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Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon - For creator, it all goes back to Buffy

Bruce Kirkland

Sunday 8 January 2006, by Webmaster

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as its spinoff, Angel, is studied in pop culture classes in several North American universities. The Firefly-Serenity combo could easily join them.

For Joseph (Joss) Whedon, the 41-year-old writer-director and creator, this is the way it should be.

"Everything I do is going to be working on three levels," he said, of his pop culture approach, during a recent interview. "It’s going to be working on the level of spectacle, on the level of emotion and ultimately on the level of message. I’m trying to work on a lot of different levels with an enormous amount of thought that I’m trying to hide .... So there is something there to be studied. It makes perfect sense to me.

"Firefly was an attempt to do something very different from Buffy but, at the end of the day, the things that make me excited about my work - and that I think make other people excited about my work - are the same in everything I do."

He cites "the humanity" of his work plus the celebration of characters who are obliged to deal with "the fun and the pain" of life. Another recurring theme, says Whedon, is "the heroism of tiny people." (We’re sure he meant tiny in the status sense, not in height.)

For Whedon, the evolution of DVDs has made the study of his work a breeze. The new Serenity release is a fully loaded offering. And Buffy - all seven seasons of it - just came out in a 40-disc box set. "It’s awesome!" Whedon says of the Buffy box, The Chosen Collection.

And it does have significance for him. "It really does represent a huge (part of my life), the biggest journey I’ve ever taken, the longest journey I’ve ever taken, and the first journey I ever took as an artist that was truly my own."

Prior to launching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV in 1997, Whedon worked on the Roseanne and Parenthood shows, wrote the 1992 Buffy movie and shared a 1995 Oscar nomination for co-writing Toy Story.

Buffy, as a TV series, represents him best, he says, "I love that box. That big box is seven years of my life. And believe me when I say that it is my whole life. Ask my poor wife (Kai Cole, with whom he has two young children). So, to me, it is a glorious thing that it all should be there and somebody can journey through it because it was a hell of a place to get through."