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The Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel Appreciation Thread
Oh yeah I would certainly give it a shot. It was announced around the same time that Whedon's wife wrote that letter.
“I call upon you to stop this musical now,” she said to the board. “You tear a community apart if you don’t.” -Prachi Ruina                                                            
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Now that I think of it everybody expected 'something bad' to come out when Whedon left The Nevers but we saw nothing. Maybe he really was exhausted (or the show is a mess and will be crucified).
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Ehh don't worry Ray Fisher has this covered.
“I call upon you to stop this musical now,” she said to the board. “You tear a community apart if you don’t.” -Prachi Ruina                                                            
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At any rate he's got nothing better to do.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
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I'll still watch The Nevers. Has to be better than Orlando Bloom in Fairytown.
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Yeah, I'm still intrigued by The Nevers.
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(01-17-2021, 04:02 PM)kyle reese 2 Wrote: I'll still watch The Nevers. Has to be better than Orlando Bloom in Fairytown.

That was not good?
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It was alright.
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I haven't actually seen it. I'm assuming based on the ads I saw. Most opinions I heard said it was sit-throughable but not essential.
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That's about right.
“I call upon you to stop this musical now,” she said to the board. “You tear a community apart if you don’t.” -Prachi Ruina                                                            
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Entering season seven now.

Goddamn is the Buffyverse great.

Hell's Bells might be my least favorite episode of the show. Skipping it on any later rewatch.

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Anya was annoying me by that point, so I'm fine with Xander tanking the wedding like that, lol.

We get to see Xander's drunk dad in action, so it's a key episode for the Buffy mythology.
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Speaking of which do we ever see either one of Willow's parents? I can't remember a single instance.
“I call upon you to stop this musical now,” she said to the board. “You tear a community apart if you don’t.” -Prachi Ruina                                                            
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(01-18-2021, 07:11 PM)waaaaaaaalt Wrote: Speaking of which do we ever see either one of Willow's parents? I can't remember a single instance.

Yes.

Willow's mother shows up in an episode and tries to burn Buffy and Willow at the stake (the Hansel and Gretel one, Gingerbread is the title, I think).

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As bad as "Hells Bells" is, it does serve as set up to "Selfless" a season 7 Anya episode that is one of my favorites. We get ancient pre-demon Anya and a bonus song from the musical.
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(01-18-2021, 07:38 PM)Overlord Wrote:
(01-18-2021, 07:11 PM)waaaaaaaalt Wrote: Speaking of which do we ever see either one of Willow's parents? I can't remember a single instance.

Yes.

Willow's mother shows up in an episode and tries to burn Buffy and Willow at the stake (the Hansel and Gretel one, Gingerbread is the title, I think).

Oh that's right! I remember that now.
“I call upon you to stop this musical now,” she said to the board. “You tear a community apart if you don’t.” -Prachi Ruina                                                            
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(01-18-2021, 08:37 AM)Overlord Wrote: Entering season seven now.

Goddamn is the Buffyverse great.

Hell's Bells might be my least favorite episode of the show.  Skipping it on any later rewatch.

 Xander was a fool to leave Anya at the altar!
I've got good news and I've got bad news. The bad news is I've lost my way. The good news is I'm way ahead of schedule!
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This is the fifth or sixth of these I've done (I think). Kids and I are loving the show. We just finished season 6 and are now well into season seven.

Collection of random thoughts:

--My recollection of season six is that it was my least or second least favorite season. It's now solidly my least favorite, which is truly amazing considering that it contains two episodes that are in my top five (one of which may be the top slot) in OMWF and Tabula Rasa. I also think the two part opening, bargaining is fantastic. So what went wrong?

--The first half of season six is buoyed by two fucking amazing hooks: Buffy's return and Spike's obsessive love for her. Somewhere around the halfway point, maybe even a bit earlier (but definitely after Tabula Rasa) those two hooks begin to peter out. Buffy feeling detached and "wrong" is expected (would feel unnatural otherwise), but it goes on a looooong time. Similarly, the status quo with Spike becomes stale a good 3-4 episodes before he FINALLY heads off to Africa to get his soul back. Waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much wheel-spinning.

--The two arcs, above, are fairly static ... we don't see much movement through the course of season six. That gets wearisome fairly fast, so they try to bridge the content gap with Willow's shenanigans with exploring dark magic, the Trio's inept fumbling, and the rise and fall of Anya and Xander's romance. All of these fail for various reasons, IMHO.

--I actually recollect Willow's arc being more compelling than it was. I think there are two huge problems: first, it's structured incredibly poorly. It starts, it falls, it starts up again, then we have an over-the-top three episode sequence with full on dark Willow. If I took a chart and drew the structure of that plot strand it would look like a series of peaks and valleys. That may work for ancillary side stories, but it sure as heck doesn't work for a main character arc. Her turning dark should have been in the last episode, and it should be a moment, not a rampage of destruction. The "end of the world" channeling bit felt like pure fucking nonsense. We didn't need to raise the stakes, losing Willow to dark magic was bad enough. It was a lousy, lazy feeling tack-on. Also, dare I say it, but Hanigan was better suited to vampy goth Willow than she was to uber-witch Willow. Her behavior often came across as cruel and callous, not grief-stricken and angry. I don't think Alyson really had a handle on what tone she wanted to channel. For example, Willow's behavior in Wrecked, which is the tenth episode, is not that far off from her behavior after she goes full Dark Phoenix. This indicates to me that the actress has perhaps lost her connection with the tone of the writing.

--The Trio doesn't really work, either. Even though Warren Mears has become one of the most creepily prescient villains in the history of television, they just don't work as the main antagonists. For one thing season six is so jam-packed with soap opera beats that never end they don't literally have enough screentime. Because they don't have enough screentime the evolution from inept pranksters to scary incel monsters feels haphazard and jumpy.

--Anya and Xander ... hoo boy. Hell's Bells is so, so, so bad of an episode. Xander got his fucking brain fried by demonic hallucinations and nobody seems to give a shit? OF COURSE YOU CALL OFF THE WEDDING, AT LEAST TEMPORARILY. What, all these people with umpteen experience with magic don't know he's completely fucked up and lost? ANYA DOESN'T REALIZE IT?!?!? "You don't want to marry me?!?!?!?" Uhhh, he was just tormented with horrible demonic visions Brendon gives a lousy performance and the writing of his character is fucking terrible and not true to Xander.

--Hell's Bells comes across as even worse considering it happens right near Normal Again. For some reason in Normal Again all of the characters realize that Buffy is hallucinating horrible shit and are supportive, understanding, and let her shut down for a while. Meanwhile, with Xander, they expect him to put his tux back on and recover from being tormented with hellscape visions of his future. WHAT?!?!?

--In re: "Normal Again," listen ... I know it's a TV show. I know that debating whether a story represents a "fiction within a fiction" is kind of pointless since the whole thing is fiction. But setting aside the inherent silliness, I have a real problem with this episode. There is no framing device that allows the viewer to conclude which of the two narratives, within the fiction of the Buffyverse, are real. You can say that if it wasn't "real" then Buffy wouldn't see or experience third party characters, but that rings pretty damned hollow. I don't like this episode. It plays games with viewer expectations. It's creepy, but I just don't think the final five minutes belongs in the Buffyverse.

--Speaking of viewer expectations, a lot of S6 I believe breaks some of the fundamental expectations that a viewer could reasonably have about this show. Gun usage, honoring prior characterization patterns, Buffy as part of a larger organization (Watchers), explicit sexual content that goes waaaaaaaaaaay beyond innuendo and cutaways. What happened?

--I don't think the name "Giles" is spoken aloud from the moment he leaves until the moment he returns. This is lousy. Nobody even suggests they may want to give him a phone call? They didn't invite him to the wedding? Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

--I honestly have no idea what the doublemeat palace arc was supposed to be about other than to fill time. The fact that Buffy can't find a better job makes every character in the show look like a moron.

--Riley's return was hysterical.

--Seeing Red should have been the penultimate episode. One episode of a more narrowly focused Dark Willow would have been plenty.

--At the end of S6 when Buffy says "things have not been okay, but they're going to get better" I loved it. Cause I felt like they were talking about S6. After the first eight episodes, I can't really say I enjoyed too many of major story arcs (though there was some great standalone fun).

--Older and Far Away feels like an episode that was written by someone who wasn't aware that Dawn was supposed to be 15 instead of 8. It's a TON of fun if you ignore that problem, but c'mon. I've warmed to Dawn while watching Buffy as a parent (seriously, it gives me an entirely new perspective and makes my impression of Dawn on my initial viewing of the show seem a touch juvenile), but that episode was a bit much.

--Willow has murdered two people, one of whom as far as I can tell did nothing except peddle recreational magics to folks, and Giles and Buffy retreat to a back room to laugh with each other? What. The. Fuck.

--I have long defended season 7 as the most underrated season of the entire Buffyverse, and while I'm only three episodes I really don't think that's going to change. First, it looks fantastic. Second, it is often legitimately creepy (that skin eating demon was horrifying). Third, it builds upon the stakes and developments of the prior seasons and feels like a natural progression. Buffy returning to the high school with Dawn feels sooooooooo natural and true to the Buffyverse in a way that the Doublemeat Palace, stalking about Spike's crypt, and Dark Willow's over-the-top reign of terror don't. Season seven is just great (even "bad" Buffy is still a great show, but you know what I mean).

---I think I've already laughed more in the first three episodes than I did the entire back half of S6. Thank fucking Cthulhu Buffy's moping, Anya and Xander's wedding, Dark Willow, and Giles's absence are in the rearview mirror.

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If I recall correctly, plans for the Doublemeat Palace  to figure more prominently were voted down by the show's sponsors. One can easily imagine a version of the show where the 24-hour restaurant became the Scoobies' new hangout/base of operations.

As for Dark Willow, I agree that Hannigan seems out of her comfort zone. She excels at portraying intense emotion, but DW's nihilist lack of emotion or empathy requires a different skill set-- compare this performance to Amy Acker's heartbreakingly hollowed-out Illyria.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
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Good comparison.

Acker managed the tonal shift well, Hanigan did not. I feel like she was disconnected from the material, whether due to acting limitations or just not vibing with the writing.

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Caleb is grossly underrated as Buffy bad guys go. 



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This is the sixth or seventh of these I've done (I think). Kids loved the show and we just wrapped it up (we're now a few episodes into Angel).

While I think I remember the show pretty well from the first time around, a rewatch really helps you put everything into perspective.

Collection of random thoughts:

--Such an underrated season (I think). Having the First as the final "big bad" was a stroke of genius as it allows them to crystallize and distill all the various menaces that have come before it. While we like Buffy to go "smashy smashy" from time to time, the reality is that evil is not a baddie in a black hat. It can be fought, but never defeated. It's a war that cannot be won and this season portrayed that really well. S6 feels like endless wheel-spinning in comparison. I do wish the First had never appeared in a kind of lackluster fashion in S3, however. Presented much better here.

--The fresh blood is absolutely welcome to me. I'm always shocked when people say that the potentials weren't needed, I feel the opposite. The potentials, Robin Wood, Andrew, the show desperately need some fresh energy. The Buffyverse had to get bigger, and it did. Look at how much fresh life the show received from exploring Wood's backstory. The show needed more of that, not less. Frankly, most of the characterization arcs of the main characters felt pretty complete. A resounding conclusion was needed and S7 delivered, IMHO.

--Awakening all the potentials was such a shocking moment of television, but in retrospect it seemed like an obvious stratagem. There is no better sign of good writing than what happens on screen feeling completely natural even if it hadn't occurred to you before.

--If you told me Conversations with Dead People was the best episode of this show I'd listen. It's definitely in the conversation. It's brilliantly incisive about where Buffy and Willow are as characters. Plus it's just plain creepy as fuck. Willow recoiling in horror when she realizes Cassie isn't Cassie is terrifying in a way that umpteen vampires never managed.

--My son wasn't really sold on the First Evil until Caleb showed up, then he kind of bought in. When you're a kid I think the big monsters that can knock down houses terrify you, but when you're an adult the notion of spectres returning from your past to remind you of the terrible mistakes you have made is far more frightening.

--I had no problem with Anya dying in battle (frankly, I have to wonder if more of them shouldn't have died), but I still think it just wasn't framed and shot well.

--How many fucking times am I going to have to watch Xander's eye get gouged out thanks to the Amazon Prime "what happened last week" snippets at the beginning?

--Xander, Anya, Angel, and Willow look like they're in their early thirties, at least, in this. Spike looks like he's in his mid thirties. At least SMG and Dushku still look age-appropriate for their casting.

--Angel's appearance is so fucking great. My daughter actually stood up and cheered (then proceeded to cry when they kissed). Then he wanders off. I think that could maybe have been written a little more smoothly.

--The guardian asking Buffy her name and then saying: "Buffy? No, really." And Buffy just sits there unreacting. HAHAHAHAHA. S7 is consistently funny and might be the first season that can claim that since S3.

--If have a knock on S7, it's this: It could have used at least three more episodes. The final two parter should have been a three parter, we needed one more foundational episode of Dawn in school and Spike coming out of his poetry-spouting ramblings, and we absolutely needed another "town clearing out, preparing for battle" entry. In fact, if you argued that S7 should have been 28-30 episodes, I'd listen and probably end up agreeing.

--Knocking the Buffyverse for production value woes is low-hanging fruit. What the show accomplished on the budget it had was amazing, and everything was at least adequate most of the time. All of that being said, I'm sorry, but whoever designed the Scythe was out of their fucking mind. Every time they say it's "ancient" or that it "predates blah blah blah" I have to laugh cause it looks like obnoxious mallninja shit made of pure chinesium. Who the hell chose dayglo red as the main color? Make it of oak and brass/bronze and call it a day for fuck's sake.

--What an ending for Spike. Perfectly distilled his relationship with Buffy and gave him a proper send-off (though thankfully it didn't stick).

--Faith's scene with the Mayor was fantastic. Again, we could have used more time in this season to explore it.

--A throwaway line that not every Turok Han would be as tough as that first one would have been nice considering that they quickly became cannon fodder.

--Could Buffy have continued? Absolutely. But not without a format change. I think they pushed the ensemble formula post High School as far as they could, some might say too far. If it had continued it would need a radical redesign or multiple spinoffs.

--That damn Early One Morning song is stuck in my head.

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The finale had everything that I loved about the show in one episode: humor, heartbreak, good character interaction, and a wild battle to close things out. What looks like battle planning session turning out to be a game of DnD was the kind of cleverness that made me a fan of the show. Giles's character being wounded made it even funnier.  I still don't like Anya dying. I just wanted to see one happy relationship on the show! ONE!

  Speaking of romance I never bought Willow and Kennedy as a couple. Willow loved Tara so much, that her death made her want to end the world, so I didn't buy she would be in a relationship with somebody else so quick.
I've got good news and I've got bad news. The bad news is I've lost my way. The good news is I'm way ahead of schedule!
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(02-01-2021, 12:47 AM)Chaz Rock City Wrote: I just wanted to see one happy relationship on the show! ONE!

You were warned in season one, episode eight.


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Kids and I are about two thirds of the way through the second season of Angel (the second season is fantastic). Here are a few thoughts that occurred to me on this (first) rewatch:

--I did not recall how heavily episodic the first season was. I don't know if this was an attempt to separate Angel from the Buffy-formula, but other than some lip service to Wolfram & Hart here and there and Angel's overall motivation this is essentially 22 monster-of-the-week episodes.

--This pains me to admit, but the show finds its footing immediately after Doyle's death. The first half of S1 kind of struggles and the second half is great. Doyle was written too similarly to Angel and Doyle manages to out-intensify Boreanaz in umpteen scenes where the characters' emotional states essentially mirror each other. Quinn was a very good actor but I think the character was poorly conceived from the get-go given he has almost identical beats as the lead. Imagine if Angel, instead of Doyle, had died in the first season. The tone and overall direction of the show could have simply continued in much the same vein because Doyle and Angel were written too similarly to each other. They're supposed to be contrasting with and bouncing off each other, not competing as to who more badly needs redemption or has the more twisted backstory.

--Season Two has been incredible so far. The flashback episode with Darla and the 1950s period episode are two of the finest Buffyverse episodes, period. I might put them in the top ten overall.

--I remember liking the Lilah character a lot more than I have been. Maybe she gets some new material later on.

--My son asked me "why did Angel do that?" when he locked the doors on Holland Manners and the other Wolfram & Hart Biglaw™ jackals. Cause at his core there's a lot about him that isn't good, and that's part of what tortures him.

--I can remember literally saying during the pilot episode on my first watch decades ago that "Angel is basically Batman." Yeah, not much has changed in regards to that opinion.

--Is it my imagination or is the stuntwork and conceptualizing of action sequences consistently simply better on Angel? Maybe Boreanaz, Denisof, etc., were more comfortable with doing some of this work themselves? I imagine it has to be very limiting in terms of camera set-up when you pretty much can't ever show your protagonist's face as they're fighting.

--Angel manages a sense of scale, particularly in regards to "travel distance by car" better in its first few seasons better than Buffy ever managed to. Part of this might be due to the fact that Buffy takes place in a small town and is designed to evoke that feeling, but part of might be that they just do a better job.

--The fact that Wesley, Gunn, and Cordy have separate but essentially parallel storylines through much of S2 of Angel was a wonderful creative choice. It not only gives us a chance to focus exclusively on Angel's mental deterioration but it gives the rest of the crew some BADLY needed breathing room to develop independently for a bit.

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The 50s ep was the one where he first visited the Hotel? That one was terrific.

Besides just preferring the writing and characters on Angel, one of the bigger differences between it and Buffy for me was that when Angel went dark, it kept its emotional core and seemed to be following the natural evolution of its story. When Buffy went dark (season 6 & 7), it often lost track of what made the show work and seemed to be pretty obviously straining for awards recognition.

And Angel had Minear and later Edlund.
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Did you rewatch Buffy 5:7 "Fool For Love" alongside "Darla"? Originally they aired back-to-back.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
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(02-24-2021, 08:26 PM)hammerhead Wrote: Did you rewatch Buffy 5:7 "Fool For Love" alongside "Darla"? Originally they aired back-to-back.

I did not, but I remember it pretty well. My son picked up on the connection, which impressed me.  He loved the slo-mo walking sequence at the end.

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The episode of Angel named Belonging (19th episode, second season) in which Charisma Carpenter's character Cordelia Chase has to deal with an abusive television director (for example, continuously mocking her appearance), feels dangerously like an extended joke at Carpenter's expense given what we now know ...

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