BtVS S6: 'Two to Go' (UPN)
BtVS S3: 'Choices' (FX)
Angel S5: 'A Hole in the World' (WB)
Angel S4: 'Calvary' (WB)
Firefly: 'Objects in Space' (FOX)
BtVS S6: 'Hell's Bells' (FX)
BtVS S6: 'Entropy' (UPN)
BtVS S5: 'The Replacement' (WB)
As you can tell by the last listing, this was a very old tape! And it was used over and over and over because between each random episode, there were snippets of other things.
What I Have Learned Upon Reviewing the Contents of This Tape
- Nothing...I mean nothing gives you whiplash like watching 'Entropy' followed immediately by 'The Replacement.' Nothing can prepare you for it. If it wasn't for the fact the cast was the same, you'd think they came from two completely different shows. Hell, maybe they did. BtVS-WB and BtVS-UPN. One thing's for sure: The characters are completely and totally different between the two iterations of BtVS. I like the WB crew a whole lot more. They actually act like friends, instead of co-workers who have to put up with each other.
- Nicholas Brendon is, without a doubt, the most underrated actor in the regular cast of BtVS. I still think the closing scene of 'Entropy' is one of the best-written and best-acted Xander scenes in the entire series, period. And this is coming from someone who adores the Big Lug. (Xander...not Nicholas Brendon, just so we're clear).
- Speaking of Nicholas Brendon...on what planet was this dude considered "fat" during S6? Because even during 'Hell's Bells' the apex of Xander's "weighty-ness," when he isn't playing vision!Xander (and I notice during the vision scenes that Brendon seems to be tucking his chin inward a little to make it look like there's more flesh there than there actually is), his face is not much rounder than it was in 'The Replacement.' I'm freakin' serious. The only difference is that "Xander" seemed to be wearing three layers of clothes (when not wearing a really ill-fitting tux) with sometimes a winter coat thrown on top at all times during the S6 episodes I saw vs. the relatively light-weight clothes 'Xander' wore in S3 and S5.
- I've also decided that Allyson Hannigan is the most overrated member of that cast. Holy shit! Get beyond the cutsey-wootsey "Willow" tics, and she can't do shit or shinola. Even in 'Choices' everyone was acting rings around her and not even breaking a sweat doing it. Before this, I didn't think she got trapped in the blackhole of acting suck until the Darth Willow episodes.
- I actually kinda feel bad for James Marsters and the shit they put him and "Spike" through. On other tapes, I saw earlier iterations of Spike and I still love his bad-ass self, despite the (IMHO) utter destruction of the character in later seasons. No wonder why Marters has complained in interviews that he was never entirely sure what "Spike's" motivations were. His characterization was all over the freakin' map.
- The Mayor is still my all-time fave Big Bad. Angelus is number two.
- The Mayor was very, very right about Buffy and Angel. They're bad for each other. He's even got a list and the list I think is dead-on.
- I like Angel a hell of a lot more when he's not around Buffy. I'm not one of those people who ever disliked Angel, I just thought he was boring, especially in S3 BtVS. He seems to be a pod!Angel when he's anywhere near Sunnydale. In L.A., he's a rockin' character and I adore him.
- Going by 'Hell's Bells,' I'd think Buffy was Xander's best friend from early childhood and not Willow. Buffy is the one who's being all encouraging girl. She's the one who helps Xander get ready for his wedding. She's the one who's actually happy for him. She's the one who actually has a conversation with him. She's the one who's going to keep his parents in line. And she's the one who keeps trying to salvage the wedding while it all falls to pieces. Willow is less-than-useless and just a complete ass in this episode. Watching 'Entropy,' where she's the only person even trying to help Xander get through his issues and intevenes when Xander and Anya accidentally meet up in front of her house before there's a domestic disturbance (and I notice he's going to talk to Buffy, and not Willow, presumably about what went down between him and Anya earlier in the episode) and 'Two to Go' only just reinforces that feeling.
- Much as I enjoy Angelus, he's kinda lame in 'Cavalry.' All fang and no bite, if you get my meaning. I also suddenly realized that I don't remember Angelus actually killing anyone onscreen during S4 AtS. Compare that to the "beige Angel" period in S2 when he locked a roomful lawyers in with Darla and Dru. What makes Angelus fun in 'Cavalry' is that David Boreanaz looks like he's having a absolute blast with Angelus's little mindfucks.
- Speaking of 'Cavalry,' is it me or does Charisma Carpenter actually look pissed off through the entire episode? I'm serious. She looks really and truly pissed off and disgusted with the whole world, even when "Cordelia" is not supposed to be angry about anything.
- I remembered why I hate, hate, hate, hate S6. It's a goddamned soap opera. Every episode is angst, angst, angst, and more angst without a single light moment or quip in it. We're talking a dreary slog to get through the episodes, and that's even with fastforwarding.
- Wes really had a point in 'Choices' that trading the Box of Gavrok for Willow was a bad idea. You don't have to like it, but he definitely had a point. Something else interesting: Giles was about to agree with him when Oz destroyed the potion that would've neutralized the box, thus rendering the argument moot.
- I still think Firefly sucks the big one. Apologies to those of you who actually like it, but...nope. I have tried to watch the damn thing three times. I actually sat through the whole of 'Objects in Space.' Again. I'm still bored off my tits by its derivative little ass. I'll take my beloved Battlestar Galactica over pretend scifi Firefly every single day of the week and twice on Sunday.
- Mutant Enemy as a corporate entity is too fucking obsessed with rape. Both Angelus in 'Calvary' and and the guest bad guy in 'Objects in Space' actually both make the same exact same threat (word for word, no less!) to a female cast member: "I will rape you to death." Yeeeeaaaaaaahhhhh. Notice how neither one of these is 'Seeing Red' from S6 BtVS where there was an actually attempted rape. Let me restate my rage against ME for using the threat of rape as a plot point: Feminist. My. Ass.
Realizations as a result of reviewing other random tapes:
- 'Bewtiched, Bothered, and Bewildered' from S2 BtVS is never not funny. I also suddenly understand why there's a very small contingent of Dru/Xander shippers out there. Interesting. Dru under the spell remarks that Xander's face is "a poem." Wasn't Spike a poet before he got turned?
- Cordelia was a much better character in S3 AtS. What AtS writers did to Cordelia — first making her St. Cordy and then the whole S4 thing — is positively criminal.
- I've decided that "A werewolf in love" at the end of 'New Moon Rising' from BtVS S2 is a really lame line. And Seth Green's line reading kind of sucks. And I like Oz and Seth Green.
- The biggest crime of S7 BtVS is that it's boring and the production values really suck.
- Re-watching selected episodes of S7 BtVS reaffirms why I feel hella bad for Anthony Stewart Head, Nicholas Brendon, and Emma Caufield. I am now adding to the list: Sarah Michele Gellar and James Marsters. The first three because they were criminally underused. The last two because they were badly used. And it's a wonder these five actors didn't get freakin' whiplash, given the way their characters were twisted from one episode to the next.
- Allyson Hannigan reaches the height of acting suck-a-tude during BtVS S7. Whenever anyone would say a line to her, she'd actually pause each and every single time before answering them. I'm not talking sometimes. I'm talking Each. And. Every. Single. Time. Regardless of the episode. Regardless of the scene. Regardless of the actor she's working with. People bitch about Sarah Michele Gellar's acting issues in S7? Compared to Hannigan, she's freakin' Olivier.
- Andrew is still a little shit. No matter how you slice it, his character and characterization didn't make any sense whatsoever in S7. The fact he became the official on-screen "Scooby spokesperson" during S5 AtS makes even less sense.
- 'Selfless' from S7 is still one of the best episodes in the entire run of BtVS. Except now I'm bitter when I see it because not one plot point laid down in that episode had a smidge of follow-up. None. It's absolutely amazing.
- After seeing 'Him' from S7 BtVS, I've decided that I would so watch the Spike-n-Xander show, provided they snarked on each other with equal fervor and one character was not put down in favor of the other. Nicholas Brendon and James Marsters have a really good screen chemistry that was sadly overlooked.
- Speaking of 'Him,' I'm still flabbergasted that on screen and in canon they actually made Xander leaving Anya at the altar a crime equivalent to that of Spike attempting to rape Buffy. That never fails to get a "Bwuh?" out of me. A better comparison, given the nature of the conversation, would've been Adam and Spike.
- 'Potential' from S7 BtVS is a much better episode than I remembered.
- 'First Date' from S7 BtVS is a much worse episode than I remembered. Nicholas Brendon looked like he was bodily dragging stunt guest star Ashanti to actually act while he was working with her. The poor guy did everything but stand on his freakin' head to help get her over.
- Speaking of 'First Date,' I understand what the writers were trying to get across when Buffy stepped over Xander's prone and bleeding body to go check on the immortal and undusty Spike. However, it made Buffy look really bad that she didn't at least do a quick check of her very stabbed and mortal friend first before she did it.
- I hated 'Storyteller' from S7 BtVS when it first aired. I hate it even more now. It is an incredibly stupid episode that makes no sense. The mix of characters that accompany Buffy to the high school make no sense. And after 'Storyteller' is over, Andrew is right back to his annoying self, so no character growth even. That said, I thought Tom Lenk did a really good acting job. Too bad he got stuck with a shit character.
- The best part of 'Storyteller' is an "ooopsie" (I think). During the fight scene in the high school, it looks like Sarah Michele Gellar's and Nicholas Brendon's fight doubles attack Spike and Principal Wood while Buffy is terrorizing Andrew in the basement. They even had the same hairstyles and the same builds as the actors. I actually burst out laughing when I saw that.
- Daria is maybe the best television show every about the trials and tribulations of surviving high school. I can't believe the show lasted four seasons and had two movies. The movies are available on DVD. Why hasn't MTV released the series on DVD yet? Why?
And I still have seven more random VCR tapes to go through!