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Joss Whedon and Lack of Mainstream SuccessFollow

#1 May 04 2009 at 3:10 PM Rating: Good
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I, like many people, have loved alot of Joss Whedon vehicles: Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog. Well, Dollhouse was put on Friday nights, officially a dead zone for shows that the networks have no faith in, and it's hemorrhaging ratings. Most people think it won't last for more than a episode or so.

Why hasn't Joss Whedon really broken big into the mainstream, even in the way that a show like Gossip Girl or some **** like that has?


It's interesting b/c Buffy is definitely a cult hit as is Firefly. Angel was picking up steam but some of the insiders say that the producers asked for an early pickup and painted into the corner, the president of the WB canceled it. Apparently they wouldn't have since the ratings were up, if Whedon had just negotiated during the regular time, they wouldn't have canceled. It still feels undone. On a related note, have you guys read the comics? Are they satisfying?

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#2 May 04 2009 at 3:51 PM Rating: Excellent
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On a related note, have you guys read the comics? Are they satisfying?


If you liked Buffy & Angel, you'll love the comics.

The current Buffy comics arc is essentially what would have been Season 8, so it's satisfying. Most of the rest just kinda expand on origins & flesh out what actually happened during the other seasons.

But **** Whedon's Buffy comics, his handling of Astonishing X-Men (With GORGEOUS art by John Cassidy) was Epic!

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E-P-I-C!

Go Buy it now.

Seriously, why are you reading this? If you're not going to your local bookstore, you should be ordering it. It's great Joss Whedon & some of the best X-Men stuff ever.

E V E R!
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#3 May 04 2009 at 7:34 PM Rating: Good
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Remember Anna, the phrase of the day is "Reality TV". As soon as Whedon makes one based in one of his "Whedonverses" the sheep will flock to him and he'll become mainstream.
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#4 May 04 2009 at 11:41 PM Rating: Good
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Why hasn't Joss Whedon really broken big into the mainstream

Probably because his ideas, while cool, are hard to sell. Take Firefly for example. Awesome show, but when you try to explain it to someone the concept of a space western is kind of weird and not that interesting to most people.
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#5 May 05 2009 at 12:08 AM Rating: Decent
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Now that I think about it I do find it odd. Shows like Buffy and Angel don't seem all too different from Heroes, which I am led to believe has been hugely successful.There's probably some subtle difference that matters to mainstream audiences I am missing, but I can't see why Buffy should be so less popular than Heroes.
#6 May 05 2009 at 12:15 AM Rating: Good
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Lady Karlina wrote:
Probably because his ideas, while cool, are hard to sell. Take Firefly for example. Awesome show, but when you try to explain it to someone the concept of a space western is kind of weird and not that interesting to most people.

I doubt that was the problem. "space" and "western" go together as easily as "medieval" and "fantasy." It is not exactly a unique or unheard of idea.
#7 May 05 2009 at 6:39 AM Rating: Decent
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Warchief Annabella wrote:

Why hasn't Joss Whedon really broken big into the mainstream, even in the way that a show like Gossip Girl or some sh*t like that has?


Honestly? Because Whedon's material is too intelligent for the general populace.

Take Buffy for instance. You had two levels to that show. On the surface was the cheesy, campy B-rate monster movie stuff with one of the most laughable premises ever (cheerleader fights vampires.) Underneath, you had layers of metaphor, both obvious and subtle. Unless you were smart enough to catch the metaphor, though, the show would have just looked downright STUPID. And I think the average American TV viewer wants their stuff spoon-fed to them and doesn't look deeper for the metaphor.

Now, to be fair, you also had the baggage of a truly bad movie by the same name which dissuaded people who might have otherwise given the series a chance (it nearly did me.) But overall, I think it was simply that the show was too smart.

Another good example of this problem is the original 1998 series Cupid. I recently found a low-quality VHS-to-divx transfer of this show on BitTorrent and downloaded it so that I could see if it was as good as I remembered, or if I had idealized it due to my trauma of its early cancellation, and also to do a side-by-side comparison to the NEW incarnation of Cupid presently airing on ABC.

It was still good. But what's more, it was much more subtle. It was witty. The dialogue was rapid-fire. You had to actually pay attention to follow it. No wonder it did so badly.

Alas, Rob Thomas learned his lesson; the new Cupid is neither subtle nor witty and has essentially been lobotomized. The dialogue doesn't hop along, the characters don't talk over each other the way real people do, the ambiance of Chicago is gone with the change of venue to NYC, and rather than having to pay attention and THINK about the show and characters and story, pretty much everything is spoonfed to you until you feel like you're being bludgeoned about the head and shoulders with the clue-bat. And since the new actors have pretty much no chemistry, the show isn't nearly as good. But I'm sure it's appealing to a much broader audience, the audience that doesn't expect their shows to be smart.

I will say, I have no issues with the Friday night time-slot for Dollhouse--while yes, that is generally a bad time-slot, for FOX a number of series have found a great audience there, especially cult series like The X-Files, which also started in that slot and didn't move to Sundays until its fourth season.
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#8 May 05 2009 at 7:54 AM Rating: Good
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Ambrya wrote:
Honestly? Because Whedon's material is too intelligent for the general populace.

Yeah.... no.
#9 May 05 2009 at 9:38 AM Rating: Good
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Allegory wrote:
Ambrya wrote:
Honestly? Because Whedon's material is too intelligent for the general populace.

Yeah.... no.


I think it would be better said that Whedon's material relies very much on witty interactions between characters. The dialogue is quick and easy to miss. Some would say sitcoms also rely on dialogue, but sitcoms have the annoying background audience telling you when to laugh. With Whedon's stuff you laugh because it's funny, not because a crowd does so. While there are other types of comedy in the series (of which, I'll admit, I have only seen Buffy, Angel, and Firefly), the wit in the dialogue always kept it fresh for me.
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#10 May 05 2009 at 10:07 AM Rating: Good
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He should create a generic cop drama. Then about 3-5 seasons in, he can start making spinoff generic cop dramas off the original generic cop drama.
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#11 May 05 2009 at 1:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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Why hasn't Joss Whedon really broken big into the mainstream, even in the way that a show like Gossip Girl or some sh*t like that has?
(A) A lack of mainstream topics for his shows limiting the initial viewership, compounded by
(B) A tendancy towards continuity heavy shows where, even once you hear that "Show X" is pretty good, you feel like you missed the story-boat and don't bother.

This comes from someone who never watched any of Whedon's stuff, primarily for the above reasons. Once in a while I think about getting Firefly off Netflix since it's just the one season. Haven't done so yet though.

I partially blame Dollhouse's demise on the notion that only people who were already into Whedon's stuff -- a limited demographic as is due to the above -- would feel like making sure to catch it on a Friday night. Or maybe it just sucked. I dunno.

Edited, May 5th 2009 4:04pm by Jophiel
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#12 May 05 2009 at 4:26 PM Rating: Good
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In my opinion, his shows just aren't very good. Firefly is the only one that I really thought could have taken off. He built an interesting universe that could have been explored much more deeply. His shows have the feel of something that should be played around Sunday at noon, like the old crappy Superman show with Teri Hatcher and that Cain guy. I really wanted to like Dollhouse, but its just not very good.
#13 May 06 2009 at 10:40 AM Rating: Decent
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BoondockSaint wrote:
In my opinion, his shows just aren't very good. Firefly is the only one that I really thought could have taken off. He built an interesting universe that could have been explored much more deeply. His shows have the feel of something that should be played around Sunday at noon, like the old crappy Superman show with Teri Hatcher and that Cain guy. I really wanted to like Dollhouse, but its just not very good.


I don't care all that much for Firefly myself but Angel and Buffy aren't bad shows. Definitely not compared to so many other shows out there.

I've seen some episodes of Dollhouse, it didn't appeal to me much either. And that Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog was pretty darn horrible imo.

His Astonishing X-Men might be some of the best the X-Men world has seen in quite some time, but that's more a sign of decay for the comic than anything else. Was it ever explained how Colossus got back anyway? (mind you, a long time ago, the entire X-Men team got killed and revived in a matter of one page, most marvel characters have died and come back too, so it's not unusual, to say the least)


The more I think on it, the more I just would say that he's not all that good I suppose. Only my opinion ofcourse and he still should have more mainstream appeal and success if only for Buffy and Angel.
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#14 May 06 2009 at 11:59 PM Rating: Good
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Was it ever explained how Colossus got back anyway?


In a word...yes.

But I'm too dorky for just one word.


So the first Arc of Astonishing was about a "cure" for mutants. This cure was developed by this dude Ord reviving Colossus (after switching the body) & using the Legacy Virus cure in Colossus' blood to develop a "cure" for mutants.

1- Colossus sacrifices himself to cure the Lagacy Virus
2- Ord swaps his dead body for another
3- Ord revives Colossus'
4- Ord uses Colossus' blood to develop cure for mutants
5- Ord locks Colossus up until Kitty finds him
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#15 May 07 2009 at 7:01 AM Rating: Decent
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I watched firefly on the internet because I had heard such good things about it, but never knew what it actually was, I thought it was fantastic. I tried to tell my friends to watch it, they replied "A western in space... sounds pish" Thats probably the main reason why Firefly failed, you will notice that Serenity was a far bigger success, and was far less western, far more more space.

Ambrya, you talk about programs failing because they were too intelligent for the audience, I reccomend Coupling to you, the UK version was fantastic despite only lasting 3 seasons, the US version bombed even though it used almost exactly the same script.
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#16 May 07 2009 at 7:57 AM Rating: Decent
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Omegavegeta wrote:
Quote:
Was it ever explained how Colossus got back anyway?


In a word...yes.

But I'm too dorky for just one word.


So the first Arc of Astonishing was about a "cure" for mutants. This cure was developed by this dude Ord reviving Colossus (after switching the body) & using the Legacy Virus cure in Colossus' blood to develop a "cure" for mutants.

1- Colossus sacrifices himself to cure the Lagacy Virus
2- Ord swaps his dead body for another
3- Ord revives Colossus'
4- Ord uses Colossus' blood to develop cure for mutants
5- Ord locks Colossus up until Kitty finds him


Oh yeah, I only recall bits and pieces of that particular storyline. Perhaps I should reread it first, then talk about it Smiley: grin
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#17 May 10 2009 at 5:22 PM Rating: Decent
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Zieveraar wrote:
Omegavegeta wrote:
Quote:
Was it ever explained how Colossus got back anyway?


In a word...yes.

But I'm too dorky for just one word.


So the first Arc of Astonishing was about a "cure" for mutants. This cure was developed by this dude Ord reviving Colossus (after switching the body) & using the Legacy Virus cure in Colossus' blood to develop a "cure" for mutants.

1- Colossus sacrifices himself to cure the Lagacy Virus
2- Ord swaps his dead body for another
3- Ord revives Colossus'
4- Ord uses Colossus' blood to develop cure for mutants
5- Ord locks Colossus up until Kitty finds him


Oh yeah, I only recall bits and pieces of that particular storyline. Perhaps I should reread it first, then talk about it Smiley: grin


Great story line. Isn't he also doing or did Marvel Zombies?

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#18 May 10 2009 at 9:05 PM Rating: Good
Nah, Robert Kirkman did all the Marvel Zombies stuff.

Not a fan, but Kirkman's The Walking Dead is still friggin' awesome.

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#19 May 11 2009 at 5:21 PM Rating: Good
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Remember Anna, the phrase of the day is "Reality TV". As soon as Whedon makes one based in one of his "Whedonverses" the sheep will flock to him and he'll become mainstream.


Sign me up!!
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#20 May 12 2009 at 9:16 AM Rating: Decent
Not really sure what you mean by not having mainstream success getting 7 seasons of buffy alone sounds like success to me. He's not alone though, the x-files and hercules/xena died pretty hard too.

Usually though genre shows like that succeed not because of the writing, but because of the cast, and other things like pr and buzz. Its a problem of the business-even the biggest shows fade after awhile. You'd never know that M*A*S*H or cheers were as big as they were today.
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#21 Jun 05 2009 at 6:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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I still can't figure out the Firefly thing. My wife had to force me to watch it (She left out the Joss Whedon part), but once she did, I thought it was fantastic. I loved the movie just as much, and everyone at work thought the movie was great... but most of them had never even heard of the series. I guess it just got kind of buried.

As for Buffy and Angel... grew up watching them, loved them. The great part was the series seemed to get more complex each year, I think if it had started off the way it ended, I would've lacked the maturity to appreciate it.
#22 Jun 10 2009 at 3:07 AM Rating: Decent
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I'm kinda confused. I was under the impression that Buffy was massively successful.

The reason Dollhouse is doing badly isn't because Whedon is too smart or avant-garde or whatever. It's because it's an awful show, and Whedon needs to stop making it and go back to making funny, imaginative, insightful shows.

I'd also love it if they kept him writing X-Men comics forever, but we can't have all that we want.
#23 Jun 10 2009 at 5:29 AM Rating: Good
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The Neispace of Doom wrote:
Not really sure what you mean by not having mainstream success getting 7 seasons of buffy alone sounds like success to me. He's not alone though, the x-files and hercules/xena died pretty hard too.

Usually though genre shows like that succeed not because of the writing, but because of the cast, and other things like pr and buzz. Its a problem of the business-even the biggest shows fade after awhile. You'd never know that M*A*S*H or cheers were as big as they were today.
True, Hercules and Xena had Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, and its next to impossible to fail with them on screen.



Marvel Zombies 3 really put me off to that series. Adding Deadpool to Marvel Zombies 4 is a nice touch, but overall I think that series is just going to plod along. Of course, it does hold amazing potential to cross-over to DC and Image territory. That'd be something I'd like to see.
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