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Please help me understand Joss Whedon

post #1 of 95
Thread Starter 

Recently in the Avengers movie pre-release thread a few chewers helped me out with some Marvel comics questions, since I haven't read comics in a very long time, and even the very few I did read I can barely remember. 

 

I got a bit reamed out for suggesting Michael Bay as a possible director for The Avengers instead of Whedon because of the flat looking style of the flick.  Honestly I have not had much exposure to Whedon, so I didn't realize his writing style was so idiosynchratic and would've been cancelled out by Bay, who I freely admit is not the best action director, but it was just a name I threw out there without giving it much thought.  Anyway, now I'm wondering about Whedon himself.  

 

I've heard things here and there about him, the Buffy universe, the Firefly stuff and know he has a huge fanbase.  I've seen snippets of Buffy, but never a full episode.  I saw a clip from Firefly on youtube.  From what I saw it just did nothing for me, but that could be because I didn't watch enough to let it soak in.  Or maybe I will never warm to it no matter how much I watch.  I think Whedon is a guy you may have to understand in order to appreciate what he does, so I started this thread.

 

You don't have to win me over, I'm just looking for some insight into what his fans like about him and what his detractors don't, and maybe some of the overall phenomenon of Whedon.  I mean, for Marvel to let him write AND direct the Avengers, I'm assuming he's had some major experience with the comic book world.  Or did they hire him because they really like Buffy and Firefly?

post #2 of 95

Isn't, like, a quarter of the internet made up of this discussion? This should get excellently wank filled.

post #3 of 95

I will let others get in to more detail, but I will say this about his television output: it is not meant to be watched piecemeal. A snippet here or a clip there is not going to do it. His character's had arcs that spanned seasons and series. There is a character in Buffy/Angel that changes so dramatically, gradually, and seamlessly over one season of Buffy and five seasons of Angel that it's shocking when he reminds you where he came from.

 

His writing is very dialogue heavy, character driven, detailed and witty in a way that Michael Bay does not... traditionally capture well. It's also very stylized. Though he doesn't get the same crap for it that Diablo Cody does, it is one of the first things detractors will point out. These aren't his characters in the Avengers though, so I doubt it will be overdone.

 

What's weird about the flatness of the Avengers (that we've seen) is that it looks significantly more boring visually than his one directorial effort on film and even more boring than some of his TV work... Angel, for example, ranges from fairly well shot to gorgeous depending on how much money they had at the time.

 

The man can tell a story. When Buffy and Angel were both on simultaneously, there was always a noticeable change in quality when Joss was focused on one show or the other. It was striking.

 

If you can stomach the first season of Buffy, which I'm not really a fan of, Buffy/Angel is some very rewarding viewing.

post #4 of 95

Netflix Firefly.  It's far less of a commitment than the Buffyverse (which has a much rockier start anyway), and it's seriously fun stuff.  His writing is really distinctive; he either writes the funniest adventure stories or the ass-kickingest comedies of anyone around, depending on how you want to look at it, but there is an unwavering focus on character and consequences.  Talking generally about "character focus" is something we tend to do when we can't quite articulate what we like about a certain property despite its flaws, but with Whedon's stuff I think it's easy to identify.  There is no such thing as a static character on his shows; even the minor characters are constantly being shaped by the events they have experienced in interesting, believable ways.  He's also great at turning genre conventions on their ear, lovingly.

 

His writing can feel a bit written at times, like the aforementioned Diablo Cody or Kevin Smith, but not nearly as bad as either, imo.  And as a director he's not a visual auteur, although he can put together an action scene and is terrific with actors.

 

I guess the most succinct way of putting it is that he's a great balancer.  He does camaraderie and inter-personal conflict really well, able to sell both in the same relationship sacrificing the believability of one or the other, and delivers big laughs and high stakes without the former undercutting the latter.


Edited by Schwartz - 4/12/12 at 7:48pm
post #5 of 95

He's diverse. If you watched the Buffy episodes "The Body" and "Once More With Feeling" back-to-back, you'd probably be surprised to learn they were written by the same guy. The first is a harrowing and frank depiction of coping with loss. The second is an amusing musical episode with cast members breaking into song at random moments. Both are, however, brilliant.

post #6 of 95

Just checking but was Whedon the first person to pioneer "The Big Bad" concept for a show? Each Season getting a particular theme and archvillian.

post #7 of 95

I believe the term was coined in the Buffy writer's room, although it probably wasn't a completely novel concept.  It definitely seems like Buffy pushed forward the idea of a season as a single, complete thematic unit.

post #8 of 95

He loves the sci fi/horror/comic book genre, it shows in his work, he is extremely clever (this is sometimes a detriment but usually not) and when he wants to hit you with a gut-punch, he can. He understands group dynamics possibly better than anyone out there, which is why he was chosen for THE AVENGERS. His strengths are as a writer and a creator, but as a director he is competent enough to get what he wants across.

post #9 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

I believe the term was coined in the Buffy writer's room, although it probably wasn't a completely novel concept.  It definitely seems like Buffy pushed forward the idea of a season as a single, complete thematic unit.


This.  I think stuff like Wiseguy and Crime Story did villian arcs prior to Buffy, but Whedon gave it a name.  

 

post #10 of 95
Thread Starter 

If one were going to start diving into Whedon, where would be a good place to start?  Schwartz recommended Firefly, but any other takes on what the best "in" would be?

post #11 of 95



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

I've heard things here and there about him, the Buffy universe, the Firefly stuff and know he has a huge fanbase.  I've seen snippets of Buffy, but never a full episode.  I saw a clip from Firefly on youtube.  From what I saw it just did nothing for me, but that could be because I didn't watch enough to let it soak in.  Or maybe I will never warm to it no matter how much I watch.  I think Whedon is a guy you may have to understand in order to appreciate what he does, so I started this thread.

 

Here's the thing: he has many (many) fans.  They are vocal and they are hardcore, which is great.  He's not for everybody though.  Personally I could never get into Buffy, or Angel, or Firefly.  The last one especially is shocking to me as I adore westerns and am a huge sci fi fan.  It just did nothing for me.  I have a very good friend whose taste closely parallels mine and he's always giving me crap for not liking Firefly.  With all 3 of those shows I'd watch an episode, decide that I just didn't catch a good one, and watch another one, and decide I just needed to give it more time, and then watch a couple more episodes before realizing he's just not my cup of tea.

 

That being said, I'm not concerned about not liking Avengers because of him.  I'll still be there excited to take it in.

post #12 of 95

For all Buffy and Angel were not incredibly popular when they aired, they were incredibly influential on current television series.

post #13 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

If one were going to start diving into Whedon, where would be a good place to start?  Schwartz recommended Firefly, but any other takes on what the best "in" would be?


I agree with Schwartz.  Firefly's a relatively small commitment and you'll be able to decide whether or not you dig Whedon's style.  Buffy and Angel are great, but the first season of Buffy is a bit slow to get off the ground, and I can't really recommend Angel without watching Buffy first.

 

post #14 of 95

As others have noted, Buffy and Angel work so well due to the way the characters, and their world, grow and develop. There are moments in later seasons of both series that are, by turns, hilarious or gripping... IF you've spent time with the characters and watched them come along, but which would mean far less on their own: even something like "Once More With Feeling", the musical episode, was clearly not intended as a standalone piece, but an integral part of that season; it works beautifully in context, but viewed out of context would probably seem little more than a well-executed curiosity.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that it's not easy to dip a quick toe and get hooked; you just need a bit of patience. The first few episodes of Buffy introduced an interstingly quirky high school environment that felt well-remembered, if not particularly "realistic," with just enough fantasy elements to get you to stick around for a bit. After a while, Whedon starts pulling his favorite trick, which is to invert your expectations of a familiar plotline, and with a cast that inhabited their high-concept characterizations effectively placed against that backdrop, it really didn't feel like anything else on TV at the time. Bear in mind, too, this was two years before The Sopranos kicks off the run of amazing cable series we more or less take for granted these days, so even the weaker Buffy episodes were written with a level of wit and attention to character that was definitely not to be taken for granted in those days.

 

 

 

 

post #15 of 95
His work is funny in a way. It is easy to shrug off in snippets if you have no real exposure to. But if you see the right snippet I think you will be interested.

The best example I can come up with is when I was invited to a boyfriend of my sister's for Thanksgiving. My sister was unashamedly a fan of Buffy and I enjoyed the show, but not enough to seek out more episodes in my free time. Buffy was a good compromise between us when we had a remote to fight over. Anyway after her boyfriend's family flat out refused our help in the kitchen we landed in the living room with the TV playing a broadcast of the parade. My sister soon found the remote and turned to Buffy. The "Hush" episode was just starting (one of the best episodes, with almost no dialogue in it after the first act). Dinner was announced in the middle of the episode, but my sister and I hesitated to turn off the show. Soon people came into the room and rolled their eyes when they saw what we were watching. They stood there for a moment after repeating that dinner was nearly served, then their eyes would go back to the tv. Next thing we knew they were quiet and had found a place to sit to watch.

This happend a couple of times until the entire family was watching the TV. Then when the show was over we all went to eat.

Funny, I've never seen a show have this effect on brand new viewers tuning in in the middle of an episode before or since. The characters were that well defined that anyone could follow the plot of an episode even if they didn't understand the scenes to do with the arc of the season
Edited by Tim K - 4/12/12 at 4:24pm
post #16 of 95

I would argue you could start with the beginning of Season 2 of Buffy and not miss much of anything.  That's how I got hooked.  

post #17 of 95
I didn't become a Whedon fan until FX started to rerun Buffy back around the show's 6th season premiere on UPN. I don't live or die for his stuff but I've enjoyed the majority of what he's put out. To say that it's something you have to "get" naturally would probably be accurate. I wouldn't begrudge someone for not loving his stuff, as my wife didn't care for Firefly at all, but it's almost more of a personality thing. You're not going to get along with everyone the same as a friend of yours might. Me and a good friend of mine used to watch horror films together all the time but he is a huge Freddy fan and I love Jason. It's a matter of style and content.

I watched the pilot for Buffy the other night with my wife and it's a perfect example of Whedon in his raw, unrefined form. The man has certainly gotten much better at his craft since then but all of the basic elements were there. People were having witty, quirky conversations outside of normal, everyday rhythms. There was fusion of different genres (California high school drama and ancient vampire lore). Stylistic and thematic conventions and expectations of the audience were tossed aside (kill a "main" character in the first episode, the "Wise, Old Mentor" is a bumbling, British thirtysomething). Many of those things show up in his later, more experienced works but they're still there.

Hardcore Buffyverse fans or Browncoats will claim up and down that he's a visionary and everything he touches is gold because he speaks to them somehow. He has his own style, just like Kubrick, Scott, Nolan, Scorsese, Stone, Wes Anderson, Del Toro, etc.
post #18 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

I believe the term was coined in the Buffy writer's room, although it probably wasn't a completely novel concept.  It definitely seems like Buffy pushed forward the idea of a season as a single, complete thematic unit.



Buffy ran the same time as The Sopranos, maybe started a year or two before it.  Babylon Five beat both by a few years.

post #19 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratty View Post

I would argue you could start with the beginning of Season 2 of Buffy and not miss much of anything.  That's how I got hooked.  



If one insists on starting with Buffy but doesn't have patience for 13 episodes of formative episodes that are mostly just pretty good, then I'd say at least watch "Angel" and the finale.  Ideally the 2 part finale as well, but whatever.

post #20 of 95


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

If one were going to start diving into Whedon, where would be a good place to start?  Schwartz recommended Firefly, but any other takes on what the best "in" would be?



While Angel is IMO significantly better than his other shows, Firefly is probably the best to 'try out'. It's short, has all of Whedon's characteristic tropes, and has a cast filled with recognizable faces.

 

And I still prefer Firefly-Christina-Hendricks to Mad-Men-Christina-Hendricks. smile.gif

post #21 of 95

I took on the same undertaking a few years ago.  I am still not fully completed but close to it.  My curiosity began when my spank bank star Eliza Dushku's Dollhouse was coming on.  Between its two seasons, I enjoyed it enough to look into firefly.  After doing firefly, serenity and dollhouse season 2 ended, I began the buffyverse.  I watched Angel and Buffy in the air order, which made each season a big endeavor of 46 episodes at a time.  I still have to do the last season of Angel, but know that it never had a proper send off, so I can't work up the gusto to start it yet.

 

Whedon is nothing special as a Director.  His shots are somewhat static and there always seems to be a dullness to everything he does.  He is not for everyone, and the issues you have about the Avengers are completely understandable.  I have to also tell you Whedon does ensembles better than almost anybody out there, and he does it in genres that you don't expect that kind of thing.  His stories come across showing that everyone has a strength or weakness that affects the entire team and that the groups fight and struggle to find and maintain a position for everyone.  Not only can he do this well, but he began learning to do it much faster as his series continued.  

 

I think if you look to the Whedon stuff for the stories and not the technical direction, you will like it.  His technical is adequate, but it really is his characters that make his projects work.  I give him full support going into the avengers.

post #22 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by jahosive View Post
  I still have to do the last season of Angel, but know that it never had a proper send off, so I can't work up the gusto to start it yet.

 


Season 5 is arguably its strongest and its ending is note-perfect.  

post #23 of 95

And Angel has one of the better send-offs in television history. It was rushed, but it was well executed and thematically perfect.

post #24 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratty View Post


Season 5 is arguably its strongest and its ending is note-perfect.  



Amen to that. Easily one of my favorite seasons of tv ever.

post #25 of 95

  The best way to decide Buffy and Angel is that that they were the most kick ass horror/drama/comedy shows ever! A recurring theme in both of those shows was redemption. A few characters, no matter how many horrible things they had done, could redeem themselves. It was a hard path to take, and there was never going to be a point where all was forgiven. That said they still did their best to make admends. As a raging cynic, I don't think that ever happens in the real world, but  it made for the best TV I've ever seen! I've got a few PBRs in me, so I feel safe in writing this; the finale of Buffy's six season makes me so happy that I cry. I'm a pussy when I watch Buffy and I'm proud of it!

post #26 of 95

Thirded.  Angel's 5th season is a dramatic departure from what came before, but easily its best and the ending is one of my all-time favorites.

post #27 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratty View Post


Season 5 is arguably its strongest and its ending is note-perfect.  



Ok, you guys have convinced me.  Within the next two weeks I'm gonna jump on it

post #28 of 95

Buffy limped across the finish line. Angel barreled through it.

post #29 of 95

I think Schwartz really nailed it. Despite ridiculous circumstances and "stylized" dialogue (though I think that's a complaint that gets thrown around WAY too much), Whedon's characters feel real because they grow and change in believable ways. He just gets relationships, and does group dynamics as well as anyone.

 

It's been said a bunch already, but it's worth repeating. Watch Firefly if you want to get a taste of what people love about him. It's super-accessible, short, and easily the best first season of anything he's ever done (all his other shows took a while to get going). If you don't enjoy Firefly, you're almost certainly not going to enjoy the rest of his work.

 

Ranked in order of accessibility:

- Firefly

- Dr Horrible (again, it's short. I've often used this as a "gateway drug" to get people into Whedon)

- Buffy (If you're finding the first season a slog, watch "Angel" and the "Prophecy Girl" and skip ahead to season 2. If you're not hooked by the time "School Hard" is over, it may not be for you)

- Angel

- Dollhouse (If you can get through some of the painful early episodes, there's some good stuff in the back half of season 1, and season 2 absolutely nails the landing)

 

And jahosive, you've got to get on Angel season 5. As everyone else has said, it's absolutely terrific.

 

Also, Whedon's got some pretty great comics stuff out there. His run on Astonishing X-Men is my favorite X-Men arc in a very long time.

 

post #30 of 95

Yeah, watch Firefly.  If you have even a passing interest in televisual sci-fi it really is a must.  It gave us Christina Hendricks' best role!

I wouldn't call myself a Whedon-ite.  I haven't watched that much of his stuff, but I can see how people might get hooked.  As mentioned the characterisations are very strong and fun.  His plotting and scenarios also manage to be familiar yet unpredictable, whilst also working very well with the characters.  So it's not like he just throws in character conveniences and twists all the time like a lot of drama series.

Someone could probably pull out situations that were a bit much from his shows, sure. But generally it's quite clever and I find, even when it's cheesy I don't mind watching because something refreshingly different, however small,  usually happens sooner or later.

post #31 of 95

I'm tempted to second Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. It's under an hour long, has an amazing cast, and like all his best stuff it disarms you with a silly-sounding concept while hooking you with the characters, so that by the end you're completely invested.

 

Also, if you're watching any of his stuff on DVD, check out his audio commentaries. His analysis of the Firefly episode "Objects In Space" is one of the best tracks I've ever heard.

post #32 of 95

I'm going to echo the suggestion of starting with FIREFLY, both due to the lesser time commitment and (IMNSHO), it's among his best writing and creating. I'd also heartily recommend DR HORRIBLE, again for time reasons and because it was a passion project, with no network or studio notes or interference.

 

I'm an odd Whedon fan in that BUFFY never connected me with. I've tried a number of times, but there are too many details that just repeatedly take me out of the show's universe. There are some great episodes - "Hush," and "Once More With Feeling" can be enjoyed even if you haven't seen any other episiodes, although I'm sure a ton of context is missed by a cold viewing of the latter - but for me, it was just...silly and unbelievable. And I don't mean in a "vampires aren't really real" sort of way.

 

Haven't read any of his comic work, so can't comment there. But based on FIREFLY, HORRIBLE, and what I've read of him, I'm really excited about AVENGERS.

post #33 of 95

If you're curious about Whedon/Marvel as well, he had a run on Astonishing X-men back in the Aughts.

 

Witty stuff, and to no-one's surprise the teenage female characters get pushed to the forefront.

 

Part of Whedon's secret is that he's brilliant at repackaging the male gaze as girl power.

post #34 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerhead View Post

 

Also, if you're watching any of his stuff on DVD, check out his audio commentaries. His analysis of the Firefly episode "Objects In Space" is one of the best tracks I've ever heard.


Given how great some of the Firefly commentaries are, one of the big disappointments with the Buffy/Angel DVD sets is the decided lack of commentaries. Each season might have 1 or 2 commentaries, which just makes me sad.

 

post #35 of 95

I would recommend the Firefly episode "Out of Gas" for just how moving the show can be. granted, it came at a time when viewers were familiar with all the characters, but it provides a nice introduction to each of them and how they relate to each other. It also contains one of the most awe-inspiring finales of any episode he's done.

post #36 of 95

I was one of those guys who just didn't "get" Whedon.  Buffy never really did anything for me; the dialogue seemed to consist of every single character saying the exact perfect thing at the exact perfect time, and just struck me as too clever for its own good.  And to be honest, some of the fanboy hyperbole really made me predisposed to disliking him -- the "Joss Whedon is my master now" t-shirts didn't help matters.  

 

Firefly completely turned me around.  Maybe it was the fact that it was a larger-than-life setting with archetypal characters, but the dialogue worked.  The characters worked.  Everything that had previously annoyed me just worked.  And Serenity was a fitting follow-up that felt like it justified being a theatrical feature as opposed to feeling like a two-hour episode (hello Star Trek: Insurrection).

 

It hasn't inspired me to go back and watch Buffy or Angel (I think they've been over-hyped to the point I'd never be able to give them an honest shake, although I think I'd be more likely to give Angel a chance than Buffy), but I don't cringe at the guy's name anymore.

post #37 of 95

Whedon: strong female characters. Soap-opera (or at least humanistic) plots, heavy on dialogue, ensemble or 'team' stories.

See also: Chris Claremont writer on X-Men for almost 20 years, and an influence on Whedon.

post #38 of 95

Here's my problem with Whedon: his characters are largely just the same voice, that voice being Whedon. The repeated criticism of Diablo Cody's characters all talking in the same heightened quirky way goes double for Whedon; there's not a line out of Buffy's mouth that couldn't also come from Captain Mal.

 

He also has a stock group of characters that he simply re-fits and re-dresses over and over, which gets annoying when people try to position him as some sort of savant of the written word. Quick, what am I talking about: a group of sassy, reluctant badasses (whether they know it or not) must deal with an external, supernatural/alien threat all while constantly bickering amongst themselves in a witty, sassy manner and pointing out to us, the viewer, how silly all this supernatural/alien stuff is. This is all to highlight how much like a dysfunctional family they are. A female character will demonstrate how strong and independent she is by kicking a dude's butt (or threatening to).

 

Did I just sum up:

 

a) Buffy

b) Angel

c) Firefly/Serenity

d) Atlantis: The Lost Empire

e) Titan A.E.

f) Alien: Ressurection

g) Dollhouse (I'm just shooting in the dark on this one; I never watched it)

h) all of the above

 

It works for some people, some don't notice or it doesn't bother them, but it does me. That bother gets compounded by the fandom, which is probably the most irritating aspect of Whedon. Taken on its own, I just don't like 85% of the guy's work (individual episodes of Angel clicked with me; that show was the closest he's come to making his formula fit with me). Taken with the fandom who trumpet him as the best thing to happen to TV in the last twenty years and everything he touches is pure gold and he's the best writer of strong female characters...it's hard not to rail against that tooth and nail. I don't hate Whedon; it's just I find little to like about what he's done so far. Taken as a whole package with the fandom (and it's hard to ignore it completely when Whedon is, at times, so obviously pandering to them), things get harder to take simply as something I don't care for.

post #39 of 95

Whedon wrote the early treatment to Atlantis, but that movie has five other credited writers.

post #40 of 95

I know. But the sub crew had his fingerprints carved all over them. Which are another group of sassy, reluctant badasses who all bicker while highlighting how much like a family they are and you get the point.

post #41 of 95

I hope you have the exact same criticism for Tarantino, that his characters largely talk in the same "voice", which is Quentin Tarantino.

post #42 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Clark View Post

I know. But the sub crew had his fingerprints carved all over them. Which are another group of sassy, reluctant badasses who all bicker while highlighting how much like a family they are and you get the point.



Wait, Whedon wrote Das Boot?

 

post #43 of 95

The Bride talks nothing like Jules who talks nothing like Hans Landa. C'mon, don't even try making that jump.

post #44 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Clark View Post

The Bride talks nothing like Jules who talks nothing like Hans Landa. C'mon, don't even try making that jump.


 

Giles talks nothing like Spike, and they're both British!

post #45 of 95

I absolutely will make that jump. The Bride talks almost entirely like Jules, the only difference being she is a white woman and he is a black man. I'll give you Hans Landa because Tarantino was reigned in by the time period, and frankly the dialogue was better for it. But KILL BILL part 2 had some of the stalest of stale bullshit warmed over Tarantino dialouge ever, a trend which went nuclear in DEATH PROOF where EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER talked like Tarantino. BASTERDS pulled him back from the brink of self-parody IMO.

post #46 of 95

And Mamet sounds like Mamet.  Pinter sounds like Pinter.  An instantly recognizable style of dialogue is not the same thing all the characters talking in the same voice.  Now, I am not going to level that charge at Whedon; because, although it's a sense I have gotten in the past, I frankly have not watched enough of his stuff to say it with any certainty.  But Tarantino's dialogue is, typically, much better than anything I have heard Whedon write.

post #47 of 95

Hey, I like Tarantino. I just think, like Bailey points out, good writers often have distinctive voices that come through in their dialogue. What dialogue is "better" is entirely subjective. I'd frankly rather listen to Whedon.

post #48 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebastian OB View Post

I absolutely will make that jump. The Bride talks almost entirely like Jules, the only difference being she is a white woman and he is a black man. I'll give you Hans Landa because Tarantino was reigned in by the time period, and frankly the dialogue was better for it. But KILL BILL part 2 had some of the stalest of stale bullshit warmed over Tarantino dialouge ever, a trend which went nuclear in DEATH PROOF where EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER talked like Tarantino. BASTERDS pulled him back from the brink of self-parody IMO.


 

Death Proof was a celebration/send up of his own interests and fetishes.  Something you could say about all his movies, of course; but with a specific eye on the obsessions of the director (i.e. Stuntman Mike.)

post #49 of 95



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bailey View Post


 

Death Proof was a celebration/send up of his own interests and fetishes.  Something you could say about all his movies, of course; but with a specific eye on the obsessions of the director (i.e. Stuntman Mike.)



Oh, I got that. I just didn't think that it made for a particularly good movie, at least the parts that didn't involve vehicular mayhem.

 

I'm not trying to turn this into a take-Tarantino-to-task argument. I just don't think that it's a valid "fault" of Whedon's writing. You may not like his style as much as say Tarantino or Diablo Cody or Mamet or whatever, but it isn't a flaw.

 

And yes, Buffy alone had enough characters with distinctly different voices to disprove the whole notion that "all his characters talk exaclty alike". No, they really don't. Willow sounds nothing like Buffy who sounds nothing like Giles.

 

post #50 of 95

Whedon writes ensemble adventure stories about motley crews of reluctant soldiers.  Nolan writes about hard-edged 30something vigilantes struggling with a past trauma who ultimately can only deal with it by consciously embracing a lie.  Woody Allen rights about self-obsessed Jewish intellectuals and their travails romancing much younger, hotter women.  Tarantino writes about women's feet.  Apatow writes about affable schlubs gradually learning to grow up with help from the love of a good woman.  Aaron Sorkin writes about frustrated idealists raging against the corporate/conservative forces that mandate mediocrity in their noble work.  Shane Black writes about witty, self-aware, middle-aged detectives shooting people.  Mike Myers writes about the effects of traumatic intracranial hemorrhages flooding the speech center of the brain with blood. 

 

Greg's certainly not obligated to like Whedon's work, but I don't think it's an unforgivable flaw that the guy has a wheelhouse.

 

As far as character voices go, yes, I can step back and see some similarities between the archetypes that pop up across the series.  Mal may have lines that could have come from Buffy, or more glaringly, Wash might be Xander in spaceship.  But I don't get distracted by that when I'm watching because Mal doesn't talk just like someone else in his show.  Buffy may have had a little more of that, and I would notice it sometimes when bit players would pop up and talk in a distinctly Xander-ish voice.  But still, the main characters had really distinct voices; you could see a bit of Cordelia slipping into Anya when she came on, but they didn't share screentime and she didn't sound anything like Giles who sounded nothing like Willow who sounded nothing like Spike who sounded nothing like Oz.  To me, anyway.

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