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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"What I mean, I'm fifteen. So this queen thing's illegal."
11981 members | you are not logged in | 19 June 2018


October 24 2004

Whedon wants out of TV. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon is done with TV -- for now".

Twentieth Century Fox TV has approved Whedon's request to halt his overall deal at the studio, effectively shuttering his Mutant Enemy production shingle.

E!Online is also reporting this. I figured I'd just post the link here as well, instead of making a new entry about the same thing. "Buffy" Brain Drained."

Yikes! I guess that nixes any TV movies or series in the next year (which was pretty much understood anyway). Could it be he figures on waiting out the year, and then contracting with someone other than FOX (but then they have first dibs)? Just speculation. At the conference call today he made it clear that he loves both Film and TV so I don't think it means he'll never come back to TV, it just reinforces he needs a break.
Gosh that makes me sad, although obviously Joss has his own very good reasons. It's the end of an era. No more ME.

In the High Stakes conference call today, Joss said that he loved the level of nuance and layering that you can do on a tv series that can't be done in a feature film. Conversely, he said, there's a grandeur that you can achieve in a feature film that is harder to acheive in tv. He said he loved *both* mediums.

I'm such a fan of the unfolding novel gloriousness of his tv shows that I really hope that Joss someday finds inspiration again for a series. I also wish him great success in film. Which brings us back to this film script he's currently writing which is all shiny and new and not linked to anyone else's work or his own previous work.
What??? NO!!!

Well, after the way Firefly and then Angel were treated, I don't blame him. But it is a tragedy that a brilliant storyteller like Whedon will not bring his stories to TV anymore...for the time being.

And congrats to Joss and Kai about the new baby on the way!

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2004-10-25 03:54 ]
Or perhaps if things work out with ED. Thanks for posting this. I saw the Variety teaser but didn't want to subscribe. I knew some kind soul would put a readable link up.

And that's so great about his baby. Funny that Rogue Slayer scooped them (at least here).
About the possibility of a Faith spinoff: in the conference call today, Joss said that he'd be gloriously happy (and interested) if ED were interested in a Faith series *but* because he loves the character so much and the actress who plays her, he feels that he would need to produce script that would be worthy of Faith/ED.

The subtext which was rapidly (but not quite) becoming text: that such a script was not in the immediate offing. This latest news about shuttering ME kind of confirms this, doesn't it?
I don't know. I was on the conference call too and I kind of took it like there wasn't anything in the works but if ED and the network expressed an interest he would be all over it. When I read this quote: "Hopefully, sooner rather than later, he'll have an inspired TV idea that he can't help himself from doing. ... We're just glad that when he decides to do TV again, it will be with us." I felt like it's not completely out of the question.

What did you guys in Va. make of the statement about EC voting for Kerry? Was AH kidding? She sounded serious.
Even though it's not much of a surprise about the contract, it's still really sad to see ME close their doors. A physical and symbolic acknowledgement that times have changed on the television landscape, and not for the better.
Well, I'm happy for Joss, sad for television viewers with taste.

I am curious about one thing though.
Don't people that make feature films have production companies?
I would have thought that Mutant Enemy would continue on.
I'm certain as I can be that Aly was serious about Emma Caulfield voting for Kerry (but still being Republican). From what I gather they're great friends and I doubt Aly would say something like that in this context unless it were true. Aly chimed in with this right after Joss said that voting Bush out was not a Republican vs. Democrat issue, in his opinion. And what Aly said is entirely believable... I know at least seven people who are staunch Republicans but will be voting for Kerry in this election. Cross-party voting happens often; just look at all those Reagan Democrats.

Ah, marmoset, so you interpreted the ED question more hopefully than did I. Actually I interpreted it more hopefully when I heard Joss's response during the conference call. It's only with this announcement of shuttering ME that I'm seeing things more darkly. I hope you're right. You probably are. Yes! You are. Of course, what we all most want is for Joss to feel the inspiration again, right? In the meantime, patience...
Aly chimed in with this right after Joss said that voting Bush out was not a Republican vs. Democrat issue, in his opinion.

Ah ha! The very first thing on the call I heard was Aly saying that so I never knew exactly what the question was. Good to know. Thank you. I also know of several Republicans who are saying they will vote for Kerry. We'll see.

Did you see in the above post that Herc quotes Joss as saying he's "salivating" to do a Faith spin-off? I missed hearing him say "salivate"--did you hear that? If it's true it's even more encouraging.
Aww Crud...
The selfish whiner in me wishes for more tv.
But If I have to be an adult about this I guess I will.
I'm glad he's now in a position to write and direct his own movies and I Have to admit I'm excited to see some Big screen Joss-y goodness. Just like a drug addict I need my joss fix, Id rather have small doses once a week, the withdrawal is killing me, but I'll just to settle for a big screen binge once in awhile.
Yes, marmoset, I did hear the "salivating" bit. Sorry that your connection doesn't sound like it was so great. Anyway, Joss really did say that. So let's hold high hopes, shall we?

I'm just re-listening to the call via the wav file that KernelM provided. Joss does sound really into a Faith series idea. I retract my earlier statements. He sounds very much into it. Although it sounds like it's entirely up to ED at this point.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2004-10-25 05:15 ]
Yet at his John Kerry bash he said that he was salivating at doing a Faith Spinoff if ED wanted to do it. Sounds more to me that he has decided that if he can't do Faith he is not interested in doing TV for now.

So much for those other reported Buffy spin-offs. Sounds like from day one the only one that was legit was Faith the Vampire Slayer. Also, that it is Faith or nothing. I hope ED picks up the phone and calls him.

[ edited by DarenG on 2004-10-25 04:37 ]
Gotta say, I was hoping a new series from Joss would help weaken Reality TV's stranglehold.

"Come back, Shane!"
Oh, that's so sad... but hopefully the future will bring features just good as his television
B-but, if ME is closing, who would make FtVS?

I am all for a Faith show, but I don't want some green company coming in and trying to tell Joss what to do. Would he then re-open ME if the show became a reality? Or can he go to (please gawd) HBO if Fox is letting him out of his deal?

questions, questions, I've had them all day!
Mycroft asked:
Don't people that make feature films have production companies?
I would have thought that Mutant Enemy would continue on.

In the linked article, it says Mutant Enemy will continue with Whedon as the sole proprietor. So I guess Joss pretty much is ME for now, until he decides to hire people again.

I gotta say, it was a bit odd to read about ME being disbanded completely (I assume the rest of the big ME writers like Fury, Bell, Noxon, Minear etc had long been let out of whatever contract they had with ME once their respective shows ended), but it's nice to know Joss is keeping the label alive.

Re: Joss's cynicism about TV being ruined by Reality TV. Network TV Joss, only network TV is being ruined by it. I hope he's getting a little bit of free time while Serenity is in post-production and while his wife is pregnant with their second child. If he feels inclined to get into any TV shows, now that he may have the time to do so, I hope he checks out some stuff on FX, HBO, and Showtime. At least a few of their series currently airing or out on DVD should rekindle his faith that quality scripted television is still alive and going strong, and that there's still a fertile environment for it. Some day, when/if he has a great idea that just needs to be made and requires a serialized format, I hope he returns to TV (and finds a way to work with a pay-cable outlet if network TV still hasn't bounced back). Until then, I'll be glad to check out his film projects and comic books.

Ideally a return to television for Joss would mean getting that sixth and final season of Angel or the continuation of Firefly, but the chances of either of those two possibilities seeing the light of day are slim to none. So bring on the original film ideas and Serenity sequels.
OMG - I'm completely at a loss for words!
*exits site for for a good, long cry*
Sad though this is, it's not a complete surprise. Back a couple of years ago when Buffy was about to finish Joss told SFX magazine once Buffy and Angel run their natural course he would be concentrating his efforts on the big screeen and leave television for a while. At the the time, the cancellation of Firefly hit him hard.

I can only assume Angel getting it in the neck was the final nail in the coffin. But I'll miss Chris Buchanan being at Mutant Enemy *sobs*. He's a lovely guy.
Hmm. I'm not surprised. Joss always implied in interviews that he really wanted to do movies and that TV was to be his film school (ie to prove he can direct). I'm not surprised that he may want to focus on features.
Sadness! I miss the little 'grrr argh' guy enough as it is, but to think there's not even a chance I'll see him again for at least a year? *sniff*

Kris, while you're right about it being mostly network TV that's suffering from the reality plague, I don't think Joss is all that interested in taking a project to one of the cable outlets, at least for the foreseeable future. Why? He's said in past interviews that he aims to reach for the widest available markets, and cable, while it's getting more popular, still attracts a significantly smaller share of the viewership pie than even the smaller broadcast netlets do. My impression is that he wants to touch as many minds and hearts as he can, and the idea of presenting his projects through a less broad-based vehicle just doesn't do it for him, creatively speaking.

Even though those cable outlets would likely appreciate him more and give him greater creative leeway, they're just not distributed democratically enough (depending as they do on paid subscriptions, thus shutting out many current and potential fans who can't afford costly monthly bills). By the very fact of its reduced visibility on the cultural radar, his message would become attenuated and compromised.

I remain convinced Joss desires to advance a velvet revolution of the TV medium -- he can correct me if I'm wrong -- and only by reaching out to the widest range of viewers possible is he going to generate the kind of social and cultural impact that I think he's going for.
Idly wonders if it would be a nice idea to send a cake to Mutant Enemy this week to mark all their hard work over the last few years.

As this is the end of an era. And it's finally hitting me in terms of what this will mean for the fandom. No more Buffyverse material. Last night's party will be come to be seen as a farewell to the last few years.
Well, not a total shocker as Simon said. I too remember the comments Joss made about giving his television career a break to concentrate on features. Back then of course i was under the delusion that the WB would never be so short sighted as to cancel Angel prematurely so i figured we still had a good few years of Whedony goodness to enjoy on the box.

How wrong was i!

Regardless of that i don't see this as an absolute end. As long as Joss is alive and well (which i hope will be for many decades to come obviously) there is always the chance that there will be another slayerverse tv series somewhere down the line. Hell if he really does want to do a Faith show we may be talking as soon as in the next couple of years, Eliza being agreeable to the idea of course.

All that said this is still a sad article to read and if not the end of Mutant Enemy certainly the end of this phase.

Come back soon Joss. Television NEEDS you buddy!
Joss follow Angel's advice, the fight never ends, don't let reality tv win!!!!!
I was sad, although not entirely shocked, by Joss not wanting to do TV for awhile. He really got burned with Firefly and then when Angel got unceremoniously cancelled it had to really hit him. His story telling is truly quality and I can completely understand him not wanting to compromise the quality of his work just to get something on the air.

I too am disgusted by the prevelance of un-reality tv. I've got to wonder if the populus really likes that stuff or if the networks just throw it all out there because it's so cheap to make. If it really is the former, then the future of tv looks grim indeed...

Hopefully, after a bit of a break, Joss will go back to the tv medium with a fresh outlook and new story. Preferably with HBO or Showtime or something like that where he can have more leeway to tell his stories. A Faith spinoff would rock!

And Joss -- a big congratz to you and Kai for your soon to be new addition!
Idly wonders if it would be a nice idea to send a cake to Mutant Enemy this week to mark all their hard work over the last few years.

What a wonderful idea! I'd contribute.
adventures in spelling - no need to be too adult about it. Even as I try to write something along the lines of "Good for Joss, bad for me", my inner moppet has completely and utterly spat the dummy!

What horrible news. I was really hoping to get some kind of Angel spin-off, I really did. OK, I realise that the chance of getting such a show or TV-movie was quite slim, but still...
While I perfectly understand that a creative person wants to move on and do certain things.....I allready miss having "hope" that such a show might happen.
This is very ironic since I discovered Angel this past January, so I am quite new to "mighty world of Mr. Whedons mind".

Oh, well I guess one can hope that we will get an Angel motion picture one day. (..or not...)

As for reality TV I take FULL blame. Swedish production company STRIX (in collaboration with Bob Geldof owned Planet 23) created Survivor back in the mid 90's for SVT (think the Swedish BBC). CBS can take all the credit they want because I WISH that was the case.(Survivor is licensed to CBS).
(I guess I could blame MTV too...)

Dissapointed Swede in Virginia.
This is bad for us viewers, and for TV - I was kind of hoping Joss would return with a new show and save TV in real life much like super heros do all the time in comics. Guess that's kinda dumb but I just have so much faith in him.

I know he will do more great things in the future with films but his TV series were amazing and I miss so.
Films might be his aspiration, but I'm not sure if they are his forte. BtVS and AtS were shows that were all about the long arc, and I can't see him giving that up. The long arc seems like part of his attraction to the X-Men comics.

Of course, there's also the purely selfish angle in it for me: you get a lot more hours of entertainment out of a television series than you do a film. I'm also not willing to give up the "Buffyverse" (anyone find a good word for that which doesn't slight Angel, etc.?) just yet. Yeah, I know ... I've been saving up the graphic novels and the little spinoff books just to ease myself off of the addiction, but it's rough.
BtVS certainly had lots of grandeur IMO - Becoming, The Gift, OMWF, The Body. Strangely, although more 'adult', AtS had less of that sweepingly epic feeling, although I certainly think that the Connor and Jasmine arcs could have been made as (wonderful) feature films.
I do think that if JW has a successful film career for the next few years, he may return to TV, just as Steven Spielberg and Jerry Brockheimer have. Disclaimer: of course, these examples are of people who have achieved quantitive success in Hollywood and not necessarily qualitative success.
Joss's work on Angel and some of Buffy I think are better then some movies realy. So I don't know if want him become too successful in films, if I had some foresight he would return to tv if his films weren't that big, then yeah, I think tv, with shows like Alias, 24, Angel, The X files, Buffy have shown that reach areas you can't on a film, big budget isn't everything, more time to tell stories is something films can't quite reach like tv, unless their 3 hourplus epics which don't normally happen.
"I spent a lot of time trying to think what my next series would be," Whedon said. "I couldn't think of anything. When that happens, it generally means something is just not working. I didn't feel like I could come up with anything that the networks would want."
This gives the impression that his creative flow is being blocked by his non-conformity to the networks idea of what makes the next big thing. Limits can sometimes be useful to push things on the road less traveled by, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Why should he even bother to put his heart into something when there’s a good chance it could be disposed of after four episodes?
The quote from the 20th Century Fox TV president that "hopefully, sooner rather than later, he'll have an inspired TV idea that he can't help himself from doing” is unbelievable. I’m sure he couldn’t help himself from doing Firefly and we all know how well that went. He *was* “doing” it. *They* were the ones who stopped him. The fact that he could have just cooled his heels without developing anything new but didn’t because “ [I'm] not interested in taking money that I don't earn” shows that he has a conscience—which may be another reason he’s burnt out on TV land right now. I also think it would be difficult to try to start up another series with a baby on the way. I hope, for our sake and his, that the tide is beginning to turn with the success of Lost and Desperate Houswives and that he will be inspired to return in the not too distant future. No more Grr Arrgh monster? : (
Hi,a newbie here,I hit the join button yesterday,after lurking for the last couple of years,and just cannot belive my first post would be on ME winding down for the timebeing.I Say time being, b/c I just don`t belive it is gone for good.There is one thing i`m certain of ,Joss will be back,it might be something different,it might be more Buffy/Angel/firefly,but,it will be GREAT! .A weekly fix is nice,but hey, i`ll take anything!.
Welcome rainbird!

Idly wonders if it would be a nice idea to send a cake to Mutant Enemy this week to mark all their hard work over the last few years.

What a wonderful idea! I'd contribute.

Yeah, me too!
Welcome to the wonderful world of Whedonesque, rainbird.

Simon, I would also contribute on that cake idea. Think that's the least we could do to show our appreciation to Mutant Enemy.

I'm going to miss my little Grr Arrgh demon, but hopefully, we'll see our little friend swagger across our TV screens again sometime in the future.
rainbird, I know how you feel. This was my first story submission to Whedonesque -- interesting way to say hello, I guess.
Madhatter said "I'm going to miss my little Grr Arrgh demon, but hopefully, we'll see our little friend swagger across our TV screens again sometime in the future."

I hope to see him next year, hopefully he'll be among the logos at the beginning of Serenity, but I'll wait till the end if that's where he is, it'd be cool to see him going across a huge cinema screen going "grr arrgh".#

But, TV isn't the same without a Whedon show, and now it looks like it's going to be a while before we get a new one.

[ edited by Ghost Spike on 2004-10-25 17:53 ]
Bloodflowers, technically, it was Fox network that stopped Firefly, not 20th Television.

As I understand, Joss has never had any beef with the production company (20th) and i would bet they certainly have no ill will towards Joss with all the DVD revenues his shows are pouring in.

But yeah, I too think this as end of an era, and not a very happy end.
Does this mean there may soon be feature films worth paying 12 bucks just to sit in a crowded room muching pop-corn and listening to the kid behind you whine that he has to go to the bathroom every five minutes throughout the whole movie? (I guess you can tell I don't much like going to movie theaters. *s*)

It would deffinately be great to see Joss back in action on TV every week, but if this is what he needs to keep his creativity going, I'm all for it.
On the cake idea, Simon you should call first. Remember that Mutant Enemy is an office of only four people, and they weren't even there at all last week.
Hmmm. Maybe we should all donate to some cause in honor of Mutant Enemy. Non-partisan cause that is.
When their little boy was born, I took a poll of people's favorite children's books, and donations. We sent the top 5 books in a wee basket with some handmade baby clothes and such, and made a big donation to a literacy charity called First Book in Joss and Kai's honor. First Book is a charity that donates new children's books to poor kids, so that they can own their own libraries. Those of you with wee ones in your lives know that a kid can just hang onto a book and read it a million times (or beg to be read to a million times). So it's important that they have book to call their own.

They just loved the gift and donation so much.

Donating a bit to a children's cause in honor of their growing family, I think, would be so greatly appreciated.

[ edited by Allyson on 2004-10-25 19:28 ]
I like the First Book idea. I wanted to put in a link but apparently the site is down right now.
I'll go along with that. A nice gesture to Joss and Kai AND a donation to a great charity. I'm in!
grrr! argh!!!

I am also sad to see ME go. I thought Chris Buchanan and the other employees must have had the best jobs in the world!

I am definately up to any cake giving or charity giving. Please keep me posted!
Allyson, that is such a wonderful idea. Reading aloud is such an important part of a child's development (and an integral part of my day, at the moment) - it's easy to preach that and forget that not everyone has books to make that possible.
Well, who wants to organize something? Simon, it was your idea? And are we maybe talking about two different things--the book thing in honor of the baby and maybe something else in honor of ME? When is the baby due anyway?
Joss has been with tv since 1996 with Buffy, this season now is his first break away from it, so maybe he's taking a break, while were wanting more, not ideal I know, but I do hope he returns, he hasn't been gone that long, it's still the yeah Angel ended, 2004.

[ edited by SeanValen on 2004-10-25 20:37 ]
Mmmm,cake is good,I like cake.Then i get this little picture in my mind (little mind, little picture)of joss trying to push open ME's front door,and not being able to b/c of all the cakes on the doorstep,so something for charity or for the baby(wonder if it will be a boy or girl)sounds a better option.
didn't know where to put this as i cannot start a thread yet,but iv'e just been flicking through the sky guide for tomorrow and JM's episode of Andromeda is on sky one mix at 2pm not everybodies cup of tea,but might be worth look if you have not seen it! If it is worth it,could someone please redo this for me under its own thread. Ta.
Well thanks for the heads up, but not really front page material as it's a episode shown in the UK which has been on before. However, hopefully The WB will be releasing promo pics and a trailer of the episode James is in soonish.

And regarding the discussion about what to do for Mutant Enemy, I've sent one of them there an email. So hopefully, word will come back.
Much of my job involves children and literacy. I agree that the donation is the best way to go. Children NEEED books in order to develop into little Joss Whedons! So I'm in as well.
And like others, I knew there was no more Whedon TV coming soon but for ME to shut down shop like that makes me unbelievably sad.
Not to mention that I can't afford to go see Firefly every week while it is in the movie theatres!
Returned from a weekend trip to see the wonderful High Stakes reports and pix -- and then this. While I'm not surprised in the least, I'm still very sad to see the end of ME. I look forward to Joss's films, but they will never replace the weekly "fix" I got from his series. No spinoffs. Darn.
I'd rather Joss got Serenity finished, had a vacation (someone explain the concept of 'Vacation' to him please), spent quality time with his family, recharged his mental batteries and came back in a few years with another great show than felt pressured into rushing out a so-so show now.

Mind you, if his car crashed near my house I could kidnap him and chain him to a typewriter...
Really sad news :(
I hope in the future we will see more of ME!

But i`m happy for the new future of Joss (in movies)
End of an era....but it's true. The pendulum swings and now it's not about X-Files or Buffy or powerful genre shows that broke boundaries. It's about the bottom line for the mega corps that own more and more. No one cares about the actual product anymore and expects us not to know the difference. Music sales are down, concert sales are down, TV ratings are down, and it's all getting worse and worse the more they generalize things. Everything is by-the-numbers now. How many singers of old that are world famous now were basically physically unattractive? Mick Jagger. Janis Joplin. Elton John. Steve Tyler. Bob Dylan. Billy Joel. Joe Cocker. Alison Moyet. etc. Today they wouldn't even get a single off the ground because they don't look like they could be on The OC. Everything is about flashy looks. Nothing is even meant to last. Just to be the flash in the pan that makes money for next month. Ugh!

Joss is right. Even if he and Eliza got together for 'Faith' it would die now. If anyone even put it on the air. It's all about who gets voted off this week, who can eat the worms. Cheap, loud and stupid. That's what we are now. I'd rather they don't try than try and see it die the same death Angel, Firefly and Wonderfalls did.

More than ever, let's hope Serenity is a hit. And maybe Joss can at least write some more Buffyverse comics....?
But think about it this way - tragic though this news is, even if Joss never worked in TV again, we still got three of the best TV series EVER. One ran its course, one got a fair run but ended a little early (!) and one was gutted before it even got going. How many people could say that? Three, count them people, three! Of course I am now going away to huddle in the corner and sob (whilst remebering the magnificence of 'The Gift', my personal favourite and only piece of fictional TV that can make me cry, even now).
catalyst2: only "The Gift" makes you cry? Damn. I must be an all-world blubberer then, cos I am rendered to tears, on repeated viewings, by "Prophecy Girl", "Passion", "Becoming Part II", "The Body", "Grave" (which I don't even care for that much, but Aly gets me right where it matters), and "Chosen," just as the girl pulls her bat back with an extra steely glint in her eye and the other one stands up to the bully and . . . I lose it. Again. (Oh, and "A Hole in the World" obviously).

I heartily agree that we have been given riches. But it is so wrong to want more?

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