My absolute favorite writer of all time is Joss Whedon. So much so, that most tv shows just can't live up. (Though I will be the first to admit that Castle comes super close!)
I'm unashamed to admit that, on occasion, I am still known to bust out my Buffy DVDs and sit down for nostalgia's sake. This show touched on so many themes that are still relevant to people's lives and I miss the smart, campy way he can engage his audience.
My favorite, in many ways, is actually his show Firefly -- which by all intents and purposes should have lived a long and healthy life on FOX; had they not placed it in a ridiculous time slot (9pm on a Friday night-- this was in 2002, before DVR and online streaming were so accessible) and screwed with the original vision of the writer (i.e. run the shows out of the original plot sequence from the get-go). This show has held onto tremendous cult status -- even now. Most recently is the Browncoat's (rabid fans of the show-- yes, I'm one of them) attempt to get Nathan Fillion money to buy the rights based on a flippant remark on Twitter.
That said, I've pondered away many hours about Joss and what it is that makes his writing so relevant. Most recently, I've asked that question in regards to my own writing. What can I do to incorporate the elements of his writing that I most gravitate to? Though I will never have his Whedony witticism, I'd like to say that I can at least give a tip of the hat to the man who inspires me most.
Hell, I even have this t-shirt from back in the day.
And if my book ever were to become successful-- to the point where I were going to shows like ComicCon, I'll be the geek in the corner wearing this bad boy. Yup, that's me.
But what is is about him? His writing in specific? I think it's because he gets it. The fact that as humans, there is no true line between good and evil. Right and wrong. It's all based in the perceptions and those perceptions are skewed based on your life experiences or what you've been shown. What you've been taught. What's been omitted.
In Firefly, he turns the notion of being a prostitute on it's head. In the future -- in his world, there is a status known as a Companion, which is highly esteemed. The main characters are basically thieves, yet we love them and root for them over the big bad Alliance.
In Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog, he takes a villain and makes him lovable. "Besides, there are kids in that park. Meh."
THIS IS WHAT I ASPIRE TO BE.
To be the type of writer who can see the varying shades of gray and help the reader to remember that sometimes our perceptions are wrong. Sometimes they are intentionally misled. Sometime they are dead on.