May the Joss be with you!

Just saw the new Avengers movie, or as it’s called in England for the benefit of anyone expecting Emma Peel and John Steed, Avengers Assemble. Yeah! Now that’s what I call a blockbuster. And who did it take to buck the trend of lackluster superhero movies?

Joss Whedon.

We tend to forget that in 1997, when Buffy first aired, it was so chock-full of new stuff. The horror-comedy genre wasn’t really even a genre because horror was something that took itself seriously. Buffy had cool characters, really horrible vampires, and monsters of the week. It had humor, smart writing, and it treated its audience as a bunch of intelligent people who were in on the joke.
Above all, though, it was an ensemble piece. That in itself was nothing new, but as the weeks went by one thing became evident: The characters. They were all well-rounded, with past baggage, going through experiences that stayed with them and became part of a shared history. And we cared about them. That wasn’t something we were accustomed to seeing. But if I had to single out just one thing that Joss always does brilliantly, it’s bringing a gang of diverse people together in a fairly normal milieu that has one abnormal thing about it so that the sum of the parts adds up to something fantastically good. It happened in Buffy, in Angel, in Firefly. And now he’s done it again.

And that is what I took from Joss when creating Captain da Silva’s Scooby Gang. Giving the characters depth and baggage brings them alive. Keeping the tone light makes them more likeable. Insert into various supernatural situations and stir. Then light the blue touch paper and stand back!

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