Saturday, June 23, 2012


The Joss Whedon action figure
When I heard that Joss Whedon scored The Avengers gig, I was beyond excited that my (Jack) favorite writer and storyteller was getting the chance to show the world what he could do... That he had a chance to validate what his followers and collaborators already knew: the man is fucking brilliant.  I was excited that, finally, the man would get the credit he deserves.  And we who have followed and adored him since way back could boldly claim, "We told you so."  His universes of vampire slayers, vampires with souls, space westerns, horrible doctors and (umm...) Dollhouses never reached a universal audience, and it frustrated us. I'll even admit that I didn't watch Buffy until the third season because I thought that a show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer couldn't possibly be good.  Fast forward a couple years, and me, my sis, and even my pop would tune in to see what happened to the Scoobies each week.  I firmly believe that his works changed the game. I remember watching a panel with the Buffy cast, and they talked about how they never won any awards for writing or acting.  But Buffy is a show that people remember.  I think the show that always won awards was The West Wing.  The West Wing was great (I guess?), but was there ever an episode of The West Wing as brilliant as "Hush," "The Body," or "Once More with Feeling?"  Firefly, a show that was cancelled well before it's time, showed how much power fans can have.  TV shows that are cancelled after 14 episodes (a couple that weren't even aired) aren't supposed to be made into major motion pictures.  You look at Dr. Horrible, one of the first productions made solely for an internet release that opened doors for many other internet exclusive projects and brought the idea of the internet series to the mainstream.  Angel and Dollhouse, not really that game-changey, but they're really good, compelling stories.  Get past the "What's Eliza Dushku gonna be this week?" phase in Dollhouse, and the story becomes as addictive as anything else he's done. (The Whedon-penned, The Cabin in the Woods, is still my favorite movie this year, but I hear it's hit or miss with people.  If you haven't seen it, go see it.)

The Avengers turned out wonderfully, but the truth is it would have been a box office hit with any writer and director.  It was too big too fail.  But that doesn't mean it would have been good with any writer and director.  The set pieces and action sequences are great, but it's the character interactions and how the characters are handled that made that movie good. The moment I knew that that movie succeeded was when I heard a few people saying that they tried Buffy because of it.  And if you're thinking of following suit, the first season isn't very good.  You'll like it more come season 2.

So, why am I fellating Joss Whedon on the internet today?  Well, today is his birthday, and any opportunity to show my friends and complete strangers something awesome is an opportunity I will take.  So, the following are a select few/favorite Whedony things (that I was able to find on youtube).  Mostly funny stuff because the sad stuff needs context.  Trust, his ability to kill and hurt is legend. What's always amazing about Joss's gimmicky episodes is that they still advance the plot.  At the end of the day, they are still an (awesome) episode of a television series.  (Some clips after the break)

Buffy- "Hush" Season 4, Episode 10
I believe the story goes someone talked about how the show's strength was the snappy, quippy, witty dialogue between characters.  So, Joss took that away.  What came from it was an amazing episode that had genuinely frightening moments as well as some of the most hilarious gags the show has ever had.  The library exposition scene (which I couldn't find) is a great moment.

Buffy- "Once More With Feeling" Season 6, Episode 7
Though the idea of the tv musical wasn't new, they don't get better than this.  There are still sing-alongs to this.

Angel - "Smile Time" Season 5, Episode 14
The lead, broody hero is turned into a puppet.

Firefly "The Train Job" Season 1, Episode 2
I wanted to include Firefly.  This was the first clip that popped up.  You gotta love the Han Solo-ness of Captain Mal Reynolds.

Dr. Horrible - "On the Rise" Episode 2
This is my favorite song from Dr. Horrible.  If they had this at karaoke, I would karaoke the fuck out of this song.  The protagonist of our story just found that the girl of his dreams went for the douche.  Of course this is my favorite song.

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