Tip Sheet: Joss Whedon | EW.com

TV

Tip Sheet: Joss Whedon

The ''Buffy the Vampire Slayer'' creator recommends series to inspire fledgling writers

MASTERPIECE THEATRE
”That was the first great drama show of my life. Those were the stories I got the most wrapped up in. I know that makes me dorky. But stuff like ‘Love for Lydia’ and ‘The Duchess of Duke Street’ — I just think those were beautifully crafted, beautifully acted.”

HILL STREET BLUES
”Just because of the way they dealt with character, the way characters evolved and progressed. Joe Spano’s character becoming more and more hateful and violent while James B. Sikking’s character got more humanitarian was riveting stuff. When Spano threatened a gang member it was like the most exciting time of my year. That was the first soap I’d seen in this country that was a continuing show. All of my favorite shows are continuing shows. I just think you get more hooked in them.”

WISEGUY
”If I had to pick one [episode], probably the introduction of Mel Profitt, the Kevin Spacey character, just because it was a new thing to so radically change a show — to take out the Ray Sharkey character — and still keep it really fresh. That’s been a huge influence on me. Their whole structure of introducing a main arc and villain for half a season or whatever is how I’ve built Buffy. They tried to do something completely different that had the same kind of excitement.”

TWIN PEAKS
”I would go to people’s houses — I’d be on trips and things — and say, ‘For one hour you will not speak to me and you will give me your TV.’ I didn’t believe you could do the things David Lynch was doing on TV, visually or narratively, but I also think Twin Peaks [taught] a great lesson. The show had enormous heart, enormous passion, and they sort of missed that toward the end… they just tried to make the show quirky. It’s so clear in the pilot that apart from a strange perspective, it was a show that deeply cared about its characters, however bizarre they were.”

THE WEST WING
”If you want good, strong, romantic-comedy dialogue and pacing and whatnot, I don’t think there’s anything better out there.”