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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Tim Minear talks about Joss Whedon & writers’ work on "Buffy" & "Angel" Tv Series

Monday 12 December 2005, by Webmaster

My own take on a couple of things. Everyone has a little different perspective, I guess. And I know and love Fury and would work with him again in a heartbeat. Also, who can tell from a printed interview what the subtleties are of what someone might be saying?

Anyway, from the time I started on Angel, which was right at the beginning, to the time I left, which was the end of season four — I’d returned to Angel after Firefly went down — Joss had been getting the rap on the ’net that he wasn’t as involved with Angel as with Buffy. Or then not as involved with Buffy *or* Angel as with Firefly.

I think this is untrue.

And also true.

Let me try to clarify... when Joss was starting Buffy he was still working out not only the show, but how to actually *make* a show. It took him four or five years to get a Buffy writing staff in place that clicked. Each one of them strong links in the chain, folks who could write the show and deliver shoot-able drafts. More than that — a staff that grew into being producers (and directors!), over-seeing pre-production, on-set concerns, and even sitting in on editorial. Joss could delegate tasks in a way that he couldn’t at first. Mostly this meant that as time went on, Joss didn’t have to do quite so much re-writing (and in those early seasons of “Buffy” he rewrote virtually everything.)

Ideally, that’s what a writing staff does. They write. And a show runner doesn’t have to go in and fix everything. The Buffy staff was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Each one of them would have been the stand-out on any other writing staff.

By the time Angel came along, he’d sussed out the process pretty damn well. And the man who was with him at the start of Buffy, David Greenwalt, was running the new show. And they had, frankly, me. For whatever reason Joss, David and I clicked right away. We spoke the same language (oddly, we all sort of talk alike now. And I know it’s not just me — I was told by a company I wrote a movie for that Jeff Bell was in to do a project for them and they were like, “you sound just like Tim Minear!”)

Anyway, speaking as guy who was one of the heavy lifters on Angel, Joss was totally involved. At least from seasons one through four when I was there. (And in his interview, David Fury says Joss actually put in *more* face time in season five, so make of that what you will...) Every single story was broken with Joss. Angel locking the lawyers in the wine cellar? Joss. Angel firing his crew? Joss. The big showdown to hell being a simple elevator ride? Joss. Darla being staked to have her baby? Okay, that we me. Still. I pitched that she *gets* staked, Joss said, “what if she stakes herself?” I think you can see the value of that particular modification.

Thing was, he could spin out some idea and I’d understand in two seconds what he meant and could go do it, and he didn’t have to worry. It was like that with all of us. But the driving force, the guy at the wheel, that was Joss. He’d chart where we needed to go, vet outlines, drafts, and always sit in on a cut after I was done and give notes. He was involved.

This isn’t to say that the rest of us didn’t help to shape things as well. We did. But I don’t want anyone here to be left with the impression that Joss wasn’t just what he was — the driving creative force. Just sayin’.