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Apr 11

J is for Joss

In today’s continuation of the A-Z Challenge, I give you:

J is for Joss Whedon

Despite what many folks think, Joss Whedon isn’t perfect–any more than any other writer, director, etc., but the man has a mad sort-of genius that continues to amaze me with each project he dives into. I could use to be his kind of imperfection!

Joss Whedon is My Master Now

My favorite Joss related t-shirt.

The first anything I saw from Joss was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The movie, not the TV show. And I hated it.

At the time, I was 15 and my sarcasm meter was sadly broken. Most of the humor went straight over my head. Couple that with the fact that the movie studio butchered Joss’s idea completely, and it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Fast forward to the TV series.

I didn’t know it was Joss, but I loved the show. I watched each episode through college and then leapt into Angel.

I missed Firefly while it was on TV. Never even knew it existed until it was already cancelled and gone. (Fuck you, Fox.) My husband and I, were already fans of space westerns, being lovers of the Cowboy Bebop anime series. When we found out about Firefly, we purchased it outright–so sure we were that it would be as excellent as his previous series’. One episode in, we were excited. Two in, we were hooked. Before we knew it, it was 2 AM and we’d marathon-watched the whole damn series. Imagine our horror and finding the show had been cancelled and there was no more. Upon its release, we enjoyed the movie Serenity, but watching seasons crammed into a 2 hour film wasn’t the same.

We enjoyed Dollhouse more than most did, loved The Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers, and his reinterpretation of Much Ado About Nothing.

Through all of his works, several things stood out to me:

  • his use of wry and sarcastic humor to break up or accentuate tension
  • his creation of strong characters, no matter what their gender identity, sexual preference, or religion
  • his use of sound and silence in scenes
  • the great musical scoring for his works

I’ve been told by many that my wry sense of humor is one of the elements that makes my characters so engaging. Another is my development of strong female characters without being at the expense of the male characters in my novels. I feel that I owe these strengths to almost two decades of Joss Whedon series and movies. He is a master in his field and a teacher worth listening to.

I can’t wait to see what he does next.


This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays) in the month of May, I’ll be posting about people, places, books, games, and other things that influence me as a writer or add a certain magic to my life. Join me in April as we explore a Hodge-Podge of Influences & Wayward Treks through the Fantastical.

Read more A-Z Challenge Posts here.

About the author

Raven Oak

Bestselling science fiction & fantasy author Raven Oak is best known for Amaskan’s Blood, Class-M Exile, and the collection Joy to the Worlds: Mysterious Speculative Fiction for the Holidays.

She spent most of her K-12 education doodling stories and 500 page monstrosities that are forever locked away in a filing cabinet. When she’s not writing, she’s getting her game on, enjoying cartography, or staring at the ocean.

She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, and their three kitties who enjoy lounging across the keyboard when writing deadlines approach.

6 comments
Patrick Boothe
Patrick Boothe

i didn't watch buffy the series until way late, like probably 2011, but have binge watched it a few times and love it now.... not sure what took me so long....

Jesikah Sundin
Jesikah Sundin

*bows to Joss* I share your appreciation for his talents and his flaws.