Things Joss Whedony

Buffyverse (by StarbuckGuy)

It’s a fine line between dependency and addiction. If it’s something you need to keep you going, it’s a dependency. If you also crave it, it’s an addiction.

I’m trying to decide if things Joss Whedony are crack for my brain. A mere year ago I didn’t even know who Joss Whedon was. Now I may have developed an ‘addictioncy’ for his pop-culture productions.

It all started with Buffy — Buffy the Vampire Slayer — written and directed by Joss Whedon. My son’s girlfriend Kirsten and I share many tastes in reading material, and several times when we were discussing some of our mutual faves, such as Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, she’d make references to some parallel in Buffy.

I’d thought Buffy was some kind of air-headed teenage TV program and wondered why she kept mentioning it so often, so I asked her more about it. Little did I know there was an entire Internet infrastructure surrounding the Buffyverse — plot summaries, discussion groups, interviews, fan fiction, and academic writings.

She made me curious, but because I’m not naturally drawn to television programming I wanted to test the waters before investing in a Buffy DVD, so I checked out Season One of Buffy from the public library. Marion and I watched two or three episodes and were instantly hooked. I ordered the box set — the complete seven seasons on DVD — and we watched the 40 DVD’s  in less than thirty days.

A few days ago, we finished watching through the series a third time. We’re also reading a book of essays by science fiction and fantasy writers called Seven Seasons of Buffy.

I’ve never seen television programming like this. Funny with snappy lines often undercutting serious scenes, mythic journeys, the pain of love and loss, and strong acting from the entire cast. The series is a modern-day epic tale. Buffy is a tremendously strong, vulnerable, completely-modern character — saving the world from apocalypses but all the while wishing she could instead be dating and shopping like any ‘normal’ young woman. Who could not fall under the spell of Willow and Tara, or love the attitude of Spike? Even the villains are wonderful: the Mayor, Glory, Caleb.

Buffy leads to Angel, and soon I had acquired the five-season set of Angel on DVD. I’m not as fond of David Boreanaz as I am of the other actors in the Buffyverse, but the Angel series has a strong supporting cast.

Angel leads to Firefly and the followup movie, Serenity. Another excellent brainchild of Joss Whedon with a strong cast and great acting. I must thank my friend Peter for lending me his DVD’s.

Firefly leads to Dollhouse. I’m eagerly awaiting its debut on FOX, on Friday, February 13th. Starring Eliza Dushku (who stole many scenes in Buffy in the character of Faith, the sexy, wild and dangerous renegade Slayer),  I’m expecting another Joss Whedon mindbending, thoughtful, action-filled series.

Crack, I think. Probably a hopeless addiction.

P.S. As Matt pointed out in a comment, I didn’t include Whedon’s latest: Dr. Horrible. I’m not even quite certain what it is, having missed it while it was being released on the Internet, but I know there’s a DVD available for it: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. I’m looking forward to catching up to this one.