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Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy Paperback – Dec 30 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (April 10 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932100008
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932100006
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 14.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,245,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Booklist

Writers, actors, and fans often call Joss Whedon a genius. It's easy to see why. Whedon, who got his start writing for Roseanne, dreamed of writing movie screenplays. He got his shot when he sold his script for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the movie fell far short of his hopes for it. After a few years of working as a script doctor, Whedon got the chance to do Buffy again, this time as a TV show. Few expected it to succeed, but Whedon's humor and intelligence shone through in the scripts, and viewers quickly became attached to the engaging, witty characters. Buffy kept getting better: each season of the show featured a complex story arc possessed of a real sense of danger and further developed the characters. The last few years have brought the Buffy spinoff Angel, the lamentably cancelled Firefly (a space western), and the comic book Fray. Engaging and filled with fun quotes, this is a must-read for Whedon's many fans. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"A fabulous service to the millions of fans of Joss Whedon, one of the most original writers working today." -- Mike McDaniel, Houston Chronicle

"Joss is a genius." -- Gail Berman, president, Fox Broadcasting

"Possibly the finest book of the century; It's exactly like A Tale of Two Cities, but with 30% more me." -- Joss Whedon

"Smart, surprising and vastly entertaining—just like "Buffy" itself. Even Sunnydale know-it-alls will adore this book." -- Michael Logan, TV Guide

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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"As any fan of Buffy knows, Joss loves anguish." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
This is not a biography, it's not a "making of" and it's not about the facts of the television production industry.
This is a book like none other I've ever read.
Candace Haven has given us a glimpse of the man who created Buffy, of where inside him this concept came from -- but even more she's given us a glimpse of what it takes to be the sort of person who can succeed in breaking all the taboos in the television industry.
What taboos did he break? Well, Buffy is a strong story-arc show like Babylon 5 and Dallas -- but without the (perceived) broad audience appeal of those shows. Buffy is about a young girl who kicks [butt]-- like Nikkita -- but going for a major network. Buffy is a series about vampires -- but it has a teen protagonist. Parents don't want their kids watching "that kind of thing." (or so they believed) The list of taboos is almost endless.
The genius that Havens refers to is, I think, Whedon's deliberate, pre-meditated integration of 4 distinct genres, horror, action, comedy and drama, into a single cohesive and coherent story and then finding a way to sell this package to Hollywood despite violating all those taboos.
Candace Haven writes in Joss Whedon The Genius Behind Buffy: "This integration lies at the core of Buffy's appeal, but it made the show almost impossible to desribe in a way that movie and network executives understood. How do you sell a show that doesn't fall into a clear genre? For this reason, the movie version of Buffy was turned into a comedy, much to Joss's dismay. As a television show, Buffy was rejected by the major networks. Ultimately, the fledgling WB accepted Buffy as a cross-genre show. This acceptance was either a result of WB's vision or of its executives' inexperience.
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Format: Paperback
Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy is so lacking in any healthy cynicism about its subject as to render itself totally useless to anyone who is not already a full-blown devotee.
Whedon's accomplishments merit attention; at his best, he is a good producer and director of television, a supremely talented writer and gifted creator. A distressing amount of Joss Whedon's fans, however, seem unable to conceive of their hero ever making a mistake, doing a not-so-nice thing or sometimes being a not-so-nice person.
An independent-thinking writer could make much of questions such as:
Is Whedon "the Charles Dickens of the New Millennium", as some would have it, or "just" a talented writer who plays to a passionate niche audience?
In its final seasons, did Buffy prove the truth of David Mamet's comment that "If we watch any television drama long enough... we will see the original dramatic thrust give way to domestic squabbles?'
Is the story "God" as Whedon has sometimes claimed to justify unpopular plot points? Or do the desires of fans, networks, or series stars ever affect it, for the better or worse, as increasing evidence seems to suggest?
Someone who is awed by their biographical subject ought to choose another line of work. Good biographers, even flawed, sensationalistic ones like Randy Taraborrelli or Bob Woodward, approach their subjects as reporters, not fans. Here, author Candace Havens seems to have embraced every utterance from Whedon's mouth as some sort of universal truth. Any controversial questions, such as those raised by fans who objected to the death of the character Tara on the Buffy series, are answered only by Whedon's stock replies, without the author having to devote a moment's thought to the validity of any of the issues.
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By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 21 2003
Format: Paperback
It is interesting to read "Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy" at the same time I am working my way through the essays in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale." The tone of this tribute volume by Candace Havens to the creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel," and "Firefly," is informal rather than scholarly. More importantly, the goal of this volume is primarily to supply behind the scenes information for fans of these shows, although there is some critical insights offered in the chapter devoted to "Secrets of Success," which enumerates the seven elements that make "BtVS" a cult television series. Havens is working from various articles and websites about Whedon and his creations, and although it does not explicitly say so I assume she conducted interviews with various people quoted in this book. Since she shares with us impressions about her tours of the sets for Whedon's three television series I assume she took time to talk to some of these people; however, there are few references to specific interview (e.g., with Whedon's film professor, Jeanine Basinger) as to how much access she had to the cast and crew and I am rather curious as to how much of the material here is from primary sources (without going through all the secondary sources and doing a process of elimination).
"Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy" is called a biography, but the focus is clearly more on his career than his life. The first chapter looks at his life through college while the second covers his work early work in television writing episodes of "Roseanne" and as a "script doctor" on films like "The Quick and the Dead," "Speed," "Waterworld," and "Toy Story.
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