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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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January 12 2005

Who else is "Lost"? - cult TV shows article. "If you want closure, find an exit. These shows [like Buffy] spin long and sometimes frustrating narratives that never seem to wrap up."

Whilst it's mainly about Lost there are some interesting insights into the fandom of cultish genre TV shows. So I've changed your subject line and title to make it more Whedonesqueable (which I think is a word).
The article avoids the themes of some stories lend themselfs to the fight goes on, Angel etc Guess the article writer is stuck in the 20th century, we must have happy endings and walk off into the sunset, which is nice, but there's room for different takes on it.
I was also interested in the book mentioned - Why Buffy Matters: The Art of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' - but couldn't find any more info. Anybody (that has better searching skills than me, obviously!) find any more about it?
Thanks Simon, I was struggling with that. I like the word Whedonesqueable, it suits perfectly. It's totally something Joss would say.

I enjoyed the article. One of the reasons I never tuned in to Buffy until it was over was because of the extensive history and storylines and I didn't want to jump in in the middle. I guess that's taught me to tune in from the begining from now on. So it's easy to see why people aren't interested or don't get it. Just watch a random episode of Buffy/Angel or even Firefly with someone who knows nothing about the the storylines and they're likely to feel very left out, because these shows are somewhat designed to make us feel 'included'.

Sorry Catalyst2, I couldn't find anything on the book.

[ edited by buffbuff on 2005-01-12 16:58 ]
catalyst2 - It says on the article that it is an upcoming title. I work for a major book company and the only thing I can pull up by that author is "Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer?" - ISBN: 0742516814

Hope that helps a little.
I found the book referenced on There is a banner at the top of the page that will take you to the books page. Oh, and the title will be "Why Buffy Matters: The Art of Television"
Isn't Whedonesqueable something of a tautology? I mean, Whedonesque is already an adjective, no?

Buffy provided lots of closure, I think. Long roads to it, but, in "Chosen" especially, plenty of closure.
Wouldn't Whedonesque-y be more Joss-y? Just a random thought, and now I'll get back to work.
I'm going to add a vote for Whedonesquealicious, just 'cause I'm enjoying this debate and want to add an even longer word.

And to include some conent: I don't think Buffy was exactly as mysterious as Lost is. I mean, there were always unanswered questions, but as the ME writers have said, pretty much each season closer would have worked as the last ep. (Excluding S6.)

[ edited by weatherby on 2005-01-12 17:53 ]
Personally I find Whedonesqueable a perfectly servicesqueable word.

But seriously, and to be somewhat pedantic, I think there's a clear semantic difference between -esque, -y, and -able adjectival endings (I'm so not getting into -alicious, thank you weatherby . . .).

"Whedonesque" is an adjective, granted, but in our case, it's used as a noun. So adding -able is not redundant; rather, it has the sense of "making X more fitting to Whedonesque." Whereas "Whedonesque-y", IMO, implies "has the property of, or is like, Whedonesque". Well, that's how I'm choosing to read it.

Now, what was this thread about? Oh, right. The writer throws a few provocative phrases, but on the whole the article is fairly balanced. As ever, I simply want there to be a choice. You like single-episode neat packages? Take Law & Order. You like a little myth and mystery with a side of philosphical musing? Take Buffy, or Angel, or Lost. It's somewhat amusing that Lost is pulling in huge audiences and *still* getting oblique criticism for "taunting" viewers. Those viewers must just love a bit of taunt.
Obsessive? Are we being called obsessive? Say it ain't so!
And yes, I have to agree that Whedonesqueable has a proper place in the vocabulary of any Whedonesquer.
SNT, that last post of yours had me laughing. Of course, I'm a chiropractor and we talk about my profession as being chiropractic (like the word is a noun)- which is an adjective, actually... chiropractic what? So it is with Whedonesque, adjective and/or noun.

As to closure, at the end of S7 Buffy there was not complete closure, ie. Willow's story is not finished. Was she a goddess, was she absolved and redeemed by casting the activation spell?

But overall, I liked this article and felt it was yet another showing that programs such as Lost and Desperate Housewives are re-energizing genre TV, which means we have hope for new Josswork in the future, should he so desire.

And Rhonda Wilcox is a person posting regularly on buffyology, and the author of the book noted in the posts above. Good lady, and I cannot wait for her new book- lots of new Buffy related books coming soon: Blood Relations; Sex and the Slayer; Red Noise; and now this book from Rhonda as well.
"These shows spin long and sometimes frustrating narratives that never seem to wrap up."

Does this sound like a description of soap operas to anyone else?
I think it better describes a serial.
Serials usually come to a conclusion (at least those from the 30s etc).

I think it describes the X-Files more than anything. I have a new word for describing those plots: exfillian.

"Wow, did you see that Alias arc? That was rather exfillian."
I like your word, Caleb. It was exactly that frustration over dropped/ overly complex/senseless plotlines that caused my transformation from rabid "X-Phile" to mostly "Ex-Phile" in the space between S6 and S8.

And more things in the world could stand to be Whedonesqued. A touch of serious whimsy benefits everything. :)
I love all you Whedonesqueteers.
While I don't like needlessly complex plotlines either, I do appreciate when a TV show or film doesn't treat its audience as if they were all just recovering from frontal lobotomies.

One of the things I really like about Buffy and Angel (and Firefly as well) is that plots were rarely tied up in neat little packages with everything explained.
Whedonequeable is a perfect word, Simon. Explains much in our room and, if you don't mind, I may use it from time to time. Caroline, just wanted to thank you for this wonderful place. You built a good room.

OK, what's the bitch about Caleb? :)
Whedonesquealicious reminds me of Bootylicious. I don't think they're ready for this nancy boy jelly...
Whedonesqueteers! I love it.
Whedonesqueteers. Do we get some sort of cap with ears? (My transplantation to the Land of Disney may have finally gotten to me.) Or maybe with Lorne's horns? Maybe instead of thinking about mere T-shirts, we should think about a whole ensemble! :)
Minor nitpick about the article. 'The Prisoner' was not a BBC show it was made for 'ITV', the UK commercial network competing with the BBC, by ITC productions.
I can't think of a single plotline in Buffy that was wandering/meandering/overly-complex/never wrapped up. Sure, sometimes genre shows, in an effort to keep themselves going, continue to add twists to the central conceit or high concept, but I don't think Buffy or Angel were guilty of that.

The X-Files, however, was. I'm a great fan of the show, but it went on for so long that it became a parody of itself. Scully is still the cynic come latter seasons, despite all she's seen, read, heard and experienced. It becomes unbelievable, and frustrating because it feels as if the answers are NEVER going to come.

Lost Spoilers to follow:

Will Lost be like that? I don't know. But to be honest I've been surprised at how quickly they've revealed certain mysteries and then moved on.

They introduced the old man who kept appearing to Jack around the island, and it seemed like that would be a big thing for this season - but then, no, it was his father and it was because he had to find his body and bury him.

Then there was Kate: we knew she was a criminal, but what was her crime? This seemed like a large thing, the kind of thing to reveal at the close of a season. But last episode, midway through the season, that was revealed (with some fairly minimal detail, albeit) as well.

Lost is swaggering about with a confidence which is frankly a little unnerving. The kind of detail, the kind of plot points, which would take over an entire season for most shows, have been brought up and dealt with in the space of a few episodes on Lost. We've learnt about the characters so quickly, that it's exactly why I feel so involved with it, and why I can't wait for the next episode. JJ Abrahms must have a lot of ideas for future episodes, to be explaining mysteries as quickly as he is.
Now that I think about it, shows that have complex ongoing storylines aren't so much 'Huh?' as 'Hmmm' TV for me. I get that most viewers tune into these kinds of shows every evening "for fun", but the thing the author fails to make clear is that for us devoted fans, getting our foreheads in a knot over plot is our kind of fun. It's not like it's work, y'know, or we'd be getting paid. Or something.

All I know is, TV that invites me to sit down and turn off my brain (i.e. any sitcom with a laugh track, and about 99.9% of everything else) generally proceeds to turn me off entirely. If this defining interest in, and need for, deeper substance and greater complexity in my entertainment separates me from the masses and brands me an obsessive, so be it. I'd rather spend time thinking than laughing, (and yes, I'm sure that says something significant and probably depressing about me) -- TV that helps embiggen my perspective on the world by stimulating my imagination is something I'll always try to make room for in my life. Not to say that some humor and diversion aren't important too; a balanced diet includes both meat and cake. Whedon shows are, therefore, candied prime rib.

Lost is, so far, building an amazing streak of evenly-balanced episodes. I can't think of one I'd say was even weak, although some have grabbed me more than others for personal reasons. It continues to suck me in further every week; almost as tantalizing as the knowledge we'll be learning some of this season's secrets eventually is the thought that there's so much left to be discovered and revealed. Wouldn't it be amazing if JJ and JW could do something together someday? I mean, whoooooo...

And speaking of other serialized shows that have reveled in 'Hmmm'ness, did anyone notice on Alias tonight that Sydney in undercover-mode had a diversionary fake phone conversation with someone named "Joss"? (It even said so on the CC!) I noticed Jeff Bell in the credits tonight and wondered if that was a subtle name-check of his old cohort. If so, coolness. Devotion has its small rewards. :)
Nicely put about "our kind of fun", Wiseblood. Also I think that "embiggen" has just replaced "kerfuffle" as my favorite word. Where's Bernard Pivot when you need him?
did anyone notice on Alias tonight that Sydney in undercover-mode had a diversionary fake phone conversation with someone named "Joss"?

I noticed that too, and was also wondering if it was a shout-out. Too cool.
Wiseblood - perhaps that was Jennifer Garner putting in her casting call for 'Wonder Woman"?
perhaps that was Jennifer Garner putting in her casting call for 'Wonder Woman"?

Possibly, possibly ... if she's as mean with a lariet as she is with those martial arts weapons in Electra, the other potentials mentioned for WW should take note!

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