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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Since Angel lost his soul, he's regained his sense of whimsy."
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March 12 2013

io9's March TV Madness: Pick the greatest science fiction TV show ever made! io9's tournament excludes Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse (for reasons explained at the link), but numerous showed affiliated with Whedonverse alumni are included in the first round: Supernatural, Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, Battlestar Galactica, and more.

Wait so just because we can slam dunk a tourney, we can't participate? Imagine if the Olympic Committee said Michael Phelps couldn't swim because he's too good?

And we are too be pacified with our own invitational?

This is an outrage!!

But secretly I'm proud.
Like I said when I unknowingly double-posted:
For just having three rules, #2 will piss off Angel fans, #3 we should find hilarious. Really, Serenity won an online poll, so now anything Whedonesque is disqualified? I mean, a brackets style thing as trivial as this is already pointless, but saying "Buffy" or "Firefly" can't win because the fan-base loves it too much is just making it much, much less valid.
Yes, I do love how this basically reads as "Pick the greatest non-Whedon (and by non-Whedon we actually mean second greatest) science fiction TV show ever made."
LOL I love this! Whedon shows are so good, the fans so committed and long lasting, the support and love so over-whelming that we can't even be allowed to be represented anymore! We have risen above the dregs of shows that far too often permeate our screens, fade away and are mostly forgotten! Whedon shows exist above and beyond such nonsense as this competition and have now been seen as the untouchable, undeniable classics we all knew them to be! Absolutely brilliant! (Did I just use an exclamation point on every sentence!? Yes, yes I did!)
On a darker note, are they also saying then that Serenity wasn't really the greatest scifi movie? That it only won because of us and that our power negates an accurate attempt at identifying the greatest of anything?

Is this really a slight? And, dare I say it, .....a conspiracy?

I'm off to tweet io9 again.

I find this hysterical, for realsies.

Sidebar: @Quinn Merrick, I love your paragraph!!

[ edited by hann23 on 2013-03-12 22:13 ]
#3 should be taken as a compliment - Joss and his fans are just that good!

Edit - what Quinn Merrick said, basically!

[ edited by Shep on 2013-03-12 22:17 ]
Wow. Also, I'm so glad we don't talk about comments on these things.

I'm in that surprised/frustrated/proud/confused area regarding the rule.
Really, Serenity won an online poll, so now anything Whedonesque is disqualified?


I can think of several high-profile online polls in the last few years that were heavily targeted by various bring back Firefly campaigns. Fans of cancelled tv shows do tend to go in for that sort of thing but the Firefly campaigns really went to town over it and it did cause a backlash in the general online scifi community.

There might be some sort of short-term boost for the profile of the show but long-term it just led to a lot of resentment.
Personally, I think it's a stretch to call Buffy, Angel or Supernatural sci fi shows, but people always lump supernatural/fantasy stuff with sci fi. I'm surprised Once Upon a Time isn't mentioned too.

To me, sci fi is Fringe, Dr. Who, BSG, Dollhouse,Firefly, etc.

Xena, Pushing Daisies, and Game of Thrones are NOT sci fi.
My favourite part is the Whedon only tournament is called "W.I.T". Rather apt, I would say.

But excluding shows from an online poll because they are popular amongst people who are likely to do an online poll does seem a little silly. As does excluding spin off shows or, as this seems to be, excluding some spin off shows and not others... because... reasons!

Caprica, for example, was a very, very different show from BSG and I don't really see why they should be lumped together just because they happen to take place in the same fictional universe.
@Angel&Faith Buffy had intelligent, robotic love dolls (among other things). How is it not sci-fi?

Angel is Buffy's spin-off and has plenty of its own sci-fi elements.

I agree with Supernatural, though. Definitely not sci-fi.
I understand that Simon, but it does come off as "Firefly fans are persistent, so it mustn't be good."
Pushing Daisies (which I loved) is beating Misfits, which leads me to believe that not enough people have seen Misfits (it is definitely sci-fi and is awesome!).
Well, I remember the io9 controversy this time last year... and I have to say, I found myself a bit annoyed by the fandom. Serenity is good, but there's no way it's better than Star Wars or Blade Runner. Joss has said himself that Serenity isn't as good as it should have been; and the Big Damn Movie clearly owes a heavy debt to both the other films I just mentioned. So when us Whedonistas descend and vote for a clearly inferior product just because Joss made it... well, that's when we start to look a little like Jasmine's followers, no?

So I'm fine with this. A good lesson for us. And I'll be voting for Buffy.
I get their reason for leaving off Whedon stuff, but they really should have left off Supernatural for a similar reason. Supernatural will win this tournament because Supernatural fans are just that organized and passionate about winning online polls.

ETA: then again, maybe the time of extreme Supernatural fannishness has passed, or maybe they just haven't sniffed out the poll yet, because there aren't very many votes on the 'Supernatural vs. Six Millon Dollar Man' poll yet.

[ edited by forcorreo on 2013-03-13 01:27 ]
Supernatural fans haven't sniffed it out.
The issue was Serenity was beating things like 2001, Metropolis, the Star Wars films, Blade Runner, and it was often by obscene margins.

I agree with ManEnough. I had a mixed reaction. I like that the fandom will band together to do that sort of thing.

But the issue is, if you were to even come with the top 5 Sci Fi films of all time, Serenity would have a hard time making it. As Space Opera, I'd still take The Empire Strikes Back over it. Blade Runner and Alien are icons of science fiction. Metropolis and Solaris are historically great films. And many people 2001 the Science Fiction film movie that proves Hollywood wouldn't vote for SciFi for best picture.

Serenity was lovable but not without its blemishes. Heck, just bump it up on Rotten Tomatoes. It's not as objectively viewed as better than The Avengers let alone the films I just mentioned. Seeing it come out on top made me feel like I didn't get to see what the bracket intended. It showed me how strong the Whedon fanbase is. I didn't need the poll for that.

[ edited by azzers on 2013-03-13 03:53 ]
The person who agrees with me is right, I say! And is also rather more eloquent about it. Well put, azzers.
Considering this is a popularity poll, it does seem silly to exclude shows because a lot of people will vote for it. If they don't like the Serenity results, then the rules should be changed so that people will have to vote for "quality" instead of "popularity". (Just don't ask me what those rules should be.)
@Frankincense
On average, how often did we see sci fi elements on the Buffy or Angel shows? Maybe ten percent of the time? That's not enough to make something a sci fi show. You can't put Buffy up against something like Dr. Who in a Sci Fi contest just because there's fan crossover. It's comparing apples to oranges. And you can't say Supernatural isn't sci fi, but Buffy/Angel is. Those shows are playing in the same wheel house.

[ edited by Angel&Faith on 2013-03-13 06:02 ]

[ edited by Angel&Faith on 2013-03-13 06:05 ]
Manenough and Azzers, 2001 was, IMHO, terrible. I fell asleep both times I watched it so I had no issue with Serenity beating it. Metropolis and Solaris, while really great and great, respectively, are also movies that most people haven't seen, io9 reader or not (if not for film class in college, I probably wouldn't have seen them. And there is no requirement in an online poll that you have to have seen the movies you're voting for/against). Blade Runner is a tougher justification because it is pretty fantastic but, again strictly my opinion here, on a random night I would rather throw Serenity in to kill a couple hours over Blade Runner, whatever that is worth

Now, The Empire Strikes Back, is on the other hand. There is no reason, aside from the power of our fanbase, that Serenity should have beat Empire. Empire is one of the greatest films of all time, sci fi or otherwise.

A funny thing is I remember a commentor on the movie poll wanting to see Firefly go up against other sci fi shows to see how it would fare against shows like the Treks, X-Files, Lost, etc. That apparently angry person will be so sad.
I don't see the original Twilight Zone, so clearly I can't vote for greatest SF of all time.
I could see where having a fanbase dominate the votes for best sci-fi movie could upset people, especially because movies don't often generate the same level of fan loyalty.

But there are a number of TV shows on that list that have a pretty giant collection of devoted fans. Adding any of the Whedon shows to the mix doesn't seem like it would be putting a majority of that list at a disadvantage.
There are many people who legit believe Firefly is the best sci-fi series of all time. Maybe you can chalk it up to the fact that it's run was short so it never got a change to fall on it's face, or maybe bc it got an epic film conclusion. Who knows. You can't say it's just bc Whedonites are rabid, though....in our experience online and at meeting people at conventions - the only reason many Firefly fans like Whedon is BECAUSE of Firefly, not the other way around. Often, they haven't even watched Buffy. Therefore, they just love the series rather than sheeple who obsess bc over Whedon like io9 is suggesting.

Therefore, IMO, this tourney is a sham.
@ azzers, @ ManEnoughtoAdmit - That was my recollection of what aggravated me too, being a commenter on both sites.

The aggravation with Whedon fans on io9 actually began in the River Tam fiasco two years ago, where the human (and let's just emphasize the fact she is a human being, regardless of what happened to the reavers at the end of Serenity) was beating creatures nowhere near her weight class. When she even trumped Cameron, the Terminator Summer Glau played in T:SCC, it was obvious the entire poll they were conducting for fun had been usurped by people who just wanted to stuff a poll for their favorite to win over actual opinions or objectivity.

When they let Serenity in last year as one of the greatest sci-fi films and it beat out the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner and Alien, it was the last straw for io9 if they wanted to keep the polls fun and light and not turn into a hate-bashing of one fandom over another.

I'm actually looking forward to this year's poll.
Thankx ManEnough and azzers. :-))) So much fun with this fandom.

So I'm fine with this too. A good lesson to us funnie ones. And I'ld be voting for...

Firefly! ;-)


The aggravation with Whedon fans on io9 actually began in the River Tam fiasco two years ago[...]

I remember it well.

[...]where the human (and let's just emphasize the fact she is a human being, regardless of what happened to the reavers at the end of Serenity) was beating creatures nowhere near her weight class.

Unsurprisingly since it was a "Who's Television's Biggest Badass Of All Time?" contest - ie. completely subjective, by design.

When she even trumped Cameron, the Terminator Summer Glau played in T:SCC, it was obvious the entire poll they were conducting for fun had been usurped by people who just wanted to stuff a poll for their favorite to win over actual opinions or objectivity.

Or possibly that people where taking the thing far more seriously and objectively than it's organizers had envisioned (badass is, after all, a very widely defined term.)
Not for nothing but Whedon fans, myself included, can be pretty passionate about our shows. I like SERENITY better than STAR WARS but a lot of that is because out is essentially the 2 hr conclusion to one of my favorite shows. Would it be as good if out didn't have a12-13 hr prequel? I don't think so. When I watch SERENITY, I'm watching it with the nostalgia of the whole of FIREFLY enhancing out.
"enhancing it"...i apologize for my phone's auto-text errors in my previous post..."out" should be "it".
Strangely, I never had much of a problem with the "Biggest Badass" contest. To me, that's a really nebulous term that often means cool, most strong, blah, blah.

But when Firefly took "best Sci Fi" which really isn't that subjective a phrase (it's far different than saying what's "your favorite"), it became a little silly. I mean if any contest gets you the "Firefly" result, why bother?

To the point "is it possible that some people think Serenity IS simply better?" Well sure. But then you're entering the realm of debate. It's just not one Serenity is going to win on technical, story, visual, or musical grounds. It's simply exceeded by too many other films. It's like Super 8 (exact same Tomatometer score) in that it understands the tropes, the verbal cadences, and the genres and mashes them up admirably. But they don't pay off in the same way their influences did. I think I know technically why that is with Serenity but with Super 8 I've never really cared to figure it out.

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