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Top 5 poorly-handled things from the Buffyverse shows

nightshade

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Let's not get into Spike and the AR, but keep it to general things, this topic has a tendency to take over threads, and everyone has an opinion it.
Again I say this, please take the Spike discussion to a new thread.
 

katmobile

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Ok back to the original topic - I don't think the show handles the aftermath badly. I've rewatched from Same Time, Same Place to the start of Him and you can see Buffy's torn between compassion for what Spike in becoming ensouled did to himself, an understanding that he was and is trying to improve and the guilt he feels, an intellectual understanding that he's different now but she's also scared that she doesn't know who is and can't quite forgive or forget what he did. At the start of Him he instinctively touches her, she flinches and he realises what he's done and how it's triggering and apologises. She helps him but won't have him in her house at least not at first....for all Anya's bitching Buffy invites Anya to stay with her before she does Spike. That will come later after realising he's been gaslighted by the big bad. People talk about it like she gets over it overnight and how the story is all about him - it's not she deals with Willow, with Anya, with Cassie before getting around to dealing with Spike. She has to process some complicated and contradictory feelings.

Buffy is used to having to work through her own feelings, her own trauma and just doing the next right thing. Anna's song in Frozen 2 could easily apply to her. I thought it was interesting that someone pointed out Buffy hates being touched without her consent or suddenly in Sanctuary and reacts badly to it which is why she punches Angel in the face when he does it and it's a legacy of being brutalised almost every night as part of her role as the slayer. Her trauma is being erased by herself long before Seeing Red happens - she's kinda desensitised to violence against her and sexual violence both hyena possessed Xander and one of the fish dudes tried to rape her.
 

vampmogs

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I thought it was interesting that someone pointed out Buffy hates being touched without her consent or suddenly in Sanctuary and reacts badly to it which is why she punches Angel in the face when he does it and it's a legacy of being brutalised almost every night as part of her role as the slayer. Her trauma is being erased by herself long before Seeing Red happens - she's kinda desensitised to violence against her and sexual violence both hyena possessed Xander and one of the fish dudes tried to rape her.
That was me and my point was actually more that she's not desensitised to unwanted touching or violence which is precisely why she lashes out so extremely when people put their hands on her. If she were desensitised to it, she wouldn't have a reaction like she does.

But I'm going to try address my the original topic without bringing up the AR as I was under the understanding that we were asked not to "get into Spike or the AR" in @nightshade's original post.

Things I don't think the series handled well;

World-Building: Whenever I give the series any serious thought it's always pretty shocking to me how undeveloped the world-building is in the series. For instance, I found it mind-blowing when I first realised that the Council wasn't even first referred to until S3's Faith, Hope & Trick which meant we spent all of S1 & S2 with Giles as Buffy's "Watcher" without any explanation for what that even means, where he came from, who sent him etc. Likewise, it's pretty shocking that we don't learn of the Slayer's original until the 7th season and it's not like this is depicted as some series long mystery or anything. The writers just never bothered to address it. And then there's the blatant inconsistencies (the random strength of the Ubervamps), the deus ex machinas that come out of nowhere (the Scythe), the random inclusion of mythology at the very last minute (The Guardians), the fact that the Hellmouth remained unprotected until Buffy arrived despite it having a spate of apocalypses almost every year since, major inconsistencies in mythology surrounding things such as Vengeance Demons, magic changing at a whim, souls changing each episode, missed opportunities like never telling us about or showing us the Slayer who died and thus activated Buffy etc. Basically, the world-building sucks and whilst it's a testament to the characters/story that you're usually too preoccupied to realise this (I think this is why people don't even realise the whole Watcher/Council thing) it's still pretty poor.

Episode placement: I'm someone who actually really enjoys the fact that most BtVS seasons consist of a mix of MotW and arc episodes. It provides great variety and I think both types of episodes serve their purpose really well. However, with that said, I do sometimes think that the series really struggles with it's episode placements and that there's episodes that really disrupt the flow of the season. For instance, Go Fish is completely in the wrong place in S2 and breaks up the build up from IOHEFY and Becoming. I also think Weight of the World inexplicably stops the pace between Spiral and The Gift dead in it's tracks.

The lack of parents/surnames etc: This could very well belong in the world-building section too but I think it's poor that we only meet Willow and Xander's parents once (and never Willow's dad) or that we don't know a bunch of character's surnames (Faith Lehane etc) within the series itself. The surnames are just very easy details that could have been included and the failure to explore the character's home lives in more detail is actually a pretty odd choice considering it's such a significant part of a person.
 

The Bronze

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For instance, I found it mind-blowing when I first realised that the Council wasn't even first referred to until S3's Faith, Hope & Trick which meant we spent all of S1 & S2 with Giles as Buffy's "Watcher" without any explanation for what that even means, where he came from, who sent him etc.
I don't think that's bad world building. We knew Giles was from a line of Watchers and that Watchers look out for the Slayer. They fleshed it out later. No need for a huge info dump to begin with.
the fact that the Hellmouth remained unprotected until Buffy arrived despite it having a spate of apocalypses almost every year
The Master was acting as a cork in the bottle. Buffy was sent there because of the timing. They've only got one slayer to work with so the previous slayer was likely located somewhere higher priority at the time.
 

TriBel

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The lack of parents/surnames etc: This could very well belong in the world-building section too but I think it's poor that we only meet Willow and Xander's parents once (and never Willow's dad) or that we don't know a bunch of character's surnames (Faith Lehane etc) within the series itself. The surnames are just very easy details that could have been included and the failure to explore the character's home lives in more detail is actually a pretty odd choice considering it's such a significant part of a person.
But if we knew the surnames they'd be paternal surnames. Hank's mother was called Summers; it's likely his Grandmother was etc.etc. Ditto the Harris/Giles surname. (I've omitted Willow because Jewish names have a different tradition). What's Joyce's original surname? Are we told that? Joyce's mother's original surname...etc.etc. We never ask why women's "maiden" names are missing. I think there's a relationship between lost female lineage and some of the other points you make. There's a reason Anya sings about her name. It legitimizes her.

Likewise, it's pretty shocking that we don't learn of the Slayer's original until the 7th season and it's not like this is depicted as some series long mystery or anything. The writers just never bothered to address it. And then there's the blatant inconsistencies (the random strength of the Ubervamps), the deus ex machinas that come out of nowhere (the Scythe), the random inclusion of mythology at the very last minute (The Guardians)
Seriously, if you're a women with any understanding of how women have been systematically written out of history, it's not shocking at all.

Basically, the world-building sucks and whilst it's a testament to the characters/story that you're usually too preoccupied to realise this (I think this is why people don't even realise the whole Watcher/Council thing) it's still pretty poor.
I'm not particularly interested in characters - only in the relationship between the inter and extra-textual worlds and how particular ideologies are perpetuated. I think BtVS is stunningly clever in how it does this. That they decide to figure the Watcher/Council as a patriarchal institution comes as no surprise. In my book, that we don't know about it is testimony to its hegemony.

I do understand the points you're making but, reading BtVS as a "feminist" text, I can understand why it doesn't do these things.
 

Btvs fan

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Ok back to the original topic - I don't think the show handles the aftermath badly. I've rewatched from Same Time, Same Place to the start of Him and you can see Buffy's torn between compassion for what Spike in becoming ensouled did to himself, an understanding that he was and is trying to improve and the guilt he feels, an intellectual understanding that he's different now but she's also scared that she doesn't know who is and can't quite forgive or forget what he did. At the start of Him he instinctively touches her, she flinches and he realises what he's done and how it's triggering and apologises. She helps him but won't have him in her house at least not at first....for all Anya's bitching Buffy invites Anya to stay with her before she does Spike. That will come later after realising he's been gaslighted by the big bad. People talk about it like she gets over it overnight and how the story is all about him - it's not she deals with Willow, with Anya, with Cassie before getting around to dealing with Spike. She has to process some complicated and contradictory feelings.

Buffy is used to having to work through her own feelings, her own trauma and just doing the next right thing. Anna's song in Frozen 2 could easily apply to her. I thought it was interesting that someone pointed out Buffy hates being touched without her consent or suddenly in Sanctuary and reacts badly to it which is why she punches Angel in the face when he does it and it's a legacy of being brutalised almost every night as part of her role as the slayer. Her trauma is being erased by herself long before Seeing Red happens - she's kinda desensitised to violence against her and sexual violence both hyena possessed Xander and one of the fish dudes tried to rape her.
I dunno having Buffy take Dawn to her attempted rapist to look after showed me how clueless the writers were on the subject.
Now just for the record I hate the AR and it should never have been done but once you've done it you dont have the characters carry on as normal I mean WTF

Another is the ending of Normal Again. When you have to go on line and assure the audience because of there reaction to your ending you have failed as a writer.

As for the Watchers Council that @vampmogs brings up. It's hard to take them seriously. They are the typical American view of British people. Psychopaths or foppish idiots who just uncool to there American counterparts. Its not just Buffy but in most shows and movies cough Turn cough and Mel Gibson Movies dough cough and retch .

Look at there retrieval squad as Wesley says they are the Councils elite and yet they can't shoot for $h%& and have terrible accents on top..
 
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Cheese Slices

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Ok back to the original topic - I don't think the show handles the aftermath badly. I've rewatched from Same Time, Same Place to the start of Him and you can see Buffy's torn between compassion for what Spike in becoming ensouled did to himself, an understanding that he was and is trying to improve and the guilt he feels, an intellectual understanding that he's different now but she's also scared that she doesn't know who is and can't quite forgive or forget what he did. At the start of Him he instinctively touches her, she flinches and he realises what he's done and how it's triggering and apologises. She helps him but won't have him in her house at least not at first....for all Anya's bitching Buffy invites Anya to stay with her before she does Spike. That will come later after realising he's been gaslighted by the big bad. People talk about it like she gets over it overnight and how the story is all about him - it's not she deals with Willow, with Anya, with Cassie before getting around to dealing with Spike. She has to process some complicated and contradictory feelings.
I agree with this. YMMV on whether it was enough from a "message to the audience" perspective, but I think it was a) IC for Buffy to react the way she does and b) it was handled well and subtly, which given the subject, could've turned into a very hammy and cringy afterschool special; and the wouldn't have been fair to the audience, the characters, or the subject.
Say what you want about the later seasons of Buffy, but they generally handle Buffy's trauma with much more depth, aplomb and continuity than the earlier seasons. I understand why : it was a teen show and you couldn't address it in such a direct manner, but it was still inconsistent.

I dunno having Buffy take Dawn to her attempted rapist to look after showed me how clueless the writers were on the subject.
Now just for the record I hate the AR and it should never have been done but once you've done it you dont have the characters carry on as normal I mean WTF
Ok I'm going to state something controversial here, but it doesn't bother me, for the simple reason that Spike didn't start randomly trying to rape/attack people. What he did to Buffy was awful, but it was also, for lack of a better word, personal. And I think Buffy understood that right away, and thus, when facing with an impossible choice, she picked out the least terrible alternative, knowing that what happened had nothing to do with Dawn. It sucks that she has to agree to this, but it also adds layers to the issue, and imo they're comprehensible and pretty clear.
I'll also add that Buffy doesn't carry on "as normal" : she's obviously torn about this, but she makes the tough calls as usual. Nothing OOC about it, imo.
 

katmobile

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I dunno having Buffy take Dawn to her attempted rapist to look after showed me how clueless the writers were on the subject.
Now just for the record I hate the AR and it should never have been done but once you've done it you dont have the characters carry on as normal I mean WTF

Another is the ending of Normal Again. When you have to go on line and assure the audience because of there reaction to your ending you have failed as a writer.

As for the Watchers Council that @vampmogs brings up. It's hard to take them seriously. They are the typical American view of British people. Psychopaths or foppish idiots who just uncool to there American counterparts. Its not just Buffy but in most shows and movies cough Turn cough and Mel Gibson Movies dough cough and retch .

Look at there retrieval squad as Wesley says they are the Councils elite and yet they can't shoot for $h%& and have terrible accents on top..
I see the Watchers more as a vestige of the British Empire - the bad parts rather as on a par with Mel Gibbon (mispelling is deliberate). The Buffyverse gives us Spike - who I see as a victim of Victorian values of became toxic because of them, and Giles - who rebelled against them - and Wesley - who was both a victim of that system and a rebel against. All of them are well drawn, nuanced characters - that's a hell of a lot better than most America media does in fact any one of them would have made me forgive the streotype of the watchers. The Watchers are patriarchy and imperialism - that's not a trait or legacy perculiar to the UK. In fact the Mayor kinda represents with US equivalent with his Leave to Beaver paternalism as do the Initiative with the military angle. The Master was original from mediaeval Germany. It's institutions that are the bogeyman of the Buffyverse not any particular nation.
 

Btvs fan

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I agree with this. YMMV on whether it was enough from a "message to the audience" perspective, but I think it was a) IC for Buffy to react the way she does and b) it was handled well and subtly, which given the subject, could've turned into a very hammy and cringy afterschool special; and the wouldn't have been fair to the audience, the characters, or the subject.
Say what you want about the later seasons of Buffy, but they generally handle Buffy's trauma with much more depth, aplomb and continuity than the earlier seasons. I understand why : it was a teen show and you couldn't address it in such a direct manner, but it was still inconsistent.



Ok I'm going to state something controversial here, but it doesn't bother me, for the simple reason that Spike didn't start randomly trying to rape/attack people. What he did to Buffy was awful, but it was also, for lack of a better word, personal. And I think Buffy understood that right away, and thus, when facing with an impossible choice, she picked out the least terrible alternative, knowing that what happened had nothing to do with Dawn. It sucks that she has to agree to this, but it also adds layers to the issue, and imo they're comprehensible and pretty clear.
I'll also add that Buffy doesn't carry on "as normal" : she's obviously torn about this, but she makes the tough calls as usual. Nothing OOC about it, imo.
What you say maybe correct but Buffy didn't know that right away. All she knew was that it confirmed why she could never trust him. She literally says that out loud to him. Now straight after that she is giving her teen sister to be looked after by that souless demon that had just attempted to rape her. I'm sorry but that just does not wash. No way would Buffy do that. It was crappy writing no other way to describe it.

We've always had that a bit with Spike anyway before this. Like OOMM he would try and get the chip out and kill Buffy but its forgotten about and back to normal by the end of the episode. The audience have always allowed them to get away with it. The writers even took it to the 3rd degree with the fake staking act break in ITW
It's just with something as sensitive as an AR they shouldn't do that yet they did

I see the Watchers more as a vestige of the British Empire - the bad parts rather as on a par with Mel Gibbon (mispelling is deliberate). The Buffyverse gives us Spike - who I see as a victim of Victorian values of became toxic because of them, and Giles - who rebelled against them - and Wesley - who was both a victim of that system and a rebel against. All of them are well drawn, nuanced characters - that's a hell of a lot better than most America media does in fact any one of them would have made me forgive the streotype of the watchers. The Watchers are patriarchy and imperialism - that's not a trait or legacy perculiar to the UK. In fact the Mayor kinda represents with US equivalent with his Leave to Beaver paternalism as do the Initiative with the military angle. The Master was original from mediaeval Germany. It's institutions that are the bogeyman of the Buffyverse not any particular nation.
I don't think it was just about the Watchers being a vestige (though they really are dumb) but more on common Hollywood cliche. Americans are super cool and Brits are pyschos and fops. Tbh they do it both ways even with Giles. He is bad ass Ripper but then he's also the guy that gets knocked out every episode. Even Xander beats more bad guys up than he does
 
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DeadlyDuo

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That was me and my point was actually more that she's not desensitised to unwanted touching or violence which is precisely why she lashes out so extremely when people put their hands on her. If she were desensitised to it, she wouldn't have a reaction like she does.
Interesting point. Riley gets quite grabby with her in Into The Woods. About 3 times he grabs her in one scene. I think Buffy's "sensitivity" to "unwanted touching" is all dependent on the situation. If a vampire or demon grabs her, she can use her slayer strength to fight them off so she's less affected by it. However if it's a human grabbing her, then she has to be more restrained, and it's that element of not being allowed to fight back that can make unwanted touching feel worse because it means that Buffy is forced to endure it. Without going too far into the AR, it could also be why Buffy finds it so traumatic. Aside from it being what it is, it's also a time where Buffy's strength almost failed her.

It's also why she found her fight with the Master traumatic, because initially her slayer strength failed her which enabled the master to drown her. Also in Helpless, she felt extremely vulnerable without her slayer strength.

Things I don't think the series handled well;

World-Building: Whenever I give the series any serious thought it's always pretty shocking to me how undeveloped the world-building is in the series. For instance, I found it mind-blowing when I first realised that the Council wasn't even first referred to until S3's Faith, Hope & Trick which meant we spent all of S1 & S2 with Giles as Buffy's "Watcher" without any explanation for what that even means, where he came from, who sent him etc. Likewise, it's pretty shocking that we don't learn of the Slayer's original until the 7th season and it's not like this is depicted as some series long mystery or anything. The writers just never bothered to address it. And then there's the blatant inconsistencies (the random strength of the Ubervamps), the deus ex machinas that come out of nowhere (the Scythe), the random inclusion of mythology at the very last minute (The Guardians), the fact that the Hellmouth remained unprotected until Buffy arrived despite it having a spate of apocalypses almost every year since, major inconsistencies in mythology surrounding things such as Vengeance Demons, magic changing at a whim, souls changing each episode, missed opportunities like never telling us about or showing us the Slayer who died and thus activated Buffy etc. Basically, the world-building sucks and whilst it's a testament to the characters/story that you're usually too preoccupied to realise this (I think this is why people don't even realise the whole Watcher/Council thing) it's still pretty poor.
I agree. A major thing the show handled badly was the actual world building of Sunnydale. It was initially described as a "one starbucks" town, yet it's got a zoo, a military base, a college, a train station, an airport, docks, etc. Then, despite important scenes taking place at the docks throughout Season 2 and 3 (most noticeably Faith's accidental killing of Finch), in Season 7, the town is completely landlocked so that it can fall into a crater. Adding amenities when you need them for the story is one thing, but to completely change the physical location of the town is quite another (from by water to in the middle of the desert). Also, if Sunnydale has a train station, then that means it is part of a larger rail network so you hope the news that the town has fallen into a crater reaches the train people before a train leaves to travel to Sunnydale. We don't need a detailed map of Sunnydale's layout but a consistent physical environment would be nice.


Episode placement: I'm someone who actually really enjoys the fact that most BtVS seasons consist of a mix of MotW and arc episodes. It provides great variety and I think both types of episodes serve their purpose really well. However, with that said, I do sometimes think that the series really struggles with it's episode placements and that there's episodes that really disrupt the flow of the season. For instance, Go Fish is completely in the wrong place in S2 and breaks up the build up from IOHEFY and Becoming. I also think Weight of the World inexplicably stops the pace between Spiral and The Gift dead in it's tracks.
Agreed. Also sometimes an episode can look worse than it actually is because of what it's sandwiched between.

The lack of parents/surnames etc: This could very well belong in the world-building section too but I think it's poor that we only meet Willow and Xander's parents once (and never Willow's dad) or that we don't know a bunch of character's surnames (Faith Lehane etc) within the series itself. The surnames are just very easy details that could have been included and the failure to explore the character's home lives in more detail is actually a pretty odd choice considering it's such a significant part of a person.
Agreed in regards to Willow and Xander's home lives, I would also add Cordelia to that list.

I don't think it was just about the Watchers being a vestige (though they really are dumb) but more on common Hollywood cliche. Americans are super cool and Brits are pyschos and fops. Tbh they do it both ways even with Giles. He is bad ass Ripper but then he's also the guy that gets knocked out every episode. Even Xander beats more bad guys up than he does
Brits make the best villains.

 

vampmogs

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Seriously, if you're a women with any understanding of how women have been systematically written out of history, it's not shocking at all.
As I've said previously, that's all well and good but my issue is with the nonsensical world-building surrounding The Guardians and, frankly, the offensiveness of them as well. The Shadowmen (who metaphorically raped Senya) are black but the Guardian women are white? I can defend the Shadowmen on the account of the fact it would be historically accurate but The Guardians are meant to be as old as them and yet they're conveniently white women (black = bad whereas white = good). Then there's also the absurdity of them supposedly having waited in Sunnydale all this time which is awfully convenient and of course the unlikelihood that Buffy, Miss "She who hangs out a lot in cemeteries", and who in other episodes can literally memorise what crypts look like due to her familiarity with them all (Doomed), has never noticed this bizarre and ancient looking tomb in Sunnydale all this time? That's very unlikely.

The fact they pull this random ass pull in the penultimate episode is certainly one of my problems but even if you want to pave over that crack with the notion that The Guardians as women were "written out of history" (which is not actually what they say anyway - The Guardian claims they deliberately hid and omitted themselves from history) the rest of the world-building still doesn't hold up to any serious scrutiny.

World building is important. I don't think it's the most important thing and it's not something I prioritise as the most important thing, either. If it were I couldn't be a fan of BtVS because it's pretty woeful in that regard and Whedon has conceded that on more than one occasion. But good writers can literally knock all facets of a story out of the park (metaphor/symbolism, world-building, characters, plot etc) and Whedon has got much worse at this as time went on. He admits these flaws in the Chosen DVD commentary so it's not an unfair criticism and I think fans tendency to excuse it is why he got lazier and his shows got progressively worse.
 

vampmogs

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I don't think that's bad world building. We knew Giles was from a line of Watchers and that Watchers look out for the Slayer. They fleshed it out later. No need for a huge info dump to begin with.
I mean, I'm not really asking for a huge info dump "to begin with." 2 seasons in the series is more than enough time to have established where the Watcher's come from/who sent them/why Giles is Buffy's Watcher/who Buffy is referring to when she says "you people" etc. This information could have been easily delivered early on into the series without it feeling like a "huge info dump."

The Master was acting as a cork in the bottle. Buffy was sent there because of the timing. They've only got one slayer to work with so the previous slayer was likely located somewhere higher priority at the time.
The Master and the "cork in the bottle" analogy was specifically referring to his plan to open up the Hellmouth and how he got "stuck." Since the majority of the world-ending threats in Sunnydale didn't actually involve the Hellmouth at all (Acathla, The Ascension, Adam's demon/machine/human army, Glory's dimension, Proserpexa) this doesn't really explain why Sunnydale existed fine without protection for so long.
 

katmobile

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I mean, I'm not really asking for a huge info dump "to begin with." 2 seasons in the series is more than enough time to have established where the Watcher's come from/who sent them/why Giles is Buffy's Watcher/who Buffy is referring to when she says "you people" etc. This information could have been easily delivered early on into the series without it feeling like a "huge info dump."



The Master and the "cork in the bottle" analogy was specifically referring to his plan to open up the Hellmouth and how he got "stuck." Since the majority of the world-ending threats in Sunnydale didn't actually involve the Hellmouth at all (Acathla, The Ascension, Adam's demon/machine/human army, Glory's dimension, Proserpexa) this doesn't really explain why Sunnydale existed fine without protection for so long.
Except it does as the Mayor needed it to exist both the Master and Procima's plans got foiled by 'natural' phoenomena I find it hard to believe that was an accident. Their acolapyses didn't happen as the Mayor needed them not to so they didn't interfere with his ansension.
 

vampmogs

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Except it does as the Mayor needed it to exist both the Master and Procima's plans got foiled by 'natural' phoenomena I find it hard to believe that was an accident. Their acolapyses didn't happen as the Mayor needed them not to so they didn't interfere with his ansension.
That's a perfectly fine fanon but it's just that, a fanon. It's not established in the show at all and is a theory you've come up with to explain the show which is kind of my point in a nutshell.

Not to mention that this was also only 2 apocalyptic events in the literally decades. Considering we had at least one apocalyptic event a year (sometimes more) for 7 years straight, that'd still be very odd.
 
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The Bronze

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This information could have been easily delivered early on into the series without it feeling like a "huge info dump."
It could have but the fact you only noticed in hindsight in a rewatch means it wasn't necessary. I don't think everything needed explaining up front to be able to follow and enjoy the show. A little mystery is OK.
Since the majority of the world-ending threats in Sunnydale didn't actually involve the Hellmouth at all (Acathla, The Ascension, Adam's demon/machine/human army, Glory's dimension, Proserpexa) this doesn't really explain why Sunnydale existed fine without protection for so long.
The threat level increased after The Master was removed. The Hellmouth being more active attracted more trouble. Also there's every chance Sunnydale had lower level protection before a slayer was assigned to it.

I'm not saying you're wrong to find some issues but I think some of these open ended questions leave some nice room for us to have our own theories and open up discussions here.
 

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It could have but the fact you only noticed in hindsight in a rewatch means it wasn't necessary. I don't think everything needed explaining up front to be able to follow and enjoy the show. A little mystery is OK.
As I said previously, it's a testament to the enjoyable characters and writing that I didn't notice it at first so I certainly agree that it didn't impact my enjoyment of the show. However, as the thread is specifically asking us areas in which the show "handled things poorly" I think it's lack of consistent plotting and underdeveloped world building is a pretty fair criticism.

The threat level increased after The Master was removed. The Hellmouth being more active attracted more trouble. Also there's every chance Sunnydale had lower level protection before a slayer was assigned to it.
This is also fanon which is totally fine but it only reaffirms that these things were never established or explained in the show and that fans have to invent their own theories to make sense of it. The fact that both you and @katmobile have two completely different explanations for the same question is proof enough that the audience had to come up with their own explanations and this was undeveloped/unexplained within the series itself.

Whedon has conceded that world-building is an area he lacks in so I think it's a pretty fair and balanced criticism. He's always maintained that he's prioritised characters and "emotion" over consistent or logical world-building so it's not as if fans are being too harsh by pointing it out. Luckily for him, for the most part he's really good at character/emotion (or at least he was - his later shows are lacking IMO) so the world-building isn't most fan's priority, but there are also writers capable of *both* so it's fair game to point it out as a weakness in his craft. And since the thread is specifically asking for areas in the series that were handled weakly, it seems like an obvious point to me.
 

Btvs fan

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As I've said previously, that's all well and good but my issue is with the nonsensical world-building surrounding The Guardians and, frankly, the offensiveness of them as well. The Shadowmen (who metaphorically raped Senya) are black but the Guardian women are white? I can defend the Shadowmen on the account of the fact it would be historically accurate but The Guardians are meant to be as old as them and yet they're conveniently white women (black = bad whereas white = good). Then there's also the absurdity of them supposedly having waited in Sunnydale all this time which is awfully convenient and of course the unlikelihood that Buffy, Miss "She who hangs out a lot in cemeteries", and who in other episodes can literally memorise what crypts look like due to her familiarity with them all (Doomed), has never noticed this bizarre and ancient looking tomb in Sunnydale all this time? That's very unlikely.

The fact they pull this random ass pull in the penultimate episode is certainly one of my problems but even if you want to pave over that crack with the notion that The Guardians as women were "written out of history" (which is not actually what they say anyway - The Guardian claims they deliberately hid and omitted themselves from history) the rest of the world-building still doesn't hold up to any serious scrutiny.

World building is important. I don't think it's the most important thing and it's not something I prioritise as the most important thing, either. If it were I couldn't be a fan of BtVS because it's pretty woeful in that regard and Whedon has conceded that on more than one occasion. But good writers can literally knock all facets of a story out of the park (metaphor/symbolism, world-building, characters, plot etc) and Whedon has got much worse at this as time went on. He admits these flaws in the Chosen DVD commentary so it's not an unfair criticism and I think fans tendency to excuse it is why he got lazier and his shows got progressively worse.
Agreed the Guardians. The Passive Aggressive racism on the show is pretty awful. Like when Kendra was murdered protecting the gang and the only reaction is "your not wanted for murder any more" "good that was such a drag" and that's it. Given this woman gave her life for you maybe a bit of thought about her. Plus you get cracks by Buffy about the First Slayer hair. Chipperish talked about the whole White Power undertones in Restless and you combine the lack of people of colour on Ats (LA!) Until Gunn and you can tell the shows are definitely written by a bunch of rich white American writers who don't like to be reminded of things that make them uncomfortable.
 

vampmogs

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I vividly recall at least 2 prominent fans on LJ who were also POC that brought up the racist remarks in Restless back in, like, 2007-2008, and were promptly shut down and silenced by the majority of (white) BtVS fandom. This was of course back in the "Joss is god" days of fandom so any serious criticism of Whedon tended to be beat down, but it was also a result of how ignorant a lot of us were to these issues back then and the unwillingness to admit that a series we loved could ever be racist. It's been encouraging to see these issues become more mainstream and wildly acknowledged in fandom. Although, I do wonder if they've only been more acknowledged now because white voices have started discussing these issues and fans who are minorities are still not having their voices heard. I'd like to hope not but it wouldn't surprise me.

Nevertheless, I feel for those fans/viewers back in the day who were upset by the hair jokes and had a bunch of white people shut them down. It's why I find it aggravating now when you still see fans push back and be resistant to "PC culture" in critiques of the show and acting like it's nothing more than trendy to be "offended." These problems have always existed and were called out by others years ago too, it's just that those people were ignored whenever they tried to discuss it.

The series definitely has a race issue. I think you could make an argument that Kendra's treatment and her race just happened to coincide (although I also believe you could make the argument that the writers had an unconscious bias which is why she was written that way) but Buffy's jokes about Senya's hair and the "workplace" is just straight up racist ignorance and would, hopefully, never fly today. It was racist ignorance back then too but hardly anyone paid attention to it.
 

Btvs fan

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I vividly recall at least 2 prominent fans on LJ who were also POC that brought up the racist remarks in Restless back in, like, 2007-2008, and were promptly shut down and silenced by the majority of (white) BtVS fandom. This was of course back in the "Joss is god" days of fandom so any serious criticism of Whedon tended to be beat down, but it was also a result of how ignorant a lot of us were to these issues back then and the unwillingness to admit that a series we loved could ever be racist. It's been encouraging to see these issues become more mainstream and wildly acknowledged in fandom. Although, I do wonder if they've only been more acknowledged now because white voices have started discussing these issues and fans who are minorities are still not having their voices heard. I'd like to hope not but it wouldn't surprise me.

Nevertheless, I feel for those fans/viewers back in the day who were upset by the hair jokes and had a bunch of white people shut them down. It's why I find it aggravating now when you still see fans push back and be resistant to "PC culture" in critiques of the show and acting like it's nothing more than trendy to be "offended." These problems have always existed and were called out by others years ago too, it's just that those people were ignored whenever they tried to discuss it.

The series definitely has a race issue. I think you could make an argument that Kendra's treatment and her race just happened to coincide (although I also believe you could make the argument that the writers had an unconscious bias which is why she was written that way) but Buffy's jokes about Senya's hair and the "workplace" is just straight up racist ignorance and would, hopefully, never fly today. It was racist ignorance back then too but hardly anyone paid attention to it.
Yep i don't think Joss was as progressive as he likes to pretend he is now. I even wonder if the Buffy reboot with a black actress is as much about guilt (money aside) for how he was in the original as much as anything 🤔
 
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