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Headscratchers: Joss Whedon
  • Joss Whedon is very good at leaving small snippets that give you a ton of information and make you want to find out more, like the Reavers in Firefly, or The Attic in Dollhouse, but every single time he tries to explain them they become a lot less interesting. The Reavers were fascinating as people who went mad for an unknown reason, who caused other people to go mad. They weren't, when they were the failed result of a scientific experiment. The Attic was terrifying when it was being unable to think. It loses quite a bit when it's "happy thought then bad thought, lather rinse repeat, oh yeah and Arcane".
    • I actually found the Reavers more interesting once their origins were revealed. Moral ambiguity fascinates me, and the Reavers' backstory opens up all kinds of questions about good and evil and the price of peace.
    • To be fair, most mysteries are less interesting when you know the answer. And to be fair in a different way, it's just as infuriating when a writer refuses to answer a question (though to be honest, I like that). See, for example, Cowboy Bebop, where they considered making the movie about Spike's backstory, and chose not to because it wouldn't be anywhere near as good as what you would have in your head.
  • Why can't he choose a different channel that would treat his shows better?
    • Because Fox has been treating Dollhouse better than they have almost every other show they have. Also, he joined in on a deal they had with Eliza Dushku, he didn't form his own deal with them. Last, the guy in charge now is a fan of Whedon's who hated the treatment Firefly got.
    • It didn't help. Please, Joss, never work with Fox again.
      • To be fair, compared to how they treated Firefly Fox practically bent themselves over backwards to give Dollhouse a fair go despite poor numbers and, for a Whedon project, a lack of critical regard; there's many shows in Dollhouse's position which would probably have never seen out their first season, never mind getting a second one. It's easy to demonise Fox, and I'm not going to defend everything they've done, but at the end of the day they're a business, not a charity for Joss Whedon fans, and if a show's not performing despite your best efforts, it doesn't have a future. Harsh, but them's the breaks.
    • I hope that his next show (whatever it may be) is not on network television. If he still wants to be a member of the "FOX family," then he should work for FX. The budget will be smaller, but he'll have more freedom and the show can get by on lower ratings. If he's done with FOX forever, then go to Showtime or HBO. A place where he'd be given a great budget and tons more creative freedom (and they expect even lower ratings than FX).
    • I'll post what I posted on the Dollhouse page:
      • You assume that Whedon had major networks just throwing themselves at him, offering to pick up whatever show he feels like pitching. Even Buffy, his most popular show, never pulled the kind of numbers that a show like House does. Despite the Fan Myopia that tends to surround him, Joss Whedon has nowhere near the clout to be turning down a deal with Fox, which may well be the only network that would have been willing to greenlight Dollhouse in the first place.
      • Note: * You are comparing House to Buffy when the two shows have completely different target demographics, budgets, time-slots and production values. When it comes down to it, though, all of Whedon's works are Sci-fi/fantasy. Anything that is mainstream is going to get much higher ratings so it is completely unfair to compare the two. For the speculative sci-fi that Whedon writes, his shows generally do very well (Dollhouse excepted).
      • But hey, he's written Avengers. If that does well enough maybe that will change.
      • Although it's also worth keeping in mind that there's a few other reasons beside Joss Whedon's involvement why The Avengers is likely to be successful; let's be honest, given the hype surrounding it they could have gotten practically anyone but Uwe Boll to helm it and it would have been a box-office smash (and even Boll would probably managed to get some numbers with it), so it's not like it's entirely down to him. It's success certainly won't hurt his career or his clout by any means, though.
      • It's also worth keeping in mind that with all the hype and build-up to the Avengers, if Joss Whedon hadn't pulled it off, it would have ruined his career. I don't see the Avengers being critically panned, and some of the credit for that - at the very least - goes to Joss.
    • The cynic in me notes that just because you directed an awesome superhero movie doesn't mean your next big budget movie will be a success. I leave to weep.
    • Cowboys and Aliens is based on a comic book, it's not an original work.
    • Ah, did not know that. Will edit my sentence.
  • Did a happy ending murder Joss Whedon's parents in Crime Alley or something? Would it kill him to just once avert the trope that his writing has become and have a relationship, or a show, end pleasantly? It stops being a shocking plot twist if everybody knows you can't write anything else, Joss.
    • Serenity and Buffy both ended pretty well, and Angel really couldn't have ended any other way. It's mostly just the relationships that suffer and end horribly.
    • The "anyone can die" and "happy endings suck" becomes a cliched trademark though. Kinda how Michael Bay WILL blow something up.
    • I think he explained it in an interview as "People like happy endings. I don't like people." I'm not sure if it's meant to be funny or not.
    • Dollhouse ends with Victor and Sierra beginning to repair their relationship, with a young son.
  • Joss Whedon seems to have pet actors and actresses whom he works with again and again. Hence James Marsters crossing over to Angel. Wasn't Spike already overexposed as it was?
    • No, not really. He's funny. Remember his lines when he first saw Puppet!Angel in Smile Time?
      • There are other funny characters on the show. Cordelia Chase was funny. They got rid of her. There was no reason for two vampires on the regular cast, except to employ one of Whedon's pet actors.
      • The definition of 'overexposed' is 'been on the screen so often that fans are getting tired of seeing him'. Most people were not tired of seeing more Spike in season 5.
      • This fan of Spike from way back in School Hard was actually quite satisfied with his sacrifice in Buffy. When I found out he'd showed up on Angel, I was disappointed. His death was probably the only Buffyverse one that didn't piss me off.
      • I remember reading complaints of Spike's addition to Angel. It was no secret that Marsters was one of Whedon's favorites. Reportedly, Whedon fired Charisma Carpenter from Angel and replaced her with Spike without telling her. She found out about this from the press.
      • That sucks.
    • As for the overexposed thing... typical case of YMMV. Most fans seem to have been fine with more Spike, I personally would've gladly seen the character killed off, but eh, whatcha gonna do?
      • Definitely a case of YMMV. Spike's heroic sacrifice at the end of Buffy was great, but I loved how in Angel they made it clear that actual redemption took more than being a martyr.
    • There's a large group of fans who think Spike was better in Angel than he had been on Buffy for a long time, with the wisecracking-anti-hero Spike from Angel being preferred over the lovesick-puppy Spike from the last season of Buffy.
    • Many fans HATED the way Spike was during seasons 6 & 7 of Buffy. However, in this Troper's opinion— Season 5 of Angel was actually the payoff to all that stuff we had to put up with regarding Spike (yes I'm basically saying the best reason not to get rid of the horrible Spike storylines in Buffy was so the character could migrate to Angel and be awesome again)
  • What is the point of so many contributors noting a common trope among Joss' shows and saying "Joss loves this one"? Joss Whedon writes a lot of speculative fiction and so will use a lot of tropes. He has reused several themes and his two most famous shows cross over, it's only natural that tropes will show up several times. It's even more grating when the trope is being used in an episode he didn't even write. It's just an inane comment that is splattered all over the wiki.
    • You have a point, but I think it's because Joss goes out of his way to include a lot of tropes, and he clearly has a few favorite ones.
      • The downside of this comes when you've seen all of his usual/favorite tricks and tropes, and would like to see him do something new, or break from his established routine. And you slowly realize, that's all he's got.
      • That's a criticism that applies to a lot of good but prolific writers though.
      • What is the point of complaining that Whedon only does Whedonesque work? He's mastered his vision, and he can create multiple, highly palatable variations based on his core aesthetic and skill set. If you're not in the mood for Whedon, check the pantry for some Alan Ball or Quentin Tarantino or David Lynch or any of the other brilliant writers whose personal aesthetic is "all they got".
      • Also, the problem with Buffy Speak being just the way he talks means that many of the characters he writes end up sounding the same.
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