The Writers of ‘Buffy’: What They Did Next
This past week there’s been a huge amount of attention on the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Understandable – it’s the best show ever (I’ll fight you on that) and it’s the 20 year anniversary of the show. As much as we love the cast there’s a whole other group of legends who made this show happen who don’t get the same recognition: the writers. Many of the best writers currently working (especially on geeky projects) cut their teeth on Buffy, and here’s the proof.
Noteworthy BtVS Episodes: ‘Conversations With Dead People’, ‘Superstar’, ‘Earshot’
Also Known For: Having started a career in comedy writing on oddball sitcom Dinosaurs and Ellen, Espenson wanted to switch to dramatic writing and joined Buffy during the third season. She quickly became one of the most popular writers on the show, often blending comedy into her scripts. When Sunnydale became a sinkhole Espenson went on to Battlestar Galactica and was involved in writing many of that show’s spin-offs including The Plan and a showrunner role on Caprica. Since then she’s also worked on follow up Whedon shows Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse in addition to Torchwood: Miracle Day, Gilmore Girls, the ‘Golden Crown’ episode of Game of Thrones and co-created Warehouse 13. More recently Espenson has been penning episode for Once Upon a Time.
Noteworthy BtVS Episodes: ‘Selfless’, ‘Lies My Parents Told Me’, ‘Dirty Girls’
Also Known For: Drew Goddard didn’t have the longest run as a writer on Buffy but he has continued his collaboration with Joss Whedon and is behind some of the most popular geek culture shows and movies in the past 20 years. After getting his start on Buffy and Angel Goddard joined forces with J.J. Abrams to write Alias and Lost. He reteamed with Whedon for Cabin in the Woods, adapted The Martian, and then co-created Daredevil with…
Noteworthy BtVS Episodes: ‘Bad Girls’, ‘The Yoko Factor’, ‘Fool for Love’, ‘As You Were’, ‘Get It Done’
Also Known For: Doug Petrie came to Buffy by way of Harriet the Spy and Clarissa Explains It All but ultimately had a hand in a massive 55 episodes. He’s since written and produced for CSI, Pushing Daisies and American Horror Story. It best achievement to date is as co-creator, producer and writer for Daredevil and the upcoming The Defenders. You may have heard of them.
STEVEN S. DEKNIGHT
Noteworthy BtVS Episodes: ‘Seeing Red’, ‘Spiral’, ‘Blood Ties’ and story editor on 20+ episodes.
Also Known For: DeKnight stayed in the realm of sci-fi following his long run on Buffy by writing 15 episodes of young Superman saga Smallville. He then headed up his own franchise: Spartacus, both Gods of the Arena and War of the Damned. These days DeKnight is showrunning Daredevil, having stepped in to take over from Drew Goddard.
Noteworthy BtVS Episodes: ‘Helpless’, ‘Choices’, ‘Fear, Itself’, ‘Crush’, ‘Showtime’ and others.
Also Known For: David Fury was working freelance on such shows as Pinky and the Brain and The Wild Thornberrys while he was part of a comedy troupe. He did freelance work on Buffy before becoming a regular member of the writing (in addition to playing the man with mustard on his shirt). He wrote for both Buffy and Angel in addition to holding a producer role in both shows.
Following this Fury continued his duel writer/producer role on the first season of Lost, where he wrote the flashback episodes for the major characters before taking on these same key roles on the final 5 seasons on 24. The phenomenal sci-fi show Fringe also benefitted from Fury’s experience when he contributed to the fourth and fifth seasons.
DREW Z. GREENBERG
Noteworthy BtVS Episodes: ‘The Killer in Me’, ‘Him’, ‘Entropy’, ‘Smashed’, ‘Older and Far Away’
Also Known For: Although he came to the party Greenberg was a significant figure and came to the show via Whedon’s pet project Firefly (you may have heard of it). Like many of his colleagues Greenberg balanced writing with producing on shows including Smallville, The O.C., Dexter, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Warehouse 13, Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Greenberg is also significant for his inclusion of gay characters in his work, which Buffy was also known for.
Noteworthy BtVS Episodes: ‘The Wish’, ‘Faith, Hope and Trick’, ‘Angel’, ‘Nightmares’
Also Known For: Having built a career on classics shows such as The Wonder Years, Doogie Howser M.D. and The X-Files Greenwalt was an early figure on Buffy and later became the co-creator of spin-off Angel. Greenwalt continued writing, directing and producing television and film with his biggest hits being on television. He co-created the cult show Profit and the smash hit Grimm, which just finished a six season run.
REBECCA RAND KIRSHNER
Noteworthy BtVS Episodes: ‘Listening to Fear’, ‘Tabula Rasa’, ‘Hells Bells’, ‘Help’, ‘Tough Love’
Also Known For: Kirshner has a talent for writing for teens and young adults, making it unsurprising that he first television writing credit was on short lived cult show Freaks and Geeks (which featured every comedy actor who was about to become famous – someone got fired for cancelling that one). After joining Buffy in during its heyday Kirshner took up producer and writing roles one 90210, Gilmore Girls and Beauty and the Beast.
Noteworthy BtVS Episodes: ‘What’s My Line’, ‘The Wish’, Buffy vs Dracula’, ‘New Moon Rising’, ‘The Prom’
Also Known For: Aside from Joss Whedon it’s hard to name another writer who had such a significant impact on Buffy. She came in as a story editor in the second season before becoming a writer, producer and eventually showrunner. Having spent her young life watching her father making documentaries, Noxon has always been interesting in working in film. She wrote Fright Night and I Am Number Four along with writing and directing upcoming anorexia drama To The Bone. On television Noxon created UNreal, Point Pleasant and The Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. Her producer and writing credits extend further to include Glee, Mad Men, Code Black, Private Practise, Prison Break and Grey’s Anatomy.
She’s kind of a big deal.
Noteworthy BtVS Episodes: ‘Welcome to the Hellmouth’, ‘Prophecy Girl’, ‘Lie to Me’, ‘Becoming’, ‘Anne’, ‘Doppelgängland’, ‘Graduation Day’, ‘Hush’, The Body’…basically most of the best one.
Also Known For: Ummmm…