Friday Fact-File - TV Writers: #2 Joss Whedon - Raindance

2. Joss Whedon


DOB: June 23rd 1964 (Age 49)

First TV break: 1997 (Age 33)

Joss Whedon is a third-generation writer, son of  Tom Whedon, a screenwriter for The Electric Company in the 1970s and The Golden Girls in the 1980s, and grandson of John Whedon, a writer for The Donna Reed Show in the 1950s.

He started out his career in the early 1990’s as a staff writer for the sitcom Roseanne, as well as co-writing the Disney smash-hit, Toy Story. In 1992, he wrote the script for a film that would later become one of the most successful cult television shows of all time; Buffy The Vampire Slayer. In 1997, the television version of the film aired and Whedon got his break.

His writing career was heavily influenced and encouraged by his mother, Lee Stearns, who is described by Whedon as a “A radical feminist, a history teacher and just one hell of a woman.”

To date, Whedon has 28 writing credits, in both film and TV, some of his most acclaimed being Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse and the more recent MARVEL Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Whedon is undoubtedly one of the most influential TV writers of this generation, creating stories that are not only wildly addictive and full of imagination, but also stories with fantastic characters (strong female characters in particular) that are no doubt a projection of his own influences while growing up.

“There was a time before I felt I was a real writer, when I was a yarn spinner and I just wanted to tell story until it was over. But then there came a time where I was like, ‘No, I want to understand something through writing this that I might have not understood before. I want people to come away with something to think about.”

“Writers are completely out of touch with reality.”

“In TV, there’s so much compromise, it does start to grate a bit. But if you’re a writer or an actor, it really is the place to be.”