Monday, May 2, 2011

All Things Joss Whedon

“If somebody comes up to me, it's because they're moved by something I'm moved by. I've never taken a job I didn't love ... So when somebody's coming up to me, or they're writing, they're in the same space I am in. I write for fanboy moments. I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of. I write to do all the things the viewers want to. So the intensity of the fan response is enormously gratifying. It means I hit a nerve.” – Joss Whedon being serious

“Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck.” – Joss Whedon being funny

So who is Joss Whedon and why should you care about anything he has done?  Well, he is a writer, director, producer, composer, lyricist, script doctor, humorist, and even occasional actor, among other things.  He has worked in all the major media, including movies, television, stage, music, comics, and even the internet.

Joss is known for his strong female characters, witty dialogue, characters that grow and change, and for not shying away from taking risks with his plots.

Writing is definitely in his blood.  He is the grandson of John Whedon, who wrote in the 1950s and 1960s for The Donna Reed Show and Leave It to Beaver, and the son of Tom Whedon, who wrote in the 1960s and 1970s for The Dick Cavett Show, Alice, and Benson.  His brothers Jed and Zack are also writers, although not as prolific.

Joss started out writing for the TV shows Roseanne and Parenthood.  Since then he has gathered a large fan following as the creator of such shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse.  He also created the internet serial Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. 

He was one of the writers of the original Toy Story (1995) and was nominated for an Academy Award because of it.  He has written the screenplays for Serenity (2005), Titan A.E. (2000), and Alien: Resurrection (1997.)  As a script doctor he has provided uncredited re-writes for Speed (1994), Twister (1996), and many other movies. 

As a composer he wrote an entire musical episode (all original songs) for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was later turned into a stage production and a hit album.  He also wrote the opening song for his show Firefly, and has songs in other TV episodes, as well as in the movie Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (1998.)  He co-wrote the songs for Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, as well as Commentary: the Musical on the Dr. Horrible DVD release.

In the comic book arena he has written many different books, most notably Astonishing X-Men and Buffy Season 8 – the official continuation of the seven season TV show.

He first acted on his show Angel.  There was a new comical character that was supposed to do a funny dance.  Joss’ vision was very particular and his partner on the show told him that if it was that important then he should play the part himself.  He did.  He spent hours in makeup in order to do a comical dance for several seconds on that episode.  Years later he was a huge fan of the TV show Veronica Mars (so was I) and he appeared in an episode to bring his fans’ attention to the series.

As a director, he has done many episodes of his own shows, of course, but he has also directed episodes of other shows that he likes a lot, such as Glee and The Office.  He directed the theatrical movie Serenity (2005), which was based on his TV show Firefly.

Finally, he was chosen to be the writer and director of the Avengers movie, which is coming in 2012.  It will combine all the Marvel characters from Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America, as well as some new characters.  This is the major culmination of what Marvel Studios has been working towards since the first Iron Man movie came out and there is a lot riding on it.

Joss Whedon has had a hand in many things, most of which are ones that I would recommend.  In the coming days I will be making many posts on those.
On to the reviews…

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