Joss Whedon

Author: Matthew Pateman

Joss Whedon explores the televisual texts that have been worked on by Whedon, from his earliest days as a writer on Roseanne to this involvement with S.H.I.E.L.D. In doing so it engages in and challenges a range of important questions about these works, but also about the broader recent history of television in the USA and the UK, and the studies of it. The Part I looks at three periods of Whedon’s career (up to the end of season 3 of his iconic Buffy the Vampire Slayer; the years covering the full run of Angel; and the time between the ending of Angel and the present day). Looking at changing modes of production, distribution and viewing, this section offers Whedon in the context of the recent history of television, as well as locating his contribution to other media such as comic books, internet series and films. It also looks at his involvement in liberal politics and assesses the politics of his shows.

Part II provides readings of each of his most important television shows through the lens of his narrative choices. These range from the importance of the exposition scene in Buffy to questions about the very possibility of serial narrative in Firefly; the significance of narrative complexity in Angel and the empty slate narrative of Dollhouse.

Throughout, it uses textual analysis, historical assessment, scholarly sources, as well as my own unique correspondence with Whedon collaborator Jane Espenson, and the exceptional store of draft scripts for the episodes that she wrote. A transcript of the correspondence is included as an appendix.

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