For a long time Joss Whedon has held the Geek crown, he could print money with his following, choose any project he wished and lead the masses of Geekdom into any avenue he wished. Whedon was my master at time, but does he still remain there?
J.J Abrams has been attacking the twin screens, silver and small, since 1990, but it wasn’t until his success with Alias and Lost that put him on the geek screen. Since then Abrams has struck in all avenues of geek culture from horror films to monster flicks, disaster films to action movies and even Star Trek, but is he good enough to take the title of Geek from cult leader Whedon?
Abrams started young, his first job in the movie business started when he was 16 when he wrote music for Don Dohler’s film Nightbeast. During his senior year at college, he teamed with Jill Mazursky to write a feature film treatment that would go on to be the basis for Taking Care of Business which starred Charles Grodin and Jim Belushi. He followed that up with Regarding Henry, starring Harrison Ford, and Forever Young, starring Mel Gibson.
After his move to Los Angeles, Joss Whedon got his first job writing for the hit television series Roseanne and Parenthood before being a script doctor for numerous films like Speed, The Getaway, Waterworld, and Toy Story.
Round Winner: J. J. Abrams : Where Whedon worked on other shows and projects before getting to his own, Abrams started with his own scripts that involved Jim Belushi, Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford.
For the majority of the world Abrams’ breakout role was Alias and Lost, but his first successful breakout was a show called Felicity staring Keri Russell and former Pink Power Ranger Amy Jo Johnson.
Whedon gained his intense fame from the wildly popular show Buffy The Vampire Slayer which ran for seven seasons.
Round Winner: Joss Whedon: BTVS has been a wild success that not only built Whedon fame and career, but made him a household name.
Abrams has taken TV by storm. Everything he touches becomes a success, and he has not had a single failure under his name. His television track record, which started with Felicity (4 seasons), continued on with the shows Alias (5 seasons), the wildly successful Lost (6 seasons), and Fringe (3 and counting). This fall he launched his fifth show Undercovers, as well as being picked up for two more shows entitled Odd Jobs and Alcatraz.
Whedon started with Buffy, a show unlike any other that took the world by storm, and followed it up with the successful spinoff Angel, but sadly the commercial success ended there. His next show was the space-western Firefly. The show, despite winning great praise from fans and gaining a cult status, was cancelled after only 11 episodes. Dollhouse faired a little better but was still abruptly cancelled midway during its second season. Whedon has sold the pilots for other tv projects, Buffy The Animated Show, Ripper, Suspension, and Afterlife but neither of the four have seen the light of day.
Round Winners: J.J Abrams: This is a numbers game. Abrams has more success under his belt then Whedon does. Sadly, despite being good and enjoyable shows, Whedon can no longer maintain a television show past two seasons.
Abrams’ film career has varied in the amount of fame on acknowledgment he receives per project. In some of his earlier films, Taking Care of Business, Regarding Henry, Forever Young, The Pallbearer, Gone Fishin’, Armageddon, The Suburbans, and Joy Ride Abrams was not wildly known for his involvement in these projects, but his more recent films have been met with a resounding success and fame, with his name plastered all over each one. He has directed Mission: Impossible III (which he also wrote) and Star Trek, while producing the previously mention films along with Cloverfield.
Whedon has written and worked on many films. He has given treatment on X-Men and Atlantis: The Lost Empire, written and co-written films like Speed, Gateway, Waterworld, Toy Story, Alien Resurrection, and Titan A.E.. His biggest projects have been the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer (a film that will be remade without his input) and Serenity (the motion picture continuation of Firefly).
Round Winner: Tie: Both competitors have tackled major franchises, Mission Impossible, Star Trek, Aliens and X-Men, and have been working on films for a while now.
Abrams has little notable web work, but his big project is the musical song and video entitled “Cool Guys Don’t Look at Explosions.” The project was done with Lonely Island, Andy Samburg, Will Ferrell and consisted on him singing and a keyboard solo.
Whedon has beneath his belt the wildly successful Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog starring Nathan Fillion, Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day.
Round Winner: Whedon: Despite my dislike for Dr. Horrible I have to give this victory to Whedon. Dr. Horrible has gained a following on par with Firefly or BTVS
Abrams showed the world his musical talent with his Fringe episode Brown Betty. The episode is a noir detective story with solid music and brilliant lyrics. The music accompanies the story without pulling from the event. The music and lyrics were written by Abrams himself.
Whedon has a love with musicals. He has promoted the musically endowed genre with his BTVS episode ‘Once More With Feeling,’ and his web series Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Both projects promote lyrics written by Jeb Whedon and have become wildly popular despite the weak lyrics and unmemorable choruses.
Round Winner: Tie: While Abrams’ attempt was of better quality then Whedon’s, Dr. Horrible and ‘Once More With Feeling’ have garnered greater praise and fame.
Abrams continues him plan to dominate TV. With two shows on the air right now, Abrams has signed another pair of shows for production and airing. Alcatraz and Odd Jobs were both announced last week. On the film side Abrams is working on Star Trek 2, Mission: Impossible 4, Super 8 with Steven Spielberg, A Samurai Jack film adaptation and Morning Glory staring Harrison Ford.
Whedon future seems to be solidly rooted in the film world. He is the co-writer for the Captain America film, and the director of The Avengers movie. He also has his written and produced film Cabin in the Woods slated to be released following a cleanup of MGM financial difficulties.
Round Winner: Abrams: Again this is a number game. Whedon has three announced future projects, where Abrams has 7.
Abrams has developed a solid following of celebrities loyal to him and his projects. He has made solid contacts with Jennifer Garner, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Bradley Cooper, and Lance Reddick.
Whedon has his own list of loyal minions to call upon in this battle. He has Summer Glau, Seth Green, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Eliza Dushku, Alan Tudyk, Ginna Torres, Amy Acker, Adam Baldwin, James Marsters, David Boreanaz, and Anthony Stewart Head.
Round Winner: Tie: Each holds solid allies on each side, and each is extremely adept as introducing new talent to the world.
So after a long and geeky battle, which involved a lot of slapping, bruised fingers, and used inhalers, we have the final score.
Abrams: 3 points
Whedon: 2 points
Tie: 2 points
Abrams has squeaked by Whedon in this battle, but not enough to steal the crown. Personally I believe that Whedon has lost his crown, no longer holding the clear dominance he once did, but Abrams is right beside him, and at the god-like (or Steven King-like) speed he seems to be working recently, it will be no time at all until he shoots past Whedon with the crown.