Me, I’m a Browncoat. That means I was and am a fan of the late, lamented science fiction TV show Firefly.

(I’m also on the global frequency, a refugee from Caprica, always carry

a towel, and proudly call myself a smeghead, to say nothing of being a

Trekkie, a DM, a GM, and a DC fanboy. Extra points to anybody who can

identify what loyalties each of those statements imply; one of them

will be revealed at the end of this entry).

For those who’ve never heard of it, Firefly has been described as “Star Wars,

if Han Solo were the main character, and he still shot Greedo first.”

Pretty accurate, and it does a concise job of explaining the show’s


What’s wild is that those accolades came from The Weekly Standard, a neoconservative policy magazine. Their take is that the upcoming Serenity movie, which resurrects Firefly for the big screen, represents the latest trend in consumer audience empowerment and major entertainment marketing.

Much like the animated sitcom Family Guy was recently revived five years after cancellation due to the strength of its DVD sales and replays on Cartoon Network, Firefly

is coming back stronger than ever because it was a good product that

inspired loyalty both by fans and creators, even if the network (FOX)

didn’t know it. The same thing is happening with a show that never made

it past the roughcut stage: Global Frequency, which itself was based on a niche comic book by Warren Ellis.

UPN commissioned a GF pilot that never made it through full

post-production before being axed, but the anticipatory buzz was so

loyal and organized that pirated copies of the semi-pilot are now the hottest items on illegal P2P networks.

Essentially, there is demand for a product that never existed, and

supply is reaching that demand against the producers’ will.

The Web has allowed communities of common interest to organize and be

heard faster and more effectively than ever before. Of course, the

early adopters are TV fanatics–especially sci-fi fans–who are voicing

their passions and are familiar enough with the online infrastructure

to do it first. This will change. More communities of interest will

form and be heard beyond television, and the producers of content

better take heed, because the consumers won’t take no for an answer.

Quite frankly, they don’t have to.

The Browncoats are coming. Are you ready?