I remember the first time I ever watched Firefly. I was home from school with a cold and my mom went to get me some movies from the library. I don’t think she knew what she was starting when she picked up all four discs of Firefly and brought them home to me. It was love at first episode. Vaguely I remembered seeing previews for Serenity a couple years earlier. This was around the same time that I was waking up at 5:45 to catch reruns of Angel on weekday mornings (with no idea that Joss Whedon had anything to do with that show – I never watched credits). I’d seen a few episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and really liked that too. And when Dollhouse came out, I was right there watching every week. Needless to say, I loved (and still love) Joss’ stories.
Now, you might be wondering what is so inspirational about watching some old TV shows. A lot, actually, but this post is about Joss Whedon and how he is so inspirational. His shows are brilliant and have a level of planning that is mystifying to me. He creates such characters that jump off the screen and put you through so much emotional turmoil that you don’t even know how you’ll survive it. His plots are sheer genius – honestly, just watch one of his shows and you’ll see what I mean*.
He is a hero of mine, not only for his brilliant writing genius, but for his fantastic female characters**. Too often on TV and in the movies these days we have weak (or at least weaker-than-the-man) women. Joss Whedon throws that out the window. Buffy starts out as a typical high school girl, but really grows into her strength. And yet her strength doesn’t define her (entirely). She’s still human, with the whole glorious range of human emotions. Inara never lets Mal push her around and Kaylee sticks up for what she believes in. Heck, even Cordelia (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is stronger than she lets on.
You want your weekly inspiration? Go watch some shows by Joss Whedon, and try to learn something. I know I have.
Take care, fellow travelers.
*More discussion on the realism of Joss Whedon’s shows/characters/plots/etc. will be in my post next Wednesday.
**I will be writing more about strong female characters later in my series Reclaiming Fantasy. Watch for it!