If there's one thing that Dollhouse's cancellation has proven, it's that Joss Whedon is no longer your Master. But who is waiting in the wings to get their name on your next devotional t-shirt? We consider some potentials; you vote.
Best known for his DC Comics work on titles like Action Comics, Green Lantern, The Flash and Blackest Night, Johns is more than just the man who's single-handedly changed the publisher's fortunes in the comic book direct market: He's also a movie producer and writer, working on a movie with the people behind Robot Chicken (He's also written for the TV show) and part of the brain trust behind DC Entertainment's movie development team alongside Grant Morrison and Marv Wolfman. Not lacking in talent or ambition, he's already many comic fans' Master. How long before he wins everyone else over?
J. Michael Straczynzki
The onetime Babylon 5 creator already has a lot of Master qualities down: Huge fanbase, creation of/showrunning-upkeep of epic weekly television series, a surprising amount of power within Hollywood and geek credentials from comic book work that includes a longterm run on Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man. With future projects including the movie version of World War Z, a remake of Forbidden Planet and DC's relaunch of the Man of Steel, Superman: Earth One, expect JMS to become an even bigger name in our world. But is it enough to be our new Master?
After dominating comics for the last decade with critic-proof hits like The Authority, The Ultimates and Civil War, Millar's mix of high-concept and big action did the same to movie audiences with 2008's Wanted adaptation. Mext May's independently-produced Kick Ass movie is already seeming like a blockbuster waiting to happen, and alongside new comic series Nemesis (already getting interest from movie producers) and Millar's first all-original movie project reportedly being announced at some point next year, expect to see Millar's star rise even further in 2010. But how high is Master high?
Roberto Orci/Alex Kurtzman
They wrote Star Trek, both Transformers movies, and co-created Fringe; there's not denying the success of the Kurtzman/Orci team over the last few years, making sci-fi mainstream without upsetting the genre faithful (too much). Besides continuing producing Fringe, they're working on adapting Whitley Streiber's 2012: The War For Souls, fantasy comic Atlantis Rising and working with the Iron Man dream team of Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. on Cowboys Vs. Aliens. Is that enough to win your hearts over forever?
Yes, The Lovely Bones may not have been a slamdunk for genre fans' interest, but don't think that Peter Jackson has abandoned you just yet. Along with his much-anticipated collaboration with Steven Spielberg and Steven Moffatt (The two movie motion-capture Tintin series), don't discount his producing return to Middle Earth with Guillermo del Toro's The Hobbit movies. Oh, and don't forget his Weta Digital effects house, continually raising the bar on what our eyes can be fooled into believing. Maybe Jackson is already our behind-the-scenes, puppet-Master.
Russell T Davies
You could try and argue that the success of Doctor Who has more to do with David Tennant's "long streak of nothing" (Thanks, Donna) looks and charm than the writing, but all we'd do is point you in the direction of Torchwood: Children of Earth to prove that showrunner Russell T Davies is able to come up with the goods all on his own when he has to (Also, he's the one who chose Tennant, so there's that, too). Not content with not only resurrecting the BBC's longrunning SF series but turning it into the most popular drama on British television and a successful franchise, Davies has relocated to Los Angeles and turned his attentions to American television. With the adulation and respect of many in the industry already his, will mainstream audiences follow?
Maybe I'm biased, but with stewardships of Alias, Lost and Fringe on television, as well as Mission: Impossible 3, Cloverfield and Star Trek in movies, JJ Abrams feels like he's already taken the title of New Master. All he needs now is to wheedle his way into comic books to complete the media triumvirate (And, no; that Wired issue doesn't count).
Were we too hasty to count Whedon out? Sure, Dollhouse crashed and burned at Fox, but it lasted a season longer than anyone expected and was full of interesting ideas even when the execution lacked. With The Cabin In The Woods, his horror movie with Drew Goddard, upcoming as well as a new Dr. Horrible web series expected, amid rumors that he'll move into even more online content creation, will Whedon 2.0 prove that television is over once and for all? It's be an impressive comeback and reinvention, but maybe that's what we should expect from a former Roseanne scriptwriter who made himself into a television and movie powerhouse who liked things shiny.
What do you think? Vote below and share your thoughts in the comments.
Original image by Neil Crosby.