Whedon Talks 'Buffy' on DVD
by Kate O'Hate
During an online chat in March 2000, "Buffy the
Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon was asked about the possibility of his series
being released on DVD.
Whedon replied, "I have heard no plans of releasing anything on DVD. I do, however,
hope that, in the future, maybe after the running of the show, the entire series will be
released on DVD. Then I can do a biting, witty and possibly drunken commentary over
the whole thing."
In an interview on Dec. 18, Whedon says, "It was none of the above, I'm sorry to say."
He's referring to the commentary he does on the two-hour pilot of "Buffy," part of the
DVD release of the series' first season, due out Jan. 15 from Fox Home Entertainment.
The three-disc set includes the first 12 episodes, the aforementioned commentary,
interviews with Whedon and star David Boreanaz (Angel), the original pilot script and
Whedon didn't find the commentary easy. "Those things
make me very nervous. That was my first one, ever. There
were people around, and I'm like, 'Oooh, I don't know what
"That's the only one I did a commentary on that I didn't
direct, although I did direct parts of it. It's easier when you
directed it, then you have more say about every frame."
But don't you have say over every frame anyway? "I do."
Whedon doesn't, though, do commentary for "Prophecy
Girl," the first-season finale, in which Buffy (Sarah Michelle
Gellar) dies for the first time (albeit way more briefly than
the second time). "Either I didn't have the time," says Whedon, "or they didn't ask, or I
was so frightened by my experience of doing the first two hours, I said, 'I can't. Never
again. I have nothing to say. I must run.'"
He has, though, recorded some commentaries for upcoming DVD releases. "I know I
did 'Hush' and 'Restless,' and I expect I would probably do the musical, but it's not my
favorite thing to do."
"Sometimes it is enlightening. I wanted very much to do (the fourth-season finale)
'Restless,' because it is a dream episode, and everything has a very literal
interpretation I wanted to talk about. But generally speaking, there's a lot of vamping."
But there is a part of him that enjoys the process. "I shoot it the way I see it, and I can
definitely articulate what I was trying to accomplish, and that can be useful for people. I
love teaching. I love going through the process."
"DVD commentary sometimes is intimidating,
but I actually love breaking things down. Martin
Scorsese, I think, is the greatest at creating a
completely visceral, primal, inarticulate image,
and then articulating exactly how and why he did
it. To me, it's very interesting to do something
from your gut and explain what it turned out to
be, how you accomplished it. It's not about
lenses and cameras."
One thing that's evident from Whedon's
commentary how steep his learning curve was,
coming to series television from a background
writing for such films as "Toy Story" and
"Speed" (and the movie version of "Buffy"). "Yes," he says, "I've figured it out. I've
become the hack that I always dreamt of being."
While "Angel," the "Buffy" spin-off, continues to be aired in widescreen on The WB,
Whedon doesn't envision the same for "Buffy" on UPN.
"I like the idea that 'Buffy' stays square. It started that way, and most TVs are still
square. Whereas 'Angel,' I think of as a dark, melodramatic film, I think of 'Buffy' as a
comforting TV show, even though it's the darkest, bleakest world, and I want to keep it
Things have come along way since the first season. Now, mired in season six, Buffy is
battling her feelings about her reluctant return from the blissful hereafter, and her
love/hate relationship with vampire Spike (James Marsters); while pal Willow (Alyson
Hannigan) suffers heartbreak and addiction to magic.
"It's just going to get worse," says Whedon. "We have a lot of humor in store, and a lot
of goofy, crazy stuff, but are we bringing on the pain? We're bringing on the pain. We
love pain. But yes, there's happiness. There's hope. There's always hope."
Before the light at the end of the tunnel, Buffy's life is going to get a lot
more complicated. Returning in the new year is Marc Blucas, as Riley,
Buffy's demon-hunting, soldier ex-boyfriend, last seen heading off on a
"We have him doing an episode for us after Christmas," says Whedon.
"We're really excited."
This should answer the question of what happened to Riley in the jungle, whether a
demon or something squished him. "Not squished," says Whedon. "Something rather
more dramatic happened to him."
Season One of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" will be released on a three-disc set on
Jan. 15, 2002.