Writer Jane Espenson, formerly the co-executive producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has written many of the most memorable Buffy episodes, including "Band Candy" (3.6), "Superstar" (4.17) and the Hugo Award-winning "Conversations With Dead People" (7.7). But she has also written for a number of other television shows including Ellen (yes, the original sitcom), Angel, Gilmore Girls, Firefly and, most recently, Battlestar Galactica ("The Passage" and "Dirty Hands"). We recently chatted with her via email about writing for television, her favorite Buffy episodes and her favorite quip from the series.
AfterEllen.com: How does writing for Battlestar Galactica, Gilmore Girls and other shows compare to writing for Buffy?
Jane Espenson: Every show has its own vibe. They’ve all been rewarding in their own way. And all the working experiences have been really different from each other. In terms of a combination of people/material/sense of ownership/sense of creating a universe … I think Galactica is the closest to capturing that sense of magic we all had at Buffy.
AE: Do you have a show of your own in development?
JE: I have sold pilot ideas and have written the scripts, but I have yet to have one be filmed. Generally they’ve been one-hour humorous scripts set in a world with some kind of genre or magical element, although I did also try a more reality-based comedy half-hour. Eventually what I want to write will line up with what someone wants to film — it’s just a matter of getting that timing right.
AE: What was your favorite Buffy episode to write?
JE: Interesting question — about the writing experience not the final episode — I like that.
"Band Candy" was tremendous fun because it was the first one I got to do. And I remember having lots of fun writing "Harsh Light of Day" because it has so many juicy scenes in it! But I think "Superstar" was the most fun because I got to just pack it full of little details of how Jonathan-world worked. I had the best time writing that stuff.
AE: Was there anything you wrote for Buffy that didn’t make it into the show that you wish had made it in?
JE: I’ve mentioned this before, but there was a part of a scene at the end of "Harsh Light of Day" that was cut during editing in which Buffy makes it clearer that her liaison with the college guy was a reaction to Angel’s departure, because she’s not really over Angel. I think the episode makes more sense with this exchange in place, but it had to be cut for length.
AE: Who’s your favorite Buffy character?
JE: I love Jonathan. Anya is probably the most fun to write for. Spike is cool, too. They’re all so great!
AE: What’s your favorite line from Buffy?
JE: In something I wrote or in the whole series? Hmm. I’ll take it to mean the whole series … It’s hard to beat this one. Spike: "I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it." Joss wrote it, I’m sure. Don’t know that for 100 percent certain fact, but I just have a feeling …
Danielle Riendeau contributed to this blog posting.