Ranging from television shows that have found their way into the lexicon of cult classics to Hugo Award-winning web series, these awesome Joss Whedon projects are packed with Whedon’s trademark style and sarcasm and are laden with his iconic sense of humor, nerdy pop culture references,and show-stopping musical numbers. Funny, dark and highly influential, these projects discovered talents like Nathan Fillion, Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz, and have gone on to become some of the most memorable and oft-quoted shows, movies and serials of the past decade.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Created for television in 1997, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” re-imagined the 1992 box office bomb of the same name. The show follows the titular character, a California high school girl chosen to defend the world against vampires. “Buffy” was Whedon’s first big success and made Sarah Michelle Gellar a household name. Loaded with pop culture references and highlighted by Whedon’s dark and whimsical sense of humor, the show lasted seven seasons and gave birth to the “Buffyverse,” a universe of interconnected characters, objects and themes that continued in the show’s spinoff series, “Angel.”
“Angel” Considerably darker and moodier than “Buffy,” “Angel” followed the harrowing trials of the titular character, a vampire with a soul determined to redeem himself for his bloody, destructive past. Introduced in “Buffy” as the main character’s love interest, Angel moved from “Buffy” locale Sunnydale, California, to Los Angeles at the end of the third season of “Buffy” in an attempt to find himself. The show brought a new level of fame to lead and future “Bones” star David Boreanaz, while playing up the gritty, disturbing Los Angeles surroundings as Angel fought to save the souls of the victims of evil law firm Wolfram and Hart. Lasting five seasons, “Angel” remains one of the most awesome Joss Whedon projects to date and was continued, like “Buffy,” in the form of comic books after its initial cancellation in 2004.
“Firefly” Set in the year 2517, “Firefly” follows the renegade crew of the Firefly-class spaceship “Serenity” as they make their way through the unknown parts of their galaxy after a civil war leaves most of their star system under the control of a Chinese-American government known as the Alliance. A futuristic show with a western tone and feel, “Firefly” starred future “Castle” lead Nathan Fillion as “Serenity” captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds. The show is characterized by Whedon’s rich dialogue and sharp humor. While “Firefly” was cancelled after only one season, the show spawned a feature film, “Serenity,” after public outcry over the show’s cancellation helped to buttress the idea of a feature film.
“Serenity” A breathtaking and visually impressive film given the considerably small budget Whedon was allotted, “Serenity” is one of the most awesome Joss Whedon projects to date in terms of feature films and continues the exploits of the crew of the “Serenity” as depicted in the “Firefly” television series. Set one year after the events of the television series, the film delves deeper into the origin and ultimate purpose for the violent, gifted character River Tam, a genius and psychic who was experimented on by Alliance scientists. The film features an impressive performance by Whedon regular Summer Glau as River Tam, as well as character actors Alan Tudyk and Adam Baldwin.
“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog” Filmed on a budget of only $200,000 funded by Whedon himself, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog” consisted of a three-act web series and was created during the 2007 to 2008 writers strike by the Writer’s Guild of America. The series follows loveable villain Dr. Horrible, played to perfection by actor Neil Patrick Harris, as he attempts to thwart his hero nemesis Captain Hammer, portrayed by Whedon-regular Nathan Fillion. Laden with witty, Whedon-esque musical numbers and hilarious one-liners, the series was highlighted by Harris’s impeccable vocal talents as well as the charming performance of actress Felicia Day as the battling duo’s love interest, Penny. The series garnered an instant cult following and went on to win a number of awards including the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, in 2009.