Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Buffy Rewatch: Buffy the Slayer Vampire

Season one comes to a close, as we discuss "Nightmares", "Out of Sight, Out of Mind", and "Prophecy Girl".

"I may be dead, but I'm still pretty."

The Slayer's job is to kill - it's right there in the job title. It's also the Slayer's job to die - Buffy didn't become a Slayer until the previous one died, and the next Slayer won't appear until Buffy dies.

Death, as the saying goes, is her gift.

"Angel" may have been the first great episode of the series, but it's in the last few episodes of season one where the show, I think, starts to develop into the great series it becomes. The idea of death hangs heavily over these episodes: in "Nightmares" we see Giles' nightmare of Buffy's death made real, and the prophecy in "Prophecy Girl" involves the Master killing the Slayer as he rises to power.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Buffy Rewatch: e-Letters? e-Letters!

We get into the second half of season 1 with "Angel," "I Robot... You Jane," and "The Puppet Show."

A quick update this week. I'm still licking my wounds over the result of the AFC Championship game.

"Angel" is, I think, the first great episode of the series. The reveal of Angel as a vampire has really lost none of its impact, even though, 17 years later, we all know he's a vampire. I wasn't watching BUFFY when the first season first aired - was it a completely upsetting shock at the time?

It also strikes me as a secret that would have been harder to keep in the age of social media - though this phenomenon is likely more prevalent for movies than for TV shows. Bitch all you want about JJ Abrams, but I love that he tried (and managed) to keep the identity of Benedict Cumberbatch's character in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS a secret until the movie was released. Sometimes, it's nice to actually BE surprised by a surprise, you know?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Episode 11 - What The Hell Was That?

(We have a winner here for trailers made for the movie
the studio wishes it had rather than the movie it is.)

Wherein we debate William Goldman's Color of Light, David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, discuss some snubs and pleasant surprises with the Oscar nominations and get into a shouting max over whether or not David Lynch knows how to focus a camera (seriously folks, this is a contentious episode with more arguing than usual).

Amy at one point mentions a quote that she ran across but was later able to find, from David Roche's The Death of the Subject in David Lynch’s Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive (an essay really worth your time):

But this is the case only on the screen. On our side of the screen, the spectator is still trying to solve the mysteries. In other words, the detective has been displaced from the main focalizer to the spectator while the mystery has been displaced from the diegesis, the detective plot, to the film. There is a mystery or a puzzle, but it is the film itself, and the detective is none other than the spectator who can no longer rely on the character for focalization but must pick up clues as the movie goes along and try to work out its meaning(s), to the point that, in Mulholland Drive, only the spectator make associations between certain scenes, and in the end between the different parts of the film. So if Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks are held together by a genre, and more importantly by the character-detective’s desire to solve the mystery, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive are mysteries, not because of their genre, but as films, and are held together by the spectator-detective’s desire to make sense of them.

And from Randy we have the Salon article he references and some more information about the pilot that became Mulholland Drive.

Also, please enjoy the Internet rabbit hole that is theories about what the hell actually happens in the movie.
Next week is humor; we'll be reading Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men In A Boat (free Project Gutenberg text) and watching the Broken Lizard movie Super Troopers (streaming on Netflix).

iTunes Link

Podomatic Link

MP3 link

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Buffy Rewatch: S-M-R-T!

The Buffy Rewatch continues with "Teacher's Pet", "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date", and "The Pack."

"You have a first-rate mind and you can think on your feet." - Dr. Gregory, "Teacher's Pet"

A trio of mostly unremarkable, mostly stand-alone episodes this week. But we're getting closer to things getting really, really good, so let's power through this!

One thing I wanted to talk about this week is something I'm glad the show established this early in its run: Buffy's intelligence. In each of these three episodes, we are shown and told that Buffy's actually quite smart. Dr. Gregory said the line at the top of this post to her before his untimely demise; in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date", it's Buffy who recognizes the symbol of the sun and the three stars; and in "The Pack", Buffy's instincts about the pack are correct, even though Giles initially dismissed them. (This led to her immortal line, "I can't believe you of all people are trying to Scully me.")

Willow and Giles will, of course, be the main brains of the group - but it's always wrong to underestimate Buffy's smarts, and I'm just pleased to rediscover that the show established her intelligence as far back as the first few episodes of season 1.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Episode 10 - We're Really Back!

We're back! This week we're talking AIDS, in the context of the documentary "We Were Here" and the novel "Two Boys Kissing." Seriously, it's less depressing than it sounds.

(Sorry for how faint I can sound at points in this; audio issues that I am working out.)

iTunes Link

Podomatic Link

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Buffy Rewatch: Conversations With the New Guy, Part 1

"Been a long while since I met one who didn't know me."

Because for me this is a rewatch of one of my favorite shows of all time, I thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of someone who's new to the series. Fortunately for me, I know someone who fits the bill. And fortunately for all of us, he's agreed to be involved with this project.

Everyone, say hi to Russ. Russ is a gentleman and a scholar, and a man of impeccable taste. (He hated PACIFIC RIM nearly as much as I did.) We'll check in with Russ regularly throughout the year. Our plan is to discuss elements of the series itself, as well as how it might fit into the teevee big picture over the last 15 years. Here's our first chat, a brief email back-and-forth about pilots, premises, and serialization vs. stand-alones. (I'll try not to be as repetitive in future weeks. It's the first week - we're still figuring this out!)

Admit it: we're all a little jealous of someone getting to watch BUFFY for the first time.

Buffy Rewatch: Welcome to Sunnydale

In the first week of the Buffy Rewatch, we discuss "Welcome to the Hellmouth", "The Harvest", and "Witch."

"People out of high school respond to what's going on in the show, because I don't think you ever get over high school." Joss Whedon

This quote from Joss Whedon (in his DVD commentary for "Welcome to the Hellmouth") really sums up the approach that he and the writers use in the first few seasons of BUFFY. A horror movie as a metaphor for high school - or is it high school as a metaphor for a horror movie?

The first few episodes of any TV show are about establishing the premise of the show, introducing the characters to the viewers (and often to each other), and letting the audience know how the show's makers are going to tell their stories. I think we can discuss the first three episodes of BUFFY in this context: "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest" function as a two-part pilot, and "Witch" is the first episode that functions like a regular episode of the series.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Buffy Rewatch 2014

How'd you do that?
It's what I do.
But you're just a girl.
That's what I keep saying.

So for the last few months, we at Try It, You'll Like It have mainly used the blog as a home for the podcast. Well, we thought, what if we actually used the blog as a blog? The start of a new year seemed like a good time to do this, and here's our first big project: the 2014 BUFFY Rewatch!

Why this series, and why now? Simply, I'm suffering from anti-hero fatigue.

Shows like THE SOPRANOS, THE SHIELD, MAD MEN, and BREAKING BAD, as brilliant as they are, all feature a male anti-hero as the central character. BUFFY stands in stark contrast to these series - not just the "male" part, but also the "anti" part. I also find that it gets slighted in most discussions of "the golden age of television." Alan Sepinwall discusses BUFFY in his must-read book "The Revolution Was Televised", of course - but people generally cite THE SOPRANOS as the starting point of the "golden age", and BUFFY had premiered two years earlier. BUFFY was also a network show, and most "golden age" discussions focus on cable and the subject/content freedom that cable provides.

Buffy Rewatch Schedule

This is the schedule for the BUFFY rewatch, as of January 2 2014. WE CAN DO THIS, PEOPLE.

Season 1

Jan 7: Welcome to the Hellmouth; The Harvest; Witch
Jan 14: Teacher's Pet; Never Kill a Boy on the First Date; The Pack
Jan 21: Angel; I, Robot... You, Jane; The Puppet Show
Jan 28: Nightmares; Out of Mind, Out of Sight; Prophecy Girl

Season 2

Feb 4: When She Was Bad; Some Assembly Required; School Hard
Feb 11: Inca Mummy Girl; Reptile Boy; Halloween
Feb 18: Lie To Me; The Dark Age
Feb 25: What's My Line (Part 1); What's My Line (Part 2); Ted
Mar 4: Bad Eggs; Surprise; Innocence
Mar 11: Phases; Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered; Passion
Mar 18: Killed By Death; I Only Have Eyes for You; Go Fish
Mar 25: Becoming (Part 1); Becoming (Part 2)

Season 3

Apr 1: Anne; Dead Man's Party; Faith, Hope & Trick
Apr 8: Beauty and the Beasts; Homecoming; Band Candy
Apr 15: Revelations; Lovers Walk; The Wish
Apr 22: Amends; Gingerbread; Helpless
Apr 29: The Zeppo; Bad Girls; Consequences
May 6: Doppelgangland; Enemies; Earshot
May 13: Choices; The Prom;
May 20: Graduation Day (Part 1); Graduation Day (Part 2)

Season 4

May 27: The Freshman; Living Conditions; The Harsh Light of Day
Jun 3: Fear Itself; Beer Bad; Wild At Heart
Jun 10: The Initiative; Pangs; Something Blue
Jun 17: Hush; Doomed; A New Man
Jun 24: The I in Team; Goodbye Iowa
Jul 1: This Year's Girl; Who Are You
Jul 8: Superstar; Where the Wild Things Are; New Moon Rising
Jul 15: The Yoko Factor; Primeval; Restless

Season 5

Jul 22: Buffy vs. Dracula; Real Me; The Replacement
Jul 29: Out of My Mind; No Place Like Home; Family
Aug 5: Fool For Love; Shadow; Listening to Fear
Aug 12: Into the Woods; Triangle; Checkpoint
Aug 19: Blood Ties; Crush; I Was Made To Love You
Aug 26: The Body
Sep 2: Forever; Intervention; Tough Love
Sep 9: Spiral; The Weight of the World; The Gift

Season 6

Sep 16: Bargaining (Part 1); Bargaining (Part 2); After Life
Sep 23: Flooded; Life Serial; All The Way
Sep 30: Once More, With Feeling; Tabula Rasa
Oct 7: Smashed; Wrecked; Gone
Oct 14: Doublemeat Palace; Dead Things; Older and Far Away
Oct 21: As You Were; Hell's Bells; Normal Again
Oct 28: Entropy; Seeing Red; Villains
Nov 4: Two to Go; Grave

Season 7

Nov 11: Lessons; Beneath You; Same Time, Same Place
Nov 18: Help; Selfless; Him
Nov 25: Conversations With Dead People; Sleeper; Never Leave Me
Dec 2: Bring on the Night; Showtime; Potential
Dec 9: The Killer In Me; First Date; Get It Done
Dec 16: Storyteller; Lies My Parents Told Me; Dirty Girls
Dec 23: Empty Places; Touched; End of Days
Dec 30: Chosen