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Yanno?

I get all mind-tumbled when tv has enough in it for me to chew on. I'm noticing something, finally, about AtS Season 5. People are reacting to it the way some Buffy fans reacted to BtVS Season 6.

At some point along the way, I decided that S6 was simply brilliant, because even in the episodes that left me feeling lost (Flooded), grimy and dirty (DMP), disillusioned (AYW), and completely wrung out (SR), the writers had achieved exactly what they were supposed to. Every step of the way, the show made *me* feel the way Buffy was feeling, and they did it in such a way that I didn't even notice what they were doing because I was so utterly wrapped up in the story. There were a lot of really negative emotions being described in Season 6, and it turned off a *lot* of people.

Season 5 of AtS was in deep danger of doing the same with me until Lineage came along. They've come over the cliff entirely as of Destiny. I'm wondering if I'm capable of putting myself in Angel's shoes well enough to figure out if they're doing the same damned thing ME did in S6/BtVS...

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( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
dettiot
Nov. 22nd, 2003 08:42 pm (UTC)
I get all mind-tumbled when tv has enough in it for me to chew on. I'm noticing something, finally, about AtS Season 5. People are reacting to it the way some Buffy fans reacted to BtVS Season 6.

You know, that's a really really good point, Chris. I've never seen this much discussion of Angel. Now, admittedly, it was because Spike wasn't on the show before. :-) But people are talking so much about Angel, and all the different themes and threads that are going on. Since I've always liked AtS, I've been happy to see that people are finding so much to talk about. If they're doing a parallel to Buffy's s6 journey in Angel's s5 journey, it'll be interesting to see how the whole season plays out.

Thanks for the food for thought!
chrisjournal
Nov. 22nd, 2003 09:03 pm (UTC)
Welcome! Although I meant it in a narrower sense than parallel journeys, it might just hold true there, as well as from a technical point of view.

I suspect that a lot of folks are serial monogamists when it comes to fandoms, and now that Buffy's off the air, find more energy to devote to Angel, not just the Spike factor, though that probably has an effect. I was an Angel watcher before Spike, and would have watched without him, too.
kita0610
Nov. 22nd, 2003 08:45 pm (UTC)
In a word? Yes. That's what they're aiming for. With the one exception that on BtVS one is always supposed to root for Buffy, and see her as the hero. On Angel, it's ok to see his flaws, and wanna yell HEY! HEY! STOP THAT! Cause it's a way more complex show, they actually believe in shades of gray, and also? Sometimes he actually listens. *G*
chrisjournal
Nov. 22nd, 2003 08:50 pm (UTC)
LOL. I am *so* not gonna fuff about complexity and supremacy of shows ;-) It's apples and oranges, and I like both.

But if they want me to interact with it and shout 'No, no', they're gonna get lower marks for this particular technique.

That's what I found so stunning about S6/B -- I stayed submerged in the narrative arc while being carried along on the emotional one, all unaware.
kita0610
Nov. 22nd, 2003 08:56 pm (UTC)
Nothing at all to do with supremacy. It's the nature of the beast. Buffy was a story about a Slayer. Monsters were bad. AtS is the story about monsters. It's way grayer by its very definition. Remember The Ring? Where they free the demons? Yea. That about sums it up.

As for S6, I loved every fucked up second of it, though I had nowhere near the emotional attachment to it that obviously you did. Since I am attached to Angel, and more aware of the meta, I can tell you that yea, you are supposed to notice he's flawed. And from all the interviews I have seen with Buffy creators, no, you weren't supposed to see her as anything other than a hero. Which I do. Always will. I just don't happen to think she's a very nice person. They can be mutually exclusive.
(Deleted comment)
kita0610
Nov. 22nd, 2003 09:56 pm (UTC)
Re: You know Kita...
Oh hell no.

It sucks to be Angel. He suffers for everything he does wrong, and half the shit he doesn't. He's never gonna be King. That's the point of his character. Hanged Man, tragic hero, you know?

I love him. I feel for him. I feel SORRY for him. Often. But he's not perfect, and the writers know it. He's gonna get his ass kicked this season. Deknight and Fury will see to that. Destiny was only the beginning.

My poor woobie. ;}
(Deleted comment)
kita0610
Nov. 23rd, 2003 08:59 am (UTC)
Re: Poor woobie exactly...
I don't think Angel sees his vampire-ness as his main issue AT ALL. He's been saying "it's the man in me that needs killing" for the past 6 years. Problem with Angel is that he never does feel forgiven for anything- simply because he CAN'T. Fucking Buffy didn't take his soul, feeling loved and forgiven did. He's really screwed, my boy.

And yea. I'm just as hard on my heroes. Suffering and angst. Bring it the hell on. For Angel and for Spike. All the way. I love their essential opposite-ness, and the fact that at the end of the day, they're STILL all the other one really has in terms of real kin.
chrisjournal
Nov. 23rd, 2003 08:30 am (UTC)
Nothing at all to do with supremacy. It's the nature of the beast. Buffy was a story about a Slayer. Monsters were bad. AtS is the story about monsters.

Full agreement here -- it's what I meant by apples and oranges! Although I'm *loving* all the discussion and thinking the original post generated, I was looking much, much more narrowly at the season so far -- merely that the arc technique might be the same. I haven't seen The Ring, but boy do I want to now ;-)

S6-- I dunno about attachment (yeah, probably), it's just the most satisfying story they've told about Buffy in my view. And, I'm kinda postulating that if they're doing the same 'move my emotions with me not noticing' thing with S5, then there's a good possibility that I'll end the year thinking S5 is better than S2 was.

Buffy? I no question I cheered for her during S6 (far less so in S7, truth be told), but it was her *flaws* that made me want to cheer for her. I wouldn't say 'nice person' has much to do with it for either of our heroes, ya? I want to (and certainly do) notice Angel's flaws as well -- I just don't want to be taken out of the *narrative* while it's going on. BOTN and Sleepers are examples of Buffy eps that jerked me right out of the story. The wrestling fiasco this year -- I never even got *into* the story with that one. But then it occurred to me that the disconnection I have felt to things this year mirrors at least one of Angel's primary emotions so far, too.

So this "discovery" of mine has a lot more to do with my tolerance level for being bored or otherwise feeling negatively about any given episode in the season. It's not like I *liked* DMP or AYW, you know? But in retrospect, they manipulated me brilliantly, and I think there's an even chance that AtS is up to the same thing, and not merely turning out a bunch of crap epsiodes before finally getting into gear. Maybe it's a wank of humongous proportions, too, and the wrestler one and the second ep and the marginal Lorne thingy were not wastes of episodes, either, because they needed me/viewer to be as disconnected and fed up as Angel is/was.
kita0610
Nov. 23rd, 2003 08:52 am (UTC)
I think another issue is that as much as Angel was touted this year to be a series that you can watch without knowing a ton of backstory? That's bullshit. Sure, you CAN. But if you haven't seen all the previous eps? You're missing more than can possibly be made up for with all the exposition they toss at us in the first ten minutes in leiu of "Previously on..".

I know you watched Angel before Spike came on...right? But man, eps like The Ring...the series really only does hold together as a whole. Numero Cinco (The Wrestling Ep lol) makes so much more sense that way. Yea, it was silly on its surface, and supposed to be, cause it was a metaphor. For Angel and pretty much everything that's happened to date, and also and probably more importantly, what is GOING to happen. Pay attention to that ending? It's like Restless. You've got the whole next arc foreshadowed.

I personally don't LIKE being emotionally manipulated, however brilliantly, by a story. It's why I hated The Gift. "Cue music. Cry now." And the whole time I'm going - PEOPLE SHE'S COMING BACK!

Anyway, I think your take is really interesting. To feel sad when Buffy does, to feel annoyed when Angel does, and to feel it so seamlessly- yea, that is the mark of good storytelling. I think as an Angel fan I've kind of always just felt for Angel more easily. They never had to manipulate me into it, or even try too hard. Hm. More food for thought.

And you know I'm a Buffy fan- girl and show. Never meant to imply otherwise. I just- man, S7 ruined so much for me. I'm trying to recover. *g*
chrisjournal
Nov. 23rd, 2003 09:30 am (UTC)
LOL. I'm in the middle of something else, but had to stop and respond briefly here -- real response later when I can concentrate. I thought you meant "The Ring" as in the movie. I'm lousy at episode names-- your original remark will compute as soon as I go look up which episode is "The Ring" :-)

chrisjournal
Nov. 23rd, 2003 01:29 pm (UTC)
Response, part 1 of 2
You're missing more than can possibly be made up for with all the exposition they toss at us in the first ten minutes in leiu of "Previously on..".

I so totally agree that this is an issue. ME took on something nearly impossible in trying to bring 'new viewers' whether Buffy fans or totally new folks, into the series this far along. It's a big part of why I've really disliked some of the episodes so far this season. It all felt like one big, huge, honking retread to me. And I imagine that to new folks to the show, it's all felt confusing and odd, without the thematic backstories. Which leads to...

I know you watched Angel before Spike came on...right? But man, eps like The Ring...the series really only does hold together as a whole.

Nods. I have this mental block where ep titles are concerned. To me, this is "the fight club episode". I had to go look it up. Honestly thought you meant a movie (which I do not seem to have this mental block in re) that I haven't seen...


Numero Cinco (The Wrestling Ep lol) makes so much more sense that way. Yea, it was silly on its surface, and supposed to be, cause it was a metaphor. For Angel and pretty much everything that's happened to date, and also and probably more importantly, what is GOING to happen. Pay attention to that ending? It's like Restless. You've got the whole next arc foreshadowed.

ME does this kind of ep regularly. I hate them regularly. The cowboy eggs ep is another pure metaphor ep. The stupid burger flipping one was a metaphor ep. There are more of these eps in AtS that you can shake a stick at, and a lot in BtVS as well. I inevitably dislike them intensely as episodes, but recognize that they have a place in the overall arc that's necessary, whether I like them or not. Cinco, in particular, I hated because it all seemed like something I've heard before, over and over again. The metaphor was heavy handed and redundant, and the humor wasn't funny enough to me to overcome sheer boredom. It's possible that it'll turn out to be more Restless like than I realize, and if so, I'll probably come to enjoy it. I wasn't overly fond of Restless first time out, but I didn't dislike it this much, either. I'm pretty sure I picked up on all the huge honking anvils in Cinco -- Angel can't escape being a champion simply by denying it, Angel needs hope and emotion to stay on the side of light, yada yada yada.

I personally don't LIKE being emotionally manipulated, however brilliantly, by a story. It's why I hated The Gift. "Cue music. Cry now." And the whole time I'm going - PEOPLE SHE'S COMING BACK!

See my 'unpopular opinions' for my complete agreement on the waste that was The Gift. In my opinion, that's *failed* manipulation. I don't know whether to classify myself as an easy target or a hard target for manipulation, but if I notice it while you're doing it? Failure and non-brilliance are what I'll call it. Honestly? The A/S4 ender felt that way to me, too. It needs to feel organic to me, and that whole thing felt contrived. A/S2 was a much better season. And wouldn't it be lovely if A/S5 managed to top that?
chrisjournal
Nov. 23rd, 2003 01:55 pm (UTC)
Part 2 of 2
Anyway, I think your take is really interesting. To feel sad when Buffy does, to feel annoyed when Angel does, and to feel it so seamlessly- yea, that is the mark of good storytelling. I think as an Angel fan I've kind of always just felt for Angel more easily. They never had to manipulate me into it, or even try too hard. Hm. More food for thought.

Nods. I think you're on to something there. I've always had a hard time identifying with Angel. I recognize his role as the classic greek tragic hero, but I don't have a natural affinity for it -- I'm more naturally inclined to identify with the hero that struggles and actually overcomes some flaw rather than being defeated by it. That's why I started this all out wondering if I've got it in me to put myself well enough in Angel's shoes. It's not a natural fit, and right now, I don't have enough distance from the journey that the season will turn out to have taken us on to see if that's what they're up to with things. Honestly, I wouldn't even have considered that they were out to make me feel the way he feels in a literal sense if it weren't for the fact that AtS fans are seriously reacting to this the way I saw BtVS folks reacting to S6's 'tear down everything' arc. It was horrible in its beauty, and I wonder if they'll go there with Angel -- finally, completely deconstruct him. They've certainly got a good start on it, but wow, what a difference. If ME deconstructed Buffy, we found a 'hero' at the core. But if they finally, completely deconstruct Angel & Co -- will we find the monster, or the man?

Sigh. Happy Chris.

and evil, evil LJ. It ate the first glorious version of this way too long response...it's now far smaller than it was first go-round.
kita0610
Nov. 23rd, 2003 02:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 2 of 2
If ME deconstructed Buffy, we found a 'hero' at the core. But if they finally, completely deconstruct Angel & Co -- will we find the monster, or the man?

***

I think we'll find both of them. Same with Spike. At least I HOPE this is the point. That in order to be functional they need to be integrated. Spike does a BETTER job of it, but even he hasn't owned up to a lot of the William issues that Spike tries to cover up. My hope too, is that the Hero will also be at the core. Not in some symbolic way, or metaphorical way (like Womyn Power on BtVS- Lord, I'm trying to get over S7, I really really am!) but in a real way. Like, Angel gets up every morning and TRIES to do the right thing, even when he fails miserably, because he knows it's the right thing to do. Because he thinks people are worth saving. And one day, because he thinks HE'S worth saving. That's the end of the journey I wanna see.
(Deleted comment)
chrisjournal
Nov. 22nd, 2003 09:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Well...Chris...I do think ME is doing...
The ninjas -- I'm chewing on the ninjas. There are a couple of bones lying there to point in different directions.

First, there's the oddball thing with Eve and Gunn and the robot toys. I don't think Gunn's necessarily a bad guy just yet, but he *is* pretty connected to the Sr. Partners. They might very well be using him somehow.

And then there's the helicopter. Probably just prop reuse, but looked a lot like the black helicoper Riley took off in -- aka, military. I do *not* anticipate another return of Riley himself. With more than half the year to go, they could pull off some kind of military operation out to shut down W&H.

Or, could be just what it appeared to be -- the COW. That I *seriously* doubt, but wouldn't it make a great story?
kita0610
Nov. 22nd, 2003 09:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Well...Chris...I do think ME is doing...
Or, could be just what it appeared to be -- the COW. That I *seriously* doubt, but wouldn't it make a great story?

My favorite wank is that it IS the COW and that they tie in Pod!Giles to this storyline.
(Deleted comment)
witch_wolf
Nov. 23rd, 2003 07:46 am (UTC)
My own damn theroy
LOL, I like that! Hee Hee--

I loved Season 6 of Buffy with a few notable exceptions. I like the over all feel and I thought i better than some of the season that went before.

I do like this season better than last on Angel. Although, I do have to admit my favorite Angel season is 2. I like arced seasons. I like a story that is carried well through out the year.

This season is getting bashed for no particular reason than Spike is not portrayed as the romantic dashing hero. He is portrayed quite differently. There is no love interest (Hurray! Three cheers, and all that jazz).

Spike has always been the romantic type, he breaks for the mold that ME had constantly put him in, Dru, Hamrony, and finally Buffy --even though he was not with her in the last season.

I like seeing him Angel, I like him working on problems that are not woman related. I like that he is trying to find out who and what he is. I like the snarky Spike. I like his banter with Angel. I like all the slashy indudos. I don't want him trying to find a girlfriend and I don't want him with Harmony or Fred. I want him seen as the hero.

I see Angel learning from Spike. I still think the shanshu prophecy is all Angels, because frankly I think Spike likes being a vampire with a soul. Angel has been the one that wanted the reward for doing good. Although he tells Spike that to drink from the cup is not a reward but a burden, I don't think that Angel completely understands that himself. He wants award and praise for doing good, he wants the brass ring at the end of the day.

Spike already got the brass ring, he got his soul. He got what he wanted. When he died for the world he didn't do it for glory or the girl (He didn't do it because he thought Buffy loved him-- the simple fact is that he didn't think she loved him at all). Spike did it to save the world.

I see Spike not running to Buffy in the same way. He is afraid to go see or interact with Buffy because what if he was wrong. What if she did love him? Or didn't love him? Could he stand it.

Spike is different this season because he should be. He I no longer the romantic lead of the show, he is their to teach or to remind Angel of who and what he is. I personally love it.
kita0610
Nov. 23rd, 2003 08:56 am (UTC)
Re: My own damn theroy
I wholly disagree about Angel doing what he does for reward. Shanshu was mentioned to him once, at the end of S1. Since then, until this season, it hasn't been a motivating factor in ANYTHING Angel has done. In fact, he gave it back so Buffy could live (course he got fucked with that one, she died anyway) in IWRY. In S2 there was Epiphany, when he came to believe that the only things that matter at all are the small things and the people who love him. And he has stated emphatically that he doesn't even believe in the Shanshu prophecy- and hasn't since his son was taken away- but he still gets up and goes on because "What else are we gonna do?" Angel is far from perfect. But to say he does what he does to get something out of it? I can just as easily say Spike went to get a soul to get into a girl's pants. Highly simple. Easy to put on a banner. Total bullshit.
chrisjournal
Nov. 23rd, 2003 04:45 pm (UTC)
Re: My own damn theroy -- part 1
I agree, for the most part, with your assessment of S6 BtVS. And I also enjoy the notion of Spike as a reflection of Angel, instead of Buffy. It's a little harder for some folks to get used to Spike on Angel, primarily because so much of what we've seen of his character is the 'love's bitch' aspect, and the love with Angel is a different sort of passion than that which he held for Dru or for Buffy. The passion is there, but the layers of pathos go beyond even the natural-enemies-induced-love/hate we saw with Buffy. I also agree that to introduce another female love interest would diminish his story this year -- because it would diminish Angel's, too.

All that said, I don't want to see him shoved into Angel's role any more than I wanted to see him shoved into Buffy's role. Spike is a supporting character. I'd love it if someday they gave him his own show, and *then* he could be the hero. But it won't work while he's supporting cast in someone else's journey.

Have to disagree about the Shanshu. I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell that Angel will get his Shanshu. His nature is not to win, but to lose. He's the flip side of Buffy in that regard. We watched BtVS *knowing* that Buffy would always come out on top, some how, some way. And I watch AtS knowing that Angel will not. If the Shanshu is what it's been purported to be (not at all sure I trust that, mind you), then I don't think there's any likelihood that Angel will get it. Spike's got a bigger shot at it just because he *isn't* the tragic hero lead in the show. I said this somewhere else today, but if the Shanshu turns out to be real, I think it more likely that Angel will have to voluntarily *give* it to Spike, and that Spike either won't want it, or will have to pay an unfathomable price for it. Angel has consistently turned down the "reward" for personal reasons in the past. He passed up the ring, he gave up humanity and took on the burden of championship again for Buffy, he gave the championship and his unlife up for Darla. God only knows what he'll give up for Spike, but if he's handed a Shanshu, I'll eat my hat. He'll never choose to be happy versus sacrifice himself (needlessly *snerk*). Angel far prefers a hair shirt to the hero's armour -- as much as I despised that wrestlers' episode, that was a huge part of the point.
chrisjournal
Nov. 23rd, 2003 04:46 pm (UTC)
Re: My own damn theroy - part 2
What you say about Spike and his brass ring is interesting -- and possibly true. But I kind of think Spike doesn't know what the hell he wants. He wants to be shiny, he wants to have a destiny, but he doesn't know *why*, and until he learns that, he's going to be hollow. There have been some striking parallels with Spike and Wesley this year and last year -- he may just need to learn that there is intrinsic value in doing the right thing because it is the right thing, no matter the cost. On the other hand, wouldn't I just love it if they'd play the Angel/Spike thread to the conclusion I wanted for Spike/Buffy? The one where each 'completes' the other and whole beings emerge from the dust. Perhaps quite literally.

Haven't really given much thought to the whole 'chasing Buffy' concept because, honestly? She's not coming back. There won't *be* any closure there. There can't be, without SMG. They'll come up with some reason that works, if they follow this through to its conclusion. Merely the red herring that "two souled vampires unbalance and threaten the universe" is enough to keep him in LA vs following her to Europe. And when that runs dry, I expect they'll come up with another reason for it to work. Ultimately, as much as I adored the S/B relationship, I don't think Joss sees that as *Buffy's* brass ring. I don't think he sees Angel as her brass ring, either. As much as it truly pains me to admit it, I think Joss/ME see 'normal girl' with 'normal boy' as the ultimate in relationship reward for Buffy, who's struggled since we met her to abandon the 'specialness'. She's failed, of course, to achieve that -- we'd have no story if she succeeded -- but all of her 'rewards' have been oriented in that direction. I think they missed the boat by toeing that particular line, but I do think it's the line they toe.

Overall, I too am enjoying Spike as Angel's shadow. I enjoyed him as Buffy's shadow, too, perhaps a little more because the sexiness of it all appeals to the het girl I am at my core, but it's a small difference. And they *didn't* give me what I wanted out of S6 mainly because there was a season 7 of BtVS. I'd like to think I can get it from AtS, instead.
witch_wolf
Nov. 23rd, 2003 06:39 pm (UTC)
Re: My own damn theroy - part 2
I honestly don't want Buffy to be the reward. I think it really is sad that the reward is to have a relationship with someone else. I like your idea about Angel not getting the Sanshu or even questioning if it is real or not.

Right now I see it as a ploy to get Angel and Spike to do something, the "something" is in question. The last Angel had me thinking about the powers, the senior partners, and what is going on. We simply don't know "who" eve works for do we.

Buffy's story should be left in the air, I would love to hear from favorites from that show but I don't really want the show to be "all about buffy" that is boring.

I don't want Spike to become human, nor do I want Angel to be. I relaly don't know what I want or expect from the show I am just enjoying it right now.
chrisjournal
Nov. 23rd, 2003 06:43 pm (UTC)
Re: My own damn theroy - part 2
I am just enjoying it right now.

Entirely with you, although if you'd asked me three episodes ago, I would have been nearly violent in my disagreement *grins* . Ultimately, that's just exactly what I want from the show. The rest of it is gravy :-)
witch_wolf
Nov. 23rd, 2003 06:46 pm (UTC)
Re: My own damn theroy - part 2
I don't want to look to much into the show right now, afraid to make a fool out of myself. I want to take things one careful step at a time.

I do hope and wish for an arc though, I am getting tired of the Standalones.
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