Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 1 Spoiler Forum

Hello everyone! Someone just asked if there's a place where people can openly talk about the Buffy episodes without spoiling the new viewers, and this is the best solution I can think of for now. If you'd like to talk about the show in the context of the full series, please do so here. And feel free to jump back and forth between the forums to engage in the conversation. I can't guarantee this will work well (in the end we might just have to agree to one forum and people will have to be spoiled) but let's try it for now. ;) This will be the forum to discuss "Welcome to the Hellmouth," "The Harvest," and "The Witch" with as many spoilers as you'd like.


Blam said...

Great idea, Nikki!

I'm sorry to say that and dash (not really a "Woo! First post!" kind of guy) but I have to go and I did want to thank you for setting all this up. Looks to be a year's worth of fun...

VW: Caromit™ — The new billiards game from Milton Bradley.

Rebecca T. said...

I hope this works - don't know why it wouldn't. Just have to remember what to post where :P

Oh my werd. I had two moments during these episodes. The first was Darla wherein I laughed so hard when she runs away from the big bad vamp. I actually backed it up, called Naomi in and made her watch it. We just watched the Angel episode where she gives birth/kills herself and to see her like this seemed absolutely absurd. I hadn't even remembered her being in the first 2 eps.

The second part that made me laugh was Harmony in the computer lab. That girl annoyed me to death, but I certainly didn't remember her being so early in the show.

And to see Cordie like this after everything that's happened on Angel? She's definitely the one that has changed the most IMO.

There, I feel better now :D

SenexMacDonald said...

Thanks, Nikki!

Okay, I will start the ball rolling with Angel.

Interesting in hindsight that he has been watching her a long time and yet he comes off as a bit of a jerk! "Let’s just say I’m a friend." "Well, maybe I don’t want a friend." "I didn’t say I was yours." Then gives her the cross…

He finds her in LA, relocates to Sunnydale to watch over her and then proceeds to NOT help her?

What was it with the song and dance routine about the vamps and the Master?

I realize that this is his first contact with Buffy - not just observing her but really, what was the point? Especially since in only a couple of eps later, she is inviting him into her house.

If I had been Buffy, regardless of the 'tall, dark and broody' of Angel, I would have walked away! Would have saved her years of torment.

Course, would have meant life for Cordie would have been very different as would her relationship with Angel.

Okay, that's my oar in the water. Who's next?

SenexMacDonald said...

@Rebecca T. said...
I had two moments during these episodes. The first was Darla wherein I laughed so hard when she runs away from the big bad vamp. I actually backed it up, called Naomi in and made her watch it. We just watched the Angel episode where she gives birth/kills herself and to see her like this seemed absolutely absurd. I hadn't even remembered her being in the first 2 eps."

I remembered that part - and as Nikki pointed out on the other forum, what a difference in her character in a couple of eps when they give LOTS of background on Angel. I did not remember that they had given out that much! Especially since they would show it in such detail on Angel.

I am ahead a few eps as I will not be able to keep up otherwise due to my schedule re. work, etc. So I decided during the holidays to really get a jump on this. lol

I "remembered" Darla getting killed - especially in Angel (and what a great ep that one was!!) but I had totally forgotten that she gets dusted in 1st season Buffy as well! Don't remember how she comes back and can't wait to see it.

I will also be doing an Angel re-watch after "Graduation Part 2" so I can see how the two shows weave together. :)

Witness Aria said...

Re: Angel's beginning relationship with Buffy. Of course, a lot of the inconsistencies are the writers taking time to find the character, so this is definitely more fanwank than reality, but I tend to read Angel's early appearances as him trying to be Buffy's Whistler. He found new purpose in the idea of helping her, but didn't really know the best way to go about it. Probably thought if he got too involved he could screw things up since he was coming off a long, depressing time in his souled life and couldn't see himself as a hero or champion yet. And he was so taken with Buffy right away, he probably was trying to keep some distance there, again to avoid messing things up and because he was scared to get too close to her. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. (Along with the fact that his acting like a teenager in early season 2 is a result of Liam being in love for the first time.)

I also have a whole theory about Giles' naivety in light of what we learn about Ripper, but perhaps that's for another time.

I really enjoyed watching these again. I've seen them at least 10 times, but it's been a couple of years since I revisited most of them, and I was again pleasantly surprised to see how good the pilot is.

Looking forward to the rest of the Rewatch!

Lexie said...

You know I remember being so excited over Angel that first time we saw him thinking 'OMG thank you for not being all "Here's the answers!"' and now I watch it and I think 'But Angel. What happened to this Angel? Where did "Hear me Snark" Angel go? Why for the love of do we have EMORY Angel all day now?

I loved Darla running from the big bad vamp. That's the most hilarious.

I forgot how much I adored Eric Balfour. I hated Jesse, but I had such a thing for Eric Balfour--he's the reason I began watching 24 in fact! I remembered him as Jesse and was like 'I love him!'. I kept hoping that suddenly Jesse would pop up, as a vampire or whatever, but well (not likely since he was dusted).

I know we see Cordy change quite a bit between Buffy to Angel, but Amy? I forgot how sweet and unassuming she was at first.

And yeah given what we learn about Giles later on, early on Giles was mighty naive. So either he was desperately trying to put on an act or someone was like 'Anthony Stewart Head needs to be more wicked!'

Lisa(until further notice) said...

I started watching Buffy for the first time in October and just finished the series finale on Sunday night. I am whipped to a frenzy (and my husband thinks I'm a looney). I'm also on the final season of Angel and watching him here in the first two episodes is definately weird. I realize I'm missing Spike in this first season and can't wait to talk about him. And Darla...whew.

Other than that, Cordy sure was a bitch, and those weird green velvet pants she was wearing, hahaha. I also love how quickly the Scoobies can always find exactly what they're looking for in all those GIANT stuffy books: open, flip a few pages, "Oh, this should do." as Giles looks for some counter spell.

Yay for this forum. Thank you Nikki. I can't wait for each week's post. It sure helps me continue to try and get over LOST.

Lexie said...

@Lisa: I miss Spike too ::sigh:: Oh I used to love how they would always find the answer! I thought that school librarians, in HS at least, were all so efficient. My HS librarians thought I was bonkers to prepare book research to the internet :D

Oiy but I'd love to know Giles was able to house so many books. Even in a school that large, with a rather illiterate population, you'd think more than just one of the kids (I think its Jonathan in a later season 1 ep) notices the books are all weird demon gibberish!

Unknown said...

THANK YOU so much for this Nikki. I am a new Buffy fanatic, having watched for the first time (and second time,lol) last year,and I am thrilled that there's still so much current Buffiness around!

I also had no idea that there was quite so much academic interest and I am looking forward to following some of the links you provided with your bios.

I particularly loved how you phrased this "but with each one I usually hand out the same caveat, and I'll say it to the new viewers here now: get through season 1. At times it'll seem a little monster-of-the-week, but the seeds of the series are there, and once you get into the gorgeous storyline of season 2 you'll be swept away. I defy anyone to get to the Surprise/Innocence combo and stop watching" because I have not been able to get my husband past episode 3!

So, that said, this is long so in the future I will comment on the content, I promise...I'll just say that it's amazing how much more enjoyable Season 1 is when you rewatch!

Rebecca T. said...

Spike! *sigh*

@SenexMacDonald: I thought I remembered Darla getting dusted this season - but I too don't remember what happens to bring her back. hmmm...

this is a lot of fun :D

Lexie said...

@Rebecca: if I remember rightly its Wolfram and Hart in a bid to gain control of Angel. She comes back mortal however and after her and Angel get their groove on, Dru turns her into a vamp and they torment Angel some until she pops back up and is like 'Yo Angel you knocked me up'

er...hm that's a lot of spoilers for Angel. er. There's more?

Page48 said...

"At times it'll seem a little monster-of-the-week, but the seeds of the series are there"

Ah, yes, the seeds.

Paraphrasing myself from another blog, I would argue that the seeds of a few series are evident in BtVS.

Not the least of those would be "Veronica Mars". IMO, BtVS and VM are sisters separated at birth. VM, IMO, is simply BtVS with the supernatural aspect filtered out.

These shows both chronicle the adventures of cutie blonde teen girls, raised in a broken home under the California sun. They attend high school in the beginning and after a few seasons, it's off to college. The blonde cuties carry enormous, adult-strength responsibility, while the adults themselves are mostly incompetent, irresponsible, or blissfully ignorant of what's going on around them. If you want a murder solved or an apocalypse thwarted, call the nearest blonde cutie teen girl.

The girls do all of their good work in their own back yard, seldom, if ever leaving their own time zone. The rich kids they go to school with are portrayed as empty vessels. The dialogue in both shows is snappy and clever and the girls are blessed with an endless supply of timely sarcasm.

And, if VM is a sister to Buffy, then "Alias" must surely be a cousin. Watching Buffy can often be like watching "Alias" growing in the petrie dish.

"Alias" was a much more adult-themed show, but one which also felt Buffy's influence. Cute older girl, raised in a broken home, for the most part under California skies. Like Buffy, Sydney was a reluctant hero (at least once she realized she was working for the wrong team). She wanted out and threatened to walk away, as did Buffy. Both longed for normal lives, but normal was out of reach for both of them. Their particular skills were needed to save a world that wasn't even aware that it was in danger. Both girls lived secret double lives, with only a few close associates knowing the true nature of their work. Both girls gained a sister several seasons into the show. Both shows dealt with prophecy and Chosen Ones. Both shows had elements of immortality and dealt with themes of power falling into the wrong hands and kick-ass girls saving the world. Both shows dealt with mysterious organizations like Prophet 5 and The Initiative. And, what was there about that fateful night in Svogda that didn't look like a typical school night back in Sunnydale?

I would say that, while BtVS employed a completely different approach, it told essentially the same story as "Alias". They both came down to the age old story of good vs. evil (and the grey areas that exist between the two) and the reluctant heroines that sacrificed their own dreams (or at least put them on hold indefinitely) so that others could live theirs.

Buffy and Sydney saved the world (a lot). And Veronica was right there when you needed her (and her rates were reasonable).

Rebecca T. said...

@Lexie: umm... d'oh! You'd think I'd remember that little detail, especially since I referenced Angel in my comment. Okay, that makes more sense to me now!

Suzanne said...

I enjoyed Page48's observations about Buffy being the seed for VM and Alias. I haven't seen Alias, but I plan to watch it since I have loved many of J.J. Abrams shows (Felicity, Lost), but I did see VM recently. I adored it, especially the first season. Someone recommended it me based on my love for Buffy. I definitely see a lot of the similarities you pointed out. Unfortunately, VM didn't have the staying power of Buffy. It had one of the most incredible first seasons I have ever seen -- much better than Buffy's, but it didn't build and get stronger like Buffy does.

Lexie said...

@Rebecca: It was one of those things I remember seeing and thinking 'Wha....?' 'cause don't get me wrong I love Darla. I loved seeing her in flashbacks and by the second one in Buffy I really regretted rooting for her dusting in the first season, but how she came back and why and the whole deal with Prophecy in Angel...

As much as Buffy's life is based around being the Destined one and Fate and such, Angel's was built around Prophecy, but he dealt with it a lot worse. Buffy strives to be more then Fate wants, Angel let it define him too much.

zoe said...

I am pretty sure Dru had to turn Darla into a vamp. When she came back mortal she was also dying of syphilis, an occupational hazard when she was alive. So it was either turn her (again) or watch her die a painful death.

Anonymous said...

I'm just going to comment here, then I know I won't be accidentally spoilery.

One of the reasons it took me so long to start watching my kids' show (I'd walk by the TV once in a while) was how annoying I found Joyce. She seemed like the typical TV mom and I couldn't relate to her at all. Still can't. I do feel sorry about the dying and all.

Angel sure took a long time to become a hottie (like another series). Skinny, pasty, badly dressed and boring. Not to mention the need for acting school.

I wonder if somehow when Amy was transmogrified into the rat, she was also switched with the trophy. Amy's later actions would make more sense if she was really Catherine.

Or is the point that we are doomed to become our own mothers? Joyce ignores Buffy because of her own problems the way Buffy will later ignore Dawn.

When Buffy asked about the dead body, I thought - this could go two ways. Supernatural death - Buffy. Natural death - Veronica Mars.

Thanks for doing the rewatch, Nikki. It will lead me to watch the show again, and not just through Spike-coloured glasses. ;)

Lisa(until further notice) said...

@redeem147: I like that, "Spike colored glasses."

I adore him. I'm still seeing him "new" so to speak, as I'm on my first watch of Angel and on season 5.

I didn't love BtVS from the beginning, but got hooked a little bit in. I can't remember which episode sealed it for me, but I'm glad I stuck it out...mostly because of Spike...and Anya. LOVED Her.

So glad we're all back in the saddle again, so to speak, on a weakly basis.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Sorry about the typo...weekly basis. Wouldn't want Tara upset with my computer spelling skills, or lack there of.

Nikki Stafford said...

Hello everyone!

As for the inconsistencies in these early episodes, it's clear from the pilot two-parter that Joss hadn't fully fleshed out the backstories of everyone, especially Angel and Darla, and while Darla remains "unfleshed" until the end of season 2 and into Angel, you can tell by episode 5 that he'd already figured Angel out. He's suddenly broody and quiet and very taken with Buffy, whereas here he's like some card shark in a back alley. This clearly isn't our Angel. But he soon will be. ;)

Senex: I hope I'm not spoiling here, but Darla comes back in the season 1 finale of Angel, not on Buffy. After her dusting on Buffy in season 1 (which comes after her CLASSIC line, "Scary... [whips out guns] scariER...") she'll only be shown on Buffy in flashback. Her return is a result of the Wolfram & Hart spell that Lindsey does.

Nikki Stafford said...

Witness Aria: I like the Whistler connection you make with Angel. It's something I wondered at the time; he certainly has the smarm of Whistler in these early episodes, doesn't he? I wonder if they modelled the character of Whistler after the way Angel acted in the pilot?

Nikki Stafford said...

Page48: Great observations about Buffy's parallels with Sydney and Veronica. I agree; I've always thought that's why those shows clicked with me instantly. Sarah Michelle Gellar gave a terrific portrayal of an angst-filled teen that was carried through in a slightly older version on Veronica Mars, and an older still one on Alias.

Nikki Stafford said...

Re: the Spike love. This reminds me a bit of Lost rewatch in a way, where, throughout season 1, we were all, "This is great and all, but I can't WAIT until Henry Gale shows up in season 2!!" ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh, man. Wouldn't it be great to see Michael Emmerson and James Marsters work together...

Michael Holland said...

Witness Aria, yes, wonderful take on early Angel being influenced by Whistler. You can argue that Joss hadn't planned that far in advance (at the end of Season 2 Angel having already seen her in the months leading up to Season 1) though looking back on this, you've indeed made it work. I'm reminded of the Marvel Comics No Prize of old, which you certainly deserve! :)

Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...

My two pence worth: From a historical point of view Buffy (and Veronica Mars and...) has to be placed in the context (working backwards) of Freaks and Geeks, My So-Called Life (which Whedon has praised; Whedon once said Buffy is X-Files meets MSCL), Degrassi and on to film.

Rebecca T. said...

@redeem147 Oh, man. Wouldn't it be great to see Michael Emerson and James Marsters work together...

Oh. My. Werd. Yes please.

Witness Aria said...

Michael Holland: Thanks! I obviously spend a large amount of time overthinking these things. Glad it worked for you.

Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...

Buffy follows in the footsteps of American TV shows like The Rifleman, Peter Gunn, Moonlighting, Twin Peaks, Northern Exposure, and X-Files all of which brought a cinematic quality to television. I was struck once again by the cinematic aspects of Buffy: the wonderful and elegant transition from the tunnel that Buffy and Xander are looking for Jesse in to the edge of the card catalogue in the Sunnydale High School Library where Giles and Willow are doing research, the wonderful moment when Buffy opens her chest and we see her normal stuff in the top tray and then her slayer stuff when she removes the top tray, a superb example of mise-en-scene revealing character, the wonderful use of music to underline the eerie, the wonderful use of sound to provide a sense of eeriness (the sound of rats in the tunnels) and comedy-horror (the sound of the Master poking out the eye of one of is minions, an act we hear but do not see), and the wonderful acting where so much is done trough gestures (Buffy’s facial expressions in the principals office at the beginning of the episode, Angel’s tragic facial expressions when Buffy asks him if he knows what it is like to have a friend just before Buffy goes underground to try to rescue Jesse).
Sound: Did anyone else think they could pick out what was looped and what wasn’t?
Music: Independent bands. Pop music to hook the younger “hipper” demographic?
Mise-en-scene: Buffy may be in colour but it is so dark that it almost feels like a black and white show.
Character: Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is infatuated with Angel (David Boreanaz): Buffy referring to Angel: “Dark, gorgeous in an annoying sort of way”). Buffy is athletic and strong, the tough female who kicks ass Joss Whedon intended her to be. Willow (Alyson Hannigan) is not the total wallflower (she who has seen the “softer side of Sears”, as Cordelia puts it). She gets back at Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) and Harmony (Mercedes McNabb) in the computer room (“deliver”). Cordelia is the queen of her own mental world and has her own royal court. Does Angel’s response to Buffy’s question about whether he has friends reveal something about his past? For those of us who have already watched this great series previously we know it does.

Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...

There’s the pop culture references (Sabrina), the cinematic qualities (the elegant moving camera), the playing with genre (Buffy does body switching and body snatching a long theme in horror literature and film), the metaphors (at first we think it is all about the pressure parents put on their kids but it turns out to really be about how parents use their kids, literally in this case, to live their lives through them), and the great acting (Robin Riker, who plays Amy’s mum and Elizabeth Anne Allen are superb, in my opinion, in their guest roles).

I have always felt that Buffy is really good at misdirection. At first in this episode we think that Amy is simply trying to live out her mother’s dreams for her. As the episode proceeds, however, we come to realize that Amy’s mother has taken over the body of her daughter in one of those wonderful surprise moments that Buffy is so good at. Buffy is really good at these Twilight Zone moments. I love the Twilight Zone qualities of the episode particularly the ending where Amy’s mum ends up stuck in the object of her evil affections, her cheerleader trophy in the trophy case at Sunnydale High.
Like so many other Buffanatics I have long been a Buffy missionary. When I first showed the first three episodes of Buffy to a friend of mine in Austin he said to me that he was glad that Buffy wasn’t only about vampires. Joss Whedon said something similar in an interview in which he talked about “The Witch”. “The Witch”, he said if memory serves, was important because it was a critical episode in Buffy’s mission statement. Buffy isn’t only about vampires. It is also about all those things that go bump in the hellmouth night in Sunnydale including witches.

Character: Willow likes Xander, Xander likes Buffy (the wrist bracelet), Buffy thinks Xander is one of the girls.

Austin Gorton said...

But lines like, “James Spader NEEDS to call me” will cause you to wince.

To be fair, that seemed dated in 1997. ;)

Of all the various "getting into their groove" characters, Angel is probably the one that sticks out the most to me (or maybe that's just the velvet jacket...).

You're right Nikki: by his next appearance, it's clear Joss has "figured him out", so to speak.

Cordy, of course, is light years away from her character on Angel, but that's a matter of intentional development.

Darla is the other sore thumb of course, but as she's a relatively minor character, the later retcons that make her character standout here don't bother me as much.

Lexie said...

ohhh am I the only one who liked snarky cryptic not quite so involved with Buffy and much more of a 'haha I got answers you don't' guy?

the first time watching I loved Angel. he was so damned and heroic and charming and oddly creepily romantic. By rewatch time the first (during season 3) I liked Angelus more than Angel. By Rewatch time the second (during season 6) I missed ep 1 Angel so much.

Anonymous said...

i cheered when i read your comment about angel's purple velvet jacket - in show it took someone like spike to come and point that out:)
i also love how you talk about cordelia as 'cordy', even though she didn't become 'cordy' until the "angel", did she? i think she was always 'cordelia' on "buffy" - and even then one of my favourites, i was probably more sad about her leaving "buffy" than about angel - where would the fun be without her?
but then of course spike arrived to stay and in la cordelia became cordy, so that all worked out rather well.

Lexie said...

@Karo: I know Xander called her it while they were involved and I know Buffy does, though usually with more sarcasm and 'are you serious?' I don't think Giles has and Willow may have. Oz did! and Angel did (before his show I mean).

But she was still called 'Cordelia' for the majority of her time on screen. Which I think was appropriate because it became something she liked as she grew as a person and became less obsessed with 'I am Cordelia Chase I am Important'.

Blam said...

I love that we have vibrant, appropriately different discussions going in both the spoiler and non-spoiler Comment sections.

Since I don't know how many of you are reading both, one thing I'd like to bring up here as well is the genius of springboarding the show out of Joss's original script to the movie. While much of the backstory is both implicitly and explicitly different, Buffy the Series is not a total reboot in that the pilot doesn't re-create events from the film and go new places from there; rather, it relaunches (Dare I say "revamps"?) Buffy's tale using the film as a sort of alternate-world past — a campy take, to be sure, which I recently described on my blog as what you'd expect if somebody made a tacky, high-concept unauthorized movie of Buffy's life from within the show we know and took great liberties. While the opening montage, dialogue in "Welcome to the Hellmouth", and Giles' brief rundown on the Secret History of the World in "The Harvest" tells us what we need to know of Buffy's past, what's different from the movie, and indeed what the dilly-o is with demons (to a greater extent than the movie ever did), it's still wonderfully surprising and much more compelling, to me, that Joss set the film in what Bryan Singer incessantly called "a vague sense of history" when he talked about how Superman Returns would follow the Richard Donner films starring Christopher Reeve. Buffy coming to Sunnydale and the Hellmouth thinking that it's a chance to start over (not that it isn't), aware of her status as the Slayer, adds narrative meat.

I should mention that there was a Dark Horse Comics miniseries called Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Origin, soon collected in one volume and now the first story in Volume One of the Buffy Omnibus paperbacks, that has Buffy relating her introductions to Pike, Merrick, and Lothos in Los Angeles from within the perspective of the show. Although it's not as canonical as the Season Eight comics, since the show was still in production and Whedon didn't directly oversee it, he's said that it's close enough; again, it's based on his original script and the mythology of the show rather than the movie, with the high-school gym burning down, Merrick drawn as the actor who portrayed him in "Becoming", etc.

VW: prence — v. Dance around British coins.

Lexie said...

I read 'The Origin' recently (heh a couple days ago) and yeah. The bare outline of the comic is very similar to the movie, but different things and actions and developments are emphasized. Merrick's understanding that Buffy is not your typical vampire slayer is more emphasized, as is Buffy's growing impatience with the 'normal' teenage thing, but still craving it.

It did also kind of make me wince though because her reaction to having to face Lothos instead of going to the big dance vs. her reaction to the prophecy she'll die instead of just partying were very similar.

You could tell that Joss obviously felt that parts of the movie were necessary bridges for Buffy to overcome. So even though for fans of the movie watching the show it was like he was revisiting something she already did, he really wasn't. She handled situations--such as with her friends and her slaying duties--differently, handled juggling the two differently.

I do wish that we could have seen Pike again, but he crops up in one of the canonological books though doesn't he? I forget which one (though I'm pretty sure I own it).

Anyone want to take bets on who Seth Green would have played? he's always said he's in the original movie but was cut out--so you think his character showed up in the origin comic?

Blam said...

My apologies as usual if anything I say is redundant, but since the Internet connection is so haphazard I'm posting what I've written up on what I've read while I can before reading the newer comments...

Nikki: [from hidden text] Xander's insecurities

I think it's understandable, being a high-school male — or, heck, just a male — and especially one with a crush on the superhero in question, that Xander has issues with being told to stay behind and such, but it bugs me that we don't immediately get a little exchange like the following during one of those early library scenes.

Willow: "Come on, Xander, Buffy has, like, super-strength."

Xander: "As well as training and other innate talents. She was quite literally born for this. ... Er... Need I define 'innate' for you?"

Buffy: "The jockiest jocks in Jocktown aren't any more up to this than you are — (sweetly) and they're probably not as brave as you, either."

Xander: (aw-shucks) "... I am brave, aren't I?"

Buffy: "Of course you are. Now stay."

We can get that he wants to be heroic, if not superheroic, while having it made a little clearer that he understands that Buffy is the Chosen One through no fault of hers or his.

Then again, I recall it being way too easy after a very short period of time for any old person to stake-'n'-dust vamps, despite the considerable strength that it takes to drive a big piece of wood through the breastbone and into the heart of a demonic creature, but, hey, that's a conversation for later.

VW: hestes — What revealed the Greek goddess of the hearth to actually be a dude.

Blam said...

Nikki: [from hidden text] Amy seems very sweet here, but after she ends up in the body of a rat for a few years, she won’t be such a nice gal.

OMG! I totally forgot that this Amy was witch-rat Amy. Now I know why she looked so familiar. Dur...

Rebecca: I had two moments during these episodes. The first was Darla wherein I laughed so hard when she runs away from the big bad vamp. ... I hadn't even remembered her being in the first 2 eps.

Me neither. In fact, when I saw the actors, I said to myself, "Hey! It's that guy from CSI: NY (which I've never really seen) and... geez, that looks like Julie Benz."

Rebecca: The second part that made me laugh was Harmony in the computer lab. That girl annoyed me to death, but I certainly didn't remember her being so early in the show.

Same here on both counts. I never really warmed to Harmony and was never sure how much to blame on the writers, since she is supposed to be insufferable, versus how much to blame on Mercedes McNab. I call it the Riker Conundrum.

On the other hand, with Darla and Harmony showing up this early, now we know why the sigil that the Master places on Luke as his vessel looks so much like the Mercedes-Benz logo. [wah-wah-wahhh...]

VW: presi — v. Anticipate that someone is going to answer in the affirmative, en espaƱol.

Blam said...

Just gotta say:

I know there's always a push to film things dramatically — or simply to get characters in the same frame in close-up — but, man, there are some seriously unlikely invasions of personal space betwixt teacher and student on Giles' behalf. (Whedon does mention this on the commentaries.)

Giles leaning in over Willow's shoulder with those great lines about the "dread machine" were one thing. And it wouldn't be like Willow to get all Cordelia on him for it, although in later seasons she might adorably say something like "You've, uh, really been hitting the Earl Grey, haven't you?" But seeing him corner Buffy in the hallway (really the hallway, per Joss; they only had one to shoot in), with his arm on the wall and leaning in close, well, the other students don't even look at them funny.

What really creeped me out, though, was Giles standing behind Buffy in the loft at the Bronze. I couldn't help but flash to the sleaztastic Spike in the same position, even saying something similar (basically "Look at them down there, unaware of what's going on") but doing something quite different.

VW: antebibi — How Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's poker buddies remind him to throw in the opening chips.

Blam said...

SenexMacDonald: If I had been Buffy, regardless of the 'tall, dark and broody' of Angel, I would have walked away! Would have saved her years of torment.

Cookie dough!

VW: reverem — How we clearly feel about these episodes.

Tom D. said...

This time around (having watched this show god-knows-how-many times, but this is the first time in a couple years or so), I'm really enjoying the early development of the Buffy/Giles relationship. Her sarcasm in "Welcome to the Hellmouth" especially. "Gee, can you vague that up for me?" And then he saves her in "Witch" by casting that spell, and she's all "You saved me! You were a god!" -- a line that looks silly when written down, but SMG delivered it believably.

I guess I'm watching these episodes in the shadow of Giles's (comic book) death. And what's really a shame is not just his eventual death, but the way they became estranged from one another over the years before he was killed. It's almost shocking, to me, to compare that to the rapport that gets established so quickly between them in "Witch."

Why does it feel so believable that Buffy and Giles would "click" with one another so fast -- especially after their initial getting off on the wrong foot in "Welcome to the Hellmouth" (which is also such a classic scene!)? I guess he's filling the father-figure role that Buffy must be feeling a great need for, at this point in her life. It's probably also important for their relationship that in "Witch" he gets to be the strong one for a minute -- Buffy is severely weakened, but she's there to see him forcefully barge into Amy's house and refuse to take no for an answer until he finds the spellbook. There's just a slight hint of Ripper in that scene -- but enough to establish that Buffy can count on him to be strong when she needs him.

Man, why did they have to go and drift apart like that? I guess maybe it really started with "Helpless," in the middle of season 3, where he deceived her. And just slowly got worse after that (although I loved the moment at the start of Season 5 where she asks him to be her watcher again -- but it just didn't last). Or did it start even sooner than that -- in season 2, when Jenny was killed by Angelus after Buffy failed to kill him when she had the chance? Did that put some irrevocable distance between Buffy and Giles?

The best moments of Buffy/Giles closeness that I can remember are in "Lie to Me" and "Innocence" -- early to mid-Season 2. But I'm looking forward to seeing all the moments that I've forgotten. Yay, rewatch!

Blam said...

SenexMacDonald: I will also be doing an Angel re-watch after "Graduation Part 2" so I can see how the two shows weave together. :)

Me too. I just can't imagine not doing it that way (personally, that is — no offense to Nikki, who's not just watching but writing and coordinating). I'd even rather fall behind than not get the full effect, despite the fact that I'm doing this in large part for the great conversation, but if I don't fall behind I'm hoping to get blogposts on Angel up roughly in sync with the Buffy ones here — either at my own blog or, if other folks want to round-robin the ringleading, at a new joint blog for that purpose.

Blam said...

Witness Aria: I also have a whole theory about Giles' naivety in light of what we learn about Ripper, but perhaps that's for another time.

I want to hear it — now or later, whatever makes more sense to you. I love Giles' early characterization, and I got a kick out of later revelations of his wayward sorcerous past (or just that he had a life, as when the Scooby Gang walked in on him and his pantsless ladyfriend), but they did make for more than a bit of a continuity clash.

Page 48: Nice observations about Buffy, Veronica Mars, and their lineage. I loved VM, but while the wit reminded me of Buffy, the premise reminded me more of "Chloe from Smallville has her own show in a world minus superhumans and plus quality."

helfron: Buffy is very much X-Files meets My So-Called Life, both amazing shows that popped up about a year after I was out of college and exploded my television time (along with NYPD Blue, Murder One, and the Star Trek series). I find that just like many shows combine disparate elements of those that came before, they often bifurcate again in different ways. Buffy fed into both Reaper and Supernatural (which of course also had a heavy influence from X-Files and its own predecessor Kolchak) but without the teen angst of Life that followed through to Freaks and Geeks.

VW: prionsth — Misguided attempt at rendering an infectious protein particle as a verb in Old English.

Nikki Stafford said...

Don't worry, as I've said many many many many times on here already, I will absolutely be referencing Angel the moment it starts up, and will post each week on the corresponding episodes you should be watching. Trust me, as someone who's been lending these DVDs out for years, all of my friends have their handy coordination sheets I made up for them, showing when they could get ahead on Angel or Buffy and it not affect the episode, but where they absolutely MUST watch them together, etc. I'm just not officially doing it (and if you're not watching Angel, it won't hurt) but for those wanting to gang when we get there, I'll be covering that for them. And I'll probably cover the big crossovers in some detail, perhaps not on the Tuesday but the next night or something. But I can't do all of them in detail; already I'm feeling the crunch of the rewatch and we're only two weeks in! (Well, one on the outside, but the second one is all written up and formatted and postdated for next Tuesday!) ;)

Nikki Stafford said...

Tom D: I have to say, I think that's one of my favourite things this time around, too (and why I posted that pic of her holding her pom-poms in his face, which cracked me up so much this time around). It's just wonderful. And I keep hearing "Wish I could play the father..." in my head.

Suzanne said...

I am glad that there will be discussion about both Angel and Buffy in regards to the crossover episodes during this rewatch. When we watched Buffy for the first time over a year ago, my son wanted to watch Angel along with Buffy because he said he thought they should be watched that way (wise 10-year old), but I didn't listen to him (foolish 43 year-old) because I was impatient to keep watching Buffy and didn't want to rob time from it. Now, I am looking forward to watching them together as most of you who watched them during their initial airing dates did.

Unknown said...

I also love that we'll be talking about the Angel crossovers. I would LOVE to see the list you have of which episodes crossover and where one can watch ahead on either series. Any chance you could share that now or do we have to wait?

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Just saw the series finale of Angel. :(

I know who I'll miss most of all.

Blam said...

Nikki: I'd hate to think that all you're taking away from our comments is that we don't trust you to appropriately reference Angel. 8^)

Lexie: I ended up going to a BTVS wiki to make sure that Merrick hadn't appeared elsewhere in prose novels or comics beyond The Origin when writing up my blogpost. Yes, Pike apparently shows up in at least one of the novels. As for Seth Green, I read that his deleted role was as a vampire but I don't think that it was a prominent part, so, no disrespect meant to you in the least, "who" he was or would have been probably isn't really an answerable question outside of, like, "Vampire #5". I haven't read more than the very occasional Buffy comics story outside of the start of Season Eight, but since Dark Horse's Omnibus volumes supposedly cherry-pick the best and/or most mythologically relevant stories and reprint them in chronological order in terms of the TV series' timeline, I kind-of have the urge to borrow or buy them to read along with the Rewatch; Things from Another World regularly has them available for at least 50% off in its Nick & Dent sections, whose items rarely have any noticeable defects and in my experience arrive in better shape than stuff sent from Amazon.

VW: thesqui — Warning shouted in somewhat less than the nick of time during an attack by a giant cephalopod.

Blam said...

helfron: the sound of the Master poking out the eye of one of his minions, an act we hear but do not see

Such off-screen action is a frequent occurrence, and probably at least in part the consequence of budget lackitude — not that it isn't very intentionally, creatively addressed in the resultant workaround. Necessity, Frank Zappa's band, etc. I noted in the other thread that Joss's commentary on "The Harvest" remarked on Buffy jumping over the school gate (after Principal Flutie walks away) through camera trickery rather than having her Bionic Woman it; it's a great moment, where less really is more, and would've been a fine choice even if they could've shown her actually doing the leap. That out-of-frame staking with the pool cue in the same episode is likewise choice, especially with the cue lingering horizontally for a touch, as the dialogue continues.

Many of your other thoughts echo mine (and Joss's, who also heaped praise on SMG's reaction shots in her meeting with the principal).

The looping, yeah, that's often pretty noticeable, at least when it egregious — which tends to be when it's necessitated by shooting in crowd scenes and the mixing in ADR doesn't really match well. BTVS the Movie had some truly heinous looping its own self.


Blam said...


I confess that I've never recalled the music at the Bronze doing much for me. Even when a lyric jibed with the emotional (or physical) content of the scene — again, in memory; I may well be surprised during the Rewatch — it seemed to be a bit too on-the-nose, which might've been excused if the song was actually enjoyable rather than coming across as generic, dull '90s rock. Part of that could just be taste, and I don't mean to denigrate anyone else's enjoyment of it — music is awfully subjective. The single Bronze-band moment that stands out for me, though, is Aimee Mann (the only act I remember having heard of before, which makes it funnier) saying how she hates playing vampire towns.

Also, I realize that this is TV and that everyone's high-school experience differs, but... Going to a club on weeknights? Really? Even the most social, "popular" cliques where I'm from had afterschool activities, not to mention, um, homework; the activities were the social framework during the week, be it yearbook, theater, soccer, or cheerleading.

I know very much what you mean about Buffy almost feeling like a black-&-white show, and that's worthy of credit to everyone from the director and photographers up through the producers and executives for letting it look like that. The shadows really make an artistic impression, in addition to being narratively necessary for the element of surprise (Is anyone there? Who is there? Has something happened to the person who is there that we're not allowed to see his/her face?). Yet the vibrant color is just as important for contrast with the dark scenes as the blacks and blues are for contrast within the dark scenes.

Among the other aspects of mise-en-scene that you mention, "the elegant moving camera" was a welcome surprise. I hadn't really remembered the number and quality of long, tracking shots, but to an extent they make sense not only in terms of Joss and crew wanting to bring a cinematic look to the show but, as he noted on his pilot commentaries, not really knowing any better in terms of how to make a TV series. He'd really only written for, and been on the sets of, feature films. One difference that worked in his favor is that in television the writer/producer is king, and the director (unless also a member of the regular showrunning cabal) is very much a hired hand rather than an auteur, but otherwise the changes in budget and production schedule and the like were rude awakenings requiring adaptation or perhaps willful ignorance.

VW: Flutrina — Nutritional supplement formulated for wind-instrument players.

Tom D. said...

The single Bronze-band moment that stands out for me...

For me, the most memorable Bronze-band moment is one that's coming up pretty soon: Cibo Matto in "When She Was Bad," sounding very sultry and evocative while Buffy dances with Xander in a cruelly sexy manner.

Anonymous said...

I think it's cool that Julian Lennon played the Bronze.

Seth Green's vampire character can be seen on the cover of some of the movie releases. I'm assuming there was something to the part because he was a fairly well-known child actor.

Blam said...

Tom D.: For me, the most memorable Bronze-band moment is one that's coming up pretty soon: Cibo Matto

Cibo Matto played the Bronze? Whoa... Yay, Rewatch, again!

VW: kinsica — Data from the Kinsey Reports.

Nikki Stafford said...

redeem: It's Sean Lennon, actually. Julian Lennon was the one who was sitting on a pebble by the river playing gee-tah. Because apparently his butt is so tiny it can fit on a... pebble. ;)

Blam said...

I will unashamedly admit to having bought Valotte.

Page48 said...


You're not the only Valotter in the room.

It's hard to reconcile that John died at 40 and now Julian is 47.

Hell, even Sean is 35 now. What does that make me? Ugh, it doesn't bare thinking about.

Jess Legacy said...

I haven't watched the whole series (I'm on season 4) so I will refrain from reading this post, but Cynthea encouraged me to post my recent rant on Facebook, so I will.

I can totally understand, this blogpost says, in the beginning when Joyce doesn't understand Buffy she tries to exercise some kind of control over her and be her mother, but how can you ground someone when you find out they're the slayer? And the fact that she's all, oooh, can't wait for you to go to college and be normal!! How about, hey daughter, I don't completely understand you, but the fact that I watched you numerous times kill demons and save the world makes me realize that you're awesome, and I'll just stop trying to be all disciplinary over you. Ugh. And I know that one episode where she tried to kill Buffy (Gingerbread) isn't her fault, but the fact that Buffy isn't screaming at her to back off just drives me crazy! And every time Buffy tells her to run away because she's in the way, Joyce just stands there and goes, no, I'm supposed to protect you. I know it's her mom, but seriously, if I was a slayer and I told my mom to get out of here because I don't want to watch her die, I'd be seriously ticked off if she hesitated and tried to be all heroic. Dammit, Joyce, your daughter is pretty much a super hero. Get the hell out of the way!!

I know this isn't a very smart post, and I'm looking forward to being a little more intellectual, but this rant came during a time when I was deep into my Buffy dvds and had to finally say something about how much Joyce has driven me absolutely crazy!

P.S, thank you Cynthea for giving me Buffy, and thank you Nikki for sponsoring this great (re)watch!

Lexie said...

@Blam: nah I didn't think he had a big enough part to actually warrant a name, but its the sort of thing my friends and I speculated about (after they read the comic as well). That along with Pike's gray hair color XD

He appeared in "Sins of the Father", which I plan to re-read since its one of my favorite Buffy novels. When I first read it I didn't draw the parallels between the movie Pike and the book Pike, mostly 'cause I was so used to thinking of the movie as not being part of the Buffyverse.

in regards to the music, I know that when the episodes originally aired I was really into finding out about the songs and bands. But somewhere around season 3 or so I fell out of enjoying English lang music and was listening to more asian things, so Buffy didn't fill that niche for me.

My sister though, she obsessed over the music. Found a list of every single song mentioned or played in Buffy and Angel and then compiled them all. She has an entire CD case full of Joss Whedon music (she's currently working on Dollhouse).

As for Joyce...as a teen I was irked with Joyce for not caring more. Part of that was because of my own personal life (my mom paid little to no attention to me as well), so I pushed my unhappiness in my situation onto the Buffy/Joyce dynamic. Now though its a blessing in disguise that Joyce doesn't interfere more often or 'get it'.

Future retconning (season 6 "Normal Again") will point out that Buffy had told her parents about vampires before and they locked her up for it, so Joyce's reaction at the end of Season 2 is kind of...odd, but Buffy was lucky. It was after her mom found out that things got really hairy for her.

Anonymous said...

redeem: It's Sean Lennon, actually. Julian Lennon was the one who was sitting on a pebble by the river playing gee-tah. Because apparently his butt is so tiny it can fit on a... pebble. ;)

And I thought I was over the flu. *sigh*

Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...


Money (or rather the lack of it) may have been a factor in the seen but not heard in Buffy. However, given that Whedon was a film student it might also be the belief common among some filmmakers before the advent of the orgasmic spectacle of cgi that the unseen is more horrible than the seen (those wonderful Lewton-Tourneur horror films; some Hitchcock). Of course, it may be both.

Nikki Stafford said...

Jess: Thanks for your post, and thank you for making me not feel so alone in my earlier thoughts on Joyce! Watching Season 1 I can't believe I ever had a problem with her then, but it's as the series goes on things begin to crumble. The one episode I'm really looking forward to watching again is "Dead Man's Party" because Joyce going off on Buffy after getting all looped up on schnapps in front of all her friends is something that always drove me completely nuts. I wonder if I'll be able to watch that one any differently.

And honestly, I wanted to throw her out a window throughout that whole MOO thing in Gingerbread!! ;)

verification word: "redsh": How Joyce refers to that Warren Beatty movie when she's hopped up on schnapps.

Nikki Stafford said...

Page48: Sean is 35 now??? I didn't realize we were so close in age. He seemed so little when his dad died... then again, so was I, I suppose.

Unknown said...

Right there with you re: the scene in 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' where Giles is creepily invading Buffy's personal space as they observe the crowd below them at the Bronze. I also had an icky deja-vue flashback of her and Spike having a 'special moment' up there in Season 6.