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Firefly Flanvention Flattened; Fans Find Finkery at Fault
December 8, 2006 4:22 PM   Subscribe

The Hero of Burbank, The Man They Call Jayne. Just a day before it starts, the Firefly-focused "Flanvention" convention was canceled by Booster Entertainment (who took down their entire site in the process), leaving about 500 "flans" who had paid $225 for a weekend pass (some math) (and some who paid $5000 for lifetime passes to all Booster cons — although that may not have been as foolish as it might appear) and who had made nonrefundable flights and nonrefundable hotel reservations with nothing for the money they had spent on con(vention) passes or their accommodations. Now, that, in and of itself, is quite unpleasant but perhaps not MeFi-worthy — but what pushes this over the edge to being a cool story is when the Firefly actors decided to come out anyway — evidently unpaid — for their "flans." [more inside]
posted by WCityMike (62 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Firefly actor Mark Sheppard (of 24 fame, due to appear on the new "Battlestar Galalactica," and who had portrayed a recurring character on the show named Badger) still appeared for the fans, and when Firefly actor Adam Baldwin (who had portrayed the character of Jayne Cobb) — a Baldwin but not a "Baldwin" — appeared, fans showed their appreciation by greeting him with a roaring chorus of "The Man They Call Jayne." Nathan Fillion, who had portrayed Captain Mal Reynolds, may make an appearance on Saturday. Booster did warn fans of a potential cancellation on November 28 (although two weeks' warning still killed some merchants) — mayhaps arising out of one of Booster's partners suddenly withdrawing from from the partnership — but then said last Saturday it was a go. Then, yesterday, they briefly claimed the hotel had canceled the con, then deleted that thread. Booster promises an "official report" in 10 days. Fans aren't waiting: in addition to the celeb visits at the Hilton, the local fan club arranged a backup bash and others congregate in LiveJournal communities and blogs to discuss their revenge upon the company. The lesson appears to be (i) that some celebrities (as well as the guy heading up the new Firefly online game) are actually rather cool, and (ii) that when fandom gets rooked, fandom gets organized, if a bit melodramatic.


I thought, basically, that what gave this a "best of the web" aspect that transcended solely fan-centered news was (a) the large-scale rip-off and (b) the fact that many of the celebrities came out anyways, unpaid. That's rather cool. And, wendell, if you look at my user page, it's not hard to guess what the "WCity" might stand for. ;-)
posted by WCityMike at 4:33 PM on December 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Real Flan for Real Nerds
posted by wendell at 4:36 PM on December 8, 2006


So, uh.. what's Firefly?
posted by koeselitz at 4:36 PM on December 8, 2006


Ha! This is a great post!
posted by vacapinta at 4:39 PM on December 8, 2006


Here's a proper comment amidst the snark:

I just finished watching the series via Netflix and have the Serenity film in the queue. It's great stuff - far and away the best science fiction in recent memory.

That it was cancelled after such critical acclaim must have done something to the actors. I can't imagine Star Trek, Star Wars or similarly cult favorite actors appearing free of charge like this.

The cynic in me, however, sees it as being part of a larger strategy. Outporings of fan appreciation that make it on to MetaFilter and like sites are a good way to drum up financing for future work.

Part of me is horrified at the sheer geekiness of a crowd of people breaking into a cheesy song that appeared in a single episode. Then again, shortly after watching the first DVD I tuned my guitar to drop D so I could play along with the opening credits. Shiny!
posted by aladfar at 4:39 PM on December 8, 2006


goddammit what is going on here

nerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrds
posted by Mikey-San at 4:40 PM on December 8, 2006


What a giant pack of fucking dorks.
posted by mckenney at 4:40 PM on December 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yes, I know, Mike. Everyone knows it's "Windy".
posted by wendell at 4:41 PM on December 8, 2006


Well isn't that just frakkin' terrible.
posted by yeti at 4:43 PM on December 8, 2006


Somewhere through the thickets of this post, there actually is a pretty cool story here. Condensed:

• Cheerfully geeky fans of a cheerfully geeky TV show were going to have a convention.
• At the last minute, the convention canceled due to some yucky financial stuff.
• Geeky fans were stuck with nonrefundable tickets and hotel reservations.
• Through their own fan networks and the celebrities from the show itself, they're still going to have a blast.
• Fuck the Man.

Oh, also, Joss Whedon has an interview in TV Guide about Buffy Season 8.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:44 PM on December 8, 2006


I smell 'bonus features' on a new, complete edition of Firefly + Serenity DVD box set!
(it tickles me, this story)
posted by Busithoth at 4:44 PM on December 8, 2006


I think this is pretty neat-o.
posted by dog food sugar at 4:47 PM on December 8, 2006


You're all jealous, because you know this FPP wins the Gizmondo giveaway!
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:47 PM on December 8, 2006


...the new "Battlestar Galalactica,"

Sorry, this misspelling disqualifies the post from the Best of MeFi contest, unless it is referring to a previously unannounced version of the show on Spanish-language network Galavision.
posted by wendell at 4:54 PM on December 8, 2006


No typo, wendell. Galalactica is Galactica with the Secret Galaga Bonus.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:58 PM on December 8, 2006


Jesus. Matt, please send the XBox, nano and whatever else you are giving away to WCityMike 'cause it's ovah! Contest won. WTF is this about?
posted by fixedgear at 4:58 PM on December 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Did anyone actually click all 31 of these links? Because I'm just embarrassed at having counted there are 31.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:59 PM on December 8, 2006


Goram. That's a hell of a post.

On a related note, Nathan Fillion is one of the most handsome people I have ever laid eyes on. TV/Films do not do him justice. I am gay for Nathan Fillion.

Carry on.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:08 PM on December 8, 2006


Well said Sticherbeast. I think the slagging WCityMike is getting is more due to the length of the post then the content (which is great), but your sum up is well done.

And let me add my voice to the too-few cheers for the actors who felt enough for their fans to show up without the need for a paycheck.

Firefly was a very well loved show. I've posted more than once to the blue about my admiration for everyone's involvement in creating it. It is quality work.

As such, it developed a Trek like fanbase who really seem to enjoy going to conventions, yay for them. Boo for all of you haters who haven't fallen in love with a great show. It's your loss.

(except yeti who gets extra geek points for that post. ;)
posted by quin at 5:12 PM on December 8, 2006


That it was cancelled after such critical acclaim must have done something to the actors. I can't imagine Star Trek, Star Wars or similarly cult favorite actors appearing free of charge like this.

I'm convinced it was Joss' good writing and fuck-the-man type attitude.

But sadly no, I dont think this is all working up to something. They tried a movie and just broke even (though partly due to the fact that they had NO IDEA how to market this movie). Everyone I talked to that went and saw the movie loved it. My DVD box set was lent out for the next three months as people watched the episodes. But still it cant get that critical mass that is needed.

As far as I am concerned, it falls into the same category as Arrested Development and other such shows that are so unique and so good people who are conditioned to the same old crap on TV cant get a grip. Plus it was aired on a Friday night, which might be OK for lonely nerds like myself (800 days without a date and counting), is a death sentence to anything geared at my age group (18-35).
posted by SirOmega at 5:27 PM on December 8, 2006


loved the show, loved the movie, loved this post.
posted by phaedon at 5:32 PM on December 8, 2006


As far as I am concerned, it falls into the same category as Arrested Development and other such shows that are so unique and so good people who are conditioned to the same old crap on TV cant get a grip. Plus it was aired on a Friday night, which might be OK for lonely nerds like myself (800 days without a date and counting), is a death sentence to anything geared at my age group (18-35).

Fox mishandled it from square one. They put it on a bad night, as you mentioned, and refused to air the episodes in the correct order (look at the "air dates" on your box set). When networks set a show up to fail, it usually does. That they do it anyway is puzzling, but not altogether surprising given the low quality of most of the stuff that actually makes it on the air (especially at Fox).
posted by The God Complex at 5:39 PM on December 8, 2006


loved the show, loved the movie, loved this post.

Ditto. I love how the fans at whedonesque are donating funds to make the backup bash come off well, even though they're not attending themselves. The actors involved are really cool people also, who seem to really enjoy the social aspect of the whole browncoat thing, outside of appearance fees. Showing up anyways seems completely in keeping with their personalities.
posted by zarah at 5:56 PM on December 8, 2006


Firefly falls into that classic Family Guy monologue rant of the umpteen million shows that execs don't know what to do with. I blame the fabulously flawed Neilsen ratings that are still relied upon as an indicator of popularity.
posted by mek at 6:08 PM on December 8, 2006


I witnessed the full lunacy/love of these fans at the EIFF the year before last - the kerfuffle surrounding the premiere of Serenity and Joss Whedon's appearance was just amazing. Kids fainting with excitement, &c. The TV series must've been fucking ace, because the film is complete pap - not unenjoyable, but extremely hammy, sentimental and silly, like a space panto.

refused to air the episodes in the correct order

Weird. How did they justify that?
posted by jack_mo at 6:11 PM on December 8, 2006


Wonderfalls is my particular pet show that Fox ran over. Absolutely glowing reviews from every media outlet, but Fox killed it by changing its timeslot every fucking week, pulling the plug before they'd even aired all the eps they'd commissioned, just like poor Firefly.
posted by mek at 6:11 PM on December 8, 2006


ummmmmmmmm no! Meh. Philistine checking in here.
posted by winks007 at 6:14 PM on December 8, 2006


Ditto.

Ditto again, except for the lack of a [more inside] - WCityMike, what on earth were you thinking?

Hat Maui: is this something i'd have to be a nerd to care about?

Ha ha. What the fuck are you doing pulling a FRIST POST in this thread, Hat Maui? Jesus, you people who chime in just to un-chime in...grow up.
posted by mediareport at 6:18 PM on December 8, 2006


Weird. How did they justify that?

They didn't, apparently, just said it wasn't suitable for the pilot and rushed out the train robbery episode instead. Some good links about Fox's mishandling were posted in response to Why was Firefly cancelled?
posted by mediareport at 6:23 PM on December 8, 2006


Has Fox ever run a show in order? I remember once hearing Andy Richter say that they had his show written so that no episode referenced any other episode. Looking back, I can see a definite change in quality around the point when they started doing that.
posted by concrete at 6:26 PM on December 8, 2006


Superfans are creepy.
posted by smackfu at 6:30 PM on December 8, 2006


I can't imagine Star Trek, Star Wars or similarly cult favorite actors appearing free of charge like this.

What the hell kind of generalization is this?

Star Trek fans have known for approximately three decades that Trek actors come in three types: the ones who love the fans (e.g. George Takei), the ones who graciously tolerate the fans, and Shatner.
posted by dhartung at 6:37 PM on December 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


That it was cancelled after such critical acclaim must have done something to the actors. I can't imagine Star Trek, Star Wars or similarly cult favorite actors appearing free of charge like this.

They might have if this wasn't their (X*10^14)'th Star [Whatever] convention. Firefly was just never that big. Good, but not that big (Watched all of it from NetFlix. I'd buy a boxed set if it came out at the right price.)
posted by Orb2069 at 6:49 PM on December 8, 2006


[a few comments removed. If you don't like the post, go to metatalk or flag it.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:57 PM on December 8, 2006


Aww. I love browncoats.
posted by cmyk at 7:01 PM on December 8, 2006


re: Buffy Season 8

Loveable former supervillain Andrew aside, I'm more interested in the Angel universe, or what's left of it after the death of Wesley and apparent death of Gunn, as well as Fred --> Illyria (which was masterfully acted, but still...)

There were threads introduced in season five (like rogue remnants of the Watchers' Council) that would have provided extraordinary fodder for future episodes.

dhartung

Where is Walter Koenig on that spectrum? I ask mainly because I'm a rabid fan (as are most people) of his portrayal of Bester on Babylon 5.
posted by The Confessor at 7:02 PM on December 8, 2006


Wonderfalls is my particular pet show

That's because you have good taste in TV shows that can't sell. You might also try the current Heroes, or Dead Like Me, or pretty much anything Bryan Fuller has done.

Joss is God though.
posted by elendil71 at 7:22 PM on December 8, 2006


From wendell's link:
In early 1965, Kirkman and Alexander formed a 13-man ensemble ("The Men") in LA and made their debut at the Troubadour; but during a rehearsal, disaster struck -- half the group left after a particularly heated argument, and the six remaining members of The Men met at Kirkman's house to ponder their future. The remaining members of The Men ... decided to change the group's name. When Kirkman's wife checked the meaning of their first choice, "The Aristocrats", she found another word that she thought would be more appropriate for the act -- "association."
So. Once upon a time, there was a band of hippies. As is their wont, they were hanging out, grooving and just generally being one with their surroundings. These six musically talented hippies, after years and years of practice, wrote beautiful songs about drugs, love, joy, drugs and all the other happy things hippies write songs about. Then finally, FINALLY, the big pay-off! They managed to snag an audition with three of the biggest talent agents in the business. They piled into their VW Microbus with their flutes, tambourines and guitars to the tallest building in Los Angeles and found their way to their Destiny. As they stepped off the elevator, Russ the guitarist asked, "My God! What IS that smell?" "The sweet, sweet smell of success, brutha" said Terry, the keyboard player. Russ contemplated this and said "Hm. No, that's not it." They strode purposely towards the door, turned the knob, and ...

They were almost knocked over by the powerful stench. But the smell was nothing compared to the sight that unfolded before their unblinking eyes. There was diarrhoea splattered three feet up the walls. Semen ran so deep that it squished between their sandal clod toes. Blood, semen and shit were everywhere. In corner stood a blood-soaked crucifix, and in the middle of the floor was a still twitching pile of entrails. Russ picked up a jewel-encrusted scrap of leather off of the floor, wondering who - or what? was Fifi.

Movement caught Russ' eye. Three talent agents, shellshocked, covered in human filth cowered in the corner. "My GOD!" Russ screamed, "What happened here?" The youngest talent agent shook his head - "I-I- I don't know!", he said, "This guy came in - he was dressed like a priest, but..."

"No more! I don't even want to THINK about that! Here's what you cats need!" said Russ, as he struck up the band. It was the performance of their lives - six part harmony, every note perfect. Cherish is the wooorrrddd... as they brought it on home. The oldest of the three agents, sufficiently impressed that he momentarily forgot that he was covered head to toe in human waste, applauded quietly. He struggled for words - "Wow. That was just... So, what do you call this band?"

"The Aristocrats", answered Terry.
posted by swell at 7:30 PM on December 8, 2006 [3 favorites]


Update: Nathan Fillion showed up.
posted by WCityMike at 9:03 PM on December 8, 2006


Also, credit for the post's title goes here.
posted by WCityMike at 9:20 PM on December 8, 2006


I have absolutely no idea what this post is about...
posted by pwedza at 10:10 PM on December 8, 2006


"God grant us the Serenity to accept the things we cannot change."
posted by kid ichorous at 10:36 PM on December 8, 2006


Where is Walter Koenig on that spectrum? I ask mainly because I'm a rabid fan (as are most people) of his portrayal of Bester on Babylon 5.

Dude, if you haven't seen his portrayal of Oro, in The Starlost, well..
posted by Chuckles at 10:57 PM on December 8, 2006


Update: Alan Tudyk (Wash), Jonathan Woodward (Tracey), and Christina Hendricks (Saffron) showed up as well. Jewel is stuck in Canada.

I'm a fan of Joss. His shows and the new X-Men comics he's been doing are by far the best stuff ever.

I'm a fan of Nathan Fillion, ever since 2 Guys and a Girl. He's always seemed like a genuinely nice guy and if anything the past 24 hours really shows how nice a guy he is. And he's not too shabby of an actor, for proof rent Slither.
posted by Derek at 11:32 PM on December 8, 2006


What a cool story and a good FPP. I loved Firefly and Serenity, and most Whedon stuff leaves me cold. I'm not really in the fandom (the Joss-fellatio can get annoying sometimes) so this is the first I've heard about it.

On a related note, Nathan Fillion is one of the most handsome people I have ever laid eyes on. TV/Films do not do him justice. I am gay for Nathan Fillion.

Carry on.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:08 PM PST on December 8


You ain't kiddin' slimepuppy. Not only is he handsome but the guy's got charisma and charm coming out the wazoo. Plus he's funny. I passed on seeing Slither in the theaters (not my type of film) despite Fillion having a starring role, but I'm tempted to pick up the DVD because I'm been hearing that there are a of fun things about him in the extras.
posted by kosher_jenny at 11:35 PM on December 8, 2006


Jewel is stuck in Canada.

She is probably the only reason I gave the show a chance. Her performance in the scene when the first passengers are brought on board sets the mood for the entire series.
posted by Chuckles at 11:40 PM on December 8, 2006


Holy shit, I didn't know about the Buffy Season 8 comics! Thanks Sticherbeast. :D I'll echo the sentiments for a continuation of Angel, too.
posted by VirtualWolf at 1:09 AM on December 9, 2006


*observes a moment of silence for Action, yet another Fox casualty.*
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:51 AM on December 9, 2006


You might also try the current Heroes

For the record, this show has actually led NBC to a few Monday night wins in the last few months (four, I think), so it seems to be doing pretty well (as in, it might actually be sellable--and God I hope so). My mom watches the show for heaven's sake. My mom!

I just don't know what the deal is with that Sylar character....

Mom... is that you?
posted by The God Complex at 3:09 AM on December 9, 2006


I'll be the odd man out in that:
- I think it's pretty cool that the actors came out for their fans (like everyone else in the thread), but
- I pretty much hated Firefly (unlike everyone else in the thread)

Still, I doubt that the reason this happened was because of some sort of amazing Joss magic or the bonding of being in a critically underappraised show, or the like. The big clincher is that the con was cancelled 24 hours before it was supposed to start, after people had already started arriving and checking into hotels. That is supremely, supremely fucked up, and I can totally understand the actors going, without looking for external reasons like the influence of the show's cancellation, or future plans for sequels, or anything else like that.
posted by Bugbread at 3:22 AM on December 9, 2006


Shiny Post - Great Job
posted by marc1919 at 5:12 AM on December 9, 2006


Alan Tudyk showed up for the backup bash even though he'd earlier cancelled his flan appearance due to his work schedule.

bugbread, I think that might be some of the magic/bonding you say doesn't exist :)
posted by zarah at 8:35 AM on December 9, 2006


I didn't like the show at first but as soon as I started to get into it, Fox started putting other shows in its time slot. The last straw was when I tuned in an instead of Firefox they showed A Very Brady Christmas II or something like that. It wasn't until just before the movie was announced that a friend highly recommended it so I watched the DVD set and was very impressed.

The concept was pretty cool and the production quality was certainly good but the cast was amazing and made watching totally worth it. And not just because they're all so damn beautiful. They really seemed to be comfortable with their characters. They didn't have that typical first season "who is my character" syndrome that can afflict a lot of scifi programs. And I'm not at all surprised they would do something like this (show up anyway to a cancelled con). From the extras on the DVD set, they all seemed to genuinely like the project and were excited about its prospects.

And like others in this thread, I love Fillion, too. I hope he can get a lot more work than just bit parts like his recent cameo in Lost or leads in camp movies like Slither. And really, I wish the same for all of the cast. Except Morena Baccarin. I want her to come down here so I can worship her like the goddess of beauty that she so obviously is.
posted by effwerd at 9:14 AM on December 9, 2006


Firefly was watchable once it got on dvd. Fox's out of order airings made the show completely nonsesical for me. But then even after the DVD i wasn't a HUGE fan, I merely kinda enjoyed it. I even paid to see the movie - in a theatre and everything. I like Farscape and Babylon 5 and now Battlestar Galactica far better. I didn't like the cowboy old west junk in Firefly. I find alot of old corp scifi folks didn't like firefly as much, and many folks who liked firefly weren't "scifi" fans.

That all said, fuck FOx, they never know what they have. My favorite fuckup of thiers is that they cancelled Keen Eddie. It was a fabulous show that they only gave 6 episodes. It should have been on anothe channel. It was fabulous. Thank god Bravo picked it up so I got to see them all the next year!
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 10:31 AM on December 9, 2006


Thank God the stars showed up. Now the fans will be able to take their obligatory photos with them that proved they actually met the famous people.
posted by smackfu at 10:57 AM on December 9, 2006


Come on smackfu, you've never idolized anyone? You've never wanted to see someone famous with your own eyes? Not even once?
posted by quin at 11:49 AM on December 9, 2006


Wait, is that the same One True b!X who used to blog about Portland's City Hall? And he's a Firefly fan? Awesome!
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:59 AM on December 9, 2006


loved the show, loved the movie, loved this post.

And ditto yet again. Thanks, WCityMike.
posted by deborah at 7:52 PM on December 9, 2006


Thanks, WCityMike. That's good reporting.

I don't have very high hopes of more Firefly, but then that seemed to be the case with Star Trek for most of the 1970s. Good to see the fans working together anyhow.
posted by jiawen at 10:57 PM on December 9, 2006


The reports from fans are starting to come in, with pics. Almost the entire cast showed up, for free, including Morena Baccarin/Inara who'd never been scheduled to appear. Nathan Fillon apparently tossed a bunch of his Firefly/Serenity memorabilia into a box before leaving home and started handing it out to folks who'd come long distances to be at the Flan. Whatever you think of geeky fandom behavior, this is a cool story in a lot of ways.
posted by mediareport at 9:29 AM on December 10, 2006


Good report from a non-attending journalist fan:

Saturday night the whole mess moved to the new restaurant owned by Claire ("Glorificus" from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and her husband, which isn't due to open for another couple of weeks, and for a time this betrayed, ripped-off, and let-down group of fans who had come hoping to get a few autographs and a fleeting word were suddenly partying with the stars at the hottest secret nightspot in Hollywood.
posted by mediareport at 9:43 AM on December 10, 2006


Almost the entire cast showed up, for free, including Morena Baccarin/Inara who'd never been scheduled to appear.

Plus some actors from Buffy showed up, like James Leary (Clem), and Camden Toy (the head "Gentlemen"), and some Veronica Mars folks too. It's very cool how the actors and the fans worked out a fun weekend, but people were still ripped off and I hope they get their money back. The BE site and forums are back up and people are waiting for explanations.
posted by zarah at 2:00 AM on December 11, 2006


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