Listen Close to Everybody’s Heart, and Hear That Breaking Sound

Earlier this week, I realized something. Apparently, I’m a pretty big fan of Joss Whedon. I liked the Buffy show alright, but never really got into Angel. However, I absolutely LOVE Firefly. I didn’t see it when it came out originally, but watched it a couple of years ago on DVD and instantly fell in love. It competes with The West Wing for the top spot on my “Favorite TV Shows of All Time” list, I’m pretty sure. If you haven’t seen it, the premise is an interesting one. It’s set in the future, so of course it’s a space-themed drama, but it paints a far less utopian future than other sci-fi shows. Space travel doesn’t cure hunger or poverty or any of humanity’s other problems. In fact, with colonization of other planets come new hardships. As a result, the show is something of a hybrid between science fiction and a western, which seems like an odd match, but it really ends up working well.

The show only lasted for seventeen episodes or so, which was a real shame. The writing was extremely witty, inserting bits of humor into situations where you wouldn’t expect it. It was also easy to see that the cast had real chemistry together and formed a bond that you don’t always see in shows. They also made a movie, Serenity, which was fantastic. If you haven’t seen either, I highly recommend watching Firefly, then Serenity. You won’t be disappointed.

This week, I finally got around to watching Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. I heard of it because of Felicia Day, and completely forgot that Joss Whedon was the one that wrote it. I also managed to look away at the exact moment that the credits said that he wrote it and also missed Nathan Fillion (Capt. Reynolds in Firefly), so I was happily surprised when Fillion had his first scene. Anyway, the web miniseries stars those two as well as Neil Patrick Harris, and follows aspiring evil mastermind Dr. Horrible (Harris) as he plans for world domination, sharing his plans with the world via his video blog. His attempts to take over the world are frequently thwarted by Captain Hammer, played by Nathan Fillion. He’s also in love with Penny (Felicia Day), the girl he’s never spoken to at the laundromat. Of course, as the title implies, it’s a musical (think of the Scrubs musical or the episode from Buffy that was a musical). The music isn’t Broadway or anything, but for this format, it really works. And, though it’s only about 45 minutes long, I was drawn in and cared about the characters.

There’s something in Whedon’s characterization, style, and sense of humor that does that to me. It was the same thing with Firefly. Though it only lasted a few episodes, I was genuinely sad when I got to the end of the last disc, and realized that after seeing Serenity, there wouldn’t be any more of Capt. Reynolds, Jayne, Zoë, Wash, and the rest of the gang. It’s even in the music for his stuff. After watching Dr. Horrible, I listened to a few songs from the Serenity soundtrack. The main orchestration theme fits the series perfectly, I think; it starts a bit slow and somewhat melancholy, conveying a sense of longing with a touch of sadness that is replaced by a faster-tempo melody that subtly conveys the sense of humor inherent in the series. When I listened to it, I immediately missed the cast of the show and wanted to go back and watch the show again (even though I just watched the series in August). In that moment I realized that I don’t just like his stuff, I’m a Joss Whedon fan. He has the ability to hook me, make me care about his characters, and leave me wanting more. He certainly did it with Firefly, and Dr. Horrible was no exception.

If you haven’t seen it, you can see the three-part Dr. Horrible series here, or it’s available via iTunes.



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