He’s at it again, that Joss Whedon fellow. He’s making another ‘masterpiece’ that doesn’t follow any kind of formulaic plan or career path arc. But are we surprised? No is the only obvious answer here. As Nathan Fillion himself says in the gag reel of Serenity, Joss is Boss. And we believe him.
The genius of Joss Whedon should have been made evident with the theatrical release of Buffy the Vampire Slayer film in 1992. Unfortunately the moron (that’s right I said it) of a producer decided that the workings of the then younger Whedon weren’t good enough and re-imaged the film and destroyed it.
Ultimately the woman did Joss a favour. In her wanton destruction of what could have been, she cleared the way for Joss to re-introduce the world to Buffy Summers and her ‘Scooby gang’ cast of regulars. The success of the small screen Buffy led the way for an almost inevitable spin-off series for the vanquished Angel. The rest, as they say, is history.
Both Buffy and Angel ran for several seasons. Buffy continued to enthral fans for seven seasons while Angel only managed five seasons with the fifth and last season being, arguably, the best. Joss then moved on to the fan favourite Firefly.
Unfortunately the sponsoring network’s biorhythms were really out of whack, either that or there was a ‘We hate Joss’ vendetta type thing going on, because the show got axed almost before it got started.
Dollhouse was next in line and it too fell foul of it’s sponsoring network (with a lot of help from said network, it has to be said) and once again Joss was ‘out in the cold.’
But Joss-is-boss Whedon didn’t sit there crying into his bowl of Cheerio’s. He then came up with the ‘fan-backed’ plan for Serenity. The labour of love that gave all the Firefly fans closure for the characters that they had fallen in love with. Then Joss turned to the internet.
Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and it’s small cadre of players was simply too great for words. Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer (“The hammer is my penis.”), Dr Horrible was Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser all grown up and comically evil) and Felicia Day was Penny the mutual love interest that both men wanted. Great webisodes and great fun.
Joss then stepped up to the plate and hit a Babe Ruth type home run with The Avengers Assemble. That Whedon-esque magic garnered an over one billion dollar box office return that will ensure his name conjures up images of platinum success. I won’t mention the other successful film that had Joss’s fingerprints all over it, The Cabin in the Woods, that was released in the same year as Avengers.
Now Joss has made his own ‘homage’ and re-imaging of the Bard’s Much Ado About Nothing into a ‘Bargain Basement Backyard Production’ with Whedon regulars Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, and Tom Lenk (whom I thought was going to be doomed to do Pepsi Max adverts indefinitely) and a whole lot of other very capable actors.
Looking at stills on IMDb it appears that the film will be in black and white. Nothing new there you say, Young Frankenstein and Schindler’s List were both in black and white. No what will be new, will be what Joss brings to the table in his writing and directing skills.
I am looking forward to seeing this last product of Joss’s creative output. I know that I will not be disappointed.
On a completely different note, I read that the idiot producer that ruined the first ‘Buffy’ film has allegedly dropped her plans for a Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie based on Joss’s television program. There is, it seems, a celluloid God after all. Our ‘cheer-leading’ heroine will remained unsullied and forever associated with Sarah Michelle Gellar and her loyal gang of ‘slayerettes.’
I haven’t mention the many other projects that Joss-is-boss Whedon can lay claim to, if you want to see his impressive credit’s list check out the link to IMDb or Wikipedia. Or you could just watch re-runs of his television masterpieces.
- First Photos From Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing (tor.com)
- “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” Makes Its Television Debut on Tuesday, October 9, on The CW (geekinvaders.com)
- How the Internet Changed the Way We Watch Television (mikesfilmtalk.com)
- Joss Whedon at Comic-Con: director returns home a god among geeks (guardian.co.uk)
- Much Ado About Whedon (talenin.com)
- ‘Dr. Horrible’ Sequel Coming Soon: Recapturing The Horror Of Joss Whedon (splashpage.mtv.com)
In 2005 fans of the television series of Firefly were finally able to get some closure. Joss Whedon’s western space show, Firefly had been cut off at the knees before it could really take off. Fox network (who I think should win the ‘We Hate Joss Award’) axed the new series almost, it seems, out of spite.
Firefly had a good solid fan base and characters that appealed to the audience. The show played well and the whole first season set up what should have been season two and beyond. The question has to be asked. Did Joss piss off Fox in some obscure way? Or was Fox annoyed that Firefly wasn’t another Buffy? We will never know.
That Whedon has a good track record on television is a matter of fact. You cannot have two programs that run for years and have an almost rabidly faithful fan base without having done something right. Of course you cannot talk about early cancellations without mentioning Dollhouse (2009). Fox called the shots on Joss’s next television baby and their guidance doomed the show to a quick death. By following Fox’s guidelines Joss took too long to build up the show and started losing the viewing wars before the show could build up steam.
But with Dollhouse, Joss was able to give fans of the show a bit of closure. The second season was allowed to finish and so finished the story. Perhaps not to a very satisfactory conclusion, but it was a conclusion of sorts, not like the hasty death of Firefly.
I won’t waste time going into the plot and characters of Firefly. If you have stopped to read this article you will already be familiar with the verse as presented on television.
Serenity is just Firefly grown up. Despite the small budget, the film feels bigger, more expansive and more dangerous than the tv show. All the show’s regulars are there. It felt a little like a class reunion. All the familiar folks are here, just a little older and perhaps not any wiser but their performances have aged like a fine wine.
The cast list is as follows:
Nathan Fillion as Mal
Gina Torres as Zoe
Alan Tudyk as Wash
Morena Baccarin as Inara
Adam Baldwin as Jayne
Jewel Staite as Kaylee
Sean Maher as Simon
Summer Glau as River
Ron Glass as Shepard Derrial Book
Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative
David Krumholtz as Mr Universe
The film opens with the rescue of River by her brother Simon. We find out that what we are watching is security footage of the River’s escape and the man watching the footage is the scary “The Operative” a deadly government man tasked to bring River back.
The rest of the film is the crew of Serenity trying to stay one step ahead of The Operative. There are brilliant scenes in the movie. The “I swallowed a bug.” scene aka “All right, let’s be bad guys.” This opening ensemble piece shows the group dynamic and introduces us to Reaver’s, bloodthirsty man-monsters who torture, rape, and kill everyone they come in contact with.
I won’t go too much into the film as there might just be someone out there who hasn’t heard of Browncoats, Firefly, or Reavers. But I will mention my second favourite scene in the film.
The crew of Serenity land and disembark on a planet. The whole crew is upset because Simon and River are going to leave. Mal and Jayne go to deal with their fences. River goes to watch a televised commercial for fruity oat bars. She sees something in the commercial that prompts her to murmur the word, Miranda.
The second she says the word, the ninety pound girl proceeds to kick every conceivable ass in the bar. She incapacitates Jayne and is in a ‘Mexican Stand off’ with Mal, when Simon saves the day.
This entire scene is a show stopper. The choreography for this fight scene (designed to show just how dangerous River is) is balletic and beautiful. It takes my breath every time I see it.
Of course, later in the film, we see why River is so deadly.
Even if you are not a Firefly fan and need some sort of closure, watch this film. I actually saw Serenity before I watched the television show. It is the best example of why Joss is boss and why he was the only choice to helm the Avenger’s Assemble film.
- Comic-Con to Host Firefly Reunion (seattlepi.com)
- Comic-Con: Joss Whedon has message for ‘Firefly’ fans (herocomplex.latimes.com)
- Firefly Cast Reunites for 10th Anniversary Comic-Con Panel (geeksyndicate.wordpress.com)
- Five reasons to go to a Can’t Stop the Serenity screening (blog404.org)
- Ain’t Misbehavin’: #23, Serenity (top50sf.wordpress.com)
- Firefly Reunion Panel of the Day (geeks.thedailywh.at)
- There’s going to be a 10-year Firefly Reunion at this year’s Comic-Con! [Sdcc 2012] (io9.com)
- Yes Virginia, There IS A SDCC ‘Firefly’ Reunion Panel! With Joss Whedon! (geek-news.mtv.com)
- Comic-Con 2012: FIREFLY 10th Anniversary Panel to Feature Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion and More (collider.com)