Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Netflix and I: Widening Horizons, pt. 2

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Tokyo Godfathers
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After I got accustomed to how Netflix worked, I stopped getting the latest releases and went for the older or lesser known movies.  I realized that I had gaps in my viewing, and that there was a broader selection of kinds of movies to watch.

Here’s where I began watching documentaries:  American Nightmare; Mad Hot Ballroom; Paper ClipsOur Daily Bread; This Film is Not Yet Rated.

I was disappointed in a couple of television shows and stopped watching TV shows on disc for awhile.

I began watching fewer touted anime series. Then I discovered Satoshi Kon’s wonderful films, which are like Studio Ghibli for grownups.  High quality, immersive and provocative.

K and I came to the end of Buffy.  It was emotional and we had a final episode party. (This was before season 8.)

At this point, I began the first of my genre movie projects.  I picked horror because I refused to watch horror movies till I went to college.  Too much of a cowardy-custard.

I’m glad I wasn’t blogging when I started watching horror movies because I think I would have triggered a vigilante group.  One time I mentioned a a certain horror movie was awful and, judging by their reaction, I ruined my friends’ childhood.

I did find a few gems, and it was worth it.  Horror seems to be one of the easiest genres to do and one of the hardest to do well.   The only classic horror movie now I haven’t seen is Rosemary’s Baby.  I keep meaning to.

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The Netflix and I: The Journey Begins, pt 1

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Family watching television, c. 1958
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Disclaimer:  No gifts were made to me by Netflix.com.  I don’t even get those bonus discs my friends get from time to time.   *grrr*

I was inspired by Film Fanatic’s post to reflect a bit on my film watching habits.  Ever since I discovered her site, I’ve wanted a book like Peary’s.  But it’s OK.

Let me take you back to the olden days.  The first VCR that my family bought was about $500.  There were little VHS stores everywhere in those days.

Time passed, and chain stores with bigger stock opened up.  My family were avid movie watchers.  No section was safe from our foraging.  I remember after we had been renting for 2 years, I went to ask the clerk to recommend a movie for us.  She threw up her hands and said, “You watch everything.  I can’t think of anything.”

Later, when I was on my own, I continued to rent movies.  I was constantly getting caught by late fees and coming home with movies that I had little hope for.  Then my brother’s girlfriend (now wife, hey there W!) told me about Netflix.  I didn’t own a computer or a DVD player but I borrowed her computer and signed myself up.

That was in 2002.

I took my movies to my friends’ houses or my parents’ house to watch them.  It was a little difficult.  But eventually, I bought my own DVD.

There were so many classic films that I had read about but couldn’t find. Now I could get them.  So many of them were disappointing but enough of them were stellar, and kept me going.  I have loved movies for a long but now I could watch all the Godzilla/Gojira movies chronologically.  I see Rashomon instead of simply read an analysis of it.

And the extras and commentary.  It really opened my eyes to the process of film-making  and I gained new respect for how hard my favorites worked and how incredibly smart they are.

I discovered Joss Whedon in this period and joined the Whedon cult.  My sister K agreed to watch Buffy with me.  Those are some fabulous memories. (love you K, and thank you for ‘buffyizing.’)

I had read about Bollywood for years but never saw any of it.  My first was Rangeela AKA Colorful. I still love it even though I’ve seen better since.

Quick note:  Hidden Fortress has little to do with Star Wars, you’re better off watching Buster Crabbe’s Buck Rogers serials.

These lists are sampling of  the movies I rented during that time.

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TV Meme

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List your five favourite TV shows and answer the questions below.

Five favourite TV shows in no particular order:

1. Pushing Daisies
2. Coupling
3. Veronica Mars
4. Firefly
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Who is your favourite character in #1?
Emerson Cod – Chi McBride

Who is your least favourite character in #2?
Sarah Harper – Kate Isitt

What is your favourite episode of #4?
Out of Gas

What is you favourite season of #5?
Season 3

How long have you watched #1?
completed both seasons

How did you become interested in #3?
Became a fan of Kristen Bell in Reefer Madness the Musical

Who is your favourite actor in #4?
Adam Baldwin as Jayne

Which show do you prefer out of 1, 2, or 5?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

How would you kill off your favourite character in #2?
Somehow Jeff would be suffocated by a pair of guest breasts.

Which show have you seen more episodes of? #1 or #3?
Pushing Daisies

If you could be anyone from #4, who would you be?

Give a random quote from #1:
Please don’t attack the window treatments

Would a #3 and #4 crossover work?
No, but I would have loved to have seen an attempt

Pair two characters in #1 that would make an unlikely, but strangely okay couple.
Olive Snook and Emerson Cod

Overall, which show has a better cast, #3 or #5?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Which has better theme music? #2 or #4?

B is for Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Buffy Summers
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B is for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I am a fan of the Whedonverse.  Oddly enough, my story starts not with Buffy but with Firefly.

Note: You can skip this part and go directly to the comments and tell your own “browncoat story.”

But here’s how it was…

At the time, I was friends with a crowd that talked during movies, and in fact mocked them. It’s not because that we even disliked what we were seeing, we just liked making gibes.  Yes, special hell for all of us.

One evening, a friend came over and brought a new show on disk.  I don’t even remember how he described it.  We settled in; saw the pilot and the second pilot and were kind of insufferable about it.  I think it was Bushwacked when we all went quiet and just started watching.  The evening broke up late and we didn’t say much other than goodnight.

A few days later, the man came back.  He had just gotten in the doorway when our very loud conversations stopped dead.  We all focused on him. He said, “What?”  One of us said, “Did you bring it?  Firefly?”  He shrugged, “I thought you guys didn’t like it.  I didn’t bring it with me.”  There various dissents.  We stared at him some more.  Our spokesperson said, “Well.  Go go it.”   Poor guy didn’t even get to sit down.

(N.B.  We were generally nicer than that to our friends.)

Firefly primed me for BtVS.  I had already planned on watching the series the year it ended.  Years before I had watched the pilot episode and liked it but then my job kept me from watching much tv.  Also, there was this  weird teen next door who would go into his yard after the show was over and swing a stick and pretend to stake vampires and yell, “I’m right behind you Buffy!”

But the show was on Netflix and it seemed like a good idea – especially after Firefly.  I persuaded Kat to join me.  Once a week, we’d ‘buffize’ and watch all 4 episodes one after the other.  It took us several years.

Some of my friends (a mix of fans and not) came over for a party to watch the final episode.  It felt quite emotional to finish it, not only the show but the great time with Kat.

For years, I’d been trying to persuade my brother to watch it with me.   He was doing a job near where I live and stayed for some of the weeknights.  I pounced on the opportunity.  I own season 1 and season 2 and we whizzed through those.  He was much more analytical than I was when I first watched it and his favorite character was Cordelia.  He pointed out that, unlike Buffy, she lost her cheerleader friends but wasn’t accepted by the Scoobies for a long time.  I bought season 3 to keep pace with our watching.

Then I stayed the weekend with him and his wife.  We watched all of season 4 in 2 days.  The biggest compliment I can give it is that marathon watching all the shows didn’t feel repetitive or tedious.  Instead, I felt emotionally wrung out.  Some tough stuff happened in season 4, though nothing to compared to 5 and 6.

I have also been astonished that episodes that I disliked or thought were lacking, didn’t seem so bad this time around.  I don’t feel introspective enough to figure out why.  But it’s nice that season one and season four do not disappoint as much as I remembered.

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4 fun podcasts

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I received a gift of an MP3 player and have been listening to podcasts while I exercise.

The first and best is Buffy Cast about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There are only 13 episodes and two speakers.  The presentations are thoughtful and cover topics such as Xander’s character arc the episode, “The Body.”  There are several I want to listen to again.  (defunct 2011)

Stars Hollow – husband and wife podcast on Gilmore Girls. I haven’t seen the episodes they discuss but they are lively and sweet and I enjoy it anyway.

Movies You Should See – a group of reviewers from the U.K. who analyze various movies new and old.  I enjoy the group’s easy banter.  Although they are kinder to some movies than they should be, they seldom suffer dullards and fakes.  (still active 2011)

Another one on Buffy the Vampire SlayerBuff Cast.  Each Season is covered by one or two podcasts.  Some of them are long, about three hours.  Sometimes they devolve into recaps but they include interesting trivia.  (defunct 2011)

There are others but I haven’t listened to enough to know whether I recommend them or not.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2012)

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There has been a lot of talk of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie in development.  You’d think fans of the franchise would be delighted…but there’s a catch.  Joss Whedon will not be involved.  Nor will any of the cast from the television series.

I’ve been reading comments and blog posts about this.  It’s interesting.  Some ridicule the idea; some are cautiously hopeful.  Some plan to boycott the movie; some enjoyed the first movie and think this one will be fine.  A few dislike Whedon and are eager to embrace a Whedon-less Buffy.  It’s all a little premature though, since the projected release date is not till 2012.

But I understand.  It’s hard not to speculate.

  • The first film by Fran Kuzui did OK at the box office but it wasn’t a critical success.
  • Whedon’s TV version was both influential and lauded.
  • Kuzui hasn’t directed a film since the Buffy movie (17 years ago).
  • Whedon’s feature film Serenity based on his series Firefly bombed.
  • The movie premiered in 1992: a lot of the target audience weren’t born then.
  • The TV series ended in 2003, and again, many movie goers won’t have seen it.
  • Fans of the movie will probably make a point to see it.
  • Fans of the TV series will probably be curious.

All in all, a remake is probably the right move.

If you think of it in terms of the Star Wars franchise, a remake without the people who made the TV show seems reasonable.  See, The Phantom Menace was more successful than The Empire Strikes Back in terms of box office.  Whedon and company would just add intelligence and heart to the project, and who needs that?  Certainly not USA cinema.

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Psyched for “Dollhouse”

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I’m so going to watch Joss Whedon’s new show Dollhouse.Eliza Dushku as Echo

There will be maybe 5 episodes shown.  Out of order.

The critics don’t like it.  It airs Friday the 13th.  It’s on Fox.

No wonder there’s a campaign to save the show before it has even begun.

Better watch it while I can.

It airs tomorrow at 9/8c.  Eliza Dushku stars as Echo a “doll” whose memory is flashy-thinged and then imprinted with the personality that her clients require.

Salon interview

Zap2it on Dollhouse

Whedonesque – himself on Dollhouse

MTV – interview

Tim Goodman – review

Alan Sepinwall – review

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