I finally got to watch Dollhouse yesterday, and rewatch Firefly today. Being a Buffy fan from way-back, I’m kinda struck by how much Whedon changed between Firefly and Dollhouse. How much darker, how much less whimsical, and how much more action-driven it was.
‘Course I was kinda working on my resume and doing a few chores while watching Dollhouse…
Perhaps he “acquired wisdom1” in between the two, but seeing as how whimsical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was, I think it was a deliberate departure2. From the IMDB DollHouse Trivia Page, he and Eliza Dushku came up with the premise over lunch. The story is a closed loop, versus the open-ended romp that Buffy3 or Firefly were.
And now, he’s working on other projects. Really – check it out on IMDB. I’ll wait.
Done? Oh, good.
He always had such fallible characters, so human, so witty… The kind of people you could find hanging out at a friend’s house on a Saturday evening, waiting for the pizza to be delivered and trying to figure out which movie to watch.
We could point at a character, then point at a friend, and people would gasp and laugh and that person would have a nickname forever.
Behind that light-hearted word-play and distilled human nature, there were things that go bump in the night. Whether the bang was against a bulkhead or a school locker, there was still a damned bang when there shouldn’t have been a goddamned bang, and why was there a mother-forsaken bang in an empty wherever-the-crap-we-are when it’s midnight and we’re the only people here and it should be silent and OHMYGAWDWHATISTHAT?????
Queue opening music, or commercial break.
It seems like it’s beginning to distill into the wider TV-production field, too – which could be a good thing, but (from what I’ve seen lately) isn’t quite there yet.
It reminds me of running a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness campaign for my brother and his friend years ago, and how important twisting expectations were for them. Heck, we must’ve had at least eight or nine games, and both my brother and his friend were always pestering me for clues as to what would happen next, trying to steal looks at my copious notes and hand-drawn maps.
Good stories are about the rhythm and pace that you unravel the plot at. The characters should already be strong enough to stand on their own, they should suggest their own actions and reactions just from their descriptions on paper.
I guess I’ve forgotten how much I enjoy storytelling.
On that note, I have a few more things to take care of before sleep. Have fun, gentle readers4.
- A polite society way of saying that he screamed his frustration and rage out into the uncaring night, his only answer a cold, comfortless wind and the mute, unenlightened twinkle of stars. Back up dere
- I’m deliberately not counting Angel, because it was a spin-off, same universe. Back up dere
- Well, Buffy was closed, because of the prophecy, but by the time the fourth season came around, no one remembered that it was a closed loop. We were all too spinny from deific Willow scaring the bark off us to remember much of anything. I mean, little, meek, mousey Willow? Computer geek, part-time hacker of Web One-Point-Oh, was the OHMYGAWDSCAREYLADY*URK*… Back up dere
- And you ungentle ones… Well, you just watch it. I’ve got my eyes on you. Back up… Oh, wait, this is the end of the post. Ne’ermind.