Monday, 4 May 2009

Things What Are Great #10 - Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Because I haven't done one of these for a while...

In A Nutshell:- Young girl discovers she's the chosen one and gets to kill undead things and avert the apocalypse on an annual basis.

The Basics:- Having initially brought the story of Buffy Summers, the schoolgirl who is destined to be the vampire slayer, to the big screen with a distinct lack of success, Joss Whedon tried again on the small screen. And it was infinitely better. Over seven seasons, we follow Buffy and her friends as they grow up and save the world from unspeakable things which want to destroy it / rule it / both.

Why's It So Great Then?:- Well, I have to admit, I was resistant to watching it at first. It just looked like some twee and bog standard teen drama with a bit of a horror twinge but, once I actually sat down to watch it, I was completely hooked from the start. The key thing for me is that Joss Whedon knows how to throw in snappy, sparky dialogue and combines it with a strong knowledge of the genre and its associated cliches which meant he was able to sidestep them and blindside you from time to time just when you thought you knew where it was going. It's also a series that's unafraid to develop it's main characters and even dispose of them if the story calls for it. True, that's fairly common in TV drama these days but it didn't happen so much ten or so years ago.* It's also fairly unusual in that it spawned a spin-off series of equally high quality (Angel) and one that felt as if it had been cancelled before its time.

Surely Some Of It Must Be Rubbish:- Well, it's a TV drama with 22 episodes a year to churn out so, yeah, from time to time, they're not always brilliant. But when it's good, it's one of the best shows there is. It does, however, have a strangely puritanical "drugs are bad" attitude towards drinking. Or is it just that I'm a disgraceful, booze-sodden sot? That was rhetorical, you know, no need to leap straight in with answers. You people...

So We Should Seek Out This Thing Of Which You Speak?:- If you're put off by the fact that it's got people in bumpy headed make-up in it but are fond of a drama series which grow and change their characters as well as offering you story arcs to get drawn into, then definitely give it a go. It's good fun, it's got an ending and Sarah Michelle looks good in the earlier ones before she gets all skinny and loses her boobs. Oh, and Charisma Carpenter'd definitely get it, too.


* On a side note, I've started re-watching Star Trek: The Next Generation recently and it's odd to see how much TV has changed from the fairly formulaic stand-alone model of 22 years ago (yes, it is that old. Yikes.)


8 comments:

Anna Russell said...

Oh, I love Buffy! I love Angel a little bit more, but I still really love Buffy. I so wish they'd bring them back. Supernatural's good, but it doesn't quite cut it and True Blood is awesome, but not the same.

That Baldy Fella said...

I never got into Supernatural - watched the first couple bit it didn't do it for me. Am quite intrigued by True Blood but that's partly because I'm strangely fascinated by Anna Paquin and her quirky face.

Anna Russell said...

I thought Supernatural was a bit pants when it started, but it's been much better lately. More wit and derranged angels. It's no Buffy, but it's not bad.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

I was going to comment after reading just the title with a heartfelt "AMEN", but then I thought "You know, that wouldn't do this whole post any justice...I should read it."

You're right. There are some rubbish episodes (to borrow a term), but the whole Angel losing and regaining his soul story arc could be one of the best stories I've seen, read or heard. Ever.

So, there's still a heartfelt AMEN.

Oh, and, yes, Angel was canceled WAY before its time.

Diane said...

Do you know I never saw even one episode of Buffy? Or Angel. I don't know where I was or what I was doing/watching when they were popular...

Oh, and that whole sodden sot thing? Well...
(Hey, at least I didn't lead with it, right?)

Rachel May said...

Oh, Mr. Whedon... Nothing can surpass Firefly, but Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog is brilliant and Serenity the movie is fabulous... I didn't get into Buffy until after it was canceled, but it is typical Whedon, which is to say, different from the main and entertaining as it goes along.

kapgaf said...

My daughter was really into Buffy and I thought it was a load of crap until I started watching a little more closely and found that it wasn't so bad after all. I really liked Spike but I did want to slap Willow.

That Baldy Fella said...

Anna - Hmmm, maybe I'll give it a go. Once I get through the hundreds of other things stacked up to watch...

mjenks - It was great, wasn't it? I think my favourite overall season was the third one, though, with Faith and the evil Mayor. David Boreanaz pretending to be Irish, on the other hand, is a crime against accents...

Diane - You've missed out, it's a cracking series. And, yes, if the booze-soaked cap fits...

Rachel - Yep, definitely, Firefly and Dr Horrible are both brilliant. However, I've only seen one ep of Dollhouse and it hasn't grabbed me yet. Maybe it's a grower.

kapgaf - Yeah, Willow was never my favourite character, I must admit.