Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-11 06:30am

So, yesterday was the 20th. anniversary of what's probably my all-time favourite SF series, or television drama of any sort, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The show, that is, not the non-canon movie of dubious notoriety. :wink:

Sadly, the occasion went largely unremarked and uncelebrated, since unlike "Star Trek" or "Doctor Who", for example, Buffy has nothing currently in theatres or on the air (though if you're a Buffy fan, or just an urban fantasy/superhero comics fan, some of the comics are worth checking out- particularly, in my opinion, the first season of "Angel and Faith").

Still, its interesting to reflect, twenty years in, upon the impact this franchise has had on television and popular culture, particularly in light of the ongoing controversies around the depiction of women and minorities in the media. Perhaps particularly noteworthy is its largely positive portrayal of homosexual relationships, at a time when things like gay marriage and the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell were still somewhat fringe political positions. In addition, the series has had a notable impact on television- its been credited as an inspiration for the modern Doctor Who, and less positively, has likely been part of the impetus behind the flood of vampire romances of variable quality in recent years.

Ultimately, however, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is more than simply a "political message" show. This is not to say that the issues that it depicts are unimportant, or not worth discussing. They certainly are, and while I often disagreed with the series' apparent point of view, while it will doubtlessly be considered dated in some respects today, I appreciate that it honestly made me think more about issues surrounding feminism than I otherwise likely would have. However, the series is also, quite simply, a well-written, well-acted piece of television; one which interweaves humour, suspense, and tragedy to devastating emotional effect and builds characters and themes over the course of multiple seasons to achieve the most effective payoff, with seemingly minor events resurfacing, or even having a profound impact, seasons after they occurred. I also respect the writers' willingness to deviate from the show's own status quo, and experiment with their own formula, most notably perhaps in "Hush" (largely without dialog), "Restless" (which mostly takes place as a series of surreal dreams), "The Body" (which lacks a musical score and largely lacks supernatural elements), and "Once More With Feeling" (the musical episode).

And of course, I live in hope for a 25th. anniversary reunion special/mini-series (something like last year's resurrection of the X-Files, perhaps), though I know its probably not terribly likely. :(

That concludes my little mini-review. Over the next few days, I will probably post reviews of some of the first season episodes. But in the meantime, feel free to discuss any and all aspects of this franchise.

I'll also include this recent article from the Guardian, written by Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles):

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... r-feminist

I’m lucky enough to have been attached to a few iconic shows – Merlin, Doctor Who, Little Britain – but 20 years on, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is still the one I get stopped in the street to talk about most. It deeply affected so many people – they tell me how it eased their growing pains, how without the show they wouldn’t have been able to cope. It gave them strength. The executives who commissioned it had no idea what they were unleashing, and the impact it would have.

The network kept wanting to change the name. “Nobody is going take it seriously if it’s called Buffy.” But that was the whole point. It’s somebody called Buffy who nobody really takes seriously, but who has the fate of the world in their hands. Joss Whedon’s original concept was to take the girl in the horror movies who falls over, twists her ankle – the victim – and make her the hero. It’s clearly a feminist parable. But it went so much further. It was this extraordinary allegorical tale that lasted seven years.

Of course, this was most apparent in the way it presented the difficulties of growing up. Take the story of Buffy’s boyfriend, Angel. He’s this wonderful, caring person, but only because he’s a vampire cursed by gypsies to have a conscience. That’s enough right there. But not for Whedon. As soon as Angel finds himself in a state of ecstasy – when he finally sleeps with Buffy – he loses his soul and becomes the one night stand from hell. It’s a situation women the world over can relate to, but presented through this horrific metaphor.

Anthony Head with Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Anthony Head with Sarah Michelle Gellar. Photograph: Allstar/20th Century Fox
And Whedon was able to almost sense what was coming in the world. The episode Earshot predicted a Columbine-style massacre before it happened and had to be moved in the schedules as a result. But in those 43 minutes, Whedon created a three-dimensional character for this would-be murderer. Jonathan was relatable, his problems and motivations felt clear – especially to that young teenage audience. Many have tried to replicate the nuance of that psychology in far grander settings, but with nowhere near the same level of success. That’s the thing – brilliant writing connects.

One is aware in this industry that executives, who are rarely creatives, feel the need to “contribute”. Notes come through, often purely about exposition, which means that the character stuff gets whittled away because, ultimately, they underestimate the audience. But it’s that stuff that people connect to, and it’s that stuff that makes entertainment cross over from the narrow demographics that executives too often focus on.

We were lucky was off the radar – nobody expected it to do anything, so we weren’t subject to their scrutiny. We did, however get a note, in season one, on Teacher’s Pet, because we weren’t allowed to show blood. We couldn’t show the green blood shooting from the severed neck of a beheaded praying mantis demon. We shot it in silhouette instead. Whedon was able to get Buffy up and running before the higher-ups took notice – and it got a huge response almost immediately. It was a lucky accident that it was at a time when online became a real voice. A community of fans built up.

And that was the real power of the show – it resonated. Not just with girls, or teenagers, but with everyone. It gave flesh, and horns, to the demons we all face in life. That was never more apparent than in the episode The Body. Whedon liked to play with the medium. An episode where nobody talks. A musical. But The Body was something else entirely. He had said a year previously that Joyce, Buffy’s mother, was going to die – serious stuff for a teenage comedy horror. He gave her a brain tumour – “here we go,” I thought. But then she recovered. He was planning much further ahead.

“She’ll have an aneurism at the end of a really light, frothy episode, and Buffy will come in and find her on the sofa,” he told me. When it finally aired, it was gut-wrenching stuff. He’d said he thought he might strip it of incidental music, to increase its intensity – and he did. It was a brilliant and extraordinarily bold choice on a mainstream, network show for “kids”. Buffy was presented with an enemy that she couldn’t fight, an enemy that everyone can relate to – the death of a loved one.

And that was the real power of the show – it resonated. Not just with girls, or teenagers, but with everyone.
I knew Buffy was special as soon as I read the first two scripts. I was on board from the beginning. I’d come close to doing another show about demons and poltergeists and things. But it was humourless, it had no empathy, it was just in-your-face horror. My agent was telling me to take it, but my partner said wait, that something else was coming. A month later, I was in a Tex-Mex restaurant in Santa Monica on my own, laughing out loud – much to the chagrin of all the people round me who thought I was some loony Englishman. Buffy isn’t just a horror – it’s a comedy, it’s a thriller, it’s a coming-of-age drama. Whedon proved that you can have sardonic humour alongside all the serious stuff, you can turn emotions on a dime, and people love it. A laugh-out-loud moment, followed by a death. He changed television.

That's why when a 40-year-old man comes up to me “confessing” to being a fan of the show, as if its a dirty secret, I tell him to stand proud. Buffy might have been a teenage girl, but the issues in the programme transcended age or gender. It’s undoubtedly a feminist story, about the empowerment of women, but Whedon managed to tell that story in a way that was inclusive.

He is an incredible, genius writer – so it’s hardly a surprise that few, if any, have managed to emulate that feat. Female protagonists are still thin on the ground. Executives still struggle to see how they can sell women’s stories to mixed audiences. But even if a televisual landscape filled with female heroes hasn’t followed on, there’s no doubting the impact Buffy had.

In the final season, Whedon started to build up this young group of “Slayerettes” around Buffy. I was confused. “Where is this going? Isn’t he diluting what makes the show special?” But after seven years, in the series’s final moments when Buffy handed over the mantle to all womenkind, he encapsulated the true message of the programme. And it’s that legacy that still resides in all of us, true, lifelong Buffy fans.

• Anthony Stewart Head is appearing in Love in Idleness at the Menier Chocolate Factory until 29 April


(Edited to remove extraneous crap unrelated to the article. :wink: )
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby edaw1982 » 2017-03-13 11:29am

Did Buffy had any actually gay couples who weren't lesbians though?

It's like repealing the DADT and how they ultimately went with the two female sailors because that's more "palatable" to even the most ardent bible-thumper because "Mmmm da lesbinumz..." fappityfapfap

I mean sure there was vaugely "homoerotic subtext" with Spike and Angel, but that was depicted as an abusive relationship.
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-03-13 02:16pm

edaw1982 wrote:Did Buffy had any actually gay couples who weren't lesbians though?

It's like repealing the DADT and how they ultimately went with the two female sailors because that's more "palatable" to even the most ardent bible-thumper because "Mmmm da lesbinumz..." fappityfapfap

I mean sure there was vaugely "homoerotic subtext" with Spike and Angel, but that was depicted as an abusive relationship.


Not really, the closest we got was Andrew Wells and his unrequited crushes. And even then, they always kept it in the air on what exactly he was.
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-03-13 02:26pm

Not disputing edaw's point as such, but... for the 90s, even having a mentally healthy and loving pair of lesbians on screen was pretty far forward-looking.

Sort of like how Star Trek did the 'high profile interracial kiss on TV' thing.' Sure, it was a white guy kissing a black woman and not the other way around... but it was still something of a milestone, and not something I'd dismiss on that basis.
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-13 02:35pm

Simon_Jester wrote:Not disputing edaw's point as such, but... for the 90s, even having a mentally healthy and loving pair of lesbians on screen was pretty far forward-looking.

Sort of like how Star Trek did the 'high profile interracial kiss on TV' thing.' Sure, it was a white guy kissing a black woman and not the other way around... but it was still something of a milestone, and not something I'd dismiss on that basis.


Yeah, like I said, Buffy is probably somewhat dated now. But it pushed the boundaries for its time.

Though in fairness, didn't they finally bring Andrew out of the closet in the comics?

They also had that jock at Sunnydale High in seasons two and three who confessed to being gay to Xander. A fairly minor but recurring character, who's homosexuality was portrayed fairly sympathetically.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-13 03:25pm

"Welcome to the Hellmouth" Review.

The first episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is a somewhat cheesy, clunky, and low-budget affair, but you can see the seeds of what the series would become, starting with the very first scene, which combines an X-Files in high school tone with a reversal of audience expectations and sexist horror genre cliches. This is followed by the iconic, campy-yet-spooky, and almost defiantly energetic opening credits.

From there, the episode introduces the various key players for the first season: the awkward, girl-obsessed class clown Xander; the mean popular girl Cordelia; the shy but good-natured nerd Willow; the bumbling, stuffy mentor and occult expert Giles; the mysterious, handsome "bad boy" Angel; the sinister vampire known as the Master, who's long black leather coat gives him almost a Nazi SS vibe; and of course Buffy herself, who combines a peppy popular high school girl with both an underlying bitterness and fear of her destined role as a superhuman vampire slayer, and an underlying kindness towards the vulnerable and outcast. The characters are at this point somewhat archetypal, but their are already hints of their future depth and complexity (Willow, in particular, gets a couple of great moments in the next episode, which foreshadow her future character development). The episode also sets up the beginnings of the first season's overall arc before closing on a cliff-hanger.

One interesting quirk of the premier is that, while it largely disregards the continuity of the prior Buffy the Vampire Slayer film, it nonetheless has the feel of entering a story part-way through. The audience does not see Buffy's introduction to the world of the supernatural, or her first adventures as a vampire slayer (though those events would eventually be revisited in flashbacks during Season Two's "Becoming Part I"). While this has the advantage of skipping over a lot of the usual origin story cliches, it creates, for me, the odd sense at times that Buffy is a mysterious outsider, despite her being the central character. This feeling passes quickly, however, as the series establishes Buffy in the role of the protagonist.

All things considered, "Welcome to the Hellmouth" is a somewhat dull, awkward, and mediocre episode, particularly when measured against the heights that the franchise would ultimately achieve, but their are plenty of moments that hint at what it will become. The main deficiencies of the episode, and of much of the first season, are its obvious lack of budget: the clunky and limited action and effects, the (opening/closing theme aside) painfully cheesy musical score; and the fact that the writing has not yet had time to develop the themes and characters with the depth of subsequent episodes. However, "Welcome to the Hellmouth" adequately performs a premier's most important jobs: to establish the setting, characters, and basic tone of the series in a clear and concise manner.

In any case, it is certainly worth watching- both on its own merits and because "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is a series that is best watched in order, from the beginning. It grows over time, with seemingly minor events in one episode proving important seasons later, and the series' most powerful moments rely upon entire seasons of careful buildup. Their are plenty of wretchedly bad episodes-this series often reminds me of the nursery rhyme which reads "When she was good she was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid"-but even the bad episodes generally have something worth watching in them, and they're more than worth putting up with to get to the good ones.

Coming up: Episode Two- "The Harvest".
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-03-13 03:33pm

Even ER waited (IIRC) until around 2000 to push a lesbian relationship. And this was a show that didn't mind showing a black man with a white woman (that whole thing was weird. Hate mail over a relationship ending. And I recall, La Salle was the one who wanted it ended. Not judging, Just saying). I have no idea why people love lesbian porn but are afraid of actual lesbians. Maybe it's a macho thing and women shouldn't be able to find happiness without a dick involved. That's not even a joke. It's an "argument" I've heard: "I don't get lesbians. They use strap-ons, so why not just fuck a dude?" Oh man, rednecks.... holy shit.

Either way, I give Buffy credit where it's due even though the show has taken flack for showing "kids gloves lesbianism" (not my words). Anything that makes studio exec asshole pucker up is generally fine by me.

It'd like to go ahead and pour one out for the movie. Swanson, Hauer, Sutherland, PERRY! Oh man, that movie has a special place in my heart. And not just because Swanson was a huge crush for me in my formative years.

Though, also a sad note because this reminds me of a picture I saw about "a certain 30th anniversary" where Link and Mario are high-fiving while Samus is standing off in the corner sad and alone. At least Buffy ended on a high-note.

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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-13 03:41pm

On the studio executive thing- I don't recall the sources, I'm afraid, but I've heard/read quite a few stories of executive censorship of the show. Like limits on how many drops of blood they could show on screen. There's also a story that they tried to cut Willow and Tara's kiss in "The Body", with Joss Whedon reportedly threatening to quit the series if they did so.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby edaw1982 » 2017-03-13 06:20pm

TheFeniX wrote:Even ER waited (IIRC) until around 2000 to push a lesbian relationship. And this was a show that didn't mind showing a black man with a white woman (that whole thing was weird. Hate mail over a relationship ending. And I recall, La Salle was the one who wanted it ended. Not judging, Just saying). I have no idea why people love lesbian porn but are afraid of actual lesbians. Maybe it's a macho thing and women shouldn't be able to find happiness without a dick involved. That's not even a joke. It's an "argument" I've heard: "I don't get lesbians. They use strap-ons, so why not just fuck a dude?" Oh man, rednecks.... holy shit.

Either way, I give Buffy credit where it's due even though the show has taken flack for showing "kids gloves lesbianism" (not my words). Anything that makes studio exec asshole pucker up is generally fine by me.

It'd like to go ahead and pour one out for the movie. Swanson, Hauer, Sutherland, PERRY! Oh man, that movie has a special place in my heart. And not just because Swanson was a huge crush for me in my formative years.

Though, also a sad note because this reminds me of a picture I saw about "a certain 30th anniversary" where Link and Mario are high-fiving while Samus is standing off in the corner sad and alone. At least Buffy ended on a high-note.


Having never watched lesbian porn, I can't honestly say.
From what I hear it has either/or two facets.
One is "Ah don' like the dicks ewwy eww eww" that you have with straight porn, "But Mmm lesbians mmm all taco all the time mmmM no dicks to make me question my sexuality.."

Or alternatively there's that "Mmm yeah these dykes are grinding tacos just for me Mmmm yeah yeah mmm I could probably fuck the lesbian outta them mmMmm..." :wanker:
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby edaw1982 » 2017-03-13 06:23pm

Mind you "Mmm lesbian just for me" is no worse than yaoi/slashfic (?) "Oooh Draco and Harry...oh yes!! Oh yes! Captain Jack Sparrow and ARagorn! Oh Kirrrk Oooh Spoooooccckkkkkk OOh OOhhHHo Oohooohhhh!!" squishsquishsquish
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-03-13 06:40pm

I think the first season is really rough, and the show didn't hit its stride until season 2. Coincidentally, that was also when Spike first appeared. The show learned to take itself a little less seriously, and have fun with its villains, while also making sure to have serious dramatic stakes when necessary.

Though, there were still some odd points that I don't think aged well. The vampire cowboys, for example, just seemed like a concept the writers fell in love with, and made them recurring characters. This was both a strength and a weakness of the show. Characters would come back, and the writers took guts and killed off a lot of them who would seem to be recurring ones. However, they also fell into the trap of bringing back characters who should have exited the show a long time ago.

Spike, for example, was only meant to be in 5 episodes, but around season 4, they made him a main character, and it seemed ridiculous that no one had killed him after a certain point. He was their Dr. Zachary Smith.

All that said, one thing about the show that really needs to be taken into consideration, is that it's ultimately a horror movie universe. If you start with that mindset, that it's a world set in a horror movie, and thus follow those rules in how the world works, a lot of things start to make sense with the story.
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-13 07:29pm

FaxModem1 wrote:I think the first season is really rough, and the show didn't hit its stride until season 2.


This is, from what I've seen, a common opinion, but I don't think that its entirely fair.

The first season, as I said in my review of the first episode, has basically two big problems compared to the rest of the series:

1. Its obviously lacking in budget.

2. It hasn't had time to develop the themes, characters, and story as much as the later seasons.

Neither of these is a huge failing though, so much as nigh-inevitabilities of being a new show without a blockbuster budget behind it. No amount of fancy effects will save a show with poor writing and acting, and Buffy always relied on its writing and acting (and musical score) over fancy visuals, even in later seasons when it had the resources to do more. And the lack of development is less a failure (again, you can see plenty of hints of what will come later on) as it is simply the fact that they haven't had as much time for it.

Season one, to me, isn't, for the most part, bad. In fact I find it rather quaintly charming at times. It just feels... unfinished.

I'm actually reminded of some sculptures I saw once in Italy, I think they were Michelangelo's, which were unfinished. You could see parts of the sculpture that had been shaped, and others that were just stone. It was fascinating, almost as though their was a creature inside the rock that was still trapped, but trying to break out.

That's what season one feels like to me, sort of. Like you can see glimpses of what the show will become, but it hasn't been fully shaped and polished yet.

Coincidentally, that was also when Spike first appeared.


Well, I won't deny that Spike took the show up a notch. When I first started watching the series, I had very mixed feelings about it, and James Marsters' performance as Spike was one of the main things that kept me watching it. He has incredible presence on-screen, practically stealing every scene he's in. It also helps that the writers gave him a lot of the best dialog- Spike provided fascinating insights into how a vampire might view the world, while also serving to deflating the pretensions of other characters, especially other vampires (and especially Angel, for whom he is an excellent foil).

Spike introducing himself to the Anointed One in his first episode is one of my all-time favourite character introductions, and an excellent example of this:

"You were their? Please. If every vampire who said he was at the Crucifixion were really their, it would have been like Woodstock. I was actually at Woodstock. That was weird gig. I fed off a flower person and I spent the next six hours watching my hand move."

The show learned to take itself a little less seriously, and have fun with its villains, while also making sure to have serious dramatic stakes when necessary.


It always bothers me when people say things about a story like "It doesn't take itself too seriously" as though that's a compliment, when to me it always feels like a very back-handed one (though its probably not meant that way), like saying "well, its just a joke, so it shouldn't aspire to be anything serious."

But yes, one of the series' great strengths is the ability to interweave comedy and horror/drama/tragedy, with the contrast between the two making both more effective. I rarely get very emotional about films or tv shows, but Buffy is probably the only show that has made me both laugh and cry repeatedly. And that's a big part of why I have such a high opinion of it.

I have to say, though, that I thought the Master in season one was quite a fun villain- I have to hand it to the actor (Mark Metcalf)- he's one of those rare actors with the gift of making hammy bad ass.

Though, there were still some odd points that I don't think aged well. The vampire cowboys, for example, just seemed like a concept the writers fell in love with, and made them recurring characters. This was both a strength and a weakness of the show. Characters would come back, and the writers took guts and killed off a lot of them who would seem to be recurring ones. However, they also fell into the trap of bringing back characters who should have exited the show a long time ago.


Jonathan might be one of the most notable. One of the minor Sunnydale high characters who ends up becoming a major villain in the sixth season. Amy Madison is up their too, in a similar role.

Spike, for example, was only meant to be in 5 episodes, but around season 4, they made him a main character, and it seemed ridiculous that no one had killed him after a certain point. He was their Dr. Zachary Smith.


Spike's being kept alive stretched credulity seriously at points in season four and five (yes, he's got the chip that keeps him from killing people, but he's still a soulless demonic monster and he's still dangerous, as his collaboration with Adam and other villains during that period showed).

But at the same time, I get why they kept him around. To quote the Joker "...I won't kill you, because you're just too much fun." :D

And they did manage to keep doing interesting things with him right up to the end, even if the Buffy/Spike affair in season six was kind of stomach-turning (but I think it was supposed to be).

Though you can kind of notice the point where they decided to keep Spike around instead of him dying in season two, because for most of the rest of the season, they don't really seem to have a clue what to do with him, with his role being little more than cameos. "Becoming" makes up for it though, with the wonderfully surreal conversations he has with Buffy and Joyce, and Spike's utter outmaneuvering of everyone in that story being probably his finest accomplishment as a villain in the series.

Seriously, if you watch "Becoming" and pay close attention to Spike's role: he is the character who starts out in the worst position, isolated and betrayed by his own allies, with only one trick up his sleeve, and he is the only one who walks away at the end with pretty much everything he wants (even if Drusilla did end up leaving him later). And he pulled that off against Angelus, who is supposed to be the vampire even other vampires are scared of.

All that said, one thing about the show that really needs to be taken into consideration, is that it's ultimately a horror movie universe. If you start with that mindset, that it's a world set in a horror movie, and thus follow those rules in how the world works, a lot of things start to make sense with the story.


To some extent, though, its a deconstruction/parody of the horror genre- albeit one that is capable of being genuinely horrifying when it wants to be.
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-03-13 08:09pm

When I mean that they took the villains less seriously, you'll notice that they still retain their heavy malice. The big problem was that The Master seemed a bit too serious, and lacking in full personality, and you couldn't really have fun with the character. The season 3 episode, 'The Wish', is how I wish they portrayed him in season 1, as more of a 'visionary vampire', who is giddy about his dreams being achieved, while also being a bit more witty. That, and seeing him in flashbacks on Angel and Buffy, they knew how to make him as more of a character, and less of a generic bad guy.
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-13 08:53pm

I don't know, I found the Master rather entertaining and interesting in season one, myself, though I can see how one might perceive him as a "generic villain". I particularly liked the scene in episode ten where he lectures the Anointed One on the nature of fear, and then demonstrates that it can be overcome by holding a cross with his bare hand while his skin is smoking.

But the human harvesting assembly line in "The Wish" is one of the most effectively creepy moments in the entire series, in my opinion.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-03-13 09:05pm

"She's still alive, you see, for the freshness." is one of my favorite lines in the entire series.
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2017-03-14 04:26am

As wonderful as the show is, and as much as I personally enjoy it, as this is SD.net I feel compelled to point out its fundamental flaw. That the worldbuilding of the Buffyverse was extremely ad hoc. While this was also true about Star Wars, in Buffy and Angel it led to two fundamental problems.

The first is the potrayal of Vampires as irredeemable demons who also had their own culture and what we ultimately saw with Spike's redemption. This indicates that it should have been possible for someone with more resources to have used some sort of catch and release program with vampires rather than killing them as soon as they are "born." This was largely a consequence of Spike's character, who transformed vampires from a one note enemy into something with much greater depth.

The second was the problem of the masquerade, in which no one noticed the fact that they were living on top of the Hellmouth and yet the government still created the initiative and was still able to utilize the invisible girl as soon as she appeared. There was also a related problem with the scale of the setting, in which it was both a small town and a large city at the same time. This was largely a consequence of the series wanting to both have its cake and eat it. It wanted to have Buffy and company both save the world as well as having the experiences of being an almost normal girl in high school.

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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-03-14 05:24am

Adam Reynolds wrote:As wonderful as the show is, and as much as I personally enjoy it, as this is SD.net I feel compelled to point out its fundamental flaw. That the worldbuilding of the Buffyverse was extremely ad hoc. While this was also true about Star Wars, in Buffy and Angel it led to two fundamental problems.

The first is the potrayal of Vampires as irredeemable demons who also had their own culture and what we ultimately saw with Spike's redemption. This indicates that it should have been possible for someone with more resources to have used some sort of catch and release program with vampires rather than killing them as soon as they are "born." This was largely a consequence of Spike's character, who transformed vampires from a one note enemy into something with much greater depth.

The second was the problem of the masquerade, in which no one noticed the fact that they were living on top of the Hellmouth and yet the government still created the initiative and was still able to utilize the invisible girl as soon as she appeared. There was also a related problem with the scale of the setting, in which it was both a small town and a large city at the same time. This was largely a consequence of the series wanting to both have its cake and eat it. It wanted to have Buffy and company both save the world as well as having the experiences of being an almost normal girl in high school.


Yeah, Spike's arc makes no sense within the setting. Though I think they tried to stay true to 'vampires are irredeemable without souls' thing. Spike thought raping Buffy was okey-dokey. And Harmony thought nothing of selling Cordelia and company to a vampire pyramid scheme as a way to get ahead.

But to add to your point, the Watchers were an organization that was never really elaborated on until much later in the series, with us only getting the origins of the slayer in the final season. Same with how the forces of the afterlife worked, and what exactly were the forces of hell and everything. For instance, can anyone honestly explain to me how human civilization developed the way it did if demons, vampires, etc. are crawling in the woodworks, how humanity ever became a dominant species in the first place? Or how or why we forgot about all the things that bump in the night anyway?

There's a reason I had a thread made about justifications for the Masquerade. It was to mostly keep Buffy and company in a world that was close to our own, but it didn't make internal sense. That's why, for me at least, a lot of this has to be waved away as 'horror movie universe', and not 'fantasy universe'.
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-14 11:25am

Adam Reynolds wrote:As wonderful as the show is, and as much as I personally enjoy it, as this is SD.net I feel compelled to point out its fundamental flaw. That the worldbuilding of the Buffyverse was extremely ad hoc. While this was also true about Star Wars, in Buffy and Angel it led to two fundamental problems.

The first is the potrayal of Vampires as irredeemable demons who also had their own culture and what we ultimately saw with Spike's redemption. This indicates that it should have been possible for someone with more resources to have used some sort of catch and release program with vampires rather than killing them as soon as they are "born." This was largely a consequence of Spike's character, who transformed vampires from a one note enemy into something with much greater depth.


The way vampires seem to work for the most part, though it took a while for all the details to get fleshed out, is that personality-wise, they're basically the memories/personality/interests of the person who became a vampire, minus the restraints of conscience/a soul, and plus the addition of vampiric predatory impulses. An equation of sex and violence also seems to be a common vampire trait, or at least Buffy thinks so in season seven.

Thus who you were as a human effects how monstrous you are as a vampire. Angel was a selfish, perverted hedonist as a man, and once whatever limitations of conscience he might have had are replaced with vampiric impulses, he's an utter monster. Spike, in contrast, was a sentimental romantic and gentleman as a human, and this carries over (albeit in a warped manner) when he's a vampire.

Although even with that taken into account, Spike is an outlier. And the whole Buffy/Spike romance is seriously problematic at times in how it relates to the rest of the series' themes and mythology. Though they did eventually address this in season six with him getting his soul because (implicitly) without it he was incapable of ultimately restraining his predatory instincts towards Buffy despite his feelings for her. He's capable of emotional attachment, and even a degree of empathy, as a vampire, but its not a healthy attraction, but rather an obsessive and manipulative one.

I particularly like his conversation with Buffy in "Becoming Part 2", though, when he explains why he's helping her save the world- not because of any conscientious objections, but simply because he enjoys the world as it is more than the apocalyptic world Angelus wants to create. It was a very interesting look at why a demonic monster might choose to do "good", without contradicting the fundamental nature of what he is.

The second was the problem of the masquerade, in which no one noticed the fact that they were living on top of the Hellmouth and yet the government still created the initiative and was still able to utilize the invisible girl as soon as she appeared. There was also a related problem with the scale of the setting, in which it was both a small town and a large city at the same time. This was largely a consequence of the series wanting to both have its cake and eat it. It wanted to have Buffy and company both save the world as well as having the experiences of being an almost normal girl in high school.


I think Sunnydale's canon population is twenty or thirty-something thousand, though I don't recall the exact number. For the most part it seems to fit that fairly well, though their are occasionally times that it strains credulity, with Sunnydale having institutions (like the Sunnydale airport and university) that seem more suited to at least a small city.

Honestly, if I had to guess, I'd put Sunnydale as closer to my home city, which has between three and four hundred thousand.

Though it may also be that Sunnydale is sort of a suburb of LA- they seemed to be fairly near one another.

The degree to which people remain unaware of the supernatural did get ridiculous at times (the X-Files had the same problem with Scully specifically, and a lot of supernatural settings that wish to retain a lot of similarities to the modern world have similar issues). But it can be somewhat justified by the presence of mass mind-control and reality-warping spells. Plus to me its pretty clearly less a case of "people don't know" than "people know but choose to the look the other way because its easier". And by the later seasons, even that was breaking down, like when a visiting musician at the Bronze comments that they hate playing vampire towns, or a reference in Angel to the LA DA's office using its own counter-magic against Wolfram and Hart (which I always thought was really cool). It had the sense of being an open secret that everyone knew but no one liked to talk openly about.

Still, I actually think that, as huge a change as it was to the franchise's status quo, its probably for the best that the comics had magic become public knowledge post-season seven. And I can't help but wonder what it would have been like if they'd actually done that openly on the show before the end.
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby Raw Shark » 2017-03-23 12:31pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:They also had that jock at Sunnydale High in seasons two and three who confessed to being gay to Xander. A fairly minor but recurring character, who's homosexuality was portrayed fairly sympathetically.


Side note, but the jock was Larry Blaisdell, who is one of the Sccobies in the alternate universe of "The Wish," along with Oz and a girl who is shown briefly in profile and poor light who may or may not be Amy Madison. Speaking of Amy and Larry, one of my favorite lines in the series is when Willow de-rats Amy and Amy asks her with look of pure delight if she's still going to the prom with Larry. Willow looks really uncomfortable and tells her something like, "Um, the prom was years ago. And Larry's gay. And dead."

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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-23 03:11pm

I feel bad for Amy. She was so nice in her first episode, and then she ended up slowly turning into a monster, largely due to events outside of her control. Its a very dark, tragic little subplot.
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby Lord Revan » 2017-03-23 03:56pm

When discussing homosexual characters we should remember when Buffy was orginally aired and producted, 1997-2003 was a time when having sympathetic lesbian character that wasn't that purely for fan service was a big deal never mind having 2 in a commited monogamous relationship, having a major male gay character in a commited monogamous relationship that was sympathetic and not played for comedy was practically unheard of.

Yes the Willow/Tara relationship isn't much by current standards but it's been over a decade since the show left TV and our standards have changed as to what we expect from major characters in a series.

We shouldn't dismiss an achiviment for taking the first (or one of the first) steps at depicting homosexual relationships just because that step wasn't as big as you wished, only then they refuse to take the second step should we question the motives of the people.
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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-23 04:02pm

Lord Revan wrote:When discussing homosexual characters we should remember when Buffy was orginally aired and producted, 1997-2003 was a time when having sympathetic lesbian character that wasn't that purely for fan service was a big deal never mind having 2 in a commited monogamous relationship, having a major male gay character in a commited monogamous relationship that was sympathetic and not played for comedy was practically unheard of.

Yes the Willow/Tara relationship isn't much by current standards but it's been over a decade since the show left TV and our standards have changed as to what we expect from major characters in a series.

We shouldn't dismiss an achiviment for taking the first (or one of the first) steps at depicting homosexual relationships just because that step wasn't as big as you wished, only then they refuse to take the second step should we question the motives of the people.


Especially when you compare to something like Star Trek, which while lauded for being progressive, is in fact openly misogynistic at times.

By and large, the worst you can say about Buffy is that it didn't go all the way, in a time when network censorship and popular opinion would have made that virtually impossible. I can't recall the series ever being overtly hostile to homosexuals- at worst, they joked about homosexuality a bit, but Whedon shows joke about everything.

Edit: In fairness to Star Trek, they legitimately did push the envelope, at least a little, on race, at a time when that was not only highly controversial but outright dangerous to do.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th. Anniversary Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-23 04:23pm

edaw1982 wrote:Having never watched lesbian porn, I can't honestly say.
From what I hear it has either/or two facets.
One is "Ah don' like the dicks ewwy eww eww" that you have with straight porn, "But Mmm lesbians mmm all taco all the time mmmM no dicks to make me question my sexuality.."

Or alternatively there's that "Mmm yeah these dykes are grinding tacos just for me Mmmm yeah yeah mmm I could probably fuck the lesbian outta them mmMmm..." :wanker:


"Taco" is a euphemism for "vagina"? I did not know that.

And that puts the "Fred likes tacos" gag from "Angel" in a whole new light.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.


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