Why we love The Joss Whedonverse

1:00 pm EST, June 23, 2013

Here at Hypable it is no secret that we adore Joss Whedon. And we will use absolutely any excuse to celebrate him.

The first show featured on our Rewatchable podcast was Firefly and we did a Buffy-specific episode of Vampire Hype (and behind-the-scenes, it was a Battle Royale-style fight to determine which of the many Buffy fans would be on it).

More recently, we have extolled the virtues of Much Ado About Nothing and The Cabin in The Woods.

Whatever Whedon touches, turns to shiny fandom brilliance – whether or not network television agrees (we’re looking at you, Fox).

From cult television masterpieces like Firefly and Dollhouse, to the third highest grossing film of all time in The Avengers, it seems like Whedon has done a bit of everything.

And to have accomplished all this by the age of 49 (as of June 23) is no small feat. So happy birthday Joss Whedon. Here at Hypable, we love you – and this is why.

Why Marama loves…

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’

buffy the vampire slayer
Buffy found its way into our hearts and it has never left. Whether you watched the series when it aired, or have since marathon-ed the lot, there is something about these young adult vampire slayers, witches, vampires and demons that got under our skin. Plus, this had vampire romance way before it was cool.

The show is only dated by the hilarious 90s outfits (ahem, leather pants). The issues Whedon addresses are just as relevant, and the jokes still get us giggling. Even better, in an age of dumbed-down television, Buffy makes us think, with its casual subverting of common television tropes, and incorporation of various styles and genres.

As a character, Buffy herself demonstrates Whedon’s commitment to creating compelling and realistic women (well, as realistic as a vampire slayer who has died twice can be). From Cordelia to Buffy and Willow, Whedon made his women just as funny, complex and fallible as his men.

From the Emmy-nominated “Hush” to musical masterpiece “Once More With Feeling” (in which Whedon gives us a song about drycleaning – what more could you ask for?), the seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer encompass some of Whedon’s best work.

With writing that was equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, it is nice to know that we can return to Sunnydale anytime we like.

Why Michal loves…

‘Dollhouse’

dollhouse
In the scope of its creator’s career, Dollhouse (or, as it is often known, “That Other Canceled Joss Whedon Show”) doesn’t cast a very long shadow. The show ran for two brief seasons and concluded quietly, with neither the vast cultural significance of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or the magnetic devotion of Firefly.

The story of Echo, a young woman who lives without her memory in a “Dollhouse” full of rentable people, was eerie and complex, and the show faced the considerable challenge of bonding viewers to characters who were literally different people every time they appeared.

Dollhouse turned out to offer much more than just the week-to-week adventures of people with programmed memories, though as the show progressed, it became a story about an idea – the value of the self, and how that self is challenged by technology.

But even Joss’s most philosophical work offered a terrific line of characters to love (and love to hate!) sprinkled across a vast moral spectrum. From the resilient Echo/Caroline to the stoic Paul Ballard, and all the way to the fascinatingly repugnant Adelle and Topher, Dollhouse made us laugh and weep and feel as sharply as Whedon ever has.

In the end, like the best of fiction, Dollhouse was a metaphor – and not a static one. The questions it raised about morality and technology were challenging and painful, and defied easy resolution. As it continually raised the stakes (the show is not Whedon’s only work to threaten the existence of humanity within its workings) Dollhouse looked its viewers in the eye week after week and demanded “What would you do?”

Though we didn’t get much time to answer, we’re glad really Joss asked the question.

Why Laura loves…

‘Firefly’

Firefly
Two words: space cowboys, who else other than Joss could possibly make this concept work? Not only does he make it work, but he avoids most of the cliches associated with each genre. Inara isn’t just “the hooker with the heart of gold” and Book is anything but your typical preachy preacher.

The thing that really solidifies Firefly are the nuances to the characters. You feel as if you have known each of them for years. One of the series’ best scenes was in “Out of Gas” where the entire crew is sitting around the table chatting like old friends until disaster strikes. It’s hard to get that sense of camaraderie out of actors in the first season of any show; however, with Joss’ writing it’s believable and a breeze.

Probably, the best tribute that any writer can receive is for people to care about their work years after its debut. One of the more amazing things about Firefly, is that ten years after its untimely cancellation, it’s still gaining fans and the fandom is still as strong as ever. Name any other cancelled-after-one-season show that has achieved that.

In 2012, Firefly celebrated its tenth anniversary at Comic Con with an audience filled with Browncoats. There wasn’t a dry eye on the panel that included stars Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, and Adam Baldwin along with Joss Whedon. The actors all gave Whedon full credit for the show launching their careers. More significantly, Whedon cites the show as the most important thing he ever did.

So, if you haven’t been converted yet, the next rainy Saturday you have, marathon the series. If it doesn’t make you want to take a trip around the ‘verse aboard Serenity, you’re probably sou-less and better off as reever fodder.

Why Karen loves…

‘The Avengers’

The Avengers
Making The Avengers was never going to be an easy task, no matter who took it on. It took five movies to prequel this film. There were several huge and well-loved characters and actors vying for the main spotlight. Not to mention the sheer scale of the story and the impact it would have on the Marvel universe.

In layman’s terms, it was a huge ass deal.

And let’s be real. If handed over to any number of other people, it probably would’ve still made tons of money. But would it have satisfied fans? Maybe not.

In the end, as we all know, it went to Joss “That Guy That Did Buffy And That One Show That Got Cancelled” Whedon, and he delivered everything the fans wanted and more.

He’s a genius with dialogue and a genius with characters. You would think it’d be easy to take already established characters and just keep writing them as they always have been. But it’s not. This project had unbreakable rules, and yet Whedon had to put his twist on it and make it his own.

And he handled it seamlessly. Tony was just as sarcastic, Cap was just as noble, and Thor was just as muscular godly.

He even made the Hulk cool again.

The Avengers appealed to fans of the comics, to fans of the characters, and to fans of the previous movies. Hell, it appealed to people who didn’t even know who Iron Man was before 2012. Needless to say, Whedon was in his element, and it came through in every single frame of the film.

We already knew Whedon was awesome, but now, thankfully, the rest of the world does too.

Why Caitlin loves…

‘Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog’


Written and produced during the 2008 Writers Guild of America strike, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was Whedon’s first attempt at getting web-savvy. Whedon self-funded the webseries, which stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day.

On its own, Dr. Horrible is over-the-top and full of heart (and, in true Whedon form, heartbreak). The tragicomedy makes us root for the character with a “Ph.D. in Horribleness.” The “hero” is a self-absorbed jerk, and the love interest remains clueless about who truly cares for her to the very end.

It’s both a parody of superheroes – which is even more fun in hindsight considering Whedon’s involvement in The Avengers – and a human story. And then there is the soundtrack, which includes quirky songs like “My Freeze Ray” and “Bad Horse Chorus” that make us laugh out loud.

But what’s truly remarkable about Dr. Horrible is the ground it broke for web entertainment. After being streamed for free, the series went to iTunes and topped the charts for five weeks.

The soundtrack followed the series at No. 2 and also entered the Billboard Top 200 at No. 39, impressive for a digital-only album. And Time magazine listed it in their Top 50 inventions of 2008 at No. 15, praising the success of the unconventional musical.

So, while we love Dr. Horrible, Captain Hammer, and Penny, we’ll forever remember the series for bringing digital entertainment into the mainstream.

Why Louie loves…

‘Toy Story’

toy story joss whedon

Wait, what?

While it won’t come as a surprise to his most hardcore fans, others may be surprised to learn that Joss Whedon was one of the writers on the original Pixar movie, Toy Story. Along with Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, and Alec Sokolow, Whedon wrote the screenplay for what would become one of the most influential movies of our generation at the very least.

When I think of Whedon, I think of near perfect characters and dialogue. Whedon only has a screenplay credit and not a story credit, so that means he didn’t create any of the characters. We did, however, likely shape the way those characters are brought to life, and Toy Story and the following sequels (which he didn’t work on) would have never been the same if he hadn’t shaped the characters and the dialogue they spoke.

Shifting to why we love Toy Story, I mean, come on, who doesn’t love Toy Story? It was a groundbreaking film in terms of both animation and story telling, and it works on different levels for audiences of different ages. Previously parents had to sit through movies for their kids, but Toy Story was beloved by parents and children equally.

Whedon had a big impact on Toy Story and consequently the Pixar productions since, but don’t ask him about it:

Nobody wrote Toy Story. Toy Story happened to some toys.

Why Selina loves…

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ (the, er, movie)

Buffy the movie
Forget the TV show! Selina is all about the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, y’all.

Oh, who is Selina kidding?

Buffy: the Movie is legitimately one of the worst pieces of cinema, and had the TV show not followed, the world would never have known that Whedon was actually trying to create a strong, empowered female superhero (as opposed to one who sensed vampires via PMS).

It completely suits the, let’s face it, super campy title, and as many critics have noted, not even the actors seemed to believe in the story they were trying to tell.

Luckily though, Whedon did not give up on the story he’d created (and which, allegedly, the Kuzuis are to blame for butchering), and we all know what happened next: the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show was amazing, and we all lived happily ever after. Or something.

But the fact that such a terrible movie turned into such a fantastic show makes the movie worth watching, only because we can laugh and throw popcorn at the screen and count our lucky stars that this is not what people think about when they think about Buffy.

And this is why I do, legitimately, love Buffy: the Movie. It is hilarious, and never fails to cheer me up. Come on, that 10-minute long death scene? That was like something out of Monty Python, made even better by the fact that the rest of the cast was playing it totally straight.

I do think that the Buffy movie is an important part of Joss Whedon’s legacy, if only because it reminds us that even the best idea can suffer from horrible execution, and is worth mentioning when celebrating this man’s amazing career and accomplishments.

Plus, Dollhouse was already taken.

joss whedon

Doctor Who season 10 finally has an air date and not only that, so does its spinoff, Class!

It’s time to celebrate because we finally know when we’ll see Peter Capaldi back in the T.A.R.D.I.S. as the Doctor! BBC America will premiere Doctor Who season 10 on Saturday, April 15 at 9/8c. Check out the brand new trailer promoting the series, narrated by the brand new companion, Bill:

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Doctor Who season 10 finally has an air date and not only that, so does its spinoff, Class!

It’s time to celebrate because we finally know when we’ll see Peter Capaldi back in the T.A.R.D.I.S. as the Doctor! BBC America will premiere Doctor Who season 10 on Saturday, April 15 at 9/8c. Check out the brand new trailer promoting the series, narrated by the brand new companion, Bill:

No word on if the U.K. will be seeing the same air date but it’s more than likely they will since it’s been like that in years past.

This will be Peter Capaldi’s last season as the Doctor, along with Steven Moffat’s last season running the show. After this we’ll be seeing Chris Chibnall taking the reins with a clean slate, and we’re so curious about how the series will go. How will the Doctor regenerate? Will this be Bill’s first and last season on the show as well? Who’s going to be the next Doctor? We’ve got so many questions! But they’ll all be answered in due time… we hope.

And that’s not all! Fans in the U.K. have already had the chance to enjoy the brand new spinoff series, Class, and after Doctor Who premieres on April 15 Americans will finally witness it as well.

Set to air directly after Doctor Who at 10/9c, Class is helmed by award-winning YA writer and executive producer, Patrick Ness. The series follows a group of students at Coal Hill School as they deal aliens, invasions and awkward social dilemmas.

Having seen Class in its entirety we can tell you that it’s got the perfect Doctor Who vibe and should fit in perfectly after you watch the season 10 premiere. Although not everyone loved the premiere, the series as whole definitely grows on you. You’ll just have to check it out for yourself!

Are you excited for ‘Doctor Who’ season 10?

Can Clarke stop King Roan and his Azgeda army from marching on Arkadia? Find out what to expect in next week’s The 100 season 4, episode 5 “The Tinder Box.”

Clarke makes a desperate plea with a former allied force in an attempt to avoid a war and ensure the survival of her people.

The fifth episode of The 100 season 4, titled “The Tinder Box,” was written by Morgan Gendel and directed by John F. Showalter. Proceed for our spoiler-light preview!

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Can Clarke stop King Roan and his Azgeda army from marching on Arkadia? Find out what to expect in next week’s The 100 season 4, episode 5 “The Tinder Box.”

Clarke makes a desperate plea with a former allied force in an attempt to avoid a war and ensure the survival of her people.

The fifth episode of The 100 season 4, titled “The Tinder Box,” was written by Morgan Gendel and directed by John F. Showalter. Proceed for our spoiler-light preview!

Where last week’s episode “A Lie Guarded” featured an emotional confrontation at Arkadia while Abby’s island team was in imminent physical danger, this episode flips their positions: This time it’s Clarke and her friends whose lives are at risk, while in Becca’s lab, the conflict is of a different nature.

In the first three episodes of the season, Roan was willing to work with Clarke and Skaikru, despite the fact that this threatened his already precarious position as King of the Grounders without a Nightblood as Commander. But after losing the Flame and discovering that Skaikru have been working to build a shelter for the Arkadians and are now trying to make Nightbloods of their own, Roan is (understandably) feeling betrayed.

Related: The 100 season 4, episode 4 review: All of this has happened before

Last week, he took action by capturing Kane and Bellamy and massacring the Trikru forces in Polis, claiming that it was Skaikru, not him, that ended the alliance.

In The 100 season 4, episode 5, Roan makes good on his promise of war, taking an army to march on Arkadia. As the promo reveals, Clarke will try to stop them on the way, and she squares off against their army in a rocky ravine, a picturesque rainbow in the horizon adding the only touch of color to this otherwise grim picture.

The 100 4x05 Clarke

The situation should remind viewers of Clarke’s first meeting with the Grounders on the bridge in The 100 season 1: Like when she faced off against Anya, she’s on her own against a leader on horseback, and she’s once again brought backup in the form of Sky People with guns.

But where season 1-Clarke was on a desperate mission to save her people and tried to feed Anya promises she couldn’t keep, season 4-Clarke has learned a thing or two about negotiating with Grounders.

As if stopping a war with her words isn’t a big enough challenge for Clarke though, Roan has brought Bellamy and Kane along as hostages, his soldiers holding swords to their throats as they all stare each other down.

Clarke Griffin may have come a long way since she first landed on the ground, but can she stop a war and bring her friends home safely?

The 100 4x05 Riley

Another problem, to add to the growing list, turns out to be none other than everyone’s favorite newcomer (what do you mean he hasn’t been here the whole time?!) Riley, who is one of two characters in this episode haunted by their past traumas and seeking a way to slay their demons.

As the promo reveals, he’s got Roan in the crosshairs of his rifle, seemingly ready to fire. “One shot,” Monty warns in the promo, “and we’ll be at war.” But no pressure or anything.

The 100 Clarke Roan

Where last week’s episode of The 100 was a thrillingly uncomfortable experience — watching Clarke being exposed, while on the island everyone was a hairsbreadth away from being killed by the drones — “The Tinder Box” is a different sort of tense.

This episode is a lesson in war tactics; Morgan Gendel is a master of his craft, having written for countless TV series including Law & Order and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the way he juggles different character motivations and points of conflict ignition makes it all seem effortless (it’s not).

The three interweaving storylines may seem separate at first glance, but in fact, they are all reflections of the episode’s over-arching theme, with The 100‘s trio of female leads Clarke, Raven and Octavia serving as the respective focal point of each story.

But many other characters including Bellamy, Echo, Abby, Riley and Monty also prove key players in this subtle game of provoking or negotiating conflict. Everyone has the power to save or doom everyone else at any moment, and all it takes is for one character to take a misstep, and it’ll ruin everything.

More than any other episode this season (except maybe “Heavy Lies the Crown”), “The Tinder Box” really hammers home that The 100 is an ensemble piece where every character’s decisions have equal weight in the narrative, and everyone’s actions have wide-ranging consequences.

10 teases for ‘The 100’ season 4, episode 5

The 100 season 4 episode 5 Raven

  1. There isn’t often cause to be happy on a show like The 100, but this week we’re treated to the full power of Lindsey Morgan’s brilliant smile.
  2. Monty is, once again, the MVP of the episode. Why wasn’t he on the list, again?
  3. Bellamy and Echo have a confrontation.
  4. In Becca’s lab, Eric! Jackson gets to be the voice of reason.
  5. Pike may be gone, but his wisdom (?) has not been forgotten.
  6. There’s a frustrated weariness to both Clarke and Bellamy this week; both are visibly fed up with Azgeda’s war-thirsty way of life.
  7. Every season, The 100 finds new ways of exploring the question: What is one life against the survival of the entire human race? This episode sets up more than one potential future dilemma of this nature.
  8. Clarke isn’t the only one whose way with words will come in handy this week: Bellamy will also find cause to break out his motivational speech superpower.
  9. This episode sees the return of both Niylah and Ilian, both of whom interact mainly with Octavia.
  10. Expect to spend your one-week break between this episode and “We Will Rise” theorizing wildly about what will happen next!

The 100‘ season 4, episode 5 ‘We Will Rise’ airs Wednesday at 9/8c on The CW

Want more The 100 content? Check our our recent interview with actor Bob Morley, composer Tree Adams, language creator David J. Peterson and showrunner Jason Rothenberg!

Here are the rest of the promotional stills for “The Tinder Box,” via The CW:

How to Get Away with Murder just dropped a bombshell as we found out the truth behind #WhoKilledWes. However, that reveal isn’t the only moment fans are buzzing about.

Obvious spoilers below.

1. Laurel’s emotional demand

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How to Get Away with Murder just dropped a bombshell as we found out the truth behind #WhoKilledWes. However, that reveal isn’t the only moment fans are buzzing about.

Obvious spoilers below.

1. Laurel’s emotional demand

After confessing to both Michaela why Connor was at the house the night Wes died one of the many shocking reveals of the episode is made. “Connor might have killed Wes.” As it turns out, Connor showed up at the Keating home after responding to Annalise’s plea for them to all meet there. As he arrived he found signs of a struggle, and even more, Wes’s warm body in the basement.

Connor could smell gas, but still he persisted in trying to resuscitate Wes through CPR. For over a minute he cried and pounded on the dying boy’s chest until he heard a crack of bone, a fractured rib. He fears he might have punctured a lung. He fears he might have been the one to strike the deadly blow.

Once the confession is made the Keating crew reacts. Oliver pleads for understanding. Annalise reassures Connor that he didn’t do this. Bonnie tries to play mediator, keeping everyone calm. Finally Laurel, in a blindingly emotional rage, instructs Connor to go and kill himself. Saying such action will be the only good thing he will ever do with his life.

2. Annalise’s hidden voicemail

Connor and Oliver were adamant that nothing on the copy of Annalise’s phone was incriminated. Then why would she ask Oliver to erase it? Well when Connor is about to be arrested for Wes’ murder fans find out just what Annalise was so afraid of. he discloses to Denver the location of the copy, and Annalise comes forward with what she wanted to hide.

The night that Wes died he left her a voicemail, explaining ADA Atwood’s plan to take her down for the murder of Sam and Rebecca Stutter. His exact words are “I can’t let you go down for what I did.” He begs her to come home, to talk about it, to discuss their options. But he died before any arrangements could be made. In fact, he was taken down moments after the call was made.

What is truly shocking however isn’t the voicemail itself. The kicker is how Annalise uses the voicemail to pin it all on a new suspect to clear her own name. Wes. Out of context, the voicemail sounds like Wes is confessing to killing both Sam and Rebecca. Annalise is able to twist the story to make it look like Wes took his own life out of guilt. She tarnishes his reputation forever.

3. Oliver’s shocking request

After Connor answers the burner phone Denver used to stay in contact with Atwood throughout Wes’ death, he goes missing. He is caught by Denver and taken to a hidden location where he is held against his will.  While held, he is questioned about his involvement with Wes’ death. He is accused of murdering Sam. He is threatened to be held for more than the legal 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Oliver heightens to a frenzy. In a panicked state he obsesses about the whereabouts of his boyfriend. He brings up the severity of the situation almost every time his face shows up on our screens. While most (Laurel) believe that Connor has taken Wes’ immunity deal, Oliver remains convinced that Connor is in immediate danger.

He isn’t wrong. Connor is nearly arrested for the murder of Wes. Luckily, after the voicemail comes to light he is released. When he arrives home the two boys engage in a moment of passion, literally ripping the clothes off of each other. They talk about safety, moving to California, making babies, and loving each other forever. To Connor it’s all tied to the sex. To Oliver, however, it’s much more. He’s serious. He asks Connor to marry him.

4. Michaela’s oddly-timed confession

In the heat of everything going on Asher declares his love for Michaela. He calls this year the most awful of his life. He can’t let another moment go by without telling Michaela how he feels. As he spends a few tender moments showing Michaela his heart she pretends to hear Laurel from the other room. She effectively flees the situation.

Michaela doesn’t feel she can honestly answer that question. She doesn’t know. In fact, she doesn’t know if she has ever been in love. However, when it comes down to it, as Michaela has to pretend she wants to go home with Charles Mahoney she realizes something. She does love Asher. Or at least she thinks she does. That’s right, the girl who has always held her true intentions hidden deep inside finally opens up in a women’s public restroom, no less.

5. Wes’ murderer revealed

As the final episode of season 3 came to a close we felt pretty sure that the mysterious hitman was in cahoots with Denver. He never denied it, he almost seemed to confess as Annalise threatened to take him down. As she accused him of having a hand in Wes’ death in some way he seemed so guilty. It had to be him. The very last moments of the episode revealed a very different story, however.

As Laurel began to run down Charles Mahoney who awaited Michaela at a cab she ran into a similar face. Although, she and the audience had much different reasons for recognizing him. To her this man was Dominique, a family friend. To the audience he was the hitman who injected Wes with the lethal substance that took his life.

In one final flashback we see Connor running past the hitman’s car as he talks on the phone. He confirms that the deed is done. Wes is dead. But he doesn’t relay this news to Denver. He is speaking with Laurel’s father. The orchestrator of this all.

What moment stood out to you most in the ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ season 3 finale?