Amazon’s Armchair Commentary had an interesting little post comparing two of the current SF TV Jedi masters, J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon. It’s really interesting to see all the cool stuff that both of these guys have been involved in.
A couple of things jump out at me here. First, Whedon is the darling of the ‘geek’ crowd, with only Buffy breaking out into mass appeal. Everything else is appreciated by a much smaller set, especially Firefly. Abrams, on the other hand, has tasted mass appeal with Alias then kicked it big time with LOST and Star Trek and, okay, you can include M.I. 3 and (ugh) Cloverfield.
Second, it’s apparent to me that Whedon and Abrams do things differently. Abrams looks like a big picture/idea guy, the guy who dreams up all these cool ideas then lets others do most of the dirty work (see LOST). Okay, okay, so he’s a producer on lots of stuff (and director on Trek) but, in case of the TV shows, his M.O. appears to be to kick start it, write/direct/produce a bit then move on. Nice work if you can get it! (Note: I am not knocking this in the least. The imagination Abrams has is incredibly deep and varied. I’m very impressed with the man.)
Whedon, on the other hand, appears to be much more hands on. Writer, producer and director on almost every one of his projects. This is probably why his shows have a very distinctive ‘flavor’ to them and why, because it was toned waaaay down, Dollhouse just wasn’t that appealing. Whedon isn’t afraid to get down in the trenches and wear all the hats to shepard his babies along. He’s like the TV equivalent of James Brown.
But, if you could only watch one new series by either of these gentlemen, who would you pick? Both have solid genre cred behind them. Both have written shows the geek crowd have flocked. Who would you pick?
After much interior wrestling, I’d probably have to, reluctantly, pick Whedon over Abrams. ..