joss whedon

Heresy of the Week – Farscape is better than Firefly


farscape vs firefly

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

Since it’s cancellation, and subsequent reincarnation on the big screen and in comics, Firefly has achieved cult status. But although Firefly doubtless has its attractions, it pales when set next to a similarly prematurely-cancelled show, Farscape.

Read on…

Heresy of the Week – Marvel conquered the world by giving the people what they want


avengers

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

 With Marvel standing triumphant over the  geek-verse, it bears reflecting on how they have done it. Essentially, by giving the cinema-going, film-watching fans exactly what they want.

Read on…

Heresy of the Week – Zack Snyder will ruin DC Comics


zack snyder

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

In their hour of need, DC Comics have turned to Zack Snyder to save them in their film war with arch-nemeses Marvel. This is, however, a mistake, and a simple look at Snyder’s films will reveal the true magnitude of this error.

Read on…

Heresy of the Week: Cancellation made Firefly a success


mal zoe and jayne firefly

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

Whilst it has become a cult classic in a remarkably short space of time, spawning comic-based spin-offs and even a fan driven film to complete the series, Joss Whedon’s Firefly would never have enjoyed the success it had Fox hadn’t put a bullet in it three episodes before the end of its first season.”

Read on…

Heresy of the Week: Season Six was Buffy at its best


buffy season six

So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged regularly about much at all. Gone, apparently, are the days when I used to churn out hundreds of words each day onto this site about, well, nothing at all. Nowadays all I seem to manage is the occasional book or film review.

Well, enough of that, I say. I miss those heady days, so in an effort to shift myself from this moribund blogging-rut I seem to have fallen into, I’m going to steal an idea straight from ConservativeHome: heresy of the week. Yet unlike the erstwhile keyboard tappers of the centre-right, I won’t be boring you all with my politics. Instead, I’ll be boring you by entertaining the unthinkables of geek culture — as a rhetorical game, if I can’t find an argument I actually buy. I’ve got a few ideas to be going on with, but I’m always open to new suggestions.

So to kick us off:

Season six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the shining pinnacle of Joss Whedon’s masterpiece of a TV series.

Read on…

The Cabin in the Woods – A Review


"The Cabin in the Woods" (2012)

I’ve been racking my brains, but for the life of me I can’t think of any TV series or film that Joss Whedon has made that wasn’t brilliant. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer film doesn’t count, since he was so ignored in the making of it and so dissatisfied with the end result that he went on to make the TV show. So with that sort of track record, I went into The Cabin in the Woods this afternoon feeling a little nervous.

Understand, I went into the cinema knowing only two things: that it was produced by Whedon, and that it was a horror film. Which wasn’t really a lot. I’ve since looked up the trailer, and seen after the film it does an incredible job of walking the tightrope between making the film look interesting and not revealing the twists that make it excellent.

Because it is excellent.

It operates on two levels. The first is the classic horror film: college students spending a weekend at a remote cabin in the woods, where they are set upon by various nasties. It has all the tropes of horror, even down to the roles of the characters: the dumb girl; the alpha male; the brainy good guy; the innocent good girl; and the drugged out waster.

But the second level is where it’s at: the reasoning behind everything that’s happening. It adds a witty, sardonic sense of humour and a satirical edge. It pushes the boundaries and makes old ground new again, taking old ideas and making them new in a simple yet ingenious way that most films would never think of.

The cast is well picked, with the hapless victims perfectly attuned to their roles, from Chris Hemsworth’s classic jock, to a fantastically funny Franz Kranz (having lost none of his goofy charm from Whedon’s Dollhouse series) as the stoner. In fact, Whedon keeps to a bit of a theme, with Dollhouse‘s Amy Acker featuring as a supporting character, and Tom Lenk (Buffy‘s Andrew Wells) with a bit part.

But this is more than just a fan piece (though it will certainly delight Whedon’s devotees). There’s some great storytelling here, and in the subtext a lot of very skilful genre deconstruction. It will appeal to the casual horror fan, and give plenty for us genre anoraks to think on afterwards.

I think some viewers might not be enamoured with the ending, but for me it was perfect. As the climax drew close I was wondering how they would avoid writing (telling?) themselves into a corner, and it was a delight to see a conclusion without an unfulfilling deus ex machina.

On the whole, I would heartily recommend this to everyone. Going in with no preconceptions, I came out thoroughly entertained and having had a thoroughly enjoyable hour and a half. Go, see it. I wouldn’t usually say anything like this, but it’s probably the best horror film you’ll see all year.