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GKarsEye June 5th 10 01:56

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Having neglected my nerdly pop culture duty on two major fronts: Buffy and Harry Potter- that is, I've never watched any of it (nor read the Potter books), and having lost all interest in movies, and running out of TV shows to watch (Treme and Breaking Bad ending their seasons soon, Lost finished for good, I couldn't be bothered with V or Flash Forward or whatever), I decided to jump into Buffy.

In our nerd/sci-fi world, it's the biggest most important cultural phenomenon of our generation. As much as I still love B5 I'm not going to delude myself into thinking anyone but like 5 people give a crap, and Trek's glory days really were before our time (Kirk rules, bitches!).

Also, I'm just totally in the mood for trivial nonsense, and whatever else it may have, I was promised hot chicks and monsters.

So I'm almost done with season 1 (only 12 episodes). And my first impression- well this show is pretty damn stupid. 5 minutes into it and I'm like "oh I remember why I never watched this before- it's about a girl named Buffy who slays vampires."

Fortunately I'm in the mood for stupid so this is totally passable cheesy entertainment.

I'm also very aware that one must be charitable with first seasons. If I can swallow N'Grath and Tasha Yar being kidnapped by a tribe of racist stereotypes, then I can handle these ridiculous vampire masks that look like something you'd buy at Spencers.

The most important thing is the main character and she is indeed delightful. I never considered Gellar an unattractive woman, of course, but here in the flush of youth and increasingly shorter skirts, she is just the cutest little thing. I know Cordelia is supposed to be the great beauty and Willow is the geek fantasy, but Gellar is just smokin'.

What the hell is the point of the Cordelia character anyway? She adds nothing, at least not yet.

Xander and Willow are mostly annoying and not very good actors. Their supposed to mostly deliver jokes and serve as the accessibility points for the audience, but they are so clunky and awkward that it's painful. Xander had a more solid presence in the heyena-spirit-abduction episode (which I enjoyed way more than I should have), so I'm hoping they'll find something cool for him to do down the line.

As for Willow, I think later she becomes gay if I remember my internets properly, which I don't care about but whatever (though her crush on Xander is pretty straight, but whatever, we TV shows have to have our socially relevant points...)

Angel is the worst character so far. OMG what an annoying prick. Ok yes he's very good-looking, I can see why the teenage girlies liked him, what with his pecs and hair and brooding (I'm just going to assume he is the primary inspiration/blame for Twilight). I hear he gets a spinoff- I hope this dude acquires a personality before then.

Love the watcher. Hits me right in my anglophile soul.

Love the principals. Sad to see the first dude eaten, but impressed that they went there. Now there's Quark! And he's introduced by slamming the previous principal's "wooly-headed liberal" thinking. Lots of stuff on this show now ends up playing like 90s-nostalgia porn, especially the way the aging boomers try to "nurture" their kids with methods and such, especially Buffy's mother. And how in the otherwise atrocious episode about the internet demon robot, how the 'net was new and scary and mysterious. Though if I can go the rest of my life without hearing the word "techno-pagan" again, it'll be too soon.

Of course like most monster fare I have to not think about plot points too carefully. At the end of the pilot, Xander is surprised that everyone can just go about their day after The Harvest, and the librarian just blows it off. No, Xander, you're right- that's not normal! People just die left and right, and no one seems bothered by it. Yes the show sometimes makes joking self-deprecating references, but as the plots will get more involved (ridiculous), I'm expecting that to get less funny and more lazy.

The Master is just some queen bitch, like the MC at a drag club. I'm going to assume he dies shortly- he can't be a long-term villain.

This show has a reputation for getting all serious and dealing with "characters" and "issues" and whatever, which I'm hoping is good, but I'm really enjoying the superficial stupidity of the whole thing right now and I hope it doesn't completely lose this charm.

Oh, I suppose it goes without saying that this thread is by me for me and should remain spoiler free for episodes I haven't watched yet. Tonight I plan on finishing season 1.

Alluveal June 5th 10 02:33

Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I have season 1 ready to watch. I got through 3 episodes and am having a hard time picking it up again. I have heard that you just have to grin and bear it through season 1 and that it gets better as it goes.

KoshFan June 5th 10 03:16

Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 1 is rocky, without question, but the last three are the strongest of that first run, so I'll be interested to see what you newbies have to say by the end of the S1 finale.

The beginning of S2 is also a bit patchy, but there's an episode called "Lie to Me" early on that is one of the greats, and then things really start to pick up. Character development? You better believe it.

GKarsEye June 5th 10 06:24

Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
So... a girl is ignored, even by her teacher, and that makes her literally invisible. Um.... ok....

A little league coach beats the shit out of one of his players for missing a catch. Um.... ok...

Look, I know it's a show about monsters and shit, but come on, that doesn't mean we have to make EVERYTHING retarded.

Other than the big reveal ending, I like the episode where everyone's nightmares became reality. Xander especially- first they go with the cliche naked in class thing (which, btw, means the dreamer is NAKED, not wearing underwear), but then they redeem that with the clown thing. Interesting that he was the only one who was able to actually defeat his nightmare.

By focusing so much on Willow being ignored and shy, she will get her star turn at some point and become some kind of bad-ass warrior or monster or super-hero or something like that. By turning down Xander asking her to the dance after being rejected by Buffy, we see that she may be a nerd but she ain't a sucker.

The big showdown between Buffy and the Master was a letdown, though I suppose I expected too much. The whole execution felt awkward, with the kid and whatnot. And they set it up with that prophecy about how she's gonna die, and get around it by having Xander give her CPR. Lame.

Ok sure she says she feels better and maybe she's stronger, so we'll see in season 2 if she's actually a vampire, which means she'll be un-vampired at some point. But I can't see how this can be resolved without making the whole prophecy business pretty pointless. I hope to be proven wrong. And I also hope at some point we get some background mythology on where these prophecies come from.

The internets tell me seasons 2 and 3 are like the greatest thing on TV ever ever, so I look forward to that.

jnk5y June 5th 10 06:37

Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I've seen a few episodes here and there and I can definitely see the Joss sense of humor. They definitely don't take themselves seriously with the monster fighting but they do take the relationships seriously. Never tried to watch it season by season though. Maybe one day :)

Hulu does have Angel's first season and I've been enjoying that. He's still brooding and wears way too many layers for LA weather.

wade8069 June 5th 10 09:10

Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I watched seasons 1-7, great show

Chilli June 5th 10 11:16

Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Angel got some character by the time he got his own show, but not too much. It's mostly the supporting characters - two in particluar - that carried the spin-off for me. I can't really say too much here without spoiling anything, but .. while Angel remains pretty bland an uninteresting most of the time, he has his moments - moments of pure awesomeness.

It's been a long time since I watched Buffy, so I don't actually remember too many of the individual plot points you're talking about (like the little league thingy - no memory of that. I do remember the hyena episode, though, which I loved to bits) .. but I do remember feeling much the same about the show in the beginning. It was great brainless fun, but pretty stupid. At the beginning, I enjoyed the stand-alone episodes, but got bored everytime they tried to move the arc along .. but my feeling about this changed radically at some point in season 2.

Seasons 2, 3 and 5 are the strongest ones IMHO, but all seasons have their individual fantastic episodes.

Regarding character development .. KoshFan is going to come down hard on me for this, but I did not actually think it was that good, if you look at the big picture. There were some spectacular individual character-driven episodes, but it's really not like B5 (or even Harry Potter ;) ) where everything feels completely coherent in retrospective. Frankly, some of the major character developments are pretty gimmicky.

Also, don't expect any payoffs across season boundaries. I'm sure there are some exceptions I'm forgetting about, but if in general .. if something you're expecting or hoping for doesn't happen by the end of the season, it's not going to happen. That being said, some of the individual seasons are planned out quite well.

Alluveal June 5th 10 12:22

Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I think my biggest issue with the show is that it was too "trendy" and "look at me, I'm going to throw whiz-bang insults and come-backs all . . . the . . . time . . ." Just felt too cheeky for me. Maybe my tastes have changed now. No idea. I'll get into it as soon as I get caught up on Dexter.

admiraldave June 5th 10 14:09

Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Originally Posted by GKarsEye (Post 362108)
I'm also very aware that one must be charitable with first seasons. If I can swallow N'Grath and Tasha Yar being kidnapped by a tribe of racist stereotypes, then I can handle these ridiculous vampire masks that look like something you'd buy at Spencers.

Speaking of N'Grath, did you enjoy his cameo as a bug woman that wanted to eat Xander? Same puppet.

Buffy remains one of my all-time favourite series, though I admit the first season was rocky. Season 6 was horrible with only a few bright spots.

Chilli June 5th 10 14:33

Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I actually preferred season 6 to season 7 - season 6 was mostly brain-numbingly stupid, but enjoyable in the same way season 1 was for me - brainless stupid fun. Season 7 was just tedious - with even fewer exceptions than there were to season 6's sucking.

Regarding the hipness/trendiness of the show .. I've got the same problem with Buffy that I've got with Firefly, in that the dialogue for me is actually almost too good. I've been in the company of some pretty witty people (this is me, once again, sucking up to my master GKE - among other people), but the way characters on Joss shows often have once-in-a-lifetime comebacks ready for the most unpredictable insults and the such is .. awesome, but not quite lifelike.

(Which is maybe a bit of a shit complaint about a show that's about a girl called Buffy killing vampires)

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