Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Buffy Season 2, Episode 16

Why is it, in a good deal of the witch episodes, that if someone wants to get witchy they go to the chem lab and have a mad scientist setup? I mean, I can see it, its not as if it doesn't make sense for practicality purposes...I could also see how some traditions would utilize chemistry in their magick work. However no one but NO ONE would be able to pull off that setup without getting caught by someone that isn't supposed to be there. Like oh, say, I teacher??? There aren't that many abandoned classrooms in a highschool. Just saying.

Our episode starts up with Hollywood Witch (Amy) doing a bit of glamour/mind control. I'm not sure exactly which it is--the teacher acts as if she is actually taking a paper from Amy, but she never looks at it. It could be either, but with how long hollywood witch maintains direct eye contact it indicates more mind control.

Xander notices and demands that she perform a love spell for him. Now, thank you, we get the warning against love spells. Unfortunately its simply because 'intent has to be pure with love spells', which I totally agree with, but NO word on how you shouldn't specify a person in the spell. Thus, this spell definitely falls under the manipulation bad karma category.

What amuses me to no end is that apparently you should only do a love spell if its to make someone love you for an eternity (according to Hollywood witch). Um, no? Love spells should only function to introduce the two of you and generate initial interest? Past that its in your court.

Now, here's how the ritual goes down: Amy needs a personal item of Cordelia's, and Xander goes to demand the necklace he gave her just last night. I want to point out that even if she's been wearing it constantly since he gave it to her, it isn't really that inundated with her energy yet and thus would be difficult to use as a representative of her. Not that that's really recognized at all.

Color used is red--good. Xander sits inside a symbol for woman. Good. I don't get why he's barechested and has three red lines painted on his chest, but whatever. He holds a lit candle.

Hollywood witch has the necklace and dumps it into her bubbling brew in a beaker over a bunsen burner as she incants "Diana... goddess of love and the hunt... I pray to thee. Let my cries bind the heart of Xander's beloved. May she neither rest nor sleep until she submits to his will only. Diana, bring about this love and bless it." (Can we say 'karma's a bitch?') Along with a bunch of shiny lights her eyes turn black and she orders Xander to blow the candle out. Not snuff it? Really? And why does he have to blow out the white candle in the first place? (White is all-purpose, I get it.)

Now really, why are we invoking Diana here? The one myth I know of where she hooked some people up was when a prince wanted to win the princess's hand by beating her in a footrace. Diana gave him three golden apples which he threw in the chick's path that she had to stop and pick up, so he won. Then when they forgot to thank Diana she turned them into lions. But still, only instance of helping with love, and that's because she raised the princess. Amy, you would have done much better to invoke Venus (going with the Roman names). Just saying.

This episode does illustrate beautifully the effect of love spells when done incorrectly. By incorrectly I mean horribly wrong. Xander wants to make Cordelia crazy about him. This is his need. If its been said once its been said a thousand times: making someone love you is manipulation to the Nth degree! It is bad! Bad, bad, BAD!!

Now what happens is every woman in the town BUT Cordelia is mad in lust with him, and its hilariously baaaaad. Yeah, karma's a bitch. Serves him right. At one point Amy actually turns Buffy into a rat. Yes, that's right, a rat. This is why Amy is Hollywood witch. She calls upon Hekate to do it (let the unclean thing before you crawl--eww, Hekate is obviously just a dark goddess in this show).

The counterspell is just as interesting, and seems to be standard counterspell for the rest of the series: whatever goddess you invoked, in this case Diana, is called to depart. Oddly there's an awful lot of Hekate. I mean, its not terribly odd what with Hekate being goddess of magick, but the show definitely uses her more as goddess of darkness. Also a very easy assumption to make, but at this point I'm giving the show props for using gods at all, albeit incorrectly.

Comments? Input? Criticism? Lemme have it!

Sorry guys...

I know that I haven't been posting on here AT ALL. A good deal of the reason for that is a friend of mine got me addicted to the show Bones. (It has David Boreanz in it, zomgz!!!!) A lot of my watching time has been taken up with that.

The major reason, however, is that I was so focused on doing every single episode of Buffy that I was getting really bogged down with it. Androids? Perfectly scifi, but what does it have to do with the supernatural? As such I have determined to screw the filler episodes, I'm focusing on ghost/vampire/witch activity! Please note that I am not reviewing this series for plot--this is a critique of how the paranormal elements are handled in the series.

That being said, on to our next relevant episode!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Buffy Season 2, Episode

We get some nice domestic drama with Buffy's mom dating a new man and Buffy being all threatened by him. 
Fortunately Ted's a robot and Buffy successfully erases him from their lives.
The only thing notable in this relationship is that it is the first time Buffy 'kills' a human.  Of course he's not human but she thinks he is at first.  She has to deal with the trauma of causing death. 
Then as soon as she finds out he's a robot its like *poof* everything's better!  Convenient tv fix.  Bah deux ex machina.  Fortunately this gets explored better later in the, no, I'm not spoiling anything.  You'll just have to wait and find out!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Buffy Season 2, Episode 9

Part 2 of 2!
There is a really interesting dynamic that gets created between Kendra and Buffy. Kendra is all work no play, Buffy...well...she really does things her way. By the end of the episode Kendra has learned to loosen up some, act more like a member of society. Buffy gains an appreciation for serious focus and study.

Ugh. Wow. I forgot that this was the episode where Cordelia and Xander kiss for the first time. Its one of those relationships that starts off striking sparks, then that passion transfers to...well, sexual passion.

Oz is also putting the moves on Willow, who he has finally officially met. Takes a bullet for her and everything.

Druscilla's baaaaack! And she is badass. Why is it that all the vamps are the most enjoyable characters? I mean, Angel is really hot and all, but he's really the coolest when he's bad. I guess that's the whole CURSE part of having a soul as a vampire. Dark and broody and...kinda 2-D. It's not like his backstory goes away while he has a soul, but there's just no...depth to him. Hm.

Well, that shall be explored more later. See y'all tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Buffy Season 2, Episode 8

It's the first of a 2-parter!  Yes, you all will have to wait till tomorrow to read the rest of it. 
So, this is the continuation of Spike's quest to find a way to make Druscilla well again (she is a very weak vampire, having nearly died and all).  He believes the cure is in a book he's stolen from Giles, which is in code. 
Meanwhile Buffy is agitated because they're going through the whole...profession...placement...quiz thingy.  Ya know, back in school when we took that quiz to see what kind of profession we would do well in?  Well, Buffy is sort of the Slayer and kind of already has a full-time job of saving the world.  She doesn't like to be tempted by what she feels she can't have. 
However, I must say that I never had to get paired with someone who was actually in the field--for which I am eternally grateful.  That would have been like career fairs in highschool *shudder*. 
Anyways, Spike sets...a trio of uber-assassins on the Slayer in hopes of killing her, or at the very least keeping her out of his business long enough to figure out how to cure Dru. 
Cue short ice-skating montage...the way this reads to me is that the actress is actually pretty decent on skates and Joss wanted to fit it in somehow.  Unfortunately it doesn't seem to get brought up again. 
Now we introduce Willie--a bartender who serves to the Underworld, literally.  He serves as one of those ratty go-tos for the rest of the series.
PRODUCT PLACEMENT!  Is this how Krispy Kremes got their foot up to become a major business?  I don't know, but I'd bet it helped. 
Oh noes, random African chick with weird-ass accent has locked Angel in a cage with eastern windows!  And now she's attacking Buffy!  Buffy demands to know who she is, and we get
"I am Kendra, the Vampire Slayer"  Dun dun dunnn!!
Yes that's right kiddies, now you can get two Slayers for the price of one!  Remember when Buffy died in season one?  For like 2 minutes?  Well apparently that was enough for another Slayer to get called.  Buffy doesn't lose her superpowers, but now someone else has them too.  What I'm curious about is this--does it mean that there will now always and forevermore be two Slayers, or since Buffy's Slayer-ness has already passed on when she dies officially this time there won't be another to take her place, meaning that status quo is restored?  I rather think its the latter.
Anyways, tune in tomorrow for our exciting conclusion!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Buffy Seaon 2, Episode 8

Ooh, this is a fun episode!  We get to see more of Giles' backstory.
When we was an angsty and rebellious teen he did the stupid thing and rebelled against his watcher destiny.  Then he did the REALLY stupid thing and started practicing demon...ology?  Hmm, demonology is the study of demons...yeah, I guess that is correct. 
Gathers his own little cult, they all tattoo themselves with this symbol and have wild and crazy fun summoning a demon. 
Well, so many years later its come time to pay the piper.  The demon is back and hunting down the cultist members.  Ethan (the old colleague Giles beat to crap in the Hallowe'en episode) is back and has a plan to save his sorry hide.
The tattoo acts like a homing beacon for the demon, so Ethan tattoos Buffy and uses acid to burn his own off.  clever clever. 
Now, as a rule I tend to avoid demons as demons are just frickin' NASTY.  However...summoning, possession, symbols signifying the mark of a demon (in this case the fictional mark of eyghon)...all of these are fairly common.  Well, common at least when dealing with demons..and sometimes spirits in general.
The symbol supposedly allows its bearers to have a psychic link to Eyghon.  Also entirely plausible.  Aside from the nasty face makeup and glowy eyes, this episode is surprisingly...realistic, in terms of possession and whatnot.  Even the jumping from body to body.  Now its not as simple as in the episode--generally the said demon has to weaken their host before they can take up full possession, simple unconciousness isn't quite enough to do it.  Oh, and demons can't re-animate corpses. 
However, they way the solve the problem of saving the possessed Ms. Callender was really quite clever.  Angel starts strangling her, the demon jumps to the nearest dead body--that is, Angel.  Angel is cursed with a soul so a demon cannot inhabit his body--it destroys the demon.  Brilliant truly. 
Well, I could actually hold on the topic for quite a bit more, but unfortunately my hour lunch is up.  Talk to y'all tomorrow!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Buffy Season 2, Episode 7

WOAH!!  It's the vamp club episode!  I had almost forgotten about this.  Mmm...serves as a good talking point for real-life vamp clubs. 
The vamp club in the show idolizes vampires, thinks that they're true nature has been corrupted by hollywood and they're really good and pure.  *snort*  Fluffy bunny much?
Real clubs on the other hand, you ARE the vampire.  Or a donor, alternatively.  There are those who will actually drink blood, which obviously can be dangerous, there are those who will develop a relationship with a vamp and become their 'donor'--yes, that's what you think it is.  Usually cuts on the shoulder to drink from.  Then of course there are psychic vampires, though from what I've gathered they don't take donors. 
Yes, this is an outsider's perspective.  I've been fascinated by the subculture from time to time, and I definitely don't know everything so before all the vamps in the audience jump all over me there's my disclaimer.
In any case, an old friend of Buffy's shows up in town, knows she's the slayer, and proposes a trade with Spike:  the slayer in return for making him a vampire.  Idjit. 
Really, the club in this show is more of a combination between Vampire:  The Masquerade geeks and fluffy bunnies.  No!  I've got it!  they're Vampire:  The Masquerade larpers!  Quick, rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to attack first!  *choke, gag*  Yeah, I have a really poor opinion of that form of larp, so sue me. 
In any case, I may come back and add more info to this later, but for to you all tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Buffy Season 2, Episode 6

Its our first Hallowe'en episode!  Yay!
Oddly, in this universe Hallowe'en is a 'safe' night--traditionally there's no supernatural activity on Hallowe'en, which I find to be rather ironic.  Maybe that's why nothing is supposed to happen?  For irony's sake?  There's some sort of truce that the baddies have, you'd think that everyone would be strolling around without disguises because its the one night that you really can.  Ah well.
Luckily someone violates this truce--this someone being an old colleague of Giles's (woot Giles backstory!).  He has...bespelled, cursed, something costumes that turn their wearer into whatever they're posing as.
Aha!  Here we have it.  Old colleague is worshipping...some sort of bust that looks like the comedy/drama masks.  One face on one side, the other face behind, young and old, happy and aggrieved.  It sounds like he's actually speaking latin, which is impressive, and the bust looks roman.  I could attempt to translate, but honestly I'm a bit too lazy.
So!  The fun begins!  Xander becomes a soldier, Willow becomes a hooker/ghost, Buffy becomes a weak little frou-frou french countess.  Just so ya know, the actress CANNOT pull off a french accent AT ALL.  She tries for like, the first ten seconds and fails miserably, so she just drops it.  Teh suck.
Okay, name for the bust is apparently Janus--wait, Janus??  Janus, the roman god of portals??  Err, that is..."gates, doors, and doorways, beginnings and endings."(wikipedia)  In the show they claim he represents chaos, the division of self.  Well, looks cool and all, but do a bit more research first guys.  I mean, you can try and twist it that way, but it doesn't quite work.  And that bust is way over-dramatized, traditionally it was the same face both ways, not like that.
Anyways, the way to reverse the spell is apparently to destroy the bust.  Giles does, after giving dude a serious beating, and everyone is back to normal.  Yay, Buffy doesn't get killed by Spike and gives him a 'royal' beating (ha!  HA!  see what I did there....?  Anyone?  Countess...royal?  C'mon people!).  Anyways, Oz makes a couple cameos and shows even more interest in Willow.  Really they are such a cute couple.  Adore!
Fun episode, actually had a bit of something to talk about.  Yay!  See y'all tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Buffy Season 2, Episode 5

Ahh, its the weird snake-cult episode.  Notable for its involvement of Cordelia, who becomes a more main character later, and Angel playing a big part in the episode. 
We get some relationship development between Buffy and Angel as well, which is nice.  Angel is trying to avoid a relationship with Buffy, Buffy is being a typical 16-year-old girl as much as she denies it.  Angel also busts in at the last moment to save Buffy. 
Other than that, though, this episode is all Hollywood.  Made up snake cult that sacrifices teenage girls to a Yaun-ti?  (sorry, D&D reference, that's a snake-man thing)  Not much that I can analyze here as a witch.  Better luck tomorrow?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Buffy Season 2, Episode 4

I find this to be a very interesting episode, though mostly because I was fascinated by Inca, Aztec, and Mayan culture as a kid.
This episode is plausible--ish in the paranormal factor, but completely unrealistic in the security factor.  There are multiple occassions where people are messing with the 'Incan Princess" exhibit, like stealing stuff from the sarcophogas, messing with the mummy, etc.  A Museum would not have that much of a lack in security, even is a small town like sunnydale.  If they're big enough to have a museum, that museum has security.  Minimum of gaurds and cameras.  Besides which, the mummy princess  is left TO OPEN AIR.  This is a MUMMY.  Special conditions such as humidity, temperature, and light must be taken into consideration, in which case the sarcaphogus would be ENCLOSED by like plexiglass or something.  *sigh*  But if all of those things were taken into consideration we wouldn't have an episode.  Hollywood.  Yay. 
As for the plausible-ish paranormal stuff, curses on tombs were very common.  I would imagine that royal tombs from all over the world, not just Egypt employed curses in the protection of their dead.  This however is a unique case.
Supposedly this princess was sacrificed to...please the gods and protect her people, as far as I can gather.  Ward against the darkness.  Now, sacrifices for the Inca were a religious matter (though also used to reinforce political power), and it would have been an honor to be sacrificed for her people.  She would have been inundated with how great an honor it was from birth, as it was a part of her culture.  The character we get is oddly quite 'modern', resentful of being sacrificed.  Not very fitting, though I'm sure there would have been acceptions to the norm. 
However this episode has the curious quirk of having a ward or charm to keep the sacrifice dead.  Essentially keep her from rising again.  Not unprecedented, but unusual.  And while it may be that I haven't researched enough, I don't think it was a tactic that was really employed by the Inca, especially not for honored royal dead.  Destroy the seal release her on the world again....well, seal gets destroyed but she is also prevented from draining the life essence from living beings, so she is destroyed as well.  Yay, no dead Xander.
In notable, series-relavent news, this is the first episode we see Oz!  Yay Oz!  One of my favorite non-vamp characters.  Played by Seth Green, yes Seth Green, same guy that creates Robot Chicken and voices Chris in Family Guy.  Love Oz!  :-P  Back tomorrow for Episode 5!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Buffy Season 2, Episode 2

 Sorry for the break all.  The weekend was crazy busy, in both good and bad ways.  However, I am now back and ready for action!  Let episode 3 commence!
Really, the principal is completely unfeasible.  He is so mean and evil its unrealistic.  He makes a lame faux baddie, isn't a good antagonist at all.  His existence is purely to make Buffy's 'real world' life more difficult, but I don't think she really grows from that challenge at all.  Thus his existence is completely useless, except for some minor comedy.
Enter Spike.  Spike!!  Yay!!!  Spike is likely my favorite vamp, even above Angel.  I like assholes, what can I say.  Plus with his vamp face on he kinda looks like David Bowie....not sure if that's a compliment to him or an insult to Bowie.
I also love Druscilla.  She's absolutely wacko and psychic to boot.  I would have loved to play her, but the actress does a fantastic job.  Ah, to dream.
Now, our notable bit of lore--the night of St. Vigeous, who lead a crusade of Vampires.  Vampires are especially powerful on this night.  I can't find anything on this guy, and as such I must conclude that he is entirely fictional and made up for the sake of the show.  Addendum:  he pops up on the Buffy wiki site, and was a vampire himself.  Yeah, totally fictional.
Spike decides to jump the gun and attacks on Parent-Teacher night instead of St. Vigeous night.  We get to sit through some nice tense dramatic moments, but as far as fighting goes its pretty sub-par.  Since Buffy acts all Slayer-y her mother ignores the principal hating her because her daughter is responsible and protects others.  Yay Buffy.  I really can't wait till her mom gets let in on the whole Slayer thing--Unfortunately that's not this episode. 
Now, we have a bit of errata here that is ret-conned later on--Spike says that Angel is his Sire, that is, the one who turned him into a vampire.  Later in the series we see Druscilla is his Sire...ess?  Whatever.  I rather like Angel as his Sire more, gives a different feel to the relationships. 
Now, odd bit towards at the end--Buffy and her mom are talking as they walk home, but we know from earlier in the episode that they drove.  Ah well.
Sound the trumpets!  Ring all the bells!  Spike FINALLY kills the Annointed One and the remnants of Season One are gone!!  Huzzah! 
And this is why Spike is the best antagonist ever.  :-p

Friday, June 18, 2010

Buffy Season 2, Episode 2

Ya know, there's not much to criticize in this episode. Boy brings his brother back to life, then is supposed to make a girlfriend for him to spend eternity with. So, I could talk about Dr. Frankenstein's Monster, but really...most people know the basic story.

Yeah...I have no idea what to say. Nothing magickal or whatnot to explain here, its just a filler episode. Ugh. Talk to ya'll tomorrow...possibly late.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Buffy Season 2, Episode 1

Well, its been a couple days since my last post. Sorry guys, I needed to take a small break. Now I'm back and ready for action! On to the first episode of season 2!!

We have to deal with a lot of mopy emo this episode. This is most of the residue from last season, although we won't be entirely rid of it till the Annointed One is gone.

So, while Buffy was all confident and whatnot at the end of last season, she's all insecure and fearful at the beginning of this. She puts on this huge tough guy act, but even the other characters are seeing through it.

Ooh, nother bit of vampire lore! Consecrated ground burns them. Now, they can walk on it just fine, but digging in it poses a painful problem. I don't see what the difficulty here is: vampires rise from their graves through consecrated ground just fine, but for some reason digging in it hurts them? That doesn't really make sense, and if this is classic lore its a really obscure piece. Classic lore involves them resting in dirt from where they were buried, which chances are means that it was consecrated. See? No sense.

Now, about this ritual cooked up to revive the Master. It involves retrieving his remains, which are the bones that shouldn't have been left. It also requires those who were physically near him at the moment of his death. Now, the reason for the remains is elementary: its what is left of him, which is good to have if you're trying to bring him back. The ones close to him at time of death is just about as straightforward: they retain the residual energy of his death. That absorbed energy from his time of passing creates a link to his being, and in draining that energy via their blood back into the master, it can theoretically bring him back. Their blood and own life energy is probably also helpful.

In any case with Buffy saving her friends and then smashing the Master's remains, there should supposedly no longer be a way to bring the Master back. Here's the thing though: his remains aren't destroyed. They're just broken into more pieces. This shouldn't adversely affect the ritual at all. Now, burning the bones to ashes and scattering them to the four winds, that would be a mite more permanent. Little shaky on the magic here guys.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Buffy Season 1, Episode 12

Well kiddies, here we have the finale of season one.  Umm, I'm thinking this is going to be an examination of vampire lore and prophecy.  As a season finale this episode is notable in that we FINALLY kill the Master.  Unfortunately the whole Master business will not be wrapped up till 2nd season.  Just, as a whole this episode is pretty underwhelming.  Drama, secrecy...on a whole, this episode acts like a regular episode up until the last ten minutes or so.  There's very little buildup in the rest of the series--all of the buildup is in this episode as well as the big climactic moment.  Thankfully Joss learns from his first season and makes the subsequent ones better.
Now, as far as the big ol' prophecy section of this episode is concerned, it almost falls into the realm of self-fulfilling prophecy--that is, person learns of terrible prophecy, person does everything in their power to avoid terrible prophecy, and through their actions terrible prophecy comes true.  If they had never known about the prophecy, it wouldn't have happened--theoretically.
Unfortunately while this is ALMOST a self-fulling prophecy, its not that simple.  Buffy learns of her destiny, tries to avoid it, then faces up to it and in doing so causes it.  If Buffy had stayed irresponsible the prophecy could not have come to pass. 
However as far as we know, this ends the prophecy--thus we have some wiggle room to save Buffy.  Once she is legally dead, as per the prophecy, the Master is free and the Hellmouth starts opening.  Through the use of CPR (yay modern times!) she is revived and goes to kill the Master.  She succeeds, the hellmouth doesn't open, and the day is saved. 
Oooh, the Master has a compulsion ability!  Previously untouched upon in the series is the Vampire's ability to compel someone to do what they want with their mind.  Now way back when legends speak of incredible fear, of being unable to move in the presence of a vampire, of being mesmerized.  This however could just as easily be, well, FEAR.  The vampire was thought to be some kind of unholy hellspawn, and people were understandably terrified of them.
Full on compulsion was made famous by Bram Stoker's Dracula, which was a compilation of legends rather than just pure vampire lore.  A good deal of Dracula became cannon, however, and as such we have the compulsion here in Buffy.
Nother bit of fun vampire lore--the way the Master dissolves once he FALLS ON THE SHARP BIT OF WOOD (sorry, wanted to point out how anti-climactic it was).  I mean, vampires usually turn to ash in the show, but he slowly dissolves into black matter that leaves a skeleton behind.  This unfortunately is a bit backwards.
Vampires turn to ash after they're destroyed if their body real-time has been around long enough to just be ashes.  If this was a vamp that died yesterday, it will still be a mouldering corpse once staked--just not animated.  Vampire bodies are in a stasis kept out of time.  Once they are no longer animated, time will ravage the body once again as it would have naturally.  Hence, really really old vampires will just be dust, maybe bits of bone.  Newer vampires will still be all corpsy and nasty. 
Anyways, that's the season finale....or should I say season finally?  Tomorrow we start Season two...FINALLY!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Buffy Season 1, Episode 11

Goodbye plot. See you later. This is an episode that I hardly watched the first time through. This episode isn't really plausible at all...a girl that nobody noticed so she literally turned invisible.

Now, not noticing, that's normal. Some people have a gift for blending in. Usually its intentional, however--when they want to be noticed they get noticed. There's also the camoflauge shield: a shield technique that encourages others to not notice you. I know some people who are really good at this shield, but the closer they get to you the easier it is to notice them--especially if you can sense energy. Again, however, this is something you have to spend effort on to accomplish.

We get some small hints that something is coming--Angel showing up is a big clue. He has a chat with Giles and goes on an errand to fetch a vital book that reveals yadda yadda yadda, our one glimpse of the plot and it quickly disappears.

Aha! We get a fascinating explanation here for the invisibility. It goes on the theory that our perceptions create the world. People started ignoring her, then they stopped perceiving her, and then due to the reality of the perceptions she CAN'T be seen. Throw in a bit of hellmouth energy and it might actually seem...plausible. Wow. I didn't expect that.

...Okay. At one point Buffy clears a room for Cordelia (the target of the invisible girl), and all she does is LOOK AROUND. Doesn't actually check any corners, doesn't feel around. She just glances around then leaves Cordelia to change. How does glancing determine whether or not an invisible girl is around? Not too smart here, Buffy.

Wow. The FBI comes in and nabs invisible girl to train and do dirty work for them. The FBI!!!! Plot hook, Joss Whedon, we have the trigger but where's the heap?? This hasn't been mentioned yet. If you pull the trigger there has to be a heap! Still No mention. Maybe the network's lawyers thought it would be too risky? Potential legal problems? We may never know.

Tune in tomorrow for the 'exciting' conclusion to season 1!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Buffy Season 1, Episode 10

My goodness, its the plot! Hello plot, its been a while. I'd all but forgotten about the Master. Wait, there's an Annointed One too? Wow, its almost too much to handle!

Now this episode has a very fascinating study. A boy trapped in a coma...more like his spirit can't find his body again. He's wandering about the town, trying to hide from his nightmare, and inadvertedly causing other's nightmares to manifest.

MMm, now a spirit losing connection to its body does happen, and I have heard this theory before as to why people are in comas--their spirit is lost in the astral. There are also cases of empathic people having the same dream as someone who's experiencing strong emotions in their dream, like a nightmare.

However CAUSING multiple people regardless of sensitivity to experience their worst nightmares like full-blown hallucinations...yeah, that's hollywood. One could argue that the chaotic energy of the hellmouth enhances the effect, but really...yeah, hollywood.

And what is it with the swastikas on the wall during one of Xander's nightmares? Anyone else notice that? Two on the wall by the door, one in red around the fire alarm, the other in green. Are we talking the historical meaning here, or the perverted symbol of the Nazis? Hmm...

This is related to the plot in that this is an omen of the end of times. The nightmares, not the swastikas. End of times being the end of the first season. I think there have been 3 averted apocalypses by the fifth season? The first of many, then.

By the way, Buffy looks fugly as a vampire. Vampires in battle form are ugly in general, but Buffy looks particularly ugly.

We have a nice homage to Wizard of OZ once Billy actually wakes up. The coach gets accused for beating him up, and everyone goes home happy...or do they? DUN Dun dun!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Buffy Season 1, Episode 9

I hate this episode. Can I just say how much I hate this episode? We suffer just as much as Giles does during this pointless and painful talent show. The painfully bad acting isn't even funny or amusing. It's just PAINFUL. Like nails on a chalkboard. At least we know that there are some good actors in the show, because it takes a good actor to play a bad actor.

There is nothing redeeming about this episode. We have our WORST ANTAGONIST EVER!!!!! Well, at least we think he's the antagonist for most of the show. A ventriloquist dummy. A DUMMY!!!! With a Brooklyn accent, probably circa 1920s!!

Now, there is an extensive list of cases of possessed/haunted dolls and whatnot, but here's the difficulty with that: technically, the doll is neither haunted nor possessed. An old demon-hunter got his soul bound into the dummy by a demon. Since his inhabitance of the dummy is not intentional nor willing, its not really possession.

Since we know that his body is dead this is technically a haunting...kind of. Not your classic haunting though. He's being kept here by magic/unfinished business. Well, unfinished business is classic, but the unfinished business is killing the demon to release the binding on him so he can finally pass on. He knows perfectly well who he is, he never technically died, just got transferred to a different body.

And I'm sorry, but there is absolutely nothing at all threatening about a dummy trying to attack a full-size person. Especially not a big ol' demon. When he hops up on the demon's back and 'stabs' it, it just looks silly and unbelievable.

Anyways, our only significant points in this show that have any bearing at all on the rest of the series is A) the principal is a dick that likes to pick on students, and B) Buffy also fights demons in addition to demon lites, the vampires.

We also get a bit of a red herring in the episode...the same red herring gets dragged across the trail in subsequent episodes as well. This being of course that Principal Snyder knows about the paranormal goings-on and is working to protect the school. He obviously suspects Buffy for being involved in said paranormal happenings. The red herring is that it seems like once he actually figures out who she is he'll be on her side. Unfortunately no, we don't get that fun little sideplot. Just a red herring.

So, I'm just gonna stop this here. I can't take the torture anymore. If you really want to see the train wreck, I won't stop you. But don't say I didn't warn you.

Slight snag in the Masterplan...

It seems that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is no longer available for instant streaming from Netflix.  I have added the appropriate disc to the top of my que, and hopefull I can get back to reviewing as soon as possible.  I apologize for the wait, and will be editing the previous posts into a more review-like format in the interim.

Apparently the vids just went down temporarily. They are back up and ready to go! Yay, no delays in posting!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Buffy Season 1, Episode 8

Ah, this episode was obviously provoked by the internet dating terror that took hold in the 90s. The internet was becoming available, and people were taking their social life--and their romantic life--to the net. This understandably terrified parents, as it was obviously taken advantage of by those who would like to prey on the unsuspecting.

I think however that this is rather overplayed. No really, we don't need it to be melodramatized and then crammed into our skulls. Buffy and Xander having a discussion about how talking to ANYONE on the internet is just plain creepy because you don't know who they are, and then deciding to do an intervention for Willow is a bit off the deep end. Now, internet dating isn't necessarily the smartest, but I know lots of people who have met their true love online, and they are the best couples I know.

Also in this episode we meet Ms. Calendar, the dubbed 'technopagan'. Here we have our first look as Joss Whedon's attempts to please the pagan crowd. Miss Calendar is totally hip with the whole computer scene, has a bunch of pagan sites bookmarked, and her coven is all online...of which there are apparently only four other members, if this episode is anything to go by. Well, small comfy covens are cool. When we first learn that she's pagan Giles asks her if she's a witch, and she says "I don't have that kind of power." So, Joss's first attempt to make this pagan-friendly is to differentiate pagans and witchs. Pagans=good, witches=hollywood evil. Fortunately he abandons this path and does a better job later.

Ms. Calendar and Giles strike sparks at first, but then they start developing a relationship. Its really sweet, sucks that it doesn't really go anywhere.

Anyways, the basic plot of this episode is that Demon gets transferred into computer, Demon starts online dating Willow, Xander and Buffy freak and try to interfere, Giles figures it out, and he and Ms. Calender seal the demon again just in time to save Willow from the Demon.

The Demon looks entirely hokey when we see it too--like a bigger non-plated version of C-3PO complete with horns. C'mon, if you're a demon you can look like anything you want! Why look that ridiculous? Better yet, why mess with a physical body altogether when you can wreak havoc on the internet?? Do you know how many people you could destroy that way? Much more effective use of evilness.

But really, I PROMISE, if you meet someone online they are NOT NECESSARILY A DEMON. In fact I would wager that while you might come across the scum of humanity, that evil is purely human.

In any case, this is looking much more review-like. Yay me. I likely will go back and adjust episode 3 (the witch), but it will take me a bit to get to the other and make them all review-y. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Buffy Season 1, Episode 7

Aww, the Master and his Annointed are playing. The Master is rather irritated that Buffy is killing so many of his vamps, and says he will send 'the three'. Meanwhile Buffy is complaining that she doesn't have a guy and Angel always disappears shortly after appearing.

oooooooEEEEEEEEEEEooooooo! Angel is always watching Buffy. Stalker much? Buffy leaves the club and gets hijacked by 'the three'. Angel saves her at the last moment. Really, he can hold his own in a fight against vampires. You would think that Buffy would put two and two together. Also, he doesn't enter her house until she invites him. The other three are left outside. Buffy tells him to take off his shirt so she can bandage his wounds. Oooh, that looks like an excerpt from the Book of Kells that he has on his shoulderblade! It does look like a wing.

Buffy's mom comes home and discovers the two of them. Buffy sneaks him up to her room, makes small talk. She asks about his family and he tells her they're dead. Then he quietly goes to sleep on the floor next to her bed. Xander freaks out when he hears about it. Giles is quite impressed that Buffy has earned enough ire to get the three set on her and steps up the training regimen. Buffy kicks his ass handily.

When she gets home Angel is still in her room and they make with the huggy kissy. Angel gets a little too into it and gets all vampy (duh). Buffy screams and Angel books it out of her house. The next morning Giles assures her that vampires are no longer human, just demons in human form. Buffy is still upset.

Meanwhile one of the Master's lapdogs...who apparently had a past relationship with Angel...hatches a plan to have Angel kill Buffy and come back into the fold. The lapdog attacks Buffy's mother and tempts Angel to taste. He doesn't, but when Buffy walks in it looks like he did. She threatens him, gets her mom to the hospital, then goes on the hunt.

The lapdog spends her time mentally abusing Angel trying to convince him that he should attack Buffy. It looks like Angel snaps. Meanwhile Giles realizes while talking to Buffy's mom that Angel wasn't the one to attack her mother. Buffy and Angel fight. Angel tries to get her to kill him, but she won't kill him just as much as he won't kill her.

The lapdog cuts in....and apparently is Angel's sire. Huh. Missed that part before, so I guess she actually merits a name. Darla. She and Angel were lovers 'for several generations'. Ah well, she threatens Buffy's life so Angel stakes her. Afterwards he vanishes, as is the norm.

This leaves the Master quite bereft, but the Annointed comforts him. Meanwhile Buffy gets to make up with Angel and its a sweet romantic moment. Wow, how do I get swept up in the romance? It is SUCH a young romance, controlled mostly by hormones, but I get swept up all the same. I still swoon when they kiss...huh. Buffy's wearing that SILVER CROSS Angel gave her. Leaves a nice burn mark on his skin too, perfectly identical, but he never even flinches.

Aww crap, this could be several kinds of foreshadowing. Something along the lines of he's a moth drawn to the light of the flame and gets burned. Something like that. Hmm, very poetic. Or it could just be that his attraction to her is dangerous, but that's less poetic. Hmm, I'll have to think about this now...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Upon Reflection

I realize that these posts haven't been reviews so much as synopsis with snarky commentary. I am sorry about that. I'm still getting into my groove, the show is still trying to find its tone, and aside from me going off on multiple vampire discourses there isn't much material for me here. Things like giant mantises aren't so much the paranormal as much as sci-fi thriller.

I will have a lot more to talk about later on, especially when we get to witches and possessions so on. For now, please suffer through the snarky commentary.

Buffy Season 1, Episode 6

School field trip. Hurray. We're at the zoo. A group of cool kids pick on Buffy...yes, that's relative, because the cool kids and Xander get possesed by hyenas. Now, we get a very fascinating legend here. Buffy and Willow are about to follow Xander into the off-limits hyena exhibit when a keeper stops them and tells the story of how a tribesman told him that "hyenas can understand human speech. They follow humans around by day, learning their names. At night, when the campire dies, they call out to you. And once they have you separated, the pack has you." This is a fascinating legend, but I don't know whether it's a true legend or not.

Anyways, Xander and the cool kids have a mini-confrontation in front of the exhibit, which we see means that they're standing on this huge hyena glyph. Hyenas' eyes glow, the humans' eyes glow, and they're possesed.

That night at the Bronze Xander is acting very un-Xander-like. Predatory, selfish, bold. I take that back, regular Xander is quite selfish as well. The rest of his pack comes in and he laughs along with them at their cruel jokes. The next day while Willow tries to tutor Xander in math he is incredibly rude to her and throws his textbook in the trash. Willow is quite upset and Xander storms off. Meanwhile Buffy has a run-in with the schools new mascott, a pig dressed up as a 'Razorback'. Xander walks by and the pig freaks out.

In gym that afternoon there is a session of dodgeball, and the hyenas are acting like a pack. Xander really slams a ball at Willow, and you can tell that this is a kill. She confronts him afterwards, and he greatly insults her. He and his pack are left in stitches. As Buffy and Willow had just been having a conversation about how Willow is so in love with Xander, Willow is understandably crushed.

Really, I do have to compliment the choreographer for this episode. Pack behavior was researched extensivly. All of the cues, the movement, all of it emulated a pack perfectly, right down to the branching out and walking different levels when on the hunt. The actors also did quite well, and emulated the hyena laugh while sounding human decently.

...and the pack eats the new school porker. The principal acts comicly aggrieved. Buffy consults Giles, saying that Xander's been possessed by a hyena. Giles is firmly of the opinion that its just testosterone...until Willow come in with the news of the eaten pig. Giles abruptly goes to begin his research.

Buffy checks out the scene of the crime and has a run-in with Xander. The rest of the pack gacks the principal! Finally, I was getting tired of that whiny little bitch. Buffy knocks Xander out and cages him in the library...which oddly enough has a cage. Has anyone ever really noticed that? A CAGE in the school library?? I mean its convenient, but its nonsensical.

The pack comes to free Xander while Buffy is gone and Willow gets chased by them. Buffy saves her just in the knick of time and leads the pack off back to the exhibit to reverse the possession. Turns out the keeper from before is the real badguy who worships the hyenas. He, for some stupid reason, transfers all the hyena spirits to himself. An entire pack in one body? Doesn't work so well. Dude gets gacked, the day is saved, Willow gets a cute little romantic moment and all is well.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Buffy Season 1, Episode 5

We start this episode with Buffy slaying another run-of-the-mill vamp.  Giles is none too pleased with how she lingers over a kill.  He says it should be very business-like, plunge and move on.  Perhaps Buffy is a bit of a masochist, eh?  But uh-oh, it appears this wasn't just any vamp as Giles find DUN Dun dun!  A ring.  Yeah, that is remarkable, seeing as vamp's clothes usually conveniently also turn to dust when you stake them.  Why on earth would a ring stay behind?  Now, it COULD be silver, but in older lore vamps naturally have an aversion to silver.  Can't stand the stuff, hence the specifically SILVER cross.  Back when vamps were thought to be real I suspect that this was another way of separating peasants and nobility.  Nobles can afford silver crosses, peasants have to make do with garlic.
Moving on, we listen to the Master quote prophecy for all his little minions about "The Anointed One" and how the slayer shall not know him.  Kay, so the Anointed One is likely a little kid.  Oh look, he is!  Whenever there's something about not knowing in Hollywood prophecy, the least-likely candidate is the answer.   The Master ends his little recitation with a "So shall it be".  C'mon!  I get that this is the equivalent of prayer for you, and that's the gist of the ending on any prayer, but still.  It would be more amusing if you said 'Amen' so you could get points for perversion of Christianity.  Ah well.
We suffer through some of Buffy being a teenager and shamelessly flirting with a guy that she really doesn't share that much in common with.  He loves Emily Dickinson, she's never even heard of Emily Dickinson, etc.  But she makes a date with him that night regardless though Giles insists she needs to take care of this new vampire threat (ominous ring, y'know).  Buffy gets very whiny but gets forced to postpone her date for patrolling.  When there's a no-show with the vamps she happily heads off to the Bronze to try to score with her boy-crush Owen.  We get a shot of a bus with passengers and look!  There's a little boy.  We have our Anointed One. 
Buffy arrives at the Bronze to find Owen in the arms of Cordelia, so she leaves.  Meanwhile the bus runs over a vampire and gets in an accident, while the vampire gets back up for dinnertime. 
The next morning Owen makes good with Buffy and they're on again for that night.  She pretty much tells Giles that she's not patrolling tonight and we see Giles being left slack-jawed by exuberant teenage girl.  Not in pedophile way but a straight-laced brit way.  Buffy is all ready for her date and opens the door for Owen to discover Giles barging in about a bus crash.  There's some awkwardness with Owen showing up and Buffy wanting to go on her date.  Giles reluctantly allows it and decides to go to the funeral home himself.
This is where we get the first signs of Giles developing a fatherly love for Buffy.  He doesn't want her to be upset by missing her date and so tries to do her job for her.  Unfortunately this almost gets him killed, but the sentiment is very sweet. 
Buffy's date is a bit of a drag because ALL Owen will talk about is Emily Dickinson, and he's rather awkward dancing.  Still, he refuses to go with Cordelia when she shows up and Buffy is enjoying herself.
Giles on the other hand isn't faring so well.  He gets himself cornered when Xander and Willow show up.  He sends them to get Buffy.  We get a nice little comedy of errors as Xander and Willow try to get Buffy away from her date.  Buffy's in full on boy-mode though, and it takes a lot to get through her skull without coming out and saying it.  Angel's even there, and even though his presence in the early series generally indicates something's wrong, Buffy remains oblivious.  It takes Xander and Willow proposing a double-date to the FUNERAL HOME to get Buffy to clue in.  Owen unfortunately is all for the idea, so he tags along. 
Buffy does initially manage to ditch him, and we get a GREAT shot with profiles of Buffy and Owen talking, with Angel watching on in the background between them.  Really, do we need any more clues that Angel and Buffy are going to hook up?  Its right there in the shot.  Buffy leaves and Angel comes up to stand beside Owen.  Owen can only say as an aside "She's the strangest girl!"  Angel says nothing, but blinks a lot and licks his lips.  Rofl!!! 
Buffy gets to the room where Giles was holed up to find it ransacked.  Fortunately Giles is intelligent and hid with a corpse.  He's rather flabbergasted that Buffy brought her date.  Buffy hides her friends in the manager's office and searches the morgue with Giles for the Anointed One.  Unfortunately the manager's office has a side room with our most likely Anointed candidate in it--some hick hellfire and brimstone bible-thumper from the bus, newly vamped.  This guy is a certified whacko.  He's singing about pork and beans as he's chasing our protagonists.  Seriously?
Owen feels the need to be all heroic and save Buffy and gets himself thoroughly thrashed in the process.  Buffy gets pissed, thoroughly beats the bible-thumper and throws him into the Crematorium, screaming "You killed my Date!" the whole time.  Owen returns to consciousness and disconcertedly walks home.
Buffy is certain she's blown it when out of the blue Owen asks her out again the next day.  She discovers that he just wants the action and adventure, he wants to be 'dangerman'.  Buffy does the mature thing and breaks up with him so he doesn't get himself killed.  Buffy and Giles talk and determine that Buffy easily took out the Anointed One.  Of course we see that's not the case as the Master is talking to the Anointed one at that very moment--and of course its the little boy.  What did I say?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Buffy Season 1, Episode 4

We begin this episode with a wet dream courtesy of Xander where Buffy is falling all over him. Xander saves her from a vampire then gets up on stage at the Bronze (the local club) and starts rocking guitar. Fortunately we find out that he was just asleep in science class. They're studying the insect world. Buffy gets in trouble and has to stay after class, where the proff does inspirational speaking and we establish that Buffy likes him as a teacher. Buffy leaves and the prof. gets gacked by...well, the title tells us...a giant preying mantis.

Cut to the Bronze where Angel delivers a cryptic message about 'he's coming'. The next day Buffy finds out her favorite teacher is missing, and Xander practically orgasms when he sees the new substitute teacher. She does a rather obvious angry twitch when Buffy calls the preying mantis butt ugly. Please, could we make this anymore obvious? And while she's talking about the female mantis choosing a mate and then EATING HIM, she's staring at Xander suggestively. Xander is smitten, as are all the other males in the class, so much so that they all volunteer to help the sub make egg sacks after class. No I'm not joking. Buffy and Willow are baffled.

At lunch the good teacher's headless body is found in a freezer. The group is understandably shocked. That night Buffy goes on patrol for a possible lead, that being the cryptic 'he' referenced by Angel. This Vampire with a giant claw tries to run, and is about to assault the new sub teacher while she's out walking. She just looks at him and runs for the hills.

Buffy tries to get to class when she's cornered by the Principal demanding she get couseling for seeing the teacher's body yesterday. She is therefore late for class and witnesses the sub's head doing a 180 to look at her. Buffy realizes that some bugs can do this and goes to research bugs. Meanwhile Xander gets invited to the sub's house that night and he is quite excited. Buffy and the gang realize that the sub is a preying mantis and go to save Xander.

The sub DRUGS XANDER with a dirty martini and takes him to her lair. Buffy breaks in just as the sub is about to mate with Xander, kicks butt, and Xander destroys the egg sacks. We get a flash of an egg sack they missed at the end of the episode, but I think they forgot about that thing to bring back later as it hasn't been mentioned again.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Buffy Season 1, Episode 3

The Witch. Oh yeah, you know this one's gonna be fun.

Our episode starts out with Giles being quite irate over Buffy wanting to try out for the school's cheerleading squad. I somehow think that the actress didn't much like it as its never brought up again after this episode.

Cut to the most stereotypical herb-strewn room, dark, with a frickin' GIANT cauldron with opaque green liquid bubbling. The camera pans over to...some barbie dolls on hooks, where a black-clad hand snatches one down.

Cut back to cheerleading tryouts where we're introduced to a new character, Amy. They are watching the first tryout, very highly skilled, when her pom-poms start smoking (gee, wonder where they hid the smokers?) and she catches on fire. The gang thinks its spontaneous human combustion and split ways to research in their own various ways.

That night we watch Buffy have a talk with her mom about her tryouts that day. This isn't particularly notable, but we do get clued in that Buffy feels alienated from her mom. Mother has a bunch of crates for a gallery her museum(art institute?) is doing. Now, I have a bit of a bone to pick here: Her mom opens one of the boxes, takes one look and quickly shuts it again, muttering something about "Fertility statue. You don't want to see it." Looks African in origin, by the way. Now, why would that be so horrible to show hear teenage, soon-to-be sexually active daughter? Especially since its both a part of history and a work of art? My own mother, overprotective prude that she is, holds the view that nudity in art and other cultures is completely acceptable. Sexuality will send you to hell, but nudity in a work of art is fine because it's art. Prudish America. Anyways.

Next day at redo tryouts Amy trips and knocks another person (Cordelia) over. Afterwards Buffy meets Amy in front of the cheerleading trophies, where we find out there a lot of pressure on Amy from her mother, the cheerleading Queen, Catherine the Great. Afterwards Cordelia threatens Amy if she cost her the team position.

Cut once again the the Hollywood witchroom! We hear a voice hissing "Give me the power. Give me the dark. I call on the Laughing Gods. Make Thy Darkness crawl beneath my skin. Accept Thy sacrifice: Cordelia. Feed on her." as the dark-clothed figure grabs another Barbie doll, wraps the head all in a band--looks like an ace bandage--and slips it into the opaque green goo.

Next morning Cordelia is acting strange and completely out of it. She shows up for Driver's Ed late and drives like a maniac, crashing through a border fence and nearly getting the car killed. Cordelia is nearly run over when Buffy rescues her. We discover that Cordelia's eyes are totally white and she's blind.

Buffy is in the library with gang and they hit upon the idea that Amy is the witch taking out her competition. Willow pulls up the checkout dates for the public library's witchcraft books. "Witches: Historic roots to Modern Practice" and "The Pagan Rites. These books do not actually exist. Giles finds a spell to detect witches and gives the group a list of ingredients. Supposedly pouring it on a witches' skin will TURN HER SKIN GREEN! It actually looks blue, but still, nice explanation for the legend. Ridiculous of course, but interesting nonetheless.

Amy comes home, orders her mother to write her papers for her, and displays Buffy's new bracelet. She simply says "I'll be in my room." Next morning Buffy is acting High as a fucking kite, and happens to forget her strength during practice causing an accident. Xander and Willow quickly usher her to the library. Unfortunately Buffy passes out before they get there. Turns the spell is actually pretty nasty and will kill Buffy. Giles says to reverse it they need Amy's Spellbook. Giles also mentions there will be a pentacle 'and a large pot'. Large pot, really? Not Cauldron? Anyways, they get to Amy's house and discover that Amy's mother switched bodies with Amy and is in fact the witch.

Giles goes into the witchroom, gets scared by a black cat, then finds the book. They return to the school to reverse the spell. Meanwhile Amy is in the middle of a game when she suddenly senses the spell being reversed. She ruins the pyramid and starts booking it to the library. She grabs a 'Use in Case of Fire' axe and BREAKS INTO THE CHEM LAB with it. She's about to axe Buffy when the spell reverses and Buffy kicks the real mom's ass. One of the hollywood witches' spells get reversed on her and we find that she has been imprisoned in her cheerleading trophy for eternity. Yay karma!

Now, when I first watched this episode it gave me the wrong impression of the series. I thought this whole series would be a stereotypical hollywood look at witches. I mean, they turned her skin green, C'mon!

Patience, patience. I think there were some angry emails sent to Joss Whedon because the witches in the series become a LOT more pagan-friendly. Just wait, we'll get there. I still can't decide whether or not Joss Whedon is mocking the pagan community. He makes it pagan-friendly, but paints most of them as fluffy bunnies. Oops, that's in season four...we'll get there, I promise!

The spells used in these episodes are particularly irritating as they're all hollywood magic. Unrealistic, couldn't accomplish in real least not in the way portrayed. The spells were hollywood magick, and therefore I dub all witches present in this episode hollywood witches. Henceforth Amy shall be known as hollywood witch.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Buffy Season 1, Episode 2

Last time we left our heroine getting her ass kicked by a mini-boss. At the beginning of this episode she knocks him out in the first five seconds and rescues Willow and Xander--but no third 'long time' friend. Yeah, he totally gets vamped and then used as bait for Buffy. Clever tactic on the Vamp's part, and we get introduced to Buffy's 'good guy' syndrome--she can't let anyone die, get hurt, etc. She's like a frickin' Harry Potter in that regard, whiny emo-bitch included.

We get a better introduction to 'The Master'...our major antagonist for the first season. He looks like a Nosferatu from the Vampire table-top: the classic Vampire image of ugly as hell creature of horror. The rest of the Vamps suffer from Anne Rice syndrome...the 'sexy' vampire, though they turn ugly when feeding or in combat. Not as ugly as the Master though, he's just fugly.

Willow shows us that she's a great techie and hacks into the city council's mainframe, and Buffy goes on about how she's the chosen one and the only one who can face the vamps. She manages to leave the other two behind, sneaks out of school, and goes back to the Mausoleum--that is, the location of our mini-boss battle--to save the third long time friend vampbait. But oops! Xander tags along, as stupid newbies do, and they manage to get themselves cornered with the newly vamped third friend. They manage to escape through the ventilation shaft...which is in the sewers with them...right.

The Master performs a ritual so that while he cannot escape his underground lair he marks the mini-boss as his 'vessel' so that he can enjoy the benefits of the Harvest--feeding on a bunch of innocents to free the Master to walk the earth.

Now, I get that the Master is supposed to be an Elder...that is, one of the original Vampires who helped to establish the species. He's more powerful as his blood is more pure--this also applies in Vampire: the Masquerade, but is not really classic lore. I get that for this reason he is more of a pure demon than his progeny who are more human. Hence he looks all vampy all the time while they actually get human faces to blend in. However, the Master just never seems that evil to me--more of the stereotypical bad guy that has no real depth or interest. Destroy the earth to rule over it supreme, yadda yadda yadda. Boring.

Also, I understand that humans are quite stupid and willing to forget what doesn't work into their perfect little world, but this town is just ridiculous. High mortality rate, bizarre happenings, seeing vampires and demons face-to-face, and they block it all out. Really? That's it? So terribly convenient.

Anyways, Buffy stops the Harvest, the Master is terribly disappointed though not as much as he should be, and our heroes live to fight another day. Or rather, Heroine and sidekicks. I do like that Buffy tricks the mini-boss into thinking he's getting burned by sunlight and he actually goes with it for like five seconds, giving her the opportunity to stake him. Nice touch, that.

In any case we have our hook "The bad guys won't stop trying", and thus the series commences. Boy I can't wait to get to second season.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Buffy Season 1, Episode 1

"In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the Vampires, the Demons, and the Forces of Darkness. She is the Slayer."
If only they didn't feel the need to cram that montage down our throats at the beginning of every episode. Perhaps it was a matter of excitement when the show was on the air, much akin to the opening theme, but I have to tell you, watching it when the entire series is at your fingertips it gets damn annoying.

Our first episode starts with a dream sequence by our heroine, Buffy. We get random images, previews from the first season, random graveyard shots, and for some reason images like the popular bronze casting of Shiva. Shiva, really? I mean, I get that he is the 'demonslayer' of Hindu tradition, but in that case 'demon' refers more to man's personal demons. Ah well, go ahead and use an image of Shiva if you really must.

After a night of bad/prophetic dreams, Buffy wakes up to a first day at a new school. Presumably this is a continuation from the movie, with Buffy being kicked out of her old school in LA for arson (it was full of vampires). In a need to make sure the audience gets what's going on, Buffy makes a lot more slip ups about vampires and whatnot than she does in the rest of the series. Really, you try to explain to your principal that the reason you set the school on fire was to kill the vampires? Nuh-uh, that doesn't fly.

Enter our mentor archetype, Giles. He's the stereotypical English type, also very against technology. We get a good look at Buffy being angsty and denying her destiny. Understandable considering her Calling lost her all her friends and got her kicked out of school.

Here we establish this show's own flavor of Vampire lore.
1)To become a Vampire they must suck your blood and you must suck their blood. That particular brand of lore was established by Anne Rice I believe.
2)Common methods of Vampire deterrence/killing: Stakes, holy water, crosses(not just of silver), daylight, sometimes fire. The usual, though oddly no mention of garlic.
3) Vampires have no reflection. Traditional lore.
4) Vampires cannot enter a home without being invited. Not as common, surprisingly. You hear about it mostly because of this show/the movie, though I'm not sure this is the origin of that bit of lore.

We meet Xander and Willow, Buffy's friends/sidekicks, and are introduced to Angel. Ah, Angel! *swoon* Mr. Tall dark and Handsome himself. Angel delivers a cryptic message message about the 'harvest' coming...and really, Harvest. That tells you everything you need to know right there. Willow manages to get herself snagged as a Vampire meal as well as...well, third 'long time' friend who dies after this and is never mentioned again.

Buffy comes to save Willow, Xander tags along, they both find out about Vampires and Buffy loses all three of them again when she starts getting her butt kicked by a mini-boss. End first episode. Sorry, not much to critique during the establishment of the series.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action!

Hello and welcome to the official first post of The WitchWord! This blog is dedicated to the review of the paranormal, specifically concerning witches, as portrayed in media. Witches will be the focus in this blog as the reviews are written by yours truly, a practicing witch and ecclectic pagan.

I have been studying the paranormal with an emphasis on ghosts and hauntings since I understood what the word 'ghost' meant and had an interest in reading...likely somewhere between ages 7 and 11. I have been a practicing witch for the past seven years.

While this blog will be focused on the accuracy of paranormal portrayals, cinematographic critique will manage to sneak its way into reviews as well. I was an acting major for 2 years and managed to escape college with a theatre minor, so that aspect will rear its head every now and then.

Please keep in mind that while my opinions are founded in research and lore, they are OPINIONS. If you don't agree with them go somewhere else. I don't need you wasting your life on me. Now if you'd like to actually start an intellectual conversation I am very agreeable, but if you're going to insult me you're going to get ignored.

Now then, this blog will commence with the review of Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Joss Whedon. Upon the completion of that series we will be moving on into Supernatural, unless the fandom argues otherwise.

And yes, we will be going episode by episode. Let the reviewing begin!