I have wanted to write this post for a while and with Joss Whedon’s new show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. it seemed like a perfect time. I have loved all Joss Whedon’s shows before now. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly have all had a special something that makes the viewer want to watch more. All a little bit different, but the theme that seems to be repeated between all the shows is the created family.
The created family is the concept of people from different backgrounds, social spaces, beliefs, cultures, etc, coming together to become a bonded unit. They all start from different places, but end up on the same journey together. Either through a common purpose or a common journey. Then over time they begin to know each other, defend each other, and this makes the bonds tighter. I think it feeds in to our sense of family and belonging because who would not want to be a part of something more than ourselves.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer the created family starts out as Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles. Others come and go, but the four of them always remain strong. Even when Giles leaves for a time he is never really far away. The first thing that brings them together is simple survival. Willow and Xander get pulled into a world that they do not understand that Buffy has been living in for a while. The initial shock of the world for the two of them combined by Buffy’s desire to have someone to share her story with.
How hard would it be to have a secret that you could not tell anyone and in some ways it is for their own protection. So Buffy, as a teenager no less, is having to literally have the weight and the fate of the world on her shoulders without being able to tell a single soul. The created family is what holds Buffy together, what keeps her sane while facing all sorts of monstrosities. In “The Wish” during season 3 we get a glimpse of what Buffy would be like without this family and it is not pretty. She loses any sense of compassion or humanity, as well as any thing to keep on living for.
With Angel the family that forms is kind of a group of misfits that come together to help people. After realizing that Buffy and he can never be together Angel moves out to Los Angeles. It starts out with Angel (a vampire with a soul), Doyle (a half demon who has visions), and Cordelia (a former rich girl) coming together to help people who normally can’t be helped. Eventually Wesley shows up, the failed Watcher, and joins the team to help as another set of hands.
They slowly begin to acquire more into the fold, they eventually even all live together in an abandoned hotel. They grow together, turn apart, betray each other, but in the end they come back together. They are all abandoned left behind from what they know and yet, they have come together to try and be a part of the greater good.
Then in Firefly Joss brings together my favorite family all of them living on the edges of society; a fugitive, a companion, a mercenary, a genius mechanic, former rebel soldiers, and a preacher with a past. The random circumstances around how all of these players end up together is one of the more interesting stories. It is not an easy road at first, when you deal with criminals and criminal dealings it can be difficult to trust anyone. Captain Mal is a hard man and does not give out loyalty too easily, but when he does you have it.
One of the great things of the show is seeing the family grow together. When the turn happens it is such a beautiful moment. The simple fact being of them being family means that we look out for each other. It creates such beautiful moments in the show and the movie. It is not just a group of people or friends, they are family, the cost you are willing to pay for family is different than what you would pay for friends.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
So now it is time to see what happens with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and whether it will become a created family. This show is different than any of the other situations. They are a team of special agents working together to a common purpose. It will be interesting to see if this will be another created family or if it will be an amazing team. I am looking forward to seeing where they will go with this show.