I would like to finish my thought from the previous post. I watched the first two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Hulu.com. At first I thought it was cheesy because it had the typical good vs. evil fantasy element going on. There was the Chosen One: Buffy. She had her mortal and completely evil enemy: the Master and company. All the vampires wanted nothing more than to destroy humanity so they could have their "old earth" back. Every few episodes we got what I like to call a "monster of the week." In short, some random character who would likely never show up again came into the show to kill off a few people and then get slaughtered by Buffy. It was always the same. You knew who the bad character was within the first ten minutes of the show. Believe me, I am good at sniffing these things out. The excellent horror elements and cinematography kept me watching through most of the first season.
Then I saw the episode entitled "The Puppet Show." I thought it was a monster of the week episode and it was obvious who the bad guy was: the live puppet. Like, duh. Lo and behold, Joss Whedon surprised me. The puppet character was a good guy. I won't give anymore info away, but that episode kept me watching into the second season. At that point the characters began to develop. The Buffy and Angel relationship became extremely interesting. Then Spike (played by James Marsters) showed up. And here, for once, was a vampire who didn't want to destroy humanity. Finally, I saw Joss Whedon's brilliance come to fruition.
You see, despite some of the cliche, Whedon does manage to make likable, intricate characters. Their dilemmas are not just melodrama. It may take a while to see that (e.g. Buffy's feelings about not wanting to be the Chosen One). But the complexity does show up and when it does it is worth the wait. The humor was a bit forced in the first season, but in the second it makes me laugh at almost every joke. The show can be so irreverent. I love it. At first I said I would never buy any Buffy. Now, I might. I would also like to watch Joss Whedon's Angel. And, frankly, I have a better appreciation for Firefly and Serenity. At the same time, those last two pieces of Whedon's creativity needed more time for development. Great concept, not enough time to discover anything more than the intrigue of the ideas.
I like substance in story telling. I would say Joss Whedon has that. It just takes him a little time to get comfortable with his creations. That's why Firefly got cancelled. That and it should have been aired on the sci-fi channel not Fox.