Joss Whedon Is Still Bitter About Firefly

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Joss Whedon Is Still Bitter About Firefly

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His career has had many ups and downs, but Whedon clearly holds a grudge about more than a few of his failures.

Watching the panel at Comic Con 2010, it was clear that Joss Whedon still has as sore spot for how his scifi western show, Firefly, was treated by Fox. Dollhouse fared a bit better but Whedon was also sensitive about its cancellation. Compared with the cool confidence that J. J. Abrams exuded, Whedon's nervous jokes were more entertaining, but also displayed a bitterness. That being said, Whedon does not appear to be depressed or discouraged by these events and will continue to fight to create the stories that he loves.

Whedon didn't mention Firefly by name, but he did make one huge dig at how his show was handled. When asked whether he preferred film or TV he said, "What you can do in a movie, what you can accomplish is so extraordinary and so fulfilling. And you get to be done, which is a huge relief. Being able to tell a story over 7 years or even, you know, 15 episodes, 11 of which they air out of order is just so-"

Here Whedon was drowned out by the surge of cheers from the crowd in protest to what Fox did to his show (not airing the pilot first making the plot hard to follow, etc.). Whedon was also asked point-blank about the cancellation of Dollhouse, which aired on Fox for 1.5 season before being cancelled in November 2009:

"My experiences at Fox have not been successful," he said. "Ultimately it's because there is a certain amount of incompatibility that is very easy to miss. I like genre stuff, and that's what they wanted. You mention sexy and they want that but you can't actually mention sex. I have more of a cable mentality than I realized. I had been away from television for a while. I didn't know how much things have changed. I didn't look at Janet Jackson's nipple and I didn't know how much trouble it caused. What I learned was know your audience and your first audience is the people who are paying you to make [the show].

"Which is why, right now, I'm at Marvel and I'm extremely happy. It's a very different experience."

Whedon also wrote the script for Alien Resurrection, which is maligned by fans and studios alike. When he was asked if he kept any props or memorabilia from his movies, he quipped, "I have an Alien egg but I had to bury the franchise in order to get it."

I had to laugh at that one myself. The fact that Whedon is able to laugh at his failures is a good thing. You have to have a thick skin in Holywood and Whedon certainly showed that at the panel by making light of heavy things.

Now, he better not screw up The Avengers or he may just snap.

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I'm a fan of Joss Whedons, but Dollhouse never had much focus which made it hard to watch. It had some shining moments, but no-where near as many as Firefly, Angel or Buffy and I wasn't upset that it was cancelled. Personally I'm most annoyed about the cancellation of Angel. Season 5 was one of its best and was gaining an audience, but it was still cancelled.

Im bitter about it too, i really got into it when i first heard of it on these forums and i really enjoyed what little there was of it.

Well at least he admits his failures, people love to bitch about Alien Resurrection something chronic so its nice to see he can save face about it. I believe he'll make the Avengers something special...J.J. Abrams however..I dunno, i didn't really mind what he's made, but i've never liked them etheir, dare i trust in him?

Two things:
Dollhouse sucked until it was canceled, then became awesome when they realized they couldn't stretch the B-plot over seven seasons.
Joss Whedon was an idiot for pitching Dollhouse to Fox. Whatever happened to fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?

Why did they not air the pilot first?

I thought the whole point of a pilot was to see if audiences were interested or not. Then you go on to make more if they are.

Woodsey:
Why did they not air the pilot first?

I thought the whole point of a pilot was to see if audiences were interested or not. Then you go on to make more if they are.

If I'm not mistaken, Fox didn't actually like the original pilot of Firefly, so Joss made Train Job. If you notice, Train Job basically gives us the cliff notes of the pilot. The nice thing is Train Job didn't replace the pilot, so it worked either way, whether or not you actually saw it. Joss does that well. But yeah, Fox are stupid. The pilot was a bajillion times the better episode than Train Job. Which DID have it's moments.

I'd be bitter too. Firefly and Dollhouse were awesome and cancelled by pants-on-head retarded monkeys in suits.

"Gee, we have a show that is very story centric and is going to require the viewer to absorb a bit of info when they first watch it. I know(!), lets air the episodes out of order so no one knows what's going on. Or even better, lets air a show marketed for ages 18-30 on Friday night! I'm sure lots of people that age are home watching tv then."

Fucking stupid Fox monkeys.

I don't get the love that Firefly gets. I personally didn't think it was that great. I was most annoyed at the cancellation of Angel because that was still good and it could've gone for another season. For me, Firefly wasn't as great as Angel or Buffy for me.

Well, I've heard differant points of view over the years on a lot of this.

When it comes to "Dollhouse" I'm not surprised it was cancelled, I think it was in "Sci-Fi Magazine" that it was mentioned that he came up with the show largely as a vehicle for Elizha Dushku to showcase her range as an actress. While it did that, I personally never really got into the concept of the show very much, it needed something more.

I also think part of Joss Whedon's lack of success has largely been him bouncing around onto obscure projects. To be honest I don't think anything he's done has risen to the bar of Buffy or Angel, and that includes Firefly... though that might have happened if it lasted longer. Having read some of his comic stuff, I personally think it's not his best genere even though many fans disagree, his run on the "X-men" was to me pretty average.

To put it simply I think he needs to go back to campy, episodic TV. He's not at his best when he tries to be perfectly serious. He needs to come up with a concept similar to things he's already worked on like "Buffy", or "Firefly" and move from there. In general when it plays with other people's works, or tries to get too serious (and oddly I think this was one of Dollhouse's problems, while it had it's lighter side it was too much of a "hard" science fiction concept to really shine under his hand) I think he fails. Teenage monster hunters, soulful vampires, and space confederates acting like Han Solo are more his thing.

Firefly was an unfathombly amazing show that really seemed to have leggs. If i had created a rich, organic Sci-Fi universe whilst simultaniously helping revolutionise the way special effects shots were composed and generaly how shows were shot (Shaky cam has gone RETARDED since then but in 2002 it was actually pretty novel to see it on TV especially and the hand held thing is never taken too far.) i would be bitter about it being cancled to.

FOX is a flat out bad network whose only non fuck ups have been House and the simpsons. Everythign else they seem to have meddled arround in and killed. They even killed Futurama for no good reason. I seriously wanted to find and skin the man who did that for a long time, nearly as much as Firefly.

Being british we are less uptight about these sort of things Ever seen Queer as Folk? Full on gay rimming pre watershed i mean c'mon we've pushed it alot. Eever see BBC's Rome? Basically softcore. No im not kidding. Even the Doctor was jumped by his assistant

Firefly is 8 years old
you people seriously need to move the fuck on.
(it wasn't even that good of a show anyway)

Pandalisk:
Im bitter about it too, i really got into it when i first heard of it on these forums and i really enjoyed what little there was of it.

Well at least he admits his failures, people love to bitch about Alien Resurrection something chronic so its nice to see he can save face about it. I believe he'll make the Avengers something special...J.J. Abrams however..I dunno, i didn't really mind what he's made, but i've never liked them etheir, dare i trust in him?

Abrams was one of the two main guys behind Lost, alongside Damon Lindeloff. Abrams also made Cloverfield, and the newest Star Trek film. Overall, he's a great director and producer and I really do like his work. Same to Whedon, so I'm looking forward immensely to The Avengers despite never having had a real interest in comic books (aside from the works of Alan Moore, of course...).

So yeah, Abrams and Lindeloff. Both are awesome on their own, together though? I think we can expect fangasms all over the place come 2012...

As for Firefly? I'm pissed about that too, and I never even heard of it when it first came out (being in the UK and all...). I first heard of it when a friend of mine back at high school lent me the boxset and suggested I watched it. I then saw Serenity and was hooked. It's all very well making the comic books (which I really need to get around to seeing) and the film to carry on the story and tie up loose ends (two by two, hands of blue, anyone?), but that shouldn't have had to have happened in the first place. Fox have given Joss Whedon such a raw deal over the years, so much that he even had a trope named after him, and it's unfair. So yeah, if I was Whedon, I'd still be pretty bitter too. He mentioned it several times on the DVD commentaries for Firefly, for heaven's sake. Ah well, at least he and the others involved on the series were prepared to carry on the story and care about it enough to keep it up despite what Fox did to them...

Trivun:

Pandalisk:
Im bitter about it too, i really got into it when i first heard of it on these forums and i really enjoyed what little there was of it.

Well at least he admits his failures, people love to bitch about Alien Resurrection something chronic so its nice to see he can save face about it. I believe he'll make the Avengers something special...J.J. Abrams however..I dunno, i didn't really mind what he's made, but i've never liked them etheir, dare i trust in him?

Abrams also made Cloverfield, and the newest Star Trek film.

Both of which should be punishable by death.

Scrumpmonkey:

Trivun:

Pandalisk:
Im bitter about it too, i really got into it when i first heard of it on these forums and i really enjoyed what little there was of it.

Well at least he admits his failures, people love to bitch about Alien Resurrection something chronic so its nice to see he can save face about it. I believe he'll make the Avengers something special...J.J. Abrams however..I dunno, i didn't really mind what he's made, but i've never liked them etheir, dare i trust in him?

Abrams also made Cloverfield, and the newest Star Trek film.

Both of which should be punishable by death.

I've seen bits of Star Trek, and enjoyed them, and I had Cloverfield on DVD until it was stolen. I loved that film. And I still do. So to me, personally, your statement is refuted, though I respect it's just your opinion. Can I ask though, exactly what you didn't like about them...?

"Whedon clearly holds a grudge about more than a few of his failures."

Firefly was not one of Whedon's failures, it was one of Fox's. The same could be said, debatably, about Dollhouse. Your wording made it sound like Firefly's cancellation was Whedon's fault when it decidedly was not. Please watch this in the future, Mr. Tito.

Hallow'sEve:
Firefly is 8 years old
you people seriously need to move the fuck on.
(it wasn't even that good of a show anyway)

Blasphemy!

OT: Hell I'd still hold a grudge if I made anything even nearly as good as Firefly and then had it thrown out like that.

Fox can go fuck themselves for all the shows they've canceled

I really dont blame him. It was an awesome series, and, for cancelling it...there own loss. Serious loss

Fox just plains SUCKS. Pure and simple. They cancel all the GOOD shows then leave on crappy ones.

I think everyone (who enjoyed Firefly) is still bitter over its cancellation.

Wow so much negativity here :)

I think Joss nailed it when he said he likes "genre" stuff. He's able to do so many different things that appeal to different ppl. That's why you've got fans of Buffy and Angel and then fans of Firefly etcetera and then the Joss lovers who love it all. I think for he's work you need to find what you like and go with it. If you're not into the whole distopian sci fi ideal then no you won't like Dollhouse so much, don't like westerns or space adventure sci fi then Firefly's not for you etc.

I personally am a fan and I hope he does well on Avengers. It's a biiig movie to stuff up! But he is a comics fan so he knows the content and what the core fans are like as well as hopefully what the wider audience is going to want. I wish him the best!!

The "conspiracy theory" explanation doesn't make much sense, frankly: in an industry where studios and companies are trying to get as much viewership as possible, why would they be "scared" of increased viewership and fan base?

If nothing else, the viewership sank dismally especially with Enterprise: from over 12 million at its debut to 6 million by the end of the first season, and averaging 2-3 million over the next three seasons whilst on a downhill slope. The bottom line was that the show was a ratings disaster (yes, there were many who enjoyed it, but even more who didn't) and Paramount is first and foremost a business, with accountabilities to its shareholders. Fans were lucky to even get a fourth season of Enterprise (which was the best season for me), but even that was too late to save the show, and the franchise in general

Nick Pirce:
The "conspiracy theory" explanation doesn't make much sense, frankly: in an industry where studios and companies are trying to get as much viewership as possible, why would they be "scared" of increased viewership and fan base?

If nothing else, the viewership sank dismally especially with Enterprise: from over 12 million at its debut to 6 million by the end of the first season, and averaging 2-3 million over the next three seasons whilst on a downhill slope. The bottom line was that the show was a ratings disaster (yes, there were many who enjoyed it, but even more who didn't) and Paramount is first and foremost a business, with accountabilities to its shareholders. Fans were lucky to even get a fourth season of Enterprise (which was the best season for me), but even that was too late to save the show, and the franchise in general

Same with Dollhouse. It's been said enough that FOX gave it a second season only because it didn't want to deal with the fallout from the fans if they cancelled another Joss Whedon show after season. Look at Chuck. Same deal. TV is a business. As much as that sucks if they aren't making a profit they aren't going to keep the show. DVD sales just don't cut it anymore. It's the advertising money they want!

Hallow'sEve:
Firefly is 8 years old
you people seriously need to move the fuck on.
(it wasn't even that good of a show anyway)

I hope you put a flame shield on for that, but I agree with you.

Whether or not Whedon is bitter about it I won't feel any sympathy for him.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
He doesn't learn, he just doesn't learn.

I know I was pissed about what happened to Firefly. I really liked it and wish he'd take it to another studio or just do it on the net. I just think Fox doesn't like his stuff other then Buffy and Angel and they didn't go on as long as expected. Still I look forward to see how the Avengers movie turns out.

Sproingy:
Same with Dollhouse. It's been said enough that FOX gave it a second season only because it didn't want to deal with the fallout from the fans if they cancelled another Joss Whedon show after season. Look at Chuck. Same deal. TV is a business. As much as that sucks if they aren't making a profit they aren't going to keep the show. DVD sales just don't cut it anymore. It's the advertising money they want!

I get this but it also seems like this model is falling apart in the face of modern technology.

With DVRs, Hulu, and Netflix (when the show gets a DVD), people avoid advertisements. This didn't used to be possible. I think the industry needs to find a way of dealing with this shift.

Firefly never really got a chance. It could have turned out great, or not. I just know it's cancellation led to "Serenity" being made, and I loved that movie, so it's really a win-win for me.

Frank_Sinatra_:
He doesn't learn, he just doesn't learn.

I was watching an episode of Dollhouse the other week and a thought occured to me;

Joss Whedon is a Doll programmed by the Fox execs for them to smack around whenever they want to feel like men.

Nimzar:

Sproingy:
Same with Dollhouse. It's been said enough that FOX gave it a second season only because it didn't want to deal with the fallout from the fans if they cancelled another Joss Whedon show after season. Look at Chuck. Same deal. TV is a business. As much as that sucks if they aren't making a profit they aren't going to keep the show. DVD sales just don't cut it anymore. It's the advertising money they want!

I get this but it also seems like this model is falling apart in the face of modern technology.

With DVRs, Hulu, and Netflix (when the show gets a DVD), people avoid advertisements. This didn't used to be possible. I think the industry needs to find a way of dealing with this shift.

I totally agree with you. I'm not American and for us we get these shows late sometimes over a year after air. Dollhouse for example isn't even out for us. Hulu doesn't allow us to access it because we aren't US Citizens and the only way we can get our hands on these shows legally is to wait or buy the DVD's from Amazon. To be honest most of the ppl I know find other means of getting the shows as they air in the states.

This is just one reason why I feel that not only is this thinking outdated but that the entire regioning system is outdated. In a world where you can find information, data and resources at the click of a button studios need to stop trying to hold all the shows back and make them available worldwide or they will lose money and viewership to p2p networks. If they looked at what was being downloaded every week they'd get an indication of the audience worldwide. Then they would find a way to tap into that...

At least I wish that were the case...

008Zulu:

Frank_Sinatra_:
He doesn't learn, he just doesn't learn.

I was watching an episode of Dollhouse the other week and a thought occured to me;

Joss Whedon is a Doll programmed by the Fox execs for them to smack around whenever they want to feel like men.

That cracked me up. I remember thinking WHY JOSS WHY, at comic con 2 years ago when he announced he was back at FOX and had a "Deal" with them....bulls&^%

Firefly haters here are unusually insensitive and rude...

(I'm actually not a fan but I'm interested in what Whedon has to offer)

I'm pissed off too. We have film after film of Twilight and no-one could be arsed having another go at Dollhouse or Firefly...surely there are more of us than there are of THEM!

Reminds me how fans raised some $3M+ in an attempt to save the cancelled Star Trek: Enterprise, yet studio just not interested.

Sproingy:
I totally agree with you. I'm not American and for us we get these shows late sometimes over a year after air. Dollhouse for example isn't even out for us. Hulu doesn't allow us to access it because we aren't US Citizens and the only way we can get our hands on these shows legally is to wait or buy the DVD's from Amazon. To be honest most of the ppl I know find other means of getting the shows as they air in the states.

....You're kidding, right? Never heard of a little thing called Foxtel or Austar? No? FOX8 aired Dollhouse Season 1 AND 2 (plus both Epitaphs at season 1/2 end, might I add..) aired via satellite pretty neatly on par with America's airing of it.
Stargate Universe is another example. SciFiTV Australia has aired SGU via satellite -practically the day after the US. We've literally caught up to them in episodes and now they air simultaneously. Only thing we really haven't picked up yet is Caprica, the family drama prequel to Battlestar Galactica, starring Alessandra Torresani. They're about a season ahead in the States, SciFiTV haven't aired it yet.

It helps to actually do the research before claiming that we don't get shows. Look at Nathan Fillion's Castle on Channel Seven! They may be a few episodes behind the US (or possibly the previous season), but we've definitely picked it up!

Anyway, I'll admit, I wasn't so much a -fanatic- of Whedon's shows until.. Well.. Dollhouse. I never got to catch Firefly, so I missed the hype. I've made the effort to track them down though. Sure, I watched Buffy and Angel.. Just not religiously. I was so immersed in the Dollhouse canon and world (and Dichen Lachman is amazing <3) that I have gone back and caught the seasons of Buffy/Angel on SciFi. Sadly, Firefly/Serenity haven't been on there for a while, but I swear I'll track 'em down.

People seem to claim that Firefly and Dollhouse failed because of Joss.. How so? No, really, I want you to give me a logical reason why it was his fault. FOX manipulated the episodes and demanded he do things THEIR way. He's the Conan O'Brien (by that I mean I love both of their work, too) of the genre TV world. Oh, and they failed..? How? Is that why there are DVD's still flying off the shelves and online stores and screenings Serenity (and Firefly, in some places) ARE STILL GOING ON TODAY?

They can't have failed if they're still being talked about and watched today. They just weren't given a proper chance to develop. Dollhouse Season 2 was honestly some of the BEST television I've watched (compared to the absolute tripe on TV's lately, that's not saying much). Also, speaking of that.. Joss Whedon picks the most AMAZING cast for his shows. Harry Lennix is brilliant as Boyd Langton, Dichen Lachman -owned- her role as Sierra (and then promptly KICKED ULTIMATE ASS in NCIS:LA as a street racer), Enver Gjokaj (Victor, as well as [i]completely and utterly mimicking Fran Kranz's Topher right down to the mannerisms and speech, he's THAT good..) and Fran Kranz (Topher) are masterminds in their own right as well. No one catch Enver's episode of Lie To Me "React to Contact"? Honestly, I never liked watching NCIS or Lie To Me, etc.. Those sort of cop shows.. Never interested me. But watching these guys on their guest episodes.. They were brilliant.

It's probably also why I FREAKING LOVE Castle. When I watch that, I just can't help but think "Huh.. Captain Hammer's hung up Mal Reynold's browncoat and is now solving crimes as an author." He plays that role so well too.. Again, I don't normally like cop dramas, etc. Law & Order.. Eh..

MattAn24:

Sproingy:
I totally agree with you. I'm not American and for us we get these shows late sometimes over a year after air. Dollhouse for example isn't even out for us. Hulu doesn't allow us to access it because we aren't US Citizens and the only way we can get our hands on these shows legally is to wait or buy the DVD's from Amazon. To be honest most of the ppl I know find other means of getting the shows as they air in the states.

....You're kidding, right? Never heard of a little thing called Foxtel or Austar? No? FOX8 aired Dollhouse Season 1 AND 2 (plus both Epitaphs at season 1/2 end, might I add..) aired via satellite pretty neatly on par with America's airing of it.
Stargate Universe is another example. SciFiTV Australia has aired SGU via satellite -practically the day after the US. We've literally caught up to them in episodes and now they air simultaneously. Only thing we really haven't picked up yet is Caprica, the family drama prequel to Battlestar Galactica, starring Alessandra Torresani. They're about a season ahead in the States, SciFiTV haven't aired it yet.

Sorry should have clarified. Dollhouse isn't on DVD here in Australia. And look at the DVD releases for OZ or Eureka and what about new Sci Fi releases like Warehouse 13? I bought Dollhouse from the states and had it a Supanova for Eliza and Dichen to sign and everyone around me was wondering how I'd gotten it. I didn't even realise. To be fair there is plenty of unreleased stuff on DVD here that is out in the states and even Europe. As someone who has an extensive DVD and Blu Ray collection I feel I know a bit about that topic especially for Sci Fi stuff

As for foxtel and Austar a lot of us just can't afford it and for a lot can't justify the expense for a few shows you can get "elsewhere". That's why we have free to air in this country though right? So we have the choice to buy or not. We get stuff on the new HD channels sure but nothing ever sticks. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear.

Caprica not being aired kinda sucks though. That's the one show I'd get cable for at this point :) still I have already seen it at this point ;)

Completely agree on the Dollhouse front though. Looved that show and yes Dichen was AWESOME!!

Hell I'm still bitter about Firefly, I watched it when it first was airing (not mentioning how I got my hands on it ;))... but Dollhouse... that got a longer run then it deserved, horrible shitty show.

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