Mentally Ill Protagonists #1 - Buffy Summers

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Apple Goblin, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. EnderAKH

    EnderAKH Fleet Captain Premium Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    I put a lot of it on Firefly. In 2001 when season 6 and Angel season 3 were airing simultaneously, Joss was writing, casting and prepping Firefly for airing in the fall of 2002. He said on one of the DVD sets he was getting stretched thin and turned more show running responsibility to Marti Noxon. This is where things, IMHO, went off the rails.
  2. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Apr 13, 2004
    So. Cal.
    I looked at season 6, not as inferior to what came before, but simply different. They broke the seasonal Big Bad mold and had Buffy deal with some problems that were less than the "end of the world" variety of the prior 5 seasons. I loved what happend with Willow. Very interesting. And season 6 presented "Once More With Feeling" which to me, made the entire season worthwhile regardless.

    But I did binge the series on Netflix last year and that does sometimes make a difference in the way a show is perceived. I loved season 7 too, and had no problem wiht the finale.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  3. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 9, 2012
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    Interesting. Yeah, I definitely can see how that would result in such a stylistic shift in season six, if Joss was busy elsewhere.

    Season six is just so... disjointed. The tone of the series was pretty much consistent (if still escalating somewhat) for 5 years, but it goes over a cliff in season six. Maybe that was inevitable no matter who was in charge though? "Once More, With Feeling" is maybe the only episode of season six which even feels like BtVS to me these days.

    The irony is that I got hooked on season five during a re-run of the episodes back-to-back on a sattelite TV channel, and only retrospectively went back and watched seasons 1-4 afterwards. So season six was really the first one I watched 'new' after getting into the show.

    I used to absolutely love the original movie, so while I knew BtVS was a show I reacted kinda negatively against it for being 'different', until those re-runs of season five got me hooked on it. Seems silly to think about it now. :)
  4. Holdfast

    Holdfast Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Feb 19, 2000
    17 Cherry Tree Lane
    Interesting topic.

    I thought Buffy was a far better show than any of the other Whedon projects, especially in hindsight, largely because its central conceit was the most interesting. Essentially Buffy's life represents a failure to really grow from a relatively average young teenager into a well-rounded normal human being. The device used in the show to achieve this is the pressure of expectations from her role as the Slayer, but of course you could - and the show frequently did - easily substitute any real-life pressure for that role. Instead of thriving, Buffy shrivels in on herself and becomes increasingly fatalistic through the constant abuse and disappointmet. Sure, there are some better times where she approaches some degree of normal human interaction & relationships, but most of the time they veer from one extreme to the other, and are frequently very broken, with painful consequences. The pace accelerates after she graduates High School; it was something of a protective social factor around her.

    The other characters are less interesting, with their various problems being much more obvious/trite, but Buffy herself is certainly a sad tale for most of the second half of the series. Only the finale suggests a more hopeful future, but one suspects this won't last.

    I look forward to seeing whether the OP follows up this thread with more in a similar vein.
  5. propita

    propita Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 9, 2001
    fresno, ca, us
    I thought Buffy’s feelings on the subject were made evident in “Once More With Feeling,” particularly in her song “Going Through the Motions.”

    Yeah, I bought the soundtrack. Yeah, I’ve listened to it a lot.
  6. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

    Jul 22, 2004
    Arizona, USA
    You're not the only one.:techman:
  7. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

    Jun 4, 2000
    Ouch! Forgotten already? You were just down ther
    First of all, Joss Whedon himself is at least somewhat to blame for getting the show canceled because he was the one that insisted that the WB give him an early answer. Had he not been so insistent and waited until the end of the year, they might have decided to take a chance on renewing the show since its Season 5 ratings were an improvement over Season 4.

    It's also possible that the show would have been canceled anyway. David Boreanaz & 20th Century Fox both wanted more money and it was never a cheap show to begin with. They might have priced themselves out of the market anyway. We'll never really know.

    But considering Joss Whedon insisted on an early decision specifically so that they could plan ahead for the series finale, I'm surprised that it feels quite as rushed as it did. Even if they didn't know for sure whether the show was going to continue, they had to know from the outset that cancellation was a strong possibility. The show had already been on the bubble for much of Season 4. And I remember feeling pretty sure from the outset that Season 5 would be the last season. And even if it wasn't, they still would have needed to do some kind of big finish for the season finale. I don't think they needed to do much but I think at least a little extra early prep work to sow the seeds of the Circle of the Black Thorn would have been appreciated, even if it was just showing the symbol in the background a few times.

    I don't know that anything behind the scenes "went wrong" per se. I just have a sneaking suspicion that, left to their own devices, Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon, & Jane Espenson can be their own worst enemies. They all struggle so much with the notion of ever letting their characters be happy. I think Season 6 was just a perfect storm of all of the characters being miserable all at once. Whereas before, the show was better at alternating and having some characters happy while other characters were miserable.

    I also wonder how much we might have to thank WB network interference for keeping those more morose tendencies in check during the first 5 seasons. I don't know how it was for the Buffy writers, but I know that the writers on Roswell remaked that they had much more of a free reign on UPN than they did on the WB. (On Roswell, part of that manifested in the fact that everyone seemed to have much more robust sex lives in Season 3 than they did in Seasons 1 & 2.)

    You've got a point there. In that respect, the show was very well done. But it's a real bummer. Who wants to watch a show about that?