9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2011
The book description calls Joss Whedon a "masterful conversationalist," and it's not wrong. This collection of interviews showcases his intelligence, insight, and wit. It may not be for those who aren't fans of Whedon (it's hard for me to understand these people, but apparently they're out there), but I think that those who aren't familiar with his works will find his observations about Hollywood interesting and illuminating. And of course, for us Whedon fans, it's wonderful to have so many of his interviews collected in one place.
The 18 interviews in the book span 9 years, 2000 to 2009, and are arranged chronologically. The last interview was published around the time that Dollhouse premiered. It's a bit disappointing that the book doesn't include his thoughts about that show's cancellation or his work on The Avengers, but I'm guessing that's just a reality of book production.
The interviews are from a wide range of sources -- he's probably the first filmmaker to give an interview to a crochet website -- which helps ensure that there's a variety of questions. Still, I suggest that readers dip in and out of the book rather than reading it straight through. Journalists inevitably ask a lot of the same questions about his background, and as interesting as the answers are, they can get a bit repetitive when read one after another.
One of the things I love most about Whedon as an interview subject is how candid and insightful he is. The combination means that he has a lot of illuminating observations about Hollywood and how it works, and he doesn't hesitate to express those observations. He talks freely about what it was like to write for Roseanne; his experiences as a successful script doctor (a job he's said left him feeling "bereft of life") and why he frequently hated the movies whose scripts he was brought in on, such as Alien: Resurrection and Waterworld; what it's like to work with the studios and networks as a writer and as a producer; what he thought of the writers' strike; and more. As candid as he is, he's also fair, even when it means acknowledging he messed up.
And of course, he talks at length about his own works: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Serenity, Dollhouse, and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. (The interviews end, alas, before he signed on to The Avengers.) For those of us who love these shows, it's fascinating to listen to their creator discuss them -- both the day-to-day realities of making them and the ideas and messages they express. He's such a smart guy, and he has a lot to say about the things he loves.
Plus, the man is just funny -- self-deprecating, quick, and witty. He sets the standard for DVD commentary, and he's just as entertaining in these interviews. They're a genuine pleasure to read.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2012
If you're a writer, you will love this book. In particular I was fascinated by his devotion to structure. He is a structure freak, and has everything in place before he writes a single word. This is why he finds the writing process to be "better than s*x" - he's already done the hard work! A gem of a publication.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2014
I am glad the authors put together this compilation of interviews, but it felt like the majority of the questions focused on Buffy and Angel, and there was a lot of repeat information. Overall, however, it's a good way of learning more about Joss Whedon without having to troll the internet for every single interview out there.