I have never watched Buffy

Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t at some indefinite time in the future. The only reason for not having watched it thus far is that it came out at the same time I was edging into my thirties and felt the need to distance myself from my own teen angst. The reason I bring this up is to establish that I’m no Joss Whedon hater, I loved Firefly, but there has yet to be a compelling reason to launch into binge watching another show. (Have you seen my To-Be-Watched list on My Anime List? NO? It’s secret!)

Anyway, scrolling through Twitter I came across a thread describing the early Wonder Woman script that Whedon wrote. Another disclaimer, I have not see the new Wonder Woman movie yet either (next week) but I have heard good things from friends. Yet these excerpts that were posted describe a Wonder Woman that could have been vastly different from what was eventually made.

The whole thread is worth a read. I had no idea–or, more likely, don’t remember– that there had been a huge backlash against Whedon a while back. Perhaps I brushed against this while reading something on Jezebel, or skimming through my news feeds, but apparently this was something I’d missed.

The whole thread is worth a read. Seriously, I’ll be right here when you get back.

But the reason I’m posting this isn’t to rehash an argument that I was never part of, but to highlight a paragraph from a post that was linked in the above thread. The post is from laureljupiter.tumblr.com and is two years old, yet I absolutely had to highlight the following paragraph. The context is discussing Wash from Firefly in relation to the rest of the Whedonverse:

A big outlier here is Wash, from Firefly and Serenity, who almost fit the pattern, but not quite, and that “not quite” was enough of a problem that, like the similar character Oz, he had to be written out of the story.  Alan Tudyk had the same general physical resemblance to Joss and the same dress sense as Andrew, Topher, and Billy Horrible.  His dinosaur theater sessions looked and sounded like the action figure games the Trio played, and the blurb for Joss’s media company, Mutant Enemy.   But unlike all the other nerdy blond men of the Whedonverse, Wash was in a equal and loving relationship with the strong soldier woman he adored.  Other characters in the series were preoccupied with the traditional gender role imbalance in Wash and Zoe’s marriage and questioned whether Wash felt emasculated by his wife being stronger than he was, but both Wash and Zoe were completely above and untouched by it.  She was a warrior woman and she was married to a dorky guy who told stories and who wasn’t the most physically powerful man on her crew.  She could have broken him in half with her pinky and they loved and respected each other and had a happy, healthy marriage. This was, somehow, too much for Joss to handle, and so Wash had to die.

Not only is this a great observation, but it’s gets at the reason why “War Stories” will always be my favorite Firefly episode.

 

Channel 1354

Earlier in the semester we watched an episode of “Blackstone,” an original Canadian series airing on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). The show held the same tension and drama as most American network series, yet with one glaring difference: the setting was a Canadian reserve, what we call a reservation here in the states. We found it refreshing to be exposed to this narrative and many of us continued to watch the series as it is streaming online. Yet, I found two things troubling: 1) it was difficult for me to watch the show critically out of fear of diminishing its representative importance, and 2) that we found it refreshing at all because the stories of Native Americans are non-existent here at home.

In February, the APTN announced that it was gearing up to launch a similar channel in the United States. An article on the web site Jezebel quotes CEO Jean La Rose saying “We think the time is right for Native Americans to have their own channel.” The idea of Native Americans creating, acting in, and producing their own stories is long overdue. Too often the stories of Native Americans are told by white historians, anthropologists, politicians—when those stories are told at all.

The introduction of a channel devoted the Native American stories has one large obstacle—the reality that it will be relegated to the upper reaches of the cable or satellite channel guide and be relatively undiscoverable to the average viewer. That Native Americans will be interested in a channel that streams their own stories does not appear to be in dispute, but the real challenge will be branching out to a more general audience, giving the American public a chance to have contemporary indigenous people and stories begin to overwrite the “Hollywood Indian” that is so much a part of American culture. I have has the same concerns about other networks devoted to one demographic—allowing people to create an echo chamber of their own thoughts or identity, but not necessarily reaching out to a broader audience.

I hope that the creation of this new channel not only creates huge opportunities for Native Americans to tell their own stories in their own way, but what I really hope is that the providers assign the channel a “remote friendly” number, so that the average viewer, switching between the Kardashians and ESPN will stumble upon something entertaining, engaging and unlike anything they have every seen.