Thursday, January 2, 2014
Buffy Rewatch 2014
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.
But I actually had the initial idea for the rewatch as a result of the surprisingly hateful online reaction to BREAKING BAD's Skyler White, and the actress who played her, Anna Gunn. Because she stood in opposition to the show's protagonist and was often acting based on limited/no knowledge of Walt's activities, she frequently reminded me of Buffy's mother Joyce. It's not entirely analogous, of course, but I kept wondering what online reaction would be to Joyce Summers in the crucible of social media. And what about Cordelia, or Xander? Or - Lord help us - what would twitter think of Riley? Or Dawn?
There's no doubt that social media has affected how we watch TV. Back in 2001, as BUFFY's fifth season ended, it took me SIX WEEKS to see the extraordinary season 5 finale "The Gift." (Long story short: my triple redundancy plan for taping it (on VHS - ask your parents, kids) completely failed.) And yet: I remained completely unspoiled for those six weeks. Can you imagine remaining unspoiled today about an episode like that one for six weeks?
(Well, it also wouldn't take me six weeks to see it today - not with online streaming or iTunes rentals or other questionable methods.)
I'm also curious to see how the series has aged. Some things on my mind as I begin this rewatch:
- will changes in technology in the last 15 years affect my enjoyment of the show?
- will my perception of certain characters change as I've grown older?
- will I still think season 3 (particularly its ending) is overrated and season 4 is underrated?
- will seasons 6 and 7 (particularly season 6) still seem as problematic?
- will I still love Anya as much now as I did then?
Here's a schedule for the rewatch. With a couple of significant exceptions, we'll discuss 2-3 episodes each week; I wanted to get it done in one calendar year, and there are 144 episodes to get through. That's a lot of ground to cover, but if you just wanted to drop in for certain episodes, you can do that too! I'll probably be tweeting (@randois) while I watch the episodes, and I'll be posting something here every Tuesday - I'm still not sure what the weekly posts will look like, and I'm sure they will change throughout the year. But at the very least we'll use the weekly posts as a spot to discuss the episodes. I can't guarantee it will completely be a spoiler-free zone (I'm sure there will be certain things we'll want to discuss in the greater context of the series - "counting down from 7-3-0", for example), but the goal will be to discuss the episodes as we go. It should be fun.
Join us, won't you?