Hooked March 6, 2009Posted by gordonwatts in TV.
I’m a science fiction fan. You? I used to read books both bad and good all the time. Once I found a good author I’d buy most of their books. There was always something very satisfying about picking up a new book from a known author – I could relax; I would be “safe” in his hands. But this post isn’t about books. It is about TV.
Ok – so who remembers Buffy, the Vampire Slayer? The show, I mean? That was around 1997 or so, and went off the air in 2003. I was in grad school and then a post-doc at the time. I didn’t watch a lot of TV – certainly never saw it while it was on. And I’m positive if you’d told me about it I would have decided I wasn’t interested in watching. Further more, having now seen the movie and the pilot of the series, I’m also pretty sure I would have said no.
Whedon, however, got me.
After Buffy he went on to create a number of series, but one in particular seems to be a pretty common entry point into Whedon’s shows: Firefly. A TV series on FOX, it lasted only a year, but has a dedicated cult following now. It is a western, set in a frontier town. No, sorry, that is wrong. It is a western, set in outer space, on the fringes of known civilization. An ensemble cast, the story is mostly about society and the characters relationships with each other. I highly recommend it if you like science fiction and haven’t seen it yet. A movie came out of it – Serenity. The film is very good – but watch the show first; it makes the film a whole lot better.
Once I was hooked I started looking back to see what else he had done – there was Buffy. Which is, I suppose, his most famous show. I took me a while (there are 7 years of episodes!), but I finally managed to watch it. Lots of it is very good and worth the watch!
Now he has started a new series – Dollhouse. He has set himself an impossible task. The lead character’s personality keeps getting erased – so how can any of us viewers ever grow to like her? Or how will he make interpersonal relationships grow? I was thinking about this the other day when I realized… hey! Not my problem! Whedon is a master story teller, so he has something figured out … So that is about half the reason I am trying to watch this show right now – because I don’t see how he is going to pull it off! But that is the beauty of sitting down with a good, known, author…
I just hope that FOX gives him a year or two to build a real story, considering how bad thing are right now on network TV.