Oh sure, he reigns supreme now, standing high above us all on Nerd mountain following the success of The Avengers (meh), but like all of us, Joss Whedon has regrets.
For instance, there is that time he wore that salmon and grey colored henley jersey shirt for 14 consecutive months, the time he didn’t blame more people for the failure of Alien: Resurrection, the time he turned down an Indecent Proposal-style offer that could have gotten Firefly a back 9 (Robert Redford was inexplicably powerful at Fox in the early aughts, but I’ll never know why he craved Alan Tudyk in that way) and apparently, that time that he wasn’t able to sell the Buffy animated series.
Here’s what Whedon had to say on the non-life of the Buffy-toon during a Q&A at the Director’s Guild:
“We got to do almost everything we wanted to do. The only thing we didn’t get to do is an animated version, which was a delight for us because the writers themselves were working on it. We wrote seven scripts … it was ‘what could we not do [on the regular series].’ They were really fun to write. We could not sell the show. We could not sell an animated Buffy, which I still find incomprehensible.”
Thankfully for Whedon and us, he has continued the Buffy story into the comic book realm with Dark Horse’s Buffy series. Within those pages, Whedon and his shiny cohorts have been able to take Buffy to the limit without the bounds of a TV budget.
Whedon even got to pay homage to the dashed cartoon in the 20th issue of Buffy Season 8, “After These Messages… We’ll Be Right Back”. Written by Jeph Loeb (who worked with Whedon on the Buffy animated series and who is now working with him on the SHIELD pilot) and partially drawn by Eric Wight, the sorta-one shot cuts into Buffy’s dreams as she remembers the comparatively calmer days of season one, so if you really want the scoop on what the Buffy Animated Series would have felt like, go pick up the comic and find out.