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I mean it. Nothing to yawn about here. Okay, I know everyone's all School Hard!Yay! and it's a big let-down that Spike and Dru (and Angel) are absent from the following episode. Plus it's well-known that season 2 is chockful of boring MotW episodes, but I'm here to tell you that this isn't one of them (and, in fact, I think only two episodes in the entire season are one of them, and one of those isn't that boring).

Anyway, just tell yourself that Spike, Dru and Angel are off somewhere having a proper family reunion, as imagined a gazillion times in very old slash fics and enjoy this is very sweet, very sad little story about a girl who was the chosen one of her people, and who couldn't escape her destiny, and whose life and death are therefore full of parallels to Buffy's own situation.

Starting with this scene, where Giles tries to stop Buffy going to the school cultural exchange program dance because her secret identity may be compromised.

buffy204_048 (1)

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Now don't tell me you weren't all waiting for this. (Imagine Spike voice.)

School Hard. With pictures.Collapse )

This episode is, for me, as fresh now as when I first saw it. How do you feel it’s worn? Can it really be nearly 18 years old?

Comments, discussion, arguments, even?
Otherwise known as Some Assembly Required, the first of the not terribly good season 2 MotW episodes, some of which were actually a lot better than I remembered, some of which (notably, this one) were somewhat worse. In fact, this episode has the dubious distinction of being the sole episode of the entire show in my personal rewatch (currently up to early season 5) where my attention wandered.

I guess Frankenstein-inspired monster stories that also feature lots of incomprehensible (to me) references to American football, plus cheerleading, just don't do it for me.


Yawn! YMMV, of course.

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We're back, and moving to a two-episode-per-week schedule, as this was definitely the favoured option in last week's poll. Expect to see one episode on a Monday or Tuesday and another on a Thursday or Friday. Feel free to post anything relevant in the interim!

When She Was BadCollapse )

What are your thoughts on this episode? Are the special effects better? Who is most annoying? Who has your sympathy?

Later in the week - Some Assembly Required.
As promised, this week features no new episodes, to give folks time to catch up or get ahead if that's what you prefer.

In the meantime, a quick poll. While the clear majority favoured three or more episodes a week for this rewatch, there was a significant number who felt this was too fast. As we are now embarking on the much meatier S2 and beyond, I thought it worth checking what you all feel about the pace.

Obviously, you don't actually have to watch an episode to have an opinion about it, and anyone is very welcome to comment on the basis of memory - or backtrack to earlier discussions if you prefer. However, it is fun to feel you are rewatching in a community.

Poll #2002681 Rewatch 2015 - pacing

How many episodes a week should we cover from now on?

Two or fewer
Three or fewer
Four or fewer
Five or fewer
Five or more.

What are you most looking forward to discussing in S2?

Giles and Jenny.
Willow and Oz
Xander and Cordelia
Spike and Drusilla
Something else which I will mention in a comment.
Meh. I'm looking forward to later seasons/Angel even more.
The ticky box loves vulnerable!Buffy.

Suggestions and comments on how it's gone so far are welcome - just don't crush our souls too much.
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And here we are, at the end of the first season. Short but sweet, one might say.

Under the cut for pics and recapping.Collapse )
So – do you sympathise with Marcie Ross? It certainly brings back uncomfortable memories to me. Is it the Initiative that recruits her at the end? The theme is loneliness in a crowd, but also the casual viciousness of group behaviour, and the devastating impact it can have on those outside. Angel and Buffy, and even Cordelia, have moments of feeling very much outside - and Giles takes it for granted that he's centuries out of touch.

And Prophecy Girl – this, it would seem, is where the season’s effects budget was spent. But why doesn’t the Master die like other vamps? What is it with the whole Angel having no breath thing? Does he actually let Xander do the CPR to ease tension between them, or does the talking vamp really have no breath? Where did the tentacles come from and why – did they really add anything worthwhile? Lots of wonderful lines, though – are any of your favourites here?

Thoughts, on either episode or the season as a whole? And how excited are you on a scale of one to ten, to go on to S2?
Or, more accurately, a nightmare. Or Nightmares.

As in fact, was finding screencaps for this ep - the usual site having a broken link (I suspect) where they should be. So, thanks in this instance to, for stepping into the breach.

In case you hadn't gathered from the title, this episode is all about nightmares. Some of them are silly.


Like so. Come on, Cordy. We all have bad hair days. Surely it's not your worst nightmare?

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And here we move forward into the final trio of episodes in Season One. Next week will be a "catch-up" week, BTW, so if you feel you are dropping behind, worry not.

This was the only season to be completed before broadcast, which is why we see some elements from this week's episodes in Buffy's nightmare in the first episode. Or perhaps it's just Slayer predictive dreams?

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And that's the season. Some gems there, I'm sure you'll agree, but also a lot of finding of feet. (Hint: look below the ankle.) What did you enjoy about the season? Would it be best just to start with S2, or are there important things that would be lost that way? Do you have a favourite S1 moment, image or line?
A couple of MOTW episodes now - the first is not much-loved - but perhaps you would like to defend it? The second introduces Snyder, the Principal we all love to hate.

Beneath the cut much picspam and recappage.Collapse )

So, are you sufficiently warned off the Internet? Do you feel sorry for Willow, though? Is it really impossible to have a nice, normal relationship on the Hellmouth?

Do puppets give you the wig too? Why did the demon turn out to be a character we'd seen hardly anything of? Is Snyder just the most horrible human in the show? What do you feel about his approach to discipline? And Giles/Jenny - cute or super-cute?

All caps, once more, are from Pretty as a Picture.
Well, I'd have to nominate my daughters, who argued with me about this very thing right up until Angel aired, and they were forced to admit that mum was (as always) right.



This is the episode where - Hallelujah! - Angel's character finally started to make some kind of sense (though since the gypsies only cursed him with a soul, not to speak in riddles) it still doesn't really explain his Cryptic Guy schtick.

Never mind. He looks so pretty in BtVS season 1 (my favourite season Angel Looks-wise) that I can forgive him.



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24 February 2015 @ 12:22 am
Past the halfway mark of the first season. Is it getting into its stride? Do we feel comfortable with these characters? Do we care what happens to them?

This week we will be looking at:


Angel seminekkid buffy107_072

In which Buffy discovers what might happen if your boyfriend gets turned on, Xander is rude to Cordelia, Giles feels he’s done enough work on the quarterstaff and the Master needs consolation.

I Robot, You Jane

buffy108_215 I Robot Willow

In which Willow gains a boyfriend, Giles tells Jenny knowledge should be smelly and Buffy and her friends face a romance-free future. Flashbacks are a thing that happens.

The Puppet Show

Puppet Show Cordy sings buffy109_013

In which Giles directs talent, Cordelia demonstrates it, Snyder is scathing, the end-credits are the BEST EVER and Buffy has to face a dummy.


More in detail on these episodes on Thursday and Friday, as usual. For now, is the 90s internet just too funny, too depressing or too unconvincing? Is this the point where we all became Bangels? And do dummies give you the wig?

Caps, as usual, are from Pretty as A Picture.
Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

Cut to hide pictures and recappage.Collapse )
One could call this the Lord of the Flies episode (complete with Piggy); the moral about the behaviour of groups is fairly thickly laid on. This is another episode in which the unthinkable happens – Flutie is the second faculty member to die in three weeks, and the authority figure. Clearly nobody is safe in this show. Especially not figures of responsibility or people who are nice to Buffy. We may just see more of this trend. Not to mention Principals being eaten.

I suspect people have already said everything they have to say about this episode, which, if it has an underlying message at all, seems to be saying, beware of predatory older women (or, in Dr Gregory's case, I suppose, women).

However, maybe if we revisit some of its stellar moments (there are some, I swear), it will spark further discussion.

First, we have Xander's daydream, which could well be the stand-out most embarrassing scene of the entire show.



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16 February 2015 @ 09:19 pm
Thanks to everyone who commented on last week's posts. This week we plan to do roughly the same - today's post reminds you of the episodes in question, and on Thursday and Friday there will be fuller recaps with some possibly leading questions.

So, this week we move on into Season One with:

Teacher's Pet

Teachers Pet

In which biology is studied and some of our friends are tied up for a while. Sunnydale High faculty has certain issues, including staff retention.

Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

Never Kill a Boy

In which Giles is critical of Buffy's technique, Cordy wants a fair share of the salty goodness and Owen gets a little too enthusiastic. Angel is mysterious.

The Pack

The Pack

In which a school trip gets complicated, the lunch provided for the students proves inadequate, Xander expresses his attraction to Buffy rather forcefully and faculty staffing continues to be an issue at Sunnydale High. Angel is mysterious. And confused.


So, any preliminary thoughts? Worst-dressed Scooby? How annoying is Angel, exactly, on a scale of one to ten? How far should Xander be accountable for his actions?
13 February 2015 @ 01:48 pm
Have you ever wished that the first two seasons of Buffy were better looking? Less, well, dark? You're not alone. If you have PIVOT, you can watch/record 10 bright, shiny remastered early BtVS episodes during their Valentine's Day marathon! That's tomorrow! What could be more romantic?

Schedule here (change to your time zone for best results)
Pivot availability here
13 February 2015 @ 04:55 pm
Some shallow thoughts about the third BtVS season 1 episode, The Witch (with screencaps shamelessly lifted from the same site that gillo got hers - all power to them), in which Giles shows us he's not just some stuffy Brit caricature, while looking extremely gorgeous.



Buffy is enslaved by a terrifying cult....

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12 February 2015 @ 03:21 pm
And here's a closer look at the first two episodes. How well do you feel they stand up to the ::gulp:: eighteen years since they were filmed? What do you see in the characters when we first meet them which will become more obvious later? What, apart from the datedness of clothes and computer hardware, annoys you on a rewatch that you might not have noticed back then? If this was the premiere of a new show now, would you even watch it?

[Under the cut for a rambling and personal set of thoughts on the opening double bill.]
Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest

The opening makes a real statement about the show – the familiar school setting at an unfamiliar time, the use of very restricted lighting to create an eerie atmosphere, the camera at eye-level so we travel through the corridor with it, into the biology lab, so the first thing we see in any detail is a skeleton and some other, probably icky, biology stuff. Then the crash, which makes the viewr jump, however much you expect it. The colours have been firmly nailed to the mast – horror, using all the familiar visual tropes of creepy films. And the nervous-looking blonde girlstanding behind the boy who is being all rough, violent, manly.

Joss says in the commentary, “Anybody who’s well-versed in horror movies knows what’s going to happen in this scene.” And then Darla changes and turns out to be way, way nastier than the young man, now her victim. “Nothing is as it seems”, the mission statement for the show.

We don’t see her again for a while, but presumably she then gets busy, during the credits, finishing her feed and dragging the corpse some distance, breaking into a locker room and then a locker (relocking it after herself too, which is impressive) in order to plant the body where it will have maximum impact. Which is exactly what vampires always do as they like to draw attention to themselves. Or not.

Buffy’s nightmare – according to Joss it’s all about being haunted by her past, but it’s all clips from later in the season.

Cut to very bright, sunny day, saturated in colour. The sharp contrast is another mission statement – the two worlds which contrast and mesh. And we see poor, doomed Principal Flutie, simultaneously inviting her to make free of the school and taping her transcript back together – the past does matter, after all.

First meetings – Xander makes an idiot of himself, but identifies a stake accurately, which is odd – but perhaps not in Sunnydale, which had a Hellmouth before Buffy ever arrived.

Cordelia and Buffy meet in a classroom. The bell goes as the teacher is actually asking a question and everyone immediately stands up, starts talking and moves. Anyone trying that in any classroom of mine, back when I was teaching, would have been dead for discourtesy. Just sayin’. Though a teacher who pays no attention to the time in planning a lesson possibly deserves rude pupils. It’s things like this, presumably intended to help create a familiar setting, which leap out at me. Are text books generally stored in the library? Where? Sunnydale High School mystifies me, and I’m never quite sure how much of it is the fiction taking short cuts and how much is just culture clash.

What does work for me, though, is the bitchiness and cliquishness exemplified by Cordelia and explained by Willow. Buffy has been one of the inner golden circle at her last school, before the pyromania, but now she is by definition an outsider. The hero is our representative here – we see the new school through her eyes and share her reactions.

Outside she accosts Willow and makes a positive choice to align herself with the unpopular crew. We see the foursome clearly intended to be the core of the show – Xander in an awful shirt, Willow in that pinafore dress, Jesse in screaming orange, offering Cordelia a shoulder to nibble on. Nibbling people – not such a good idea, pal. It seems like a prime spot to gather. Shouldn’t it be dominated by the cool crew? (Talking of which, there was a teeny tiny glimpse of Harmony in the school corridor.)

And Buffy goes to get text books from the library. (Is this really a thing in US high schools?) She meets an over-excited librarian with remarkably little concept of respecting a student's personal space. Perhaps that's his Watcher training?

Giles meets Buffy

Later, Buffy has only two dresses, gets both out then doesn’t change from what she was wearing anyway. According to the commentary, “enormous slut” was quite controversial with the network. How times have changed. And then Buffy meets Angel and Davis Boreanaz tries to act. You can’t even blame his inexperience, as half the scene was shot at the end of the season. He gives her a cross, so of course he can’t be a vampire, can he? (Thinky thoughts – is it just the cross that hurts or the chain too? Where did he get it from – and how?)

The Bronze. How we will grow to love it and its cockroaches. Willow is sweet and we marvel for the first time at the ease with which under-age customers get in, but never dream of drinking what they are not supposed to drink. Then Giles appears and is not at all creepy as he lectures Buffy. And she’s off, chasing a vamp, almost staking Cordy en route. And it turns out Cordy has a mobile (cell) phone. Little do we yet guess it will be the only one in Sunnydale for some years as she pulls out the aerial to telephone everyone she’s ever met.

And the heroine rushes to the rescue, staking seventies vamp in the nick of time. She does a powerful lot of running, that girl. But, oh horror, here is Luke, whose moves are almost as good as Buffy’s, and she is trapped in a coffin in which the body has decayed to skeletal form but the quilted satin has remained shiny. He bares his fangs…




It turns out crosses and their chains hurt vampires. Either that or Luke is secretly a big wuss. Astonishingly easily, our heroine is able to run off. But woe indeed! Where is Jesse?

Giles is exposition man. Xander has a green shirt with mushrooms on. Or clouds. Or spaceships. Buffy has a cold pack on her arm. Willow has an orange top and dungarees.

Jesse meets the master. Darla lisps. So do most of the other vamps in this episode. Jesse gets to be bait.

Willow has never heard of any sort of data protection laws. It makes life easier, but is this the first we see of her shaky ethics?

Giles leans over Willow. Inappropriately close? He wears tweed but a dark green shirt which is arguably a bit edgy.

Buffy has to argue with the Principal and then jump, backwards, from a standing start, over a very high gate. So she’s gone, and we see Willow and Xander worry until she can get to a mausoleum. Creepy music with screechy bits – nice and ominous. And Angel is behind her. How did he get into the space through a very sunny day? And they look deep into each other’s eyes. Joss in the commentary is very appreciative of rats as quality actors. As we shall see.

And Xander has followed Buffy. How did he get past Angel, one has to ask. They go through tunnels, of which Sunnydale already clearly has a lot.

Awww. Giles has a card catalogue. How sweet.

And Harmony and Cordy are rubbish at computing. So Willow fights back, subtly. The hardware really dates the show now, and I think I’m even more aware of it than the carbon-dated costumes. (Probably because I was never actually in the fashion in the 90s, so don’t really recognise it.)

Jesse turns out to have gone to the dark side, and suddenly Buffy struggles to push a door shut. Yet she can jump. There’s definitely a mismatch in degrees of strength she and various vampires show at different points in these two episodes. And Buffy and Xander escape into an electricity plant. Do we ever see it again? I doubt it.

More library, more pseudo-explanation of what is going on. Meanwhile, highly flammable vampires make with candles everywhere. And Luke sucks the Master off blood to fuse his (non-existent) soul with the Master’s.

Xander is upset at the death of Jesse. He kicks some furniture to show how sad he is. So that’s dealt with, then. Just as well, as no-one will ever talk about him again after this episode.

Joyce confronts Buffy. She is cluelessness personified about the slayage stuff, and takes her advice from tapes, it would seem. Buffy gets out a trunk of anti-vamp stuff. I’m not sure we ever see that again. Joss says it’s a metaphor for the layers of her character, teenage girl on top, Slayer underneath. I note she has garlic in there – do we ever see it actually used against a vampire, actually in a fight, I mean?

Jesse is now a sex magnet. He’s confident and broody now. Cordy likes being talked to rudely – is this really a feminist message here?

And the vamps invade The Bronze. Luke appears to have good lighting control – perhaps one of his minions was a techie in previous life? As he feeds the Master appears to be approaching orgasm. Good for him.

Buffy and the Cavalry arrive and she is in charge. The Master hams it up a bit – well, he has to shout now he’s all alone underground. Back in the club Buffy challenges Luke by throwing a stray minion at him. The (not-yet) Scoobies get most of the people out, but Jesse has time to almost-rape Cordy before Xander offs him – by accident. (And with a stake through the collar-bone by the look of it.)

And sunlight is not through the window Buffy breaks, but it distracts Luke enough that she dusts him. And all the eaten corpses vanish too. But Buffy looks really cool, so that's OK.

Buffy in Bronze iconic

Final sequence – we see how keen Sunnydale people are to explain things away.

And the earth is doomed.

Thoughts on the double bill:

How young they look, and how badly-dressed. And how cheerful and lively too. Jesse dies, yet they are joking around in the final scene with Giles as if he’d never existed. Yet he was Xander’s best friend and clearly liked by Willow, if not by Cordelia. People who blame Xander for his reaction to the news of Anya’s death at the end of the series – it’s in his character from the first. In practical terms, the team cannot go through all the stages of grief and loss at the start of the first season, and there’s a heck of a lot of collateral damage in those first twelve episodes, so from a Doylist perspective it’s OK that Jesse is never mentioned again. But would it have hurt to have a couple of continuity shout-outs later?

Giles has an infectious excitement for all the things of the dark which we shall see again. And Willow, timid and shy as she may be presented, is still very eager to go outside with the strange vamp – for a snog at the very least, one must assume. She’s also ready to hack files – and does it improbably easily – and has no qualms in destroying Cordy’s work for her. Sweet, yes, but even at this stage not wholly innocent – and with a wonderful turn of words.

Lots of ideas here. The special effects are a little ropy. It was made in 1996, so they would be. The lighting is excellent and covers up a myriad of sins. Young DB was hellish sexy. So was Tony Head.

If it was on now, for the first time, I think I’d blench at the cheesiness. But I think I’d still be willing to give it another chance. And I’m very glad indeed that I gave it that chance a bit over fifteen years ago.

I should add that all the screencaps I am using came from Pretty As A Picture, heir to the late lamented Screencap Paradise.
09 February 2015 @ 03:26 pm
There are differences in content for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, depending on what format we watch. Sometimes there is a "previously on" at the beginning, or an "into each generation..." intro. There may be cuts to make space for more commercials, or for "objectionable" language or sex. So what are our options?

Poll #1998548 Media types

The format I will most likely rewatch is:

VHS tapes I made of the first broadcast of each episode.
Region 1 (USA & Canada) DVDs.
Region 2 (Europe) DVDs.
DVDs from some other region which I will specify in the comments.
Streaming video, such as on Netflix or Amazon.
Remastered hi-definition, reformatted episodes, such as those broadcast on Pivot.
Some other format that I will explain in the comments.
If you notice any glaring content differences or disappearances, please bring them up in the discussions!
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09 February 2015 @ 10:08 pm
Here we are, folks, ready to begin the Great Buffyverse Rewatch of 2015.

To begin at the beginning...

This is intended to be as inclusive as possible. If you want to watch only one episode in a week and comment on that one, or watch more slowly and add comments to a post later, that's fine. If you want to create a new post to discuss something again, that's also fine. If you want to post artwork or fic relevant to the discussion, that is absolutely fine, though please do so in separate posts - members should be able to post OK, but drop me a PM, (or bogwitch, shapinglight or rebcake) if you have a problem.

Please feel free to discuss as much as you want. We will assume everyone has already seen the show once at least, so if you feel the need to point out foreshadowing or references to what comes next, that's OK.

So, here we go

Where it all began, under the cut.Collapse )

So, when did you first see these? What was your initial reaction? And now? We'll be back with discussion prompts on Thursday, but feel free to comment and debate below.
06 February 2015 @ 12:33 am
Starting next week this comm will be hosting a Buffy the Vampire Slayer rewatch, with space for discussion, comments and any gifs, art, or even fics you fancy throwing into the mix.

The plan is as follows:

Every Monday we will post the titles of three episodes (chronological order) with a brief summary or mildly sarcastic summary because some of us are British. You are welcome to jump in and respond to that post with any points you want to make about any or all of the episodes in question. Discussion may ensue.

Every Thursday there will be a further post, asking some leading questions or making some assertions about the episodes in question, in the hope of triggering further discussion/comments. There should also be a reminder of the episodes scheduled for the following week, in case you want to use some weekend time to watch them.

We assume most members here know the show fairly well, so if you don't have time to rewatch all three episodes, feel free to comment if you feel you have something to say. Meta is particularly encouraged.

Three was the number of episodes chosen by the majority of those who voted in the poll. If it looks too taxing/too slow, we reserve the right to adjust the pace.

gillo, shapinglight and bogwitch will mostly be leading the discussion, if "leading" is the right term. We're mainly interested in creating a platform for people to chat about what they love or hate about the show and how their current reactions may have changed from the first time they watched.

Next week we will start with the first three eps, Welcome to the Hellmouth, The Harvest and The Witch. Travel back in time with us, marvel at the clothes, the special effects, the baby faces of teh Scoobies. Have fun!
03 February 2015 @ 08:39 pm
There have been some rumblings lately that people are in need of a BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER REWATCH! Can you feel it? Do you wanna?

We, your mods, have been kicking around the idea of opening up this community to discussion in support of this rewatch. What do you think?

Poll #1997908 BtVS rewatch

I think I'd like to:

Share my impressions as I rewatch!
Read what other people have to say as I rewatch!
Chime in when I feel moved, but don't ask me to rewatch.
Probably just lurk. I've heard/seen it all already.
Skip it. This rewatch lark is not my cuppa.

For purposes of discussion, I think the community should cover:

3 episodes per week.
4 episodes per week.
5 episodes per week.
Some other number of episodes per week, which I will explain in the comments.

We'll be back with more info very soon!
15 October 2013 @ 10:57 am
Déjà vu

A Giles-centric post NFA short ficlet/long drabble.

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15 October 2013 @ 10:50 am
When You Need a Friend
Rated PG
A short post-NFA friendship ficlet written for Gabrielle

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15 October 2013 @ 10:43 am
I Wanna Tell You How it's Gonna Be
Rated G
A short post-NFA ficlet written for my lovely beta Slaymesoftly.

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