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StephenT [userpic]

Season 8

7th June 2007 (22:43)
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A brief word on my reactions to season 8 so far (expanding on a reply to beer_good_foamy 's comment in my last entry)

 

 This has been a classic Buffy episode. She starts out strong: a warrior, but also a leader. She has self-doubts and emotional issues that she hides from her friends. She gets into trouble at the hands of the bad guys - but even when she's apparently helpless, she spots vital clues and works out what's going on. Her friends help her get back on her feet, and are strong characters in their own right. In the final reel, she kicks ass and saves the day - but there are still complications ahead.

Along the way, we get snappy dialogue, cute sexual subtext pointing in a dozen different directions, emotional entanglements between our main characters, deep philosophy on the nature of power and the morality of wielding it, questions of identity, supernatural events used as metaphors for real-life problems, strong male characters who still accept a woman's leadership, and hot chicks with superpowers beating the bad guys.

In a word: this is Buffy.

Also:      :-)

 

Comments

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 7th June 2007 23:00 (UTC)

OK, I was going to let sleeping dogs lie, but... ;-)

I'm not unhappy with the general idea of it, and overall I think it has some really good points, but I still say the execution is shoddy; subplots that make no sense (or are simply poorly explained, which is much the same thing), or directly contradict established canon seemingly just for the hell of it (yes, I'm like a dog with a bone, but it doesn't make it any less of a legitimate bone) or plod about in no man's land (Andrew) only to end on a very anticlimactic "battle" where the bad guy simply sneaks out the back door with all relevant asses completely unkicked, no difficult choices made, and as far as we can tell (which isn't much, since the leads to what actually happen are vague at best) no real impact on our heroes... (Wasn't it you who argued that the good thing about bringing Warren back was that Willow would have to face her demons? She doesn't even seem fazed by them, frankly.) And what's worse, some questions not unanswered but given very unsatisfactory answers. All of it written like a TV show but not actually working like one; it's a bit like reading a storyboard, only v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. It certainly had its good points, but if it were the real thing, then on a whole I'd say it was the least successful season opener since "The Freshman". Oh well, that just means there's room for improvement. I just hope it doesn't kick in, say, 6 episodes (2 years) down the line, as it occasionally did in the series.

And I still say Joss should have written a novel; none of the issues with the artwork, none of the problems with waiting months to find anything out, none of the restrictions of not writing anything longer than what fits inside a small speech bubble... I say the comic format is restricting what he can do rather than liberate him.

Etc etc etc.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 19:40 (UTC)

Wasn't it you who argued that the good thing about bringing Warren back was that Willow would have to face her demons? She doesn't even seem fazed by them, frankly.

You're right: it was, and she wasn't. Though to be honest I was so interested (and emotionally involved) in what was happening to Willow, that I forgot all about that until just now.

In fact, I'm now intrigued by Willow's almost supernatural calm. Even the water elemental goddess seemed surprised by how serene she was.. And I really want to know what happened in the intervening year... and the coming one.

After Mutant Enemy realised that über-witch Willow might overshadow Buffy, they nerfed her with magic addiction and withdrawal, followed by a crippling loss of her self-confidence. But now she's got over that, and she's practically a goddess herself, how are they going to play it? I'm looking forward to finding out. (Which I think is the secret: I'm enjoying the comics, so while I recognise plot-holes and weaknesses they don't actually matter much to me; they don't detract from the overall thing. Although you do have a point about the novel format...)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 19:54 (UTC)

Willow's always covered for her bad self with "have a cookie" perkiness, she was much the same about whatever happened with Kennedy in issue 3. With hindsight this was Buffy's book, piling on the Willow angst would have distracted from the actual climax and there's plenty time for an all-Willow all-the-time story later.

With the uberpowerfullness I think it was interesting that overt displays magical strength were shown to be both Willow and Amy's undoing, their power reflected back on them or diverted into their binding. Amy's winning trick was the old rope-a-dope and Willow's to go hide until her friend the calvary arrived.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 20:46 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 20:24 (UTC)

That water goddess is interesting; the last time water turned up in a symbolic fashion in the Buffyverse (AFAIR) was back in "Flooded". At the time, I looked up what water represents in dream analysis, and found this on a completely non-Buffy-related site:

Uncontrolled water will often create a sense of unease for a dreamer. (...) Still deep water, while sometimes refreshing, may also create unease. This is because of the murkiness or uncertainty of what lies below the surface. One exception to the generalities listed above is water faucets. In a dream, it is important to recognize if the dreamer or another is controlling the faucet and whether this is done to effect the comfort or discomfort of the dreamer. If the dreamer is controlling the faucet ineffectively, the assumption may be made that the dreamer feels out of control or unable to master what should be apparently simple circumstances (...). If another controls the faucet, one may conclude that the dreamer feels his circumstances, for good or ill, are dependent on the whimsy of another.

Which of course was spot on for Buffy in that episode. So what does water represent to Willow? Is it control, or loss of it? Notably - in "Flooded", it was Willow who turned off the faucet after Buffy stood staring at it for a long time. But we also know what can happen to Willow if she takes on too much control...

The problem with Willow, IMO, and it's certainly not helped by the end of 8.04, is exactly that almost-godlike power. What do you do with a character who is so strong that even a lobotomy doesn't slow her down for more than a few seconds? Who can turn an entire zombie army into a Broadway show? It's the Superman problem, the hero who is so strong that there is nothing she can't solve, nothing that can hurt her... except possibly herself. Something has to happen there.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 20:42 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 9th June 2007 09:04 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 9th June 2007 10:44 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 9th June 2007 11:46 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 9th June 2007 13:11 (UTC)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 06:46 (UTC)
S8 Buffy by dreamer1104

What beer_good_foamy said. ;)

And the most tragic thing of all is that I really like this Buffy. She's great. Except she looks so wrong that I can't recognise her half the time, and the other half I think she looks nothing like the 'real' Buffy. That is a problem, and not one I'm about to get over. *sighs*

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 19:41 (UTC)

Maybe you could get a friend or loved one to read the comics out to you, while you close your eyes and think of Sarah Michelle Gellar? :)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 19:47 (UTC)
LOL by killmebecomeme

LOL!

Or I could just wait for the novelisation?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 19:50 (UTC)

It would actually be feasible, I suppose, for a really, really obsessive fan to take the scans of the comics, watch through the TV episodes for scenes where SMG is facing the same direction with the same expression on her face, and paste her picture over the comics. :)

(No, I'm not volunteering...)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 19:52 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 20:47 (UTC)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 20:54 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 21:07 (UTC)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 21:23 (UTC)

Posted by: ibmiller (ibmiller)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 15:20 (UTC)

If I were an icon person, I would so take one of those! S8 = what Dort was all those years ago...

Okay, wierd theological jokes over now...

Even if I have a heart attack if Buffy's lesbian. Cause...no. Uh uh.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 19:46 (UTC)

I'd be really, really surprised if she is, too.

But a storyline where someone who's essentially a member of a military unit is in love with her commanding officer - not to mention the lesbian aspect of it - cetainly has the potential to be interesting. How will Buffy react? How will Leah and Rowena react if they think Satsu's getting favourable treatment? (You can already see hints of that in this issue).

(And the icons are free for anyone to take, as are all the icons I post here)

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 20:11 (UTC)

I am surprised by everyone's complaint about how this is not "buffy", when their actual complaint about the comics are things that we have seen again and again in the series.

Things like willow being condescending over other people's pain when it is the result of her mistake- the incident with kennedy reflects that. On the other hand, she does seem to be over Warren or even amy, as she was quickly seen to be "over" tara.

Buffy jumped from one characterisation to another, like she did all over in the series, especially in the later one, where she goes with a disorder in earlier season 6 which translate in an unhealthy relationship with spike, to almost normal at the end of the season, to a control freak in season 7, to a more mature buffy a year and a half later...is it so surprising?

The bit about Dawn...Well, i think for a part, what she said was true, but it's also possible that she was trying to rile up buffy- and succeeded, too.

It is rather ironic that a large part of the fandom wants to see the character evolve onscreen, but don't think they could evolve over a year and a half because they are *offscreen*. Ah well...

Buffy season 8, definitely canon :p

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 20:51 (UTC)

Yeah... the characters are clearly recognisable, but they're also not exactly the same as they were the moment episode 7.22 ended. Which is fine for fanfic, but the point of caonon is to advance the storyline and give us new possibilities.

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 22:37 (UTC)

Yep they are clearly recognisable as their S4 selves.Having regressed there from 7.22. Dawn acts like she did at the beginning of S5 or how she would be remembered for S4 moping and whining and asking for a non existent relationship with Willow.

And you're also right the point of canon is to give us new possibilities not revist S4 storyline because it wasn't done right the first time. This is just initiative mk2. Since Joss is clueless where the military is concerned he should have left well enough alone.

But saying that I do think if the General's hint is true that could be an intriguing storyline. But I agree with what others have said the drama removal of uber Willow which Joss is now reinforcing is my main problem with all of this arc. No if he had killed Willow wouldn't that have caused real fear, drama and howls of anguish. I know I would have been shocked and I don't like the character precisely because she undermines the entire coherence of the show.

Me at this time I am hoping JW involvement in the Faith arc is minimal.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 23:00 (UTC)

Hmm. Xander shows pretty clear straight-line growth from 'The Replacement' up and through S8 to me. Buffy's clearly learned from her experiences in S7, and is a better leader than she could have been without that. Willow's incredibly confident just as she was pre-S6, but also seems to have a detachment and serenity she never had before. Dawn, I'll grant you, seems to have regressed; and Giles hasn't had enough airtime to really tell much about him. So I think it's a mixed picture, but not a re-tread of any specific season.

Buffy's already pointed out the surface similarity to the Initiative; but remember, they were trying to use and exploit demons for their own ends. This new group is apparently opposed to demons, and therefore should be counted as good guys, if it wasn't for the fact they include the Slayers in with the demons. (plus, they're willing to use highly immoral means to achieve what they see as a noble aim). so I on't think it's the same story either.

As Willow is far and away my favourite character on the show, I'll have to agree to disagree with you on that one. :)

And thanks for the comments re the icons - the second one is actually in Moscow, just outside the Kremlin; it's called the 'Tsar Cannon' and is 16th century (and apparently has never been fired).

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 9th June 2007 08:57 (UTC)
Mulling on this more.

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 9th June 2007 09:34 (UTC)
Re: Mulling on this more.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 9th June 2007 10:53 (UTC)
Re: Mulling on this more.

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 9th June 2007 11:41 (UTC)
Re: Mulling on this more.

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 9th June 2007 15:02 (UTC)
Re: Mulling on this more.

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 9th June 2007 15:15 (UTC)
Re: Mulling on this more.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 9th June 2007 10:55 (UTC)
Re: Mulling on this more.

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 8th June 2007 22:47 (UTC)

Oh forgot to mention great cannon icons.:-) Is the 2nd one from Constantinople ?

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