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Best and Worst Directors

The directors below are ranked based on the average quality of their episodes after taking into account when the episode aired and whether the episode is part of a two-part episode. Only directors who directed at least four episodes are in the list. Directors who directed one, two, or three episodes each are combined into the "Other Directors" category.

The number in parentheses can be thought of as being the "Joss bonus." It represents how many points an episode directed by this person would gain if it were directed by Joss Whedon instead. Low numbers suggest that the director is almost as good as Joss Whedon. High numbers suggest that Joss Whedon could have done a much better job. By definition, Joss Whedon gets a 0 on this statistic. This assumes that the director of the episode is the main cause of the episode's quality.

1. Joss Whedon (0.00)

Directed 20 Episodes
Best Episode: "Once More, with Feeling" (121.50 points)
Worst Episode: "The Freshman" (66.80 points)

2. Nick Marck (12.13)

Directed 7 Episodes
Best Episode: "Fool for Love" (90.69 points)
Worst Episode: "Doublemeat Palace" (53.93 points)

3. Michael Lange (13.07)

Directed 4 Episodes
Best Episode: "Surprise" (79.13 points)
Worst Episode: "Pangs" (73.14 points)

4. Michael Gershman (14.63)

Directed 10 Episodes
Best Episode: "Passion" (99.05 points)
Worst Episode: "Older and Faraway" (65.87 points)

5. David Grossman (17.57)

Directed 13 Episodes
Best Episode: "Tabula Rasa" (94.74 points)
Worst Episode: "Out of My Mind" (63.04 points)

6. Other Directors (18.54)

Directed 27 Episodes
Best Episode: "Earshot" (Regis Kimble: 84.54 points)
Worst Episode: "I Robot... You Jane" (Stephen L. Posey: 55.38 points)

7. David Greenwalt (18.77)

Directed 4 Episodes
Best Episode: "The Wish" (91.84 points)
Worst Episode: "Bad Eggs" (57.37 points)

8. James A. Contner (19.71)

Directed 20 Episodes
Best Episode: "Grave" (83.70 points)
Worst Episode: "Empty Places" (63.15 points)

9. David Semel (19.73)

Directed 4 Episodes
Best Episode: "Lovers Walk" (80.70 points)
Worst Episode: "Go Fish" (58.21 points)

10. David Solomon (19.97)

Directed 19 Episodes
Best Episode: "Selfless" (83.40 points)
Worst Episode: "Where the Wild Things Are" (56.61 points)

11. Bruce Seth Green (20.62)

Directed 8 Episodes
Best Episode: "Halloween" (77.51 points)
Worst Episode: "Teacher's Pet" (57.26 points)

12. James Whitmore Jr. (20.90)

Directed 5 Episodes
Best Episode: "I Only Have Eyes for You" (76.69 points)
Worst Episode: "Dead Man's Party" (60.90 points)


The actors and the writers get most of the attention, so it is surprising that the director of an episode seems to have a larger association with the quality of an episode than any other factor studied on this site except for when an episode airs. The data show that 21.6% of the quality of an episode can be explained by who directed it. Most of this is due to Joss Whedon. The difference between #1 Joss Whedon and #2 Nick Marck is larger than the difference between #2 Nick Marck and #12 James Whitmore Jr.

If you wonder how the director of "Doublemeat Palace" still made it to second place, five of the other six episodes that he directed are all in the top 65, with three in the top 20. "Doublemeat Palace" alone adds nearly four points to Nick Marck's Joss bonus.

This page was last modified on January 25, 2013