Tag: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon: Still My Master

* Just to be on the safe side, if you’re like me and you want to be completely unspoiled for The Avengers, don’t read this post. Not that I’m actually spoiling anything. There’s just a few casting notes that are potential spoilers. I don’t even know what actually counts as a spoiler because I actively avoided everything written about the movie since before they started shooting. *

I finally saw The Avengers today. It was amazing. I completely agree with the person on Twitter who said that if you didn’t like The Avengers, then you just don’t like things (I can’t remember who it was, and let’s be honest, there were probably many people who said that on Twitter). Joss Whedon was absolutely the perfect person to write and direct this movie. (Not that I ever doubted that he was.) There were so many little moments in the movie that just felt so “Joss” (for lack of a better word) and they made me so happy. Plus, I totally recognized Enver Gjokaj when he showed up (and I hadn’t seen/heard/read that he was in the movie) and that made me happy. And then the credits said that Alexis Denisof was in the movie. What?!? That made me happy too.  Hell, it made me want to watch it again immediately. (To be fair, lots of things made me want to watch it again immediately. But I’ll probably wait for Blu-Ray – it’ll be on my Christmas list for sure.)

And then I saw that Logo is running a Buffy marathon tomorrow of Joss’ 10 favorite episodes. This news is fantastic and terrible. Fantastic because marathon of Joss’ favorite Buffy episodes! Hooray! Terrible because this means tomorrow will probably be as unproductive as today! Boo!

Part of me feels awful for calling today unproductive. Today consisted of so much awesome (Avengers! free lunch thanks to my parents! Phillies win!) that there couldn’t possibly be anything negative to say about it, right? Wrong. My focus is supposed to be on school right now, right? So if I don’t focus on school at all, then the day was kind of wasted. And sure, I could give myself a day off today, but then I really need to buckle down tomorrow. And I’m not so sure that’s going to happen. Man, this week really is proof that I am a terrible student and that I would never be able to go to grad school while working full-time. (Which makes me a really pathetic slacker when compared to so many of my classmates.)

Okay, this started out in a positive place and then got kind of negative. Time to stop.

Until tomorrow.

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Fantasy? No Thanks!

It’s so funny to me now, but when I was a kid I really didn’t like science fiction or fantasy.  I wanted my stories to take place in the real world, thank you very much.  This anti-fantasy bias most often showed up when I was deciding what to read, but it wasn’t limited to books.  No, I refused to like Star Wars and Star Trek for a very long time as well.  (Yes, I like them both.  Call the sci-fi fandom cops.)

In retrospect, a lot of the “normal” stuff I did like growing up had a bit of a fantastical element to it.  I mean, the members of the Baby-sitters Club never aged.  That’s weird.  And really, even Jane Austen’s stories of Regency life are fantasies for so many modern readers (this one included).  Don’t believe me?  Check out Austenland, a novel about an English resort that caters to Austen-obsessed women and their Regency fantasies, or perhaps you would prefer to watch Lost in Austen, a British mini-series about a modern Janeite who ends up switching places with Lizzie Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.

The first fantasy novel I remember reading was a Stephen King book called The Eyes of the Dragon.  I read it in seventh grade because my friend pretty much made me.  (Looking back on it, I guess I didn’t really have to read the book just because he lent it to me.  But at the time, I felt like he had made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  Not in a mafia way, though.)  I remember almost nothing about the book (including the title until about 20 minutes ago when I searched Amazon), but I do remember that I liked it.  I hadn’t expected to like it, and I was probably kinda annoyed that I did, but I did.  In fact, I want to look for it at the library some time.

Enjoying one fantasy novel didn’t really change my opinion of the genre, though.  I was still pretty much anti.  It was actually television that first started me on a path towards sci-fi and fantasy fandom.  Specifically, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I think I mentioned this before, but I watched “Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest” (the two-episode pilot) expecting it to be stupid.  It wasn’t and I was hooked.  From there, it was a pretty easy jump to Charmed to Angel to Alias to Firefly to Lost (you get the picture).  At this point a fantasy element is almost required before I watch a new TV series (which is why I will never, ever watch Friday Night Lights).

The book that really got me to enjoy fantasy novels was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  I was pretty late to the Harry Potter party.  I’d never even heard of the series until Goblet of Fire came out while I was working in a mall record store across from a bookstore.  All of a sudden, though, Harry Potter seemed to be everywhere.  So I decided to buy the first book in paperback to check it out.  I loved it.  I went back to buy Chamber of Secrets in paperback.  Loved it too.  But now I had a problem, I had exhausted the supply of Harry Potter books available in paperback.  I told myself it would be okay; I could just wait until each book was released in paperback.  That didn’t last very long.  After reading Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets several times each I gave in and bought Prisoner of Azkaban in hardcover.  Then Goblet of Fire.  And then I joined the millions of people around the world who anxiously awaited each new release and pre-ordered a copy.  I even considered skipping my cousin’s bachelorette weekend down the shore after it was scheduled for the weekend that Deathly Hallows came out.  (I’m pretty sure I was the only one who cared about Harry Potter of the dozen or so of us who went.  It was weird.)  I also eventually bought Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets in hardcover to complete my collection.  If you’re interested, Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite.

One of the things I’m most grateful to the Harry Potter series for is that it got me to stop being a snob about book genres.  Now, I’ll read any book that sounds interesting to me and the list of books I want to read that I keep on my iPhone is proof of that.  Expanding my interests to include sci-fi and fantasy also allowed me to foray into the world of graphic novels.  Not that I’m a big comics or graphic novels person, but I have found several graphic novels that I really enjoy and I never would’ve checked them out 15 years ago.

Until tomorrow.

Mission Accomplished

I did it. I watched the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all 144 episodes, in the break between the fall and spring semesters.

I am so freaking proud of myself right now. I mean, I watched 32 episodes in the past two days, so I’m mostly kind of burned out, but I do feel a huge sense of accomplishment. I’d kind of given up hope of actually completing this “task” in the allotted time so, yeah, I think this counts as an accomplishment, silly as it may be.

An unexpected side effect of the past 48 hours is that I’m actually looking forward to starting my new classes tomorrow. I guess you’d call that a bonus.

Until tomorrow.

Once More, With Feeling

I can see the light at the end of my Buffy-watching tunnel.  I’m still only in season 6, but I’m over two-thirds of the way through the series.  Sometimes I worry that the way I’m re-watching Buffy, trying to view the entire series by a fixed date, is somehow harmful to my feelings for it (it is, after all, my all-time favorite TV show).  But then I have a day like today, when I only watched two episodes, but they are two of my all-time favorite episodes: “Once More, With Feeling” and “Tabula Rasa.”

I remember how excited I was at the prospect of a Buffy musical.  But then UPN 57 in Philly didn’t air “Once More, With Feeling” in its proper Tuesday night time slot because of a Sixers game (hmm, maybe that’s the reason I don’t like basketball).  Instead, they aired it almost a week late, on a Saturday (thank God I had yet to hear of Whedonesque back then).  And of course I had to be back in Indiana for something school-related that weekend.  It was like the universe was conspiring against me.  I’m pretty sure the first thing I did when I got back home that Sunday was fire up my VCR (yes, VCR, I am old) to watch “Once More, With Feeling.”  Thankfully, the episode was so good that it even stood up to the hype I’d been building in my mind.  It is unquestionably the episode I’ve watched most.  I love musicals and I love Buffy (obviously), so a Buffy musical really was something of a dream come true.  I was so taken with it that I even bought the soundtrack (on CD, again, I am old) and I will randomly fire it up on the ol’ iPod.  The last time I remember doing that was actually while I was bored at work when I was working at Citi.

As I recall, “Tabula Rasa” also got pre-empted for a Sixers game (seriously, I think I’m onto something) and aired on a Saturday.  Although the end of the episode is pretty sad, the part that focuses on the amnesiac Scoobies (which is to say, most of the episode) is high-larious.  There’s just something about seeing well-established characters acting unlike themselves because they don’t know any better.  It’s the same reason I love the Angel episode “Spin the Bottle.”  Plus, I love that Spike’s loan shark is an actual shark.

Other random observations I’ve had over the past couple of days:

  • It’s fun being able to hate Dawn from the very first time she shows up onscreen.  In fact, I had forgotten just how much I hate the character of Dawn Summers until her appearance at the very end of “Buffy vs. Dracula.”
  • So far, season 6 has featured a great many sweater coats.  It’s making me nostalgic for the early ’00s when long sweater coats were a thing.  I had a couple and they were awesome.
  • I like Tara a lot more now than I did when the show originally aired.  I think at the time it took a while for me to get over “who is this person Willow is dating who isn’t Oz.”  I love Oz and Tara isn’t Oz.  But now I’m able to appreciate her for who she is.  (And I swear it’s not just because she isn’t Kennedy.)

Until tomorrow.

On New Year’s Day

Oh great, now I’ve got that U2 song stuck in my head (I hate U2).  I should’ve thought this through more.  Ah well, it still seems like the most apropos title.

I’ve never been much of one for New Year’s Resolutions.  Like everyone else, I have problems getting them to stick.  But this year, I have four that I feel pretty good about.

  1. Take better care of myself.  Intentionally vague because it encompasses a lot.  I’m pretty sure conventional wisdom says that resolutions should be specific if they are to stick, but I like this plan because it gives me wiggle-room.  If I slack in one department, I can still give myself credit for being good in other areas.
  2. Read every day.  And I mean reading; skimming Twitter doesn’t count.  My goal is to read a non-school book every day (in addition to my school reading, obviously).  It doesn’t matter what kind of book, just as long as I am actually reading.  I’m not setting any kind of read-a-book-a-week goals, I just want to read.  It would be nice to make a dent in my To Be Read pile.
  3. Blog every day.  This might be the hardest resolution to stick through.  But if I work to make blogging a part of my routine, I think I should be okay.
  4. Work on my house.  As my mom reminded me earlier, I want to put my house on the market this year.  The first step in that direction will be getting my stuff organized.

So those are my New Year’s Resolutions.  Perhaps I’ll post updates regarding my progress.

I have made good progress on my Buffy the Vampire Slayer watching project.  I’m over halfway through season 5.  In fact, I just watched the one episode I was dreading, “The Body.”  I wasn’t dreading it because it’s a bad episode, but because it is so damn good.  I remembered that, when it aired, it made me feel like I’d lost a loved one, and I felt the same way this time.  Most of my go-to TV episodes that make me bawl my eyes out have a big, shocking, gut-wrenching loss at the end, not at the beginning.  (Yes, I have go-to TV episodes to watch when I want to bawl my eyes out.  It’s not weird.  Said episodes are from Angel and Doctor Who, the Ninth and Tenth Doctors.)

In happier Buffy news, the award for most surprising guest star goes to Amy Adams, who played Tara’s cousin Beth in the season 5 episode “Family.”  Also, I’m pretty sure that I will be able to watch the entire series before the Spring Semester starts.

Until tomorrow.

Welcome to the Hellmouth

At the beginning of December (pretty much as soon as I finished my last paper of the semester) I realized that I had a month before the spring semester started and nothing to do to fill the time.  (Sometimes being unemployed is awesome :))  Immediately thereafter, I figured out how to fill the time: a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon (TV show only, if you please).  I own every season of BtVS on DVD, but I haven’t done much re-watching in the 8.5 years since the show ended.  It’s odd, really, since I still call BtVS my all-time favorite TV show, but I am much more likely to watch Firefly, Wonderfalls, or Pushing Daisies when I feel the need for a TV show marathon.  Though, in my defense, those 3 shows combined didn’t produce anything near the 144 episodes of Buffy (not counting the unaired pilot).  But I don’t even watch specific episodes of BtVS on anything near a regular basis, except I will occasionally pull out “Once More, with Feeling” (the musical episode).  No, Angel is my go-to series if I only want to watch a couple of episodes.  And it’s almost always some combination of the episodes that are guaranteed to make me bawl my eyes out: “I Will Remember You,” “Hero,” “You’re Welcome,” “A Hole in the World,” and “Not Fade Away.”

But back to Buffy.  (And, fair warning, there will be spoilers ahead.  The show started 14 years ago, I’m not feeling too bad about spoiling anything.)  I just finished season 3 this evening.  At the rate I’m watching episodes, and with all of the holiday-goodness coming up, I’m afraid I won’t finish the series before the semester starts, but at least I have gotten Buffy and the Scooby Gang out of high school.  When I was re-watching season 1, I was kind of surprised that I stuck with it when it first aired, but I remember being really gung-ho about it.  But seriously, the teacher who was actually a praying mantis, the demon-turned-robot, kids being possessed by hyenas – there were some pretty bad episodes in season 1.  And, even more upsetting (to me), an entire episode about a ventriloquist’s dummy and a guy being attacked by spiders.  I must have had massive crushes on Nick Brendon and David Boreanaz (or maybe I just really related to the whole “high school is hell” metaphor).  Thankfully, seasons 2 and 3 stand up better: Spike & Dru, Angelus, Faith & the mayor – good times.  Plus, lots of fun episodes like “Halloween” in season 2 and “Band Candy” and “The Wish” in season 3.

I hope to at least get season 4 finished before I head to my parents’ house for Christmas.  It’ll be much harder to get any serious viewing (or dare I say, watching) in there, but I’ll try.  I will have the entire first week of January, so who knows, maybe I will get to watch the entire series before the spring semester.  I’ll keep you posted.