My first Joss Whedon experience came during the summer of 1999. After having watched the San Francisco Giants on TV every night for weeks on end I finally snapped and abandoned my husband to his stupid Barry Bonds obsession and discovered one of my own.
I decided that flipping channels on the TV in our bedroom was better than watching another baseball game. (Yes, I realize this is going to rile more than a few ‘Lopers. I love baseball. Really. Just not the Giants, and just not every night). While flipping channels I came across a repeat of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s season three episode “Choices.”
That was the beginning.
From then on, the only place I was going to be on Tuesdays at 8pm was in front of my television watching the happenings in Sunnydale. It didn’t matter that I was three seasons behind and that I jumped in on a repeat that was well into the season-long story arc. Eventually, somewhere in the middle of season four, I took Jim down with me.
Then came Angel, which, in retrospect, I think eventually became the better show. With Angel, he created a sub-universe within the Buffyverse. But Angel went to darker, scarier places and I was happy to go right along with him. Though during the last couple of seasons, Angel got so weird that Jim wondered how anybody could come across it while flipping and have any idea what was going on. Needless to say, we loved every second.
With Firefly, Joss created an entirely new universe and once again explored that murky area between light and dark.
At one time, there was an incredible amount of Joss Whedon product to be enjoyed. With three television shows (Buffy, Angel and Firefly) plus the comics set in the Buffyverse (Fray being a standout) and eventually Serenity, the movie based on Firefly. But, apparently all things have to come to end and Buffy signed off after seven years. Angel came to an end a year later, and Firefly, well, it was cancelled after only 13 episodes. Fracking FOX.
Joss created worlds that I could fully sink myself into. He wrote about things that we can all relate to: Your first love and how it can go so wrong so quickly, how your friends become an extension of your family. He wrote about redemption. He wrote abut right and wrong and the gray area in between and, in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, he twisted the metaphor of high school being hell by setting it right on the Mouth of Hell. Well, one of them, anyway.
We all know that Buffy is a superhero for the ages, but she wasn’t the only strong female character that he wrote. Joss Whedon specializes in strong female characters. Strong female characters that have depth, pathos, and an uncanny ability to stand up for themselves and defeat the big bad all while delivering a witty quip. They are not perfect. They have flaws, moments of selfishness and occassionally make poor decisions that have long-lasting consequences. But that’s usually when the fun starts. That’s when we get to see them try to redeem themselves. It makes for powerful television. And he manages this by making us cry, laugh and gasp in horror — sometimes all at once.
Now, except for his hopefully recurring character of Car Rental Guy on Veronica Mars, he’s abandoned TV completely (though considering the fates of Angel and Firefly, it’s really the other way around) and not only is he continuing the Buffy saga in the comic books with what would have essentially been season eight, he is also working with yet another strong female character: Wonder Woman. I can’t wait to see how he deals with her.