If you've been living under a geek rock, as I was about six years ago, you have never heard or seen anything by Joss Whedon, and that is sad. Joss has created some of the most original, interesting, creative, science fiction and fantasy shows of the last two decades.
While packing up my room from my sophomore year of college, I got distracted (not unusual) and wandered down the hall. One of the girls on my floor was also packing and watching a show on her computer, a little show called Firefly. Having run out of Stargate SG-1 episodes to borrow from one of my other hallmates, and sensing some science-fictiony goodness, I asked if I could borrow Disc One to watch while I packed. She said sure, and I promptly popped in the DVD and forgot about packing. I did manage to get packed and get home that summer, where I found the rest of the Firefly discs from the library and then proceeded to devour Firefly and Buffy in quick succession- that was an awesome summer. (Sidebar: It's funny to think how I watched TV shows without Netflix- finding discs? Who does that anymore?)
Each of these shows have characters who are noble and self-sacrificing and brave. Characters who, although they might be hurt or have issues or be the Chosen One, are able to work with other people. Joss knows how to use an ensemble cast, which is why I am super excited to see The Avengers when it comes out next year.
Superhero movies, up to now, have been exclusively focused on the main hero and their origin story or their problems facing villains and so forth. There might be a girlfriend or friend who helps/needs help, but no real ensemble feel, which is perfectly fine for the kinds of movies that have come before. But The Avengers doesn't have a main character- it has six! And who else but Joss to make it work.
Joss also has a fondness for music and musicals, another genre that is dear to my heart, so when I came to the musical episode of Buffy I was in fantasy/musical geek heaven. And when Dr. Horrible came out, I watched it raptly and bought the DVD as soon as I could. The soundtracks live on my iPod to this day. Because they are good. I never would have expected a science fiction or fantasy show to produce a good musical, but, by George, or actually, by Joss, they did. The songs are fun, tuneful, and emotional and forward the plot at the same time- there are shows on Broadway right now that can't say the same.
So, thank you Joss Whedon, for bringing courage, nobility, fascinating stories, great ensembles, and some darn good music to my life.