Late-Breaking News: Happy Birthday, Joss Whedon. Vote on his best work

joss-whedonImage Credit: Albert L. Ortega/PR PhotosAs a kid, did you ever have that dream where you woke up and found out you missed Christmas? My nightmare came true today when I looked at my self-made pop culture calendar in Google at 5 p.m. and realized Joss Whedon turned 46 today.

I know, at this point, the party is over. The birthday song has been sung, and all that remains of the celebration is the icing ring on a piece of cardboard where a cake once was. But below, you make take part in pretty much the greatest and most important poll ever to grace the pixels of EW.com.

You might notice that in my poll asking “What is Joss Whedon’s best work?” I have not included a cop out answer (like ”Everything he does is amazing”). I’m forcing you to choose. Yes, forcing you. And don’t count Buffy the winner too soon. I actually know someone who loves Joss Whedon and has never seen the series. I’ll bring her over here one day so we can pelt her with fruit. Meanwhile, vote away, Whedonites. And celebrate tonight with a marathon of your choosing.

Read more:
EW’s 100 Greatest Characters: Joss Whedon reveals his recipe for Buffy
Morgan Spurlock, Stan Lee, and Joss Whedon do a superhero team-up
Happy 13th Birthday, Buffy!

Comments (208 total) Add your comment
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  • Josie

    I was about to start an EW protest because you hadn’t mentioned his birthday. I forgive.

  • Adam

    Whedon’s run as writer on Astonishing X-Men should be included!!

    • Kaci

      It wasn’t my favorite project, but I concur! And although I voted for Buffy, I’ve probably seen most eps of the first half of Angel’s season three the most out of any Whedon project. I absolutely LOVED “Lullaby” and “Waiting in the Wings”…

      • mark

        what about writing Toy Story?

      • Stephan

        I know, I mean REALLY! you can’t THAT out!

      • Claen

        Agreed- I was looking for that one. Toy Story gets my vote!

      • Joe

        hands down Firefly was his best work in terms of originality, writing, story lines, etc. One of the best shows of this decade.

      • Shiny

        The other six writers on Toy Story may call those fightin’ words, especially Andrew (Nemo, Wall-E) Stanton and John (Cars) Lasseter. There ought to be a separate list for Whedon collaborations like Glee, X-Men and Toy Story but I think this list is a good example of his standalones.

      • Regan

        I’m thinking the reason Angel scores so low is because all the Angel fans are of course also Buffy fans, and it’s natural to feel stronger for the original show, even though Angel is pretty great too.

        I also have a theory that most of the people voting for Firefly are younger than me? Meaning you don’t have the same nostalgic memory of growing up watching Buffy and being completely awed by how original it was at the time.

      • larry

        I loved Buffy but how do you beat the Angel Puppet episode? That’s right, you can’t. Angel going from puppet to vamp puppet was great.

      • Emily

        I see your puppet show and raise you an episode with no talking. I mean – how many writers have come up with that one.

    • Sigfodr

      I would actually say his best work is Astonishing X-Men. I mean, come on, he made Cyclops awesome

      • Johnification

        I know! What the hell, man! Also, he found a reason to make Beast play with a ball of yarn and revert Wolverine back to his nancy-boy origin persona. All awesome.

    • Temp

      Hell yes. That was phenominal work!

  • Ceballos

    The guy is obviously mega-talented (I have a deep fondness for “Dr. Horrible”) and I’d love to go against the grain, but it really is Buffy. Duh.

    • lilian

      I’m not the girl mentioned in the article but I love Joss Whedon and have never seen Buffy. It’s Firefly for me, one of the best things I’ve seen, television or otherwise.

    • Eric

      Firefly (and sometimes Dollhouse) were great and original, but Buffy gave us 7 years of originality (ok, 5 years and then the last had like 3 good episodes, but still!)

  • Dave

    People are seriously picking Dollhouse? Even more than Angel? Umm, no way. Dollhouse had its moments, but in general, it was a poorly executed idea. Hopefully these results will change once more people vote in this poll.

    • DW

      Dollhouse shouldn’t even be an option in this poll. Let’s just all pretend it never happened and remember the good times!

      • Jamie

        I disagree – slightly. It’s not my favorite Whedon work, but if you watch ’til the end, it had some really interesting things to say and some great characters (although as usual for Whedon, it’s not the original “main” character that was most interesting; “Sierra” and “Victor” both stand out, as did “November” and the Madam herself, and Topher and… yeah). It even some rare classic moments of comedy (“PORN!”).

        It’s actually probably his most mature and philosophical work yet, even if it did lack some of the charm that say, Firefly had.

        Sadly, I think its weakest point was that the writers were hoping for five seasons in season one (even going so far as to emphasize that Actives are signed up for “five year” contracts), then had to wrap it up tight in season two. Season two was mostly a high point, as Whedon under pressure tends to deliver, but had it either had time to develop long-term, or had it been known that it would only be 26 episodes long, from the beginning, it would have either had much more time to explore its themes and characters from every angle (like Buffy has), or been more tightly-focused on the most important points of development (Like Dr. Horrible and Serenity did). Joss Whedon works best when he knows exactly, or at least reasonably certainly, how long he has to pull off a story.

        This is also why I think Firefly was better than Dollhouse though, despite the fact that I feel Dollhouse had more interestingly, challengingly nuanced philosophy in it: even though it WOULD have been fabulous to see it sprawl out over five seasons or so, the big scifi ideas in the ‘Verse were always secondary to the character development, and it was already at a really good stopping point in terms of that, when it was forced off the air, since it was forced off the air mid-season (mid-season usually being when important character arcs or plot arcs come to a head anyway). Objects in Space shouldn’t have been the final episode… but it worked really well as an open-ended finale anyway. And even the first few episodes, which were flawed, still had a sense of warmth (which I credit partly to the cast and partly to the artistry of the series from set to lighting and cinematography).

        Dollhouse at its best was somewhat exciting, and very clever, and very thought-provoking; Firefly at all times, was charming. I watch Dollhouse over and over to examine it like a puzzle for meaning; I watch Firefly over and over because it feels like home.

        I still love Dollhouse, and there’s every reason to include it one this poll… but I’m not surprised that Firefly is in overwhelming second place right now behind the more famous BtVS; Dollhouse is not a bad series by far, it’s oodles better and smarter than most other “network” shows, but compared to his other works, it’s kind of a black sheep. ;)

      • Momo

        Yes, I liked the concept of “Dollhouse,” but I agree that it was executed horribly. One of the biggest flaws, I thought, was the main actress, Eliza Dushku. I loved her as faith, but found her to be one-not as Echo, and I never believed her when she tried to go for different “personalities.”

      • Julz

        Gotta agree with Momo: I like Eliza, but fell either Amy Acker or Dichen (Sierra) would’ve pulled the role off better imo.

      • Anonymous

        Season 2 of Dollhouse was AMAZING! How awesome was Vicpher! I hope to see the actor who played Victor again soon.

      • thin

        The supporting cast of Dollhouse was definitely its greatest strength. I didn’t dislike Eliza, but I thought that nearly everyone else in the show was more interesting than she was.

      • lala

        i strongly disagree. the idea was great, just sometimes it was presented incorrectly it would be better if the main character wasnt a doll. if maybe paul was the main character an it was about hunting down the dollhouse it woulddve done better

    • murley

      while i did enjoy dollhouse, especially its sprint to the end, i can’t believe it is so far ahead of angel. 3 words: wesley wyndham price

      • James

        well three words right back at you from the Dollhouse side it is then.

        Senator Daniel Perrin. :P

      • s

        Perrin ain’t no Pryce my friend.

    • Anne

      Seriously. Hoooooow is Dollhouse #2?? I personally didn’t jump on the Firefly obsession train, but it seems like everyone else in the known universe did. So how is dollhouse 7% ahead?

      • JK

        I think its primarily due to it’s numerical value as the MOST recent Whedon project.

  • Briana

    Firefly is amazing.

    • jw

      Its Buffy, duh. But Firefly is such an exceptionally, beautifully constructed unique, complicated, complete world that it completely surpasses Buffy.

      • Niix Starkyller

        Big damn heroes, sir.
        Ain’t. We. Just.

    • John Q.

      Firefly without a doubt. Best of a good bunch of shows.

  • anonymous

    I vote for the original Toy Story.

    • aleksa

      You have a point.

    • Sherry

      My vote is for Toy Story too!

  • Jennieo

    I loved Buffy, but my heart belongs to Captain Tight Pants and his crew.

    • Miri

      Agreed! It’s what brought me into the Whedonverse in the first place.

      • Jamie

        Same here. Buffy was a great series – at its best, it was smart, and funny, and heartfelt, and despite often being praised for its comedy, had some wicked scary horror too – but it was a lot more uneven than Firefly, and while I love watching and rewatching Buffy, if I had only one series I could take with me to watch til the end of my days on a desert island… it’s Firefly. (And second place for if I couldn’t take Firefly? Wonderfalls, which had the same producer. Poor Tim Minear… I love his projects, but they always seem to get canceled after two seasons or less!)

      • Ceballos

        Jamie-

        You make some great points, but to be totally fair, don’t you think it was a LOT easier for “Buffy” to be uneven over the course of seven seasons than it was for “Firefly” over the course of 14 episodes?

      • KEVIN

        Jamie-
        agree with Ceballos, I mean come on! ANY series that lasts more than 13 eps is going to have “uneven” portions in the eyes of some viewers. It is fine to say you prefer Firefly, but don’t put Buffy down in comparison or to justify it being your fave

    • Wendy

      All Hail Captain Tightpants!!! Yes, Buffy was great, but it is not fair to say it had 7 great seasons compared to Firefly’s one. It was the fault of the network canceling Firefly That was, is, and always be the biggest mistake FOX ever made. Browncoats forever!!

    • Steve P

      I’ve been a big fan of Buffy/Angel?Firefly and yes, the Hammer and Dr Horrible was by far my best Whedonism ever! Such a compelling story told our over a number of shorts on the internet was such a bold and balsy move(at the time). Dollhouse was overdramatizied and underdeveloped until the end. Firefly was well ahead of its day, unfortunately, and enuff said for Buffy and Angel. Damn you Cap’t Hammer!

  • Mo

    Is there anything, anywhere, ever that can possibly compare to Firefly?

    • Skip182

      Yep, it’s called “Serenity” :)

      • Leigh

        No way. Serenity…*shakes head* You just can’t get rid of Firefly’s best character and pretend it’s okay.

      • Adele

        @Leigh, It WASN’T OK and that’s kind of the point. I was devastated after seeing that movie (I kind of still am), but that’s the way Joss is. He’s not afraid to kill off a major character. And his plan worked because after that death scene, when everyone was getting shot/stabbed/poisoned all i could think was “he’s going to kill EVERYONE!!!” and I was on the edge of my seat. The man is a genius.

      • David

        I agree, overall Serenity is his best work.

        The only thing that did not improve from the series was he cut out the Dobro music.

        I hated Buffy, Dollhouse and pretty much everything besides the Firefly ‘verse that I ever saw from Joss though. I didn’t even like Dr.Horrible. I did not like Toy Story, I hate Pixar.

        But that is just me and my opinion.

  • Anna

    I resent the exclusion of Toy Story and Titan A.E.

    My vote goes to Toy Story.

    • DW

      The verdict is out on just how much of Toy Story Joss Whedon had a hand in (3 other writers are also credited), so I don’t think it counts as a Whedon project.

    • Jake

      He didn’t work on Toy Story by himself. There were multiple writers on that screenplay. Hence WHY it’s not included.

      • Jamie

        In fairness, he’s not the “only writer” on any of his TV shows, either. Hell, even Dr. Horrible was co-written with Zack Whedon and Maurissa Tancheroan, if I’m not mistaken.

        If you’d said “Toy Story wasn’t his concept, whereas Buffy and Firefly (and respective spinoffs and continuations Angel and Serenity)and Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible and all were”, that’d be different. But some of my favorite episodes of Buffy and other Whedon series, were primarily written by others, mostly Jane Espensen and I think it was David Fury.

      • Jake

        That’s what I meant. He didn’t create the concept. Why would I talk about his writing? It’s his PROJECTS. Toy story wasn’t developed by Joss.

      • Niix Starkyller

        In fairness, he was the showrunner on all of the ones listed in the poll, save for Angel. I count that as ‘ownership’, whereas I’m unclear about Toy Story.

  • Jake

    You can’t love Joss Whedon and not see Buffy. You can’t consider yourself a Whedon fan if you haven’t seen his best and most popular work. That’s like being a fan of George Lucas and not seeing Star Wars.

    • thin

      Not really. Yes, there are THX 1138 and American Graffiti, but compared to Star Wars, they are much, much lesser pieces of Lucas’ work. Buffy was Whedon’s longest-running series, but its scale relative to his entire body of work is much, much smaller.

  • Alex

    This was hard to choose, but I had to choose Buffy because that’s what introduced me to him.

  • Sarah

    It’s gotta be Buffy – the original Whedon! I also enjoyed Angel and Dr. Horrible but they both pale in comparison to pop cultural zeitgeist that is Buffy!

  • Arlo J. Wiley

    It’s all great. Really, it is. I even love Dollhouse. But there’s no way it’s not Buffy. Nothing beats Buffy.

  • charmuse

    Buffy, because I stayed up 3 days straight watching the last 2 seasons on DVD.

    • Jennifer

      I might’ve said ‘Buffy’ before the last two seasons, but those seasons pretty much ruined the show for me. ‘Firefly’ never had the chance to turn sour on me, so that’s my vote.

      • lala

        although beffy season 6 lost its edge, 7 was great! you’re not a true fan if you dont like it to the end

  • Heather

    Tough tough choice. I picked Buffy because that was my first true tv obsession, but I am a giant fan of all his work, yes even Dollhouse had its great moments. I just can’t wait to see what he does next, especially Dr. Horrible Part 2

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