Joss Whedon

A third-generation television writer, it came as little surprise when scripter Joss Whedon followed in his relatives' footsteps, although his astonishing success as series creator, producer, screenwriter and feature film director surely impressed even his formidable family. Receiving his start as a writer on the sitcom "Roseanne" (ABC, 1988-1997) and serving as a script doctor on several noted studio films, Whedon later created the cult hit "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (The WB, 1997-2001; UPN, 2001-03), developed from a campy horror comedy of the same name he had also written years earlier. With "Buffy," Whedon used the horror genre, combined with deft comedic touches, to explore the theme that life as an American teen could be pure hell. An instant cult favorite, it spurred Whedon on to create the "Buffy" spin-off, "Angel" (The WB, 1999-2004). While his critically acclaimed sci-fi opus "Firefly" (Fox, 2002-03) and its feature film sequel "Serenity" (2005) were poorly promoted by the studios, Whedon had plenty of other ideas to explore. Following another TV disappointment with the short-lived sci-fi adventure "Dollhouse" (Fox, 2009-2010), Whedon returned to film with a bang as a co-writer of the mind-bending horror movie, "Cabin in the Woods" (2012) and as the writer-director of the superhero blockbuster, "The Avengers" (2012) and its sequel "Avengers: Age of Ultron" (2015). In between, his small-scale reimagining of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" (2012) was an imaginative busman's holiday filmed at his own home on digital video. Brilliantly combining genres like science fiction, fantasy, horror and Westerns, Whedon achieved his own level of cult status, even as he grew in stature as one of Hollywood's most innovative purveyors of popular entertainment.