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August 19 2009

The Shakespearean Heroes Science Fiction Should Steal From. IO9 takes a fascinating look at how some recent examples of science fiction could benefit from paying close attention to the Bard of Avon's playbook. Contains spoilers for the Dollhouse episodes "Echo" and "Epitaph One."

ETA: Article's title has now been changed from the original "5 Shakespearean Heroes That Science Fiction Epics Could Learn From."

Topher's soliloquy and arc in "Epitaph One" are kind of grand.
Something tells me Joss would be very pleased by that. Topher was the one, after all, who quoted Hamlet in the first episode.
Oh, very cool article. Thank you!
That's an excellent, well-sourced, and meaty article. Kudos to the writer and io9.
Good article. I just wanted to keep reading.
That was a very good read, thank you for posting it, brinderwalt. We can learn much by following the leads of the great masters. Still insightful (or not) as they were in the ages.
Epitaph One in particular had a very Greek tragedy feel to it. I loved seeing how Topher and Adelle react differently to the things they've done together causing so much terrible fallout for humanity at large.
This was far better than most io9 articles -- although I could have sworn Malvolio was in Twelfth Night and wasn't Lear's Fool, who I believe doesn't have a name at all.
The author was listing three characters -- "Malvolio, Lear's fool... and Macbeth" -- not naming the Fool.
Seeing further stops on Topher's journey from a fool's heaven to a monster's hell, in Dollhouse season two, is one of the prospects that gives me hope for the future of television.


The fact that Joss whedon is still making television gives me hope for the future of television
Oh b!X, always a stickler for the minute details. Okay, that is true, but couldn't the case be maded that perhaps Joss is in the same league as such?
I'm always wary to say Joss is in the same league as Shakespear for fear of how that could be taken. "Oh god, the insane fanatical nutty Whedon fans are at it again!"

But people forget, or never realised, that Shakespear in his day was writing popular entertainment for the masses, not highbrow works for the intellectual elite. If he were alive today he's be a TV writer. Like Joss.

Buffy had vampires and demons.
Shakespear had ghosts and witches.

Shakespear made up words that found their way into common use.
Shakespear mixed comedy and tragedy.

But did Shakespear ever do a Sing-Along-Blog?
I'm wary of the comparison because it seems pretty tough to decide these things at the time ("a classic in the making" strikes me as being at the dafter end of promotional hyperbole ;) but there're certainly points of commonality as zz9 says, including character arcs, being pop culture centric, having dialogue that'll need a bit of unpacking in as little as 20-30 years time (and certainly 400), genre bending, use of traditional forms and tropes in a new way etc. Course, a lot of that is just common to good writing, not necessarily indicative of some sort of one to one mapping from Shakespeare to Joss.

Good article that, some of it seems a bit thin to me but it's definitely about the best thing I can remember reading on io9.
Shakespeare's stuff had mass appeal, Joss' stuff doesn't. That's the main difference in my book.
I dunno if we can compare them directly Simon, as far as mass entertainment went, plays were pretty much it in Shakespeare's time i.e. he didn't have the same competition that Joss does (and anyway, if 2% of the population of Britain at the time had watched a single one of his plays, would it have been called a ratings failure ?). I think it's fair to say Joss has broad appeal in the same way Big Bill did.


edited to add mass. Not weight, that's different ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-08-20 12:14 ]
He's no Michael Bay (who also went to Wesleyan - that made me grin).
That was a fun read. And thanks Pointy for the link, an even better read - eloquent and excellent.
Personally, I think comparing Joss Whedon to a literary master like Shakespeare (whose works have managed to survive 400+ years of literary criticism and remain relevant to contemporary society) is kind of pushing it. I'd settle with one of the best writers alive and leave it at that (at least until circa 2450A.D. rolls around.)

ETC: Grammar.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2009-08-20 17:43 ]

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