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Learn the Title Of BUFFY Vet Jane Espenson

"Utopia."

I am – Hercules!!

Do you wonder who Jane Espenson is, and why this news is of import to you? Welcome! You must be new here!

Jane was the best writer not named Joss Whedon on the staff of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” the finest television series ever forged.

(A brief warning to our fabulous talkbackers: Though you’d be wrong to do so, you are permitted to dispute any part of this - but I implore you to do so politely and keep your arguments cogent. I have been drinking, I have the ability to ban talkbackers, and no one knows at this point when readers will be able to register for new AICN talkback accounts. Now where was I? Ah yes:)

Hilarious “Buffy” teleplays authored or co-authored by Jane include:
* BAND CANDY (Giles and Joyce revert to unruly teens),
* EARSHOT (Buffy develops telepathy),
* HARSH LIGHT OF DAY (Anya gets seriously serious about Xander),
* PANGS (Xander gets the funny syphilis),
* A NEW MAN (Giles becomes a demon),
* SUPERSTAR (Jonathan turns into James Bond),
* THE REPLACEMENT (Xander gets Xeroxed),
* TRIANGLE (Anya’s troll-god ex is summoned),
* CHECKPOINT (the Watchers Council invades Sunnydale),
* I WAS MADE TO LOVE YOU (the slayer faces the Aprilbot),
* INTERVENTION (Spike gets his Buffybot),
* AFTER LIFE (we learn Buffy was yanked from Heaven),
* FLOODED (Buffy stresses over plumbing),
* LIFE SERIAL (the slayer defeats a persistent mummy hand),
* SAME TIME, SAME PLACE (Dawn becomes a poseable action figure),
* CONVERSATIONS WITH DEAD PEOPLE (The First is mean!),
* FIRST DATE (Giles terrifies the Chinese potential with homemade flashcards), and
* END OF DAYS (Angel clocks Caleb).

Jane, who hails from Iowa, has also written episodes of “Firefly,” “Angel,” “The O.C.,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Nowhere Man” and “Deep Space Nine.” Learn more of this world-class writer via the interview we conducted with her here!

Here’s what little Fox will let Jane tell us of “Utopia” beyond the title:

It’s an hourlong drama about a 16-year-old boy named Jamie who lives in a small, isolated and contented Midwestern town called Utopia. But in Utopia, Something is Not Right. And Something needs to be done about that. The show lies tonally between Buffy and The O.C., with a trace of Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale.

“Utopia’s” creator is appearing at a “Buffy” event in London on Saturday. Perhaps we’ll learn more of the project this weekend.

I am – Hercules!!





Want to throw $25 toward the Kerry/Edwards campaign and hear Joss Whedon’s 40-minute Oct. 25 conference call? Learn how to do this by emailing:

josscall@highstakes2004.com.

Looking for bumper stickers, plush toys and girls’ underwear covered with cute cartoon double-amputees? Visit The Herc Store!

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 28, 2004, 1:44 a.m. CST

    Yay, Jane!

    by RogueScribner

    I look forward to anything she does. She brings in da funny, brings in da funk. :) L8r

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 1:47 a.m. CST

    I have to admit...

    by Croyd

    ...if I could, I'd have this set to TiVo already!

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 2:20 a.m. CST

    Sounds neat but...

    by SG7

    ...this is Fox. I'll give it four episodes. Then it'll be replaced with "Syphalis Isalnd" or a hip show about teens who drive cool cars and have lots of sex while feeding the homelss.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 2:21 a.m. CST

    Arrrrrgh I don't get it!!!!

    by THE WALLACE

    When I look at what eps she has written they don't stand out at all... and when I watch her commentary on the ones she DOES do she seems to give most credit to Joss "oh that line there... the funny one... yeah Joss wrote that..." or "yeah I had written it a different way but Joss didn't think it worked". This woman that is glorified here is responsible for "double meat palace"... and when Jonathon wanted to kill people at the highschool in "ear shot", and they were on a mad search for a KILLER, she had Xander stop to eat! "OH! JELLO!" WHat the FUCK?!? I just don't get it... some people I understand getting praise, but everytime I read about Jane Espenson I just don't get it. (Ignore my spelling and Gramar.. I am going to go watch LOST... whish with any luck Espenson will never touch). You want great writers? Whedon, Abrams (aside from superman.... though it was probably well written), schwartz...

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 2:57 a.m. CST

    Dear God

    by ryLRci

    I love Jane Espenson. My favorite drama of all time, ALL TIME, is Buffy. I've seen every episode at least three times and I still watch repeats on FX when they come on. She has written for quite a few of my favorite shows and she is a comedic GOD. (as well as a dramatic one). I bet this show will live up to it's name. Having said that...Herc- there are new shows developed ALL THE TIME. We don't know if this has been cast, location scouted, shot or even edited let alone knowing if FOX will even pick it up or when. There are other shows worthy of talkbacks here that don't need to include information we already know (or can easily get off imdb). I appreciate your telling us the title, but couldn't it have waited until there was enough info to fill a couple paragraphs? Just sayin...

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 5:26 a.m. CST

    Do you wonder who Jane Espenson is

    by Bart of Darkness

    Nope. Don't care either. "Buffy the finest television series ever forged?" Doesn't say a lot for (American) TV does it? (I'd list something like "Edge of Darkness", "The Singing Detective", "GBH" or "Our Friends in the North"). Doesn't say much for Herc's viewing habits either.

  • August 27th, 2004. Under the red light of a full moon/lunar eclipse, on the anniversary of their defeat in 1986, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series (on the second pitch, no less!) and ended the dreaded Curse of the Bambino. It was an epic 86 years in the making. They swept the ALDS, they "spotted" New York 3 games, then had a 4 game sweep, and then the 4 game domination of the Cardinals.. most exciting thing I've ever seen, and I hate baseball. But I love me my Boston Red Sox!!!

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 8:49 a.m. CST

    "The finest television series ever forged"???

    by SpyGuy

    Dude, I love BUFFY as much as the next guy and I'm currently working my way through the Season 6 DVD set, but c'mon, it's not "the finest television series ever forged." That honored distinction falls to either THE PRISONER or TWIN PEAKS. You know it, I know it, and so does everyone else. I mean, DOCTOR WHO is MY all-time fav, but I know there's no way it can top Patrick McGoohan's Number Six or Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper. BUFFY's a Top 20 show at best...

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 8:57 a.m. CST

    No, Herc is right...

    by zer0cool2k2

    Buffy IS the finest TV series ever forged. It took subjects that are glossed over in sitcoms, or made sugary in after school specials, and dealt with them in an adult, true manner. It got away with tons of stuff by wrapping it all in a "vampire show" veneer. It had one of the greatest casts ever. It never exploited it's storylines. (No "See two girls kiss, this week on Buffy" teasers ever ran). It spawned a spinoff that at times was every bit it's sequel, and sometimes better. And, it did all this in an age of reality tv crap, and poor non-cable tv fare in general.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 8:59 a.m. CST

    ignore the retarded talkbacker

    by zer0cool2k2

    I meant to say "...every bit it's equal..." not sequel.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 9:03 a.m. CST

    I liked this show idea better when it was called....

    by Fart_Master_Flex

    Eerie, Indiana!!!! I love Jane and all...but puh-lease!! Aren't there enough teens on TV?!?!

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Her episodes of Gilmore Girls were horrible

    by janitorz

    They just were.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 9:46 a.m. CST

    She also wrote . . .

    by ProzacMorris

    Shindig, the episode of Firefly where Mal challenged, unknowingly, Atherton Wing to a sword fight in the name of Inaura's honor. Classic episode, you all should see it.

  • J. August Richards was on CSI:Miami this week and not a peep about it from Herc. You're slipping, man. But seriously, Jane Espenson did write some good Buffy episodes (Earshot easily the best she did). However, did anyone listen to the audio commentary of Superstar? She keeps going on about it being an alternate reality. Me, I just thought the town was under a spell. At least that's how I understood the episode. I mean, she wrote it but to me didn't seem to know what she was talking about.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Isn't Marti Noxon working on an almost identical sounding show f

    by somethingreal81

    It's called Point Pleasant and is about a small town that's shaken up when a mysterious girl washes ashore. How many shows like that could Fox possibly want?

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Actually, this show was the best when it was called Picket Fence

    by somethingreal81

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 10:07 a.m. CST

    RED SOX WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by The Colonel

    Boston is a baseball Hellmouth NO MORE!

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 11:12 a.m. CST

    what happened to...?

    by koosbane

    the wonderful liberal values of tolerance and listening to different points of views? Drunk and I'll ban you if you speak ill of Jane Espenson indeed!

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 11:18 a.m. CST

    i just get sick to my stomach

    by liljuniorbrown

    Everytime i see the word Angel typed on this site, why did the wb fuck us so bad? why? So they could have a time slot for Jack and Bobby? or The Moutain? Not to mention the fact that they practicaly gave Buffy away after it built the network...WB i hope you go under in a month.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Xena was better!

    by Sinestro

    Xena was a warrior princess FORGED in the heat of battle. That's all I'm going to say.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Well I agree and disagree with you Herc

    by Xandr37

    I agree that Buffy is the best written show ever to be on television, but saying that Jane is the best, second only to Joss, I don't know about that. She is extremely talented and it's hard to choose a second best from that team, but I would have to say the best writer on that series was Joss(obviously), then Marti(The Prom to name one), follwed by Jane, follwed by David Greenwalt who wrote School Hard(if not tied with Jane). As for the haters, if you have watched all of the episodes and disagree with Herc than fine...you're wrong lol, but fine. However, too many times I argue with people that have either seen an episode here and there or never seen a single episode because they would never watch a show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And even watching the dvds doesn't give it justice, because the cliff hangers that kept you waiting until the next week or until sweeps or sometimes a whole summer until the next season aren't there with dvds, especially if you know whether a character actually lives or not already. The most gut wrenching episode ever was Becoming(part 2) when it was originally aired. You watch the relationship between Angel and Buffy build over season one and part of two, and then you see what she goes through in season two only to be reunited with her love at the end. And then in Joss fashion(and why the show rules all others), he takes a happy ending and you could actually feel that sword going through Angel. And then Buffy leaves town and you have to walk around with your jaw on the ground all summer until season 3 came around. So yes, Buffy is the best written show ever and I stand by season 2 as the best season of t.v. ever.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 12:29 p.m. CST

    About Earshot and the "alternate reality"

    by Xandr37

    It depends on your point of view I guess but the town was under a spell that gave it an alternate reality. I think that is what she meant. Now, if she had said they were in an alternate "dimension", than that would be something else entirely.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Best Show ever scripted??

    by BadAshe

    I think that Seinfeld and The Simpsons might have something to say about that. Don't get me wrong, Buffy was an amazing show with a fantastic cast, but I am not Tivo-ing the re-runs of the show. Bart: "What'd you do? Screw up like the Beatles and say you were bigger than Jesus?" Homer: "All the time. It was the title of our second album!" Brilliant.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 2:13 p.m. CST

    Alternate reality

    by zer0cool2k2

    The spell altered reality everywhere, not just Sunnydale. Jonathan was a celebrity the world over. Breaking the spell restored the true Buffyverse reality. ................ I must agree with Xandr37 that season 2 of Buffy is probably the peak of television as we know it. I've gotta' give props to other eps like "The Zeppo" or "Fool for Love" too though.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Season 2 was the best, but...

    by Xandr37

    Don't get me wrong, there are dozens of episodes that I watch over and over again that are not in season two, but I meant as a whole season, #2 was the best. "Fool for love" definately, "Zeppo" not so much, but that's just my opinion and my hatred for Xander talking lol. And no my user ID doesn't come from him, my real name is Alexander. And just to dispell any thoughts that I'm one of those fans that would buy a box of dog crap if it had Whedon's name on it. Buffy rocked, some seasons more than others. Angel, also rocked, although there was a time in the middle I almost gave up hope on that show and then the final season redeemed itself. Firefly? Not a fan of that at all. It had a couple of funny moments, but sorry, just didn't do it for me. Fray, a great comic and a beautiful tie in with the final season of Buffy. Tales of the Vampire comic? The first trade that came out was great, however the most recent monthly title was a complete waste of my time, except for one funny Dracula/Xander story. Whedon's current run on the Astonishing X-men? It's a lot of fun and has the Joss humor that I miss from Buffy.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Mutant Enemy

    by LarryThePlayer

    Saw on thefutoncritic.com that Mutant Enemy is closing up shop. Guess there won't be any Buffy-universe shows in the near future, or maybe any Whedon television for a while now. I can only agree with Frank Costanza: "Serenity Now!"

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 5:32 p.m. CST

    The whole idea of a "best television show ever" is entirely a ma

    by Trader Groucho 2

    However, here are a few of note, in no particular order: Farscape, X-Files (which should have been wrapped with the Fight the Future film), Star Trek TNG (the middle seasons), Buffy (but burn most of season six), Twin Peaks (first season only), Wild Wild West, Ally McBeal (which faltered season four, but actually had some interesting stuff going on season five), Six Feet Under (best effin' pilot ever), Deadwood (best effin' pilot ever if it weren't for SFU). Now for the shows that never got a fair shot: The Famous Teddy Z (Alex Rocco rocked as Al Floss), Action (which belonged on HBO), and It's Like You Know (Seinfeld in LA, but much funnier).

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 6:24 p.m. CST

    Espenson was great, but...

    by WillowFan2001

    not the best writer ever. My top five: Whedon, Goddard, Espenson, Noxon, Petrie.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 6:58 p.m. CST

    So what's the secret?

    by Christopher3

    Is there a monster in the jungle? Is it really 2004 and not 1894? Is the bad guy the hero's father? What?

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 8:23 p.m. CST

    Wait...

    by kintar0

    whatever happened to the buffy movie?

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 8:29 p.m. CST

    No contest. The finest series ever forged was SEINFELD

    by Triumph poops!

    Hey, if you want to love a show, that's fine -- but be realistic. Comparing BUFFY against SEINFELD and taking into account the talent of the cast vs. the talent of the cast, memorable episodes vs. memorable episodes, memorable situations and repeatable lines vs. memorable situations and repeatable lines, and most certainly critical acclaim AND Emmy nominations/wins and other awards AND ratings for how the show ACTUALLY did as it was broadcast AND even fan appreciation, you can't even BEGIN to compare the two. Even now in the end, when the first seasons of SEINFELD are released on DVD this month, they will smoke the sales of ALL Buffy DVD sets COMBINED. I mean, give me a break. When BUFFY ended how many people cared? Face it, it went out with a wimper and its ratings weren't even good for a long awaited finale, only remaining diehards tuned in. When SEINFELD ended how many people tuned in? Oh, that's right, ONLY ONE OF THE LARGEST AUDIENCES IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION BROADCASTING. Case closed. Runners up worthy of serious consideration as the "Greatest TV shows ever" would likewise have to be M.A.S.H., Rod Serling's TWILIGHT ZONE, original STAR TREK, the original and core LAW & ORDER for sustaining long term quality and spinning off equaly quality shows...along the same line, the original C.S.I. would now be a possibility given it's sustained quality AND it's fan base AND the critical awards it's won, not to mention the way its reshaping TV crime dramas for years to come. And for those with a TRUE sense of television history, obviously shows like I LOVE LUCY, the DICK VAN DYKE SHOW and even GUNSMOKE which ran 20 YEARS -- that's right, count 'em, TWENTY -- rank right up there as contenders over Buffy.

  • Oct. 28, 2004, 11:03 p.m. CST

    flash vs. superman

    by smutpeddlar

    i thought this was a site for things that are cool...a race between superman and the flash is not cool news? wtf,i mean, i'm pissed at angel being cancelled too, but come on...maps leading to the fortress of solitude...collecting ancient(and alien) artifacts to gain a wealth of power and knowledge..all happening on smallville, pretty cool in my book, i know this is'nt my site, but for the last few years i thought it was FOR me..i am not so sure anymore.

  • Oct. 29, 2004, 2:31 p.m. CST

    let's be real about this: the finest, most resplendent tv series

    by TV CASUALTY

    The 2004 World Series. It (and the preceding playoffs) had everything: thrills, depression, triumph of the human spirit, wounded heros, exuberant excitement, action, violence (the new "A-Rod chop!"), and even Drew Barrymore. The greatest thing I have ever, and will ever, see on television.

  • Oct. 29, 2004, 4:51 p.m. CST

    Best TV show of all time?

    by kintar0

    Farscape. Easily. Buffy? Fft.

  • Oct. 29, 2004, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Enjoy Buffy and Angel all you want

    by kintar0

    but don't be a mo-mo. Prisoner was WAY better than Angel or Buffy. Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean you HAVE to hate it. I'll bet "wolf at the door" didn't like the Matrix films, either, because they were "dumb." But who's the dumb one?

  • Oct. 30, 2004, 3:16 a.m. CST

    No argument from me on Espenson's abilities, Herc.

    by AnnoyYou

    She's the only one of all the ME writers who truly loved Spike the character. I hope her series gets picked up because she deserves the approbation and the money. And this weekend she's appearing at a special Halloween con in London headlined by David Boreanaz and James Marsters.

  • Oct. 30, 2004, 5:22 p.m. CST

    All BBC fans can suck it

    by liljuniorbrown

    Sorry but don't come to this site and type crap like "the singing detective is way better than Buffy" thats got to be the dumbest statement i've ever heard in my life,so i've got a tip for you...log off this site ,sit in front of your tv with your stack of Dr Who,Singing detective,and Absolutely Fabulos tapes cause i'm sure you recorded them all and beat off and scream i hate America until some body cares or you dehydrate and pass out,but as for this site leave the driving to us.