When I think Joss Whedon, I think about three great television series that he had created. Whedon took up roles of writer, director, executive producer, and most importantly the creator of three big TV programs. His works were Buffy the Vampire Slayer, along with the spinoff called Angel, and Firefly. Firefly was short lived due to Fox cancelling the show. You can get the entire first season of Firefly on DVD. Joss Whedon also directed the movie continuation of Firefly called Serenity.
He is currently 42 years of age. Though most of us know him as Joss Whedon, his birth name is Joseph Hill Whedon. He was born on June 23, 1964. That makes Whedon a native New Yorker. Whedon attended Westchester College in the United Kingdom before going to Wesleyan University located in Connecticut in 1987. Whedom obtained his degree in film at Wesleyan.
He is a third-generation writer. His father Tom Whedon wrote scripts for the popular shows in the 70s and the 80s the Electric Company and The Golden Girls in that respective order. Joss’ grandfather Joh Whedon was a writer for the 50s show, The Donna Reed Show. His brother is also a screen writer. Zack Whedon wrote for the show Deadwood that’s on HBO.
Like most aspiring actors, writers, and directors, Whedon moved to Los Angeles where he got his first job as a writer on one of the hit television sitcoms called Roseanne. For a few years, he worked as a script doctor who gives scripts various treatments to make them better. He went to TV after spending some time as a script doctor. Once Whedon returned to TV, that’s when he created those three shows.
Whedon wrote the script to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. Soon it would be a major hit on national TV accelerating the acting careers of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seth Green, Allison Hannigan, and Michelle Tractenburg. The movie didn’t make that much success but the series was a whole different story. It became one of the most popular shows in television history. It ran a good while on The WB before being placed on UPN or United Paramount Network.
Usually TV series that come out of movies are generally terrible. But it wasn’t the case with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. During the first few seasons of Buffy, Whedon introduced Buffy’s first boyfriend in the series Angel, whose real name is Liam and is several hundred years old. Angel was a vampire with a soul as the result of a Gypsy curse. Then Angel left the show after the graduation ceremony from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Cordelia’s friend Harmony got bitten during the ceremony and became a vampire and made appearances back and forth on Buffy and Angel.
When Angel left, it was the beginning of Whedon’s next successful piece of work, Angel which had its first broadcast on September of 1999. While Buffy focused more on teenage issues especially high school issues, Angel appealed to a more older crowd. These storylines were revolved around more adult settings such as organized crimes, gangs, police corruption, and what not. I guess that was what made Angel very successful. While Buffy was fighting against the legions of Hell, Angel’s main antogonist was this evil lawfirm known as Wolfram and Hart. The lawyers at Wolfram and Hart were well versed in human law as well as various demonic laws.
Wolfram of Hart was the embodiment of darkness. It was so grounded to reality that would make us think about what lawyers could get away with. By far, Angel was a very great spin-off. Surprisingly, more people watched Angel than they did with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
His third series Firefly was a great concept. But only eleven episodes were broadcasted while fourteen were filmed. Firefly had a great diversity of characters. Firefly was short-lived. Though the show was only fourteen episodes, DVD sales skyrocketed. Recently, a Firefly movie was show at the theateres. It was called Serenity which was the name of the ship played by Malcolm Reynolds. Cast members of Firefly made guest appearances on both shows.
Nathan Fillion who plays Malcom Reynolds played the evil cleric on Buffy named Caleb. Adam Bladwin who played Jayne Cobb played Marcus Hamilton on Angel. Gina Torres who played Zoe played a major villain in the fourth season of Angel named Jasmine. Summer Glau who plays River Tam made an appearance on Angel as a Russian ballerina.
Whedon had a very good concept and idea with Firefly. Takes place in the far future with a sci-fi and wild-west feel at the same time grounded to reality. There was a lot of Chinese and Japanese influence on the locations associated with Firefly. But circumstances with Fox cancelling Firefly and causing problems caused Whedon not to want to work with the network again.
For Serenity, it received the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.
His less notable works were writing and co-writing popular movies Toy Story and Titan A.E. He got a nomimation for an Academy Award for writing Toy Story. He also wrote less popular titles such as Alien: Resurrection. He wrote one draft of Waterworld that was thrown out.
Though all three of his shows have been cancelled, Whedon has a sizeable following of supporters. When WB cancelled Angel, fans campaigned to save the show. When Fox cancelled Firefly, supporters of the show took up the name of the “Browncoats” which were the Independents fighting against the Federation in the beginning of Firefly.
Whedon has made a name in TV and Movies. He’s also a fan of comics. There’s a comic in circulation by Dark Horse Comics by Whedon called Fray. It’s in the Buffyverse which is the universe of Buffy and Angel. It’s called Fray.
What made Whedon’s shows popular was that they addressed many real-life issues such as feminism, homosexuality, and death. Many notable characters died in Whedon’s works. Homosexuality was show between the relationship of Allison Hannigan’s character Willow and Tara who was killed by a stray bullet.
Many of Whedon’s views and beliefs are portrayed in his works. Whedon’s an athiest and that definitely showed in Buffy and in Angel. Whedon’s biggest influence was his mother.
From writing for Roseanne, Whedon went and created very great works on television and probably will do more so in the future.