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February 24 2006

Film Focus interview Joss. "Goners is more in the Buffy-mode of discovering strength". Update: a heads up, Joss is apparently appearing on T4 tomorrow. No idea of time.

For the record, apparently the TV adverts for Serenity DVD have just begun again in the UK.
Excellent find, gossi. I'm so looking forward to 'The Goners". Sounds to me another piece of the Buffyverse. Come on, Joss, spoil us a little.
"The Goonies" is a heart warmin' tale of child hood love, baby.
I love the goonies. That fat kid is hysterical.
And thinking about it 'The Goonies' also went 'M i a'. Mere coincidence ? Well, yeah, but still... it could be a sign of the cosmic interconnectedness of all things.

Great interview that one. Short, insightful question then just sit back and let the Joss times roll. Definitely the way to go.
The Serenity Pay-Per-View ads have been popping up all over as well (my TV is American satellite). More revenue!
Actually, on this very couch. I was here doing an interview with some little website - which I thought was for some little fanzine or something that goes out on a photocopier - but it was actually on something that you kids like to call, "The internet." So I was really tired and really angry. Things were said and the executives at Fox heard about them before I got back to America... And that was my introduction to the internet. Oops.


(stares at the internet, naked in a box)

...Huh.
Yeah. The interviewer (great guy) only had a 10 minute slot with Joss, but they obviously got a lot of material from that 10 minutes.
A GOOD interviewer knows how to get a lot out of ten minutes. Not that I mean to slight any ..what was the name of that guy on BBC6 this morning? *smirk* never mind.

Very impressive passage there about Joss Whedon's two primary approaches in his material, and these are general thrusts - I understand there's a million other things - but perhaps when you boil it down the hero story arcs are two categories. There's the Discovery of Strength, and then there's the aftermath of that discovery. The protagonist has discovered strength and has experience now with what to do with that strength. As a writer, where do you go with your hero after s/he has discovered everything and there's nothing new? You turn to how his/her strength affects the people surrounding your character, and what your character DOES that affects those people.

Buffy in season one HAS all this power. On the surface it might look like it's not about discovery of power. We miss her actually discovering her being a Slayer. That's all summed up in exposition. She already knows. It just magically shows up one day and we enter the series with her having already discovered it and she doesn't want it. IT (not her IT) it blew up a school. It set a high school dance on fire and not in a good way and the story begins with her running away from the strength, like Jonah running away from God. Buffy's WHALE is the Hellmouth. It's Sunnydale itself in essence. She knows it's there but she hasn't really discovered it. She's afraid of it. She hasn't made friends with her Slayer and the high school years of BtVS is about Buffy making friends with her darker side. One can argue that Restless at the end of season four is actually about Buffy shaking hands with her Slayer self and offering it fashion tips. She's finally, in her own way, making friends with what she feared in the season opener. What was giving her nightmares becomes what can fulfill her destiny.

Her journey in that seven year stretch was learning how to put a rein on that strength, how to use it. That's the discovery of strength and it goes on for three or four years. Then somewhere around season four, Buffy is like Joss Whedon must have felt himself as a director in season one when he realized he had lost control as a director and had to shape up as a leader. Buffy's all out of sorts in season four. She lacks direction herself and therefore can't really direct others, or the slayer within her.

By season five she starts to BECOME a leader and she has mixed success with that all the way to the end of season seven with the Potentials. The first three seasons are about discovery of strength. The fourth season admittedly is kinda muddied. She's discovered strength but she still hasn't accepted the mantle of leader until around where the Adam Arch-Villian power arc kicks in, and even then she's still kinda on training wheels. The last three seasons are about her discovery's aftermath, and how a leader sometimes has to be cruel to be kind, and how does all that have an affect on the landscape?

Firefly/Serenity, in the beauty and magnificence that is Whedon's writing, is BOTH. For River, it's about discovery of strength (her psychic abilities). For Mal, his arc is about after discovering the power of being the leader and having a strength (the ship) and the responsibility that does with it, to 'keep flying.' So you got both happening simultaneously. Admittedly, because the series ended too soon, we didn't get to see enough of River's arc. Mal has a way of overshadowing River's arc both in the series and the film, but they're both there and they complement each other.

I recall when watching the series the first time wishing the story didn't take place AFTER the Unification War. I wanted to see more about how we got where we were. I hate it when a storyline starts in the middle and then later on flashbacks and exposition fill in the holes. Why can't we tell a story in the order events occur? As Whedon and Minear explain so well in "Out Of Gas" sometimes it's just more fun to start the story with your protagonist in the dirt on his ass, and then jump around to show how he got there and how he gets back up.

Would it not have been a stronger choice as a writer to place Serenity in the middle of a Civil War AS it was happening? War is conflict. One would think that's a no-brainer. Why was the war all about flashback and exposition? Couldn't he have told his stories with more conflict if Mal was an Independent who still had belief, going up against the monolithic Alliance? Why are we experiencing Mal's aftermath when he'd already lost his faith? The reason now is clear.

Mal's story is all about aftermath. That was what Whedon wanted to convey. Having told the story of the war? That was Mal's discovery of strength, going from sargeant to being the only one to take the mantle of strength in that valley, when all his superiors were either dead or driven mad from battle. Mal discovered how to become a leader in the face of inexhorable loss, which is what molded him into the captain for the ship. Good thing Whedon didn't do that anyway. War stories usually make me change the channel, and Whedon was like that too. He's already told Discovery of Strength with Buffy. He didn't want to repeat himself. With River, it was a completely different discovery of strength. With both of these characters Whedon was trailblazing entirely new territory for himself as a writer.

I originally assumed with the Serenity movie he was just gonna do an action piece with mostly Mal, Zoe, and Jayne, with the others lending support. That's what I expected going to the theater that first time. I had hoped he'd wrap up the River storyline somehow but I didn't think he'd pull all the stops on that. Shoot his wad there. I remember leaving thinking, "where's he gonna go from here? He's not thinking sequel. River's effectively 'cured'. Where do we go from here?"

I didn't really understand when I first watched the film why Whedon put more focus on River than Mal in the storyline. I mean on the surface it's all Mal, but the real underlying force of the film is how River's presence affects everyone on the ship.

Now it makes perfect sense. How could he not? Discovery and Aftermath simultaneously. Brilliant!
Nice interview, great insight about Goners...but...I...need...more...
Interesting interview, and quite an insight Zachsmind, I don't think about these things that often. I just have to say I know that Joss man was busy and tired at the time of the interview, but when he said"I don't like our chances but ....", I got a bit sad. I know its unrealistic that Serenity is coming back, now, but honestly I just cant let it go. I just hope that after Wonder Woman and Goners, the chances are better for a continuation of the 'verse. I am going to treat myself to something that is unhealthy for me right now.

[ edited by kurya on 2006-02-24 21:23 ]
I am going to treat myself to something that is unhealthy for me right now.

Dude, real posters don't turn to Charmed.
HEY! Charmed is not that bad....there is some nice visual candy. Just turn off the volume, and enjoy uh, the visuals, so to speak.

And wait a minute, didnt you, Mr Gossi, admit to watching Charmed? Besides I was referring to something to be consumed in terms of food. I went to Second Cup(in Canada only now), and got myself a Coretto Caramel Latte. Extra Large. hmmm good.
kurya - try the belgian chocolate one - that's my current favorite
Oh, Charmed is ultimate trash - of course I watch it sometimes. With the pointing.

It looks like Joss is on Channel 4 tomorrow. I think it's during Popworld at midday (a pop culture show).
Are you sure that he'll be on Popworld as that's primarily a music show and not where I would expect him to be. In a forum on the Digital Spy site someone said he would be on T4 itself.
Oh. Hmmm. I've no idea, then. I suspect we probably just missed him. I bet Joss confirmed the Spike movie or something. (I'm not trying to start a riot. Lie.)
At the end of today's T4 the presenter, Miquita, said Joss would be on tomorrow.
Any idea of what time he'll be on as I don't want to watch the crap on T4 for hours just for two seconds of Joss.

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