Saturday, December 08, 2007

Can't Stop the Signal

The Browncoats wore red yesterday as they marched on Fox studios in Century City. For those who don’t know, “Browncoats” is an honorary term for fans of writer/director Joss Whedon and his brilliant but short-lived space western TV series “Firefly.” When “Firefly” was cancelled, the Browncoats started a letter campaign to resurrect the story… and ultimately succeeded in convincing Universal Studios to make the (excellent) feature film “Serenity.” As Whedon himself has said: Under any normal circumstances, cancelled series do not lead to feature films. The fact that “Serenity” exists at all is a testament to the fans and their willingness to fight for the universe that Joss created.

In that spirit of activism, the Browncoats have rallied for another great cause: to support Whedon and his fellow writers in their underdog-fight against the studio alliance. Yesterday, several hundred fans – including some from as far away as Florida – gathered outside Fox studios (the would-be home of Whedon’s new series “Dollhouse”) to show support.

In the past few weeks, the creator of "Firefly," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" has been one of the most passionately outspoken writers on the picket lines, reminding people of the importance of the issues at hand. In an open letter to Variety’s Vibe Scribe two weeks ago, he wrote that he was proud he was to be out there among his fellow writers…. fighting, like the characters he creates, for what he believes in:

“I don't think of the studio heads as a bunch of grinning tycoons sitting in a smoke-filled club and drumming their fingers like Montgomery Burns. I know some of those guys. I think they're worried about the future as much as anyone. But they are beholden to their corporations, and that inevitably causes entrenchment and shortsightedness. They can't afford that. This is an era of change, and for the giant conglomo-tainment empires, it will either be the Renaissance or the Ice Age. Because we will not stand down. Writers can be replaced, as we are constantly reminded. But so can companies. Power is on the move, and though in this town it's been hoarded by very few, there are other companies with newer ideas about how to make money off of - or possibly, wonderfully, with - the story-tellers.”

I’ve heard some people criticize the Writer’s Strike, arguing that Hollywood writers have nothing to complain about – after all, they say, these people have the kind of jobs that everyone wishes for. That may be true, but it’s no excuse to undervalue the real work they’ve done to get and keep those jobs, and to keep the rest of us inspired and entertained. Bottom line: Writers are doing a job, just like anyone else. It’s HARD WORK writing a good script. Hell, it’s hard enough work writing a bad script…. And then re-writing and re-writing and re-writing to try to make it a good script. (If you don’t believe me, try it.) As with any job, writers deserve to get fairly compensated for their work. It’s that simple.

Yesterday was proof that the writers and the fans alike are in this together – we all want the strike to end so that we can look forward to new shows by our favorite writers. And after being around such a devoted group, I have no doubt that the writers will get their message heard. To quote Mr. Universe: “Can’t stop the signal.”

For information or to give your support, visit

We'll pass through it soon enough...

Juliet Landau blending in ... and I believe that's Camden Toy behind her...

Ron Glass

Joss Whedon

Anybody recognize this unassuming fellow behind Joss (who is obscured by a passing striker).... wearing a brown coat....?

Eliza Dushku, the star of Joss Whedon's new show "Dollhouse"

grrrr... arrgghhh


  1. Dude, your sooooo lucky. and you have awesome pictures.

  2. Now I know how to organize that side trip when we come to L. A.

    And as always, you write concisely and vividly.



  3. Chris -
    If you want to spend part of your vacation on the picket lines, I'm sure we can arrange something. Assuming the strike is still on...
    See you soon,