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March 04 2008

What Sci Fi Franchise Should Joss Take Over? Which classic sf franchise would you like to see getting the Whedonian do-over? io9 asks, we all answer!

Options you can choose from, speculatively, are: Doctor Who, Star Wars, Justice League of America, Star Trek, Bionic Woman, Highlander, or Starblazers. Anything done by Joss would most probably be more-than-cool, mind you, but if there was one, only one...?

After all, he's created some of the most memorable science fiction universes, including the space-western Firefly and his forthcoming programmable-amnesiac show Dollhouse.


Yes cause no one has seen Dollhouse. I mean really. It's like me saying I make amazing desserts including the chocolate cake I made next Sunday.

Also why is there no option for the Alien franchise? *ahem* . Other than that I say go for the V franchise. Joss writing a 21st Century take on an alien occupation would be very interesting indeed.
Ooooh the V franchise by Joss. Nice call, Simon. I love it!

So long as it doesn't have Marc Singer. Because there's no comin' back from Beastmaster spinoffs.
io9! It must be Tuesday. Or Monday. I loved V. I'm not sure why. It has lizards, I think, which are always ace.
Did somebody mention cake ?

'Bionic Woman' is the obvious choice or JLA (partly because there're a few characters he could kill and not bother me too much ;). [New] 'Doctor Who' ? To be honest I don't think it'd be all that different if Joss ran it, it's just that all the episodes would be slightly better (with the notable exceptions of any Moffat and possibly Cornell scripts) - assuming he saw what the show was about that is, if he missed the point it'd probably still be brilliant but it wouldn't be 'Doctor Who'.

'V' is a good call, struggling to think of others. 'The Tomorrow People' ? Or (though it's not really a 'franchise') he could kick the shit out of a "Blake's 7" remake, loads of folk to kill ;).

(and i'm probably in the minority on here but I still don't think Joss is a good mix with Trek cos he'd want to bring the darkness and Trek is all about the light. Joss is right about the future of course but i'd rather he didn't mess with the fantasy ;)
Instead of Doctor Who, they really should have said Torchwood. They tend to have more problems with mediocre writing than Doctor Who does.
The missing option is "or should he create his own franchise ?".

The day might not be long off when everything being produced in Hollywood is remakes, reimaginings, films based on tv series and tv series based on films but I cannot be alone in preferring new original stuff, specially in an SF loving crowd like this ?

Hopefully Dollhouse will be great, now if one of the 'Dolls' would eat a rat that would be a homage to V I could live with..
if there was one, only one...


Is that a subtle Highlander plug there? ;-).

I'm missing the inspired option here. Joss already did his Highlander, and it was called Angel. His Star Wars/Starjammers was Firefly and his Bionic Woman was Buffy. JLA? X-Men! And though Joss would definately better the current Dr. Who series, it'd still not be a big stretch to see him do it.

Joss doing Star Trek could be fun, but he'd have to deal with a whole heap of continuity and mythology, which would detract from his interest in the character stuff. Plus, his work wouldn't fit into the ST-mould that was started with TNG at all.

So, I guess my awnser would be: nothing from this list. Or possible remake Gremlins :-p.
For a year or so of my childhood, I was a devout Tomorrow People fan. Except Nickelodeon kept showing certain arcs and not others, and seemed a little confused about whether or not they really wanted to air the episodes. It was difficult to love them, but I tried very hard. A new new Tomorrow People series with some Whedon influence would be pretty neat.

i09 is not winning me over so convincingly, I'm afraid. These options aren't so interesting.

The Dollhouse episode with the person who did that thing in the place at the time is the most memorable forthcoming episode, I think. Not to be confused with the one where another person did the other thing at a different time in a similar place.
Having Joss take command of "Torchwood" would blow our minds. Imagine what he could do for Captain Jack Harkness. "Blake's 7" could be a really dark version of "Serenity" in Joss' hands.
It's interesting no one's suggested that he take over "X-Men"...or maybe that's too obvious.
Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars. Lucas' live-action series could use a director/writer like His Purpleness.
How can you say that Sunfire ? The one with the other person in a similar place was much better, how could you not be moved by that thing they said that time ? Also, Echo and Other Person 4 Evah !!
Having Joss write and direct an ep of Doctor Who and/or Torchwood would blow minds.

impalergeneral Joss writing for Captain Jack would be gold. :D
How can you say that Sunfire ? The one with the other person in a similar place was much better, how could you not be moved by that thing they said that time ? Also, Echo and Other Person 4 Evah !!

I can see why you'd think that, what with the intriguing plot twist and all, but the first person just carried that first episode so well. I mean, it reminded me of that episode of Buffy with the dramatic moment and the snappy lines, only better, and I don't say that lightly.

Not you too with the Echo/Other Person shipping!! They're like the new Harry/Hermione of the internet, but with even more fan fiction.
Echo and Other Person 4 Evah? You must be crazy! They have no chemistry! You will not have been even watching the show, will you? It has been OBVIOUS ever since that time that Different Character did that thing with the item and said that stuff that Echo/Different Character is Destiny. Will have been.
Echo and Other Person 4 Evah? You must be crazy! They have no chemistry! You will not have been even watching the show, will you?

What show will you be watching?! They will be the cutest couple evar once they meet in episode 5! It will be highly memorable and is already a classic moment in scifi because of the high-tech deep-thought concept. It's not highly memorable for them because of the mindwiping and need to meet again in episode 6, but that's not their fault!
At first I though Lost in Space would be perfect for Joss then I saw this... TRON 2 rumors! Joss would redefine sci-fi at the helm of Tron 2.
Wait a minute, are Other Person and Different Character, like ... connected in some way ?

With Echo/Other Person you can tell they really love each other, I bet they even get married in real life and have little Other Babies. Different Character is so totally not going to have been destined to be with Echo from the beginning, especially given what we'll know about Red Herring Dude and the way they'll not have intended to never do that thing they'll seem to have wanted to have done all along but didn't.

(and Joss could really do 'Tron 2' - if only he had experience scripting a multi-million dollar animated film)
We need a spoiler tag on this thread. I had no idea that Echo and Other Person were going to meet, or that Different Character was going to eat Simon's chocolate cake.
Now I'm mad.
On which note, how 'bout taking back the Toy Story franchise?
LOL at this thread!

(Anyone noticed the raging Joss-hate in the comments section? What's up with that?)
Wait a minute, are Other Person and Different Character, like ... connected in some way ?

Secretly, Different Character is Other Person from an alternate reality. Things will get very confusing when they will figure it out. Until they will forget after the mindwiping.

(Anyone noticed the raging Joss-hate in the comments section? What's up with that?)

Whedonesque is a refuge in a hostile world.
To try and bring this topic a little bit back on course, I voted for Bionic Woman. Now, it's definitely arguable that Joss already did his "woman gets unwanted superpowers, a craphole destiny and a support crew whom she grows to love" work with Buffy, but I think that had Joss been offered the project when it first came back a couple of years ago, it would have been stupendous :D

Doctor Who and Torchwood are excellent choices as well, though it's once again true that he's done "broody loner seeking redemption/answers/normality saves the world with a crew of mismatched misfits whose behaviour makes me wonder sometimes about the fate of existence" with Angel.

The "Stars" (Wars and Trek) honestly are story universes that are kinda anti-Joss, in that with the latter, the Federation (except during the Dominion War arc in DS9) is way too polished and utopian to mesh with Joss' ideas about the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer and flying cars. And the former? Closer to the Whedon view of things, but the protagonists are a bit too...clear-cut...as individuals to appear to kind of nuances Joss instill in his characters. Cuz you just know Joss would have made the issue over Luke and Leia being siblings a whole lot bigger and angstier than "She's my sister?! Oh...ok. No more kissing on the mouth then...good to know" that Lucas put forth ;)

And Highlander? Uh...other than Amanda, how many notable FEMALE Immortals showed up during its run? Yeah...thought so. Bit too sausage factory for Joss, I would think. Though of course, he could do amazing things with the mythos of The Game and the choices of Immortals like Connor or Duncan McLeod vs. go-getters like the Four Horsemen, who actively play The Game with every ounce of effort.

Justice League of America is something that could swing either way, arguments-wise. Joss had done studies of superhero teams with Runaways and Astonishing X-Men, so JLA would just be something of a similar path. Though it would give him a chance to play with Wonder Woman....
I'm not sure I'd call the JLA a "classic sf franchise", but it still has my vote. I guess it might be similar to what Whedon did with X-Men or Runaways (neither of which I've actually got around to reading yet, though I've read BKV's Runaways run), but the JLA strikes me as a bit different. Whereas the X-Men have traditionally been about a bunch of very flawed, angsty and hated heroes, the JLA are a bit more... I don't know, iconic? Gods among men? More lofty in a way. I'm probably not articulating it well, but the team just has a different feel than the X-Men do (or maybe did, I haven't read any of the X-books in years), as does the DCU in general, to some extent.

Of course, having said all that, it occurs to me that the differences don't really play to Whedon's strengths, but it's still got my vote. :)
None of those on io9's list.

But there is a series I'd love to see come back in some form called VR.5 (circa 1995, only one season). It had a female protagonist (Lori Singer) and a dad (David McCallum) involved in a mysterious organization. Virtual Reality is not a subject we see explored in any depth, apart from silly movies like Lawnmower Man, but I really like that series. Too bad it was a one-off.
And even worse that the one season ended on a cliffhanger.
Whisper, I noticed that too. Joss is one of the most critically acclaimed television creators in the medium's history...so of course this means there's a small minority which vocally hates him.

I think these people could better spend their time slagging off someone like Aaron Spelling, who actually deserves it.
Please let's remember our policy here is to not comment on other boards and their members. Thanks.
I'd say "Highlander". With a FEMALE lead with maybe a few familiar faces such as Duncan or, better yet, METHOS. A tiny female MacLeod, who's a little bit morally ambiguous than say Duncan was, more along the lines of Connor but possibly even more intense. Besides, you could go even older than Connor and have her more Celtic, which the women fought along side of the men and everything. Then you'd have her skewed opinion on time as she saw her gender oppressed over the years and so on and so forth.
I'd vote for "Highlander" of the choices offered (any particularly compelling reason not to just use Connor or Duncan, though?). I think Joss could do a better take on "The Fugitive" than most of the sci-fi series.

I think he could do a great job bringing back "Quantum Leap", actually.
Lost in Space, cuz I had a big crush on Penny.
I think it'd be pretty interesting to see Joss take on something in the world of Neil Gaiman's Sandman.

For one, it's just a fantastic world. But also, the whole premise of the comic series seems pretty well suited to the kind of stories that Joss likes to tell. The Sandman, of course, is a nearly omnipotent being who nonetheless is hampered by his own internal limitations. It's somewhat similar to the direction that Joss had been pointing with his concept of Wonder Woman--an unbelievably powerful being who is ultimately flawed because of her own inability to deal with the weakness of those around her.
@ GVH - Oh, well spotted... I admit that was COMPLETELY subliminal, didn't do it on purpose... I grew up on Highlander, back then, and I didn't even vote for it; it was good in its own right methinks.

@ Elf - Hmmm, I think they tried having a female lead for a short while. When Duncan moved to France for good, I think they tried to do something with Amanda, but it flopped. A Methos do would have been awesome, though (back then, probably). Angel-style, I'm thinking.

@ BlueEyedBrigadier - as I said above, an alternative universe which would've had Joss, from the start, doing Duncan or someone from his entourage, would have been awesome. Things being as they are today, I'd go with him doing Bionic Woman, out of the franchises proposed by io9 (maybe that way it would actually be GOOD), or something Alien-y in general (although it's getting too tired now, with the Predator dos and all - I love the Pred more, but meh).
I'd worry that a Highlander series with all women would wind up something like Seth Green's take on the show in "Robot Chicken."
I'd like to see a Whedon take on the Star Wars universe since I suspect it would focus more on likeable Han Solo type characters than whiny-boys flying around using the Force (and here I refer to both trilogies).

In other words, I just want Firefly back. But that's hardly news :/
Of those listed, I chose Star Wars. The Original Trilogy was very dear to me, and whilst I'm not the most ardent critic of the Prequels and can appreciate aspects of them, I do have to admit that they were disappointing and not up to the standard of the OT.

I think Joss' sensibilities would be very closely matched to the original Star Wars films so he could definitely work well within that universe. Lucas' problem is that he lost his grip on the importance of having strong, interesting main characters around whom these massive events take place, and instead he become too focused on everything BUT having believable characters and good dialogue.

Around the time Serenity was released, so many reviews mentioned it favourably in relation to Star Wars, either comparing its spirit to the OT or wishing that the Prequels could have been more like Serenity. I think Joss would be able to get into the minds of a character like Anakin and make him believable and likeable, showing us his motivations and the ambiguity in his character, rather than frantically trying to force the character to follow a certain path in a way that doesn't feel natural to the storyline.

And one thing I love about Joss is that he does like to include action and adventure alongside the drama, but never allows it to become the focus as Lucas did. He also has a brilliant sense of fun and energy which he would be able to bring to the Star Wars universe, without ever resorting to moronic CGI aliens played for cheap laughs. His sharp wit and intelligence would also inject some life and fluidity to a lot of the unwieldy dialogue Lucas wrote, much in the same way actors like Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher were able to bring it to life where Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman failed (but to be fair they had much weaker material to work with).

So basically I think that the prequels could have been a lot better if Joss had written them, but I'd love to see him take some branch of Star Wars to work with to see how excellent it could be.

Although while we're on the subject, I'd love to see Joss work on something Battlestar Galactica related, even though it isn't in the poll. I think Firefly and Serenity aren't hugely removed from some of the characters and situations used in BSG, so it's obviously a type of world that he would be comfortable with. I can't wait to see how Moore wraps up the current saga with season four, but I've heard about possible prequels and stuff like that is being discussed, and I'd love to see Joss tackle any sort of aspect of that universe, whether it's a prequel or a sequel or something entirely different.

One idea that springs to mind would be something taking place just before the 2003 miniseries started, for example charting the political sitation on Caprica and establishing some of the relationships between the characters on BSG.

Hell, I think Joss would be brilliant at working with Veronica Mars too. We've already seen him act in the show, but I'd love to hear the snappy retorts he could write for Veronica or the complex and emotionally dense plots he could construct.

But really Dollhouse is the best possible option because it will be a world created by Joss, rather than him being forced to work within the limits of someone else's creation, and I think we're all very excited about it.
Y'know, I don't think Joss was just being humble when he implied that "Veronica Mars" was better than his shows. It sorta was. Granted, in television terms it's like getting into an argument over whether James Horner or John Williams writes a better movie score, but "Veronica Mars" wasn't lacking in any way for Joss not having Rob Thomas' job. Even though "Rob Thomas is a whore" :)

Other shows for Joss to reinvent --

"The X-Files"
"Sliders"
"Charlie's Angels"
"The A-Team"
"Knight Rider"
"Mission: Impossible"
Even though some of the episodes of the new Doctor Who series are pretty weak (Stephen Moffat should take over the writing - he really should), it's... I dunno. I love Joss. But I love Doctor Who the way it is. I don't WANT the feel to change. I'd love to see an episode written by Joss, and then see what I think, but right now, I don't want anybody to touch Doctor Who.
From the British Who fans I know, I figure that an American remade series of "Doctor Who" a la "The Office" would be a true nightmare -- but if anyone were trustworthy to pull it off properly, it's Joss.
Where the Doctor is concerned, I really think it's all about its Britishness. It could really not work if it were made across the Atlantic, and I'm pretty sure they know it, both here and there, that's why it's not been done all these years - no, decades.
Well the Fox/BBC co-produced film (in 1996) was about as close as it could come to a trans-atlantic remake and though many howled I actually though it was OK. The secret is to have a Brit (preferably a Who fan) write it and a Brit star in it (with one possible Denisofian exception ;) and not to let the US money dictate too much about the look and feel.

... but if anyone were trustworthy to pull it off properly, it's Joss.

Yes and no. Joss is obviously the bees bollocks, no question BUT he's not familiar with the show (brain tickles tell me he may have seen some of the new series but he hadn't seen any classic Who at least up until an interview about 2 years ago) and he has such a strong personal vision and style that I really think what he created wouldn't be Who, it'd just have the same characters and a beat up old time-machine, the feel would go, the gloriously eccentric wacky, cheesey romance of it - and if you lose the wacky cheese you lose The Doctor. Nope, keep away from Who your genius-ship ;).

ETA: Though i'd love to see him write an episode, just to get some feel for his take on it.

[ edited by Saje on 2008-03-05 11:05 ]
The cake is a lie.
Highlander because I loved the premise but the execution, in all it's incarnations, put me to sleep.

And hasn't Joss already taken over Torchwood? ;-) Which is the ultimate compliment to TW, except in the one recent instance when it is not.
Patience Shey-san ;).
Saje, don't push your luck .... I can kill you with my brain. ;-)
Or someone in your general part of the world, I admit I don't have it quite perfected.
Joss should redo 'Highlander' - swords and snark, that's my motto!
And as for Star Trek...everyone knows that J Michael Straczynski should step up to that franchise!
But Joss Wheadon and J. Michael Straczynski working together on something...best...world domination...ever!
I watched and appreciated B5 (well large parts of it) and I enjoyed JMS' original comics work, but I can't say that what he's done with existing comic properties has made me keen to see what he would do to another existing franchise that I enjoy. I would love to see more original stuff from him, though.
Also, Moffat SHOULD take over 'Who' when RTD rides off into the sunset. And the cake is delicious and moist - I'm making a note here: huge success.

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