Espenson in September 2006
July 14, 1964 |
Ames, Iowa, U.S.
|Occupation||Television producer, television writer|
She 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 for her writing on the episode "Conversations with Dead People". Between 2009-2010 she served on Caprica, as co-executive and executive producer for the television series. In 2010 she wrote an episode of HBO's Game of Thrones, and joined the writing staff for season four of the British television program Torchwood, which aired on BBC One in the United Kingdom and Starz in the United States during Summer 2011. She is currently working as a consulting producer and writer on ABC's 2011 series Once Upon a Time, and has co-written and produced her first independent original web series with co-creator Brad Bell, entitled Husbands.
Early life 
Espenson grew up in Ames, Iowa. As a teenager, Espenson found out that M*A*S*H accepted spec scripts without promise of payment or future work. Though she wasn't an established writer at the time, she planned to write her first episode. 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." While Espenson was studying computer science and linguistics as a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, 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."
Her next break was in 1992 with 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. In 1997 she joined the staff of Ellen as a writer and producer.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 
In 1998, Espenson joined Mutant Enemy Productions as executive story editor for the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 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 a Co-Producer in season four. In the fifth season she was promoted again to a producer. She took up the role of supervising producer in the sixth season and was promoted once more to a 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.
In addition, 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.
Battlestar Galactica and Caprica 
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 has 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 is 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 will 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 claimed to be a fan of the series, 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.
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Husbands 
In January 2011, Entertainment Weekly announced that Espenson and fellow Buffy writer Drew Z. Greenberg would be writing a pilot for Syfy's version of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). She told io9 that "The version we're proposing is quite different in tone and content from the original." She added "We took the basic premise of a Ghost Detective and his still-living partner and invented our own take on it." In 2011 she also co-wrote and produced her first independent web series, entitled Husbands, which revolves around the life of two newly married gay men. The series premiered Tuesday September 13, 2011.
Once Upon a Time 
Espenson has written episodes for several other television shows, including episode 4.17 ("Accession") of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, an episode ("Shindig") of Firefly, an episode ("The Gamble") of The O.C., and two fourth season episodes of Gilmore Girls. She has also worked on Angel, Tru Calling, The Inside, The Batman, Andy Barker, P.I., Jake in Progress, Dollhouse and is the co-creator of Warehouse 13.
Espenson is the editor of 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.
Linguistics studies 
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).
Production credits 
|1994||Monty||Yes||Episode written: "The Principal's Interest"|
"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"
"Like a Virgin"
|1998-2003||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Yes||Yes||23 episodes written, 88 episodes produced|
"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|
8 episodes as consulting producer
|Battlestar Galactica: The Plan||Yes||Yes||TV movie|
Episode written: "Pilot"
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–present||Once Upon a Time||Yes||Yes||11 episodes written
28 episodes as consulting producer
|2011||Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight||Yes||Motion comic|
|Torchwood: Web of Lies||Yes||Episode written: "Missing Day: Part 1"|
|2011–present||Husbands||Yes||Yes||Co-creator, 14 episodes as writer and executive producer|
Awards and nominations 
|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|
- Kelly, Suzanne. "Jane Espenson: Writer, sci-fi thriller, one nerdy lady". CNN. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
- Biography of Espenson from her website
- Jane Espenson, an April 2007 episode (in MP3 format) of the USC School of Cinematic Arts podcast series
- The Hugo Awards By Year from the Worldcon website
- 05/29/2008: Link Letters, an entry from Esperson's writer's blog
- Edward James Olmos will direct Cylon-centric special feature from the Show Tracker blog of the Los Angeles Times
- 08/22/2008: Intestinal Fortitude, an entry from Esperson's writer's blog
- Maureen Ryan (2009-01-23). "'Battlestar Galactica' veterans move on to 'Caprica'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- Conversations with Ross: Featuring Jane Espenson http://www.rosscarey.com/2012/04/24/episode-63-featuring-jane-espenson/
- Zaino, Nick (2010-08-06). "'Buffy', 'Breaking Bad' Writers Join 'Torchwood'". TV Squad. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
- Espenson, Jane. "I'm writing 3 5 7 and splitting the writing on 8.". Verified Twitter Account. Twitter. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- "Jane Espenson on Twitter". April 19, 2011.
- Jensen, Michael (20 January 2011). ""Caprica"'s Jane Espenson: "It's Time For Sexuality to be Incidental"". AfterElton. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
- Jefferey, Morgan (3 June 2011). "Eliza Dushku confirmed for 'Torchwood' spinoff". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- Espenson, Jane (2011-07-11). "Exclusive! "Jane's Take" Episode One "Torchwood: Miracle Day"". After Elton. Retrieved 2011-07-11.
- Hibberd, James. "'Buffy' writers to pen Syfy's Brit hit". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
- Jane Anders, Charlie. "Jane Espenson tells io9 about bringing Britain's greatest ghost detective to America". io9. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
- "BIOS — Husbands". Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- Jane Espenson, Liz Tigelaar Join ABC's "Once Upon a Time". Accessed 16 February 2012.
- 'Battlestar Galactica' countdown: Jane Espenson and the 'Buffy' connection LA Times, Jan 6 2009
- Master Metaphor List, compiled 1989-1991 by Lakoff, Espenson, and others, from a University of Illinois at Chicago website
- The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor, published in Metaphor and Thought (1993, ISBN 0-521-40547-5)
- "International Academy of Web Television Announces Nominees for the 2nd Annual IAWTV Awards". IAWTVAwards.org. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
- "WINNERS: 4th Annual Indie Soap Awards". WeLoveSoaps.net. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
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