It’s tough to have a bromance with an actor of the status of Nathan Fillion. Sure, this Tweets seem personable and almost like he might be engaging in actual conversation with you. If, however, you are like me and would do just about anything to be considered even slightly cool by a guy like Fillion, you know he never even sees your replies amidst the thousands he gets from his thousands of fans. Despite this, you cannot deny the fact that Nathan Fillion has finally become the star he deserved to be years ago.
For a geek like myself, he’s just the coolest. Most importantly, he got his coolness credit by starring in two different series by Kind of the Geeks World, Joss Whedon. I was a bit late to the game, I admit, when it came to the sci-fi series Firefly. I first saw him as the super-powered psychotic priest named Caleb during the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, he played a villain and he played it damn well and he got his Buffy credits and that instantly made him cool in my book. It also made him cool in the hearts of us Whedon-geeks the world over.
It wasn’t until many years later, when someone gave me the entire series of Firefly, that I saw the sheer, unadulterated brilliance that was that show. I fell in love with the show. The show was a mixture of a Western and science fiction and it was full of humor and endearing characters. It was the series where I fell in love with Summer Glau, Jewel Staite and Morena Baccarin. If you don’t know who those characters are, then you are not a geek and you can rest assured in your cockiness and superiority. However, you also have missed out on some of the best writing, acting and directing in television.
Fillion, like so many overnight sensations, has actually spent years building his way up to the Whedon-verse. He got his start in the soap opera world and played a character named Joey Buchanan on One Life to Live. He did that from 1994 to 1997. I never watched him on that. I am not a soap opera guy. If the soap opera is set in space or involves teenage vampire killers, I am right there, but not just the average soap opera.
He then took his shot in a sit-com as the handyman on Two Guys and a Girl. I think he came about after they dropped the “…and a Pizza Place”, but it really didn’t matter because I didn’t watch that show either. So, once again, I had yet to see him do his thing. However, just after that he got introduced to writer/director Joss Whedon and Firefly was the result.
If you have never seen Firefly, well, you just must. It takes place in a world where man, after polluting the Earth to death, takes to space. They spread out to the far planets and terraform them so that people can live and breath on them. Eventually the various planets and moons formed into an empirical government known as The Alliance. However, some of the outer moons didn’t take to the Alliance trying to boss them around and a space-bound civil war ensued. The rebels wore brown coats as part of their uniform and were, thus, the “brown coats.” Malcolm Reynolds, played by Filllion, was a Brown Coat and he saw most of his men die in the Battle of Serenity, which was a mountain pass they had to hold if they had any hope of battling on.
When the Alliance wins, Malcom buys a ship and starts a transport business. He is part pirate, part rebel and part Old West sheriff. He has a rag-tag team of people who act as pilot, second-in-command, mechanic and the three passengers who always end up getting them into trouble. Mixed in is also a woman who is a trained and legalised prostitute.
The show debuted on Fox. Sadly, Fox never really gave it a chance. They moved it around and they showed it out of order from the way it was intended. They even decided not to show certain episodes. What was left was a fun, but disjointed and flawed series. Taken on DVD, the way it was meant to be shown, the writing, acting and stories shine through. Although many of the characters are interesting and fun, at the center of it all is Captain Mal Reynolds. He manages to be funny and tough and still show that, beneath it all, he really does care deeply about the people around him.
Fillion was perfect in the role and he has repeatedly said that it was his favorite. He has also stated that, should he ever raise the money for it, he would buy the series and help bring it back. That was such an enticing idea that people immediately turned to Facebook to start raising the funds to allow him to do that. They raised about $1 million before Fillion stepped in and asked that that money go to something a bit more proper. Of course, there is still a movement underway to get him as host of Saturday Night Live. Why that hasn’t happened is anyone’s guess.
He has had a number of fits and starts and all of them threatened to turn him into a super star. He was on Fox’s short-lived show Drive. He has had appearances on Desperate Housewives and he was in one episode of Lost as the man Evangeline Lily’s character would marry and stop running for a time. Finally, he was the egotistical Captain Hammer in Joss Whedon’s web-based comedy/musical Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. He proved, again, that he could basically do anything.
The thing that finally turned him into a star, though, was Castle. He plays a man, named Castle, who is a mystery writer and he gets teamed up with a female police detective. He helps the police solve crimes. He has managed to infuse the character with a lot of his own personality and fans have responded. He finally has a hit and a show that, on average, earns over 10 million viewers each week.
I am not a huge fan of Castle, though. As a man who is a mystery/thriller writer, myself, I know there is not a police force in the world who would let me solve active cases. Sure, they might, after much cajoling and probably a lot of bribing, let me do a night-long ride-a-long, but that would be it. So, right from the start, the premise had me thrown.
The other problem is that the character of Castle, just isn’t one that interests me. Judging from the fact that Fillion himself says most of his Castle fans are women when they come running over to him, I may just be in the wrong demographic.
What matters is that he now has legitimate credibility as a star. That can only mean that there will be more things for Fillion. He is the voice of the Green Lantern in the straight-to-DVD animated movie due to coincide with the release of the live-action movie later this year, for example. He will also be a super hero/evangelist in the comedy Super.
So, perhaps one day, he will actually read one of my Tweets and respond. In the meantime, the bromance can go on, unrequited. I am just happy to see what he does next.