General Open Thread – TV Shows (2)
24 October 2019 at 12:39 #68218
In the UK, Buffy is being streamed on Amazon Prime right now. Might be worth having a look if they’re also streaming it on Amazon. Ca.
Series 6 has everyone acting in very different ways from Series 1-5, but that’s the reaction they all have to to Buffy coming back. I’m not entirely sure I agree with @thane16 that you have to watch 1-5 first; the show moved networks for S6, so I think it is a ‘jump in here’ point. But it’s true you won’t get just how shocking and deep the changes were unless you know the characters from earlier.24 October 2019 at 14:15 #6821924 October 2019 at 15:51 #68220
The time limit’s gone and it’ll need a mod, I’m afraid.
I did think about it, but BTVS Series 6 has been out in the wild for eighteen years (counting from the premiere). Also, @winston said she was working from a DVD box set, and the big picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar on the DVD is a teeny bit of a hint. Not to mention the truly massive spoiler in the DVD episode description (in my box set, at least).
::ahem:: If any of the mods do think the above spoiler needs removing, probably best to remove this post as well.25 October 2019 at 06:38 #68221
My advice is “please don’t watch seasons 1-5 after season 6.” Seriously. I think Thane said the same -& typing for me yesterday.
I disagree that it’s a “jump -in” point @bluesqueakpip. And yes, SMG is on the cover of a show in which she stars/starred. Hell, Season 7 let out covers of Leo in The West Wing years ago when they released season 7’s ‘First 12 episodes’ including pix of the Dem candidate in full face format when we knew nothing of the actual result. Most people looked away from the target 🙂
I think the issue is to do with how season 1 BtVS had consequences for season 6. Like Season 2 did for S6. And possibly S3 did for S6 etc etc.
@winston you can tell we be dedicated fans & as I know you a bit I reckon you could be chewing your finger nails, thinking, I just asked about a show I want to see & now you’re all arguing over it. Gah, you people!
But in the immortal words of Ian Gillan “I didn’t start it.” And he’s truly immortal by that point ‘n’ all.
Old Siggers.25 October 2019 at 12:15 #68225
I don’t think I started it, either. 😀
Okay, a bit of background to where I’m coming from. When Buffy was first broadcast I was – variously – either rehearsing or performing during drama training, rehearsing and performing in fringe or doing the exciting tours of old people’s homes and sports halls that the average young actor does.
I was vaguely aware of Series 1 to 3, remember that I did watch a couple of the episodes, didn’t start regularly watching until the middle of Series 4 when a new flatmate arrived who really liked it. I saw a few episodes in S4, then had to rehearse when it was on, saw the start of S5, then got a job – you get the picture.
So when I say ‘I think Series 6 is a jumping in point,’ I’m saying that because Series 6 was the first series of Buffy where I saw every episode in order. And I bloody loved it.
Now, I’m not saying that this lack of knowledge didn’t impact my viewing – there’s a certain event in Series 5 where I simply hadn’t watched enough episodes to realise why it was such a big problem – but essentially, @winston, I did start with Series 6 as my jumping in point, I did have to go back and fill in the gaps by later watching Series 1 to 5 and actually, it was a lot of fun. I have the entire Buffy and Angel box sets and wrote a full-length fanfic novel set after the end of Angel – definitely a lot of fun.
So while I get the beauty of starting from S1 and working your way through, going backwards and filling in the gaps (‘so that’s why it was such a problem!’) has its own charms.
😀26 October 2019 at 01:13 #68226
It’s your narrative always. Your opinion, naturally, & we all respect that, obviously, but Whedon, in response to questions about watching Buffy says, “absolutely try to watch it in order. That’s my thing. You don’t obviously have to….But I used to say “watch it in order if only to see that actually it gets better, at least that’s what I was told by people close to me.” I made some pretty silly mistakes, I had no erm, noises for Buffy & …… love scene, I was all about the sense & feeling so knowing now what I should’ve known then but on the other hand some of us view things differently, even from when we first saw it & how we see things now.”
Not exactly erudite; but it’s from an interview which is in a book….which is in…
Syzygy26 October 2019 at 01:26 #68227
Watch it how you want. Seriously. Ignore the blather.
But be aware that S6 has some seriously heavy duty material that you might want to ease up to, given your current situation. Both @thane16 and I had this in mind with our comments.
But I would recommend, if you can, watching it in order (ideally on DVD because the version on Amazon Prime is the hideously remastered version that utterly disregarded the colour palette that Joss Whedon carefully chose). Should you decide to do this you will
1. Discover one of the sweetest love stories ever told, only to have your heart ripped out …and then find that there is an even sweeter love story waiting to rush in;
2. A genuine first for US network TV that I won’t spoil, so remind me. Relates to 1 above;
3. In amongst the general brilliance (and a few clunkers – not all of 147 eps can be good), 5 of the most brilliantly inventive single episodes ever, each of which is carefully slotted into the narrative;
4. A moment when you might think “OMG what have they done?” but don’t do what I did and bail for a year or two, only to have to catch up later, meaning I was late to TWO (count ’em) of the 5 of the most brilliantly inventive single episodes ever.
5. An episode that you will know, immediately, was written from truth;
6. A fine ensemble cast never once taking their eyes off the ball.
7. Oh, and one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the history of television (possibly the World).
But watch it however you want.27 October 2019 at 02:58 #68228
@thane16 @pedant and @bluesqueakpip Thank you for all the great advice and because I know you all love the show I will follow that advice. I will watch from the very beginning and work my way up through the seasons so I can see it all. I remembered that I bought season 4 a while ago so I am off to a good start, I just need 1 ,2,3 and 5 so I can watch 6.Frankly I need the distraction and the entertainment a good fantasy show can give me and its even better when you can discuss it with others.
When people ask me where to start Doctor Who I tell them to start with the first episode of either BG or AG. You can jump in but you do miss things. “I give myself very good advice but I very rarely follow it” but I will follow yours.
By the way, this is the most messages I have ever received! Feeling pretty popular here.27 October 2019 at 16:15 #68233blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
Moffat and Gattis are back.
Here is the first trailer for the new BBC adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Not one for the tinies…27 October 2019 at 23:53 #6823428 October 2019 at 00:04 #68235
It occurs to me that you may not have seen this:28 October 2019 at 02:07 #6823728 October 2019 at 02:12 #68238
David Arnold and Price have scored the series. Their use of violins & violas, used in Sherlock to great effect, can be heard in the teaser above.
Syzygy the Elder.28 October 2019 at 08:46 #68239
@pedant Now, w/o a brain *don’t read this Winston spoilers might be ahead.
So, pedant. you said something about the erm, ahem, most unsolved mystery in the world (possibly).
OK, so a) who are the brin***s or the Fir**? No, not that.
b) why does one vampire have a hint/sniff of hu*an*ty & the others not? See Ame*** in ….. I think this is it?
c) oh. Hang on, the character who is a doctor while on his erm, days off, another character appears to be…*im?
THAT! It’s that, yeah? Tell me (cheer squad) Tell Me!!
Or is it (run out of letters) a connection with the other show & its conclusion-thing. Which leaves us thinking….some pe**** are either *ea* or n**? It’s THAT. I know it IS!!
Is it though? You said “mysteries.” I’d say it’s “unsolved” but mysterious, I don’t think so because, rationally, they are facing a squadron of scary goons & the odds are pretty bad. So, what’s the THING?… I’ll bring the cheer squad…
This is gonna be fun.28 October 2019 at 17:05 #6824028 October 2019 at 20:23 #68241Mudlark @mudlark
As @bluesqueakpip says, that looks distinctly promising, not least because it clearly isn’t going to glamorise or romanticise the vampire.
I disliked the episode of Buffy which featured Dracula precisely because, despite one or two nods to Bram Stoker’s novel, it depicted him as a youthful looking and magnetic, even attractive figure, not at all like Stoker’s character in whose presence Harker feels an instinctive repulsion. In the novel Dracula is described as tall, thin and elderly in appearance, with abnormally pale skin, a thick white moustache, bushy eyebrows which almost meet over his nose, bushy hair receding at the temples, hair on the palms of his hands and halitosis.
On the other hand there is the vampire in Prachett’s Witches Abroad which, in its bat form, has a fatal encounter with Nanny Ogg’s battle scarred tom cat, Greebo. ‘Vampires have risen from the dead, from the grave and from the crypt, but have never managed it from the cat’. Which is reassuring.28 October 2019 at 23:19 #6824228 October 2019 at 23:43 #68243
LOOK AWAY NOW!!!!!
Dracula in Buffy (riffing on the high camp Hammer Horror, not Bram Stoker) served the purpose it was intended to serve – to be a massive misdirect for what happened at the end of that episode (which itself had been carefully set in motion two years earlier).
Its secondary purpose was re firmly re-establish the show as about vampires and demons, not golems.
Now if you want to fret about an over-romanticised vampire, several hundred thousand moist 15 year olds decided that Spoike was just luuuverly romantic poet who’d taken a wrong turn (But then, James Marsters says he though he played him too soft in <spoiler redacted>.
Also. It was American TV in the late 90s/early 00s. You were never going to get anything other than chisel-cheeked chaps.
So sitting there thinking “that’s not Stoker’s Dracula” is to sit there with the point flying over the head.28 October 2019 at 23:56 #6824429 October 2019 at 00:13 #6824529 October 2019 at 00:16 #68246
I never listened, 2 years ago, to this particular TPN guide. Only at about the 5:44 mark did I latch on to that dude from above. The echoes are brilliant. And this may make you yell with frustration but I think this is the best of the Season openers closely followed by Season Sept, une.29 October 2019 at 00:21 #68247
OK, I’ve just recognised writing in French when a soon to be Scoobie is in Canada is kinda redondante.
@pedant agreed.29 October 2019 at 00:23 #6824829 October 2019 at 03:16 #68249
@pedant I never even heard about a new War of the Worlds and it looks so good! It seems to have cast the includes…everyone. I really want to watch this. So much good TV, so little time.29 October 2019 at 08:52 #68250
I think the modern writer basically has two choices with Dracula.
1/ Go for Bram Stoker’s evil monster.
2/ Go the ‘Saberhagen’ route and base Dracula on (to some extent) the real Vlad Tepes.
That’s a very short teaser, but it has hints that Moffat and Gatis are basing this one on the novel’s ‘evil monster’ to at least some extent. It also looks like there’s some massive expansion for the bits Jonathan Harker canonically can’t remember or where the original heroes aren’t present. Possibly by having Dracula the (anti) ‘hero’ character – which is very Saberhagen. But then, if they’ve made it theirs by having their Dracula an evil soulless bar-steward, that’s going to be a very different take from both Stoker and Saberhagen.
The problem that Buffy was satirising is that if you offer movies and TV the original Bram Stoker Dracula, they’ll take one look and say ‘but, but … box office’. Then they’ll cast Christopher Lee or Gary Oldman. 🙂 Because, box office.
The thing is, though, Moffat and Gatiss may be able to get away with a non-romanticised Dracula simply because, for this one, Moffat himself is that magic ‘box office’. The BBC will be remembering that they didn’t get Sherlock at all, dumped it in the August slot-of-doom – and saw it turn into one of their biggest successes. At the moment (and this will continue until he has a massive flop) he’s probably going to be able to cast things the way he wants.29 October 2019 at 13:16 #68251
@pedant thanks for that trailer. I had not seen it and I have been regularly checking up on news about WotW as I am really looking forward to it.
@winston, it is the first adaptation to be set in the U.K. There is also another version in the works which is set in present day. The book passed out of copyright just over a year ago, hence the rush of adaptations.
@blenkinsopthebrave, thanks also for the Dracula trailer. Had not seen that one either and it is another series i am looking forward too.
Also very exciting about His Dark Materials coming out at last. Hopefully the TV series will do justice to the books.
janette30 October 2019 at 01:04 #68252
Fair point about “the problem” Buffy satirised. I think satirical is the correct word, for this. Or would it be irony?
Mum & I were talking about this yesterday. Dracula, as written, was old, corrupt, skin like paper, with bad breath. Nothing sexy about the dood. In Buffy (Winston, spoilers ahead*****) Drac was old, with skin like parchment, dark eyes, greyed face. He was able to use the thrall (or the “thrill as going out of our relationship” – as B pronounced it) to “suuuck your blut.”
Mum & dad saw a Dracula film with Keanu Reeves -after an hour they left as it was basically soft porn (or was it just porn?). I saw an hour with mates & left.
With Buffy’s Drac the references were deliberate & connected to the finale in Prophecy Girl. Part of the slayer is the history -the seemingly necessary act to insert in the slayer, something ‘scary.’ The first ‘watchers’ forced a girl, under 18, to accept the part about “who you really ARE” so, in between Drac’s mental prowess & his ability to make B “suuuuck hiz blut” was a story of how the slayer has to recognise what’s within & in that moment, referring back to B’s enthrallment by the Master years before & now, with Dracula, you have a 4 year long call back & a reference to how the first slayer, from the previous season’s conclusion in Restless, is mute or uncivilised.
Part of the slayer is the darkness, the other part, B’s alone, is The Gift. In Season 1, once she’s tasted the darkness & knows it for what it is & then dies, the prophecy is fulfilled. In this season opener, she needs to know what HE knows & tastes him, but she also wants to know what the Scoobies know. She’s growing up here (but there’s more real life soon). But we need a balanced season so this is a distraction: a surface, campy, “suuck your blut” episode designed to throw us off -not immediately but suddenly. I hope the Moffat version will reference female power.
Young Syzygy30 October 2019 at 21:06 #68254Mudlark @mudlark
Avert your eyes now, there be spoilers ahead.
Fair enough, although I did in fact realise that it was a riff on the Hammer Horror Dracula – and possibly on vampires of more recent literature; my point was that I found it so jarring that the satire didn’t work and any subtler intention was lost. Put it down to prejudice on my part if you wish.
As for Spike, notwithstanding the cheekbones* he didn’t strike me as ‘romantic’ in the least, either in intention or in fact. Pre vampire William is a sorry specimen whose pretensions are risible and belied by the samples of his ‘poetry’ which we witness – scarcely qualifying as a poetaster, let alone a poet. As a vampire he is thoroughly nasty but interesting because of his complexity and the conflicting sparks of humanity which survive within his soullessness.
Encouraged by your encomia, pedant, and at puro/syzygy the elder’s prompting, I finally got round to watching Buffy early last year,and the fact that over a period of three months I watched every single episode, some of them twice, speaks for itself. Previously I had ignored the show because the setting and basic premises seemed to embody elements to which I was generally allergic by temperament and acquired taste. Binge watching in that way – or as near to binge watching as I ever get – is probably not ideal anyway because it allows too little time for digestion and reflection, so forgive me if the subtler points sometimes escaped me.
* Even as a teenager I don’t recall ever being so impressionable as to fall for that kind of thing, and certainly not now that I have grown old and cynical.31 October 2019 at 01:02 #68256
Dickens was an extraordinary perfectionist, and a man of the people. On many occasions he would repeat, “I had at one point many stories I could tell, but, here & now, this is the only story I feel I can tell.”
He was repetitive at times & acknowledged a level of difficulty with his weekly installments. Mistakes were made, characters disappeared, some were forgotten & narrative arcs lost. Still, with his public readings, his specific answers to questions written to him by fans, he was perhaps the first modern ‘rock star’ of the literary world.
Whedon had it much harder -though admits Dickens is his favourite writer of the modern era, having a fondness for Greek comedians or satirists -& by his early 30s, the tragedians. Someone wrote that if “Great Expectations is a novel of growth , so is Buffy, but one of emotional realism with complex issues Dickens never faced.”
Marti Noxon went on to say “emotional realism is what we strive for every week.” Even Whedon, who acknowledged the problems of Season Four, believes it’s not the best series & yet contains the best set of individual episodes except for one in Season Five.
Pickwick Papers had characters with limited intentions; Great Expectations’ Miss Havisham was up for hanging but experienced a period of redemption. Like Spike, Havisham was “slated for an ignominious death” & whilst Season Three is one of Whedon’s favourites, Spike appears only once. But Whedon admits “he stole the episode. His speech about how love is blood was delivered in a way that blew out my expectations. I was pretty happy for him to drive away with his ‘pet’ but I saw something. But Buffy fans saw it first. They always do.”
TV series are fast becoming some of the most eclectic art available for mass consumption. Dickens wrote with a long arc in mind but left things open -he reacted, quickly, to his reader’s complaints; & his career grew when the artist for The Pickwick Papers died suddenly. Dickens had to re-create his serial issues using more figurative language, stressing metaphors & adding characters.
The serial TV artist has to move faster. Sudden changes of situation, as with Seth Green (Oz) & ASH (who had flown back & forth to the States from the UK for several years) are jarring & that’s a platform for critique despite those interior pressures. The TV artist is like Puro’s membranophones: they must stretch & flex. The long arc, as well as the individual episode, still requires serious respect for every character. Other than Hill Street Blues, in the 1980s, the mid to late ’90s is the point where serialised artistic TV drama, with Whedon as catalyst, becomes ‘serious.’ And ‘serious’ art involves a many layered approach with just as much focus on quantity of production.
Artists and TV critics find in Buffy something easy to hate: its genre [fantasy], medium, youthful characters, tough female heroes, complexity, comedy, & length. But Le Guin said, in defence of fantasy that it’s “true, of course, it isn’t factual, but it is true.” Hilary Mantel and Margaret Atwood also defend fantasy’s texture & “liveliness.”
The medium of TV doesn’t loosen the grip Whedon had on the development of arc & episodes. New fictional forms or media, are usually treated disrespectfully by critics. Ben Jonson popularised the comedy of humours but struggled for recognition. Thomas Carlyle laughed sarcastically patronising Dickens, saying “he’s worth a penny, so give it.”
Donna Tartt relates to this progression of “expectation” by alluding to various publications from 1960 to 1980 where African American art & novels at Ol’ Miss, her alma mater, were sternly judged. She went on to say that the form of art most suited to any generation will produce its best work but also “hit the wall, at times.” Aaron Sorkin agreeing with this point of view, added that such works of art produce the best work, the worst work, everything in between and the most work.”
Sorkin elaborates that “a lot of bad episodes and arcs are going to be written & shown just because of the statistical reality & ignoring that fact will turn viewers off.” Bradley Whitford quipped “some say we don’t want those viewers, but actually we really do, because they lead to prestige. Whether that’s good or not, I don’t know, I’ll leave that to Aaron, but just last week [speaking in 2018] I was told there were thousands of scholarly papers written about the medium of TV as approached by Sorkin, Lindelöf and Abrams [Lost], I mean look at Lindelöf & his other work….” At which point Richard Schiff stepped in with “Perrotta & Peter Berg in Leftovers. Or is The Leftovers [some laughter, & confusion -this was a comic-con anniversary of The West Wing]?”
Goodness, gotta run for bus. Again!
young Syzygy5 November 2019 at 03:59 #68295blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
Christmas approaches. And so does the new BBC version of “A Christmas Carol”. It is hard to think of an improvement on the Alastair Sim version, but if you want a dark version, then this is certainly just that.5 November 2019 at 12:18 #68297
@blenkinsopthebrave Hopefully it will be better than the trailer. I am looking forward to it (despite the trailer) especially with Andy Serkis playing a ghost… I love A Christmas Carol and now seems like a good time for a remake. Sad that the message never goes out of date. I usually watch at least one version of it, (strictly no Muppets) before Christmas, along with the Dr Who Specials and Hogfather.
Janette5 November 2019 at 12:42 #682985 November 2019 at 12:54 #68299
@pedant I must confess, I have not actually watched it but that may be about to change.. Just as long as there is no Elmo..
Janette5 November 2019 at 23:15 #68300
@all and any
If any of you are toying with kicking the tyres of Apple TV+, then do it if only so see the wonderful Dickinson, with Hailee Stienfield. Worth the subscription for that alone.6 November 2019 at 00:01 #68301
There is no Elmo,and A Muppet’s Christmas Carol is brilliant. Surprisingly faithful to the novel, as well, considering there’s a blue furry Charles Dickens.7 November 2019 at 03:07 #68305
@blenkinsopthebrave Yikes! That does look like a very dark version of ye olde Christmas Carol. I will probably watch it but I kinda like the Alastair Sim version and Bill Murray’s Scrooged to get me in the spirit. I agree with @pedant about the Muppets Christmas Carol being pretty sweet and it has some nice songs also. There are so many versions of this you could watch it non stop for a week. Good on ya Dickens!7 November 2019 at 03:19 #68306
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