Buffy Breaks Through
After years of being bitten by Emmy voters, WB's Buffy the Vampire Slayer
scared up its first major nomination this year for Drama Series Writing. Ironically, the episode singled out, "Hush," written (and directed) by series creator Joss Whedon
, featured very little dialogue; the story centered around the residents of Sunnydale being robbed of their ability to speak.
"I was a little surprised that it got the writing nod because there was so little talking in it," Whedon tells TV Guide Online. "As a script, it was really scary and difficult to write. And actually to direct ? because I had such a great crew ? that was easier. Doing the concept, being alone in my house going, 'This will never work, I'm going to fail,' that was harder. In a way I'm more proud of the script even in the finished product."
Realizing that "Hush" deserved special attention, 20th Century Fox put considerable promotional muscle behind the installment. "They sent [the tape] out in a very slick box," says TV Guide critic Matt Roush. "It was a teriffic campaign." Despite Whedon's nomination (and two other tenhnical mentions), Buffy's underappreciated cast, led by demon chaser Sarah Michelle Gellar, once again was ignored. Still, the writing nod marks a significant breakthrough, Roush believes. "The X-Files came on slow, too," points out Roush. "[Creator] Chris Carter's writing was acknowledged [before the show was], so I think Buffy could inherit the mantle of The X-Files as far as being the one really teriffic genre show that the Emmys finally are paying attention to."
"It does give you a sort of legitimacy that you never had before," Whedon admits of the nomination. "It is the standard to take you a little more seriously, and if that ends up helping the actors get the kind of recognition that I think they deserve, then it's totally great. On the other hand, it might never come again. But, hopefully it is a foot in the door of legitimacy ? not that we all sit around praying for that."