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The Origin Of Shiny On Firefly


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#1 DWF

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 11:48 AM

http://browncoats.se...ews&news_id=194

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Q. What was it about the Firefly that inspired you to keep working on it even after it had been cancelled?

A. I've never worked on a show that found itself as quickly as Firefly did. I've never worked with a cast that gelled as fast or as beautifully as my cast did. I've never worked with people who were so clearly born to play those particular roles and I also don't deal with loss very well. These things combined made it impossible for me to give up on a story that still needed to be told.

Q. What storyline did you most regret having to leave behind when Firefly ended? Were you able to explore it as far as you wanted to in 'Serenity'?

A. Inara's secret and no. Or at least not in the first one.

Q. How much information did the actors have about their characters' back stories? Did they discover new things when they got each script, or was there a detailed breakdown provided? And how much do the other actors know about each other's characters?

A. We pretty much told the actors everything we knew as soon as we knew it. We would discover new things about their back-stories in scripts because we would be discovering them ourselves. We had a couple of dark secrets but we didn't keep them from the actors playing them. And since we always kept things fluid you don't want to decide on a piece of back-story that then shoots you in the foot, you like to take opportunities as they come, we kept it also somewhat vague and let ourselves and the actors discover as we went.

Q. Where did the term 'shiny' come from? Who coined it and how did it become a Firefly catchphrase?

A. I made up the word 'shiny' as a thing that is good because things that are shiny tend to be attractive and exciting and catch our attention. It was then explained to me by David Lester, a Producer on the movie, that shiny was actually an old western phrase meaning good that it was in common usage many years ago but I didn't know that, I thought it was futuristic but that just goes to show you what I always say, that the future is made up of the past.

Andromeda used Shiny before Firefly did. :p~
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#2 GiGi

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 01:00 PM

^ I did?  When? Where?
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#3 DWF

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 01:03 PM

GiGi, on Sep 24 2005, 02:00 PM, said:

^ I did?  When? Where?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Harper used it, but right at this point in time I can't remember the first time.
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#4 ChicaFrom3

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 01:05 PM

"D Minus Zero", sick from radiation poisioning... "Oooh, shiny." :D

Very interesting article!
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#5 DWF

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 01:09 PM

ChicaFrom3, on Sep 24 2005, 02:05 PM, said:

"D Minus Zero", sick from radiation poisioning... "Oooh, shiny." :D

Very interesting article!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thanks! I knew it was from an early ep.  :cool:
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#6 GiGi

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 02:06 PM

Wow, I either missed it or forgot it.  So, then, did Whedon copy Andromeda?
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#7 Cardie

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 03:03 PM

Since "shiny" is a legitimate archaism, Zack and Ash may have been familiar with it.  I've always thought that Joss had at least seen Andromeda, since there are more than a few parallels between the crew of the Maru and the crew and passengers of Serenity.

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#8 DWF

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 06:55 PM

I don't think Joss has seen Andromeda nor do I think he copied it from Andromeda, it's possible that he heard it somewhere and forgot where and jus decided to use it on Firefly, I'm sure that Zack and Ash also know hte origin of the word, it's perfect for both Harper and Wash anyway.  :D
The longest-running science fiction series: decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core. Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans... Cybermen! They're still in the nursery compared to us. Fifty years of absolute fandom. That's what it takes to be really critical.

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#9 Evee

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 09:21 PM

He used "shiny" a lot in "Buffy," too, didn't he?  I don't remember it so much from "Angel,"  but I know it was in many "Buffy" scripts.

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#10 Enkanowen

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 10:59 PM

My friends and I have used shiny for longer than Andromeda has been around, does that mean they were copying us?
Whedon did use 'shiny' a lot in Buffy, I don't think he used it on Angel.
I am watching Firefly from start to finish right now and I really am having a problem with seeing parallels to Andromeda other than the use of Archetypes but then most sci-fi series are based on archetypes.

#11 GiGi

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 11:04 PM

^Thanks for that info.

It has been said that "Firefly" is Whedon's fanfict of "Andromeda"

Truth?  or not?  

I don't know.  

But I do know that I enjoy it all!!!
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#12 Davesnothome

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 11:21 PM

The word 'shiny' has been around a lot longer than either Andromeda or Firefly, os neither 'invented' the word! Heck I'm older than either show and I've long used the word! But I'm sure not going to claim credit for its creation!  :D Neither should the folks working on "Firefely"!!!

Please! Be remineded the creative process existed before the 'Joss' arrived on the scene!

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#13 Norville

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 02:25 AM

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I made up the word 'shiny' as a thing that is good because things that are shiny tend to be attractive and exciting and catch our attention.

No, he didn't "make up" the word "shiny"; that word already existed. ;) Really, while I remember its use on "Andromeda" ("Oooh, shiny"), if anyone has watched the birds called magpies, they love shiny objects and steal them if they can. That's interesting that it was an Old Western term; I'd never heard that before. Perhaps they'd had stuff stolen by magpies and other corvids (crows, ravens, jays), and decided that shiny stuff must be good if the birds were so drawn to steal it? Hmm...
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#14 Christopher

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 07:33 AM

It's not a question of whether the word existed, but of what definition/usage it was given -- using it as a vernacular term for "good" as opposed to literally meaning "luminous or reflective."  I suspect the "Ooh, shiny" use on DROM was probably the more literal usage, as a play on the stereotypical child's (or childlike adult's) pleased and fascinated reaction to a shiny object.  Cartoon characters such as the Tick and Homer Simpson have employed the same schtick.  But that's not the same as using it as a slang term for "great" or "terrific."
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#15 Broph

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 06:20 AM

Buffy used it several times to refer to specific objects. When she battled the demon who hid in the sword, she noticed the sword in the ground, taking it and saying "oooh - shiny". But she was talking about it being a shiny sword.

"Alien from LA" had a group of people who had 2 different coins they used as currency - "dull ones" and "shiny ones", though even that I saw in another movie more recently, the name of which escapes me.

#16 enTranced

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 10:41 AM

GiGi, on Sep 25 2005, 04:04 AM, said:

^Thanks for that info.

It has been said that "Firefly" is Whedon's fanfict of "Andromeda"

Truth?  or not? 

I don't know. 

But I do know that I enjoy it all!!!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hmmm, there are a number of superfical simalrities between Season One of Andromeda, Firefly and Farscape since all three features a group of characters thrown together by chance who have to survive in a universe that seems to hate them.

And I think the reason for that is becaise it's a story that WORKS. It's fascinating especialy if the characters are deep like they were on all three, and it's sad that all of them ended far to soon.

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Edited by enTranced, 26 September 2005 - 03:05 PM.

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#17 G-man

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 12:18 PM

^^^ Of course, the same could be said of Seven Samurai, Gilligan's Island, and Blake's Seven.  And to claim that someone got a fairly generic term from another program but uses it in a different context is really taking things too far.

I think instead of claiming who got what from where, everything should be taken in context of their own show.  Chances are that in the creative process terms will be borrowed, either consciously or subconsciously, from other sources, and in certain instances they were taken from sources many removes from the one you might think they took it from.

Consequently, as was pointed out in the interview, Shiny = Good was a term from the old American West that Joss Whedon was ignorant of when he coined it for Firefly, and the other instances of its use on other programs have been to demonstrate just how out of it the character was at the time he was required to speak.

/s/

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