Joss Whedon (finally) wins an Emmy!

And the award for the most ridiculously named category I’ve ever heard of goes to: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog!

Whedon Emmy Courtesy of @motancharoenThe real name of the award is “Best Short-format Live-Action Special Class.”

See? Ridiculous. And if I didn’t already know what Dr. Horrible was, I’d have no idea what in creation it was describing, either. For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Horrible was Joss Whedon’s answer to the writers’ strike last year, where he attempted to prove that the internet was an adequate and profitable medium for television.

Absurdly opaque category or not, winning an Emmy proves that Dr. Horrible succeeded in its mission. It’s about time that something from the Whedonverse got the mainstream praise that academics and cult fans alike have been singing for years. To my knowledge, this is the first time that a Joss Whedon TV show (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog) has ever won an Emmy, despite a handful of nominations.

For all you fellow Whedonites out there, take a moment to bask in the glory.

I’ll wait.

Okay, that should be long enough.

I think it’s fantastic, personally, that such a talented creator has finally been appreciated by the mainstream media. Sure, his shows have garnered moderate success and syndication as well as droves of dedicated fans, but it’s nice—even from a fan’s perspective—to be appreciated by the establishment.

Whedon’s been having a pretty good year. His newest show Dollhouse was renewed for a second season despite being so poorly rated that it now possesses the title of” “lowest rated show to ever be renewed for a second season.” Oh well. It was still renewed. And it’s a great story. I look forward to seeing how the second season plays out because once there’s more than a single season, I plan on working a couple of scholarly essays based around the series’ mythology.

Scholars typically love Joss Whedon; there is a major academic conference and accompanying refereed journal devoted to his work (which I really hope my fiancée and I get to attend and present at in 2010). As most of you probably know, I teach Joss Whedon shows in my developmental writing classes. I think there is a trove of worth in any given one of his series. While production values can be iffy-at-best sometimes, Joss’ writing and producing is consistently high quality (we’ll ignore the first season of Buffy and its repeated use of the term “technopagan,” if you don’t mind), and yet he has never won a major award for his work.

He is generally pushed aside and overlooked as just another hack writer because he works in SFF. If he were to push out a medical drama or police procedural that had half the heart, wit, and ensemble chemistry as his worst show, the Emmys would weigh down the man’s mantle. But he writes on the fringe of television, and as such, has until only now been appreciated for the creator he is. As much as I like to watch shows like Criminal Minds and C.S.I., there’s only so much formulaic, law-enforcement I can handle in an evening.

Dr. HorribleI know this post sounds fanboyish, and I guess that in a way it is. I’m very excited about this news. Even though I’m a fairly newly converted Whedonite, I have a load of respect for the man and what he is personally doing to try and move television out of the big production houses and into the creator’s realm. I’m happy to see him appreciated for his experimentation.

Fanboyishness aside, there’s not a lot of substance to his shows that is finally getting the attention it deserves outside of scholarly circles. Lowly rated as it was, Dollhouse deals with issues like human trafficking, identity crises, and the exponential and unethical advancement of technology. Buffy dealt with adolescent drug use, sex, faith and religion, and—again—identity crises. (A pattern in the Whedonverse? Permaybehaps.) Angel even dealt with making David Boreanaz a tolerable actor. All worthwhile endeavors, if you ask me.

If you’ve never tried out Joss Whedon before, there’s never really been a better time. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog runs about 45 minutes for the entire thing, and since it was produced to be an online enterprise, it’s still online to watch…for free! Can’t beat that. (As evidenced by it’s winning the Emmy and the other nominees not. Ba dum ching. I’m hilarious.) If that doesn’t sell you, how can you resist Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion, and Neil Patrick Harris? Quick answer: you can’t.

By B.J. Keeton

B.J. KEETON is a writer, teacher, and runner. When he isn't trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he is either writing science fiction, watching an obscene amount of genre television, or looking for new ways to integrate fitness into his geektastic lifestyle. He is also the author of BIRTHRIGHT and co-author of NIMBUS. Both books are available for Amazon Kindle.


  1. I'm glad Joss Whedon got an Emmy. He's a talented guy and does stuff work.

    Dollhouse though looks and sounds terrible 🙂 He only wrote it because Faith -you know who I mean! 🙂 – needed a job.

    If anything they should bring back Firefly.

  2. Dollhouse is a wonderful meditation on death and rebirth, as if were possible to confer such an experience through technological means.

  3. Gordon, you really should give Dollhouse a shot. It's well worth it, and it's classic Whedon after the 5th episode. That's when he was finally able to break out of Fox's choke-hold and actually tell the story he wants to tell. If this one makes it past season 2, it has the potential to be his greatest series.

  4. Have you seen the short on Half Life? (or did I see that here?)I’ll see if I can find that link; I was autlalcy quite impressed with what was obviously a rather low budget Half Life movie.

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