This is a continuation of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer thread I started over on the “old board” last April. Alan and Mike convinced me that the show’s move from the WB to the UPN and the start of season six is a logical time to move this discussion to the board’s new home. For those of you who might be new to the discussion, I am in the process of watching this series, start to finish, for the first time. I don’t provide much in the way of recap because I’m working under the assumption that most of you reading this thread have at least a passing familiarity with the series. The ground rules of this discussion are simple: I can (and will) spoil anything I want to, but you can’t spoil anything I haven’t seen yet. Ready? Okay, let’s begin.

SEASON SIX: EPISODES 1/2: “BARGAINING—PARTS 1/2”

I actually don’t have much to say about the two-part season opener. Most of it was spent resetting Buffy’s apparent death at the end of season five. Shouldn’t her death have triggered a new Slayer to have been called up? Judging from the opening credits it looks as if Giles is going to be out of the cast on a permanent (or at least semi-permanent) basis. I’m really enjoying the development of the “relationship” between Buffy and Spike thoughout last season and into this one. Apparently even vampires are subject to classical conditioning!

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Alan M. said:
I've spoken before about why I grew disenchanted with season six, but it was in an old thread on the old board, so I'll revisit the issue for you, Jeff. You're far enough along that I'm not worried about flavoring your opinions at this point...

(As a caveat: I've never re-watched seasons six or seven, which means that I am at this point working from seven-plus-year-old memories, so take whatever dose of salt you need to continue.)

Despite Ana's explanation of why some fans felt season six marked a decline, I was never of the "Buffy would never...blah...blah..." camp; nor was it, as such, some of the turns taken in the plot, as Tracy observed. For me it was all about the mood — season six was a major downer. Joss Whedon has said that this season was deliberately designed to reflect that period of loss, directionlessness, and bad choices that many of us face in our early 20s, and I can respect that. The problem comes, though, in that there was no character who wasn't feeling that in season six. There was no reprise; no main character the audience could look to as an island in the sea of tumult. In this season, it seemed that every victory was hollow, and to be hit with that week after week for the better part of a year is...dispiriting.

(This is where watching it on DVD and can controlling the pace and viewing experience makes a difference. Letting the story flow at the pace it works for you can take the edge off; coming back week after week for appointment TV to see another example of characters you love winning hollow victories and struggling with emptiness and ennui is kind of heartbreaking.)

Certainly, it doesn't help that some of the storytelling points felt particularly heavy-handed (I'm looking at you, magic addiction and ridiculously phallic Doublemeat Palace demon), or that some of the characterization felt off. But heavy-handed story points and off characterization aren't new to this show, so those aren't what marks the slide to me. But taking away the feeling of hope? That is new to the show, and it's an ingredient whose absence many fans felt knocked Buffy the Vampire Slayer off its moorings.

Wow...you've hit the nail right on the head. I've tried for a long time to figure out why these seasons didn't work for me...and, I'm sorry, I think season seven is just...um...not good...and you're right!
Thanks, Doc! That analysis kind of came together for me a couple years ago, when Chris was watching Buffy for the first time, and questioned why people didn't like season six. There's a whole different explanation for why I think season seven continued the off-track-ness of the show, rather than s6 being a one-off, but I'll save that until Jeff gets there. :P Except to say...

Something to keep in mind about seasons six and seven: this was the time that Whedon was developing, creating, pitching, etc. Firefly, and so he turned the day-to-day of Buffy over to executive producer Marti Noxon. He says he was still very hands-on with the show, and I don't doubt that's true, but I think Noxon brought a different influence to how the stories played out week to week. What that taught me (and which subsequent evidence* has more or less** borne out) is that I'm much less interested in a show in which Marti Noxon is a major player.

* – I'm looking at you, Point Pleasant.
** – I'm catching up on season two of Mad Men and noticed that, as of episode six, she is a consulting producer on the show. I don't yet know if that means anything...
Alan M. said:
Despite Ana's explanation of why some fans felt season six marked a decline, I was never of the "Buffy would never...blah...blah..." camp; nor was it, as such, some of the turns taken in the plot, as Tracy observed. For me it was all about the mood — season six was a major downer. Joss Whedon has said that this season was deliberately designed to reflect that period of loss, directionlessness, and bad choices that many of us face in our early 20s, and I can respect that. The problem comes, though, in that there was no character who wasn't feeling that in season six. There was no reprise; no main character the audience could look to as an island in the sea of tumult. In this season, it seemed that every victory was hollow, and to be hit with that week after week for the better part of a year is...dispiriting.

This is exactly why I stopped watching the show shortly in the beginning of season 7. It had ceased being fun.
Noxon herself has confirmed that she was largely responsible for the Twilight-esque "emo" version of Spike that we got during these seasons as well. Spike's portrayal was one of the main qualms I had with the series at the time.
Ha...As someone who has read Twilight, Spike Season 6 is not Edward like at all...try again.

KSwolf said:
Noxon herself has confirmed that she was largely responsible for the Twilight-esque "emo" version of Spike that we got during these seasons as well. Spike's portrayal was one of the main qualms I had with the series at the time.
Uh oh...Twilight fight in 3...2...
Not really. It just that Twilight-Emo is just not descriptive of Spike.

Doc Beechler said:
Uh oh...Twilight fight in 3...2...
Doc Beechler said:
Uh oh...Twilight fight in 3...2...

"Twilight fight"? I'm sure that would involve a lot of slapping and kicks that never really connect...
okay...I guess we could end having one of those...=)

Rich Lane said:
Doc Beechler said:
Uh oh...Twilight fight in 3...2...

"Twilight fight"? I'm sure that would involve a lot of slapping and kicks that never really connect...
I didn't say Spike was Edward-esque, I said he was Twilight-esque.

As someone who has also read Twilight (well, the first two-thirds of it anyway -- I just couldn't get into it), I think my comparison is a valid one. Spike's entire character arc during seasons six and seven felt like it was specifically designed to make teen and pre-teen girls fall in love with him. With all of his overwrought dramatics and adolescent angst, it seems to me that season 6 Spike would have felt right at home in Stephanie Meyer's world. They're both tapping into the same teenage mindsets and cultural vibes that make the "emo culture" so appealing to a lot of kids.

In other words, I stand by my statement.


Ana Canino-Fluit (Anacoqui) said:
Ha...As someone who has read Twilight, Spike Season 6 is not Edward like at all...try again.

KSwolf said:
Noxon herself has confirmed that she was largely responsible for the Twilight-esque "emo" version of Spike that we got during these seasons as well. Spike's portrayal was one of the main qualms I had with the series at the time.
Yeah, well, I don't have the slightest idea what I'm talking about, but Bela Lugosi's Dracula could kick the living crap out of Spike and all the Twilight vampires, too! So there! Bleah!
SEASON SIX: EPISODE 18: “ENTROPY”
SEASON SIX: EPISODE 19: “SEEING RED”
SEASON SIX: EPISODE 20: “VILLAINS”
SEASON SIX: EPISODE 21: “TWO TO GO”
SEASON SIX: EPISODE 22: “GRAVE”


I had to go out of town for a couple of days at the end of last week, and “Entropy” was the last episode I watched before I left. We finished out season six upon our return, but I’ll get to that presently. I spent some of my downtime contemplating this discussion as I left it, spurred by Alan’s overview of the season. I’m always ready to accept the notion that too often too many people make decisions based on emotion rather than reason, but Alan countered my easy acceptance of Ana’s explanation with a reasoned analysis of what he didn’t like about season six. Now we’re in “horse race” territory. I don’t necessarily agree with Alan’s assessment, but I can accept it.

The response I would have written on Thursday is somewhat different than what I might have written if he’d’ve posted his analysis after I’ve seen the remaining four episodes of season six, but to begin let’s set the WABC machine for August 13.

ALAN: For me it was all about the mood — season six was a major downer.

If Chris, watching season six for the first time, questioned why some fans didn’t like it, I found myself wondering the same thing… until I read Alan’s analysis. I can see it, but the trend of my enjoying each season of the show more than the previous one has continued into the sixth; it is my favorite so far. That may have something to do with it being “in the can” and my watching the entire season in quick succession, I don’t know. As an aside, I’ve been trying to get a co-worker (who likes Buffy) interested in Doctor Who. She watched “Planet of the Dead” but feared she wouldn’t like the regular series because the special was dark enough.

ALAN: Joss Whedon has said that this season was deliberately designed to reflect that period of loss, directionlessness, and bad choices that many of us face in our early 20s, and I can respect that.

Yes, I can absolutely see that.

ALAN: The problem comes, though, in that there was no character who wasn't feeling that in season six.

Willow was my anchor in that respect this season. A favorite character of mine since the beginning, she hit rock bottom but was in the process of pulling herself up and successfully fixing her broken relationship with Tara. Someone once said the key to telling a story with a happy ending, though, is knowing when to stop.

ALAN: There was no reprise; no main character the audience could look to as an island in the sea of tumult. In this season, it seemed that every victory was hollow, and to be hit with that week after week for the better part of a year is...dispiriting.

I know exactly what you mean. I’ve virtually abandoned Marvel Comics for that very reason. I don’t feel that way about Buffy, though, and I find myself very much looking forward to season seven!

Note to Ana: You were definitely right about the metaphor of Spike and Buffy’s relationship. Spike has absolutely fallen out of favor in Tracy’s eyes; she will never forgive him.

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