A daily newsletter guide to what is happening on your screens - TV, streaming, movies, games, VR, AR
Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
More on the behind the scenes of Buffy
ALSO: Birthing the Robocop statue. AND: Tom & Jerry a hit.
Joss Whedon’s ‘toxic world of Buffy and Angel’
A feature in Variety over the weekend sought to deliver some deeper context to the allegations surrounding Joss Whedon and the toxic workplace environment he reportedly fostered. The Variety piece interviewed 40 former staff who all commented off-the-record.
According to sources, after Whedon created “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in 1997, he was largely left alone, operating on a tight budget with little oversight, thanks to a steady stream of strong media buzz and rich key-demo ratings. The show shot at a relatively remote location on soundstages in Santa Monica where executives were not regularly roaming around, and the production operated much like an indie film. Insiders say the combination of Whedon’s lack of experience running a television show, the financial pressures of delivering an action-and-effects-heavy hourlong dramedy, a cast largely populated with young and eager actors, and the absence of regular supervision contributed to an environment ripe for a chaotic, highly competitive, toxic workplace. Many people who spoke with Variety described the set as operating like high school, with Whedon making everyone aware of who was in and who was out.
The most compelling accusations are from those who have already spoken publicly, but this feature is worth a read if only to help paint a more complete picture of the story.
I’ve, coincidentally, been doing a re-watch of Buffy for the first time in many years of having seen the show. It’s been interesting to see these allegations come out as I started getting deeper into the show. None of this excuses creating such a shitty place to work, but it’s interesting to watch the fingerprints of Whedon across the series. The episodes he’s credited on as a writer (he was also the director of all of his written episodes, with the exception of the very first two episodes of the series) are the best episodes of the series. To be a fan of the series is to appreciate the work of Whedon. I can certainly appreciate how heartbreaking the story is to people who have invested their hearts into the world of this show over the past 20+ years.
My own take is that it is more important for the viewer to have their own experience with the show and to block out all the behind the scenes noise if it is stopping you from enjoying something that would otherwise give you pleasure. It’s the finished product that the viewer has a relationship with - not the making of it.
But I also wouldn’t be recommending to anyone that they should accept a job working with Whedon.
Within three days, their crowdfunding appeal for funding a statue of RoboCop had raised more than $17,000 from more than 900 backers worldwide. Heck, soon Funny or Die released a video of RoboCop lead actor Peter Weller riffing on the project. By the time the funding drive was over six weeks later, more than 2,700 backers had pledged more than $65,000.
At a time when crowdfunding projects was novel, this kind of off-the-charts response drew widespread publicity — favorable and critical. Most people, of course, were dazzled by the money that poured in. But at least a few wondered aloud why, in a resource-strapped city literally on the verge of bankruptcy, it was such a cinch to fund a pricey, irreverent pop culture project.
Apparently, visitors to Detroit still can’t see the statue. But after ten years of hard work, the team working on it are close to making it a reality. Find out more about the project and the difficulties of getting it built and displayed at the Metrotimes HERE.
The Tom & Jerry movie made $13.7 million at the US box office despite also being available there to stream on HBO Max. It’s the second-biggest opening since the pandemic started. Read: Indiewire
Apparently Zack Snyder’s Justice League ends on a cliff-hanger. Hard to believe that after a four-hour movie he still can’t find an end point to his story. Read: The AV Club
A decade ago, Charlie Sheen was #winning and chugging Tiger Blood. Now, he has regrets. Read: Yahoo! Entertainment
Netflix is developing a new anime series based on the Terminator franchise. Read: Polygon
Steven Moffat’s adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife for HBO has cast Theo James and Rose Leslie as its leads. Read: Dark Horizons
NBC has extended Seth Meyers deal through to 2025. Read: Variety
A new Band of Brothers series is in the works, moving from HBO to Apple TV. This one is based on bombers and adapted from the book Masters of The Air. Read: Variety
Just because we can doesn't mean we should
Strap on your VR helmet and play a game of pinball. Star Wars pinball. This might be the dumbest thing I have seen in some time:
Shadow and Bone debuts on Netflix April 23.
The One debuts March 12 on Netflix.
Find out Who Killed Sara from March 24 on Netflix.
Sitcom Home Economics starring Topher Grace starts on ABC April 7.
For Heavens Sake, a true-crime drama, debuts on Paramount+ on March 4.
Cruel Summer debuts April 20 on Freeform.
What’s next? Tomorrow.
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