Joss Whedon says when Fox killed Firefly, his TV ideas died, too

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:31 PM EST

Were you angry when Firefly got the ax? Did you fall into a funk? No matter how low you got (and we were pretty upset, too), it was nothing compared to how series creator Joss Whedon felt. His despair was so great that his TV ideas dried up and wouldn't return for YEARS.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Whedon shared that the loss of Firefly is "still the greatest grief I have about my career" and that the whole experience made him "the sourest man alive."

But it did far more than that. It stole from him the ability to even THINK in TV terms.

"I stopped having ideas, which for me is an extremely rare experience," Whedon said. "It was something much more subtle [than losing hope], it took away my ability to think in terms of episodic television. For years."

But as we all know, those ideas eventually returned and Whedon came back to TV with Dollhouse. Which, though renewed for a second season, also ended up canceled. How did Whedon get through that kind of loss all over again? He refers to those famous states of grief. You know the ones—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

"Yeah, pretty much. Anger, anger, anger. Anger. Bargaining," he deadpans. "Honestly, this year with my career, I've been going, OK, is it over? Are they done with me, and is it time for me to start doing really small or make a graceful exit? Because I'm OK. I have my family, I love to write, I'll always write, they can't stop me doing that. But maybe I'm not going to get my shot to reach a mass audience. But then I got The Avengers. So, clearly, I'm an idiot."

If Whedon's an idiot, he's the kind we hope—once he's done bringing The Avengers to the screen—gets back to TV again real soon. How about you?