Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Buffy Rewatch: Worst Episode Ever.

We get a little deeper into season 4 this week, with "Fear, Itself", "Beer Bad", and "Wild At Heart".

"No, beer bad. Bad, bad beer. What the hell am I saying?"

There are, maybe, a few other contenders for Worst Episode Ever: "I Robot... You Jane" and "Doublemeat Palace" are often cited, and someone recently suggested season 5's "Listening To Fear". But for me, no episode of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER stinks as deeply, completely, terribly, and truly as "Beer Bad".

Monday, June 23, 2014

Episode 22 - "I like my Muffin toasted."

Weddings! We read the 1932 novel Cheerful Weather For The Wedding and watched Robert Altman's A Wedding.

Next week: Randy has us choosing stuff we have to struggle to find good things to say about. Joseph chose the movie Boondock Saints and Amy chose the novel Ethan Fromme.

Also discussed this week: Jersey Boys, Midsomer Murders, Pie in the Sky, QI, Rev and Deadwood.

Show Notes: Sorry about the sound of the rain on my side of the conversation.   I didn't mean for it to sound like we were recording in the middle of a Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello movie.

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Intro music: "The Wedding March," by Queen
Outro music:  "Chapel of Love" by Better Midler

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Buffy Rewatch: Ch-ch-ch-changes

Season 4 starts with "The Freshman", "Living Conditions", and "The Harsh Light of Day".

"It's exciting, though, isn't it?"
"Yeah! It's gonna be an adjustment."

Shows have to change to allow the characters to grow. Shows that don't change risk having the audience get bored, as the show repeats the same stories and character beats over and over. On the other hand, shows that change risk having the audience revolt, saying "It's not as good as it used to be!" And I know that there's a segment of the BUFFY fandom that only loves the first three seasons. (But then, there are those of us (aka, "the ones who are correct") who think the show's peak is still a season away.)

BUFFY had to change after season 3 ended, since the gang graduated from high school. The university setting is one of the big changes, but not the only one: Angel and Cordy have moved to LA, so the show will have to establish some new characters (Riley, Professor Walsh) AND reintroduce some old ones (Anya, Spike, Harmony). The beginning of season 4 is, no doubt, an awkward transitional phase - but one that's also absolutely necessary for the show and the characters.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Buffy Rewatch: The End of the Beginning

Season 3 wraps up with "Choices", "The Prom", and "Graduation Day (Parts 1 and 2)".

"Look at you. All dressed up in big sister's clothes."

Here's the thing: endings matter. When you tell a story that spans multiple episodes (or a whole season... or multiple seasons), and you have control over when and how that story ends, the ending itself is important. A great ending can salvage questionable earlier episodes, and a weak ending (no matter how great what came before actually was) can leave viewers frustrated. And I think that's part of the reason why I rank seasons 2 and 5 ahead of season 3: I'm just not a huge fan of "Graduation Day".

Monday, June 9, 2014

Episode 21 - Life After Death

This week we talked life after death!  We watched A Matter of Life and Death and read A Dirty Job.

Also discussed was the season finale of The Americans, a soap opera called The Edge of Night, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Fall, Orange is the New Black and Fargo.

Show Notes:

At one point, I mention the interesting romantic life of Roger Livesey, who played the doctor in A Matter Of Life And Death; his family history is kind of weird and entangled and explained here.

Next week, our theme is Weddings.  Joseph picked the book and we'll be reading 1932's Cheerful Weather for the Wedding.  Randy picked the movie and we'll be watching 1978's A Wedding.

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Intro music: "Every Day A Little Death," by Stephen Sondheim
Outro music:  "Death & Glory," by The Clash

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Buffy Rewatch: Look at me. I'm all fuzzy.

A trio of great episodes: "Doppelgangland", "Enemies", and "Earshot".

"I'm so evil. And skanky. And I think I'm kinda gay."

Have I used the phrase "favorite episode" yet? Let's assume I haven't: "Doppelgangland" is my favorite episode of the series. There is a small handful of episodes are probably better, but I don't think there's an episode of BUFFY that fills me with as much joy as "Doppelgangland" does.