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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Fan Films Of The Whedonverse

A few feet away is the sound stage, a converted three-car garage and sometimes-bar that currently serves as the main set for Cherub, a fan-made parody of Joss Whedon's popular TV series Angel.

Basil Harris, who plays Cherub's title character, stands on the lawn in a robe and bunny slippers waiting for his next scene. "The set of Cherub is structured like a low-budget film," he says, gesturing at the prop guys running around with a Christmas tree and scimitars. "In fact, a lot of the equipment is actually better."

Now filming its second season in a whirlwind 10-day, $10,000 shoot, Cherub caught fans' attention last November. The first season consisted of 12 installments of three to five minutes, posted weekly, and within months the show's audience had grown from a few theater geeks in Seattle to tens of thousands online. There have now been roughly 100,000 downloads of Cherub episodes.

Cherub's popularity is exceptional, but its subject matter isn't: The show is one of several fan-created online films and TV series set in the so-called Whedonverse, the special land where Joss Whedon's three canceled shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly, take place. With the official Whedonverse put out to pasture, fans have taken the reins on a stable of unofficial spinoffs.


Like Angel, Cherub is the story of a vampire with a conscience who fights crime with a ragtag team of outcasts and nerds. But that's where the resemblance ends. Cherub is pure slapstick -- the title character is doomed to wear cursed bunny slippers and spends most of Season 1 crossing swords with two monkey-obsessed villains called Johnny Mildly-Irritating (Paul Gude) and Princess Valium (Jennifer Pratt). The future of the world hinges on the fate of the Eggplant of Mystery. And Barney (Brynn Hambly), one of Cherub's crime-fighting team, joined the group after narrowly escaping a life of eternal pie-eating in the lemon meringue dimension.
-- Fan Films Reclaim the Whedonverse

The Girl and I are rewatching Buffy now that the normal television season has gone into slump. I had forgotten how much Whedon managed to cram into Season 2. Like half the stuff I thought was actually in Season 3. According to this Wired article, there's a post-Buffy fan film which has gotten considerable attention. For me, though, nothing happened in the Buffyverse after Once More With Feeling.

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