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May 27 2011

A Joss Whedon dilemma: the case For Firefly, Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible. "Of the three pieces here, which is the most re-watchable? Which is the best overall expression of that special "Whedon-esque-ness" (ahem) that keeps us, as fans, screaming for more?"

Firefly is surely rewatchable. I think I saw it three times already.
Buffy at least 4 times and am doing a second Angel run as I write this.
Dollhouse not so.
Dollhouse I couldn't even finish watching once, let alone multiple times. Firefly was often good and sometimes great but I've only seen it once.

Dr. Horrible on the other hand is, IMHO, a perfect piece of entertainment. I've watched it more times than I can recall.

Granted, this may not be a fair comparison. It's harder to maintain consistency over the course of an entire TV series (even a short one) than it is in a single 45 minute web based show.
there are even semi-legit rumblings about former cast and/or crew trying to pick up the rights to relaunch the show.

Whaaaa? This again? Sigh
Doctor Horrible is always fun to rewatch, but I'm not completely in love with it. I fully intend to watch Dollhouse again sometime. I enjoyed it quite a lot the first time, and I think the second time will be better. Firefly is the clear winner for me. I have to force myself not to rewatch it constantly because I'm worried that it will get old, but I could probably watch that show forever if I let myself.
Dr. Horrible was the first of these I'd seen, and I stopped counting after 20 rewatches. Three times a day at least twice. After that, I bought Firefly, Buffy, and now Dollhouse (watched it as it appeared on TV). Three rewatches each of Firefly and Buffy. Still need to watch Dollhouse on the DVD - have only made time for the original pilot and Epitaths 1 so far.

Also, it's easier to rewatch Dr. H. than a whole season's worth of epiodes.
I've rewatched all of the above (plus Buffy and Angel) numerous times but if I had to pick one of the three mentioned, I think it would be Dollhouse.

I love Firefly, especially since it was what got me into Whedon love and fandom - and I consider myself a Browncoat through and through; but there's something about Dollhouse that draws me in every time I watch and I know I could watch it many more times and still find lots of things to analyse and obsess over. There are so many layers and deep issues to think about and discuss. Of course, I'm still doing the same with Buffy. :)

I love Dr. Horrible too, of course, but that's lighter, shorter and I can pretty much recite it word for word. :D

[ edited by samatwitch on 2011-05-27 22:18 ]
I adore Firefly and have rewatched it many many times, but I've watched Buffy almost as much (and considering that it is 7 seasons that always takes a lot longer!), and I still own all of the Angel and Dollhouse DVD even though I've only rewatched them a couple of times each. I don't see any reason to pick any of them, I love them all.... Actually the one thing I've rewatched most (particularly back to back) is the Dr. Horrible musical commentary, I really really love that!
I love it all.
I was asking myself a similar question the other day, and for me it would be Firefly.

Dr. Horrible is the only one I have watched numerous times (I think 15 viewings+). Although I still love watching it and listening to the soundtrack, I find that I'm not as enthused about it as I was when I first saw it. Probably because it's short and easy to remember exactly what happens.

Dollhouse was interesting and I would have liked to have seen how Joss would have carried on the story, as I'm sure it would have been awesome. However, I feel that it is one of those shows that you can not watch over and over again as you know who everyone is and what they add to story (Trying not to post spoilers) and so the surprise twists are no longer surprising.

I'm currently in my second viewing of Firefly (I only really started watching Whedon shows six months ago) and I think that this is the one that I could watch endlessly and not get bored of. There are no real surprise twists that you can grow tired of and because of that, you will want to keep coming back for more. So for me, it can only be Firefly :)
That was an insanely hot article.
Dr Horrible should win on account of it being so short. I've watched it at least 20 times. Firefly I've watched through once fully, seen a few episodes multiple times (tv, pop in the dvds/blurays, watched the commentaries) and seen the movie about 8 times, but it's not as easy to just sit down and watch it in less than an hour like Dr Horrible. Haven't gotten around to rewatching Dollhouse yet. I'll get there at some point.
The point is though this is not about what you like best to rewatch. It's about what is most rewatchable and due to the length of Dr Horrible, it should easily be the most rewatchable. It's so much easier to sit down for a 45 minute show than one that is 1000+ minutes. It's really an unfair comparison.
Err, no, that's pretty much exactly not the point (otherwise there wouldn't be one - the shortest piece would win, regardless of preference, merit etc. and the entire article would consist of the running times for each show). It's about which one you prefer to re-watch, like a kind of 'Desert Island Whedon'.

That was an insanely hot article.

Heh, that tickled me too. Also 'semi-legit' ? I do not think this means what they think it means.

'Firefly' for me though there's a hair in it, if that (Whedon shows are eminently rewatchable IMO, moreso than pretty much any other TV). Much as I also love 'Doctor Horrible' and 'Dollhouse' re-watching 'Firefly' gives me the same feeling I get re-reading 'Catch-22' (maybe my favourite novel) - every time I do it I wonder why it's taken me so long to do it.
I would have thought that the shorter something is the more quickly you'd grow tired of rewatching it. I mean If I'm gonna have a Firefly marathon that'll be great and I can do that for a day or two but compare that to an entire Buffy rewatch and I'd be busy for weeks.

Anyway Firefly wins hands down for me out of the three choices (although I would totally pick Buffy if it was all the shows).

Dollhouse I have trouble mustering the energy to get through the first 5 episodes and Dr. Horrible I've watched a bunch of times but it's not the same as digging in for a series length Whedon show.
Well, I'm biased - I teach a class on Firefly at my uni. I've guess I've rewatched it close to a hundred times. I loved Doctor Horrible, but don't see it as a series, and I've yet to take the plastic off my Dollhouse season 2 dvds.
I think Dr Horrible can be excluded from this discussion, if it's to be halfway serious (ha!) - it's a wonderful piece but not the same kind of work as the others.

So: which is the most rewatchable? Let's open the question up to Whedon's four(!) TV series: Dollhouse, Firefly, Buffy, and Angel.


Certainly the most well-formed and complete single narrative is Buffy: it essentially tells two complete stories (Seasons 1-5, about childhood and adolescence and living with the Slayer destiny, and 6-7, about entry into adulthood and escaping that destiny). The shapeliest individual seasons (3, 5, arguably 6) are best-of-the-medium stuff, and of course the S2 Buffy/Angel story is one of the purest, most intense things Whedon's put to paper (kudos to Noxon, I think, for providing much of that story's erotic context and depth).

For concerted impact it's hard to beat 'The Gift' - all of S5 really - among Joss's shows. You can dig in over a week's hardcore viewing and count on perfectly-balanced long-form entertainment.

Buffy also offers the largest stylistic/tonal variety of the four series: the Slayer frame is flexible enough to accommodate 'Once More with Feeling,' 'Hush,' 'Lie to Me,' the underrated 'Beer Bad,' and 'Restless' with ease. If you're gonna be sitting on an island you're gonna want a frame you can build on, imaginatively. Buffy's good for that. Its episodic qualities make it easy to dip into - that's vital for rewatching.

That said, it's easily Whedon's most morally straightforward show, however authentically deep those morals and emotions are. It's a hero show. That's an overpowering, overdetermining feature.


A step up from Buffy in moral thorniness - another hero story, but its central themes are more open-ended and provocative than Buffy's. 'The (im)possibility of "redemption"' rather than 'love as a motive force for justice' and 'everyone has their demons' and so forth. But let's be honest: there are a lot more bum Angel episodes than on Buffy - Whedon and Greenwalt took a while to figure out what the show was, I think, and the 'adult' bits are cheesily not-adult until roughly mid-Season Two, when the hatefucking starts.

Seasons 3 and 4 are simply not watchable in bits'n'pieces - the episodes are too tightly coupled. That makes it a poor fit for rewatching. And we have to admit that the cast of Angel isn't as distinctive as Buffy's...nor is Boreanaz on the same rarefied plane as Gellar, however effortlessly likable and magnetic he might be.

Buffy beats Angel for rewatchability: easier to dip into, easier to like, and offering a wider range of pleasures.


This would've been Joss's best show, I think, and it breaks my heart that he wasn't able to see it through. Best ensemble of the bunch, I think, and the most fully-realized at the start. The pilot ('Serenity') is miles beyond Whedon's other three pilots in terms of completeness, stylistic assuredness, and clearly-defined-moral-ambivalence (as opposed to Dollhouse's ambiguous ambivalence). There's just too damned little of it!

And as good as the show was from the start, so much of its depth is only implied - it's not complete without the Serenity feature film, and even that's a hybrid beast. It also didn't run long enough for the relationships on the show to develop the 'give' that they had on, say, Buffy, the worn-in weariness that comes of living together onscreen for more than half a decade. (Consider the UK and US versions of The Office - the latter has that serial weariness, the former a singular definition. Gervais/Merchant's show is a one-off; Greg Daniels's US redevelopment takes time.)

Despite its occasional zaniness, Firefly is built around a dark protagonist - I adore Filion's work as Mal, but Christ he's a tightly-wound man! Even in 'Shindig' and 'Our Mrs Reynolds.' A well-defined single experience of the character, enormous suggested depth, but there's no question he's harder to live through than, say, Buffy/Willow/Xander.

I've watched all of Firefly a whole bunch. But it always feels like the first few chapters of a story never told. Very frustrating. But Whedon absolutely nailed everything about this one from the jump. Siiiiiigh.


Joss Whedon's bravest, weirdest, most thought-provoking, most relentlessly self-questioning work of fiction. The best of Dollhouse can't touch his best early work, but with few exceptions (e.g. 'Objects in Space,' 'The Body,' 'Lie to Me,' the Faith-returns four-parter from Buffy S4/Angel S2) he's never come close to Dollhouse's moral/epistemological knottiness. The Attic is one of the best metaphors he's ever deployed, and it's about 80% perfectly realized. The Ballard/Dollhouse quest might be the most audacious story he's told on TV.

It's impossible to rewatch this show though. The first few eps are a mess; the end of S1 is a blur; S2 starts with infinite promise, then turns into a deliriously messy, almost incoherent crazy-idea-thon. You don't come back to a show because it's full of provocative ideas; provocations don't do well in rerun. And identification/projection is all shot to hell: the characters are all over the map the whole time. This is the Joss show I admire most; Firefly was Joss in full flight, whereas Dollhouse is his revenge-taking lunatic mutteringfritteringgibberingHAHA.

I've never rewatched any of S2 and may never do so. It just doesn't fit together right.

In sum.

This was a waste of your time, sorry! Buffy is the most rewatchable, DUH. Would've been Firefly, maybe - travelogue of the stars, c'mon!! - but a dozen episodes ain't enough. And Angel is too densely serial, too darkly involuted. It always feels to me like a Buffy sequel (no offense to its often brilliant and heroic writers and actors).

How's this for a followup proposal: Buffy S8 #5 is the best Whedonverse comic, easily, easily.
I think the length of a show can be a factor in determining rewatchability, and depending on the show and your POV, can affect the determination either positively or negatively. It's not the sole factor though.

I picked Dr. Horrible because I see it as charming, flawless, just the right length, and never old hat (yet). The other two have some parts that I think would be tedious to sit through more than once, Firefly being the much more rewatchable of the two.

On the other hand, if Buffy were in the running, it would win hands down, notwithstanding its flaws. I think Buffy's just the best damn show ever. So much to love, and I find more each time I watch.

If Avengers can approach the kind of rewatchability exhibited by Buffy, Dr. Horrible, and even Firefly, then Joss's career will, I think, go into the stratosphere.
Forget re-watches. I want to go to the college where any show ends up as a course!
Yeah, "semi-legit", if semi-legit means "off-hand + naÔve + intractable = brouhaha -> kerfuffle - > hazarai -> irksome dreck & drol

That's my history of that semi-legit effort, anyway.

I can't do "Desert Island Whedon" at all - to me, these three (and Buffy and Angel) are all apples & oranges in the extreme. I re-watch all of them - Dollhouse less so, so far - in the appropriate mood, when I need their particular vibes.

Dollhouse is the exception only because it is *so* dense - and I'm currently approaching it from one particular angle, which I'm studying - that it takes me forever to get through one episode, what with all my starting and stopping, notetaking, etc. I've only been through the first season five or six times, and season two only twice...

But I need them all equally... just differently.
Waxbanks, I don't disagree with your tv analysis, though I think it gives Dollhouse a bit too much credit, and i agree that Buffy is the obvious winner. But I take strong exception to Buffy season 8 being the best Whedonverse comic. If you're pitting it against non-canonical Buffy and Angel comics that were not even written by Whedon, then sure. But I think season 8 may be my least favorite of all Joss's works, and certainly my least favorite of all his comics. Fray was much better, IMNHO, as were Whedon-penned works that don't fall within the "Whedonverse" proper, such as astonishing x-men and runaways. I would even rate Sugarshock higher than Season 8.

ETA: Oops, I just noticed you limited your proposal to one particular issue, not the whole season 8 series, so my rant doesn't really respond appropriately. Ah well..

For what it's worth, I still prefer Fray, Astonishing, and Runaways to #5, but i don't feel quite as strongly about it.

[ edited by Squishy on 2011-05-28 02:24 ]
I got as far as the writer not watching Buffy or Angel. I'm not sure you know what that special Whedon-esque-ness is, unless you have. You don't see the progression of the artist at work. Not to say that the three shows in question can't be watched on their own, but if you are pressed to answer the questions listed in the topic ...
Firefly is- to me- the most "Whedonesque" of these three and is the most rewatchable. Watching Firefly is like hanging out with old friends, people I can live with and whom I miss with an ache when they're not around. I watch it once or twice a year and every time it hurts when I get to then end and there ain't no more. Firefly feels like a world where I could live.

Dollhouse was challenging to watch, brilliantly conceived at times, had some amazing high points and some wonderful acting. But it never had the chance to fully develop despite having twice as many episodes as Firefly (although towards the end of season two... whoo. The reintroduction of Alpha was superb and from there on it rocked constantly). I wouldn't want to live there. Yeek! Maybe that was the point.

Dr. Horrible is just a different kettle of fish. It's crisp, focused, superbly developed. It's very Whedony. But there's not so much of a there there. Nowhere to live.
You don't come back to a show because it's full of provocative ideas; provocations don't do well in rerun.

Mhmmm, yes. Yes, exactly. I always felt like there must be a reason why a S2-Rewatch of Dollhouse never tickled me a lot (even though I was and will always be in deep love with the grand ideas that this show was), and I think you just found it for me.

[ edited by wiesengrund on 2011-05-28 02:29 ]
With Buffy and Angel out of the equation, I would choose Firefly. I love Dr. Horrible but it's only 45 minutes and I prefer Firefly.

Dollhouse? It's not even in the same league as those two.
Firefly is- to me- the most "Whedonesque" of these three and is the most rewatchable. Watching Firefly is like hanging out with old friends, people I can live with and whom I miss with an ache when they're not around. I watch it once or twice a year and every time it hurts when I get to then end and there ain't no more. Firefly feels like a world where I could live.

Scoffing at Gravity, you just perfectly captured how I feel about Firefly. Bravo.

I think out of all the series, I've probably connected with and therefore rewatched Buffy the most. I do feel like Angel deserves some love though, and I have rewatched it several times. I particularly like to watch the GrumpyAngel arc in season 2 and the entirety of Season 5. I love Firefly but it sometimes hurts to watch it because my heart breaks at the end every time. I loved Dollhouse when it aired but have yet to revisit it.
Firefly. But yes, agree that it's strange the writer hasn't watched Buffy or Angel. Firefly's still my tops but this person really needs to pick up The Chosen Set, stat.
If pressed, I would also choose Firefly out of the three shows. I don't think Joss was in love with Dollhouse or Dr. Horrible, admirable efforts though they were. Those two are like reading a really good short story, next to the best epic novel you ever read. In Firefly, in a very short period of time, we saw the best blending of actors into a family unit, of maybe any television show, let alone genre show, ever. And it was unique, worn over Joss' heart like the most gorgeous corsage anyone has ever seen - that feeling he had for the show was wholly apparent, his connection. I always wondered from whence did it spring, that inspiration. And that deep love, I feel it every time I re-watch an episode, not just Joss', but the cast for each other. And I think that ultimately it is something one can go back to time and again for inspiration on many levels.

And I dare say, Firefly could not have been as wonderful as it was had it not been for Joss' artistic journey through Buffy and Angel. That's why it is odd to me the writer of the piece is dismissive of them.
Out of those three, for me, it's Dollhouse all the way. I can't even describe why, it's just that beautiful mix of action and intrigue and Topher. Plus Olivia Williams' accent(if only she and Anthony Stewart Head could have shared the screen). Even the earlier episodes of season 1 are still of a higher standard than most currently airing shows. It also feels like you can slip into an episode as easily as the dolls slip into their personalities...

Firefly and Dr. H are both shows that I need to be in the mood for. A space/western and musical aren't exactly things that I can just easily throw on of an evening. I think it's the real world placement of Dollhouse that makes it more digestible for me. Well the mind wiping tech aside, even Epitaphs is a simpler watch than a great big space boat and a silly super villain(not meaning those descriptions in a pejorative manner, I mean the Doc is quite silly with his many unfortunate failures). So my vote goes to Dollhouse.

Now if we're counting Buffy and Angel, well then, it's more like Buffy s1-3, Angel s1&2, Dollhouse 1&2, Buffy s4&5, Angel s2,3&5, Buffy s7, Angel s4, Firefly and lastly Dr. Horrible. S6 only has a few eps for rewatch purposes, but never a full season. This wasn't that difficult of a choice.
Firefly. Firefly. Firefly... *sniff*

...I'm currently approaching it from one particular angle, which I'm studying - that it takes me forever to get through one episode, what with all my starting and stopping, notetaking, etc.

-QuoterGal on Dollhouse

O_O No one told me there was gonna be a TEST!
That was an insanely hot article.

My thoughts exactly!

I always wondered from whence did it spring, that inspiration.

The only book I've read that managed to bring me to tears more than once (look out for the Reynolds reference near the end.)
Of the 3 mentioned it would be Firefly for me, as I watched my brother's VHS copies numerous times and that was initially how I introduced others to it, until I bought the shiny dvds.
Of all of Whedon's works though, it is Buffy, all day, everyday. Which is how often I used to watch the episodes, again, first on VHS (I still have a box full of them in my basement) and then on dvd (yes, the initial"expando-packs" that cost like $50 a pop. I was a little peeved when they released the slim packs). Buffy is the greatest show of all time in my not-so-humble opinion and I have shared that love with countless people, usually watching the episodes with them. The first 4 seasons I easily could have watched episodes upwards of 50 times possibly (probably?) more; the later seasons probably no more than 10-15, except for OMWF.
Thanks, brinderwalt, I enjoyed reading that excerpt. I'd heard the name of the book before but didn't get around to it.
BreathesStory O_O No one told me there was gonna be a TEST!

Raise your hand if you have any questions. Read every problem carefully, and make sure to show your work. Cheating will not be tolerated. No books or notes are permitted, but you are allowed to use a calculator. Phones off, please.

Remember to sign the front of your blue essay book, and if you finish early, please sit quietly in your seats until the bell rings.

The tests will not be graded on a curve. Your grades will be posted online. The highest score will receive a personal visit from Joss and a featured non-speaking extra role in The Avengers.

I made that last bit up. Hell, I made all of it up.
*puts hand back down as if he knew all along it was a joke*

(what are you studying QG, if you don't mind me askin' ?)

I particularly like to watch the GrumpyAngel arc in season 2...

This made me smile. Fair comment though, locking a bunch of lawyers in a room with homicidal vampires and later setting those vampires on fire is pretty grumpy ;).
Grumpy...or funny? Depends on your feelings towards lawyers and comedy in general.
He was on the more morally ambiguous side of grumpy. :)
I suppose I delve into either Buffy or Firefly the most. Buffy had some fantastic one-shot's which can be picked up in the snap of a finger as mindless television (though thats not derogatory). For example, if I wanted to watch 'The Zeppo', I could watch 'The Zeppo' and not need to think about any of the over-reaching arcs and just enjoy the episode for what it was. On the other hand, I've now seen BTVS so many times that (end of Season Seven aside), I could now probably pick up 'Dead Things' just as happily.

Firefly is another show that can be watched sporadically and out of order. The point - and beauty - of the show, is that no matter the storyline the warmth and texture of the characters is enough to anchor you into it's world, and that makes it insanely rewatchable and convenient to pick up at any point.

Angel and Dollhouse would both need to be watched in one go methinks.
Just throwing my hat into the ring - and now my head is cold - so thanks to whoever came up with that analogy, but my fave show for rewatches actually is Dollhouse.

Something about the message it sends and the way we live our lives today just hit home to me; Aligning ourselves with big corporations, questioning little and devouring tech before we understand it's long term effects, the whole question of self, and the nature versus nurture debate appealed to this viewer.

I agree it can be a challenging watch, partly because some ideas are left just as ideas and not deveoped further, and partly by design. One of the most admirable things I felt about the (aired) pilot was Joss' directorial choices; undercutting the expectation of action and removing the emotional resonances which most directors pump up in order to make you feel a particular thing.

I'm an unrepentant fan of "True Believer", which has so many layers, and I'd challenge anyone not to be impressed by "Belonging". If DH had acheived nothing but THAT scene between Topher and Whiskey I would have been rabid in it's defence, but it didn't, for me it has immeasurable pleasures.

A great deal of Whedon's ouvre has floored me emotionally and been intellectually rewarding, but this was the first show I would argue that really played with my brain (ironically), and I love it for that.

Plus Reed Diamond is insanely hot.
In order: Buffy, Buffy, Buffy, and finally, Buffy.

This is the show that will never die for me. I can go back to it endlessly, just because I don't know that any other show has created such a likable cast of characters. Giles, Willow, Xander, Oz, Tara, Spike, Faith, even Angel in his time... of course, this game is a little unfair, because you could really list the characters of any Whedon show and make the same point I'm making here. But these guys are just the most fun to spend time with, for me. It's like being with old childhood friends again, to sound like the loneliest person ever.

Angel comes in second just because of the S3-S4 arcs, which I love but which can't really just be picked up at random. Then Firefly, for its brevity. And Dollhouse is a fantastic show, but it's intentionally hard to watch at times and so keeps me at a distance for rewatching.
"This is the show that will never die for me..."

An obscene amount of WORD! All and forever, it's Buffy.
I can go back to [Buffy] endlessly, just because I don't know that any other show has created such a likable cast of characters.

It's worth noting that the relationships among the Scoobies and their extended circle always came down to 'They love each other and would do anything for each other.' That's definitely not true on any of the other Whedon shows, not even Angel, where Angel/Gunn and Connor/Angel and Spike/everyone and Illyria/everyone were really freighted and tense...

It's easy to come back to Buffy partly because every single episode of the show is a reaffirmation of the correctness of these (physically attractive) people being together and relying on (coming back to!) one another. It's a 'BFF 4-eva' story, as stories about childhood so often are, and the love it depicts is transcendent.

This is, of course, the thing that marks it most strongly as fantasy - but who's counting?
I'm not sure that it's very fair to compare Buffy or Angel to Firefly and Dollhouse, and I'm not sure that it's fair to compare any of them to Dr. Horrible. For me, Dr. Horrible is a whole other discussion as it's so different from the others. So short and self-contained and without any long character arcs. Dollhouse at least had foreknowledge that it could be cut short early and planned for it, but of course those two short Seasons still didn't give it nearly as much time as Buffy or Angel. Firefly is the most disadvantaged for me as it had so little time to prepare for it's cancelation. Neither of that latter two had nearly as long to develop and evolve as the first two. Buffy & Angel were complete, or close to it, and so had much longer to endear themselves to their fans.

How many people would truly love Buffy so much if it had ended after Season 1, as Firefly did? If you want to bring Buffy and Angel into the discussion then I'd limit them to a Season 1 battle, the first Season of each show, and if people are able to keep themselves to only what went on in those first Seasons, then I'm guessing that at least some of the answers here would be different.
I've always wondered if the cast of Buffy was truly as likable/lovable as so many people seem to claim? Do the fans judge the characters solely on their own merits, or because they discovered the show at a certain time in their lives and grew, or grew up, with them?

As for me, I don't find the cast of Buffy nearly as likable as many of the cast in Firefly (I actually didn't find them as likable as the cast of Angel either). Maybe my fondness for the Serenity's crew would have lessened over 3 or 5 or 7 years, though somehow I doubt it. In barely more than a dozen hours, I grew to deeply love several of those characters and it breaks my heart to try to imagine how magnificent this show might have been if it had been allowed to continue to grow and evolve. Even though I love Firefly the most, I would actually place it last on this list, as it's tough for me to rewatch it without some serious melancholy.
That's a very good point about how the discussion could have gone, but if you put up Firefly next to S1 of Buffy/Angel, I do believe Firefly would still come out ahead, because B/A's first seasons were not very strong. I still believe that in one short season, Joss put together the ultimate blending of cast/show. That does nothing, however, to negate the fact that I loved B/A first and they live in my heart in a completely different way than my admiration for what Joss achieved with Firefly.
"locking a bunch of lawyers in a room with homicidial vampires and later setting those vampires on fire is pretty grumpy;).

Actually, thought it was a nice touch. The fact that Darla didn't know whether she was dealing with Angel or Angelus really sold it. Those twists and turns in Joss' brain.

Back to subject, "Firefly" most certainly. I've watched those episodes again and again, yet I'm still look forward to giving them another watch. That spells a classic in my book.

'Course, same 'tis true with "Buffy" and "AngeL" and... guess you can see where we're going here, right?
I would still rank Buffy, Angel and Dollhouse seasons 1 above Firefly. I found the Buffy cast of characters to be just as compelling as the Serenity cast, but more compact, 4 vs 9.
Also there was the presence of Jayne, who I just could never actually like and never really understood why he was part of the crew seeing as no one liked or trusted him, he just felt like a plot device. I guess when you have a group that big there's always gonna be someone who's relevance you question.
From season 4 it was Xander and well actually everyone on Angel's side seemed necessary. As for Dollhouse we were led to believe that they were disposable, but then we wouldn't have seen the various stages of growth of each of the dolls; Echo becoming a leader, Sierra and Victor becoming lovers, and the people; Adelle becoming a mother(by way of psychotic drunk), Topher growing a conscience, etc.

As much as I appreciate the family dynamic of the Serenity crew, I never felt like I developed with them However, Buffy, Angel and Dollhouse all had developments of character within the first 13 episodes. Visible, relatable and tangible progressions. Some might say that Buffy was about teens growing toward adulthood, sure, they need to learn faster. Angel was about recovery and he needed to come to grips with that that and Dollhouse was about becoming self aware, but maybe that was what was absent from Firefly; what were they growing towards? Fighting the evil empire? Helping River regain her sanity? In 13 episodes I felt like there was no real character change in anyone until the film, then everyone changed!
Ahh, BlueSkies, you have to admit when Jayne received the hat his Mother knitted for him, your heart melted a little bit?
Thus suggesting I have one...
It's not something I have to think long and hard about at all. Firefly, of course. I've rewatched so many times I've lost count.

I think Firefly's albeit unwarranted brevity is one reason it's so easy to rewatch. Buffy is the more complete package, but rewatching takes forever... thus I've rewatched the series in its entirety maybe 4 times.

But as much as I love all the Joss' works, Firefly is my shining star.
Thus suggesting I have one...

Well, yes, that would be required.
Saje: (what are you studying QG, if you don't mind me askin' ?)

"The use of 2D/3D art in Dollhouse's stories and design" is roughly what I'm looking at, Saje, although I hope one day to come up with some title a mite catchier.

Originally I'd planned to write about it for SmartPop's Dollhouse essay contest, but an examination of about half of season one made it clear the subject was waaay longer and more involved than could be contained in their word-limit. Another problem was the copious amount of screenshots I needed/wanted to illustrate my points. Though I wrote to them, and they very kindly checked w/ their lawyers and answered, their answer of "using *some* would be okay" was not reassuring. I knew I was going to have to use more than a few, and the complicated rights issues made it unlikely that it could be published as I envisioned it in the unlikely event of its winning.

And then there was the, you know, actual writing of it. ; >

So I've taken to studying the subject at my leisure, making notes and marking down times for screenshots and happily obsessing, as is my wont.

I'm here to tell you that this is one intricate and fascinating subject, though (if you're me. ; > ) The integration of imagery in the set and photography with story and character development is both complex and beautiful, and more than enough material for a thesis, should the world be in need of another thesis.

As I watch and scrutinize, though, the remembrance of that Dollhouse set being struck and destroyed or scattered fills me with painful heebie-jeebie spasms every time I think of it.

It was so beyond perfect. : * (
Looking forward to reading it, QG. Get crackin'!

(Kidding about the crackin' part, but I do hope we get to read those thoughts of yours on paper or screen at some point. Sounds interesting.
Quotergal, that sounds wonderful. I would very much like to read it as well at some point.
As for me, I don't find the cast of Buffy nearly as likable as many of the cast in Firefly (I actually didn't find them as likable as the cast of Angel either).

I think waxbanks makes a good point about the ways they interact, too, which affects my feelings for these folks:

It's worth noting that the relationships among the Scoobies and their extended circle always came down to 'They love each other and would do anything for each other.'

The characters and relationships on Firefly are wonderful and complex, but they don't give that same warm feeling that Buffy does. Which isn't to say that makes Buffy better TV--I think one could pretty easily argue the contrary, in fact. But it's one of many elements that makes it more rewatchable and lovable for me.
Speaking as someone who has been watching the day-long Firefly marathon on Science Channel; I've gotta go with Firefly.
I tend to think of Dr Horrible as one of the finest Short Stories I've ever seen, Firefly as the best short Story Collection (EVER), Angel as a decent Novella, and Buffy as a really great Novel. They're all good, of course, but I'm partial to Short Story Collections :D.

Firefly is #1 in my heart, and always will be.
I really like Waxbanks' post. While I do find Dollhouse more watchable than s/he does,it's only from episode 6 on, and I have only watched the DVDs twice. I have watched individual episodes several times, but not the whole series.

Buffy is the series easiest to watch over and over again. I have stopped counting how many times I have seen the entire series, and whenever it is on, unless there is something really great in first run opposite it, I will rewatch an episode in a heartbeat.

I do love Dr. Horrible, and will likely never get sick of it, but let's be honest - all it's parts put together make one television episode. It's a great one, but somehow, I can't see spending hundreds of hours watching it again. (Oh, and to be clear... I do have a life, so hundreds of hours spent watching Buffy reruns might also include grading papers, folding laundry, or doing other tasks with Buffy in the background. It's a sort of "whistle while you work" thing.)

As for Firefly, I love it - especially when capped off with Serenity (the movie, not the pilot) - but because there are only 14 episodes to watch, it gets repetitive really fast. I have also found that as it's been airing on the Science Channel, even if there is nothing else on, I am less inclined to watch it than I am an episode of Buffy.
QuoterGal, please continue your essay. I, for one, would be very interested in reading it. And, if I may say, I think other members within this room feel the same. You've always had a partial view which I find enlightening on several subjects, surly, you can't stop now?

Laywers be damned, print your piece in our flickr.
"The use of 2D/3D art in Dollhouse's stories and design" is roughly what I'm looking at, Saje, although I hope one day to come up with some title a mite catchier.

Sounds worthwhile for its own sake QG but it'd be a pity if it never saw the light of day cos it also sounds unique (AFAIK) and for myself, recognising visual allusions/cues etc. is something i'm usually pretty bad at (find it easier with the verbal stuff) so it'd likely be a real eye opener too (e.g. I read a review of Chiwetel Ejiofor's - excellent - new BBC series 'The Shadow Line' which mentions how many lines there are throughout the visuals of the show - after being told i'm all "Oh yeah" and seeing them everywhere, beforehand totally clueless).

(and yep, you mentioning the set being struck reminded me of the early set report threads like this one. Still wonder every now and then what happened to the 'holey' sculpture)
"...and still other times itís just that they needed to have Dushku on screen more often and in smaller, tighter outfits."

Uggggggh. Wrong. Wrong.
From these three I would pick Firefly. I love it so very much and it still hurts my heart that there is so little of it.

Of all the Whedon shows, Buffy is still my favorite. Buffy was the first love and there were seven seasons which made it habit forming; when it ended it felt like something was missing from my life and it took a while to get over it. But Firefly is definitely a close second.
I'm embarking on a Dollhouse rewatch for the first time now. I think that Buffy, Dr. Horrible and Firefly are more "fun" and enjoyable to watch, but there's something about Dollhouse that makes it impossible for me to ignore it. Perhaps it is that Dollhouse raises the most relevant questions of all of the Whedon shows.
I pick Terriers! Oh. Wait.
Well, if that had been a choice, of course, "I" would have chosen it TOO! [/toady] :) (I think I would pick Terriers even over The Inside, which I loved)
Yay, Tim! You are a funny dude.

[ edited by Squishy on 2011-05-31 02:59 ]
As long as Tim threadjacked: if you're an Academy member, don't forget to vote Terriers, Donal Logue, and Michael Raymond-James on your forthcoming Emmy nominating ballots. ;)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-05-31 02:59 ]
Terriers. *sigh* I miss its little partying ass.

Talk about another stake being driven through the TV-watching heart. No, don't. And don't mention The Chicago Code either, 'cos ow. (Oh, crap, I just did mention it. Double-owie.) But Terriers - that was another little gem.

Speaking of gems, as it turns out, I'm in the midst of yet another re-watch of the eminently-re-watchable Firefly - when you've got 'Verse art to do, for instance, there's nothing better to keep you in the mood & on tone. I'm at my favorite place - the start of Disc 2/"Shindig" - when it feels like it'll go on forever...

So thanks, Timsir, for making this perfect show with Joss. It's got a big part of my heart no matter when or how it ended. They all end, anyway, eventually...

(Re: "Art in the Dollhouse" or whatever - thanks, guys, that's encouraging, really. Writing it has just moved up an item or two on the "Things I'm Going to Do When I Have Time - Really" List. Really.)
Actually I just re-watched the Pilot of Terriers this weekend. What an amazing pilot (and show), Tim! I'm deeply disappointed that there's not more seasons of the show, but what you did create is so strong. Thank you!

As far as the article, between Firefly/Dollhouse/Dr. Horrible I'd choose "Firefly" (thanks, Tim). "Dollhouse" was amazing in many ways (thanks again, Tim!), but I still feel like "Firefly" was more focused and consistent and therefore re-watchable, even though there is less (hours) of it than "Dollhouse".

I think Dr. Horrible is a brilliant and re-watchable piece of work, but that it doesn't have the depth of the other two, and I don't think it is meant to. It is very thought provoking in that special Whedon way (hero vs. villain, Pyrrhic victory, quest for identity/understanding of self) as well as extremely entertaining, but I don't think I'd want it as the only thing I could watch "for the remainder of [my life]."

I always find the very last shot & line of "Objects in Space" a poignant but somehow apropos end of the series. I really liked Serenity but it feels more self-conscious than "Firefly" and I see them as related but separate creations, rather than seeing Serenity as a continuation of the TV show.

Did I ramble?
All Joss shows are wonderful but there is just something about Buffy and Angel that allows me to rewatch over and over, always craving more. :)

Between, DH, FF or DHorrible...Dollhouse hands down because of the wonderful and talented cast involved. Does it get any better than Victor...or Topher...Or Adelle....November...?

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