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Mark Davidson

I think that element of 'family' you mention in the penultimate paragraph is a key one. And perhaps more of an unspoken speciality than his female characters, which I think most fans do associate him with.
The idea of the family unit going beyond blood ties can be seen time and again across all his shows. From the beginning, in Buffy season 1's finale we see that it is her connections to real people that prevents her from succumbing the same fate as numerous slayers before her.
This idea of a loving family-like community sustaining the main characters is key to understanding all of Whedon's shows. Since it is when the main characters choose to separate themselves from those around them, that bad things start to happen.
Even Dollhouse seems to have picked up this theme with the latest episode as see what Adelle really means when she says she "will do anything to protect this house."

Nice article, my only question of interest is what format you think Joss Whedon's work will take over the next decade? Can he really afford to do another network show? Is it time to try his luck with cable? Or will we see more Dr. Horrible-like projects on the internet in the future?

Scott Ellington

Although I sympathize with the Wasserman lament, there are several thousand dissertation words latent in "I Only Have Eyes for You" (BtVS 2.19), alone; an episode which embeds a 50year-old script of impossible, requited love in gendered characters, then swaps and switches the sexual externalities while preserving and enriching the meaning of the repeated moment -- a moment which perfectly foreshadows the second season finale.

Topical references (C3PO and Stick-figure Barbie as beautifully derisive descriptions of Wesley and Cordelia, delivered by an early Gunn) simply disguise the extent to which these characters and situations persist in popular consciousness for decades AND in the human condition across centuries, texts and delivery systems.

While a scholarly examination of the progressive/subversive import of Mutant Enemy product can be focussed myopically within a given text or trionically across several Mutant Enemy narratives, the influence of that "small-net" production company on the entire industry is (I think) vastly more interesting. What Alias, LOST, Fringe and Heroes have (arguably) taken from Joss Whedon into their respective closed-storyworlds is about half as intriguing as the quality those popular "big-net" properties leave out; a coherent and recognizable relation to real life.
Mutant Enemy produces narratives that bear very directly and incisively on permanent aspects of our reality, our human condtion, in ways that its imitators don't, yet.

EstherK


Very interesting comment, Mark. Youre right, of course - even vampires have a family in the Whedonverse, because family - whether birthed, sired or otherwise forged by love and circumstance - is the most intense bond, and in many ways, more of a motivator than morality or fight against evil. Make the mystical key a sister, so the slayer is bound to protect it.


Joss might do very well with cable, the home of envelope-pushing these days. But even cable isnt sure what a hit is, and might prove too restricting for Joss. I guess well see. As far as the formats in Josss future, Id like to think that some of them, we havent even met yet. But I think Dr. Horrible proved his openness to experimentation with new technologies and venues as Potentials, if you will: he sees them not as threats, but as possibilities, which increasingly will be the name of the game with entertainment as it evolves. 

Thanks for sharing your comments!

EstherK


Scott, you said it better than I could ever paraphrase it. And having read some of your blog posts, I bow to your level of detailed analysis. I still love Lost (and you can see my predictions of season 6 based on episode titles here) but I dont relate to it the way I relate to Mutant Enemy productions - regardless of the fact that I am closer in age to Losts characters and far more likely to crash on a mysterious island than I am to practice witchcraft or fight vampires. Or am I?... Grrr, arrgh, indeed.

EK

Umm, just a comment on the Wasserman story. I very much doubt it is true. The Chaser is an Australian satirical comedy troupe.

Esther

Interesting, EK (who is not me). I'll have my research department check it out. It may be like one of those Onion stories - so possible that it seems true even though it's not.

Scott Ellington

Thanks, EK, for the heads-up on:

"The Chaser is a satirical media empire which rivals Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in all fields except power, influence, popularity and profitability."

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