I may get a few phone calls for this one…
Proper geeks will know all the big names in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Tolkien, Roddenberry, Heinlein and dozens of other writers, producers and directors who feed the geek DVD and book shelf.
In our modern day, we have a man by the name of Joss Whedon. He got his writing start on Roseanne back in 1989, followed up with a few writing credits on Parenthood and then broke out with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not the TV show, not yet at least. The god awful movie version that will either elicit groans or fiery arguments from the geek sect.
Then he got his name slapped on one of the biggest animated features as a screen writer. Toy Story allowed him to show his true writing chops, even if it was with three other people and a story that wasn’t his.
Not too many geeks acknowledge this credit, either because they don’t know about it, or it just doesn’t fall into their frame of reference. While a great movie, Toy Story isn’t something that falls into the radar of most geeks.
There are other movies as well, Titan A.E. which I thought was a very underrated movie, Alien: Resurrection which I refuse to acknowledge, and…that’s about it. Nothing else comes from him which points to the main stream audience of America.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a bad movie, but it turned into a great show. There are arguments over which of the seven seasons was the best (the sixth,) the various bad guys, which version of Angel and Spike was the best, all kinds of things. It’s a versatile and intelligently written show (after season two) that has a boat load of eye candy for the boys and girls. There was even a successful spin off with Angel running five seasons, four of which ran while Buffy was on.
Then there is Firefly, a show cancelled before its time (and gives geeks much ire against the FOX network) that was so popular a movie was made to tie it all together. Not a TV movie, a movie in theaters.
During the writers strike, he created a small, three act production called Dr. Horrible’s sing-a-long Blog which took off with a frenzy. It was well written, had some great actors and original songs, and was funny. It gave Joss Whedon fans something to tide them over until Dollhouse came out.
Dollhouse. A show I have yet to see, but it ranges back and forth as to whether it’s good or not. I haven’t had a chance to watch, so I can’t make a good critique on it, but I can estimate it.
It’s probably mediocre at best. Honestly, Joss is a mediocre writer.
Now, before I see pitchforks on the horizon, let me explain myself. Firefly and Dr. Horrible were great. Buffy, however, was very hit or miss. The first season was bad, the second wasn’t much better, the third great, forth was lacking, fifth was a great effort, six amazing and seven I watched just to finish off the series and know how it ended.
So we have three seasons I wouldn’t touch again (1,2,4) two that I was alright with (5,7) and two that I loved (3,6). That leaves three seasons of crap, two that I’d watch if I was introducing the show to someone and watching with them, and two that I love when I just was to watch some feel good ass kicking. Two out of seven. And don’t get me started on the wandering story line of Angel. Honestly, if it weren’t for the fifth season, I’d have hated it all around.
Joss writes good characters. Spike was my favorite from beginning to end as a sadistic bastard who turns himself around into a kinda nice sadistic bastard. The Angel/Angelus character was great when he wasn’t brooding, every member of Firefly even. For me, these elements kept me interested the most. Will Dr. Horrible get the girl? I WANT TO KNOW!
It seems to be enough though. Joss gave us some great episodes, music and conversations. He seems to be just as geeky as his fans, which make him relatable to the people he writes for.
Now, If he can shoehorn himself away from FOX, we should be good. Maybe SyFy or whatever they’re calling it now that Battlestar Galactica is done.