Thursday, 22 September 2011

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - RIP VI

Lately I have been having a little Buffy nostalgia.  "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was one of my favourite tv shows in the 1990's.  My eldest son grew up watching it with me.  Every week we would wait for our next episode of what danger Buffy and the Scooby gang could get into, fighting vampires, demons, monsters, and the dangers of growing up in Sunnydale California.  I loved the mix of humour, teen angst, horror, scariness, and fabulous monsters week in and week out.  I enjoyed so much watching the characters grow and evolve, all the while facing dangers and temptation and learning about what they could do.  Buffy is one of the few tv characters I have dreamed about.  This is an awesome tv show, that even when I rewatch it, has aged  well - it's timeless, magical, scary fun.  With a group of friends who share the scariest moments in life:  Willow and  Xander, and Giles, Buffy's Watcher, and Angel, the vampire who is Buffy's love of her life.  Plus the adorable bad vampire frenemy Spike, who is so bad that he's good.  Yes, there were cheesy moments and so-so storylines, but on the whole the writing and dialogue were superb.  The acting was good, and sometimes the show could be dark and terrifying and haunting and beautiful. 

Imagine my surprise when I learned that there were graphic novels out now, with the approval and some assistance of the chief creator and writer himself, Joss Whedon. In 2009 I read vol 2 No Future for You, and vol 3 Wolves at the Gate.  In 2010 I read vol 4 Time of Your Life. I wondered, each time, would it be as good as the tv show?  Would the characters be true to themselves?  What were they doing,  after the 8th and final series ended on tv?

I have no fears now.  The graphic novels pick up from where the tv show ended.  All the characters are there, Willow, Xander, Faith, Giles, and Buffy herself.  At first it was odd seeing them on the page, after spending 8 years watching them on tv.  Then, magic happened.  I heard the snarkiness in Xander's voice, the softness of Willow as she screws up and saves Buffy in the nick of time, and most of all: Buffy.  Buffy, a little more grown-up, a little world-weary, and never ever giving up.  She's still feisty and running around saving everyone, still irrepressible and beautiful.

Peril the First
So for this year's RIP VI challenge I borrowed  another book in the series, Predators and Prey, from the library recently.   I read it this past  weekend, enjoying it immensely.  The art and the storytelling are prime Buffy writing, and the imaginative use of toy kitties is fun. They never will be quite the same for me, either.      Plus it has a monster that if ever brought to the screen I would have to run screaming from the room.  And it still manages to have tender moments, friendship, and humour. Amazing.  I think I might end up buying this series.
Verdict: I highly recommend this graphic novel series for anyone who is missing Buffy, or needing some fun and slightly creepy vampire novels to read. .

Perils of the Screen
That's not all - reading Predators and Prey vol 5 (which indeed features a scary monster that is nightmare -inducing) made me want to see some Buffy again. I happen to own the first four seasons, so I watched "Fear Itself", episode 4 of Season 4:  the Hallowe'en episode about trick or treating at a frat party.  Only it's not just a frat party, a monster has been summoned and the frat house turns into a house of fear for whoever enters.  Each of the Scooby gang have to face their own personal fear, before they face the monster at the heart of it all.  Very well done, and exactly right for RIP. It's a perfect mix of humour - Anya the demon dressed in a bunny costume is hilarious!  Oz as God!  - and the scenes in the house are delightfully shivery.  Next up:  "Hush", from this same season 4, which won Buffy the Vampire Slayer an Emmy award.  This episode is very frightening and magical and even funny at moments.  It is truly terrifying in the best way that fairy tales can be, very dark, very scary, and fabulous.  The episode says: " They are creatures from a fairy tale, first they steal your voice, then they start stealing hearts."  It's also perfect for RIP, and I'll write about it when I see it, hopefully by this weekend. 

apologies (blogger is being bad!)
I do apologize, Blogger is not allowing me to add any photos tonight, of Buffy or the Peril of the Screen photo.  I am sad, I love this photo and was looking forward to using it!  Next time then.....


Cath said...

We watched the whole thing again one winter, a couple of years ago, and it was wonderful to revisit Buffy and the gang. So much I hadn't remembered. And I found myself liking Spike much more than I ever remembered. And loving Giles all over again. :-) Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories.

GeraniumCat said...

Ooh, I've got one, and I don't think I've actually read it (was saving it up for a special moment). I'd already decided to throw in at least one graphic novel this time, but I got sidetracked when I decided to borrow Lenore (the adventures of a cute little dead girl) from my son - I'm afraid I spent last night sniggering at unfortunate things happening to hamsters. I feel like a bad person today.

Imaginative use of toy kitties - I've got to see that!

Kailana said...

I have to admit that I keep trying to get into this series and never managed to... I tried again earlier this year. One of these days I will watch it!

Daphne said...

Oh, I love Buffy so much. Have watched the series straight through a couple of times. It always amazes me how good it is. Kailana -- get through the first season -- it gets better after that (but you have to watch the first season as all the rest refer back to it).

I read one of the graphic novels and it was okay, but not the same as the show, of course. I might try another at some point.

Susan said...

Cath: You are so welcome! I'm thinking of watching the whole series again too. It's so much fun and wonderful television! I have a weakness for Giles, too, you know. I'm delighted you love it too! Isn't Spike a fabulous creation? And in the beginning, with his creepy sister and those dolls.....lovely Gothic elements in this show. Yes, it might be time for a complete rewatch soon too. :-)

Geraniumcat: What's this about Lenore? it sounds very interesting!

Did you see the tv series of Buffy? I'm guessing you did and liked it, if you picked up a graphic novel! Which I am thrilled about :-) Which graphic novel do you have?

Kailana: I know some people who just couldn't get into Buffy, or found it too violent, etc. I think it's one of those things where the high school stuff you either enjoy or you don't. I can't get into Supernatural, no matter how many times I try!! So, it's good there's something for everyone! :-D

Daphne: Once I got used to the graphic novel not being a tv show (and this was a big hurdle) I was able to just enjoy seeing the characters again. They don't really grow or change, they can't, so it's like having a window into Buffy world again. I hope you try one - Predators and Prey was the best, I think, so far.

I'm so thrilled you liked it too! It is good writing, isn't it? Really good, most of the time, especially the characters.

Anonymous said...

I love the Buffy series! I didn't even begin watching it until after it ended and then picked it up when it showed on TNT. Now that it is available for streaming on Netflix, I think your idea of re-watching is great. Think I might try that. Could just watch an episode or two a day.

There are so many of the characters that I loved and I always had a sneaking fondness for Spike (not Drucilla though - she was creepy).

Nymeth said...

I need to watch Buffy! So many friends have been trying to get me to for years now. I own the first two seasons on DVD - as soon as I'm reunited with all my stuff back home I'll get to them. I need a new series to love once I finish Six Feet Under (which yes, I'm also only watching now :P).

Susan said...

Kay: I think Buffy was one of the very few shows I watched right from the start. I'm usually really slow to find new shows, and get to them in the second season (like Fringe,) or when they're over (Veronica Mars). So it's one that has a special place for me. I'm thrilled you did find it and love it so, too! Drucilla IS creepy. And everyone I know thinks Spike is kind of cute/hot. He was like a bad boy who could never get going good, right.

Nymeth: I'm so pleased you are back! COngratulations again on finishing your grad work. Now it's back to reading for pleasure - and finding new tv shows. I really hope you like Buffy :-) I can't think of a better time of year to start watching than whenever you get reunited with your stuff! lol My husband and I loved Six Feet Under - it was so very good. We don't own any seasons though, so maybe it's time to remedy that. What do you like best, the little stories in the beginning, or the writing, or the tone, or setting? The little stories at the beginning haunt me, and it's been about 3 years since it ended, and I still find myself thinking about them. Yaay to you loving it too! :-D

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