Greg Edmonson is the man behind the music for beloved cult sci-fi TV series Firefly, which was created by Buffy and Avengers mastermind Joss Whedon.
Prematurely cancelled after just one season, the show has since picked up a passionate, enduring following.
We spoke to Edmonson to find out what it’s like to work on a cult TV series, and experience its legacy first-hand – after the job itself comes to an end.
You get to work with true pioneers
Joss Whedon, the man who brought us Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and took hugely popular charge of Marvel’s first two Avengers movies, has long been considered a positive anomaly in Hollywood.
Edmonson’s experience working with him on Firefly more than bears that out.
“Joss was a joy to work with,” he recalls. “He gave you the creative freedom to try anything – and he fought the powers that be for his vision of the show and the music.
“Joss made five very strong women characters, but they were all strong in different ways, not superheroes but wonderful flawed human beings – just like us all.
“Most TV music is pretty generic – or at least it was. Firefly was a chance to try new and different ideas, and we at least got started on that journey.”
You realise you are at the centre of something special
Firefly has been widely praised for its complex moral questions, compelling multi-dimensional characters, and the distinctive tone of its ‘Wild West’ approach to sci-fi.
When you are part of such a novel creative process, it’s obvious from the beginning. And it helps inspire you in turn.
“I was learning as we went along and trying new ideas – just as the show was doing,” says Edmonson. “Because the scripts were fantastic. And the acting and cinematography was so spectacular.
“The scripts were stories with adult complexity, shifting allegiances and moral conundrums.
“My job was to be a part of it all and tie it all together. The picture and dialogue led me down that path.”
When the show gets cancelled, it is genuinely devastating
Like many of the most ardently adored TV shows – from Pushing Daisies to Deadwood – Firefly was axed before it had a chance to fully tell its story.
It ran for just three months on FOX before being cancelled in late 2002, with only 11 of its 14 episodes aired.
If such a decision is hard on the viewers though, imagine what it is like when the show is the most important part of your working and creative life.
Edmonson knew that he would move on to another job – but it would not be Firefly.
“I went into Joss’s office and openly wept, without any shame.
“At the very end of ‘The Message’ there is a funeral. I already knew that Firefly was gone and I wrote that piece…to say goodbye to my friends and the show.
“All of the cast was on scene, it was snowing and some were holding hands. Need I say more?”
But it brings new opportunities
Since leaving Firefly behind, Edmonson has perhaps become best-known for his work scoring the popular Uncharted series of video games – the second of which won him a BAFTA back in 2009.
It was his work on Firefly that directly led to his involvement with Uncharted.
“[They] were just doing the first trailer for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. As they listened to music against their picture, something on the Firefly soundtrack worked for them.
“They asked me to do the trailer, and then the first game, and the rest is history.”
And the legacy lives on
In the years following its release, Firefly has attained all manner of awards and accolades, is frequently cited as one of the small screen’s all time great sci-fi dramas, and drawing on its ardent popularity, Universal Pictures released a follow-up feature film, Serenity, in 2005.
The show has taken on almost mythical status as a ‘martyred’ classic.
“The fact that the show still lives brings joy to my heart,” says Edmonson. “People still seem to discover the show for the first time…all the time, and the fanbase has been – and remains – so astonishingly supportive that no words can convey my gratitude.
“Most shows just come and go – this one lives on and on. And who knows where that might end…”
To find out more about Greg’s work, visit his official website at gregedmonson.com