Sunday, May 6, 2012

Joss Whedon Just Can't Win with the New York Times

So, as you saw from the previous blog post, the reviewer for the New York Times compared The Avengers unfavorably to Serenity.

What's funny about that is that the NYT review of Serenity was pretty mixed. That review praised it as being better than the Star Wars prequel movie Revenge of the Sith, but also ends up describing the film as nice, unsurprising genre fare that's uninspired visually. Dargis wishes it had been as innovative as Firefly...

Which the New York Times didn't like either. Their blurb reads: "FIREFLY -- A baffling new series from Joss Whedon, creator of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' with a young cast adrift in more ways than one. They're fighting a futuristic civil war in space; nothing makes a lot of sense, and the overt homage to cowboy themes seems an unlikely mix with the space stuff. Sci-fi in spurs? The cast of unknowns includes Nathan Fillion and Gina Torres. Fox, Fridays at 8 p.m., starting Sept. 20."

Their longer review by Caryn James: "Joss Whedon, who so breezily linked vampires with adolescent angst to create 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' has a new series billed as a 'sci-fi/western,' and this time the wrenching together of genres is tortured. In its rough first episode on Fox tonight, 'Firefly' is even more of a confusing mess than the description makes it sound. It's a crazy quilt of 'Star Wars,' 'Mad Max' and 'Stagecoach,' just to mention the most obvious films it calls to mind...." To be fair, at least she mentions that "Train Job" aired only because the two-hour pilot was shelved by Fox.

Her evidence that Firefly will get better? That week's premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

And, in case we've forgotten, O'Connor's review of the first season panned Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a 1997 article talking about how The X-Files and other shows should "not worry" about this supernatural show because "nobody is likely to take this oddball camp exercise seriously…." O’Connor goes on to describe the show’s audience as being "Humbert Humberts all over America" because the main character wears "hot pants and boots" and "changes from one skimpy outfit to another." He can’t seem to get past the concept of a feminine powerful girl as the main character, writing "What a bother, when there are split hair ends to worry about." He ends by saying, "The series is fun, but that’s a thought to make you really shudder."

So, to sum up: The Avengers isn't as good as Serenity, which wasn't as good as Firefly, which wasn't as good as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which they didn't like. Whedon keeps racking up mixed reviews for not living up to his past work, which the paper of record's prior reviewer didn't really like the first time they reviewed it.


  1. This is summed up fantastically! And also, wtf is up the collective arse at The Times?

  2. Now that was a good read summing up bad reads, thanks!