The Cultural Gutter

the cult in your pop culture

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Mike Le asks Joss Whedon a Question

“One of the things I loved about Firefly  was the exploration of the fusion of Asian and American cultures. Many Asian Americans go through a similar journey. I was wondering, if you were to explore that again in the future, if you would be willing to include Asian or Asian American performers?” More at Racebending.

The Avengers and Philosophy

The first chapter from the book, The Avengers and Philosophy, is available online–for free!

The merits of space cowboys and vengeance demons

Realism has a lot to answer for. For instance, the number of raised eyebrows I’ve received when recommending tv shows like Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even when I talk about them in terms of artistic merit, interesting narrative structure and social relevance, more often than not I get a pause followed […]

Wonder Woman in Pants

Wonder Woman would’ve also had pants in Joss Whedon’s version. But if she has to have spurs, I’m a sucker for this cowgirl version with invisible pony. (And, following Chris Sims, could go with a Fistful of Dollars poncho).

Picking It Apart

Another reason to love This American Life. Joss Whedon performs part of the commentary track for Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. (via Film School Rejects)

Home Stretch


I have a theory that television shows get a lot of practice in the cliff-hanger, in hooking the viewer to come back next week, but almost zero experience in creating satisfying endings. Structurally, commercially, the need for such a thing just doesn’t compute. A few genre shows in the throes of concluding long-term stories right […]

So Many Fan Films!

The monkeys over at See Monkey round up a whole whack of fan film action including “the greatest fan film of all time,” which “def[ies] all laws of God, man and intellectual property and cramming vastly different fictive universes — Marvel, DC, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, you name it — into one great big ball […]

Defending Dollhouse

A woman with her personality wiped and a new one programmed in every week? Joss Whedon talks about misogyny, identity and Dollhouse.

Follow-Up Visit


I love shiny new things. I’m also getting more ruthless about my time than I used to be. Those competing impulses get resolved in a simple activity that everyone does naturally: following writers who have proved themselves in the past. On that note, here are a few follow-up visits to Gutter pieces of the past. […]

Nobody Dies: The Eternal Return of LEGO Batman

batman and robin 80.jpg

I’ve written before that I was put off superhero comics by all the dying and resurrected X-Men—the eternal return and the attempts to escape it. You might have noticed that DC and Marvel’s superhero titles have become a bloodbath. Sure, it started it with big crossovers and the death of Superman. Captain America’s death at […]

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Everybody loves a supervillain. Especially a low-end one. Especially me. Here’s a teaser for Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. And here’s the crosspromotional Captain Hammer comic.



I’m the person who hates spoilers, mainly because they wreck a book or movie for me. I’m a stickler for experiencing something in the way that the creator intended (whether this is a smart or helpful habit is quite another question). In the case of, say, a TV show like Buffy or Angel that’s been […]

He Can Say This Because He’s a Browncoat

Henry Jenkins says Snakes on a Plane might do better than Serenity, two films with comparable prerelease internet buzz, and thinks Whedon should have broken out of the broadcast media mold: “…if he had gone that route, we would have been able to enjoy many more hours of quality science fiction/western action on television, where […]

Kicking Ass, Literary Style

The cast is fabulous, a strong point in the show

I don’t have much patience for vampire stories, so I never felt much attraction to the Buffy and Angel universe. I could see how people would get pretty wrapped up in it: ongoing storylines, smart characterization, constant action, snappy one-liners, reportedly the whole bit. When Joss Whedon, Buffy creator, decided to do a science fiction […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Art News shares 12 artist cameos on tv shows. (Thanks, Ami!)


    Footage of Sammo Hung, Lau Ching-Wan Louis Koo, Yuan Quan, Jiang Shuying, Eddie Peng, Liu Kai-Chi and Wu Jing on the set of Benny Chan’s The Deadly Reclaim. (Thanks, Brian!)


    The Vinyl Factory has an interactive timeline of women in electronic music from Ada Lovelace to the 2014 Ada Project–with links to recommended listening.


    Chica Non Grata has made two of the three songs commissioned for the 2015 Gutterthon available. You can listen to “Fortune Cookie” and “See Me” here. And check back for the final track!


    At The Brattle Film Notes, Kerry Fristoe writes about The Road Warrior and Lord Byron’s poem, “Darkness,” in The Road Warrior or Mad Max and Lord Byron Walk into a Bar…”


    There’s a free audio book adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’ Locke & Key at


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