I’m one of those people who never watched an episode of Buffy while it was on. I knew it was supposed to be good, and I had many friends who were fervent fans, but I just didn’t have more time to set aside for TV. Then I saw Serenity, loved it, bought the Firefly DVDs, loved them, read Astonishing X-Men, liked it a lot, and long after all his shows have been cancelled, I am now a disciple in the cult of Whedon. Let’s hear it for the advent of full-season DVD collections, which allow me to systematically catch up on what I’ve missed. I finished watching season one of Buffy, and here are a few offhand observations:
- The plotting etc. got much better as the season went on. However, there are some things I still wish they’d explain. Like, how can a school have all these murders and stuff and not attract the attention of the media? If even one of those deaths happened at a real school it would be big news. I can easily accept the vampires and witches and so forth, but I’d like at least a handwavy explanation for some of the surrounding logic problems. Also, if you have this were-mantis that only kills virgins, but she kills a fortyish science teacher in the beginning of the episode, does that mean the teacher was a virgin? He didn’t seem that nerdy.
- That Alyson Hannigan is super-duper-cute, and it sure makes me feel anxious when she is placed in jeopardy.
- It’s weird to me that Charisma Carpenter shows up in the opening credits. Cordelia seems like such a minor character, really hardly showing up at all except in the pilot and “Out of Mind Out Of Sight.” Yeah, according to Joss in the commentary she gets a bigger role later, but she hardly seemed like a regular this season. Which reminds me…
- I wish the commentaries and biographies would be a bit more spoiler-conscious. Joss tends to say stuff like “…when we blew up the school in Season 3,” which is kind of a letdown for those of us who weren’t along for the initial ride. I started watching the extras on disc 1 and in like the first 10 seconds of the first extra somebody says “Angel is a vampire”, which isn’t revealed until a disc 2 episode. Okay, granted, I pretty much knew this already from the summaries given to me by Buffyphile friends, but still. One of those Buffyphiles, my friend Jenny, refuses to watch any extras on a TV DVD until she’s watched all the season’s episodes, and I totally adopted her method, but this doesn’t help when people are spoiling later seasons. Stop it, people!
- I always read that X-Files (another show I never got around to watching) had its “mythos/continuity” episodes and its “monster-of-the-week” episodes, and it seems like Buffy is structured similarly. According to Jenny, these are known in the Buffyverse as the “Big Bads” and the “Little Bads”, which is a taxonomy I can get behind. I really liked some of the Little Bads that drew the metaphors between adolescent stuff and horror movie stuff, like “The Witch”, “The Pack”, and “Out of Mind Out of Sight”.
On the whole, I enjoyed it a lot. On to season 2!