Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Whedon Fandom in a Nutshell

Lee Goldberg posted his thoughts on FOX's decision not to air the thirteenth episode of Dollhouse, and the comments evolved into a discussion of Joss Whedon's body of work. I commented:

I wasn't much into BUFFY, but I respected it for breaking stereotypes and giving gravitas to a concept that flopped at the movies.

I was a fan of ANGEL having seen the character on BUFFY, and because I have a preference for P.I. shows. As ANGEL evolved into an ensemble fantasy show, my interest waned, but I still saw just about every episode.

I can see why FIREFLY was a difficult show for people to get into, but I liked it from first airing to last. I found the mix of Western and Eastern cultures and the new frontier mentality appealing. I liked that the dialogue was nuanced and yet fairly easy to grasp. FIREFLY is the kind of show you appreciate more with a second look, and I think that's why it succeeded on DVD. SERENITY wasn't profitable enough to greenlight a sequel, but [if you combine its worldwide box office take with its DVD sales, it has made a profit].

DOLLHOUSE lost me with its second episode. As Lee has pointed out, it's too similar in concept to MY OWN WORST ENEMY and THE PRETENDER. Its quirky questions of identity aside, Whedon is covering the same ground he broke with BUFFY--minus Buffy's personality.

FIREFLY may not have lasted sixty episodes, but FOX is partly to blame for viewers not finding it. First, FOX inexplicably did not like the original two-hour pilot, forcing Whedon and Tim Minear to write a substitute pilot over a weekend. Second, FOX pre-empted FIREFLY several times with its MLB playoff coverage, before any ratings trend had developed.

By contrast, I think FOX has given DOLLHOUSE ample opportunity to succeed, but its concept, as the folks on FIREFLY would say, is "weak tea."

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