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April 14 2009

(SPOILER) Fanboy Fight: Joss Whedon vs JJ Abrams - Who is your favorite? Joss Whedon does seem to be winning hands down, but I thought I would bring this over anyway [note: casting spoiler for Dollhouse in text].

I kind of love the comparisons, and for me there is no comparison: Joss wins in terms of every show and character created, but I would still be interested in what everyone else thinks.
eta: sorry, I hadn't seen the spoiler.

There should be a spoiler tag on this...
I have not watched any of JJ's shows (but the Star Trek preview looks pretty good). So I don't really have anything to compare Joss's work to. So I guess he wins for me by default.
I am an Abrams fan (mostly just Lost and Fringe -- not so much Alas or MI3), but much moreso a Whedon fan. What I marvel at is how very mobilized his fanbase is to dominate polls like this one, whenever and wherever.
I love everything Joss has done, but the only thing from JJ Abrams that I'm a fan of is Alias. An yes, Gina Torres and Amy Acker were amazing on Alias. Amy was so evil.
Abrams is completely overrated...Lost and Fringe are all style over substance, leaving everything to be a mystery soon leaves fans feeling disconnected...Joss gives reveals when they are still interesting and knows how to play an audience...hands down winner for me!
I love them both, and there are a lot of similarities between them beyond being geeky entertainers (showbiz fathers, broke in at a very young age, female protagonists, well-liked in the industry, worked as script doctors, went to liberal arts colleges, etc.).

For me, the main difference is that Abrams stuff is slicker and slightly more commercial, but ultimately has fewer ideas. I think it's telling that Abrams most idea-packed project, Lost, is the one he had the least to do with. Alias, Fringe, MI3, and Cloverfield are all fast paced, well plotted, entertaining, and combine genres in an interesting way, but they don't really have much to say -- they're mostly pure enterainment. Whereas what Joss is so good at is giving you those genre thrills, but using them to explore complex ideas.

I also find it telling that Joss's feature directing debut was a low-budget passion project based on his own failed television show, whereas JJ's was the third film in a successful series based on someone's else's successful television show, starring a major movie star, that I believe was the largest budgeted film ever given to a first time features director.

That being said, the one area JJ destroys Joss in is pilots: Alias and Lost remain two of the best pilots ever made, if not THE best, and Felicity and Fringe's pilots were also strong. Whereas, as we have discussed at length in the wake of Dollhouse, Joss's shows tend to take a little while to find their feet.
I LOVED Alias, but around ses. 3 stuff started to get downhill and it looked like he got just bored with it and went off to do something with LOST and then he looked like he got bored with that and did MI:3.

But I'm not saying he doesn't get good ideas or anything, because he does and maybe he works well with other writers and all. :D It just it seems that somehow it's never finished or something?

I don't know. I voted Whedon anyways.
Oh, and also, I love the way JJ writes his scripts. Like the actual scene descriptions and stuff. It very much fits the "style over substance" critique but they are super fun to read. He might have Joss beat there. Or at least, his style is more showy. Which is interesting, because Joss's dialogue is far more stylized.
Abrams has never been able to sustain a show in the manner that Joss has; his shows start out very strong but then devolve, as Alias did, as Felicity did, and as Lost did. Joss keeps getting stronger.
There's no contest. My screenname pretty much gives it away, I guess, but really there IS no contest...and I really love Lost, loved Alias and liked Felicity.
Tonight's Fringe was co-written by Zack Whedon, so the two worlds collide.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2009-04-15 02:19 ]
Is it a Dollhouse spoiler or a JJ Abrams spoiler? Because I want to look, but I'm being really careful to avoid any Dollhouse spoilage. Fringe/Lost spoilage is a-ok. (So you can probably tell who I'd vote for.)
ithilien, it's a Dollhouse spoiler.

Edit, if you just don't read the blurbs and scroll down for the vote, you should be fine.

Holy crap! It's 96% for Joss Whedon! I mean, I voted for him, but wow is that just soooo sad for JJ Abrams.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2009-04-15 02:30 ]
ithilien, it is a dollhouse casting spoiler.
Have always assumed that if I stated my true evaluation of JJ Abrams, I'd get flamed into the floor, and I just don't have the energy to respond. So I will NOT say directly here things like "doesn't the bad robot seem totally derivative of Grrr! Arghhh!?", "Anyone ever feel like the emotional throughline of Alias feels thrown together without much ongoing real committment to character development?" or "Hmmm, I wonder why "Lost" seems to have such good attention to ongoing character's almost as if JJ Abrams was involved only peripherally while off doing big budget "franchise" movies and Carleton/Cuse were really responsible for the heart of the show." No, I wouldn't wanna bring up statements like those.

(ETA to say above written w/out reading article because of spoiler tag. still not reading for same reason.)

[ edited by doubtful guest on 2009-04-15 02:45 ]
Lost is heroin telly. Addictive but never enough, because it gives you what you want not what you need. Uncancelleable riskless television. Abrams is the anti-Whedon. The Star Trek reboot looks worryingly like Star Wars from the trailer.
The Star Trek reboot looks worryingly like Star Wars from the trailer.

That's my fear as well.

Imagine what Star Trek would be if Joss got his hands on it!
I love Lost. Apart from the pilot, with which Abrams was very involved, I attribute my love to Darleton.

I liked his Mission Impossible, couldn't make it through an episode of Alias and have no desire to see his so-called Star Trek.

Surprise! Joss wins my vote!
Unformed thoughts: Abrams and Whedon approach fantasy differently. Abrams' has a gift of making fantasy seem realistic (even though on close examination there is nothing realistic about Lost or Alias or Cloverfield). Joss has a gift of making fantasy seem like a parallel world in which everyone has snappier dialogue than in real life. Joss ties his fantasy worlds to the real world by encouraging us to compare themes and issues in his fantasy worlds to the real world. Abrams connects to the real world through his characters' personalities tending to be archetypal (the hunter, the mother, etc).

I love them both.
Lost gives neither what I want nor what I need.
Lost gives neither what I want nor what I need.

It gives me both. I'm glad it's a big ol' tv world out there.
Well, what they don't mention that Abrams tends to use a lot of the writers that Joss found first. IMO THAT is why many of his shows do well. Anyway, Joss is blowing Abrams out of the water at the moment and so it should be.

I never forgave Abrams for the way he ended Felicity. I never watched the show much. I thought Felicity was a very poor role model. Basically she stalks some poor guy she had a crush on to college, then proceeds to do a bunch of amoral stuff but it's OK cause she beats herself up over it and angsts over it all and she's a good person. Then Abrams can't even commit to which boyfriend she's strung along to end up with so they make two endings but people STILL get ripped off cause she ends up with the same freaking guy in both endings.
I'm not overly familiar with all of Abrams work so it may not be fair for me to assess the man, but from what I can put together about the stuff I have seen, I find it weird that he and Joss are even being compared. From the stuff I know, Abrams does not really get all that involved in the projects that have his name stamped on them. At least not nearly to the extent that I know Joss does with his own projects.

For instance, Cloverfield was hailed as this great JJ Abrams triumph and it really was a great film. But what was his involvement? He wasn't the writer or director, but simply a producer. While I grant that the job entails a lot, it doesn't imply much in the realm of creative input. Did he come up with the story or something and Goddard just wrote the screenplay off of his outline?

I watched the first season of Lost and loved it (and will always appreciate it for the fact that it seemed to bring the world of television back around to scripted serialized drama shows and out of the unending pit of Reality TV that was the early 2000s). And yet I noticed that Abrams actually wrote almost none of the episodes and from all of the extra behind-the-scenes material got the sense that Damon Lindelof was pretty much running things while Abrams stayed in a distant producer role.

Everything Joss has done has seemed his entirely throughout. Even when he was running three shows and his influence waned somewhat on Buffy and Angel, you got the sense that he was steering the overall ship. From Abrams I've never gotten that idea. Can any Abrams fans correct me? Was it different for Felicity, Alias, and the other stuff I payed less attention to?
SuperWes, he was very involved in the early seasons of Alias, which are also (IMO) the best stuff he's ever done.

He wrote and directed the amazing Alias pilot, and wrote or co-wrote I believe 8-10 of the season one episodes (i.e. more than Joss has ever written on a single season of his shows). He also wrote and directed the season one and season two finales, and wrote the big post-Superbowl ep, all of which are excellent.

Another comparison: musical talent. JJ composed the theme to Alias.
Nathan has a twitter account!
I like them both, but Whedon more. I *LOVED* Alias though. That was fantastic. Not as much as I do Btvs, but it's an awesome show.
No question about who to vote for in this one. There is a huge difference in quality between Joss an JJ's shows.

Im thinking of watching Alias though, after all Amy Acker is in it. But is it worth it, just for her I wonder?
I love Lost, I think it's the best new drama of the decade. It's like watching a Greek epic.
Lost is awesome. But really, after the first season, its not JJ. It's Carlton and David's beasty now.

But I can't wait for Star Trek. Still, can't compare to Joss.
Alias was pretty OK, I guess. The techie in me just couldn't bear with the awful awful gadgets and tech-mistakes in it. I do get you have to cut corners to please public and get the plot going, but come on, there has to be some limit to it! I did watch it on an off for most of the run, but the further along it got, the less I wanted to watch, stopping around S3/S4. The same with Lost, which I abruptly stopped watching halfway season 3. Though, I have to say, the same almost applied to Angel, I barely made it through S2 and S3...

Back to tech, at least Joss hides the mistakes well, such as Topher casually cracking RSA used by NSA. That is just so wrong in so many levels, but it does not stick out, and in theory it could be possible under optimal conditions. Of course there is the chair, but that's pretty much expected to be futuristic.
I am kinda stunned that someone on here described Lost as "riskless, uncancellable television". There has not been a more ambitious television show on a mainstream network in the last ten years, and I include all of Joss's shows in that (though I adore them all, and Buffy is maybe the greatest show of all time)

If you go to and read the analysis of each Lost episode from Dr. Jensen, you will see the sheer density that each episode has. A towering study of character, philosophy, faith and science - each episode is bult to withstand multiple viewings and presents more layers than a wedding cake. It is a miracle that it's a commercial hit.

That's the main difference between Abrams and Whedon (though it should be clarified that Lost, as it is now, is almost entirey the vision of Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse). They both have very strong voices, and they are both almost limitless in their creativity, but Joss is still struggling to break out of cult adoration, where Abrams has managed to make his genre-bending vision into the mainstream. I can think of no more perfect example of this than Joss dominating an online poll as Dollhouse struggles to find an audience, while Abrams unleashes his critically adored $150million movie, and makes casting announcements for season 2 of Fringe.

I think Joss Whedon is possibly the most talented writer/director in Hollywood, but Abrams is one of those too, and I have never understood Whedon fans need to put Abrams down to elevate Joss.
Damn hard choice but I may have to go with Abrams. Sorry, Joss.

Buffy and Angel were my favourite television shows for a very long time and still (as a pair) in my top 3 television pleasures to this day. Lost, however, blows them out of the water. All other shows too, for that matter, although Supernatural comes a closer second these days than it once did. I'm seriously addicted to Lost and every season just draws me in further. This year has been incredible and the only reason I'm not looking forward to season 6 is that I know it's coming to an end. Even this season you can feel and see all the mysteries and storylines being gradually tied together and I just don't think I'm ready to see it conclude.

On the flip side, it's nice to finally be able to point out to all those that said Team Lost didn't have a clue where they were going and were making it up as they went along that the answers are gradually coming. A little padding in season 2 to allow for not knowing how many seasons they had to write does not mean that they had no endgame. Just that they didn't know where that and end had to arrive. Love this show!

Anyway, back to the topic. I love everything Joss has done but Dollhouse isn't close to giving me the same level of enjoyment as Buffy, Angel or Firefly. I want to love it as much as my love of the cast and crew should allow but it hasn't clicked with me. Fringe, however, has me hooked again. Not Lost hooked yet but I can see it happening. So, yeah, Abrams for me.
The two have a great respect for each other as I understand it. I saw an interview with Abrams in which he said he begged Joss and Drew to make Cabin in the Woods with him. He also praised Joss's abilitity to find writers (hence him recruiting Goddard, Fury etc to Alias and Lost).

Joss described Lost as a rarity "bam! America's watching".
The two have a great respect for each other as I understand it.

That's how I understand it as well. It's usually the fandoms that create these divides, rather than the actual people involved. It's Vedder and Cobain all over again. ;)
On the flip side, it's nice to finally be able to point out to all those that said Team Lost didn't have a clue where they were going and were making it up as they went along that the answers are gradually coming.

I'm not wedded to any particular position on the matter (and don't watch 'Lost') but it's not really true to say "See, they knew all along", that just doesn't follow. Seems equally possible that they've just worked it out now, especially after the complaints (and audience drop off) about precisely that lack of a clear endpoint (which also inspired them to clarify how many seasons it would run for).

Back to tech, at least Joss hides the mistakes well ...

Err, Willow did things that were very "cinema tech" (i.e. in a time or with equipment that'd be impossible, even making an attempt to crack military encryption on her laptop). Firefly had some issues too.

With Topher's crack it's arguably better cos it's actually stated (and the plot hinges on it) that it's only for the internal network (i.e. we can fan-wank that the internal network uses shorter keys that are within the dollhouse hardware's crackable range - they probably wouldn't be shorter BTW but we can fan-wank they are ;).

In general though, I do the same with both Joss' stuff and, for instance, all the Rimbaldi gubbins in 'Alias' and many of the gadgets - treat the shows as sort of heightened reality fantasy and accept it if it's well sold. It's extremely rare to see computers or tech in general treated realistically on TV/film (and it'd be fairly dull if they were - most penetrations would require days or even weeks for instance) so I usually just let it blow past, otherwise you'd go banoonoos ;).

Oh and Joss BTW but i've liked some of JJ Abram's stuff too and in interview/behind the scenes stuff he seems like a cool guy, one of us.
After a lot of prodding from friends I've started on Lost season 1 and it's much better than I expected. I like the emphasis on character development. I'll reserve judgement but I'd be surprised if I like it more than Buffy or Firefly (and to a lesser extent Angel).

But, yeah, Joss by a mile
I'm not wedded to any particular position on the matter (and don't watch 'Lost') but it's not really true to say "See, they knew all along", that just doesn't follow. Seems equally possible that they've just worked it out now, especially after the complaints (and audience drop off) about precisely that lack of a clear endpoint (which also inspired them to clarify how many seasons it would run for).

I see what you are saying, Saje, but we've had a situation where from almost the start we've had the writers saying they know where they are heading and the major elements of the show are all mapped out and we've had the fans (or, more accurately, ex-fans) basically calling them liars and saying that they have been making it up from day one and hoping it all comes together in the end. An opinion that comes usually from viewers who haven't watched since the second or third season (at the point where Damon and Carlton would almost certainly still admit they were adding plots and episodes to pad out the story here and there, simply because they didn't know how long it had to run for). There have absolutely been changes made to the original plan, usually due to real life developments with the actors, but the basic idea of what the story is about and where it will end is still in place, as we have always been told.

So we basically have the two options where we believe the writers knew what they were doing, as they have always suggested, or we go with the former fans who got bored and decided to blame their lack of interest with the show on the idea that the show was being written by monkeys with typewriters and had no real direction at all. Personally I've always believed that Team Darlton deserved the benefit of the doubt over angry ex-fanboys but now that the story has now started to fall into place (and given the level of detail that involves that can't all have been down to dumb luck) I think it's fair enough to say that they knew what they were doing.
It really doesn't matter if they knew all along or not. Ron Moore openly admits that stuff like the Final Five, and Earth were all done on the fly. The fact is, Lost's mythology, however it is forged, is compelling, but its the characters that bring me back each week.

[ edited by Andy Dufresne on 2009-04-15 11:51 ]
Well that's the thing, the people that made the transition from "mystery show" to "show that's largely about revealing characters ... oh and it has a mystery" are presumably quite happy still and that's great. But a lot of people bought into the thrust of season 1 which was seemingly all about "the island" and "the hatch" and "the monster" with a few character episodes sprinkled around to add depth and resonance and those were the people that didn't like the idea of it running and running.

...but we've had a situation where from almost the start we've had the writers saying they know where they are heading and the major elements of the show are all mapped out...

Best will in the world, that's maybe slightly revisionist Highlander ;). AFAIK, from quite early on Abrams/Lindelof/Cruse said they originally envisioned a four or five season arc, maybe with a movie to finish it off. But then it was a huge hit and suddenly, around the start to middle of season 2, people were talking about it running much longer (e.g. among others, the guy that plays Michael talked about hearing 8 seasons or more) - it's at that point that a lot of people grew disenchanted because they wanted a pay-off to the mystery that had been the focus of season 1 and couldn't see one in sight (I wouldn't say i'm an ex-fan BTW cos I always intended - and still do - to go back and watch it eventually but that's roughly where I started to lose interest a bit, the potential of another X-Files sized disappointment put me off).

Now i'm all for not knowing every step on the journey but 8+ years for a story that could be told in 4 (which, for me, was always about as long as "'Lost' as mystery" could sustain itself anyway) seems like a lot of "padding". Not saying it's not great TV, just that the reality of US network television doesn't seem to lend itself to well-formed narrative plans (if you're a success they want you to stay around longer, sometimes longer than the arc story can bear, if you're not then you're not usually guaranteed more than about 6 episodes to tell a story, often not even that).
I suppose it's all down to how you see it but I'm not sure "revisionist" would be the right term for the way I recall it playing out early on, Saje. When the show became the massive hit that it did obviously the network's first thought would be to bleed it dry for every season the could get out of it, leading to the uncertainty of how long they had to make it run for and the possibility of bringing in new (and not necessarily as interesting) characters and story elements to make that happen, but that has never been a secret and also not really what I'm talking about here.

Lost would absolutely have been better suited to a set five seasons with, to throw out a number, 20ish episodes per season, right from the start (still think it would have been a nice touch to have there be 108 episodes ;)). The nature of the story means that you absolutely cannot give the majority of the answers until the end and so expecting the average television viewer to go on longer than that without any sense of closure in sight was always a risk. That said, the mystery has only ever been half my enjoyment. The mystery keeps me hooked but the characters keep me entertained. I've never had any real problem with the filler episodes for the simple reason that they still feature characters I love to watch. Some of my favourite episodes have had very little to do with advancing the plot or answering questions.

Anyway, that's a little beside the point because all I've been trying to say is that, regardless of whether they had to pad things out early on or not, the end of the story and where they wanted to finish was always something they claimed to have set in stone and whether it took them 50 episodes or 250 episodes to get there the result will be largely the same. My original point was just that, going off what we are seeing now and looking back at everything they put in place from episode 1, it appears to me like they are well on their way to proving themselves. Something a lot of very vocal critics claimed they would never do.

If you are open to a few spoilers (and depending on how much you've been following where the show has gone in recent seasons) then check out the information on Adam and Eve over at Lostpedia. The details of who they are and how they came to be there are scattered all the way through the run of the show and it's probably one of the finest examples of the writers knowing what they were doing right from the beginning. If you do intend on watching Lost again at some point though, better not to go there. ;)
Yeah, i'll skip it ta - my position was always that once i'm fairly sure they know where they're going and assuming i've avoided enough spoilers to still make it worthwhile then i'll watch from where I left off (or maybe a bit before, just to get back into it). I've learned some (huge) spoilers but that's inevitable when you're 3-4 years behind on a show - it's either that or stay off the internet ;). Not so many that it's not worth watching though I reckon and I don't want to deliberately add to it.

And I agree, they were/are aces at the foreshadowing. In fact, episode 4 of season 1 ('Walkabout') was the first time we get an inkling of the sort of "call-forward" they were capable of and I always told people to at least watch until the end of that one before they made a decision about the show. But tying things in now still isn't the same as those things requiring the early episodes be a certain way, y'know ? It just means they've found a way to use the show's own history (which is no mean feat by itself). Still, as I say I haven't been watching so i'm in no position to judge that aspect of it.
I have to admit I fall into the "I adore Joss, but Lost is my favourite thing ever" camp. Everything from the end of season three onwards represents some of the best fiction I have ever experienced. It's wonderful. But, you know, that's just weird old me. :-)
Re: "making it up as they go along" debate of the last few threads: worth remembering that "Lost" is probably the single most notable case in series television of it becoming public knowledge that the writers themselves were becoming frustrated by not knowing how long they would have to play out their master plot (not using the word as the narrative theorists would, I know), which they themselves feared would cause them to be forced to "pad" more while popular, then be stuck wrapping things up overly-quickly when the axe looked about to drop. The result was the fairly unique deal they struck last year -- a locked-in number of seasons with a lower number of episodes/season. I suspect both sides of the debate above are, thus, right: By about 1.5 seasons in, it seems pretty clear the writers (a) had a good idea where they planned to go in the big picture and (b) had no idea what the realities of network television success would make necessary regarding padding-vs.-abrupt-wrap-up.

I would argue the uniqueness of their situation is important in network television history and in fan experience for a few reasons:

-the shortened seasons are a gift: one of the biggest differences between U.S. network series on the one hand and more and more cable series of the past few years (and, it seems, a fair number of U.K. and other series) on the other hand is a season plan of 20-24 episodes vs. 10-15 episodes, with the cable series having the advantage, usually, of a more tightly-conceived season arc tied to an episode count that does not demand "filler" episodes that dilute this.

-the known series endpoint after 6 seasons effectively made a promise to the viewers -- at a point when it was really needed -- that, love it or hate it, "Lost would not be pulling an X-Files style obliteration of the resonance of its mythology through inability to commit to an appropriate series lifespan. The "Lost" series plan is also different from series that have declared intentions to go out "before they wore out their welcome"/"on top" in that it has a series-long building reveal that not only sitcoms (Seinfeld) but most mythology/arc heavy shows do not have -- While Joss loved to plant clues to things he knew were down the road a year or more in advance (such as references to Dawn in dream sequences), his arcs were always season by season.

This season/series-length issue also relates to the idea of improvisation/emergence of key story lines. The mention of BSG above is on-point: Moore and Co. admittedly figured out/decided on some very key elements relatively late in the show's run, but they seem to have been astonishingly disciplined in keeping the show closely tied to not just the character developments but the thematic concerns and narrative realities of circumstance put in motion by the early part of the series. This is probably nowhere as evident as in the treatment of the "final five." Both the identity of and the nature (vs. the previous 7) of these cylons was determined late in the series, but the show took seriously the task of examining the implications of this "reveal" on each of those characters and those around them, given their previous series history and personality. For me, Alias is a case study of the reverse, with each new permutation of the Rimbaldi mystery or of the double/triple/octuple-agent status of the main characters seeming only shallowly connected to either character development or overarching thematic concerns -- a "monster of the week" thriller disguised as a show with larger concerns/arcs/mythology, rather than, as in most Whedon product and, I believe, "Lost," the exact reverse. (Got no problem with week by week thrillers as they don't try to convince me they're something they ain't!)

-finally (and this is for those deciding whether to jump into "Lost" now or wait until all the DVD's are out), the fan experience of "Lost" won a new potential for richness through real-time viewing when the season plan got locked in. Having stumbled on "Buffy" mid-first season, I feel lucky enough to have had an emotional experience of the show as it played out across six and a half years of my life in "real" time. BSG was sorta similar (I tuned in about 1.5 seasons in). Mind you, I'm not saying these shows ain't effective unless you see them in "real time" -- I've seen enough postings here to know that Buffy still can have a major effect if you caught it all on DVD after the series ended. I, myself, recently watched the entirety of the Wire and was blown away, but can only imagine what additional resonance it might have had for me if I'd seen it over 5 or 6 years instead of 5 or 6 weeks. I mentioned upthread that Lost is the only piece of the "bad robot" archives that has managed to engage me long-term (I watched the first season on DVD, then joined it in "real time.") For me, with greater trust that emotional investment in the show would not be casually betrayed by scheduling realities if nothing else, I find it easier to let myself surrender more to the ride, in hopes that "Lost" might just maybe possibly reward the investment.
I think Buffy is the best TV series ever produced and Angel is next. What I enjoy about Joss shows are you have to really pay attention to what is being said and shown. Like in Buffy when Spike shows her the handcuffs and ask "Do you trust me" and she says "never", but later when talking to Tara she is covering bruises on her you get the idea she did trust him. And when Spike goes to kill Buffy and finds her sitting on the porch crying and goes to try and comfort her, the scene ends with them side by side saying nothing, but the next ep when Riley catches Spike in Buffy's room and is throwing him out of the house, Spike wants to know why he is not at the hospital with Buffy, tells him he knew since last night that Joyce was going in for test. The poem that William wrote that everyone made fun of shows up again at the end of Angel and is cheered. You have to be on your toes with Joss shows and I love it. So YES Joss is the winner.
Thanks for the info, bonzob. Sorry if I kind of presumed on the guys entire M.O. with evidence in only a few instances. Still, I find myself annoyed when I hear Cloverfield and Lost credited to "JJ" for their greatness, it gives me the sense that people are turning the guy into a sort of brand name (not unlike how Judd Apatow is apparently at the head of 6 movies every year somehow).
Lost was my favorite show before I discovered the genius that is Joss. Buffy and Angel are my favorite shows, then Arrested Development, and Lost is now only my fourth favorite show.
I'm looking forward to Abrams' Star Trek, because it's an established franchise and a prequil, so he wont be able to string you out with endless, unresolved teasers for seasons on end, as he did on Lost.
Although I think Fringe is improving (and Zack's script was far and away the best yet :) I'm not sure how much Abrams is still involved.

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