Joss Whedon was – up until recently – a relatively unknown man to the mainstream audience, most people knowing him from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and not much else. Then The Avengers happened and one of the industry’s most prolific, funniest and most engaging writer/producer/directors became part of the firmament in the Hollywood heavens.

Whedon is famous for being fiercely devoted and loyal to his work and his characters, often revisiting them and their adventures when their tenure in the medium has passed (rest in peace Firefly and Dollhouse). However, he’s more famous for his recurring themes of feminism, horror, comedy and everything inbetween.

Inside, we’ve listed the top five rules of Joss Whedon’s work (with obvious spoilers within) that he should always follow to ensure that his output remains as challenging, intriguing and thrilling as it always has been…

5. Mix Up The Genres

One of the most famous things Whedon is famous for doing is making sure that his work can’t really pidgeonholed into one particular genre – the most prolific and prominent example being Firefly, a show that’s essentially a Western, but set in space and which has all the grandeur and emotion of a fine opera.

It’s this ingenuity that we’d hate Whedon to lose – even in massive smashes like The Avengers and Cabin in the Woods, Whedon’s kept us on our toes. In Avengers, we’re expecting a standard Hollywood fare, but we get darkness and deception entwined with the bright fun of a summer blockbuster. In Cabin, we got a horror movie which is essentially about horror movies – a meta-analysis through the looking glass into our own behaviours when the lights go down and we see a horror flick.

It’s always interesting, always smart and relentlessly enjoyable – it’s like hearing a mashup between two of your favourite songs and hearing them come together in something so intensely, immensably delightful.

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This article was first posted on December 9, 2012