Actually, it really is that bad
The illustrious Baron Scarpia has braved a fate worse than death and submitted himself to reading all thirteen of my Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comics. It was actually the Baron who first drew my attention to the world of rubbish Buffy comics in a post he made back in 2006, and, while I’m sure I’d have sought the Season 8 comics out regardless, I suspect that his, erm, appraisal of the comics available on the BBC web site probably served as something of a warning of just how bad things could get in comicdom. Therefore, I suppose I have him to thank for my experience with Season 8 not being as traumatic as it could have been. You see, my expectations had already been tempered somewhat by what I knew about the previous comics in this franchise, to the extent that I wasn’t particularly surprised by the poor quality of this official continuation. Still, I think my appreciation for the comics would have improved immensely had they included this delightful line from a piece of Buffy fan fiction, quoted by the Baron in his 2006 post:
The demon jumped into the air and landed in front of Buffy. “I know you Slayer. You cannot stop me. I shall defeat you then I shall fuck you to death.”
Is that poetry or is it poetry? Proof, perhaps, that Willow asking Satsu what Buffy is like in the sack (in Episode 13) is actually not the single most absurd conversation that could have been written.
Anyway, there’s a point to this post other than simply hawking a friend’s review (not that I wouldn’t have done that anyway - go and read it, it’s insightful and quite amusing). I want to take the time to reply to some of the issues raised in a comment left on of my own reviews of these comics. Basically, the visitor, Marc, felt that, in comparison with my reviews of other series and films, my Buffy reviews were a bit like something you might find in a “tawdry fan blog”, featuring over-analysis and without sufficient context given for those who are not followers of the show to understand what I was writing about.
I disagree with the first point, in that I don’t think my coverage of this series has been any more (over-)analytical than the other reviews I do. And if it is… well, let’s not forget that Buffy is a series that has gone out of its way to be very self-aware and referential towards pop culture. It’s the sort of thing that practically demands that you address it in an analytical way rather than just saying “I liked this, I didn’t like that”.
The other point, however - the lack of background explanation - is a perfectly valid one, however, and is a shortcoming of the Buffy project that I’ve become aware of over the course of re-reading some of the episode reviews recently. It’s quite true that there is a lack of context: if you don’t watch Buffy, most of the time you’ll have no idea what I’m talking abut in terms of characters, events or the mythology in general. In that respect, these reviews are very difficult, not to mention weaker, than the reviews I normally write. In my defence, when I began the Buffy project I wasn’t really writing the reviews for anything other than my own benefit. By the time I realised that this was a problem, however, it was too late to modify the tone of these capsules without going back to the beginning and starting over, something that I don’t feel particularly compelled to do, since it would necessitate yet another trip down memory lane, dredging up all the painful memories that come with it.
Tell you what - one of these days, I’ll sit down and write a summary-style review of each season, written with the assumption that the reader has no prior knowledge of the series in question.
Posted: Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 10:29 PM
| Comments: 5
| Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Posted by: Anon, May 16, 2008 12:56 AM
Yes, I’d certainly say it’s worth posting. As much as I may have reservations about Joss Whedon’s most recent output, I’m certainly eager to see what he comes up with next, and Dollhouse does sound like a very interesting project. I suspect that the problems with the Buffy comics (and the sixth and seventh seasons) stem more from total apathy than from him having”lost it”.
The YouTube movie you linked to has been taken down, by the way, but I managed to find another copy of the trailer here.
Wasn’t Amy Acker supposed to be in this, though?
Posted by: Whiggles
, May 16, 2008 9:22 AM
I'd agree with that, even if I like large chunks of both seasons.
That's odd re: YouTube as it was seemingly the series folks themselves who put it there in the first place... oh well.
She was, so either she is being "hidden away" or that woman from RUSHMORE (forget her name) has taken over the part. We'll see soon enough, I suppose.
Posted by: Anon, May 16, 2008 8:25 PM
Whiggles: Your Buffy postings were what made me start writing up my own episode specific appraisals of, firstly, Buffy itself (which I had also just started rewatching), and then every TV series worth thinking about. Non seriously, in much the same way you tackled it (as you say, it sort of befits a easy-going semi-analytical approach), which in turn led to myself and my friends swapping TV mini-reviews, and much discussion, post-episode, post-coffee, post-pint, whatever.
So to that end, even if they were a bit inpenetrable to the Buffy newcomers, they were also amusing, accute, and valid. Like you say, they started out as a personal project, which was key. TV journalism is mired in officialdom. The minority of commercially published writing is utterly braindead - the few exceptions being people like Charlie Brooker, or at least his style and panache. There is no good TV journalism (none which is famous enough), but there is a lot of good TV right now. At least, across the pond.. it's probably true of Brooker that he's been sucessful only because our television is so generally apalling, and it's much easier to be negatively critical than it is to accurately dissect brilliant TV, of which we have basically pittance.
My Buffy analysis has currently hit a rut mid season four. I always thought it was one of the best, and in some ways it's where Buffy gets smart and slick and Whedon gets a grip on what he's doing. In others, well, The Initiative in all it's non-glory.
I also made a mistake by trying to re-watch Angel at the same time and write about both in the order they're meant to be watched. I guess I forgot how utterly crappy early Angel is (much like early Buffy, bizarrely).
Posted by: Rob, May 19, 2008 8:06 AM
I’m glad you got something out of these reviews.
I also started out rewatching Angel in conjunction with Buffy’s fourth season, but I gave up after seven or eight episodes when I came to the conclusion that I just wasn’t enjoying them, and would much rather be pressing on with the next Buffy episode instead of slogging through another 45 minutes of the brooding one scowling against an LA skyline. Eventually, I decided only to watch the episodes of Angel that crossed over with its sister show, which was far more satisfying.
Posted by: Whiggles
, May 22, 2008 7:15 PM
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