Joss Whedon

By Matthew Pateman

Joss Whedon


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7781-4
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: May 2018
  • BIC Category: Television Studies, Television, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Entertainment & Performing Arts, PERFORMING ARTS / Television / History & Criticism, Biography: Arts & Entertainment, The arts / Television
  • Series: The Television Series


This book assesses Joss Whedon's contribution to US television and popular culture. Examining everything from his earliest work to his most recent tweets and activist videos, it explores his complex and contradictory roles as both cult outsider and blockbuster filmmaker. Crucially, the book insists on the wider industrial, technological, political and economic contexts that have both influenced and been influenced by Whedon, rejecting the notion of Whedon as isolated television auteur.

Using key source material, with exclusive access to drafts of many of the episodes across Whedon's career, as well as unique correspondence with Whedon collaborator Jane Espenson, this book offers unparalleled access to the creative process that helped produce the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse and Firefly. Energetic, engaging and informed by detailed scholarship and theoretical rigour, the book is not just an essential addition to the study of Whedon, but a timely and important re-invigoration of television studies in general.


'Matthew Pateman's new book is an essential addition to the collection of all Whedon scholars and fans. Pateman's accounts of each of Whedon's major television shows are informed by detailed research into the surrounding contexts of creative working relationships, network negotiations, and television programming strategies. This fresh angle of approach, coupled with a sharp eye for textual detail, adds breadth and depth to our understanding of these shows, of Whedon, and of broader questions of agency and structure in television production.'
James A Zborowski, University of Hull

'Matthew Pateman's Joss Whedon is a timely reflection on Whedon's place as a leading figure in contemporary TV production and a cult figure within popular media. Challenging traditional notions of the single creative artist, Pateman examines the complex tapestry of creative partnerships, cultural and industrial contexts, political engagements and multi-media platforms that have shaped Whedon's output and his cult auteur-image. Rich in insight, detailed analysis and scholarly rigor - expressed with passion for the material in Pateman's own inimitable style - this a must-read for the Whedon fan and the TV scholar. This not just the Whedon book we want but the Whedon book we need.'
Stacey Abbott, Reader in Film and Television Studies at the University of Roehampton


Part I
1 'Buffy is the Slayer. Don't tell anyone': creating a cultural phenomenon: the first three years of Buffy
2 'How do you know what this guy's gonna do?' Producing worlds, changing worlds 1999-2004
3 'There are so many things I'd like to be': multi-media polymath and rise of mainstream cult 2005-17
Part II
4 'I must say, it's a delightful change to have someone else around who can explain these matters': narrative and genre: the exposition scene in Buffy
5 'I love a story with scope': narratives in Angel: cross overs, complexity and conclusions
6 'Come with me now, if you will, gentle viewers': non-Whedon scripted episodes: Jane Espenson, popular culture and authorship
7 'Why'd this get so complicated?' Narrative and televisual analysis: a brief excursus using Firefly
8 'I can bring back the world': Dollhouse: narrating the tabula rasa
Coda: 'I'm not done baking'
Appendix 1: Jane Espenson correspondence
Appendix 2: Definitive guide to Whedon output week-by-week


Matthew Pateman is Head of Department of Media at Edge Hill University and Professor of Contemporary Popular Aesthetics

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