted by flaterik at 12:00 AM on November 1, 2012


People keep talking about "potential", as if each of these cancelled series was just cut down just as it was about to blossom into a masterpiece.

Every series has potential. But if after spending millions of dollars and hundreds of people working on for a year (and sometimes years), that potential isn't realised? It's a safe bet that it was never going to happen. Counter-examples are vanishingly few.
posted by outlier at 1:34 AM on November 1, 2012


Perhaps this is a jab that is too subtle for me, but this is Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was in Serenity, and this is Djimon Hounsou who was, y'know, not.

Oh, god. I guess I'm a massive racist, then. It's the "j's" in the names that mix me up, I swear it!!
posted by smoke at 2:40 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let me be clear that I do not mean to besmirch the efforts of these brave volunteers.

That said: I cannot understand how fans can view the effort to produce Serenity as a triumph, given how awful it turned out to be. I wonder what I am missing.
posted by grobstein at 4:37 PM on October 31 [+] [!]


You are missing the part in your head that makes you not insane.

If I see it I will let you know.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:58 AM on November 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


...working on for a year (and sometimes years), that potential isn't realised? It's a safe bet that it was never going to happen.

Cheers is the canonical example, bad ratings and good but it got really good the second season. I'm not great at examples but there are many great series that took a while to find their groove.
posted by sammyo at 4:39 AM on November 1, 2012


there are many great series that took a while to find their groove.

It is pretty common, especially in genre fiction. Many is the boxed set (Buffy, Babylon 5, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Seinfeld, Scrubs) that has been lent to a curious virgin with the proviso, "you should probably start with Season 2."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:11 AM on November 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know, I also didn't think Serenity was that great. It especially irked me that all of the warming up Mal did over the course of the series from super surly to (somewhat) kindhearted captain was just undone, and he was back to being a huge jerk. I mean, at the end of the movie, sure, he's got reasons, but I'm talking about from the beginning. Was jarring.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:24 AM on November 1, 2012


It is pretty common, especially in genre fiction.

Also, almost every comedy series ever made. Look at Charlie in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It took them almost 3 seasons to figure out what to do with him. The first 2 seasons, he's basically exactly the same character as Mac.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:45 AM on November 1, 2012


People keep talking about "potential", as if each of these cancelled series was just cut down just as it was about to blossom into a masterpiece.

With Andromeda, it was that the concept was great and the cast was pretty good, but the execution just sucked. The show was decent in the first season and first half of the second. Then Robert Wolfe left mid-second season and the show just fell apart. Prior to that point, the show told science fiction stories that were reasonably thoughtful, if perhaps unsubtle.

After Wolfe's departure, Tribune Entertainment re-branded the show as an "Action Hour" and it turned into mindless crap with Hercules-style goofiness. From Season 3 on, the bad guys were always Evil and the good guys were always Heroic. And they had dropped the one character (Rev Bem) that had given the show any depth. Every episode became a self-contained story and plot / continuity elements weren't followed up in any way. (With the exception of Season 5, where they tried to create a season-long arc, about which the less said the better.)

The series didn't get cancelled. They turned in five full seasons. But they weren't worth watching.
posted by zarq at 7:17 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Zarq, that's spot on.
posted by hank_14 at 7:37 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It especially irked me that all of the warming up Mal did over the course of the series from super surly to (somewhat) kindhearted captain was just undone, and he was back to being a huge jerk.

That was sort of inescapable given the circumstances of having to simultaneously (a) be true to the characters as they were from the series, (b) introduce the characters to a large segment of the audience coming in fresh, and (c) give your lead some sort of arc and dramatic growth. If he is Captain Kindhearted at the outset, we fail at (c); if he has some other brand new direction to move in, unrelated to the Mal we saw in the series, we fail at (a); if we do not engage with or focus on him at all, we fail at (b).

In any event, as I have written before on the blue, the movie worked because it played to Joss Whedon's strengths, and it was not what newcomers were expecting because ditto. After seeing ten thousand movies where the bad guy is defeated by falling from a high place, we here encountered a movie where the hero and the antagonist meet in single combat over a shaft with giant whirling blades... and the hero triumphs by showing the villain his beliefs were wrong all along.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:52 AM on November 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


and the hero triumphs by showing the villain his beliefs were wrong all along

Mal isn't hesitant to kill a bad guy in cold blood either, so that ending is even more awesome.

every space movie and tv show that has people walking around on ships instead of floating down corridors is just being production realistic. Average viewers wouldn't grok it, and the cost of special effects would totally eclipse all other factors. The Firefly space western genre allows them to take the Trek route of using different costume collections on different planets, and to shoot outside instead of a set every day. It is a great fix, but it isn't realistic, obviously.

Stuff like this used to bother me, then i looked at other genres. CSI shows where the lab work is done in a single night in an office straight out of a design magazine. Hospital shows. Sitcoms where the under employed live in awesome loft apartments. Gunfights were only the good guys hit anyone--but only just wound them. *shrug*

maybe someday someone will do zero-g space life properly. not people floating around in slow motion, but zipping down corridors like acrobats, fast and fluid, winged kittens flitting about chasing the canaries that warn of toxic gases.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:16 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is possible that the fervent fandom is related, though.

Undeniably so. But given how we are in a moment of history where there is a complete lack of space operas on TV, the studios really should give it a chance.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:34 AM on November 1, 2012


If it were easy, there'd be Dr. Horrible x 1000, and the world would be a better place. But it isn't.

This is it. This is the one. Duplication ray. Tell your friends.

posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:24 AM on November 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Someone can easily create an ensemble human-focused space opera set in a futuristic society that blends existing cultures and fill it with quirky dialogue.

How hard can it be?

Famous last words. First off, it's not easy to get any show off the ground. Second, it may be relatively easy to throw in everything you listed but to get it to work the way Firefly did isn't easy. Firefly wasn't just a checklist of features. Shows like that are always more than just the sum of their parts.
posted by briareus at 10:27 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


human-focused space opera

I am not a producer, but I suspect "human-focused" is not a term that sets their toes a-tapping. Nor "space opera," come to that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:38 PM on November 1, 2012


I liked Serenity okay, but I felt it lacked something from the series... too much action, too few of those little relaxed moments for the characters to just be with each other. Also I felt like it revealed what could have been the story arc for the next three or four seasons of Firefly, which is painful to contemplate.

Why did the Browncoats: Redemption DVD sales stop? Were there legal threats from Fox, or was it just not worth it to keep manufacturing and shipping them? I'd have thought that print-on-demand could solve the logistic problems at least, though I guess you'd also need ongoing organizational support to handle the funds from new sales. (And I imagine the questionable legal status of fan-fiction makes it hard to get into the big digital markets like Amazon/Netflix/iTunes.)
posted by mbrubeck at 4:01 PM on November 1, 2012


I'm not sure why the DVD is no longer for sale, but I'm nearly positive they didn't stop because of threats from Fox. From the FAQ on their website:
Q: Are you worried about getting sued? What is the reaction from the studios?

A: We were extremely diligent about reaching out to the studios in 2008. We explained our project goals and outlines. The understanding that was reached was, provided we maintain our non-profit goals and do not attempt to personally gain from the film, that we were allowed to proceed. We have not had any public reactions or comments from the studios on the project/film since the release of the DVD.

Q: Is Joss Whedon aware of the project? If so, what was his response?

A: We reached out to Joss in 2008, through his assistant at the time, and gave him an outline of our project goals and timeline. The response we received was “Joss says you have his blessing and he thinks it’s cool, but he can’t say the same for anyone else that may take issue with it like Universal or Fox.” In 2010, Michael and Heather met Joss, very briefly thanks to DarkHorse Comics, and Joss autographed the initial email response and posed for photos with both Michael and Heather. We do not have any public reactions or comments from Joss on the project/film since the release of the DVD.

It's possible that their agreements with Fox and/or Universal (if they even had formal agreements) limited sales to one year. But that's pure speculation on my part.

For whatever it's worth, I would not have created this post if the DVD were still for sale. Wouldn't have wanted to interfere with their efforts to raise money for charity.
posted by zarq at 5:40 PM on November 1, 2012


I may have a weird perspective on it, because I saw Serenity before I ever watched an episode of Firefly, and I thought Serenity was just absolutely awesome. I loved the characters. The cast was uniformly fantastic, even the growling captain who I had only known before as the briefly goofy not-the-Private-Ryan-we're-looking-for.

So I bought the Firefly DVDs soon after that, and I have to disagree with the suggestion the show had "potential." It was a great show from day one. It's worst episodes were better than most episodes of any version of Star Trek you want to put up. The same chemistry existed between the actors as I had seen in Serenity, and it had the same great writing and dialogue. The only thing it lacked was an adequate budget (that really hurt the opening scenes of the first episode, in my opinion), but the great thing about the show was that you didn't worry much about the special effects, because you were more interested in what the characters were saying to each other and why. And one of my favorite scenes from this science fiction show was a scene where Mal and Inara share a moment in a cargo bay full of cows.

I suppose I'm a fanboy, but it really was quite a show.
posted by Max Udargo at 5:46 PM on November 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am not a producer, but I suspect "human-focused" is not a term that sets their toes a-tapping. Nor "space opera," come to that.

Battlestar Galactica was relatively human-focused. Cylons are much more human than the forehead aliens of Star Trek or Babylon 5. And the other recent big sci-fi hit, Lost, was even more human-focused. Space Opera can mean Star Trek and the networks used to be big on that.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:50 PM on November 1, 2012



Battlestar Galactica was relatively human-focused. Cylons are much more human than the forehead aliens of Star Trek or Babylon 5. And the other recent big sci-fi hit, Lost, was even more human-focused. Space Opera can mean Star Trek and the networks used to be big on that.


Used to, yes.

BSG got remade because it was a presold property. The fact that it ultimately became a far different and generally better, more thoughtful thing than its progenitor was unforeseen. Star Trek will be back on TV at some point, because people know what it is.

However, original stories are rare -- laying out to an audience how a fantastic setting works takes some explaining. And in American culture, if you are explaining, you are losing.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:56 AM on November 2, 2012


Perhaps this is a jab that is too subtle for me, but this is Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was in Serenity, and this is Djimon Hounsou who was, y'know, not.

They were essentially the same character, played by similarish looking actors
I know the first time I saw Serenity I made the connection.

And, also....

the forehead aliens of Star Trek or Babylon 5.

The forehead aliens of Babylon 5?

We may need to take this outside. There were Big Hair Aliens, but B5 was not about the Noses.
posted by Mezentian at 7:43 AM on November 2, 2012


They were essentially the same character, played by similarish looking actors

Same... character.

Tell me you're not talking about Objects-in-Space Richard Brooks.

Or was this an obscure Gladiator reference?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:45 AM on November 2, 2012


The film appears to have been removed from YouTube. Isn't it ironic that it was removed due to a copyright claim not by Fox or Whedon but by the fanboy who made it? "Hey! I own the copyright to that material that I don't own the copyright to!"
posted by Jamesonian at 9:56 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The film appears to have been removed from YouTube.

Aaaaand so much for this post. :(
posted by zarq at 1:00 PM on November 2, 2012


Alas, I was talking about Jubal Early and the Operator.
I fail.
posted by Mezentian at 3:32 PM on November 2, 2012


Man, someone thinks Jubal Early and the Operator are essentially the same character.

Does that seem right to you?
posted by adamdschneider at 2:08 PM on November 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Isn't it ironic that it was removed due to a copyright claim not by Fox or Whedon but by the fanboy who made it? "Hey! I own the copyright to that material that I don't own the copyright to!"

Well, the movie got the OK of Fox & Whedon according to the producers (and I can't find anything to indicate this is not the case).

Presumably the YouTube poster did not get similar permission from Daugherty. You don't have to own the copyright to post it, but you do have to have the approval of the copyright owner.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:02 PM on November 5, 2012


Now no one can watch it, woo!
posted by smackfu at 5:45 AM on November 6, 2012


You idiot! You can't stop the signal!
posted by Mezentian at 6:56 AM on November 6, 2012


Man, someone thinks Jubal Early and the Operator are essentially the same character.

Does that seem right to you?


The Operative. I cannot picture The Operator, but I enjoy imagining this character relentlessly pursuing River Tam. Can't stop the ringy-dingy.

In unrelated news, the missus in this here Firefly-loving house noticed a lamp in the living room had been slightly disarranged and asked the kid to rotate the lampshade so the seam was toward the wall rather than facing the room. I looked at it and said, "Is that seam right to you?"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:01 PM on November 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nathan Fillion reveals a great unproduced script idea
posted by homunculus at 10:56 AM on November 10, 2012


As io9 says: The Firefly Episode We’re Really Glad Joss Whedon Didn’t Get to Make.

I have to say, I disagree. I mean, they have their opinion on whether Inara being pack-raped by a bunch of Reavers is a bad thing (or just one Reaver, I guess ... but the Reavers don't strike me as a rapey kind of collective unless I'm missing something, more your knives and direct pain sort of torture ... and they don't seem to sexually reproduce), but I think I would be okay with that script.

I'd trust in Joss to do that kind of story well.
posted by Mezentian at 5:14 PM on November 12, 2012


I’ll Be in my Bunk
posted by homunculus at 4:54 PM on November 15, 2012


Reavers don't strike me as a rapey kind of collective

"If they take the ship, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing. And, if we're very, very lucky, they'll do it in that order."
―Zoë Alleyne Washburne
posted by adamdschneider at 8:23 PM on November 15, 2012


I know. I know. I saw that during the Browncoats special and I meant to come here and correct my mistake, but I got sidetracked by a quick smuggling job that went south.
posted by Mezentian at 8:37 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


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