GeneralApart from making Firefly Talk, I also teach classical piano and work in alternative healing. Yes, it's a rough life, spending the day helping people and playing piano with kids who love you. (Most of them, anyways!) And then having podcasting fun at night. Life is good.
MusicI'm mostly a classical guy; I often kick up my feet and listen to Beethoven at the end of the day. (Being in his teaching lineage, I was warped at an early age). Bach probably comes second, his fugues get me going in the morning. Whoever messaged me about Wagner, he is way too over the top for me, and certainly not the "greatest composer of all time" in my book (!!). Wagner fans scare me a little bit.
BooksAbout 5,000. You should see my home. Filled to the brim.
HeroesHeroes are dangerous.
- Jul 1, 2010 3:58 AM Firefly Talk Status: Let Us Know If You Want More!
- Jul 28, 2007 3:58 AM Firefly Talk nominated for 2 Podcast Awards
- Apr 2, 2007 12:07 AM How Firefly Changed My Life
- Mar 14, 2007 8:24 AM Dear Diary
For a preview of Firefly Talk, click on a show in the list to the right.
Our complete episode selection is at our website, www.fireflytalk.com.
What's a Podcast?Firefly Talk is a bi-weekly podcast talk show, which is similar to a radio broadcast, except instead of listening by radio, you download the show to your mp3 player (or computer). Because the episodes are stored permanently on the internet, you can listen to them anytime, at your own convenience. All of the Firefly Talk podcasts ever made are freely available for downloading through iTunes (see above), or by direct download at www.fireflytalk.com.
What is Firefly?
Firefly is a space Western/action/comedy/drama TV series set in the year 2517, created by Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame). The subsequent movie, Serenity, was released in 2005, and both were among the top selling DVDs at Amazon.com in 2006 (the TV series was #10 for the year, and the movie was #18). Serenity also won the Hugo Award in 2006 for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.
Background. Long before the events in the story, a large population emigrated from Earth to a new solar system. This "planet village" had dozens of planets and hundreds of moons, many of which were terraformed to become habitable.
process was imperfect, and the outlying settlements are typically
forbidding, dry environments, well suited to the Western influences of the show.
The series takes its name from the Firefly-class spaceship "Serenity", which serves as home to the nine central characters. Resembling both a bird and insect in appearance, the cargo ship's tail section lights up during acceleration like a firefly (hence the name of the ship class and series).
The star system is governed by the Alliance, an organization of central planets that has succeeded in forcibly unifying the entire system under a single government. Although the central planets are well under Alliance control, the outlying planets and moons resemble the 19th century American West, with little government authority. Settlers and refugees on the outlying worlds enjoy relative freedom from the central government, but lack the amenities of the high-tech civilization on the inner worlds. Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds and his first mate Zoë are veterans of the Unification War, a failed attempt by the outlying worlds to resist the Alliance's assertion of control. After the war, Mal bought the spaceship Serenity in order to scrape together a way of life for himself and his crew by making cargo runs and performing other tasks, legal or otherwise.
Featuring a blend of elements from the space opera and Western genres with a bit of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, the show depicts mankind's future in a way that is uncharacteristic of many contemporary science fiction programs.
Unlike most traditional space operas, there are no alien creatures or space battles. Firefly takes place in a multi-cultural future, where the divide between the rich and poor is great. Chinese is a common second language for English-speakers; characters in the show frequently use Chinese words and curses.
According to the DVD commentary of the pilot episode, this is due to China and the United States becoming the two superpowers that expand into space. This Sino-American (named the Anglo-Sino Alliance) allegiance is supported by close examination of labels on the crates from the episode "The Train Job", where crates of Alliance goods are marked with a Chinese flag superimposed over a United States flag.
For fans, the dialogue and interplay between characters is central to the charm of the show, resulting in stories that are alternately serious and humorous.
The show's visual style also differs from contemporary shows in that camera shots are often handheld, with deliberately misframed or out-of-focus subjects, in an attempt to give scenes an immersive and immediate feeling; CGI scenes mimic the motion of a handheld camera, a style now borrowed by the new Battlestar Galactica. (As an homage to Firefly, Serenity is briefly shown in the Galactica miniseries).
Exterior shots of action taking place in the vacuum of space realistically lack sound effects, an approach that stands in contrast to many science fiction films and television series.
The show's plot pits the nine masterfully drawn main characters against various criminals and schemers, Alliance security forces, the utterly psychotic and brutal Reavers, and the mysterious men with "hands of blue" who are apparently operatives of The Blue Sun Corporation. The crew is driven by the need to secure enough income to keep their ship operational, set against the need to keep a low profile to avoid their numerous adversaries. Their situation is greatly complicated by the divergent motivations of the individuals on board Serenity.
Sadly, the show's brief run (14 episodes, and a feature film in 2005) did not allow full elucidation of all the complex interrelationships of the cast and their external contacts. But given the tremendous success of the series and movie DVDs, both of which are still top sellers at Amazon.com, we're thinking we might rise again.
Best Sellers in 2006
|The numbers are in, and Amazon.com has posted it's best sellers for 2006. The Firefly DVD box set comes in at #10 for the year, and Serenity, the Firefly movie, comes in at #18. Look for the special edition of Serenity being released summer 2007, because of such strong sales of the original release.|
Orson Scott Card on Firefly(From the blog of Orson Scott Card, writer of the Ender's Game series and winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards. You can hear our interview with him in Firefly Talk #50-#52).
Unfortunately, science fiction's own success has broken the community apart. It was the films that did it. Throwbacks to the old forms of sci-fi, contemptuous of anything that had been learned or achieved in the field since, say, 1937, Star Trek and Star Wars stole away the fan base. The book-based conventions limp along, but they are aging, while the awards are being taken over by the people who want to promote only the books that will be respected by university professors -- in other words, the books least like science fiction.
The result is predictable -- science fiction shows many signs of withering as a productive, innovative literary genre. Which is both inevitable and perfectly acceptable -- it is dying in part because it won. Any writer can now use most of the tropes and techniques of science fiction without readers batting an eye. The boundaries are gone along with the serious critical community, and most of the writers seem to be imitative ... or they're writing fantasy, instead.
Into this situation there dropped the television series Firefly. It only lasted a few episodes, mostly because it couldn't compete with the cheesy reality shows that were taking over Fox -- why put money into a fairly expensive sci-fi show when you can put some morons on the camera with a minimal script and a tasteless premise, and get bigger numbers for a far lower investment?
The fans of Firefly, however, were outraged. Here was television sci-fi that was smart, funny, heroic, realistic, moving, innovative, yet keenly aware of the whole tradition of science fiction and of television? It was the smartest thing on tv, period. And it was gone before most people had a chance to know it was even on the air.
At least the original Star Trek ran for three seasons -- enough for it to be stripped into syndication. You can't do that with a dozen episodes -- local stations would blow through them in less than three weeks of weekday showings, and then what do they put on?
Fortunately, we are now in the age of the DVD, and Firefly went to direct sales, where it found more and more fans after it was canceled than it ever had when it was on the air.
And those fans, who began to organize on the traditional sci-fi-fandom model, calling themselves "Browncoats," set to work to promote the return of Firefly to the airwaves -- or its development as a feature film.
It helped that Joss Whedon, other producers and creative people, and the actors themselves all believed in this show, knowing they had been part of something rare and wonderful. So they met with the fans, encouraging them to believe they were all working together. And when Whedon got funding to shoot the feature film, he rewarded those fans by giving showings of the finished film for months before the theatrical release, helping promote Serenity.
I've already written that I thought Serenity was the best movie of the year it came out, and in my opinion the best sci-fi film ever.
Where Can I Listen to Firefly Talk?You can download and subscribe to the show through iTunes. You can also download the shows directly from www.fireflytalk.com.
The Firefly Personality TestHere's a fun personality test you can take to see which Firefly character is most like you, and you can put the results on your page. Here are Eric's results:
You are Inara Serra (Companion)
|More than just a high paid escort.
A companion is well educated,
sophisticated and knows well
how to comfort others.
The Daily Firefly QuoteHere's a daily Firefly quote that you can put on your profile, shown below. Visit the Brownquote page for details.
The Firefly Talk Listener MapListeners, please feel free to add yourself to our listener map! It currently has 2,280 pins and 301 photos. It's best to add your photo and/or register at frappr (for free) if you want to show up permanently.
Who I'd like to meet:Gandhi and Marilyn Monroe, but not at the same time (and hopefully not too soon). While I'm still kicking I'd love to thank Joss Whedon and all of the Firefly folk for the good works they've done. Also, the guy who held me up at gunpoint, I want my CDs back!
- Status: Divorced
- Zodiac Sign: Scorpio