|Occupation||Television producer, television writer|
Jane Espenson (born July 14, 1964) is an American television writer and producer.
Espenson has worked on both situation comedies and serial dramas. She had a five-year stint as a writer and producer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and shared a Hugo Award with Drew Goddard for her writing on the episode "Conversations with Dead People".
After her work on Buffy, she wrote and produced episodes of The O.C. and Gilmore Girls among other series. From 2006 to 2010, Espenson worked on Battlestar Galactica and many of its supplementary works. Between 2009 and 2010, she served on Caprica, as co-executive and executive producer and co-showrunner. In 2010, she wrote an episode of HBO's Game of Thrones, eventually earning a Writers' Guild Award for her involvement with the show. In 2011 she joined the writing staff for the fourth season of the British television program Torchwood, which aired on BBC One in the United Kingdom and Starz in the United States during mid-2011.
From 2011 to 2018, Espenson worked as a consulting producer and co-executive producer on ABC's series Once Upon a Time, and also wrote and directed some of the show's supplementary DVD content and helped develop the show's spin-off series. She co-wrote and produced an independent original web series with co-creator Brad Bell, entitled Husbands. She and Bell were nominated for a Writers' Guild Award for their work on the series. Espenson also contributed writing to seasons 1 and 3 of the Marvel series Jessica Jones.
She is an executive producer of the HBO series The Nevers along with creator Joss Whedon and fellow Buffy alum Doug Petrie.
She has written numerous comic books, edited multiple volumes of essays, and published several short stories.
Espenson grew up in Ames, Iowa, and graduated from Ames High School. As a teenager, Espenson found out that M*A*S*H accepted spec scripts without requiring the writer to have industry representation. Though she was not an established writer, she attempted to write a script. She recalls, "It was a disaster. I never sent it. I didn't know the correct format. I didn't know the address of where to send it, and then I thought, they can't really hire me until I finish junior high anyway."
Espenson studied linguistics as an undergraduate and graduate at University of California, Berkeley. She worked as a cognitive linguistics research assistant for George Lakoff, who acknowledged her work on the metaphorical understanding of event structure in English and credited her with recognizing the existence of the phenomenon of location-object duality in metaphors pairs. Lakoff also mentioned her year-long work on the "metaphorical structure of causation" in the acknowledgments section of Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought (1999, ISBN 0-465-05674-1).
While in graduate school, she submitted several spec scripts for Star Trek: The Next Generation as part of a script submission program open to amateur writers; Espenson has referred to the program as the "last open door of show business".
In 1992 Espenson won a spot in the Disney Writing Fellowship, which led to work on a number of sitcoms, including ABC's comedy Dinosaurs and Touchstone Television's short-lived Monty. This was followed by work on the short-lived sitcoms Me and the Boys, and Something So Right. In 1997 she joined the writing staff of Ellen Degeneres's sitcom Ellen.
After years in sitcoms, Espenson decided to switch from comedic to dramatic writing and submitted her sample scripts to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
In 1998, Espenson joined Mutant Enemy Productions as executive story editor for the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Over the rest of the run of the series, Espenson wrote or co-wrote twenty-three episodes, starting with "Band Candy" and ending with Buffy's penultimate episode, "End of Days". After her role as an executive story editor, she was promoted to co-producer in season four. In the fifth season she was promoted again to producer. She took up the role of supervising producer in the sixth season and was promoted once more to co-executive producer in the final season.
She wrote episodes both humorous (e.g. "Triangle" and "Intervention") and serious (such as "After Life"). Espenson and Drew Goddard co-wrote the seventh-season episode "Conversations with Dead People," for which they won the Hugo Award for Best Short Dramatic Presentation in 2003.
Espenson is credited as the writer or co-writer of the following Buffy episodes:
|Episode number||Title||Credit||Original air date|
|3.06||"Band Candy"||Writer||November 10, 1998|
|3.11||"Gingerbread"||Teleplay (story by Espenson & Thania St. John)||January 12, 1999|
|3.18||"Earshot"||Writer||September 21, 1999|
|4.03||"The Harsh Light of Day"||Writer||October 19, 1999|
|4.08||"Pangs"||Writer||November 23, 1999|
|4.11||"Doomed"||Writer (with David Fury & Marti Noxon)||January 18, 2000|
|4.12||"A New Man"||Writer||January 25, 2000|
|4.17||"Superstar"||Writer||April 4, 2000|
|5.03||"The Replacement"||Writer||October 10, 2000|
|5.11||"Triangle"||Writer||January 9, 2001|
|5.12||"Checkpoint"||Writer (with Douglas Petrie)||January 23, 2001|
|5.15||"I Was Made to Love You"||Writer||February 20, 2001|
|5.18||"Intervention"||Writer||April 24, 2001|
|6.03||"After Life"||Writer||October 9, 2001|
|6.04||"Flooded"||Writer (with Douglas Petrie)||October 16, 2001|
|6.05||"Life Serial"||Writer (with David Fury)||October 23, 2001|
|6.12||"Doublemeat Palace"||Writer||January 29, 2002|
|7.03||"Same Time, Same Place"||Writer||October 8, 2002|
|7.07||"Conversations with Dead People"||Writer (with Drew Goddard)||November 12, 2002|
|7.08||"Sleeper"||Writer (with David Fury)||November 19, 2002|
|7.14||"First Date"||Writer||February 11, 2003|
|7.16||"Storyteller"||Writer||February 25, 2003|
|7.21||"End of Days"||Writer (with Douglas Petrie)||May 13, 2003|
She also co-/wrote several comic book stories for Tales of the Slayers, Tales of the Vampires and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, the one-shots Jonathan and Reunion and the limited series Haunted.
Espenson joined the crew of Sci Fi's Battlestar Galactica (BSG) just after Battlestar Galactica: Razor, BSG's first television movie, was conceived. As one of BSG's co-executive producers, she worked on every fourth-season episode starting with "He That Believeth in Me"; she was also the writer of "Escape Velocity" and "The Hub" and co-wrote The Face of the Enemy webisodes. Prior to joining the show's staff she wrote one third-season episode and co-wrote another. In August 2008, the Los Angeles Times broke the news that Espenson was the writer behind BSG's second television movie, The Plan, news confirmed in her writer's blog. In January 2009 it was announced that she had joined the spin-off series Caprica as co-executive producer and would take on showrunner duties midway through the first season. Espenson later gave up showrunning duties to focus more on writing.
In August 2010 it was announced that Torchwood creator, lead writer and executive producer Russell T. Davies had hired Espenson to write for the show's fourth series, Torchwood: Miracle Day to be broadcast in 2011. She later confirmed that she would be writing episodes 3, 5, 7 and co-writing episode 8 (with Ryan Scott) and episode 10 (with Davies). Prior to her involvement with Torchwood, Espenson had said she was a fan of the show, particularly the third series, "Children of Earth." To tie in with the launch of Torchwood: Miracle Day, Espenson and Scott collaborated on the Starz-produced 2011 Torchwood webseries entitled Torchwood: Web of Lies, which stars American actress Eliza Dushku. Following the broadcast of each episode of "Miracle Day" on Starz, Espenson wrote a blog on AfterElton mixing her reaction to the episode with behind the scenes information on the devising process.
In 2011 Espenson also co-wrote and produced her first independent web series with partner Brad Bell. Entitled Husbands, it revolved around the life of two newly married gay men. Espenson self-funded the first season. A Kickstarter campaign and the involvement of CW Seed allowed subsequent production. The show eventually comprised four "seasons" and concluded in 2014. The series premiered Tuesday September 13, 2011. The series also generated Husbands, a hardback comic-book collection of stories rendered in a variety of different drawing styles, from Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 9781616551308.
In May 2011, Espenson was brought on to the ABC fantasy series Once Upon a Time, as a writer and consulting producer. She stayed with the show for its entire seven-year run, and became a co-executive producer on the project. She was also involved in creation and writing of the spin-off series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
In 2011, working as a freelancer, Espenson wrote episode 6 of season 1 of Game of Thrones, titled "A Golden Crown". It is notable as one of only four Game of Thrones episodes written by women.
In 2015, during the hiatus between seasons of Once Upon a Time, Espenson consulted on the series Jessica Jones, earning a "thanks to" in the credits. In 2019, she returned for a larger role on the staff, and wrote the eleventh episode of the third season "A.K.A. Hellcat".
In 2018, Espenson joined the HBO series The Nevers, as a writer and executive producer. The series premiered on April 11, 2021.
Espenson has written episodes for several other television shows, including episode 4.17 ("Accession") of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and one episode ("Shindig") of Firefly. She has worked on Angel, Tru Calling, The Inside, The Batman, Andy Barker, P.I., Jake in Progress and Dollhouse, and was the co-creator of Warehouse 13.
Espenson is the editor of the book Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly (BenBella Books, 2005, ISBN 1-933771-21-6), a collection of non-fiction essays on the short-lived television show Firefly. She edited the follow-up collection Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe (BenBella Books, 2007, ISBN 9781933771212) She is the editor of Inside Joss' Dollhouse: From Alpha to Rossum (BenBella Books, 2010, ISBN 9781935251989), a similar collection of essays about Dollhouse.
Espenson wrote the short story "What Holds Us Down", which appears in Still Flying from Titan Press, ISBN 1848565062. Her short story "Int. Wolf-Night" appears in Empower: Fight Like a Girl ISBN 9780692210116 She also has short stories which appear in the Tales of the Slayers book series. Her short story, "Nobel Prize Speech Draft of Paul Winterhoeven, With Personal Notes", was published in the September 2021 issue of Future Science Fiction Digest.
In 2016, Espenson served on the MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle) committee to select inductees into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. She is featured as a video/voice commentator in the museum itself.
Espenson has written for three of the 101 Best Television Series as determined by the Writers Guild of America: Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Espenson has appeared as an "expert witness" on the Judge John Hodgman podcast episode "Science Friction". In 2012, Espenson was a guest on the interview series Cocktails with Stan, with hosts Stan Lee and Jenna Busch. She has also been a guest on The Sound of Young America, with Jesse Thorn. She has guested on the Gilmore Guys podcast and on the Slayerfest podcast, about Gilmore Girls and Buffy respectively.
She appears in the documentary interview series James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction and Showrunners.
|1994||Monty||Yes||Episode written: "The Principal's Interest"|
|Dinosaurs||Yes||Episodes written: |
"Driving Miss Ethyl"
"Variations on a Theme Park"
|1995||Me and the Boys||Yes||Episode written: "The Age of Reason"|
|1996||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Yes||Episode written: "Accession"|
|Nowhere Man||Yes||Episode written: "Zero Minus Ten"|
|1996–1997||Something So Right||Yes||Episodes written: |
"Something About Jack's Ex"
"Something About Thanksgiving"
"Something About a Silver Anniversary"
"Something About Secrets & Rules"
|1997–1998||Ellen||Yes||Episodes written: |
"Like a Virgin"
|1998–2003||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Yes||Yes||23 episodes written, 88 episodes produced|
|1999–2000||Angel||Yes||Episodes written: |
"Rm w/a Vu"
"Guise Will Be Guise"
|2002||Firefly||Yes||Episode written: "Shindig"|
|2003||The O.C.||Yes||Episode written: "The Gamble"|
|2003–2004||Gilmore Girls||Yes||Yes||Episodes written: |
"Chicken or Beef?"
"The Reigning Lorelai"
22 episodes as co-executive producer
|2005||Tru Calling||Yes||Yes||Episode written: "In the Dark" |
6 episodes as co-executive producer
|The Inside||Yes||Yes||Episodes written: |
"Skin and Bone"
13 episodes as co-executive producer
|2005–2006||Jake in Progress||Yes||Yes||Episode written: "The Two Jakes" |
20 episodes as co-executive producer
|2006–2009||Battlestar Galactica||Yes||Yes||Episodes written: |
20 episodes as co-executive producer
|2007||Andy Barker, P.I.||Yes||Yes||Episode written: |
"Fairway, My Lovely"
3 episodes as consulting producer
|The Batman||Yes||Episodes written: |
"The Joining: Part 1"
"The Joining: Part 2"
|Eureka||Yes||Episode written: "Family Reunion"|
|Battlestar Galactica: Razor Flashbacks||Yes||7 episodes as co-executive producer|
|Battlestar Galactica: Razor||Yes||TV movie|
|2008-2009||Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy||Yes||Yes||10 episodes as writer and executive producer|
|2009||Dollhouse||Yes||Yes||Episodes written: |
8 episodes as consulting producer
|Battlestar Galactica: The Plan||Yes||Yes||TV movie|
|Warehouse 13||Yes||Creator |
Episode written: "Pilot"
|2010||Caprica||Yes||Yes||Episodes written: |
17 episodes produced
|2011||Game of Thrones||Yes||Episode written: "A Golden Crown"|
|Torchwood: Miracle Day||Yes||Yes||Episodes written: |
"Dead of Night"
"The Categories of Life"
"End of the Road"
"The Blood Line"
10 episodes as co-executive producer
|2011–2018||Once Upon a Time||Yes||Yes||31 episodes written |
68 episodes as consulting producer
|2013||Once Upon a Time in Wonderland||Yes||Yes||Episodes written: |
"Down the Rabbit Hole"
|2019||Jessica Jones||Yes||Yes||Episode written: "A.K.A Hellcat"|
|2021||The Nevers||Yes||Yes||Episodes written: |
6 episodes as executive producer
|Fantasy Island||Yes||Episodes written: |
"His and Hers" / "The Heartbreak Hotel"
1 episode as teleplay writer
|2009||Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy||Yes||Webisodes|
|2011||Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight||Yes||Motion comic|
|Torchwood: Web of Lies||Yes||Episode written: "Missing Day: Part 1"|
|2011–2014||Husbands||Yes||Yes||Co-creator, 20 episodes as writer and executive producer|
|Year||Award||Award category||Title of work||Result|
|2003||Hugo Award||Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form||"Conversations with Dead People"
(Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode)
|2009||Streamy Awards||Best Writing for a Dramatic Web Series||Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy||Won|
|Emmy Award||Short-format Live-action Entertainment Program (shared with Ronald D. Moore, David Eick, and Harvey Frand)||Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy||Nominated|
|2012||Writers Guild of America Award||Drama Series (shared with D. B. Weiss, George R. R. Martin, David Benioff and Bryan Cogman)||Game of Thrones||Nominated|
|New Series (shared with D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, David Benioff and George R. R. Martin)||Nominated|
|Indie Soap Awards||Best Writing (Comedy) (shared with Brad Bell)||Husbands||Nominated|
|Hugo Award||Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (shared with David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, George R. R. Martin, Tim Van Patten, Brian Kirk, Daniel Minahan and Alan Taylor)||Game of Thrones, Season One||Won|
|2013||International Academy of Web Television||Best Writing (Comedy) (shared with Brad Bell)||Husbands||Nominated|
|Indie Soap Awards||Won|
|2014||Writers Guild of America Awards||Short Form New Media – Original (shared with Brad Bell)||Husbands episodes "I Do Over Part 1–2"||Nominated|
|International Academy of Web Television||Best Writing (Comedy) (shared with Brad Bell)||Husbands||Won|
|Indie Series Awards||Nominated|
|Streamy Awards||Writing (shared with Brad Bell)||Nominated|
|2015||Etheria Film Night||Inspiration Award||Won|