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Encyclopedia > R. Tam sessions
The title card to one of the segments
The title card to one of the segments

The R. Tam sessions were a series of five short videos released by Joss Whedon over the internet, which were set within his fictional Firefly universe. They chronicled several of the early in-universe interviews with the emotionally troubled Firefly character River Tam. Image File history File links Session_416_first_title_large. ... Image File history File links Session_416_first_title_large. ... Joss Whedon at the premiere of Serenity. ... Firefly is a science fiction television series that premiered in the United States and Canada on 2002-09-20. ... Summer Glau as River Tam in Serenity (2005). ...


Although released unofficially, the videos were meant as a form of viral marketing for the 2005 film Serenity. The sessions were released on the internet between August 16 and September 5 of 2005. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Word of mouth marketing. ... Serenity is a film written and directed by Joss Whedon. ...

Contents


Story

Set before the events of the Firefly television series and the film Serenity, the R. Tam sessions depict excerpts of counselling sessions with the character River Tam while she is held at a "learning facility" known only as "The Academy." The counsellor in these sessions is played by Joss Whedon himself. The videos shed some light on the experiments and torture "The Academy" conducted on River. They "document" her change from a shy child prodigy to the mentally unstable character of the television series. The clips can be found in this quicktime movie. Firefly is a science fiction television series that premiered in the United States and Canada on 2002-09-20. ... Serenity is a film written and directed by Joss Whedon. ... Summer Glau as River Tam in Serenity (2005). ... Joss Whedon at the premiere of Serenity. ...


Sessions

The five clips are listed here in the order in which they were released, but the actual chronological order is indicated by the numbering, session 1 being the first clip and session 416 being the last.

River (left), upset with the interviewer in Session 165.
River (left), upset with the interviewer in Session 165.

Image File history File links Moblog_402483abedfac. ... Image File history File links Moblog_402483abedfac. ...

R. Tam, Session 416 - Second Excerpt

We see a man sitting in a chair by a table. After a few seconds of silence, he puts his hands to his neck and begins to cough violently. We see him pull what is apparently a pen out of his neck and throw it onto the table. After a few seconds of struggling, he falls out of his chair onto the floor. River, with blood on her hand, then appears on camera, and whispers, "I can see you."


R. Tam, Session 1 - Excerpt

We are introduced to a young girl named River. She is being interviewed by the same man who we were introduced to in the first clip. The setting is apparently the same room by the same table. This clip takes place before the previous one, as indicated by the numbering and River's personality. The interviewer begins to question River about her life, such as how school is going, and asks her if she would be interested in joining what is presumably "the Academy." This clip establishes River as being extremely intelligent, and hints at her having extremely intuitive, or possibly psychic, powers.


R. Tam, Session 22 - Excerpt

River is having second thoughts about how she may not be "the right subject" for the treatments being done to her. She requests a transfer back to a normal school, despite it being "too slow." The video then cuts to another conversation. River says "it's the Pax" (a reference to the events of Serenity), and makes another non sequitur about a patient who died on the table while the interviewer (apparently a doctor) was performing a surgery which could point toward her being a reader as it was something she did not see and was not told but that the interviewer was aware of. She desires very much to see her brother (Simon) in person, but the interviewer obliquely denies this request, suggesting that she write to him instead. Serenity is a film written and directed by Joss Whedon. ... Simon Tam is a fictional medic, played by Sean Maher, who originally appeared in Joss Whedon’s short-lived cult-hit television series Firefly. ...


This clip also introduces a Dr. Mathias as the person who is apparently in charge of whatever is being done to River. Mathias plays a role later on in the film Serenity. This article is about minor characters in the television series Firefly. ... Serenity is a film written and directed by Joss Whedon. ...


R. Tam, Session 165 - Excerpt

In this excerpt, River has gone into one of her psychotic moods and is pacing around instead of sitting down as in the previous excerpts. She is rambling (with the occasional stutter) about how she apparently cut up her mattress for reasons unknown to anyone else but herself, making a reference to the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. She claims that she has no "mission," apparently seeking the purpose to why she is at this institution. Suddenly after a video cut, she shrieks and bends over on the table, and claims that something in the mattress is "sticking in [her]" and screams repeatedly at the interviewer that "they cut it out" (a reference to the Firefly episode Ariel). The Real Princess. ... Ariel is the ninth episode of science-fiction television series Firefly created by Joss Whedon. ...


R. Tam, Session 416 - First Excerpt

River says that Dr. Mathias "gave [her] a mission", and is apparently aware that her brother Simon is looking for her. She says she can't tell the interviewer what this mission is, and that she'll have to write it down, extending a hand for the pen the interviewer is holding.


Trivia

  • The song "Girl in a Box" by the band 76 features a disturbing mash-up of dialogue from the R. Tam sessions and music used in the Firefly episode "Bushwacked."

Bushwhacked is the third episode of science-fiction television series Firefly created by Joss Whedon. ...

References

  • "Unofficial" Serenity Viral Videos Emerge", Rotten Tomatoes, September 7, 2005
  • Ifilm Viral Video: Session 416

September 7 is the 250th day of the year (251st in leap years). ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

The Firefly series
Episodes Serenity | The Train Job | Bushwhacked | Shindig | Safe | Our Mrs. Reynolds | Jaynestown
Out of Gas | Ariel | War Stories | Trash | The Message | Heart of Gold | Objects in Space
Articles Minor characters | Moons and planets | The Alliance | Blue Sun
Unification War | Serenity
Terminology Reaver | Browncoat | Curse words in Firefly | Companion
Spin-offs R. Tam sessions | Serenity: Those Left Behind | Serenity film | Serenity RPG
Music Firefly soundtrack | Serenity soundtrack
Main characters Derrial Book | Jayne Cobb | Kaylee Frye | Malcolm Reynolds | Inara Serra
River Tam | Simon Tam | Hoban Washburne | Zoƫ Washburne

 
 

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