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Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy [Paperback]

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Item description for Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy by Candace Havens...

This biography of Joss Whedon, creator of television's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, offers a compelling look at one of the most talented television writers, directors, and producers of this generation. It explains how Whedon turned a midseason replacement show on the fledgling WB network into one of the most beloved shows of all time. Examined is Whedon's life from childhood to the present; his successful screenwriting career, which includes Toy Story, Speed, and X-Men; the development of Buffy and Angel; and the launch of his much-anticipated science fiction series, Firefly. Discussed are Whedon as a producer with a self-proclaimed “feminist agenda,” as a genre fan writing for genre fans, and as a leader and mentor.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   184
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2003
Publisher   Benbella Books
ISBN  1932100008  
ISBN13  9781932100006  

Availability  0 units.

More About Candace Havens

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! A Waldenbooks bestselling author, two-time RITA(R) Award nominee, RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice nominee and National Readers' Choice Award winner, Rhonda Nelson has more than thirty-five published books to her credit. Rhonda and her family make their chaotic but happy home in a small town in northern Alabama. She loves to hear from her readers, so be sure to check her out at, follow her on Twitter @RhondaRNelson and like her on Facebook.

Candace Havens was born in 1963.

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Reviews - What do customers think about Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy?

An above average puff piece  Jun 22, 2008
Anyone who has seen or noticed many of my reviews probably knows at least one thing: I love BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, ANGEL, and FIREFLY/SERENITY. I'm about as big a fan of the work of Joss Whedon as you are likely to find. And I'm awaiting the start of his new series DOLLHOUSE more than one can easily imagine.

Nonetheless, this book is basically a puff piece. It is not a critical study, a critical analysis, or anything other than a fan raving about someone they admire. That being said, it is not a bad book for that. I merely point it out that this book is not there to dish the dirt, if dirt there is to be dished. And there is some, if not much. For instance, the book passes over a few unpleasantries, such as the inelegant dismissal of Charisma Carpenter from ANGEL (accounts vary, but one very prevalent rumor is that she was written out of the show because of a spur of the moment leave of absence she took during a few late Season Three episodes, only to return for filming the next season pregnant, something she had not apprised them of, resulting in the need for significant rewriting). Nor does the author delve into the botched attempt to have Amber Benson return in Season Seven (again, two rumors persist, one that she would have been the person that Willow saw in the otherwise wonderful episode "Conversations with Dead People," and the other that she might have returned to the show as the result of a wish that Buffy would have been granted -- after struggling with whether to remove Angel's curse or bring her mother back to life, the word is that she would have brought Tara back). Now, these are rumors. Perhaps there is truth to them. Perhaps there is none. But this is not the book that would dare deal with them. Nor Glenn Quinn's drug use, that got his arc on ANGEL ended earlier than they originally intended.

Still, I did pick up a few things that I didn't already know. And there were many snippets from interviews with Whedon and those on his shows that were obviously done for the writing for this book. So, the book becomes a source for those wanting to know more about Whedon, and not merely a book quoting other sources.

Nonetheless, I didn't end the book with complete confidence in it. I was a bit bothered by its unwillingness to engage anything the least bit controversial. I was also suspicious about whether it got every part of the story correct. Much is made of one of Whedon's college professors. Yet I know from other sources that he also profited from taking classes with renowned historian Richard Slotkin. I've read that it was in one of Slotkin's courses that he encountered Joseph Campbell's THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES and someone with strong Wesleyan film studies connections told me that he took Slotkin's course on Western films. (Slotkin is the author of a classic three-volume work on the imaginative response to wilderness in U.S. history. The third volume of that work, GUNFIGHTER NATION deals with the rise of the Western in American culture.) My point is that I'm not sure that his book tells the whole story. I could be wrong. My sources could be wrong. Perhaps Richard Slotkin did not even teach Joss Whedon. Or if he did, perhaps he did not have any influence (I took classes with many famous scholars, virtually none of which had any actual influence on me.)

So, I can recommend this and can even consider it a pretty decent book, but one must be aware of its limitations.
Rather fluffy  Jan 11, 2006
An interesting but somewhat fluffy look at Joss Whedon's career. This book has the same almost naive as the Mary Tyler Moore biography I read last year. The book was written at a time when Buffy and Angel were both on the air. Firefly though floundering was still on the air but there's no mention of the upcoming film, Serenity.

What the book doesn't admit to is the possibility that Joss could burn out -- which it appears he has from recent interviews. Joss is clearly very driven and clearly loves his work but does he know how to slow down?

I found the insights into the storylines fascinating. Joss clearly lives by the adage of "write what you know" and it shows in his work.
30% More Joss!  Sep 23, 2005
I highly recommend this book to the many fans of Joss Whedon. Highly informative and very well-written, this book offers wonderful insights into the mind of one of my all-time favorite writers.

Joss' fans all know Joss is a genius - this book gives us insight into where that genius came from and how it developed. It also clarifies some of the difficulties Mr. Whedon faced in his early career in Hollywood with some of his screenplays such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie) and Alien: Ressurrection. It gives us insight into Joss' early T.V. writing and script-doctoring career, as well as detailed description of his Buffy, Angel and Firefly television days.

I'd like to see this book updated, as it seems to have been published before BtVS season 7 aired, let alone the green-lighting of Serenity, the movie based on Firefly. Joss has many wonderful things in his future - let's see it here.
A must read for Joss Whedon fans  Apr 5, 2005
Candace Havens does a brilliant job of pulling back the curtain on one of the most creative minds in film and television. Her style is informative, clever and engaging. While Havens is clearly a fan of Whedon's work, she maintains journalistic integrity as she reveals behind-the-scenes facts and fresh tidbits for the most rabid fans. Treat yourself to a great read and buy this book!
Couldn't put it down  Oct 30, 2004
This book is great. I've been a fan of Joss since the first time I saw Buffy. This book isn't all about Buffy though. It covers Buffy, Angel, Firefly and more. Funny as hell too.

I couldn't put the book down. I read it straight through in one afternoon. A lot of insight into Joss and all of the cast members of his show are interviewed. It's part biography and part, well, everything else.

Best book I've read in a while. Buy this book!

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