Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Buffy. Finally.

Each summer for the last few, I've rented some TV shows on DVD, usually stuff that interested me in the past that I didn't have access to, or just didn't get around to watching. This summer I tried two cult-hit series. One was a complete hit, one a complete miss.

When I describe my reaction to the complete miss, I'm gonna piss off some people. I don't in any way intend my comments about the show to be any kind of commentary or judgment. It didn't work for me and that does not reflect at all on anyone else.

I know, you're dying of curiosity, right? Well then, let me tease you some more. :)

It's a show that had a long run, and started in the early 90s. Its subject would seem to be right up my alley. In fact, that's why I decided to give it a try. So many of my favorite shows now have writers from that old show, too. It seemed perfect for my summer viewing.

I hated it. Some stuff, you just have to overlook. I mean, we're talking 15 years ago. So fashions are laughable. ADR (the dubbing of dialogue because the original recording didn't work) has come a LONG way, let me tell you. Sometimes it seemed like they lip-synched for a whole hour. But what really surprised me, and killed my interest, was the writing. It was so illogical. And not in an "aliens are real" kind of way, I can totally buy into any of that stuff. But in a "make our characters stupid to fit a plot point" kind of way. In the last episode I watched--and I admit to only getting through four, even though I had another disk on hand--the hero slinks out of some tall grass onto a runway on a "secure" military base. He sees a really cool ship (early 90s special effects, gotta overlook it). Then he sees law enforcement lights, pretty far down the runway. Does he slink back into the tall grass where he can hide and get away? No. Idiot runs down the runway, away from a cop car and a big panel truck.

I could not condone that kind of stupidity.

The show, I'm sorry to say, was the X-Files.

So when I sadly wrote that one off, I started Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. I'd put that one off for a really long time, knowing I would probably like it--I mean, Joss Whedon! I've loved everything else he's ever done!--but there were some things that put me off. For one, I never cared for Sarah Michelle Gellar very much, nor for Alyson Hannigan. I couldn't really see the appeal of Spike or Angel from afar (I'd seen both actors in other things, and they didn't do anything for me). And I was afraid. I'd watched a couple of bits when J was flipping channels, and it seemed to belong to the age in which it was filmed (much like X-Files was). But everyone I know pushed me to try it, or at least proclaimed its brilliance. So I finally popped in that first disk, holding my breath.

And, of course, I love it.

Season 1 was okay. Season 2 was very good. I liked the heartbreaking finale best, I think. Season 3 was excellent, especially toward the end, when they pretended Angel went bad to corner Faith, and when they got the whole school to rally.

Season 4 got off to a bit of a rocky start, with too many episodes reducing people to stupidity. But then it started to soar. Any episode was better when Spike was in it. OMG, talk about brilliant. He gets the best lines, and has the most awesome delivery. The Thanksgiving episode and the one where Willow imposes her will, so Buffy and Spike are engaged, had me cracking up nonstop. I'm up to episode 11, and annoyed that I have to wait until Tuesday to watch any more. iTunes doesn't have more than the first two seasons; nor does Hulu. My local Blockbuster only has season 1, the losers. And has me all confused.

Not everything is perfect, of course. I miss Cordelia, and I'm really unhappy Oz is gone for good. Buffy's relationship issues, at this point, are kind of annoying. I mean, how much more perfect can Riley be? Giles seemed better in the library than at home (though I don't love him any less), and I want Xander to stop regressing. He has shown again and again he's not the loser they keep trying to make/keep him, and perhaps it's growing pains, a struggle to fit him into the ever-evolving world, but I hope he outgrows it soon.

It's really fun picking out people I've seen elsewhere, like Paris's boyfriend on Gilmore Girls, and Layla Rourke from Supernatural's episode "Faith," and various and sundry others. I'm happy that I have three and a half more seasons, and I wish I knew someone else who had the disks because it was so much nicer having them all here. This waiting-for-a-disk-for-four-days-over-the-weekend/Netflix thing isn't cutting it for me right now.

I didn't think I'd be interested in seeing Angel, but I have a feeling I'll be so disappointed when I'm done with Buffy that I'll be happy to venture down that road.


MJFredrick said...

I wish you lived closer! I have all the Buffys and Angels.

Funny, you thinking of Darla as Layla and I think of Layla as Darla, since I saw her in Buffy before SPN.

I miss Oz, too, and agreee about Riley and Xander. The next few seasons were hit and miss, IMO, with moments of complete brilliance (the musical).

And while I loved X Files when it was on, I find it hard to watch now.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Dang, I wish I lived closer, too! I did find a friend going to SF who has them. :)

I watched Oz's return last night. Don't like the Tara/Willow thing AT. ALL. It's not about the thing, it's the Oz part. I have one more ep he's in, and then that's it, and I'm very sad. :(

Very few shows are as good in later seasons, so my expectations are low.

Anonymous said...

Hi Natalie,

I never watched a single episode of the X-Files,never wanted too.

Buffy I found by accident the Saturday after it premiered. They re-ran it in the afternoon. I was way skeptical about watching this since I had seen the Buffy "movie" and had hated it. But I watched every episode until season 6 I stopped after that. I was a Angel/Buffy shipper and did not like what they did to them. Even if I did like Riley I did not like how that ended and who they paired her with. Actually one of my favorite Buffy episodes happened on "Angel" . When the TPTB gave Angel his mortatality back and he and Buffy were together only to have Angel turn back because being mortal he could not protect Buffy like he could as Angel. The killer was that Angel would still remember that day that he spent being mortal but Buffy forgot it all. that episode just about killed me.


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Rose! You're spoiling! Stop it! LOL

It's funny. Part of the reason I didn't watch the TV show Buffy in the beginning was because my husband and I really liked the movie! Such a big deal was made about the difference between the "bad" movie and the "good" show that I figured if I was weird enough to like the movie, I couldn't like the show. :)