What would be the ultimate Whedonverse cast?
|FEATURES - TV|
Wrestle with gloriously impossible choices in SFX's poll...
SFX are running a poll, following on from their Ultimate Star Trek and Ultimate Superman features, where you can vote for your favourite characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse in each category, to decide some sort of ultimate cast of the Whedonverse. The winners will be revealed sometime this week, so get your votes in soon.
Of course, the ultimate Joss Whedon show (and the ultimate show ever) is Firefly, which also happens to have the perfect cast—nine (or ten, if you count the ship) great main characters who work wonderfully together, played to perfection by the respective actors, not to mention some memorable supporting parts, and the only way it could be improved would be if there were more of it. (Now all somebody has to do is to travel back in time to 2002 and imprint that knowledge into FOX executives’ minds.)
However, this is a difficult poll, because the Whedonverse contains many fantastic characters. Do you vote for the best character in each category, or the one who best represents that category, or do you choose the characters who would have the best ensemble cast dynamic? Or even the ones which would provide the best story possibilities for a hypothetical show? SFX have cleverly chosen the categories so you can’t just recreate the Firefly cast by simply going for Firefly in every category, thus making the choices more difficult. The other three shows also feature brilliant ensemble casts, so it’s not as if the cast of any of the shows needs fixing, but it’s just fun to speculate about combining them.
Anyway, how in the ‘Verse are you meant to choose just one character in the Best Whedon Kooky Chick category (Willow, Anya, Fred, River, Kaylee, Whiskey)? That’s insane troll logic!
And similarly, the Best Whedon Joker-In-The-Pack category asks you to choose between Xander, Oz, Lorne, Wash, and Doyle. How? What? How? Three excellent questions.
This poll brings the pain of impossible choices. Hello to the pain. The pain is not a friend. But if you do somehow manage to choose, then you have done the impossible, and that makes you mighty.
Some categories are clearer than others, though. Zoe is the Best Whedon Hard Man, despite being a woman; the action sequence in War Stories alone ensures that. The Best Whedon Hero is clearly Mal Reynolds (best character ever), and the Best Whedon Setting is clearly Serenity (c.f. Mal’s speech about love at the end of the movie of the same name). (This paragraph is simply personal opinion. Vote for whomever you want to. Likewise, the picture at the top of the article is for illustration only.)
The poll could do with a Best Whedon Villain category, although, as ever, it’s not quite that simple. The moral dilemmas, compromises, and character arcs that almost every significant Whedon character, hero or villain, goes through are part of what makes the Whedonverse so narratively complex and compelling. Similarly, there’s overlap between categories, and many characters could qualify for more than one category. Still, this means that another poll could use different categories with different match-ups of characters, which would be interesting.
The poll leaves out some great characters (presumably they couldn’t find a category to fit Dollhouse’s Victor into, although maybe they just forgot about the character of Victor as an Active because Enver Gjokaj played all of his imprinted personalities so brilliantly). Also, for instance, Darla, Drusilla, Holtz, Bennett Halverson, and Adelai Niska should all arguably be in there somewhere. Character-wise, the Whedonverse has an embarrassment of riches.
The choices are just drawn from Joss Whedon’s TV shows, which admittedly are his best work, and are the best at developing characters (not to mention making up the vast majority of screentime and story in the Whedonverse), but there are also some great characters in his other work. Including these would have been interesting, but would have made the poll even harder.
Even excluding shared universes (such as Speed, Toy Story, X-Men, etc.), including Doctor's Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog, Serenity, and Fray gives you Billy Buddy/Doctor Horrible, Captain Hammer, Penny, The Operative, Erin Fray, Melaka Fray, Icarus, Loo, and Urkonn (pre-irksome character development, that is—the only character that Joss Whedon has ever ruined, in my opinion, though it’s still arguably a case of “Don’t give people what they want; give them what they need”).
Sugarshock also probably has some contenders, but I can’t remember specifically because it’s been a while since I read it. And if Titan AE (which feels very Whedonesque, and in fact seems like a prototype for Firefly) counts, then you can include Gune as well. If you’re not a hardcore Whedonite, then all of these names must seem really random, but they are in fact truly great characters. With wonderfully inventive and quirky names to match.
Now, it’s time to try and choose your favourite in each category. There’s a big, scary un-fun.
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