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Article When good TV goes bad: how Buffy the Vampire Slayer started to suck

Discussion in 'Season 7' started by GwenRaiden, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. GwenRaiden

    GwenRaiden AKA Apology Girl

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    Black Thorn
    via the Guardian

    To be clear: Joss Whedon’s 90s supernatural fantasy Buffy the Vampire Slayer was everything. Funny, moving, acute, operatic, intellectual, accessible, crammed with classical and pop-cultural references, innovative in form and content, a pitch-perfect mash-up of genres and formats years before mash-ups were A Thing. It was all held together by Whedon’s talent and overarching vision and delivered by an ensemble cast without a weak link. Like a bumble bee, it shouldn’t have worked but it did, beautifully. For six seasons. Then the seventh happened and it all went terribly wrong.

    The seventh season overloaded the show with a sudden cast of thousands. Enter Buffy’s Potential Slayers, only two of whom, Kennedy and Rona, have anything resembling an identifiable personality (three if you count “being unremittingly irritating” as a trait, in which case you may include Amanda) and none of whom the audience have the time or the inclination to care about. They crowded out the original Scooby Gang (Willow, Xander, Giles and Cordelia) and required Buffy to be more “military general” than “Slayer”. Suddenly, episodes filled with pep talks and tactics instead of action interspersed with witty banter.

    In fact, any attention paid to the regular cast mostly focused on vampire and affiliate Scooby Gang member Spike (James Marsters). Which was great, because Spike’s exploration of what it means to be human had become a thing of beauty, plus Marsters without a shirt going loco in a basement was the best James Marsters. But the sudden insistence on him being the greatest fighter and the one person on whom success really depended sat oddly, not only with the previous six seasons (during which Buffy and the gang did pretty well without and often despite him) but with the show’s whole female-centric ethos: the elevation of Spike meant skating lightly over his attempted rape of Buffy towards the end of season six. I get that we’re meant to roll that into the bundle of sins his soul’s restoration was busy punishing him for, but it was Buffy and it was attempted rape. She and the audience deserved it to be addressed more specifically.

    At the same time, the feminism that always suffused Buffy the Vampire Slayer suddenly became crassly overt, culminating in the crashing line in yet another of Buffy’s speeches to the Slayerettes about why only one special slayer is called per generation. “Because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up this rule,” she said. “They were powerful men. But this woman,” – pointing at stalwart Willow, who had become the Wicca of Wiccas – “is more powerful than all of them combined.”

    Smaller sadnesses abounded: the lack of a decent death for former vengeance demon and comic genius Anya (and no time to show her former fiance Xander’s reaction beyond a quip) did a disservice to all that the characters had meant to us and each other; the replacing of her beloved Tara with so much lesser a girlfriend for Willow; and none of the villains (from Caleb to the First Evil) quite having the heft that was needed for a supposedly climatic send-off. Maybe everyone was too tired by then.

    So, RIP, Buffy. It’s OK that fatigue finally set in. You did, after all, save the world. A lot.


    Article in full here.
     
    Mr Trick: Could be. Thanks.
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  2. YummySushiPJs

    YummySushiPJs Scooby

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    Completely agree with everything (except I assume they meant Anya when they said Cordelia).

    In my personal opinion season 7, after the initial few episodes, is really really bad. I can't enjoy it. I've tried.
     
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  3. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    I wouldn't say that Season 7 was bad, just disappointing. I tried something and it failed.
    There are good episodes, good characters, good scenes and good speeches. Just like there are bad episodes, bad characters, awful scenes and artless speeches.

    I think overall the quality of the writing dipped and the show decided to tell us every damn thing instead of being a bit more subtle about it.

    I'm sure they must mean Molly right? Amanda wasn't that bad.


    *sigh* clearly the author doesn't understand that Buffy used Spike and that he got a soul for her! He has a soul now! God, do we have to go on and on about what Spike did to Buffy, what about what she did to him?


    Also the fact that up until 'Lies My Parents Told Me' Spike was an agent of The First; kinda took the shine off his 'strongest warrior' shtick. You never got that kind of talk about Angel in S3 or Riley in S4, and they were arguably more useful. But, y'know, Spuffy, so...
     
    GwenRaiden: I loved Amanda. She was the ONLY enjoyable potential.
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  4. Anyanka Bunny Killer

    Anyanka Bunny Killer "I got these evil hand issues..."

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    Black Thorn
    Beneath You and Selfless were the only episodes that I actually enjoyed. Everything else was basically...crap.

    When writers try too hard it shows; and bringing in a bunch of new characters that nobody cares about wasn't the wisest move. Plus, Sarah looked pretty bored ("And I'm going through the motions...").

    And Spike saving the world? They should've given that bit to Anya...or even Dawn.
     
  5. Mr Trick

    Mr Trick Scooby

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    Was thinking of posting this myself:D

    I think the article is fair enough. I like the seventh season more than many, but it is from the Potentials on-wards where it takes a bit of nose dive.

    Didn't agree about the Xander not being able to say a proper goodbye to Anya comment. That didn't bother me. They all knew that they were fighting the final big battle, and that not all of them would get out alive etc...

    The first season is still the weakest IMO. But that is more forgivable for reasons stated before and at least you could see the flashes of the greatness that was to come.

    Because using someone for sex when the other person is allowing themselves to be used for sex is not on the same level as attempted rape?:eek:
    --- Double Post Merged, Mar 27, 2017 ---
    Not even CWDP? That's one of the greatest ever episodes IMO:)
     
    GwenRaiden: Prrreeetty sure topher was being sarcastic with that comment you highlighted.
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  6. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    Like Gwen said, I was being sarcastic.
    I was highlighting the fact that the writers not only skated over the sexual assault almost entirely, but they chose to highlight what Buffy did to Spike and try and give it parity. I disagree strongly, hence my comment.
     
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  7. RomanticSoul

    RomanticSoul I AM GROOT

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    I can't believe you didn't like Spike victim-blaming Buffy. It made me all weak in the loins. You just don't appreciate his charm, wit and woo-is-me attitude.

    The Season was off to a 'good' start. And then Marti came back from maternity leave and it all went down the drain and then into hell when Whedon came back (or interfered and changed scripts).

    Only as Buffy, where you have to look for 'angry arms' and 'sad hands' in order to have any idea what Buffy is feeling. She was more than fine as The First. But she had checked out of Buffy because as she said herself, she had no clue who that chick was anymore.

    Did you not see the new intro sequence that clearly said 'Spike The Vampire Slayer Layer'? I would check again and if yours still says BtVS then I'd have a word with whoever did your DVDs. False advertisement. Get your money back.
     
  8. Fuffy Baith

    Fuffy Baith 2017 (and 2016) Cutest BB member

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    Sineya
    Yeah I agree about a lot of the bad, especially about bringing in the potentials, pushing aside the core four and for me, too much focus on how "important" Spike is. Pretty much the middle of the season is bad. I like the first 6 episodes and the last 6. And really the last 5 I'm just biased cause I love seeing Faith back.

    As for SMG, I think partly why she was over playing Buffy is that she didn't like her character arc in the last 2 seasons. It's hard to say that if she had an arc that she liked she would have been more enthused. She had some good moments in season 7, but I do wish we had more of the scoobies being best friends.
     
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  9. Zenseem

    Zenseem Evil, skanky and kinda gay

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    Black Thorn
    The season had some potential (no pun intended) to be one of the best but the overflown of bs they loaded on us totally ruined the season.

    I think it should've focused on the core scoobies (Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles, maybe Anya too), BUT NO, let's give a bunch of annoying girls a butt load of screen time.

    There were annoying potentials, boring Spike, a big bad that wasn't all of that... and Kennedy (ugh, i hate her). Willow was basically left out, poor thing. Buffy was giving all those lame speeches but everything she cared about was Spike. Anya, Xander and Dawn were ok. Andrew lit up the season for me but he got too much focus. And there wasn't enough Faith-y goodness.

    Plus there are, like, 8 or 9 good episodes in the entire season.
     
  10. DeadlyDuo

    DeadlyDuo Scooby

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    Season 7 could've been improved by either not having Kennedy at all or killing her off. Have Spike kill her whilst under the control of the First. 1. It shows how dangerous he is whilst the trigger is active, and 2. He does a great service to the audience by removing Kennedy from the rest of the season. It's a win/win situation.
     
  11. Mr. Pole

    Mr. Pole Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    Finally someone agrees! They always glossed over the impact for the male characters and put the focus on the females, I figured about time they should focus on how bad Spike felt for being forced into those sexual situations. Sometimes even against his will! I'm glad someone else mentioned it.

    Oh. Yeah. I meant that too of course.
     
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  12. Zenseem

    Zenseem Evil, skanky and kinda gay

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    Black Thorn

    Anti-Kennedy Squade assemble!
     
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  13. Mylie

    Mylie Scooby

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    I agree with a lot of that article.

    I did enjoy some things in the last season (Faith's return, Fuffy, Buffy/Xander) but it's probably the least fun (and unmemorable) season to watch. A lot of my resentment towards it also comes from the fact that it is not a good follow up to season 6. While season 6 is one of my least favorite seasons on it's own, the way season 7 handles the things that were problematic for me in season 6 (Spuffy, Willow/magic, Buffy/Giles) make it worse. I think I could have found more merit in season 6 if it wasn't for how season 7 ended up dealing with those things.
     
    BuffyBot22: Couldn't agree more with this!
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  14. YummySushiPJs

    YummySushiPJs Scooby

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    May I ask where/when she said this?
     
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  15. Guy

    Guy Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    Well, I agreed with some of the criticisms, but disagreed with many others. I mean, I understand that it's all a matter of opinion, but come on - Buffy's speech in 'Chosen' is effing beautiful.

    Season 7 has a weak stretch in the middle, from 7x10 to 7x15, but the rest of the season is fantastic, and contains many of the best episodes of the series. Moreover, it gave the show a near-perfect finale in 'Chosen'. Could the season have been better? Sure. Nothing is perfect. But it didn't "start to suck", not even close.
     
  16. Dora

    Dora Potential

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    I agree with a lot of above for season seven, it started fine , Sarah looked pretty and I thought it went well until after CWDP one of my all time best, but I think Marti Noxious must of come back after that, because it dived, I don't blame the idea of the potentials it was just poor casting as most could not act and had terrible accents , As has already pointed out I don't think Sarah had any idea who her character was any more she was better as the first, no season seven began to stink because of the over emphasising of Spike to see our hero fawning over her abuser and attempted rapist gives a nausea feeling , our Buffy would never do that . It became not about Buffy, her friends , or her mission but all about Spike
     
  17. RomanticSoul

    RomanticSoul I AM GROOT

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    Shooting that Chosen scene between Buffy and Spike. Sarah couldn't get it to work (the 'I love you.' one) because she had no idea anymore who Buffy was.

    That speech where she gives all of 12 girls a choice but decides to 'rape' thousands others who she didn't give one? Yeah that is beautiful.

    Personal taste is personal taste. Who are you to say that something does or doesn't suck? Is your opinion somehow more 'right' than that of someone else?
     
  18. Guy

    Guy Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    She said that she wasn't sure how to play it. She did not say that "she had no idea anymore who Buffy was".

    She gave them superpowers. She didn't force them to do anything. And there was certainly no "rape" there.

    100% Agreed.

    Who am I to say that something does or does not suck? I'm a viewer. Same as you. Am I not allowed to voice my opinion?

    Did I insinuate that my opinion is better than anyone else's? I don't think I did. When I say that season 7 doesn't suck, I simply mean that season 7 doesn't suck in my opinion. After all, that's all anyone can say about art - one's opinion.
     
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  19. RomanticSoul

    RomanticSoul I AM GROOT

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    SMG had no idea how to play Buffy all Season long. I don't need that quoted to me, all I have to do is watch. SMG was always good at playing Buffy even through the most difficult times. But when I have to do mental gymnastics to figure out what's going with Buffy because the actress can't give me anything, then I know things went horribly wrong somewhere. If SMG still knew who Buffy was and what Buffy felt she would have had no trouble with that scene. SMG isn't an amateur.

    She altered their bodies and minds without their consent. Which in my book makes her just as evil as the shadow men.

    Then say it's your opinion. Your quote was.

    I'm guessing that was in response to the person who wrote the article. It's that person's opinion. Say "'but it didn't 'start to suck' in my opinion, not even close.". Makes you come across as less authoritative. The way you worded it made it sound like your opinion is the only right one.
     
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  20. Guy

    Guy Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    If you think that SMG's performance sucked throughout season 7, well, that's your opinion (I think that her performance was great, but that's just my opinion). I was simply stating that SMG never said that specific quote ("But she had checked out of Buffy because as she said herself, she had no clue who that chick was anymore"). That's all.

    I don't think we'll reach an agreement there, so let's agree to disagree.

    I don't think that anyone needs to clarify that their opinion is their opinion, when talking about art. Art is inherently subjective, and therefore, everything that anyone says about art is also subjective.

    This article doesn't make that clarification either:

    "How Buffy the Vampire Slayer started to suck"
    "Like a bumble bee, it shouldn’t have worked but it did, beautifully. For six seasons. Then the seventh happened and it all went terribly wrong."

    These are opinions, but they are stated as facts. And I don't think that there's anything wrong with that.
     
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