Joss Whedon thought “Doctor Who” was cheesy, according to his memoir. “Joss Whedon: The Biography” reveals secrets from the filmmaker’s shows and films, including why he named his show “Firefly.”
The 50-year-old TV and film screenwriter/director already had the successful “Buffy” on screen when he conceived the idea for the short-lived “Firefly.” He was aiming for a sci-fi space show that was “a gritty realism that wasn’t an ‘Alien’ ripoff.”
In the process of conceptualising his latest project, he turned to television to gather some ideas. Although he loves British series, he found sci-fi shows from across the pond corny.
“Never watched any British sci-fi,” he said in the book, a chapter of which has been obtained by io9.com. “People were always talking to me about [Blake’s] ‘7,’ ‘Red Dwarf,’ even ‘Doctor Who,’ and I just never watched them.”
He tried to watch “Doctor Who,” though, and didn’t like what he saw.
“I watched one episode of ‘Doctor Who’ and I was like, ‘Did they film that in my basement?’ because it looked cheesy.”
Whedon couldn’t have been talking about the show’s re-launched serials.
“Doctor Who,” which was first aired in 1963, was concluded in 1989 before it was unsuccessfully revived in 1996.
In 2005, Russell T Davies took over the show, giving it a more modern twist that captured massive fan following online. The Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, was also introduced.
“Firefly” was launched in 2002, which meant Whedon was referring to an old “Doctor Who” series.
Whedon’s space cowboy show was a hit among viewers, and was even called “The World’s Best Space Sci-Fi Ever” by New Scientist magazine in 2005. However, it was cancelled just after one season.
As to why it was titled “Firefly” instead of just naming it after the main character Mal (played by Nathan Fillion) just as Whedon has done to “Buffy” and “Angel,” the director said that the characters were all “expendable.”
“If I choose, you can go at any time.”
“Joss Whedon: The Biography” is written by Amy Pascale with foreword by Fillion. It is now available from Chicago Review Press.