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Blog Entry, Geek Stuff

My Thoughts on the Whedonverse and Its Impact

So a couple of days ago I was painting and decided to pop Serenity in for noise.

Big Mistake.

I’ve learned that pretty much anything Whedon is going to result in me sitting down, watching intently, even if I’ve seen it a hundred times. Of course this isn’t a new realization, ever since they ran Buffy reruns on FX it was the same reaction.

That got me thinking. Not only does Joss Whedon turn out good productions, but it is something that you can keep coming back to and still enjoy it. My wife and I recently started up Buffy the Vampire Slayer from season one since it’s on Netflix now. Yeah, we have all the discs but it’s streaming now so we don’t have to get up every four episodes. Yes, I’m lazy at times and I embrace it.

Joss Whedon has, even though some may not want to admit, made an impressive impact on Geek culture. Whedon made geek culture accessible to the mainstream by creating work that gave everyone something to enjoy while exposing them to something new. Before Buffy exploded onto the scene, most vampire shows were relegated to late night TV or syndication on cable channels. That and shows like Forever Knight were geared towards an older audience and didn’t really take off with the younger demographic. With Buffy, Whedon showed that Geek culture was not as small as everyone thought and that it was not as shut off or exclusive either. The collective groups in both Buffy and later Angel did not discriminate in terms of who they accepted into the fold. Pretty much anyone who wanted to be a part of the group (without trying to kill everyone) could. Even then, the line was a little blurry.

The quality of Whedon’s work and style speaks volumes to how many of the productions he’s touched built a cult following. Look at Firefly, Fox canceled the show without letting it finish its first season, on top of giving it a crappy time slot to boot. However, the fan base for the show exploded and had a great deal to do with Serenity, the movie from the same universe, being produced. Joss is no stranger to pushing boundaries and trying something new and fresh. If you look at his track record darn near everything he has done that was his original creation was something no one had seen before. Even productions like Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible went beyond what we saw before. Think about popular shows like Glee or other primetime programming that did an entire musical episode. Where do you think that came from?

Some may argue with me on this point, but I firmly believe that a lot of the good programming we have on now owes, even in small part, something to Joss. I don’t think that a show like Glee would have been green lit if Joss hadn’t busted that mold in season six of Buffy and further with Dr. Horrible. Prior to this I am hard pressed to come up with another modern show that either did the entire musical episode or was a musical series. I’m excluding the Brady Bunch Musical show because that was more variety and not scripted television. Going beyond the musical point, Joss just flat out pushes any boundary he can when it comes to the narrative he puts out.

I don’t know about you all, but I really liked Dollhouse. It was a very original concept that really didn’t get the credit or acclaim it deserved or a decent time slot.

If you want further support that Joss puts out quality work, just look at who is in his productions. If you take a good look, you’ll see that very often you see repeat performers across his varied projects. Why? Because not only do actors like Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, and others enjoy working with him, they love what he’s doing.

Joss definitely raised the bar with regards to what Geeks expect from our media. We expect that level of quality in production, narrative, and character. All of the characters in the Whedonverse are fully developed, complex characters who the viewer or reader can still relate to. No, I have never gone crazy and tried to kill my girlfriend and all of her friends. But I can relate to feeling guilt at past transgressions and the need to atone.

Joss Whedon has definitely made an impact on Geek culture, like it or not he continues to do so. His stint writing for the X-Men and directing the Avengers movie definitely shook things up. From what I saw of the Avengers teaser after Captain America, he’s gonna deliver again. I don’t see that as a bad thing though. Look at the good that came out of it. Geek culture is growing more mainstream, in the sense that it’s growing in acceptance by popular culture. Will this lead to a dilution of the culture and therefore a lack of importance? I don’t think so, yet those fears exist. I prefer to think that Geeks should be welcoming to new members. Even if they are only a geek about something small, if we welcome them into the proverbial Scooby gang then they may just end up becoming passionate about something else, and then something after that. Which is definitely a good thing.

On the other hand, they could go over the edge and try to destroy the world with the untold levels of power they find. Either way, it’ll be interesting and you can say I told you so.

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