I hate Twilight.
It’s not just the poor writing, lack of storyline, insipid lead characters or mysoginistic overtones (ok, so that all sucks) it’s that thanks to Twilight losing its sheen with the tweens, texts about vampires are now passé.
Not that I have a particular interest in vampire texts per se, but BtVS/Angel are probably in my top 5 TV shows of all time. Actually, the are probably in the top 3. Ok, so they are number 1 with a bullet and have been for years. But it’s not about the vampires, sure they make the narrative interesting and allow for some sensational character arcs, but it is about the quality of writing, the payoffs that come 4 or even 5 seasons later, the unique perspective that is Joss Whedon’s writing and the fact that I even loved the musical episode – me, hater-0f-all-musicals-except-Rocky-Horror-Grease-and Chicago. There isn’t a more entertaining, diverse and intrinsically rewarding TV show to have come along before or since. Yes, there is some amazing and innovative TV shows out there but, I always come back to Buffy.
I didn’t watch BtVS while it was on TV
My kids watched it and although they told me over and over again how wonderful the show was, I could not get pat the name – how could anything called ‘Buffy” be worth watching? What a toolbox I was!
I came to BtVS via Angel – I was at someone else’s house and it was rude to just change the channel so I watched the episode of Angel. It was a season 5 (final season) episode set on a submarine in WW2. The Nazis had abducted some vampires with the hope of breeding them as an army. The US had intercepted the sub but there were mechanical difficulties – given that the sub was so deep, the government stepped in an sent Angel to the rescue – apparently the US govt of the 40’s know all about such things.
But, the fact is, although the storyline was interesting and all, it was a very cool and slightly evil David Boreanaz and Angel and James Masters as Spike who made me determined to tune in the very next week.
For established fans,
I do not have to tout the much-lauded sexiness that is Spike and Angel (I mean, how lucky is Sarah Michelle Gellar? sheesh!) A twenty-something Boroneaz is a sight to behold and Masters is just evil enough and just poetic monstery enough to make a girls heart go pitter-pat. So yeah, I began my viewing with less than honourable reasons but, by the ed of my second episode, I was hooked and lined and sinkered – a fan was born.
Joss Whedon is quite simply a genius. ByVS and Angel manage to be funny, wry, hip, relevant and smart without ever missing a beat. Sure, some episodes are tankers (“Beer Bad” anyone?) but there has never been a show that so captured my heart and my imagination is so fundamental a way. The biggest danger for me in writing this is that I could go on and on about Whedon’s writing, and how insightful without being glib it is, how it resonates without being preachy, how it is clever without being snobby – but, I won’t do that (promise).
What I will say is this: if you have never seen BtVS or Angel, run don’t walk on your way to the DVD store. Be warned. Season 1 of BtVS is not the best TV you will ever see (they made it last minute and hadn’t quite hit their stride) but it is necessary for the upcoming seasons – to understand the characters. compelling character arcs are a signature of Whedon. Never, ever have I seen characters developed in the way that Whedon develops them. A small, seemingly insignificant experience in Season 2 can manifest as the basis for an entire seasonal narrative in season 5 – such is the magic of Whedon. The development of the initially bumbling and foolish watcher Wesley Whyndam-Price of BtVS into the dark and deeply troubled character of Season 5 Angel is nothing short of magnificent. I sometimes rewatch Angel just to experience the beautiful tragedy that is Wesley.
Do not let the title put you off. Do not let Twilight put you off – yes, BtVS is about a young girl who is in love with a vampire but there the similarity ends – where Twilight is scary in it’s pithy moralising, BtVS is a rich and compelling world that will suck you in again and again and surprise, entertain and delight over and over again.
Twilight sucks but Buffy kicks butt!