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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Buffy without Joss? Is that even legal? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Buffy without Joss? Is that even legal?
Chris Bridges
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The producers from the original "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" movie are floating plans to do a reboot of the franchise. Without Joss. Or any of the characters from the TV show.

Just posted a column with my thoughts about this.

Quick version: a new Slayer story from a different time period could be cool, even without the trademark Whedon wit. A remake of Buffy or any current era Slayer would be disastrous. That sound you hear is the collective mass of Whedon fans stirring uneasily...

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Dobbie
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What's so great about Whedon?
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Lisa
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Harlan Ellison tells a story about some Hollywood nitwit who came up with the brilliant idea of doing The Wiz -- white.

Some stupidity just makes you wish you could add chlorine to the gene pool.

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Alcon
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quote:
Originally posted by Dobbie:
What's so great about Whedon?

*goes to find pitchforks, torches, and collect an angry mob*
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Elmer's Glue
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*joins Alcon's mob*
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Armoth
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Some stupidity just makes you wish you could add chlorine to the gene pool.

[ROFL] I don't know if that was your own line or not, but it deserves recognition.
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mr_porteiro_head
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In general, if the first response to a question like that is to bring out the pitchforks, the answer is "not much".
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Elmer's Glue
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Blasphemer!
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Chris Bridges
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What's so great about Whedon?

He has a knack for writing engaging characters and witty dialogue, mixing humor in every darkly dramatic scene and drama into every piece of slapstick. He tends to create shows that appeal very, very strongly to a core group of fans. He has famously said that instead of creating shows that millions want to see, he wanted to create shows that thousands had to see. And for the most part, he has. His fan base tends to be extremely vocal and protective.

And his show "Firefly" is the best television show ever made.

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Darth_Mauve
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Yeah, but Chris, what do you honestly think.
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Dobbie
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DieHardOnAnX
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
quote:
Originally posted by Dobbie:
What's so great about Whedon?

*goes to find pitchforks, torches, and collect an angry mob*
Please DNFTT.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Wow. This thread is giving me flashbacks of why I avoided Buffy like the plague for so many years.

<-- is a big fan of Joss' storytelling

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Lyrhawn
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I wouldn't object to a reboot of the movie, but I would to the show that Whedon made. In other words, like Chris said, so long as there are not characters from Whedon's show in the new show, and Buffy and the concept of a Watcher are the only things that are still there, then it could be interesting, and would certainly be totally different.

I think it's kind of crappy of them to take something that they made and sucked, but that Whedon made a household name, and cash in on it. Basically Whedon took their idea, did it right, make it super popular, and they're piggybacking off his efforts. I find that uncool, but I don't find the idea of a new and original Buffy story objectionable.

If the movie is any value indicator of their story telling ability though...I don't think we have much to worry about in the way of longevity.

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katharina
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Whedon wrote the screenplay - it was his original idea. They just directed the crappy movie, but due to the original contract, retain some rights to it.

It was NOT their idea to begin with. It was definitely Whedon's.

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T:man
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
quote:
Originally posted by Dobbie:
What's so great about Whedon?

*goes to find pitchforks, torches, and collect an angry mob*
*Grabs spare pitchforks just in case someone forgot theirs*
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Blayne Bradley
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well nearly all of Whedons characters had interchangeable dialogue.
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Lyrhawn
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Now that you mention that, that does ring a bell.

Well in that case I find it slightly less morally objectionable then, but I have even less confidence in their ability to take the original concept and do anything qualitatively good with it.

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jebus202
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Yea, Whedon, he is a creative god. I mean, he came out with Firefly, which ya know, was a pretty good run of what? a dozen episodes that were pretty entertaining? And before that there was Buffy and Angel which could only be enjoyed with a mountain of chocolate and no testicles, and now he's got some new show that people are pretty meh about.

So, yea... Whedon... normally ginger's have to try even harder to get people's love and respect. What gives?

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Humean316
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quote:
Originally posted by jebus202:
Yea, Whedon, he is a creative god. I mean, he came out with Firefly, which ya know, was a pretty good run of what? a dozen episodes that were pretty entertaining? And before that there was Buffy and Angel which could only be enjoyed with a mountain of chocolate and no testicles, and now he's got some new show that people are pretty meh about.

So, yea... Whedon... normally ginger's have to try even harder to get people's love and respect. What gives?

From my count, 3 good seasons of television, one of which is 11 episodes long (13 if you have the dvds), a decent web musical, and a descent, if not all that great, run on Astonishing X-Men are the only things that I find even watchable or readable from him. Whedon has a penchant for stepping all over the foundations of his own creation in the name of emotional "truth" or gotcha moments that just plain suck, and his mythology and world building skills are never as good as the words he can place, sometimes to the detriment of the characters themselves though, into characters mouths. Which basically means that Joss Whedon can write a funny and witty line but can't fit it into a world or a mythology that makes sense to save his life. Luckily the first three seasons of Buffy had Tim Minear or Buffy would have sucked too...

That being said, a reboot of Buffy, if done say like The Next Generation, could be really good. I like that they aren't going to step on Buffy or the rest of the gang, those guys have already taken more lumps and downright betrayals that they are beyond making them likable again.

LOL, sorry guys, I have strong feelings about Whedon. [Wave]

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mr_porteiro_head
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Now I'm trying to figure out which is more suspect -- me enjoying Buffy and Anglel, or the integrity of my testes? If it's the first, what was I really watching. If it's the second, why am I raising all of these children?
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
That being said, a reboot of Buffy, if done say like The Next Generation, could be really good.
And tricky.

They aren't totally comparable. I thought TOS, absent a couple of pretty decent stories from a moral point of view (and Star Trek at many times has excelled at these episodes), was actually kind of awful.

Buffy, as done by Joss, was fantastic at times, and had/has a large loyal fan following that TOS never quite got, not until after TNG brought it into the mainstream.

If we assume that the new show would simply use new characters, much in the way that TNG used the exact same world but used a new crew, then I think you have some interesting opportunities. There are other hellmouths, this we know, and they could simply put a minor alteration on the plot to make a new slayer on a different hellmouth and then use some of the same basic framework for the show. We know from the alternate universe that Anya created that Buffy had her hands full in Cleveland. Maybe it could be set there.

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Dogbreath
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Joss Whedon.

First off, as a disclaimer, I think that Firefly is simply the greatest sci-fi show television has ever seen. Ever.

That being said, Joss Whedon fans scare the hell out of me. He's just a screenwriter, not Jesus Christ. When I run into people (in real life, and online) who act like his work is of biblical importance, and follow him and his persona life like a stalker, I get seriously freaked out. It almost makes me enjoying his work more difficult, because I know somewhere out there, someone is praying to his basement JW shrine while watching the same episode.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
First off, as a disclaimer, I think that Firefly is simply the greatest sci-fi show television has ever seen. Ever.
Spoilers ahead for any non-Firefly fans...

I hear people say that, I've heard people in this thread say that, but I remain unconvinced. It lasted less than half a season. I'm not saying that if it was better it would have lasted longer, but we have no idea how good it really was or wasn't. It wasn't around long enough to judge in that manner.

So, while I think it was awesome, if someone told me I was to be marooned on a deserted island, and I would be randomly given only one of three different sci-fi series that I had to choose, it likely wouldn't even make my top 3. ST:DS9, BSG and B5 would all likely come before it.

I might be willing to give it more credit before Serenity, which in my opinion just killed the whole thing, and I think if he'd had had more time, he would have done that, just slower. I mean, given his track record, you KNOW that team wasn't going to survive intact. And much as people apologize for it, I think Whedon's penchant for killing off beloved characters is one of his biggest biggest flaws. Killing Wash and Book at any point in that show would have gutted it, just like it did in the movie.

I think it was a great show with fantastic potential that we'll never be able to really match up against sci-fi shows that were allowed to go the distance. I'd still love to see him go back to where he left off before the movie was made and start the show up again, to see what would have happened.

But as is? Greatest sci-fi show television has ever seen? Please.

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Dogbreath
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As is, yes, it's still the greatest sci-fi show ever.

I'm not rating it on potential episodes, I'm rating it on the fact that in just 14 episodes, it drew me in and captivated me more than ANY other show I've ever seen. And that includes shows that went for 7+ years.

The character dynamic was great, the setting was enthralling and fun, and every single episode was flawless. How many other shows can you think of that achieved that in 14 shows? How many achieved it at all?

I don't want to see Firefly come back, actually. I think the current 14 episodes stand as a testament to just how brilliant sci-fi can really be.

None of Joss Whedons other works (even the notable Buffy) even come close - at best, Buffy is 3 hits for every miss during season 3, and it's first season was considerably worse. And all his other shows except for Dollhouse just feel downright campy. Entertaining, but you can't quite take them seriously.

Actually, I can't think of any other show that I've found as beautiful and enthralling as Firefly. Maybe that's why I stand by it being the best ever. (for now)

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Kwea
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Sine a large reason they WERE killed were they HAD to move on to other projects (since their show had been canceled) , I am not sure that follows.
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FlyingCow
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Seems a bit... odd, to me. It'd be like making a Resevoir Dogs sequel without Quentin Tarantino. I can see doing it after Tarantino's death, but it'd be pretty poor form to do one while he was still available without at least offering.

The problem, of course, is that Whedon hasn't proven that he can make a movie that makes money.

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Damien.m
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:


The problem, of course, is that Whedon hasn't proven that he can make a movie that makes money.

Um, by 2006 Serenity had made 60 million dollars on DVD sales and broadcast rights and that was three years ago.

Also Whedon is credited with the screenplay of a little movie called Toy Story.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
Sine a large reason they WERE killed were they HAD to move on to other projects (since their show had been canceled) , I am not sure that follows.

Given his track record on killing off characters, I think there's enough evidence to prove that he would have killed off someone eventually. He just likes doing it. I think with casts like the one he created though, every character is a virtual lynchpin, with the possible exception of Simon and River, who lift right out to a degree, and killing any one of them ruins the dynamic of the show. I'm totally convinced that he would have killed off at least one of them, probably two or three, and the show would have been ruined for me.

If you think they were ONLY killed off because the show had ended, well, you're entitled to your opinion of course, but I have lots of reasons for thinking that it would have happened anyway, just slower.

Dogbreath -

quote:
The character dynamic was great, the setting was enthralling and fun, and every single episode was flawless. How many other shows can you think of that achieved that in 14 shows? How many achieved it at all?
Well, I'm not necessarily willing to concede that each episode was a work of art, but I do think that the run was really impressive, and very, very good. But off the top of my head, I can think of a half dozen animes that drew me in just as quickly and sustained me quite well through their run. I think longevity is a huge factor in what makes a really great show though. Chuck, for example, I would count as science fiction, has utterly fantastic characters, not a single miss episode yet I think, great character interaction, a compelling plot arc on multiple levels and has only gotten better and better going on its third season.

What if Heroes had only lasted 14 episodes? Most people are willing to say that it was really quite good in the first season then went downhill rather fast, with a few spurts of goodness (notably during Kristen Bell's tenure on the show) here and there (death rattles). But to evaluate it as a whole? It's a mess.

You apparently use a different set of criteria than I do. How a show does after multiple seasons I think is an important mark of its greatness. As a rule I like shows with defined plot arcs, but I'm more than willing to make exceptions for ones that don't, like ST:TNG, large swaths of Stargate SG1 and the first few seasons of ST:DS9. And the same for Firefly. That's like calling a rookie pitcher who pitches a perfect game and a no-hitter in his rookie season, and wins every game, but only plays a half season the best pitcher in the history of baseball. I think that's a great analogy, and it's a ludicrous assertion.

At 14 episodes it wasn't a television series, it was a sci-fi miniseries. Compare it to Children of Dune and Tin Man, not other television shows. And yes, I'd agree it was far and away considerably better than either of those.

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FlyingCow
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quote:
Um, by 2006 Serenity had made 60 million dollars on DVD sales and broadcast rights and that was three years ago
It didn't even make it's production budget back through it's entire box office run... and that's worldwide. It's great that it's made $60M over three years, but that means its total gross from Sept 2005 to now has still not cracked $100M.

Not exactly a resounding commercial success, though admittedly not a failure, either.

quote:
Also Whedon is credited with the screenplay of a little movie called Toy Story.
Yes, he's credited as one of four screenwriters, and was not involved with writing the story. I'm sure that starts making cash register sounds in production executives' heads.

Now, I love Joss Whedon's stuff and I'm decidedly in his target audience - but he isn't a proven box office money-maker.

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Chris Bridges
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While I AM one of the scary Whedon fans, I agree that some of them can get overwhelming, with hair-trigger responses to the slightest slight.

Some of us just like his stuff, though. And I like that characters aren't safe. Yeah, the deaths in Serenity were shocking, but I submit that even as a hardened movie watcher, I was on the edge of my seat for the last 15 minutes because I had absolutely no assurance that any of them would make it through. Had that been a second season instead, who knows? But he figured this was his last shot at capping the story and wanted to go out strong.

Luckily the first three seasons of Buffy had Tim Minear or Buffy would have sucked too...

Minear never worked on Buffy. He got hired for Angel and subsequent Whedon productions, but never worked on a single Buffy episode.

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Dobbie
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Then they had someone else who performed Minear's function.
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Chris Bridges
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Which was?
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Dobbie
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Making the show not suck.
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Chris Bridges
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Which apparently couldn't be Whedon himself.

The first few series of Buffy was pretty much him and a talented staff of writers, with his final edit on every script. Listen to the commentaries to hear the writers talk about his input, and how they'll unanimously say the best lines and character moments came from Whedon.

After season 3 Whedon was split, running both Buffy and Angel, and Marti Noxon took on more of the duties for Buffy. Those are the seasons that suffered, I think, from his fractured attention.

I avoided watching Buffy for years because the original movie was so bad. It wasn't until recording the musical for a friend that I was motivated to go back and watch 'em all, and now I'm a fan. I don't claim everything Whedon does is golden, or that he doesn't benefit from collaboration at times, but I'm also not going to buy that he's incompetent on his own. You don't like his work, no worries. But I doubt you'll be able to convince me I shouldn't like his work based on inaccurate accusations and "making the show not suck."

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:

At 14 episodes it wasn't a television series, it was a sci-fi miniseries. Compare it to Children of Dune and Tin Man, not other television shows. And yes, I'd agree it was far and away considerably better than either of those.

Okay, so it's the greatest sci-fi miniseries of all time!

Part of this is just subjectivity, (you mentioned Anime. I can't stand Anime and have never seen one I like, but I realise most people do enjoy it) but for me, I cared *more* about the cast of Firefly from the first, hell, 6 episodes than I could from either the first 6 episodes of TNG, or even the entire run of TNG.

I think it's flawed to say "yeah, sure, it was great, but if it had gone for 6 more seasons it could have potentially gotten bad, so you can't call it the best show ever." I'm not rating it on whether it could have potentially been bad or good, I'm rating it on how good it actually was. I don't care how many seasons there were - one season was enough to convince me.

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Humean316
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quote:
Minear never worked on Buffy. He got hired for Angel and subsequent Whedon productions, but never worked on a single Buffy episode.
My apologies, I obviously brought up the wrong person. I was referring to David Greenwalt.

quote:
The first few series of Buffy was pretty much him and a talented staff of writers, with his final edit on every script. Listen to the commentaries to hear the writers talk about his input, and how they'll unanimously say the best lines and character moments came from Whedon.
Of course, David Greenwalt basically played the same role on those three seasons that he would play on Angel. Marti Noxon didn't really take over the show until season 6 when Firefly was on the air, and before that, Whedon spent most of his time on Buffy, while Greenwalt, the co-creator of Angel, ran Angel.

It's no surprise to me that seasons 2 and 3 of Buffy are great seasons of television while seasons 4 and 5 are the beginning of a slide and seasons 6 and 7 are the most controversial, simply because David Greenwalt was no longer with the show. I completely agree that Whedon is great at character and dialogue, but none of that means anything if the story, mythology, foundation, and other aspects of the story are in direct conflict. That is Whedon's big problem, in my view, he sacrifices whatever he deems necessary to gain a direct emotional impact, for which I think he values more than anything else. When he wants to pull something off, it doesn't matter what he has to sacrifice (look at the official season 8 comics or even season 7 of Buffy--there are so many inconsistencies in those seasons that it's hard to take them seriously) to achieve it, and that includes the very foundations of the story he has set up. It would be like Tolkien allowing Frodo to get all the way to Mordor and then allowing him to turn evil and join Sauron just so that we could see the emotional impact it would have on Samwise. At some point, when you try and tell a story, it cannot be all about emotional impact and you definitely cannot sacrifice the characterizations you have meticulously set up just so that you can achieve some deep emotional moment because the moment doesn't mean much if that's how you pull it off. More to the point though, that makes you a bad story-teller and a bad writer.

Compare the seven seasons of Buffy to the seven books of Harry Potter, Rowling blended deep and meaningful characterization with story and foundation, she was able to set a solid foundation and achieve emotional resonance without sacrificing the characters or the story itself, and the same can be said of Tolkien. The best comparison I can come up with for Whedon is Stephanie Meyers and the Twilight Saga, but that isn't saying all that much.

Note: I do like Buffy and I do like Twilight, they just aren't masterpieces. Just saying...

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Sterling
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Hmm. I didn't know Whedon was responsible for the screenplay of the original Buffy movie. Interesting.

I am undoubtedly in a very small minority: I've never seen more than a few minutes of the Buffy television series, and I don't share in the general concensus that the movie sucked. It didn't knock me out of my shoes, or anything, but it certainly had more than a few fun moments.

What I admire about Whedon's work- aside from the underlying skill of his writing- is the clear lack of genre blindness. Mal kicking the bad guy's #2 into an engine intake in Firefly had me howling with laughter, and if the series had done nothing else, that moment would have made the enterprise worthwhile.

It's also true that the abbreviated run of Firefly managed to work in more depth of character than a lot of shows manage in multiple seasons. None of the characters are the kind of blank slates or broad swatches that many shows deal in in part to make it easier for a large and/or changing team of writers to put together episodes. Newsweek recently had an article by a former ST:TNG writer who noted that the show ate through writers like candy. I love me some Star Trek, but powers know that if a particular sentiment had to be expressed or a particular plot thread followed, especially in the first couple of seasons, you knew exactly who was going to express or follow it. Cool leadership? Picard. From-the-hip leadership? Rikker. We need to show a bad guy is more physically dangerous than we can deal with? Worf's going to go flying across the bridge. Feeling... Great... Pain!?... Troi. Social snafu? Data. By contrast, I really wasn't sure if Mal was going to throw Jain out the airlock, and it wasn't because they were broad caricatures; it was because I could feel their history and Mal's ambivalence, and he had sound reasons for doing either.

There's a great quote attributed to Whedon: "People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don't like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy." It's true that killing off characters may have become something of a crutch in his writing. But I kind've appreciate that characters can actually grow and change from show to show, even if it makes them mortally vulnerable.

I was surprised to find myself glad that Dollhouse got renewed. I'm increasingly, perhaps foolishly, willing to view the weaknesses of the early shows as meddling from the suits- the need for exposition hitting us over the head with things we already knew, the cliched plot elements, the sense of running in place. As facets were shown that made unlikable people human and elements that would be status quo in other shows crumbled, I've found myself being drawn in almost against my will.

I don't think Whedon is God, but I certainly admire his abilities. And as television- especially network television- continues to devolve into a sea of vapid talk shows and reality shows I'm wont to handle with a long pair of tongs, for the love of all that's good and holy, give the man a budget.

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Chris Bridges
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Humean316, fair enough. I disagree on several points, but I can see where you're coming from, and I've complained about some of those myself. Just wasn't enough to detract from the rest for me. Also doesn't explain why I like "Dr. Horrible" so much, despite the utter absence of Greenwalt or Minear.

Personally I think Rowling's first few books were undeniably fun to read while still being a bit amateurish, with elements obviously pulled from several other familiar sources. She got better at it, and finally stopped using so many adverbs. She was great at characterization and dialogue, not so good at the plotting. The final battle really bugged me -- build up to a big finish and then turn it into a long, convoluted, confusing explanation? It would have been easier for Harry to pick up the exposition and just hit Voldemort with it. And yet the scene of Harry walking into Dumbledore's office after that made me cry. To each his own.

And Dobby? That's how you critique someone. Note the reasoned explanation and the startling lack of the word "sucks."

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Humean316
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quote:
Also doesn't explain why I like "Dr. Horrible" so much, despite the utter absence of Greenwalt or Minear.
Actually, I like Dr. Horrible too. I'm one of those people who think that if Firefly had gone more than 2 seasons, it would never have had the following it does, but of course, there is absolutely no way to prove that nor is that anything other than conjecture on my part but still. It's kinda like what happened to Warren in the comic books, I read the first 10 or so issues of season 8, but I stopped when he brought back Warren to punish Willow. Warren appeared as The First in season 7 which means that Warren had to be dead, and yet the explanation given for his return was that Amy saved him right before Willow killed him. That's contradictory, and when Joss explained it he basically said that he forgot that Warren had to have died. In that sense, he chose the emotional impact of forcing Willow to face what she did and sacrificed the internal consistency of his own story, and at that point, I just didn't care. I liked Dr. Horrible because Joss never got to that point in the story, he never was able to contradict himself because he just didn't say enough, and it is the same with Firefly. Dr. Horrible was silly stupid fun, and since it was free, I quite enjoyed it.

BTW, I agree with you about Harry Potter. Cheers Chris...

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Dobbie
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quote:
Originally posted by Humean316:
I was referring to David Greenwalt...Of course, David Greenwalt basically played the same role on those three seasons that he would play on Angel.

I was right.
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Kwea
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It may have happened, in some fashion, but that is a far cry from having it happen like it did in the movie.

I think it would have been great, and would have lasted 3-4 seasons, maybe 5. Hardly a favorite, but it would have been far better than most of the crap that is on now.

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Jhai
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quote:
Originally posted by Dobbie:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DieHardOnAnX

Two hours gone. I'm not joking. Le sigh...
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Alcon
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quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Dobbie:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DieHardOnAnX
Two hours gone. I'm not joking. Le sigh...

Dang it, I didn't take the first bait... but your second offering was too much...
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T:man
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quote:
Originally posted by Jhai:
quote:
Originally posted by Dobbie:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DieHardOnAnX

Two hours gone. I'm not joking. Le sigh...
>.< Me too, then I realized I had to write my RAFT....
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Nighthawk
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Damn you! I hate that site... but in an awesome way...

On another note, best way of putting the general concensus on the Buffy reboot: Buffy Remake Without Joss? Whedonites Will Burn L.A. To The Ground First

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Shepherd
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Firefly- 5 stars
Buffy- 4.2 Stars
Angel- 3.8 Stars
Runaways- 5 Stars
Dollhouse- 4.2 Stars
X-Men- 4.8 stars

Out of a possible thirty joss earns twenty seven. Joss is a god of storytelling, enough said

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Danlo the Wild
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
Joss Whedon.

That being said, Joss Whedon fans scare the hell out of me. He's just a screenwriter, not Jesus Christ. When I run into people (in real life, and online) who act like his work is of biblical importance, and follow him and his persona life like a stalker, I get seriously freaked out. It almost makes me enjoying his work more difficult, because I know somewhere out there, someone is praying to his basement JW shrine while watching the same episode.

Joss Whedon has a better record than the Catholic Church.

His Astonishing X-Men is on of the best things I've read in a long, long time.

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Puffy Treat
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Man, oh man, was "Danger" an awful character. And he kept bringing her back. Even though she was awful.

His AXM run was fine, but it (like Grant Morrison's much bally-hooed run before) was mostly a "Greatest Hits" revisiting of earlier X-Men stories. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it wasn't his best stuff.

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Tarrsk
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See, Humean, I think you can take your thesis about David Greenwalt and apply it to Joss himself. The fact is that the same seasons of Buffy in which Greenwalt wasn't involved, were the same seasons in which Joss himself played a much reduced role. Remember that Joss wasn't even Buffy's showrunner anymore starting in season 6 - by then, he had handed off virtually all creative control of the show to Marti Noxon.

In fact, looking back at when the drops in quality occurred on Buffy and Angel, it seems pretty clear to me that an absence of Joss's input was at least as much to blame as anything else. Let's look through it season by season.

It's generally agreed that Seasons 4, 6, and 7 of Buffy were the weakest, along with Angel's seasons 1 and 4. Buffy 4 and Angel 1 were produced concurrently, and represented the first time Joss was trying to juggle two shows. By the season after that (Buffy 5 and Angel 2), he had ironed out the wrinkles in the production process, and as a result we got substantially stronger seasons from both shows, although neither was without its flaws.

However, his interest in Buffy was clearly declining during this time, and by the following year, he had ceded showrunner status on Buffy to Noxon to work full-time on Angel. The end result? We get what is arguably Angel's strongest season (season 3) coinciding with one of Buffy's weakest (season 6).

Buffy season 7 and Angel season 4 suffered from a brand new problem: Joss had a new show that he was spending all his time working on. Firefly got virtually all of Joss's attention during this production year, and the result was a fantastic, albeit sadly abbreviated, season of Firefly, and the worst season of Angel coupled with one of the two worst seasons of Buffy.

Importantly, during this period, the strongest episodes from each "weak" season were, not coincidentally, the ones that Joss wrote and/or directed. "Hush," "Once More With Feeling," "The Body" - these were Joss's token "I'm still here" moments in their respective seasons, and despite the uneven quality of the episodes around them, are generally held up as some of the best episodes Buffy ever had.

Finally, we get to Angel season 5, which is considered one of the two strongest seasons of the show. At this point, Buffy has ended and Firefly has been canceled. So Joss's full attention is once again devoted to Angel. And despite the craptacularity of the previous season, Angel once again works like gangbusters.

I don't disagree that Greenwalt brought a lot to Joss's shows - he absolutely did. And I don't think Joss is flawless - on the contrary, he has his Achilles heels just like any other writer. All of the criticisms leveled against him in this thread (well, Dobbie's aside) have an element of truth to them. Joss has a very distinctive voice that inevitably seeps into the dialogue of all of his characters. Joss does use character deaths as a bit of a crutch sometimes, and has been guilty of weakening his own death scenes by bringing the dead characters back a few episodes later. And let's face it, he's not the best at world-building or creating a consistent mythology. But all writers have weaknesses. Tolkien would never be capable of creating characters with the vibrancy or wit of Whedon's. Roddenberry could never match Whedon's explorations of moral complexity, nor his ability to craft long character arcs that ring true. And Moore could never infuse his drama with humor and his humor with drama the way Whedon does as a matter of course. Doesn't mean these writers aren't also titans of their genres. And Whedon's weaknesses similarly do not take away from the indisputable fact that his work has been good enough to influence an entire generation of television and film writers.

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