Whedon back to TV with.. Avengers-ish show?

News today, along with Whedon’s participation in Avengers 2, is that he will be showrunner for an ABC TV series that will take place in the Avengers universe. Not much else was specified beyond that, so it could be some sort of Agents of SHIELD deal or… who knows. Timeline is also unknown, though presumably before the sequel makes it into theaters.

— Alan

Do you have a link to this interesting news? I’m glad Joss is returning to television.


Cool. I’m happy he had movie success this year with Avengers and Cabin in the Woods, but to me Whedon is a television talent the way Rod Serling is. Hope he continues to work in that medium.

We can know with some certainty what it won’t be. It won’t be The Incredible Hulk (that show has been in development forever), it won’t be Alias (aka AKA Jessica Jones) because that show is dead in the water…maybe Runaways? I can’t think of many of the characters from that particular line that wouldn’t be available for them, he wrote for it, he’s on good terms with the original creator, and he likes the property. Also, it would probably be the best compromise fit for ABC - it could go on the broadcast network or ABC Family, as appropriate.

I’d like that.

I honestly don’t think he’s got the bandwidth to do a movie and a television show at the same time, though, so I’ll be surprised if this even gets within shouting distance of the air before Avengers 2.

Whedon has something or other on the go with Warren Ellis as well. A TV show I think (all details escape my poor brain at the moment, other than them meeting up a couple of weeks ago to work on it).

I could see him overseeing a team of his old Buffy/Angel/Firefly writers. Lots of them have showrunning experience at this point. He could help shape the show concept, write or co-write and direct the pilot and then be pretty hands off. It’s not like JJ Abrahms ran the day to day on all his various post-Alias (post MI:III) shows. Not that I wouldn’t love him to have a Buffy-level authorship for a new TV series, but that’s probably not realistic expectation in this case.

I assume he’s gonna make bank on this deal, though. Good for him! Now he can afford to crush the Kuzui’s!

I hope he doesn’t make the same mistake as Dollhouse and wait too far into the season to write. Dollhouse was a bit lame until the episode Joss wrote himself.

Dollhouse had a lot of baggage in terms of being created (quickly) as a star vehicle for Eliza Dushku (under HER production deal) for a network that really just wanted a sexy procedural. I can’t imagine it will take as long to figure out what is interesting about this Marvel show. Frankly, it’s a testament to Whedon’s skill that a show about blank-slate whores could have been turned into such a fascinating philosophical exploration of identity.

OTOH, it’s also a testament to Whedon’s inability to figure out people weren’t exactly clamoring for a show about blank-slate whores. Or about Confederacy-like cowboys in the future (that was how Firefly was initially described to me, put me off the series for quite a while).

Fortunately, I don’t think a unpopular premise will be an issue this time.

Well, the Firefly as “US Civil War veterans in spaaaAAAAAaace!” was the network and their marketing department’s fault, not Whedon’s. And I’m pretty sure Dollhouse had the same issue. I recall the original promos being simply “Look! Eliza is hot! and she’s half naked! and sometimes doing other stuff!” without anything of substance about anything else in the show.

I’d agree with Firefly, all it took was one episode to see it was only lightly influenced by “US Civil war vets in Space”, and it wasn’t actually a “Poor confederates” deal.

But Dollhouse? I saw the first episode, and I was outta there. It could be a great show, but the premise actively repulsed me.

My problem with Dollhouse, wasn’t so much the premise but the lead. Dushku is terrible, and couldn’t carry any show, much less one where she’s supposed to play a human chameleon. I’d wager that if Dichen Lachman had been the lead the show would have been much better received.

I’ve loved all of Joss’ shows except Dollhouse. Just so, so, soooo boring.

The first episode that was rewritten and re-edited at the last minute by order of Fox because they thought the original pilot Whedon wrote and shot was too complicated and revealed too much (including some context as to why the show wasn’t just Whores whores whores!).

I doubt it.Well, maybe the critical reception would have been somewhat better, but the show would still have been doomed. Lachman was great, but with her in the lead it would have been a show with an unknown female Asian lead playing a prostitute. Most TV audiences simply wouldn’t pay attention to that show, and the people who did would probably only do so to launch complaints about it. In fact with Lachman as the lead I bet the show would have died sooner.

Dushku is fine in limited roles as a supporting actress, but yes, she couldn’t carry the series. Lachman or Gjokaj would have been far better choices for the main role, but they didn’t have production deals or name recognition (and still don’t, really).

It was the premise that repulsed me. The premise. Blank slate people who might or might have not chosen to be that way, only the employees having personalities, yadda, yadda, I could possibly kept going if I trusted the writer, but I don’t trust Whedon, not with that kind of material.

While I didn’t like Dollhouse either (mostly because of Dushka) I thought the premise was excellent: your might or might not is exactly the type of thing that can support a meta-plot.

Firefly, in many ways, was the same concept: a slow reveal of the history and motivations of the rag-tag crew that had come together in this one ship. Serenity was essentially a long-ass episode focusing on the reveal for River and Simon.

The blank-slate format is geared towards the characters learning about their past at the same time as the viewer.

To be honest I don’t really understand this reaction. Dollhouse’s premise wasn’t all that different from the premise of some other science fiction/horror properties. When you look at the work of Philip K Dick, or at something like Stepford Wives, or Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or the Bourne Identity movies or lots of lesser known stories, you see various themes relating to “What happens if evil people can control you. Can alter your memories. Can turn you from a normal person with feelings and morals into a slave, a pet, or a killing machine. And whether or not some humans might want to willingly give up their freedom for luxury, to escape ugly memories, to just be someone else.”

That’s what Dollhouse was about. An evil corporation that decided that it would serve their needs best if they could rewrite the minds of everyone in the world to serve a tiny elite. No war, no racism, nothing but a happy, obedient world serving a small group of masters (who themselves could jump their minds into fresh healthy bodies whenever they wanted). Well, and the efforts of some people trying to fight/stop all that.

The Dollhouse as presented early in the show was an interim step in that plan. A way to run field tests on their technologies, while getting their hooks into rich business leaders, politicians, the criminal underworld, etc using time honored tricks. Bribery, extortion, murder for hire, prostitution, and of course straight up mind control. But you can see where the show is really going in episode 6 (episode 1 to a certain degree if you can get ahold of the unaired pilot).

That’s an ugly, bleak scenario, but I don’t really understand why folks found it so offensive as a premise. I don’t know if Joss tried to hard to keep the underlying premise of the show mysterious, or if Fox’s marketing was just too crass, but a lot of people seemed to think the show was just “Joss Whedon plays with sexy sex dolls!”