Monday, November 29, 2010

Buffy Reboot: Leave Whit Anderson Alone

LEAVE WHIT ANDERSON ALONE!!!11!1excessiveexclamationpoints!!!

Alright, bit too late for Chris Crocker jokes? Yeah? Fine, fine. Though, you have to appreciate the expression of utter horror pictured above.

And that's kind of how it feels to be a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer right now. Kind of horrific. The Joss Whedon fandom is in the biggest turmoil since Firefly was canceled (read as: abused, mistreated, spat and/or shat upon, and then canceled) and things are getting ugly.

Here's the sitch.

Joss Whedon originally created Buffy as a film. People bought it. People made it. It sucked. Joss was super sad.

Joss pitched it as a TV series. People bought it. People made it. It became what many people consider to be the best television series of all time. Joss was super happy.

Now it gets tricky. The original people that bought and made the movie still have the rights to the character... and they're making a movie. You'd think that the fans would be thrilled with the news that our favorite slayer is hitting big screens to take out vampires and sparkle fairies (pictured below) alike.

But here's the catch. They're doing this without Joss. Sans Whedon. Minus the original creator. So instead of rejoicing, fans are going pretty much batshit. Thing is, I understand that. I don't necessarily agree with it as I'm a bit more objective than the average fan, but I understand it. Buffy's voice is Joss Whedon's voice. The original movie didn't work, the series did. People remember Sarah Michelle Gellar's quippy, morally ambiguous, heroic, and emotionally raw Buffy... not Kristy Swanson's campfest. So I get why the fandom is upset that the folks behind the original movie might shape this generation's vision of Buffy Summers.

However, what I don't get is this:

"This freak is just as delusional as Fran Kuzui. :/ "

Why can't Whit come up with an original idea of her own to sell? But this is the culture we seem to live in where people want to constantly feed off of others hard work to bolster their own futures.

Who the hell is she to think she has the right to get ‘her version’ of Buffy on screen?

Whit Anderson needs to just calm the eff down and just post her little thoughts in the FAN FICTION section because that's ALL this will be - a glorified FAN FICTION that has apparently been given a budget.

Once this whitless woman person, watches one episode of Btvs she will truly realise how out of her league she is.

This Anderson chick clearly decided she wanted to take Buffy from Whedon and run it herself.

I will be eagerly awaiting Whit Anderson's future autobiography: "How to Become a Pariah in One Easy Step."

If you're a true fan Ms. Anderson, you'll change your mind and leave well enough alone!

This chick and Warners can go to Hell! How many people did she have to blow to get this gig?

This freak needs to stop writing fanfics and get an original idea. Retarded.

Alright. After you wipe the vomit from your chin, skip to the next bit.

Bit of a catch-up: Who is Whit Anderson? Why, she's the writer of the new Buffy film of course. She's also a nice lady, a hilarious tweeter, and most importantly... a fan of the show. Not the movie. The show.

Now, reread those comments.

Just know that those are Whedon fans. Fans of the creator of Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, and Doctor Horrible. I’ve often described his work as the best of our time. He has created some of the most philosophically, psychologically, and emotionally complex works of television, film, and comics that exist. For years, I’ve been proud to be a part of a fandom that watches his work and understands why these works are important. I’ve analyzed his writing with people I’ve befriended over the years, and the gratification I’ve felt while connecting with someone thanks to Whedon’s work is immeasurable. Buffy, Joss Whedon, and the fandom have changed my life.

But now this. I’m disappointed and disgusted to say the least. How is it that people who seemed to have grasped the metaphors of early Buffy, the philosophy of Angel, and the moral exploration of Dollhouse can stoop this low? Again, let’s rewind a bit. This chick and Warners can go to Hell! How many people did she have to blow to get this gig?” A Buffy fan said that.

I’m fucking ashamed of this fandom.

Essentially, White Anderson took a dream job. She’s an avid Buffy fan, just like the people bashing her and, in some cases, threatening physical violence. She’s had to face this:

And here’s the thing. What is all of this for? A whole bucket load of nothing.

1. Joss Whedon’s Buffy is still going on in comic form. Fans might be a bit iffy with certain plots that involve aerial sex and reverse deux-ex machinas… but it’s there.

2. When the movie is released, it will not be loaded with Death Rays that will shoot from the projectors and into your homes to destroy your DVDs. Even if you see and loathe the new film… your DVDs will still be there. This doesn’t retroactively negate seven seasons and forty comics worth of Buffy.

3. As EricaCV pointed out on Twitter… the original movie sucked. It still exists. People still watch it. Could things really be worse than that? And if the film is worse… so what? Again, your DVDs are looking mighty keen to be rewatched.

4. Pssst. This might be crazy to hear, but you don’t have to go watch it.

5. Here’s the clincher. Joss… doesn’t seem to care much. Read his actual snarky, meh letter about it rather than the out-of-context bits that make it seem like he’s enraged.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer has changed my life. My Buffy will always be Joss’s vision. But I’m excited to see what another person who loves the show as much as I do has to say about the character. I’m excited to see new people talking about Buffy again. I’m excited that, if the film is good, a bunch of new fans will be buying the DVDs and discovering the awesomeness of Whedon’s work.

Too much energy is being wasted on being angry at Whit Anderson. She took a dream job. I’m a screenwriter who has been inspired by Joss Whedon to no end. I love the man and his work. But I would take the Buffy job in a second. It’s not an affront to Joss Whedon, Buffy Summers, or the fans. It’s a kick ass job. And I hope and sorta kinda know that Whit Anderson will do said kick ass job justice.

So yeah. Fandom. Leave the lady alone.

Slay ‘em, Whit.


  1. Although I appreciate your point of view, and I'm sorry for the hatefest poor Whit is suffering right now, the whole thing still leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

    Buffy IS Joss. It's the Whedon name. I just feel like if Whit was a *true* fan of the series, she would be trying to get Joss on board any way she could, not blithely ignoring him (I'm not saying she *is*, just that it's what it seems like). If she was a true fan, she would maybe have anticipated that most fans would react negatively to Joss being effectively shunted from a remake of the movie that not even his snarktastic dialogue could save.

    I'm glad for the idea a remake, I don't care if someone else is writing it. Many, many Buffy and Angel and Firefly episodes were not written by Joss and they were awesome. Hell, the Dr. Horrible and Sheppard Book comics weren't *strictly* written by Joss and they were canon as all hell.

    What I do NOT like and am NOT ok with is that Joss isn't involved in this at all. They have the legal rights, sure. They don't have a stitch beyond that, as far as I'm concerned. That is why I won't be seeing the movie. No Joss, no way - and no offense to Whit.

  2. I agree, thanks for posting this.

    This movie has nothing to do with me or how Buffy changed my life, and I love Joss' response to the news (although the out-of-context quoting of his response did make me annoyed). I certainly don't hate the writer or the people that are doing it.

    I don't imagine I'll be watching the movie but I'm really interested to see if it takes - and if my daughter will watch it. She abhors Twilight but Buffy, even a remake, might just tempt her. And then maybe we can watch all those boxsets together...

  3. IF... The movie is to be a reboot of the original movie, I hope (being the fan of Whedon's work that she is) that she makes capable of tying into the series very well, without making things very obviously different from our established mythos. I also hope that she snubs WB and Fox and their tomfoolery by consulting with Whedon on the project anyway.

    If these things DON'T happen at all, I'm gonna hafta say--while she deserves no grief for taking a dream job--I really hope the movie isn't actually made. You can say, "This movie won't erase the old DVDs" and all that, but just like remaking Batman movie, it makes the old (really awesome) Burton movies pretty much disappear in the eyes of today's people.

    Just sayin'.
    Walker Pennington

  4. Thanks for the comments, everyone.

    Walker- I hear you, but I don't necessarily agree. For me, it isn't the fact that Nolan's "Batman" movies are newer... it's that they're leagues better. The folks who liked Burton's "Batman" films still rave about them (if the Internet and even a few of my real life buddies, who totally surely definitely maybe exist), so I don't think there is really anything to worry about.

    In fact, Nolan's movies pushed me to seek out Burton's films. I found that time hasn't really been that kind to them, particularly the original... but I don't think that'll be the case with "Buffy." The ideas and execution are pretty much timeless. I think that the best thing that can and will come out of this will be the new people get into BtVS (both the movie and the original series) because of this new film.

  5. Thank you so much for writing this. The fact is, I think a lot of us would have been submitting our own ideas if we knew that they were looking. I know I would have, definitely. So the ire that she's dealing with? That could have been directed at any of us. And I'm not okay with that.

    As a fandom, we need to band together. But not in hatred.

    Here's the deal: Buffy Summers is a girl that nobody expected to be able to save the world. But she did. A lot. Female empowerment and not alone and defying expectations, etc.
    And yet, so many people who love the show for that are now condemning Whit Anderson for the same things. She's an unknown woman who just might be able to do something great. If we let her. SO LET HER.

  6. Saying that you would take the job if handed to you pretty much means that you have no respect for Joss or for the television series.

    This series is completely hung up on Joss Whedon and the writers of the take SOMEONE ELSE'S idea and use it to make money without their support is ridiculous.

    Look at Rob Zombie...he refused to do a Halloween reboot without John Carpenter's blessing.

    Whit doesnt care. She's a woman with an acting career that didnt take off so now shes claiming to be a fan of the she wants to do justice for the fans...dont fucking do the movie.

  7. I see your point but yet.
    I'm afraid.

    I'm afraid that without Whedon those snarky dialogs and all of the trademarks of Buffy simply won't exist in the movie.

    I'm afraid that the production will try to satisfy the modern vampire trend in some way.

    I'm afraid because I don't know what to expect of Whit's work, since she has almost nothing in her CV as a writer. Yet.

    I agree with you that there's no point harassing her because she was lucky enough to get the job. Nevertheless I stay skeptic. It's tricky enough for anyone to try and write a script for something as deliberate as Buffy, but leaving it to an amateur writer. I call that gambling.

    In my opinion the movie either going to be a disaster or a pleasant surprise. It certainly won't be anything like Whedon's, but I hope that Whit as a fan will keep the values that Buffy represents. And I fear that she won't.

  8. I think fan reaction might have been a bit less incendiary if, instead of hiring a "Buffy fan," they would have hired a writer with credentials.

  9. Either way, I'm not sure that ANYTHING could have called for comments like these"

    “This chick and Warners can go to Hell! How many people did she have to blow to get this gig?”

    “This freak needs to stop writing fanfics and get an original idea. Retarded.”


  10. I'm really uncertain about my feelings for the re make, but generally I agree with you: A new movie won't cause my DVDs to catch fire, I don't have to see it and, as a writer myself, I would have jumped at the chance to write this. Not having Joss there is a little sad but I think it's best to just wait and see at this point

  11. "In this new reboot, Buffy will no longer be in high school, but instead facing the same hardships that a lot of young college graduates have today in struggling to find a paying job and a healthy relationship. Though she plays a teenager on Glee, the 23-year-old actress is actually the right age for this newly rebooted take on the character."

    So... basically she's rewriting Buffy from season 5 onwards?

    Maybe I won't entirely hate and despise it... *IF* she manages to refrain from f**king with the canon - i.e. she does it from after the final series finishes. Possible??

  12. Definitely not possible.

    1) Because there is a comic book that already takes place after the series. It's on-going and it's canon.

    2) Reboot. It's the story from scratch. No Xander, no Giles, no Spike, no Angel, no Willow, no Oz. Not even Larry. Just Buffy. Her story, retold.

  13. Stumbled upon this blog post. I fully agree with you, and I consider myself to also be one of the more sane BTVS fans.

    A lot of fans are idealists who don't understand the biz at all, nor do they care to. In the case of BTVS, this is additionally ironic, since week and week, both Buffy and Angel were about questioning this black-and-white moral certainty.

    I also think the fans put Joss Whedon too much on a pedestal. The man is certainly brilliant, but it's akin to thinking that the conductor is more important than the entire orchestra.

    Finally, the big picture is that the original Buffy movie never lived up to its potential not just because of studio interference, but because the serial TV format was always the right place for Joss's vision. In my opinion, TV remains the best place to continue the BTVS universe, and a new big screen picture could re-ignite interest in that direction.

    Joss seems content with a comic-only BTVS universe, but so-far I've found that to be a pale comparison to the original series.

    FYI, I prefer Burton's original Batman to the Dark Knight, although both thoroughly enjoyable and deserve to exist.