That got me to imagine what it would look like if Buffy and Angel were a book series and if they got a TV adaptation similar to what GoT is right now... Say, two showrunners, let's call them Ray and Rick, started to adapt the story originally written by Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon, Tim Minear and others and decided that they should really make some changes...
This is one of the show’s most unusual and original episodes. But while most of the BtVS episodes with an unusual format belong to its best (Hush, Restless, The Body, Once More, With Feeling, Conversations with Dead People), The Zeppo is, at the same time, a great episode and a very bad episode – depending on whether you look at in isolation or within the continuity of the show.
This isn’t one of the very best BtVS season 3 episodes, but it can be argued it’s one of the most important ones, for several reasons: it completely changes our views on the Council of Watchers; it irrevocably changes Giles’ status/relationship with them, and therefore represents a crucial moment in his arc; and it also deals with an issue that may be at the heart of the show’s themes: what would happen in Buffy lost her superstrength?
It’s also worth mentioning that this is the second episode in the show where Buffy is celebrating her birthday, and it’s continuing the tradition started by Surprise/Innocence that something terrible must happen on Buffy’s birthday.
Buffy rewatch: 3.11 Gingerbread (and the return from hiatus) So... this is pretty embarrassing to say, but I started this rewatch a few years ago, believing I will post regularly and finish it within a year. But then, a lot of stuff was happening, I was moving, got a new job, was distracted by a lot of things and didn't find time to write my reviews (which always turned out to be pretty long and time-consuming)... And thus it was that, once upon a time, I made a long, long break, after I had posted the review of episode 3.10 Amends. Then I decided to rewatch the show once again, posted a review of the movie and overviews of seasons 1 and 2, again... and then another break happened, this time some 2.5 years long!
I almost lost hope I'd ever finish this rewatch... but I never give up on my projects, I just postpone them. It was just a matter of something making me get off my butt... or rather, making me get on my butt in front of my computer and forcing me to write. And finally, that something happened several months ago, when my dear friends and fellow Buffy fans on the Buffyforums.net forum started a collective Buffy rewatch, which I have been participating in, with each of us picking an episode, two or three each season to review, as a starting point for discussion. If you want to join in, register, if you don't, you can lurk and read our reviews and discussions:
This has given me the boost to get back to Buffy, rewatch it from the beginning, and try to continue where I've left. There's no need to write new reviews for the episodes I've already covered - for most of them, the new rewatch did not change my opinion significantly. You can find the review of the Buffy movie, "The Origin" comic, all season 1 and 2 episodes as well as season overviews, as well as the first 10 episodes of season 3, on my Livejournal under the "Buffy rewatch" tag, and most of them are also on Dreamwidth under the "Buffy rewatch" tag. You can also find them on TrekBBS forum on my rewatch thread: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=137271&page=11
I've also written several new and improved reviews for some of the season 2 and 3 episodes I've already reviewed here:
Now that I've caught up with where I was when I made this embarrassingly, shockingly long break, I intend to continue with my reviews. I've rewatched almost to the end of season 3, and I will be posting the reviews for the second part of Buffy (episodes 3.11 - 3.22) of season 3 over the next week or two. After that, I hope to settle into posting an episode review each week - a reasonably realistic schedule, and parallel with the Buffyforums group rewatch, which is also one episode a week. (Though I must say in advance that this may mean no episode for two weeks and then a couple in a row, for instance - since my job is such that I can have free time at times and then be terribly busy once I get the new translation task and a tight deadline - it's all unpredictable.)
Right - so, let's start, or rather continue, with episode 3.11.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Gingerbread. There are lots of things I really like about this episode, but there also some aspects of it that severely bug me. I think my opinion of the episode is still mostly positive, but I can see why it has quite a few haters.
I watched Skyfall last night - I’m not a fan of the Bond franchise, but I did like Casino Royale, and this one got great reviews for some reason… Why, I really don’t know. The story is deeply unsatisfying and even more problematic than The Dark Knight Rises. What I get from this story is that Bond doesn’t care about saving people other than his boss
(and doesn’t actually get to save anyone in the whole movie),
MI6 is endangering the world more than it’s actually protecting it, and M would be completely unlikeable if she weren’t played by Judi Dench: she puts MI6 above everything and ‘is ready to sacrifice anyone’s life, except her own. local_max goes into more detail about the problems of Skyfall’s story: http://local-max.livejournal.com/52540.html
Skyfall could work as a really dark story about an antihero spy, an orphan who doesn’t really have anyone or love anyone except his Mother Country, who kills without remorse, doesn’t care about saving people, uses women and treats them like shit and is ready to let them die, while the only person he’ll go out of his way to protect and that he’s willing to risk his life for is his mother-figure boss, the embodiment of MI5 and Mother England, who’s using him and treating him like shit and doesn’t care if he lives or die. And even when he has an out to be free and live a different life, he comes back to the fold to work for them again, like someone who keeps coming back to an abusive relationship.
The problem is that the film can’t commit to this dark interpretation despite offering so much in favor of it, but tries to make Bond, M and MI5 into heroes and the ending into Bond’s triumphant return to his life in her majesty’s service.
The best part of the film, by far, is the amazing opening title sequence and Adele’s theme song, and I can’t help thinking it would work much better for some other, better story.
Today's rant Fandoms can be very frustrating, as we all know. Unless you find a very special safe haven where intelligent discussions can be had, you're going to get depressed and angry all the time. Art may be subjective and open to interpretation, but as you venture into online discussions of popular TV shows, books and movies, chances are that you're going to come across a great deal of absurd opinions and blatant Point-Missing. Chances are you'll also find a great deal of sexism and misogyny, including the extreme privileging of the male character's POV, and the vilification of female characters, going together with the idealization and saintification of the male characters. This in particularly tends to happen once you come anywhere near the rampant shipping or slashing... which means, in pretty much every fandom.
I'm not that surprised when this happens in fandoms of TV shows that are focused on male characters or where fans are obsessed with slashing the male characters and therefore treat the female characters as threats. But what is particularly irritating is when this kind of thing permeates fandoms of franchises based around an amazing, strong heroine, especially when shipping starts taking everything. Now, don't misunderstand me. There's nothing wrong with shipping. I ship, too, in the sense that I am more invested in some fictional relationships than other, or prefer one relationship to another. Where it all becomes infuriating is a particular type of "shipper" war that is all about squeeing over the male characters and privileging their POV, even if their function in the story is just that of a love interest (or a quasi love interest), while the heroine is treated as a trophy for one's Favorite Guy. This kind of shipping isn't about relationship at all, since many fans don't care about things like, how these two people function together, or what their story is about, and it's not unusual to see "shippers" who hate the female character, but just want Their Guy to be rewarded. Or they're furious because this female obviously doesn't deserve Their Guy, since she committed the grave sin of not falling into his arms the moment he showed an interest in her and proclaiming eternal love and commitment the very moment, realizing just how incredibly awesome he is (the way that I, Mary Sue, would do, if I only had the chance to insert myself into the fictional narrative).
Speaking of which... To end the rant, let's have a good laugh. I want to share this Hunger Games parody video I've just discovered (an 'alternative version' of the Gale/Katniss scene where they say goodbye- even though it was posted in February) cracks me up literally every time. The only thing that's almost as funny is how many people didn't immediately realize it was a parody rather than a clip from the movie. . :D (Then again, it's not that far off the actual text...) ( I am selfless like thatCollapse )
So, I’ve finished my re-rewatch (!) of season 1. I expected it to go faster, but there were a lot of distractions – from unexpected work, to the fact that, well, it was hot summer weather and most days were being spent on a beach, and a lot of nights out in the city. My impressions were mostly the same as the last time, which is no surprise since the last rewatch was just over a year ago. I took notes of the few things I didn’t notice before or didn’t include in my previous reviews, but most of it were fun minor things, from fashion choices to various details to mistakes you only notice after you’ve watched the show a few times.
You can check my previously posted reviews and ratings (out of 5 stars):
Could we take the words "jock" and "nerd" and kill them with fire? Please? The relentless obsession, found all over Internet, with those incredibly narrow and over-simplified (US) highschool stereotypes and with shoving every person in the world in those boxes has gotten really, really annoying. It's almost like the old "virgin vs whore" dichotomy.
Another word that needs to die a quick and painful death is "alpha" used to denote anything but the first letter of the Greek alphabet. (Or the code name of the Dollhouse character.) Except in the context of a conversation about actual wolf packs, or Teen Wolf. If I hear "an alpha" used for non-werewolf person, or "alpha" in conjuction with "male" once more time, I think I might go rabid.
Now we’re going to take a look at the differences between the script/the movie on one hand, and the show on the other. While the huge difference in tone is all due to the execution and script changes, there are a few things that don’t match with the show because Joss later changed his mind. Of course, the discontinuity doesn’t matter, since neither the movie nor the script are canon.
Buffy movie revisited + the canon version of Buffy’s origins (part 1) Today yesterday is was the 20 year anniversary of the release of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. (Note: Well, it was when I started writing this, when I finally get to post this, it will still be 31st July in the Western hemisphere...or parts of it... so it still counts... ) Perfect time to revisit the way it all started.
I remember seeing the movie on TV a few years before I started watching the show, and finding it a mildly funny but average, not very good and mostly ordinary teen comedy that tried to poke fun at vampire movies. I was always struck by how different the show is to the movie. Rewatching it now, after a long time, my impressions are the same, only more negative, because I can now see how much potential it wasted. This becomes especially obvious when you compare it Joss Whedon’s original script, which is available online, and which I read last week for the first time. A much better movie could have been made from this, and one that would have been a lot more in the spirit with the TV show. On the other hand, if the movie had matched Joss’ intentions, maybe he wouldn’t have felt compelled to take his idea to the small screen... So maybe it’s better it worked out this way.
The movie was declared not canon by Joss, so nothing from it actually has any bearing on the show and the comics continuity, but Joss has never filmed another version of Buffy’s origin story.
I will also revisit the only canon version of Buffy’s origins is the 1999 Dark Horse comic The Origin, which gives a more faithful adaptation of Joss’ original script, much closer to the spirit of the show, and attempts to reconcile the story with the TV show continuity (including scenes based on the flashbacks from the show), since there are quite a few discontinuities between Joss’s script and the movie on one side, and the show on the other. Joss has said this about this comic:
The origin comic, though I have issues with it, CAN pretty much be accepted as canonical. They did a cool job of combining the movie script (the SCRIPT) with the series, that was nice, and using the series Merrick and not a certain OTHER thespian who shall remain hated.
Wow it's been a while since the last time I posted anything on Livejournal or Dreamwidth. (The last thing I posted was in April.) But I had a really good reason for this hiatus, due to having been extremely busy these last 3 months with work - I had a huge translation job with strict deadlines, so lots of things got put on hold (frak, I didn't even go to the beach once this summer, despite the scorching heat). I finally finished it yesterday morning (on the deadline date!) so now I'm getting back to "normal". :) And this means, among other things, more regular posting.
For starters, here’s a little preview of what you can expect to see in this journal soon:
- My big Buffy rewatch finally continues (I wouldn’t hold it against you if you forgot I was even doing it). However, since there have been such big breaks (I can't believe I started it last February and didn't get further than mid-season 3 ) due to various circumstances, I've decided that over the next couple of weeks I'm going to do a marathon of the Buffy episodes I've already reviewed - to remind myself and get a bit of continuity before continuing with the rewatch.
I'm also going to do something I said I wouldn't, and start with watching the 1992 movie (which I've seen just once many years ago, a few years before I saw the show). I didn't plan to include it in the rewatch, since 1) it's not canon, 2) it sucks, but it'll be fun to see it again, see how it all started and compare it with the show, and compare it with the way Joss' script was adapted in The Origin comic, which he has approved as "pretty much canon". I won't do a proper review of the movie, but I'll post a few thoughts. Then I'll marathon season 1, season 2 and the first part of season 3, and post just a few thoughts - any new things I've noticed, has my opinion on anything changed in the meantime or not. And then of course, I'll continue with reviews as usual, starting with 3.11. Gingerbread.
- A few posts at least about the things I’ve read and watched over those last few months. First off, The Hunger Games trilogy, which I’ve read over the last months (how did I manage to read it while working? Because I don’t read books at home, I read while riding on a bus, or waiting at the doctor’s, or having a treatment at the beauty parlor, etc.). After seeing the film back in April, and loving it, and had to read the books . Contrary to some other opinions I’ve heard, I think it got better and better: I liked Catching Fire even more than the first book, and Mockingjay ended up being my favorite. Shit was real from the start, but it got realer, and darker... and the only thing I don’t know is how the heck are they going to keep the PG-13 rating for the other 3 films? I’m definitely going to write at least one long post/review, or 3 different reviews.
- The other thing I’ve read is Joss’s run of the The Astonishing X-Men, which is one of his best works (due both to his writing and the great art by John Cassaday). I’m quite new to the comics world – particularly superhero comics, which up till recently I was only familiar with through the big screen adaptations. I remember liking the first two X-Men films (for the social issues, mostly – despite not caring about things like the Wolverine/Jean/Cyclops love triangle); I haven’t seen the third one (which, from what I heard, is only for the best), but it was X-Men: First Class that got me really interested. However, AXM was quite a revelation with all the well-drawn characters (including some that seemed quite boring in the movies). I intend to keep reading the X-Men comics (and maybe some of the other Marvel superhero comics, too), but I’m really confused on the timeline and the reading order, and the sheer number of comics – maybe Marvel fans like selenakcould help me? Please?
- Despite mostly not going out due to work, I made exceptions for going to the cinema to see The Avengers(great) and Prometheus (WTF was that about? Well, at least it makes for fun Internet discussions).
- I’ve also watched seriously or occasionally several new TV shows (again, how did I do that despite the working schedule? Because I would have lost my marbles if I was just translating all the time, since the texts were about finances and banking and really boring and repetitive. My usual MO was to have the TV or radio on: I’ve watched more TV than ever over these 3 months... and I mean, literally TV: just the stuff that’s actually on TV at the time, not DVDs or online shows or anything. I’ve seen the entire Wimbledon championships while working on my computer simultaneously, and the „choice“ of shows was basically between the stuff that channels like AXN, Fox Crime or Fox Life (which air only TV shows and occasional movies, with lots of repeats and mini-marathons). Some shows that are heavily serialized and really interesting (like Homeland), I actually made an effort to watch with full attention (scheduling my dinner at the same time, or taking a break for work), others (like Life, which is a quirky procedural with a bit of an arc, but still a procedural) were perfect to have on screen while working and pay only divided attention to. New shows I’ve seen – the entire first 2 seasons of The Walking Dead (which is a really good show but infuriating in terms of gender – I’ll probably address that in one of my next posts), the entire first season of Once Upon a Time, Homeland and Spartacus (plus the prequel Gods of the Arena), I am watching Revenge (currently I’m at episode 13, so no spoilers! But the season will be finished in a couple of weeks, since the episodes are airing every day), I’ve also caught up on most of the first 3 seasons of Merlin, watched most/some of Life (in weird order, since Fox Crime tends to schedule the episodes in a strange way) and Sherlock, and started to watch Teen Wolf. I’ve also enjoyed rewatching season 2 and season 3 of Being Human. (I still haven’t seen season 4, which I intend to do soon; but I’ve seen the season premiere, so I’m aware of the big changes to the show.)
And now, I’ve got two memes for you. First, an old one:
1. Leave a comment to this post - specifically saying that you would like a letter. 2. I will give you a letter. 3. Post the names of five fictional characters whose names begin with that letter, and your thoughts on each. The characters can be from books, movies, or TV shows.
slaymesoftly gave me an F...almost 4 months ago. I really wanted to do the F characters but I didn’t have the time. Here’s the proof I never forget my promises! ;-)
Amends is an episode that was really necessary in season 3. Since Angel's mysterious return from hell, Buffy and Angel have both been avoiding the elephant in the room - Angel’s crimes in season 2, and the question what could have brought him back. This is a very dark, intense and emotional episode about guilt, forgiveness and redemption, and a great character study of Angel (setting him up as an interesting protagonist for a spinoff). The climax of the episode – Buffy trying to convince Angel not to commit suicide – has great acting but a mix of great and weak writing. However, what keeps this episode from being a classic is that it has the corniest ending of a BtVS episode ever: the MYSTICAL CHRISTMAS SNOW that convinces Angel his life is worth something.
Now, since this is the show’s only Christmas episode, this was, in a way, to be expected. But I could do without the divine (?) intervention, which takes away from the humanism of the show, and I’d rather not have Touched by an Angel (!) in my BtVS.
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This entry was originally posted at http://timetravellingbunny.dreamwidth.org/.
Comment here or there, as you like.
Incidentally, I'd love to know which five factions of Spuffy shippers she thinks there are, and would ask her if I could. I also wonder if the "vast majority" of Spuffy shippers really identify with Spike rather than Buffy? A poll would be interesting, but I'm not sure where the best place to conduct it would be.
Anyway, here are some things I agree with in that essay, and some that I disagree with. I think her view of the relationship as a "gender-flipped one" in which Buffy is in control is oversimplified and doesn't quite match how I see it. It's not that she's not right - it's that this is just a part of the complexity of the dynamic. There are some ways in which their gender roles are flipped - and some ways in which they are not. Spike does play the male version of the femme fatale (homme fatale?), but I can tell you many ways in which Spike also plays some classic masculine roles, from admirer/courtly lover to stalker/pursuer to aggressive male seducer to reformed beast/bad boy. Likewise for the roles that Buffy plays. The closest to how I see it is what an academic essay on Spuffy said - they don't flip gender roles, they share gender roles. I don't think anyone was "in control" of the relationship, especially not in season 6 which was a constant struggle. I know the view expressed in this essay, it's the view of many female Spuffy shippers who identify with Spike and not with Buffy. But I don't share it and it misses a lot of the complexity of the relationship. Which is what makes it all the more interesting. I'm not interested in the same old story with genders just flipped, or in stories where one person is in control and the other one is a "bottom" (kind of funny in the context).
I particularly disagree with her summary of Buffy/Angel. Her view is, again, one I know, since it tends to be the view of female fans of Spike who dislike Angel and Bangel. You might know I'm not fond of Bangel anymore and haven't been for a long time (to put it mildly), but I find this view, again, oversimplified, and it doesn't match how I see it:
The trope is older/experienced guy, powerful, knowledgable, wealthy and a control freak with either a dark secret, a dark past, or an abusive childhood - seduces younger girl, who is less experienced, and not wealthy and who saves him or heals him in some way. It's a partriachial trope for a patriachial world. Examples? Stefan/Elena, Angel/Buffy, Christian Grey/Anatasia, Edward/Bella, Dracula/Mina, Mr. Rochester/Jane Eyre, Cordelia/Angel, Fred/Wesely, Fred/Gunn, Echo/ What'shisname who played Helo (Ballard?) there are others. It's an old trope. I'm not belittling the trope. I liked it at one point. It's popular for a reason. I like to call it the Beauty and the Beast complex. It sort of goes back to that fairy tale, I think. Very popular with the 18-24 set. Also for some reason with successful career women and mothers in their 40s, if Shades of Grey is any indication.
A few of the pairings listed don't really match that description either, but I'll focus on Bangel here. ( Thought on Bangel be hereCollapse ) This entry was originally posted at http://timetravellingbunny.dreamwidth.org/. Comment here or there, as you like.
Are these people for real? So I occasionally stumbled onto this video on Youtube, since it was under 'related videos' to some videos about feminism. www.youtube.com/watch This is a woman ranting about feminism and "male disposability" - i.e. the "women and children first" mentality. The thing is, I agree with her on a lot of things, in that I despise the "women and children first" mentality, I despise the idea that women should be protected more (both because I hate the idea that men's lives are less worth and the idea that women are weaker and belong to the same category as children). But the problem is, she's blaming feminism, of all things, for that - not the patriarchal gender roles, even though she admits that these views have existed for centuries - far before feminism even existed, and that the origin of those ideas are patriarchal gender roles that deem men strong and capable while women are weak and helpless. Which I told her in my comment. The other big mistake is that she's talking about this mentality as universal, ignoring the fact that chivalry is a Western concept, and that there are many examples of societies that value men's lives much higher and treat women's lives as disposable. And then at some point in the video, she actually talks about female genital mutilation as if it's the same thing as male circumcision. Yeah, that's right.
But if you make the mistake of pointing those things out, you'll soon learn that the comments section is a den of the whiny, entitled, self-centered misogynists who feel that they're terribly oppressed by women/feminists, who'll come after you, calling you a cunt and telling you that you hate men. (You don't hate feminism = you hate men.) It's not that I haven't met lots of sexist people, but this is still new to me.
Buffy rewatch: 3.09. The Wish I love alternate universe stories, and this is one of the best AU episodes I’ve seen. A great AU story is not just fun but reveals something important about the characters, and about how much circumstances shape who we are and what our lives can be. The Wish is a very revealing episode, to a greater extent than I was aware the first time I watched it.
Some people think this episode is overrated, because it’s a standalone that isn’t directly connected to the main arc of season 3, and because 2/3 of it are AU events that none of the characters remember (except Anya). I disagree: the purpose of the episode is for us to see what Sunnydale would have been like without Buffy, and what Buffy would be like if she didn’t have friends and ties to the world. The Wish shows a Sunnydale as a hellish dystopia, a town ruled and terrorized by vampires, and much darker versions of the characters we know. This is actually very relevant to the season – one of its main themes are community and ties between people – and to the show as a whole.
This season so far has been rather lackluster, but this episode is a big improvement. It used the magical trick for making everything more exciting: Spike is back - if just for one episode. It's a very funny episode that first introduces us to Pathetic!Drunk!Spike, but it’s also the episode with a lot of relationship pain. Spike comes back to Sunnydale, moping over his breakup with Drusilla, wreaks havoc, (un)intentionally makes Scoobies reveal some things to each other, starts feeling better about himself and leaves everyone unhappy. The love quadrangle finally gets a resolution, which is a real relief – and much as I dislike this storyline, it’s rather well resolved.
The title is actually Lovers Walk, not Lover’s Walk. See the original script. According to Wikipedia, „the introduction to Rhonda Wilcox's Why Buffy Matters says, "the script apparently does not carry an apostrophe, by the way--making for a short, sad, declarative sentence for a title."
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The last episode was Jane Espenson’s debut, and this one is Doug Petrie’s – which rounds up the list of core writers that were on the staff until the finale (Whedon, Noxon, Fury, Espenson, Petrie), with the exception of David Greenwalt, who left at the end of season 3 to run the Angel spinoff. It’s an average but important episode - it moves the plot forward by having the Scoobies learn that Angel is back, and has some long overdue character confrontations – even if it doesn’t really resolve anything when it comes to the conflict between Buffy and Xander over Angel, for instance. The other plot is about Faith’s new Watcher, Gwendolyn Post, who continues Faith’s bad luck with Watchers and destroys her already weak ability to trust people. The title likely refers to both the revelation about Angel, the revelation about Post, and the apocalyptic nature of the power that Post would’ve gotten through the MacGuffin called the Glove of Myhneghon, which the Scoobies destroy at the end. (“Apocalypse” = “Revelation”.)
But maybe the most interesting revelation in this episode is that there are 12 cemeteries in Sunnydale (!). Which, come to think of it, isn’t surprising considering the mortality rate. How bad was it when they did not have a Slayer? ( Read more...Collapse )This entry was originally posted at http://timetravellingbunny.dreamwidth.org/. Comment here or there, as you like.
Buffy rewatch: 3.06. Band Candy Jane Espenson’s writing debut is one of the funniest episodes in the verse, alongside episodes like Something Blue, Tabula Rasa, Intervention, AtS Spin the Bottle, Smile Time… and I notice that many of those episodes are those with some kind of spell that changes people’s behavior, or where the actors get to play something different from their usual self. Making main characters act wacky but providing a reason for it is a tried and tested way of making good comedy episodes, especially if you portray it as characters showing a side to themselves that you don’t normally see. In this episode, Anthony Head, Armin Shimerman and Kristine Sutheland get to play wild teenage versions of themselves, in a very amusing contrast with their regular selves.
There’s just one problem: the premise of the episode (i.e. the explanation why they’re acting like that) is stupid and doesn’t make sense.
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