Matthew Pateman
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‘Come with me now gentle viewers’
Popular culture and (non-Whedon) authorship
in Joss Whedon
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This chapter is designed to highlight the quality of writing on Whedon’s shows, and to use one example (Jane Espenson) to illustrate both the individual writers’ talents, capacities, skills but also Whedon’s involvement in every script that bears his name on Mutant Enemy shows. Using a mixture of draft scripts, exclusively available to me, and a unique correspondence between myself and Espenson, the chapter examines in great detail the drafting process of three episodes, and shows how important even tiny changes to seemingly unimportant scenes are to the overall palette, tenor, shape and meaning of an episode. Identifying structural and formal features that enable the dizzying shifts in generic and thematic concerns, the chapter ensures that writing is seen as the total script and not just the dialogue, drawing attention to Espenson’s dynamic use of description and stage direction. The chapter is a unique contribution to the study of televisual pre-production.

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