For many weeks, I have been stewing over creating a post featuring one of my Buffy the Vampire Slayer shirts and the continuing love letter I plan to write for Joss Whedon.
Sometimes the posts I want to make are a bit intimidating, and I put them off. How can I possibly do justice to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is considered by most as one of the best Television shows of all time, and surely one of my favourites?
And then I begin to investigate basic searches for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I find more material than I can possibly digest myself let alone synthesize into some digestible form for you, dear reader. I have not even read in their entirety all the books I own. And when is the last time I watched all the episodes? Or even one episode... I am a terrible fan...
I made my first attempt at a list of favourite TV shows in T-shirt #73, which was dedicated to one of the greatest ever: Battlestar Galactica (the new re-make not the original). Buffy the Vampire Slayer made that list of favourites, which I won't repeat here (check the link). I mentioned Lost, though I wrote about this show separately in T-shirt #76. I must have had temporary amnesia as I failed to mention one of my all-time favourites, and for many years my number one, thirtysomething (but more on this show later; I have shirts).
I have one other shirt featuring Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and so I have a second chance to create a special, well-considered, intricate, detailed love letter to all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer because this post is not going to be so intricate or well-considered.
In fact, I have been struggling for weeks with why I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer so much. And then, I read a recent interview in Entertainment Weekly with JOSS WHEDON. (There does not appear to be a link to this cover story from the August 30, 2013 issue of EW; I am assuming one has to buy the magazine to read it.) When asked for his proudest moments, the two Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes that he named happened to be my two favourites, and the episodes I point to that define what is great about Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a show: "The Body" (Season Five, episode 16, production number 94) and "Once More With Feeling," the much-touted musical episode (Season Six, episode 7, production number 107). Joss also named the Firefly episode "Objects in Space," which is an excellent choice as well, but that's a story for another time.
Though "The Body" and "Once More With Feeling" are my two favourite Buffy episodes their impact will not be in any way significant if a viewer has not watched the ninety-three episodes that precede "The Body" and the one-hundred-and-six episodes that precede "Once More With Feeling." These episodes had an enormous impact on me, but I had already invested nearly one hundred and then more than one hundred hours watching the program's episodes, at least once each. I made friends on the Internet after the airing of "Once More With Feeling." I had to have this music ASAP to play on CD and eventually digitally. Come on, this was 2001. I was still using CDs and cassette tapes and did not yet own a digital music player. It was an entire year before Joss and company released the music on a commercial CD.
I think Joss was as surprised as many how popular the episode became and how quickly.
From the Wikipedia page devoted to the "Once More With Feeling," episode : "John Virant, president and chief executive of Rounder Records, told the Los Angeles Times, "I remember watching the episode when it aired last October, and after it was over, I said to my wife, 'That's the best hour of TV I've ever seen. Someone should put that [soundtrack] out.' I inquired at Fox, just following up, and they said, 'Well, we tried, it didn't happen. If you want to take a run at it, feel free.'" Allmusic gives the album five out of five stars, stating that the music is "every bit as fun as the episode itself", praising the voices of Benson, Marsters and Head. Reviewer Melinda Hill states it is "a must-have for Buffy fans, but it wouldn't be out of place in anyone's collection""
I bolded and underlined the key line in the above paragraph: "That's the best hour of TV I've ever seen."
It is a work of crazy and frenetic genius. One of the best things about the episode is how it advances the ongoing story lines through the musical numbers in a way that is much more sophisticated than most musical theater scores and books. BUT the viewer can only enjoy the full impact of the episode by watching the one-hundred-and-six episodes that precede it. I will share some clips. Sadly, only one clip from the actual episode due to copyright issues. They are amazing, but my assessment of amazing is grounded in my foundation of Buffy study. One must devote the time, invest in the characters, the show, its premise, to be fully moved by these episodes.
"The Body" has been hailed by critics as one of the finest episodes of television EVER broadcast. It was and is Emmy worthy, but the show, the episode, and the mind-blowing performance of Sarah Michelle Gellar were not nominated for ANY Emmy Awards, which is one of the many reasons why the Emmys, like the Oscars, are a joke. I do not want to share too much more about "The Body". I recommend it, but only after watching all four and two-thirds seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that lead up to it. But I will say that the episode made me bawl like a baby, and it still does. Very few TV shows or movies have ever affected me so deeply. There was an episode of thirtysomething that got to me like that, too. Nothing else springs to mind.
As I have written before (T-shirt #76 for example), I adore the episodic narrative. Buffy the Vampire Slayer delivered 144 weekly episodes over a seven season period. Each installment built on the one before, and the cumulative effect creates one of the most powerful and enthralling and just damn fun television stories ever created.
BUFFY EPISODE GUIDE - WIKI
Do not judge by the first season. There were some clunkers. And though the first season has some bright spots, overall, it's an initiation period. Joss was trying to figure what he wanted to do and prove to the WB that he could attract viewers with it.
I caught on to Buffy because of the incessant ads during broadcasts of Chicago Cubs games because WGN was a WB network. I watched a lot of Cubs games in 1997. After seeing several dozen Buffy ads, I finally gave in an started recording the show. I am a big recorder. I have always had trouble watching shows as they are broadcast. Video tape, digital recording, and now streaming video are all so much more convenient than arranging my schedule to be home at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday. Though it was not long before I was doing just that for Buffy. I started recording Buffy the summer of 1997, and at first, I thought it was kind of stupid. But then it grew on me, and then I saw episode seven, "Angel," and I was hooked. But overall, Season One, not so much. Then came Season Two. It was better, but Season Two was not the most outstanding. It was better, it was good, and seeing Angel go bad was fun, seeing the introduction of Spike was amazing. The season as a whole had some clunkers, but overall, Joss was starting to nail it. By season three, Joss had the groove thing happening. From then on, each season kept setting new standards of excellence that were just mind-blowing.
I am sure that my hunger for more episodes of Buffy has not been sated since the last episode aired ten years ago much like the hunger felt by millions of fans. (Okay, at least thousands...)
Though, there is the comic book... it's not quite the same.
I know that someday there will be a Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. But I am rather impatient in waiting for it. We don't want to see the performers get much older.
I LOVE BUFFY
Buffy the Vampire Slayer has always made me happy. It will make you happy, too, if you give it a chance.
The theme song still has the power to get me out of my chair dancing around the room like a wild banshee from one of the Hell dimensions. Check it out. FOX owns the theme song, but FOX is probably not reading my blog or uncovering this devoted fan's You Tube channel. This sequence is not a real opening sequence. Eliza Dushku was never in the opening credits. And this fan found some great clips to highlight the other characters. Some are the same as in the TV opening, and others are not.
But, no, that's really great, right??
|Behind the scenes with Joss|
|Buffy needs "backup"|
|1950s sit-com style fun|
and some of the funniest lines in whole show
I will stop now. I could post the whole damn thing. Difficult just to select those things I love most. I love it all "most."
THINGS JOSS SAID
More from that interview. One thing he said about Buffy that stuck is that the "empowered" female characters drive the narrative. In reacting to things like Twilight and Vampire Diaries, Joss questioned whether or not the women characters are driving the narrative or whether the women are passive and don't really know what the Hell is going on. And then he nailed it with the quip that all these new YA franchises could be entitled "Choosing Boyfriends: the movie."
This is why I love Joss. Those comments right there.
RESOURCES - BOOKS AND LINKS
Here's a few resources. The first is a catch-up article on where the cast is now.
This article does a good job of explaining the ten best reasons that Buffy kicks ass.
Great article on how CBS has clout now that it has a show with Sarah Michelle Gellar because of the power of her Buffy powered fan base.
Not only is the following a comprehensive fan site with episode guides, but it's a daily update of fan fiction and fan chatter.
I have a couple of other books that I could not find to feature in this photo. I expect to get a bit more "jiggy" with book content in my next and extended love letter to all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
THE COMIC BOOK - FROM DARK HORSE
I mentioned that there was a comic book. There's actually several, but the main comic book for Buffy the Vampire Slayer produces stories that would have been the eighth and now the ninth seasons. In 2007, Joss Whedon took on over-seeing the series.
Unlike the TV series, the comic book runs more issues as one issue is not equivalent to one TV episode. Season Eight ran 40 issues. So far, Season Nine is up to 25 issues.
The comics are very good, they are very well written, and well-done in making with the humor.
But it's not the same.
Though some interesting things have happened, such as see the page below after Buffy had sex with another woman. It was handled very well, but it's not so much an ongoing thing. She seems to prefer boys.
Check out this great cast. And I haven't even scratched the surface of why these people are so fantastic. And this collage only takes us into season three.
- chris tower - 1309.07 - 20:10