Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Revisited
First let me say that when I heard they'd made a TV series of that movie about the cheerleader chick who slays vampires, I thought I'd pass on it. I didn't see the movie, and really didn't have an interest (even though I was writing about vampires at the time). But I always give a new show one watch, so I tuned in for episode one.
One thing I do know, having already watched Buffy—Joss Whedon is a storytelling genius. One of the most important things in telling a story is to present the viewer/reader with a protagonist with whom they can identify. Relating to a sixteen-year old girl who slays vampires? Probably not a lot of people who can do that. But Whedon makes it so. It doesn't matter your age or sex: we can all relate to Buffy Summers on some level. And what's truly great about this series is that it isn't necessarily about the monsters. It's about a girl, her friends, and family, and just trying to fit in, be loved, and accepted. Supernatural is currently doing the same thing. That show scores high in the ratings because it's not about the monsters; at it's core, it's a story about two brothers who would live and (literally) die for one another.
Amazon recently for around $110 (it's currently listed at $131). But I was in Costco a few weeks ago and they had it for $80! An awesome deal, if you can find it.
So let's get started! I watched episode 1 and 2 tonight (because ep 1 ended to be continued).
Season One: Episode 1: WELCOME TO THE HELLMOUTH
Yep, good ole Buffy Summers thought she'd gotten away from the problems in her past by moving to a new town and entering a new school. Welcome to Sunnydale, the cozy little town situated right on top of the Hellmouth.
Wow! Does Buffy ever look young! They all do, and it's kinda sweet to go 'awww, I remember them when'. I love the first meeting between Zander and Buffy when he's helping her pick up her things dropped from her backpack. As she's walking away he says, "Hey, you forgot your...stake?" Heh.
We also get a glimpse of the mysteriously sexy Angel (in black velvet coat and looking so youthful) who Buffy has no idea is a vampire. He gives her a silver cross. Aww.... I had forgotten he was against this original batch of uber-ugo vampires.
I mean, those vampires were really ugly. Whoever decided to give them the serious frown lines smushed face look must have had something against the gorgeous vamps we know and love in our vampire romances. But the look works, and it certainly distinguishes the villains from our sweet, but not naive slayer.
The whole gang is in this first episode, with Cordelia far from her future Scooby-dom. I love when Buffy rounds a corner, thinking she's chasing a vampire, and slams Cordelia up against the wall. Cordelia says, "God, what is your childhood trauma?" The banter in this series is super.
So this ep ends, as I said, to be continued, with Buffy stalking the bad vampires who intend to satisfy the Harvest, and raise their Master vampire.
Season One: Episode 2: THE HARVEST
The gang abandons one of their own (Jesse) to the evil vampires in favor of saving their own necks. But we all know someone has to go down with the ship. Jesse never really fit in anyway. :-) Giles indoctrinates the stunned Zander and Willow into everything vampire. I love that this series got off to a fast start. No taking a half a season for everyone to get on board. Episode two, and the main characters are getting into the groove, albeit shaky and freaked, but they're going for it.
A great moment is when Buffy and Angel chat in the mausoleum that leads down to the vampire lair. Buffy explains she's just doing this because there's a potential friend in need of her help. "Do you know what it's like to have a friend?" Angel's almost imperceptible flinch tells us so much about him. His soulless heart doesn't like hearing the truth.
Even with evil looming over our hapless gang of slayers, the show imparts a lot of humor, and that is another thing that makes this series stand out. After enduring cruel teasing in computer class from Cordelia, Willow steals the moment when Cordy asks, "How do we save it?" (her project she's spent the entire class working on). Willow says, "Deliver." Cordy hits the Del button and the camera cuts away just as we see her begin to freak. Love it!
Another thing that makes Buffy real to us is that she has a life, and really, really just wants to live it. And like most teenage girls, she has a mother, and her mother wants her to succeed and do well, and if that means grounding her or not allowing her to go out (to save the world!) then she'll do it. "If you don't go out every night it's like the end of the world," her mother rants. But maybe it could be the end. Thankfully, Buffy escapes out her window, and heads out to save the world (or just a portion of it).
The petite blonde slayer exudes bravery and strength, but also a sweet vulnerability. She defeats the evil vampire vessel by distracting him with a warning about sunrise. He sees the golden glow of light and shields his eyes....and Buffy stakes him. The sunrise is, "In about nine hours, moron."
Go, Scooby gang!
Can't wait to view the next episodes.