Wednesday, 16 November 2005

The Serenity of Buffy

Has anyone seen the movie Serenity yet? You know, the libertarian film Serenity by a bloke called Joss Whedon, the one I mentioned here? [Julian has: see his enthusiastic report here]

I've heard conflicting reports so far, but I confess to one reservation already: this is a movie by a guy who earned his fame and fortune with a TV show in which, and I quote, "a high school cheerleader discovers that she has become The Chosen One, the lone girl of her generation called to fight vampires and demons and the forces of darkness."

Now, I'd presumed any TV show with that as its main 'idea' -- and I do use the word loosely -- must surely be a comedy. But no. There are people who take Buffy the fucking Vampire Slayer seriously (I know, I know); so seriously in fact that some of them think I should too. I think they're fighting a losing battle myself: first, because I hate so-called dramas set in high school (see Rule 6), and second, because the idea is so fucking solipsistic. Why would a fucking American cheerleader become the magnet for "vampires and demons and the forces of darkness"? Clearly because vampires and demons and the forces of darkness sell well, and 1) American cheerleaders are one demographic they sell to -- and I am not of that demographic -- and 2) teenage boys are a demographic to which American cheerleaders sell well. If you've seen my photo, you'll know I'm not in that demographic either.

So this sounds like a series untouched by human minds, right? Whatever happened to classic drama? Apparently it got thrown off-screen in favour of this stuff. However, my persistent friends persist. One has sent me a link "just for me." Lucky me. Here, for people like me who would rather spend an evening reading the 'Complete Achievements of Helen Clark' (the illustrated version) by Barry Soper & Brian Edwards than watch Buffy, is The Official Amazon Guide: So you'd like to... cease being a cultured despiser of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Oddly, it seems the way to cease being a cultured despiser of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is to watch gobs of Buffy slaying the forces of darkness who just happen to hang out around her high school. Sigh. Apparently this will all help me when I do get to see Serenity. It better be worth it. I feel sick already, and that's before I've even started on the popcorn.


  1. That's always's been Buffy's problem - people can't see past the title and the superficial aspects of the setup to appreciate the quality of writing and acting that are the show's greatest strengths.

    If you don't want to sit through great gobs of Buffy (although you should), I'd recommend the episode "Hush" from season 4, which manages to be both the funniest and the scariest episode at the same time, and "The Body" in season 5, which is frankly one of the best hours of television you're ever likely to see, whatever your criteria are.

  2. I know several young libertarian
    feminist women who'd disagree. They think Buffy is a testament to
    strong female individualism and

    And after Season 5, it stopped
    being about high school.

  3. I can't believe these people read your blog. Sh!t!

    I recommend you borrow some of PK's Firefly DVDs (he has the first season) before deciding on whether you shell out the $14.00 to watch Serenity.

    See you Sunday @ May Road, if not before. Bye, bye Rewa. :-)

  4. Robert Winefield16 Nov 2005, 14:28:00

    "and "The Body" in season 5, which is frankly one of the best hours of television you're ever likely to see"

    Which is the reason why I'm building a DVD library. So I don't have to watch television.

    Fucking vampires, witches & sodding serial killers - that's all that serious US TV shows are about these days. It's all about the DBs, vics, vamps and purps.

    The best hour of TV???

    Why don't you pull your head out of Sarah Michelle Gellar's arse and rent Sherlock Holmes, Rumpole of the Bailey, Yes Minister, Yes Prime Minister, Black Adder 1-4, Open all Hours, Porridge, ABC's ANZACs or Bodyline mini-series. Even the crap 70s shows like "The Professionals" (which one reviewer has called rabid Tory gun-porn) are a million times better than Buffy the sodding Vampire slayer.

  5. Ah, now there's a man after my own heart. Thank you Robert. :-)

    But I notice you overlooked both 'The Prisoner' and 'The Avengers,' an egregious injustice for which you shall be punished by having your eyelids taped open while being subjected to hour after hour of fucking vampires, witches & sodding serial killers.

    That should make sure you don't commit the same sin again. :-)

    And what about 'The Sandbaggers'? Or 'Fawlty Towers'? Or 'Callan'? There was television that was so sharp you could cut yourself. Damn. Or even 'All Creatures Great & Small,' 'Twilight Zone,' or 'The Young Ones.' Where, oh where, has intelligent television gone? 'Spooks' and 'Scrubs' are the only things seen recently that come close, IMHO.

  6. A) I said "one of the best".

    B) I could mount a defence of my position, based on the fact that I've seen almost all of the shows you mention, while at least one of you has, by his own admission, no actual idea of what Buffy's really like (having never watched it), but if "pull your head out of Sarah Michelle Gellar's arse" is the tone you wish to take then frankly, fuck you.

  7. Settle, settle. From the little I've seen it's an arse worth cultivating a degree of familiarity with. :-)

  8. Joss also wrote for Roseanne (yukk..) but if you judge that way you ain't doing justice to the new state of the art Whedon. Forget the Buffy stuff..

    ..mind you..I did see the episode which was a musical and that was the best ever Buffy if you must know...

    Go see it. We want to know what you think. Gotta say though, I liked it all the more after having seen the TV series.

  9. I guess I should tear The Flying Fucking Dutchman out of the CD player and fling it at the wall, because - you know - the one-line synopsis sounds pretty damn stupid. Why bother actually listening to the damn thing and making up my own mind?

  10. Yikes, don't you dare!

    Your point is well made, Craig. All too well-made. There are some discs that deserve to be thrown at the wall or used as clay pigeon targets, but yours is a threat I can't take too lightly. You bastard. :-)

  11. Not to wander back to the topic - 'Serenity' has the vast advantage of a writer/director who has some idea of what a coherent plot is, as opposed to a pile of FX shots in search of a point. And while neither this nor Buffy are exactly high art, it's a damn pleasure to come across a corner of pop culture that isn't totally infected withwd masturbatory nihilism.

    (BTW, yes much of the academic cultists around Weedon's work are tooth-grindingly awful. Then again, I'm having a hard time finding a Wagner-related website that doesn't read like it's been put together by Moonies.)

  12. Years of crap like Buffy and me saying-"I can write better shite than that" finally inspired me to do so.

    At worse, what I write couldn't be as bad as all that!

  13. You know only three seasons of Buffy were based in high school right? I'd be willing to bet you've never sat through a whole episode.


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