I love Joss Whedon. I don’t think he’s a perfect showrunner–none of them are, but he is my favorite overall so far. Let me start with: I could never get into Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve seen several episodes and know the plot for most of the series, but I could never sit down and watch every episode. I really don’t know why. It’s my biggest failing as a Joss fan, but perhaps someday I will correct this (and blog here about it). Other than that big fail on my part, I love all his other shows: Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse* (special shout out to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog and his movies Serenity, The Avengers, and Cabin the Woods). I can’t wait for his upcoming show SHIELD to come out (though I believe that’s more Jed, Zack, and Maurissa). So here I will try to explain why I love Joss so much.
*Maybe I only like Joss’ one word shows…
I love the worlds he writes in. I’m a nerd who likes the fantasy/sci-fi genre. Fairy tales and monsters and mythology are my jam. So sure I got hooked on Angel (back on TNT when reruns came on before Charmed, another fave show of mine) and followed Joss to Firefly and Dollhouse–all in the same genre. But I don’t get hooked on all sci-fi/fantasy (I’ve never watched Fringe or Supernatural for instance). So what is it about Joss?
I can’t say I can place it, but one place to start are his characters. He really makes you care about them, even when they can turn evil in a second. There is always something about his characters that make you love them. They often are searching for redemption, they usually have a bit of gray & grey morality to them. They are often misfits banding together to fight evil or save the world. And I love how his characters love each other. How they try to save each other and are friends. Watching them learn and grow from each other is really great.
Also Joss can be very good at plotting stories through a season almost seamlessly. On Angel, we weave from Darla’s arrival at the end of season 1, to her involvement with Wolfram and Hart and her brief humanity, to her mission to try to make Angel evil in season 2, to it not woking despite the sex, to her pregnant return in season 3, to her death and Connor’s birth, his kidnapping arc and subsequent return in later season 3, to the Jasmine arc of season 4 (which has a lot of rough patches–more on that some other time) to saving the world and Wolfram and Hart offering them the company in season 5. Each of those major arcs stem from those five minutes at the end of “To Shanshu in LA” where we find Darla in that box. I love that. I love how even though each season has a different feel and new characters and villains who are more and more morally ambiguous, the major arcs of each season are connected to the last.
Joss also has really good plot twists. The final episodes of Angel are among my favorite for how glued to the TV you are.
There will assuredly be more on Joss later, but I wanted to start out with my fave showrunner and blather for a bit.