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Priceless
29-01-18, 10:49 AM
The Guardian newspaper asked what are the definitive series of the best TV shows? And decides that for Buffy the Vampire Slayer it was S4:

The fourth season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer has been much maligned, and its flaws are certainly evident. The concept that held the show together was reliant on its high school setting. It was about the horrors of adolescence, turned into monsters that could be battled: everything from the fear of being unpopular to classroom crushes were made manifest by the supernatural. In taking the characters to college, and putting them through a largely miserable transition to adulthood, many felt that season four lacked the vim the show once possessed. But season four produced some of the most inventive moments of the entire series. There was Hush, a near-silent episode in which everyone in Sunnydale lost their voices, and Restless: a surreal and witty shared dream that foreshadowed the more confident but less solid season five. Season four had to leave teen angst in the smouldering ruins of Sunnydale High, but in its place was a newfound maturity that marked a series peak, and has endured far beyond its first impressions. RN


Not sure I agree. I'm actually a big fan of S6. What do you think?

a thing of evil
29-01-18, 11:33 AM
I can agree with that. Season 4 is amazing. Look, it may not have the strongest main arc or the best big bad, it may not have "Innocence" or "Passion" or "The Body" ( it does have "Hush" and "Restless" though ) and it's not big on angst and drama either but what it does have is the sheer number of good™ episodes. Season 4 is front to back quality.

TimeTravellingBunny
29-01-18, 12:35 PM
Well, tastes are certainly different, so it's no surprise that there's someone out there (who happens to be a writer for The Guardian) who thinks S4 is the best season of BtVS... but would I agree? Oh hell no. A few excellent standalone episodes and one of the main characters having an interesting arc certainly don't make it one of the better seasons, with a poor Big Bad and the weakest main storyline, with a lot of focus on one of the show's least dynamic and interesting characters and a rather chemistry-free ship, and way too much comedy/light-heartedness even when it is out of place (especially obvious in S4's treatment of Spike). Season 4 has its charms and some really amazing individual episodes, but I would put it far behind S5 (the strongest candidate for the best season of BtVS) as well as seasons 2, 3 and 6 (in whichever order you want).

Silver1
29-01-18, 02:50 PM
I hated season 4 at the time, but grew to love it down the years. I originally disliked the science v Supernatural angle, but in the end loved it.

Season 4 had some damn good episodes in it, and I loved the higher comedy content.

flow
29-01-18, 10:16 PM
I do appreciate season 4, but I have to agree with TimeTravellingBunny, that the weakness of this season is the BigBad. Season 4`s BigBad is a bad idea from the beginning and it is badly executed as well. And that is, what drags an otherwise very good season down.

If I put my Spuffy goggles aside, I would say, that season 5 is the best season of them all. Wearing my Spuffy goggles, I`d say, season 6 and season 7 are the best.

flow

Stoney
30-01-18, 05:31 PM
2, 5 & 6 are the strongest individual seasons I think (although I always do tend to think of 7 as very much the second half to S6). But all the seasons have their strong points, some outstanding aspects and great episodes. Objectively considered, five probably is the best, but six is my favourite.

Four is certainly one of the weakest and has issues in structure and DB/SMG seriously lacking onscreen chemistry, but I'm a very rare creature that loves Adam. The whole science/magic outlook comparisons is interesting and there really are some great high points in the season. The thing that makes BtVS such an outstanding series is that the hierarchical structure of greatness is pretty flat! So much of it is so very good. Even the weaker parts have some really strong merit within them.

Priceless
30-01-18, 11:53 PM
I love all of Buffy, and Season 4's standalone episodes are some of the best, but as everyone has said, the season arc is poor. Maggie Walsh should have been the big bad of the season. She would have been far more interesting than Adam, who I found quite bland. Forrest was more interesting than Adam.

Stoney
31-01-18, 05:34 AM
She would have been far more interesting than Adam, who I found quite bland. Forrest was more interesting than Adam.

:ohwell: Adam was so sinister though. That whole scene with the kid in the woods was uber creepy and threatening, to have such a dispassionate treatment like that shown towards a child was great (in a not great way of course!). A bad guy that will literally pull you apart just out of interest. :err:

Silver1
31-01-18, 08:42 AM
I love all of Buffy, and Season 4's standalone episodes are some of the best, but as everyone has said, the season arc is poor. Maggie Walsh should have been the big bad of the season. She would have been far more interesting than Adam, who I found quite bland. Forrest was more interesting than Adam.

Well I imagine you've hear the story that the actress who played Walsh wanted out of her contact early, and so the whole arc had to be hurriedly changed making Adam move forward as the main big bad. If she hadn't left I imagine things would have played out very differently.

MikeB
31-01-18, 08:55 AM
It's laughable to regard BtVS S4 as the best Season of BtVS.

"The high school setting" produced Buffy/Angel, Spike/Dru, Faith, etc. BtVS S4 produced Willow/Tara in place of Willow/Oz; it produced Riley and Adam.


But season four produced some of the most inventive moments of the entire series. There was Hush, a near-silent episode in which everyone in Sunnydale lost their voices, and Restless: a surreal and witty shared dream that foreshadowed the more confident but less solid season five. Calling BtVS S5 "less solid" than BtVS S4 is beyond laughable and even the writer's argument only lists 2 episodes that were "great".

BtVS S2: pretty much all the episodes containing Spike and Dru were great: 10/22 episodes.

BtVS S3: The entire Season is great.

BtVS S4: Some episodes are great.

BtVS S5: The entire Season is great. Some don't like "Buffy vs. Dracula" (B 5.01), but that's still 21/22 great episodes.

BtVS S6: The entire Season is great. Some don't like Buffy/Spike. Some don't like Willow's magic addiction.

BtVS S7: On DVD and/or "binge-watching", it's great. The only downside is there is no on-screen Buffy/Spike kissing, sex, etc.


Season four had to leave teen angst in the smouldering ruins of Sunnydale High, but in its place was a newfound maturity that marked a series peak, and has endured far beyond its first impressions. RN "New-found" maturity? How did Buffy deal with Parker's not wanting to be her boyfriend? How did Willow deal with Oz's leaving? Buffy essentially abandons the Scoobies for Riley and the Initiative. Spike is largely aimless.

Another beyond laughable argument. Buffy in BtVS S5 deals with her mother's death. Buffy has to be Dawn's mother. Xander matures in his career. The Season is about Family. Spike greatly matures if one considers choosing a chance with Buffy over being with Drusilla maturity. But he becomes an older brother/uncle/father figure to Dawn.

BtVS S6 has Buffy dealing with the Department of Children and Family Services. Buffy has to get a job. Anya is now a partner in the Magic Shop. Dawn deals with abandonment issues. Willow deals with addiction.

BtVS S7 has Buffy becoming the General of Buffy and Co. She gets a "real job". Willow is forced to fully embrace Willow's power. The Season is about Power.


BtVS hasn't endured: Riley and Buffy/Riley is the least popular Buffy relationship among her main 3 relationships. Adam is one of the least liked main Season villains. The only thing about BtVS S4 that endured is Willow/Tara. Overall, BtVS S4 maybe endures more than BtVS S1, but even that's very arguable given BtVS S1 introduced the series, Buffy/Angel, Xander's love and want of Buffy, Willow's attachment and loyalty to Buffy, Giles's attachment and loyalty to Buffy, the Master, etc. And "Prophecy Girl" (B 1.12) is considered one of the best episodes of BtVS.

Overall, in terms of "endurance": BtVS S2, BtVS S5, and BtVS S6 have endured the most.

flow
31-01-18, 02:22 PM
Well I imagine you've hear the story that the actress who played Walsh wanted out of her contact early, and so the whole arc had to be hurriedly changed making Adam move forward as the main big bad. If she hadn't left I imagine things would have played out very differently.

I have never heard that ! That is really interesting and it does explain a lot about the season arc falling apart in the middle of the season. Darn, now I want to know, how the original plan would have worked !

flow

vampmogs
04-02-18, 02:10 AM
I definitely wouldn’t consider S4 the “best” season but objectively speaking I don’t see how anyone could rate it lower than S7. All you have to do is rewatch A New Moon Rising or Who Are You and then rewatch any episode of S7 and it is clear that by S7 that writers were “exhausted” (Whedon’s own words) and that the series had taken a significant nosedive in quality. S4’s main arc may have been weak but the writers were still emotionally invested in all the characters, the show still had heart, the series was still pushing itself creatively, and the writers still had a lot to say. S7 is just a pale imitation of what the show once was with uninspired scripts, painfully dull cinematography and direction, a myopic focus on just Buffy and Spike (and to a lesser extent Willow) whilst the rest of the cast is reduced to background scenery, and a noticeable shift in prioritizing plot over characters – made worse by the fact that the plot was riddled with plot holes.

I mean, it’s actually astounding how badly the writers drop the ball in S7 when it comes to fleshing out the characters and the relationships between the cast. What were Xander and Willow’s opinion of Buffy/Spike? What was Buffy and Xander’s opinion of Willow/Kennedy? Did Xander and Willow even know that Giles betrayed Buffy in LMPTM and, if they did, what was their opinion about it? What was Xander’s opinion of Robin Wood? Did Dawn change her opinion of Spike at all after threatening him in Beneath You? How did Dawn feel about Kennedy after loving Tara so much? The writer’s completely failed to flesh out the characters and develop the group dynamic *at all.* In S3 I could tell you exactly what Xander, Willow, Cordy, Oz, Giles and Joyce thought about Buffy/Angel. Heck, I could even tell you what Faith and The Mayor thought about Buffy/Angel. But Xander, Willow or Dawn’s opinion of Buffy/Spike in S7? Not a ****ing clue. Likewise, I could tell you exactly how Xander felt about Oz and Tara or how Willow felt about Cordy and Anya but I couldn’t tell you how Xander felt about Kennedy whatsoever.

One of my favourite things about BtVS was how well written all the characters were and how complex the Scooby Gang was. I loved that I could tell you how all the individual characters felt about each other and how the characters could have completely different opinions and relationships with one another. It made the characters feel so relatable and authentic. In S7 the writer’s failed to do that completely and a result the series suffered as the writer’s became fixated on the plot of the season over letting the drama and interpersonal relationships between the characters drive the show as they always had done. I shouldn’t have to guess how the main characters all feel about each other.

Stoney
04-02-18, 06:43 AM
It fitted for me the way that your friendships and romances separate greatly when you are growing up. The way that you can start to spend less time with your friendships when a romance develops as it takes a more serious amount of your time and focus. I think you do start to care less about what your friends think and become more independent of them. I saw that in S7 and found it very relatable, it was a shift that I found quite difficult in my early twenties with a very strong friendship I'd had for many years in particular. I do think that there were plot issues with The First but in relation to the interpersonal relationships, for me, it was all just a very steady and realistic depiction of growing up that the show captured very well in the change in tones over the later seasons. The progression has always been what I love about the show the most and I think the way the Scoobies changed but still retained their friendships, how they managed those periods of shift, was really well done.

EDIT: other personal issues/jobs etc start to command attention further and pull you apart too of course.

Priceless
04-02-18, 07:56 AM
uninspired scripts

Well Season 4 has it's share of uninspired scripts, Beer Bad, Doomed, The I In Team . . . in fact any script that included Riley and the Initiative could be called uninspired because their seasonal arc was uninspiring. Of course S4 has some amazing episodes to counter balance the not so great, but so has S7 and if you want inspiration look to Selfless, Conversations With Dead People, Sleeper . . .

flow
04-02-18, 09:28 AM
@vampmogs:I can see your point and a lot of your criticism of season 7 is valid and justified. But the same criticism is valid for the earlier seasons, including season 4, too.

I never really found out about Buffys opinion on Riley. Did she love him ? Did she not ? Why was she with him, if she did not love him ? How did Willow feel about Buffy being with a guy, she does not love ? How did Buffy feel in season 2, when she found out, Xander remembered the Hyena incident, something, he had lied to her about earlier. How was Buffy and Willows relationship in season 4 affected by the fact that Buffy still believed, Willow had told her to kill Angel at the end of season 2, while secretly restoring his Soul at the same time ? There are plenty more examples. but I hope, you get the general Impression, of what I am trying to say.

Willow and Xander both have more lines in season 7 than Spike has - though not significantly. Willow has 686 lines, Xander 615 and Spike 610. You can therefore say, that the focus was on Spike as much as it was on Xander and Willow (Buffy had almost three times the lines of each of them and was obviously the main focus of the show), but I do believe, that it is a bit far stretched, to say, that Xander or Willow were reduced to background scenery.

flow

vampmogs
04-02-18, 12:08 PM
It fitted for me the way that your friendships and romances separate greatly when you are growing up. The way that you can start to spend less time with your friendships when a romance develops as it takes a more serious amount of your time and focus. I think you do start to care less about what your friends think and become more independent of them. I saw that in S7 and found it very relatable, it was a shift that I found quite difficult in my early twenties with a very strong friendship I'd had for many years in particular. I do think that there were plot issues with The First but in relation to the interpersonal relationships, for me, it was all just a very steady and realistic depiction of growing up that the show captured very well in the change in tones over the later seasons. The progression has always been what I love about the show the most and I think the way the Scoobies changed but still retained their friendships, how they managed those periods of shift, was really well done.

I think you're being way too generous to the writers. Whedon admitted that during S7 he was "exhausted" and was burned out creatively with the series. Drew Goddard admitted that midway through the season a lot of the writers started jumping ship and looking for work elsewhere and that he had no one to turn to for guidance or support. Espenson conceded that a lot of the writers, herself included, had lost interest in some of the main characters when asked about S7's myopic focus on Buffy and Spike. The writer's failure to flesh out characters and their relationships wasn't a deliberate choice but a consequence of creative exhaustion and a writing team not as focused or invested in the story as they once were.

There's no excuse for the writer's failing to even address whether or not Willow and Xander knew about Giles' betrayal in LMPTM. Did they find out about it? Did they agree or disagree with his decision? What did they think about Buffy and Giles not speaking? Who knows. What did Xander even think about Principal Wood? No idea. Did Willow even know about the AR? Again, no idea. Did Xander and Kennedy ever even speak to each other directly? Don't think so. What was Willow's opinion of Spike's chip/trigger and Buffy's relationship with him? Was it clouding Buffy's judgement? Should she be concerned? I guess it's not important. None of these questions have anything to do with the characters growing up and having independent romantic relationships. I mean, I distinctly remember fans having to grasp at straws and try and determine how Xander feels about Spike based on the fact that (in his one line of the entire episode) Xander pats Spike on the shoulder down in the basement during LMPTM. That's how dire things had gotten that fans literally had to read into something so inconsequential just to try and get any kind of understanding how the characters felt about each other.



Willow and Xander both have more lines in season 7 than Spike has - though not significantly. Willow has 686 lines, Xander 615 and Spike 610. You can therefore say, that the focus was on Spike as much as it was on Xander and Willow (Buffy had almost three times the lines of each of them and was obviously the main focus of the show), but I do believe, that it is a bit far stretched, to say, that Xander or Willow were reduced to background scenery.

In my opinion, counting lines as a way of determining a character's significance to the plot is deeply flawed. Not only does it ignore the fact that Espenson conceded that the writers did lose interest in a lot of the main characters and focused more predominately on Spike, but it fails to take into account, for instance, how many of their lines may have been devoted to discussing Spike rather than a specific storyline of their own. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Xander had more lines than Spike in Sleeper as Spike spent a significant portion of the episode stalking in the shadows but the episode is undoubtedly about Spike and the plot revolves around him.

And there's nothing wrong with the season revolving around Spike, by the way. That's a perfectly valid choice for the writers to make and it wouldn't be at all different to S2 revolving largely around Angel. However, the difference is that S2 still fully fleshed out all the other main characters too and that the Buffy/Angel relationship had a significant impact on the other characters as well. I knew exactly what every other character thought about Angel. I knew how they all felt about each other as well. They were all fully-fleshed out, complex characters that had significant, messy, complicated relationships with one another, all distinct and important in their own ways. It's not a coincidence that by in large, S7's only real defenders are Spike/Spuffy-centric fans and that's because overall they're the only fans that got something worthwhile out of the season. The writers had clearly something left to tell about them but very little else to say about anyone else.

But honestly, I could go on for days about my problems with S7. I just consider it to be a shell of BtVS' greatness. It's not just the writing - it's the cinematography, directing, sets, and even the acting too. I can no longer even rewatch S7 episodes unless I am only rewatching S7. If I try and rewatch them back-to-back after an episode from another season I just end up depressed at how different I feel the quality is.

Stoney
04-02-18, 01:00 PM
I think you're being way too generous to the writers. Whedon admitted that during S7 he was "exhausted" and was burned out creatively with the series. Drew Goddard admitted that midway through the season a lot of the writers started jumping ship and looking for work elsewhere and that he had no one to turn to for guidance or support. Espenson conceded that a lot of the writers, herself included, had lost interest in some of the main characters when asked about S7's myopic focus on Buffy and Spike. The writer's failure to flesh out characters and their relationships wasn't a deliberate choice but a consequence of creative exhaustion and a writing team not as focused or invested in the story as they once were.

There's no excuse for the writer's failing to even address whether or not Willow and Xander knew about Giles' betrayal in LMPTM. Did they find out about it? Did they agree or disagree with his decision? What did they think about Buffy and Giles not speaking? Who knows. What did Xander even think about Principal Wood? No idea. Did Willow even know about the AR? Again, no idea. Did Xander and Kennedy ever even speak to each other directly? Don't think so. What was Willow's opinion of Spike's chip/trigger and Buffy's relationship with him? Was it clouding Buffy's judgement? Should she be concerned? I guess it's not important. None of these questions have anything to do with the characters growing up and having independent romantic relationships. I mean, I distinctly remember fans having to grasp at straws and try and determine how Xander feels about Spike based on the fact that (in his one line of the entire episode) Xander pats Spike on the shoulder down in the basement during LMPTM. That's how dire things had gotten that fans literally had to read into something so inconsequential just to try and get any kind of understanding how the characters felt about each other.

But that isn't the only time that Spike and Xander interact in the season and how Xander responds to him, works alongside him, has him stay at his place etc, it all builds into giving you an impression of how he is accepted and the boundaries/uncertainties that still exist. And the history between them and the history they have with Angel and working with him souled, drawing that line, this all builds into our understanding of what the situation is between Xander and Spike too. It's the same with Willow as well. Her relationship with Buffy and how they are moving past S6 plays its part in how Willow is responding to Buffy and Spike, on top of her history with Spike and Angel. There is so much past that comes into play in the current by the last season that I don't think they could or should need to have open conversations for a lot of this stuff any longer, but can leave it to the viewer to know the past and consider that against what they are seeing. I do think the relationship shifts in growing up matter a great deal and they would restrict how/when they would discuss these things. You just don't have the heartfelt conversations when you get older in my experience, pouring over ever angst and opening up all your feelings/insecurities out loud. An awful lot is left unsaid and you rub along together often by instinct of knowing each other so well. It just works in a different way and it would have seemed strange to me if they had gotten older and kept discussing everything as they had before. I don't think the viewer needs it personally.

Whether the writers were less inspired or not, it just works for me and it does so as part of the overall progression of the series for how they build coherently for all the characters on where they have come from since S1, which is why I really love the later seasons. And it isn't just romances of course, but individual issues, jobs, responsibilities etc. Perhaps it is just how it translates to my personal experience that makes me respond totally differently to it. But I do think it makes sense against growing up and works excellently as a continuation from where they all were in S6. The two seasons, for me, work brilliantly as a pair for covering this period of adjustment and how your relationships change under adult pressures, your friendships no longer have the same key primary focus against other conflicting draws, but if you do have lasting worthwhile connections you find a way to adjust and still manage in the end to be there for each other when needed, just differently.


It's not a coincidence that by in large, S7's only real defenders are Spike/Spuffy-centric fans and that's because overall they're the only fans that got something worthwhile out of the season. The writers had clearly something left to tell about them but very little else to say about anyone else.

I totally concede that as Spike is my favourite character, the fact his arc/progression and his relationship with Buffy are probably the strongest aspects of the season obviously will influence how happy I am with it overall. But I really do still think that the shift away from the original scoobie dynamic and the changes in how they interact, when they find it fails and when/how they are still able to strengthen each other is a very relatable part of growing up and works from where they have been and how they have all individually changed.

It would be interesting when we get to S7 in the rewatch to hear your thoughts on the different episodes as we go through the season to try and understand better where your issues are and if it is just a different pov and satisfaction in how the scoobie relationships and tone changed. I appreciate you might not want to rewatch, but brief episode specific thoughts would be interesting during if you have the time. :)

Sosa lola
04-02-18, 01:34 PM
Willow and Xander both have more lines in season 7 than Spike has - though not significantly.

Having more lines doesn't compare to have more arcs/storylines. Spike had a lot of focus in the season and so many arcs: the soul, the trigger, Spuffy, Spike/Wood, becoming a champion. What storylines did Xander have exactly? Nothing. He was just a background character saying a line or two so we'd remember he exists.

Even when he lost an eye, there was no focus on how traumatic that injury was to him. Compare the many episodes devoted to Spike trying to understand the soul and overcome the guilt to Xander's one scene in the hospital where he's comforting Willow about his injury.

I don't mind Spike getting a lot of focus, but like Vamps says, I wish the other characters were involved more the way Angelus used to terrorize Buffy's friends to get to her. The characters were involved in that storyline, but Spike's storyline was mostly about Spuffy but not the other characters.

Sosa lola
04-02-18, 01:37 PM
Stoney, I can understand why Spike and Spuffy fans would enjoy S7. There was a lot of love and care given to that storyline and it shows. But it's not the same with the other characters.

Silver1
04-02-18, 01:49 PM
What storylines did Xander have exactly? Nothing. He was just a background character saying a line or two so we'd remember he exists.


Well to be honest you've got to remember Nick was deep into his drinking problems back then. Basically (his own words here) he was often so drunk that he didn't even remember how he got home let alone remember his lines. So I imagine the writers purposely put him on a back burner in case he mucked up too often.

I'm sure that's why they kept Andrews character on as when you see what that character contributed to that season you can see he was basically being a younger surrogate old school 'funny' Xander.


I can understand why Spike and Spuffy fans would enjoy S7. There was a lot of love and care given to that storyline and it shows. But it's not the same with the other characters.

Weirdly enough It's my least fav season. Too many plot holes for my liking.

vampmogs
04-02-18, 01:55 PM
It's the same with Willow as well. Her relationship with Buffy and how they are moving past S6 plays its part in how Willow is responding to Buffy and Spike, on top of her history with Spike and Angel. There is so much past that comes into play in the current by the last season that I don't think they could or should need to have open conversations for a lot of this stuff any longer, but can leave it to the viewer to know the past and consider that against what they are seeing.

What are you “seeing” though? You're inferring that you're seeing something and then inferring what that means but you don't actually see anything at all. You have to assume Willow is ok with Buffy/Spike because, well, there's no scene of her saying otherwise - but there's no scene of her showing she's ok with them either. There's nothing at all. Willow isn’t shown “responding” in any way to Buffy/Spike, which is my whole point. What you're doing is basing your interpretation off past seasons where the writers did bother to establish these things and then fanwanking them into an interpretation of S7 because the story itself completely fails to acknowledge it.


I do think the relationship shifts in growing up matter a great deal and they would restrict how/when they would discuss these things. You just don't have the heartfelt conversations when you get older in my experience, pouring over ever angst and opening up all your feelings/insecurities out loud.

Buffy is only 22 in S7. Leaving aside that I think plenty of 22 year olds do discuss their relationships with one another, the writer's didn't have to have Buffy/Willow gossiping like schoolgirls in order for them to establish how Willow feels about Buffy/Spike. Or what Xander's opinion of Kennedy is who has quite aggressively manoeuvred herself into not only his childhood friend's life but the gang as well. And, again, there's nothing heartfelt about addressing in the story what Xander and Willow's opinion is about Giles going behind Buffy's back to have one of their group members killed and now there's a huge chasm between Buffy and her father figure. There's nothing immature about addressing that - that's a hugely significant deal and it's not established at all if anyone else in the gang is even aware of it. That's not only shit writing from a character development standpoint but it's shit writing purely from a dramatic standpoint as well. Why wouldn't you address that and have it play out and actually give the characters something meaty to chew on?


It would be interesting when we get to S7 in the rewatch to hear your thoughts on the different episodes as we go through the season to try and understand better where your issues are and if it is just a different pov and satisfaction in how the scoobie relationships and tone changed. I appreciate you might not want to rewatch, but brief episode specific thoughts would be interesting during if you have the time. :)

It's not just the dynamics it's just the overall quality of the show. The dialogue loses a lot of it's wit and spark, there's a real lack of energy throughout the episodes, a lot of the actors seem to be phoning it in, in comparison to how vibrantly they used to play the characters (and I don't blame them given the quality of the scripts), the directing is really uninspired and basic, the cinematography and lighting is at times atrocious, and most importantly I think it just lacks heart. The first half of the season is much better but even then it's just trying to replicate the tone of the earlier seasons ("ah good times" - not as good as the first time around, sorry) but overall I think it's just very evident that everybody working on the series was burned out. And they've admitted as much so I don't really think I'm imagining it.

Stoney
04-02-18, 09:42 PM
What are you “seeing” though? You're inferring that you're seeing something and then inferring what that means but you don't actually see anything at all. You have to assume Willow is ok with Buffy/Spike because, well, there's no scene of her saying otherwise - but there's no scene of her showing she's ok with them either. There's nothing at all. Willow isn’t shown “responding” in any way to Buffy/Spike, which is my whole point. What you're doing is basing your interpretation off past seasons where the writers did bother to establish these things and then fanwanking them into an interpretation of S7 because the story itself completely fails to acknowledge it.

When you have Dawn raising her concerns, Xander's uncertainty expressed when Buffy had Spike stay there, Robin and Giles outwardly anti and even plotting to kill him, Willow not saying or doing anything is a contrast which does speak of her acceptance of the situation. Yes, you don't hear her openly raise it with Buffy, but that doesn't stop it saying something when there are contrasts. I suppose I just think inferences that have a clear basis for existing aren't illegitimate.

And I don't see why you can't legitimately use the current relationship development between Buffy/Willow to understand why there might be reticence from Willow to question Buffy over her relationship with Spike if she has no direct or immediate concerns. And using the past seasons developments to understand where she may be coming from too, her acceptance that Buffy will view him differently souled for example. These are developing characters, progressive stories and so understanding their histories constantly plays a part in analysing their current situations. We are given such great character depth because we know them and have watched them go through so much individually/together. With limited space/time I don't have any issues with the writing not having anything to say about Willow's reaction to Buffy/Spike and that being the indication that Willow is accepting of the situation. Assuming she has no concerns when she raises non, especially when others do, is just logical. The absence of something isn't absolutely nothing when there is contrast to view it against.

So I understand there is no literal confirmation and I really do take your point that there isn't anything direct said with Willow. I don't remember the season well enough to know if there are scenes where we can see her response/reactions even if nothing is said, but I'll be looking out for it when I rewatch it next now. :biggrin1: But basing an interpretation on contrasts given in the season, on the relationship dynamics of the season that are explored and on accepted truths of previous seasons is just employing all that we know about the characters. It gives an informed view, otherwise we'd never consider how Buffy's relationship with Angel affects her after he leaves unless it is raised, how the loss of Joyce does or how her death/resurrection are still affecting her in an ongoing sense, not unless they are raised again in the text. So yes, I get that without textual confirmation it is conjecture, but if it is based on established character history I don't think it is without merit. It is still using the text to inform your point of view.


Buffy is only 22 in S7. Leaving aside that I think plenty of 22 year olds do discuss their relationships with one another, the writer's didn't have to have Buffy/Willow gossiping like schoolgirls in order for them to establish how Willow feels about Buffy/Spike. Or what Xander's opinion of Kennedy is who has quite aggressively manoeuvred herself into not only his childhood friend's life but the gang as well. And, again, there's nothing heartfelt about addressing in the story what Xander and Willow's opinion is about Giles going behind Buffy's back to have one of their group members killed and now there's a huge chasm between Buffy and her father figure. There's nothing immature about addressing that - that's a hugely significant deal and it's not established at all if anyone else in the gang is even aware of it. That's not only shit writing from a character development standpoint but it's shit writing purely from a dramatic standpoint as well. Why wouldn't you address that and have it play out and actually give the characters something meaty to chew on?

Sorry, I wasn't trying to say that they wouldn't/won't discuss relationships any more because they are older (they do discuss them in the comics at points and of course it isn't weird that they do), but they aren't leaning on each other in the same way that they were when they were younger and this is particularly evident during S6/7. The balance of your romantic relationships taking greater prominence in your life over friendships is just something that I do see as a part of growing up. It doesn't happen for everyone of course and that isn't a sign of immaturity, it is completely dependant on whether you start to have more serious relationships which pull you away, how you choose to balance your life in where you invest your time and focus. Buffy and Willow, as the example in hand, are already going through a shift in the season after drawing apart a significant amount at the end of the previous season. They are somewhat uncertain around each other and this time of adjustment seems to go hand in hand with that kind of relationship/friendship development to me. It is just very relatable to me so perhaps I'm forgiving of things that others aren't.

Again the lack of sight in how members of the group respond to other developments that occur, like Giles betrayal with Wood and Buffy's distancing from him, I see in a similar light to be honest and a natural fallout from the kind of distancing in friendships. It reflects in how you are then dealing with individual issues and seems natural to me. But I do appreciate that this does then lack a level of character exploration that would have been interesting to see and explore. My instinct is though that this is the kind of lack which plays into events getting more tense between the group members and contributes to a more serious schism as Buffy is pushed out and her leadership questioned.

I do understand why the change between the scoobies and the shifting dynamics, the way they are seen to struggle connecting and how they aren't sharing their lives in the same way any longer bothers people who are fans of the core four. I also can understand why it was a disappointing direction for it to take for the final seasons of the show. To me it is all just logical and very relatable shifts and seeing the developments that are happening for them individually, knowing where they have come from in their recent experiences and relationships, explains it adequately. For many others it doesn't and they wanted those conversations. But those conversations would go against where I think they are currently at in their relationships and how they are developing and changing in those interpersonal balances. I just think it works really well as a continuation of them growing up and somewhat growing apart but in seeing how the underlying strength of the friendships has them muddle through it and manage to continue being friends. Even if there are rough patches. I don't need them to be talking about it specifically because we are watching the distance happen and what is drawing their attention/why. I feel that it is there, but I understand why it might not satisfy some people.


It's not just the dynamics it's just the overall quality of the show. The dialogue loses a lot of it's wit and spark, there's a real lack of energy throughout the episodes, a lot of the actors seem to be phoning it in, in comparison to how vibrantly they used to play the characters (and I don't blame them given the quality of the scripts), the directing is really uninspired and basic, the cinematography and lighting is at times atrocious, and most importantly I think it just lacks heart. The first half of the season is much better but even then it's just trying to replicate the tone of the earlier seasons ("ah good times" - not as good as the first time around, sorry) but overall I think it's just very evident that everybody working on the series was burned out. And they've admitted as much so I don't really think I'm imagining it.

And, to be honest, the quieter, flatter tone and 'burned out' vibe you're describing actually suits the changing tone of the characters and what they are facing. That they are affected by all the years they have been doing this, have gained experience of course but are perhaps having a harder time dealing with everything on their plates, increased responsibilities and pressures, or years of continuing pressure. Especially as they've drifted apart somewhat, the tonal shift just makes sense. It makes it all seem so much more real and genuine for me, again very relatable. I'd just have assumed it was deliberately a part of the direction and about the stage they are at in that continual greater journey of growing up.

I am more than happy to concede that my focus being on Spike's arc may well mean that my view is coloured by not having ever watched the season looking as closely at the aspects that you will have. I'm very willing to reconsider my take on it as I have definitely gained every season of the rewatch by thinking about how others interpret the season/episodes/characters and I will specifically look and consider the other characters in S7, their interactions with each other and with Buffy when watching it next. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond and explain your point of view here. I do hope that you are able to find the time to join us in the rewatch but, if not, I'm sure we'll come together in similar circumstances to these on another thread in the future. When I've just rewatched and borne all that you've said in mind it's possible I may have a changed perspective on some of it then too. :)

vampmogs
05-02-18, 01:33 AM
There isn’t limited space or screen time. There’s the exact same amount of space and screen time the writers always had to create rich, complex, layered characters who actually interacted with one another, and had opinions, and who had significance to the story. They didn’t do that because, as Espenson admitted, a number of the writers had simply lost interest in characters – that’s the truth of it.

In S4 I knew how Willow, Xander and Anya felt about the Initiative because the writers included a scene of them talking about the Initiative over a game of poker. I knew how Willow felt about Buffy/Riley because not only was there plentiful of scenes of Buffy and Willow discussing Riley, but there were actual scenes of Willow/Riley interacting completely independently from Buffy. I knew how Willow felt about Buffy’s involvement with Riley and the Initiative because the writers not only included scenes of Willow expressing her concerns to Buffy but also scenes of Willow discussing this with Tara and Giles or fretting over Buffy’s absence with Xander and Anya. This happened throughout a season where the characters were meant to be distanced from each other, by the way. Because back then the writers were still invested enough in all the characters to flesh them out regardless of whether they were interacting with Buffy or not. They were also still invested enough to make the distance between the characters an actual plot point of the story rather than something fans were meant to “infer” from the simple fact that the characters no longer really spoke or had any meaningful interactions with one another or, apparently, had any interest in what was happening in each other’s lives.

I think you’re misunderstanding what the crux of my issues are. It’s not that the Scooby bond between the Core Four isn’t as prevalent as it once was. It’s that the characters are not given the individual depth and attention they once were and that the vast majority of the cast (including Dawn and Anya) no longer have meaningful interactions with one another or contributions to the story. In S1-S6 the writers bothered to develop relationships between the cast that had very little to do with Buffy at all (Willow/Anya’s contemptuous relationship, Xander/Angel’s mutual dislike, Dawn/Tara’s loving bond, Spike/Dawn’s friendship) but in S7 this is non-existent. The characters no longer feel real or three-dimensional. They exist solely to deliver exposition, or a snarky line, and then disappear back into the background until needed again. They don’t have their own storylines anymore, they don’t interact with one another like real people do, they’re not impacted by what’s happening in the group as people living under the same roof should be – arguably more than ever before. Scenes of the characters interacting and having their own storylines are replaced with scenes of speechifying, battle strategies and Potential Slayers with the show becoming more plot-driven than character-driven.

And again, the writers admitted that they lost interest in most of the characters besides Buffy and Spike so I don’t see much point in defending the writing when they concede that a lot of the characters did get shafted :noidea:



And, to be honest, the quieter, flatter tone and 'burned out' vibe you're describing actually suits the changing tone of the characters and what they are facing.

It's not just the tone of the characters. It's the subpar dialogue, the unimaginative scripts filled with repetitious scenes of the characters standing around the Summers home, the lazy directing, the way the episodes just meander to their conclusion. Compare the endless string of S7 episodes where the characters do nothing but stand around the Summers house to the fantastic Wishverse, or the hellscape in Anne, or the epic Initiative set, and it’s clear how little effort was being put into the production values of the show. Think back to the abundance of sets in most seasons (S4 – the Initiative, Adam’s layer, Xander’s basement, UC Sunnydale’s lecture halls and diner, Giles’ apartment, Tara’s dorm room, Buffy and Willow’s dorm room, Riley’s bedroom, the fraternity house, Spike’s crypt, Harmony’s cave lair, the Summers house) and then how the characters barley shared a scene in S7 other than in the Summers house or Sunnydale High – it’s so lazy. Think about how Joss tested himself with epically long one-shots like the school scene in Anne, or the slow mo vampire sequence in Prophecy Girl, and then the boring by-the-numbers directing of S7’s latter episodes. Even Joss admitted how poor it was that they had Wood reveal his mother’s identify to Buffy over dinner and what a bland and lame storytelling decision that was. S7 is full of problems like that. I don’t think a watered down shell of what the show used to be really suits anything, to be honest. The first handful of episodes are better with some inspired cinematography and storylines but midway through (where the writers apparently started jumping ship) the creativity really noticeably wanes.

Stoney
05-02-18, 05:09 AM
I do think I get what you are saying but there are a lot of points you raise that are things that I don't tend to focus on or notice at all, particularly in relation to the sets/shots etc (this is why I need you to pop in to the rewatch when we get there :biggrin1:). I appreciate time/space isn't more limited than it has been, but they still are making choices and prioritising what they are doing. And, as I've said, I'm quite willing to accept that how strong Spike's arc across the season is may have greatly affected my perception of it as a whole. But there just are things about how Buffy and the others interact that I really connect to in the shifts and think are coherent progressions from what has come before. I just don't remember the season clearly enough to be convinced that it's lacking in all the ways that you are saying between the characters so much as that shift is part of what I think is so relatable. But I don't disagree that there was a definite reduction in the storylines for the other characters. I will definitely be considering all of this when I next rewatch the season. :)

Andrew S.
08-02-18, 10:24 PM
The thing that makes BtVS such an outstanding series is that the hierarchical structure of greatness is pretty flat! So much of it is so very good. Even the weaker parts have some really strong merit within them.

I definitely agree. Season 4 isn't one of the series' better seasons, but it's still an extremely good season of television. One of my favorite things about Buffy is how the show kind of reinvented itself with each season. Each season has its own "feel" or "tone" so that there's something for everyone to enjoy. If you watch the shows for the soap opera-esque but still sophisticated drama, there's Seasons 2 and 6. If you watch the show for the fun humor, there's Seasons 3 and 4. If you like epic, serialized storytelling, there's Season 5. And ALL of the seasons have those elements, some just emphasize it more than others. I'm sure you could make a reasonable argument for any season being the best one (except for 1 or 7). It really just depends on the viewer and their taste in television in terms of deciding which one is the best.

Vampmogs, word to everything that you posted about the suckiness of Season 7, though. I agree 100%.

MikeB
09-10-18, 03:08 PM
All caught up.

All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.




a thing of evil


I can agree [that BtVS S4 is the best Seaosn of BtVS]. Season 4 is amazing. Look, it may not have the strongest main arc or the best big bad, it may not have "Innocence" or "Passion" or "The Body" ( it does have "Hush" and "Restless" though ) and it's not big on angst and drama either but what it does have is the sheer number of good™ episodes. Season 4 is front to back quality. I disagree that BtVS S4 “is front to back quality”. And all your arguments here point to your NOT agreeing that BtVS S4 is the best Season of BtVS.



TimeTravellingBunny

* BtVS S4 didn’t have “the weakest main storyline” of BtVS. I’d argue that was BtVS S1 in retrospect. Buffy had already dusted Lothos. Buffy already had her Watcher deferring to her and loving her. Buffy already had friends helping her in her Slayer duties. Buffy was already shown to want to remain popular but Slayer duties hindering that.

BtVS S4 showed how desperate Buffy was to have a ‘normal’ boyfriend. It showed why the supernatural was needed to defeat the supernatural. It has Willow/Tara instead of Willow’s former unrequited love for Xander. And “Something Blue” (B 4.09) and “Who Are You?” (B 4.16) make more sense than “Angel” (B 1.07).


and way too much comedy/light-heartedness even when it is out of place (especially obvious in S4's treatment of Spike). Meaning?



Silver1

* I wouldn’t say I love BtVS S4, but BtVS S4 is certainly better than most other Seasons of TV and even most other Seasons of ‘high-quality’ TV.

_________________________________________


Well I imagine you've hear the story that the actress who played Walsh wanted out of her contact early, and so the whole arc had to be hurriedly changed making Adam move forward as the main big bad. I haven’t heard of that.



flow

* Adam is a great Big Bad for BtVS S4 and is great in general and executed well. The problem is only that the ‘emotional connection’ is to Riley Finn.

I’d argue Adam is a better Big Bad story-wise than both Wolfram & Hart and Jasmine.



Stoney


Four is certainly one of the weakest and has issues in structure and DB/SMG seriously lacking onscreen chemistry, Was that “DB” a typo or a Freudian slip?

I don’t see any “issues in structure” in BtVS S4. Even the ‘separation’ of the Scoobies is well-structured.

_________________________________________

* Adam was harder to kill than Drusilla, Spike, and Angel (emotional attachment to the vampires aside), but Adam wasn’t actually more dangerous to humankind. Drusilla already in “I Only Have Eyes for You” (B 2.19) suggested that Angel eat a toddler. The Judge and Acathla were bigger threats than an ‘Adam army’.

_________________________________________

* Xander already in BtVS S4 in “Pangs” (B 4.08) is relatively more supportive of Spike than Xander is supportive of Angel. ALL the Scoobies supported Spike over Riley in “Goodbye Iowa” (B 4.14).


* Willow’s been relatively supportive of Spike since either after “Lovers Walk” (B 3.08) or after “The Initiative” (B 4.07). I consider it telling that Willow in “First Date” (B 7.14) isn’t surprised that Buffy says Buffy was in love with Spike in BtVS S6.

_________________________________________

* The Buffy-Willow relationship is literally healed by the end of the “Same Time, Same Place” (B 7.03). If anything, the only problem in the relationship is Willow’s reluctance to do magic.



Priceless

* Maggie Walsh is a ‘normal’ human and Riley Finn was more loyal to Buffy than to Maggie. The idea of Walsh as Big Bad instead of Adam is sillier than the idea of Darla as Big Bad instead of the Master.

I’ve always liked the idea of ‘if Sunday was a former Vampire Slayer’ and having Sunday as a Big Bad. But the Military vs. Magic is still more interesting. And we already knew Vampire Buffy was more powerful than Buffy.



vampmogs

* BtVS S7 was relatively boring when watching it originally on TV. When watching on DVD or ‘binging’, it’s much better and is a solid Season.

The only bad things are no Buffy/Spike on-screen kissing and sex and Kennedy and Rona are annoying.


* I count 7 great episodes of BtVS S7 and 6 great episodes of BtVS S4. And no BtVS S7 episode is as bad as “Beer Bad” (B 4.05) or “Where the Wild Things Are” (B 4.18).

Only “Help” (B 7.04) and “Him” (B 7.06) are possibly ‘bad’ BtVS S7 episodes. BtVS S7 is more solid than BtVS S1, BtVS S2, and BtVS S4.


* Willow and Xander are more pivotal in BtVS S7 than they are in BtVS S4. Arguably, so is Giles. Certainly Spike is.


[In BtVS S4,] the show still had heart, the series was still pushing itself creatively, and the writers still had a lot to say [unlike in BtVS S7]. There’s clearly a lot of ‘heart’ in BtVS S7, there’s “Conversations With Dead People” (B 7.07) and “Storyteller” (B 7.16)—both very ‘creative’ and the writers in BtVS S7 clearly “still had a lot to say”.


S7 is just a pale imitation of what the show once was with uninspired scripts, painfully dull cinematography and direction, I don’t know what you mean about the cinematography and direction.


* Buffy in BtVS S4 largely abandons her Scoobies in favor of Riley and the Initiative. And she exchanged Giles for Maggie Walsh as her mentor. Buffy in BtVS S7 never abandons her Scoobies.


[In BtVS S7, there is] a myopic focus on just Buffy and Spike (and to a lesser extent Willow) You mean the 3 most popular characters in the Buffyverse? How is a focus on Buffy/Spike worse than a focus on Buffy/Riley? BtVS S4 essentially revolves around Buffy/Riley and the BtVS S4 Big Bad is connected to Riley, not anyone else. The BtVS S7 Big Bad is connected to literally all the characters in the Buffyverse.


* BtVS S7 is the first time we get ANY flashbacks of Anya and is the first time she ‘gets an episode’. There is a lot of character focus on Spike, Willow, Andrew, Dawn, and even Xander. Arguably, there’s more “character focus” in BtVS S7 than there is in BtVS S4. Buffy’s focus throughout all the Seasons is her Slayer duties and romantic interests. And secondarily to that is always her career whether academic or jobs.


* All “plot holes” in the TV Buffyverse are explainable.


* Willow supports all of Buffy’s romantic choices. Xander supported Buffy/Spike sometime during or after “Him” (B 7.06). Xander comes up with the “Sleeper” theory regarding why Spike was killing. Xander clearly supports Buffy/Spike.


* Buffy and Xander supported Willow/Kennedy. Xander’s never been enthusiastic about Willow’s romantic choices outside of Xander/Willow and Buffy only was excited about Willow/Oz.


Did Xander and Willow even know that Giles betrayed Buffy in LMPTM and, if they did, what was their opinion about it? Pre-Season 10 (which I maintain cannot be canon), Willow and Xander aren’t shown being ‘close’ to Giles after “Lies My Parents Told Me” (B 7.17). Both would support Buffy and Buffy/Spike over Giles. If anything, both Willow and Xander after “LMPTM” are shown being closer to Spike than they are to Giles.


What was Xander’s opinion of Robin Wood? After?


Did Dawn change her opinion of Spike at all after threatening him in Beneath You? Dawn in “Get It Done” (B 7.15) went to see if Spike’s okay. And Dawn lost her virginity to someone who would likely remind her of Spike.


* Dawn didn’t much like any of the Potentials Slayer.


* The ‘group dynamic’ in BtVS S7 made sense because the power levels of the characters were so different than in prior Seasons.

Imagine BtVS S3 if Angel had the power he did post-feeding on Buffy and if Willow had BtVS S7 Willow powers. And if the Scoobies had software and/or a website that provided all the information Giles used to regularly. And then add in that Buffy now has 2 dozen Potentials Slayer. Now add in that Buffy can have sex with Angel.

Dawn is only useful because Buffy trained her in fighting skills and Dawn became a mini-Watcher.


In S3 I could tell you exactly what Xander, Willow, Cordy, Oz, Giles and Joyce thought about Buffy/Angel. Heck, I could even tell you what Faith and The Mayor thought about Buffy/Angel. We’re comparing BtVS S4 to other Seasons. I don’t know many who consider BtVS S7 is certainly better than BtVS S3.

But sans-Giles, the Scoobies showed MORE support of Buffy/Spike in BtVS S7 than they showed support of Buffy/Angel in BtVS S3.


* Tara was never antagonistic toward Buffy and Tara never seemed to want to and try to take the leadership position from Buffy. And Willow was clearly more in love with Tara than Willow was with Kennedy. So, the Scoobies weren’t as invested with Kennedy as they were with Tara.


* How exactly do the Scoobies feel about each other in BtVS S4?

This post: http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showthread.php?20708-The-Guardian-Says-S4-is-the-Best-Season&p=713807&viewfull=1#post713807 doesn’t much detail or explain why you consider BtVS S4 is better than BtVS S7 other than somehow you consider “A New Moon Rising” and “Who Are You?” are each better than any BtVS S7 episode. I wonder if you even know the episode number of those 2 episodes.

_________________________________________

* BtVS S2 doesn’t largely revolve around Angel. Even Uncursed Angel revolves around Angel’s relationships with Buffy, Spike, Drusilla, and the various Scoobies.

Back on the actual topic, BtVS S4 largely revolves around Riley Finn.


It's not a coincidence that by in large, S7's only real defenders are Spike/Spuffy-centric fans and that's because overall they're the only fans that got something worthwhile out of the season. You know who is in BtVS S2? Spike and Drusilla. BtVS S3? Faith Lehane. BtVS S5? Spike.

BtVS S7 made Buffy/Spike ‘above’ and superior to Buffy/Angel. BtVS S6 made Buffy/Spike ‘canon’, but BtVS S7 really started the ‘Spike is Buffy’s true love’ thing.

Again, BtVS S2 has 10/22 great episodes and those all include Spike and Drusilla.

Who defends BtVS S4? Not even really you in these posts, as you focus on your apparent dislike of BtVS S7.


* What’s bad about the sets and acting in BtVS S7? You consider the sets and acting worse than the sets and acting in BtVS S1? All the actors got better as the Seasons went on.

_________________________________________

* Willow from “Same Time, Same Place” (B 7.03) on shows she supports Buffy/Spike in BtVS S7. The only time she possibly doesn’t is when Buffy is on her date with Principal Robin Wood.

How is Willow in “The Killer in Me” (B 7.13) and in “Lies My Parents Told Me” (B 7.17) not “responding” to Buffy/Spike?


* I wonder if you consider the acting and chemistry between Sarah Michelle Gellar and James Marsters in BtVS S7 is better than the acting and chemistry between SMG and Marc Blucas in BtVS S4.

This post: http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showthread.php?20708-The-Guardian-Says-S4-is-the-Best-Season&p=713856&viewfull=1#post713856 doesn’t mention BtVS S4 once.

_________________________________________

* The Scoobies sans-Buffy were concerned about the Initiative. Buffy herself only supported the Initiative because of Buffy/Riley.

And Riley Finn is a new character in BtVS S4.

By BtVS S7, the Scoobies have interacted with Spike for around 5 years. They’ve known about Buffy/Spike for months to years depending.

And, BTW, I’m not sure Giles ever really accepted Buffy/Riley. And Xander wasn’t buddies with Riley until BtVS S5. And Willow more supported Buffy/Spike than Willow supported Buffy/Riley and Willow much more supported Spike than Willow supported Riley. I don’t recall a single thing Willow did for Riley, risked for Riley, sacrificed for Riley, etc.


* Dawn had much more “contribution to the story” in BtVS S7 than she did in BtVS S6. And so did Anya. Anya’s biggest contribution in BtVS S6 is having sex with Spike and what that led to.


In S1-S6 the writers bothered to develop relationships between the cast that had very little to do with Buffy at all (Willow/Anya’s contemptuous relationship, Xander/Angel’s mutual dislike, Dawn/Tara’s loving bond, Spike/Dawn’s friendship) Anya only interacts with the Scoobies because of Buffy. Willow and Xander only even know the name “Angel” because of Buffy. The Key was made into Dawn because of Buffy. Willow only meets Tara because of Buffy. Willow-Anya, Xander-Angel, Dawn-Tara, and Spike-Dawn are all because of Buffy.


* Drew Goddard clearly was interested in Faith. Jane Espenson was clearly interested in Andrew. There’s a lot of interest in Willow. And Dawn becomes a Scooby in BtVS S7.

And one writer maybe saying something doesn’t equate to all “the writers”.


* Finally, “time” is more limited in BtVS S7 than in the early Seasons given the runtimes of the episodes are shorter.



Sosa lola

* Xander hasn’t been relatively important to the Buffyverse since BtVS S3. His main importance was Anya’s joining the Scoobies.

And Andrew Wells is more useful than Xander.

In ways, if Dracula joined the Scoobies in BtVS S5, Xander could have been killed off and Anya would simply be with Dracula again.

Xander fans should simply be happy that somehow Anthony Stewart Head was no longer a regular instead of Nicholas Brendan. Giles had fans and was a popular character.


* Buffy/Spike post-AR and post-Spike’s re-ensoulment needed time and it was done well (outside of the no on-screen kissing and sex). Xander finally got a permanent injury. Other than how that affected Buffy and Willow, it wasn’t important.


* The other characters in BtVS S7 had clear regards for Spike and Buffy/Spike. Relatively, the characters are more involved than they were with Uncursed Angel.

_________________________________________

* I’d argue that Dawn’s storyline in BtVS S7 allowed for Michelle Trachtenberg’s post-BtVS S7 career.

Willow clearly got a lot of focus in BtVS S7.

Buffy clearly got a lot of focus in BtVS S7.

The only character who gets ‘short-changed’ is Giles. And BtVS S8 is the first time we get a good reason for Giles’s fervent anti-Buffy/Spike stance.

Priceless
09-10-18, 03:30 PM
* Maggie Walsh is a ‘normal’ human and Riley Finn was more loyal to Buffy than to Maggie. The idea of Walsh as Big Bad instead of Adam is sillier than the idea of Darla as Big Bad instead of the Master.

Maggie Walsh is a normal human, but she is the leader of a techno-military organisation. She is incredibly powerful with a lot of resources at her fingertips. She is the leader of a militia, which she runs as her own personal army. I would have loved to see Buffy and her go head to head.

I don't see Darla being a Big Bad as funny at all. I think she was great on Angel and could have been just as good on BtvS, although her past is more suited to be on AtS.


I’ve always liked the idea of ‘if Sunday was a former Vampire Slayer’ and having Sunday as a Big Bad. But the Military vs. Magic is still more interesting. And we already knew Vampire Buffy was more powerful than Buffy.


A lot of people love Sunday and would have liked to see more of her. I'm not one of them. She's just a snarky vamp and the show has those already.

I'm not sure what you mean by Vamp!Buffy being more powerful than Buffy. Have we ever seen a realistic Vamp!Buffy?

Stoney
09-10-18, 05:50 PM
Was that “DB” a typo or a Freudian slip?

:lol: A typo. I meant MB/SMG. :xd

bespangled
09-10-18, 11:38 PM
@vampmogs -Season 7 episode list:

Lessons - Buffy, Xander & Dawn
Beneath You - Buffy, Xander, Anya Spike
Same Time, Same Place - Willow episode - Buffy, Willow, Xander
Help - Buffy, Dawn
Selfless - Anya episode
Him - Buffy, Dawn
Conversations with Dead People - Buffy, Dawn, Willow
Sleeper - Spike, Buffy
Never Leave Me - Andrew, Willow, Anya, Xander, Buffy, Spike
Bring on the Night - Buffy, Xander, Anya, Giles, Willow, potentials
Showtime - Buffy, Xander, Potentials, Anya, Giles, Spike
Potential - Dawn, Amanda, Potentials, Xander
The Killer in Me - Willow/Kennedy, Spike, Buffy
First Date - Buffy, Robin, Xander
Get It Done - Buffy, Wood, Anya, Giles, Willow
Storyteller - Andrew episode - Buffy, Andrew
Lies My Parents Told Me - Buffy, Giles, Spike, Wood
Dirty Girls - Faith, Caleb, Buffy, Wood, Xander
Empty Places - ensemble kicking out Buffy, Andrew, Spike
Touched - Faith, Giles, Wood, Dawn, Spike, Buffy
End of Days - Xander, Dawn, Buffy, Potentials
Chosen - ensemble & Angel

Check it out and you see that in at least half the episodes Spike's role is fairly minor. The season starts with a strong Buffy and Xander presence. Spike has one episode where he has a real role (Beneath You) and then he's a pretty minor character until Sleeper. Willow has a few episodes that focus on her - and her magic arc. Anya has a larger role this season. Andrew, Wood, Caleb and the potentials take up a lot of time.

Xander's role is smaller because NB was having serious drinking issues. We can see from later events that he is not an agreeable drunk. The interesting thing with NB is he used to be a beer drinker, and you can see as each season progresses how bloated he becomes, and how his role gets smaller. He has talked of bringing 12 packs to the set and drinking them on his own in a day - and as soon as the show was over he announced he was going into rehab. That's why his role was so much smaller each season. At the beginning of season 7 it was Xander & Buffy. Then Willow was added to the mix. I wasn't until about 1/3 of the way through the season that Spike became much more than a small scene here and there, and you can see Xander's role getting smaller as the season goes on.

I think there is a fandom complaint that season 7 is all Spike and Buffy but I seriously believe the real issue is how much time gets sucked up by the potentials, Andrew, Wood, and Caleb. Willow's arc is actually pretty strong, except for the universal loathing toward Kennedy.

Season 4 starts out well, IMO. But then we get Veruca, Beer Bad, Adam, and Riley going downhill. The short Faith arc is great, and there are some excellent episodes but it is in now way the best. I put it slightly above season one. If Walsh had stayed it would be ranked higher but Adam was more of an annoyance than a villain.

Sosa lola
10-10-18, 12:34 PM
Check it out and you see that in at least half the episodes Spike's role is fairly minor. The season starts with a strong Buffy and Xander presence. Spike has one episode where he has a real role (Beneath You) and then he's a pretty minor character until Sleeper. Willow has a few episodes that focus on her - and her magic arc. Anya has a larger role this season. Andrew, Wood, Caleb and the potentials take up a lot of time.


I think people mix up between screen time/lines and arcs. When a character has an arc, the character's presence is much more pronounced than a character who appears a lot on the screen just to say a few jokes or statements.

Let's take Spike and Anya for example:

Anya's arc is dealing with her growing sense of humanity and detachment from vengeance. We get a clear sense of that in Beneath You and Same Time, Same Place (She doesn't appear in Help), and then her big episode Selfless resolves this. Anya's arc is done with a minor hiccup that's not dealt with which is finding her place in life. She spends the rest of the season throwing snide remarks at Buffy, Xander and anyone who does not please her. Begs Spike for sex in a couple of scenes. Then suddenly in End of Days discovers she actually likes humans.

Spike has several arcs this season:

1) The soul.
2) Rebuilding his relationship with Buffy.
3) The trigger.
4) His past with Nikki and Wood and his unresolved issues with his mother.

Anya's arc:

1) Abandoning vengeance for humanity.

Spike is a huge part of three characters' arcs and without him, they lose so much of their story: Buffy, Wood and Giles.

Anya isn't really a huge part of any character's arc except for minor relationship stuff with Xander, but if Anya died in Selfless, it won't really affect the rest of the season.

But if Spike died in Selfless, so much of S7 would be different.

Spike and Spuffy were the best thing that came out of S7, IMO. You can just tell how much care and love was given to Spike's story. I can't say the same about Willow. There was so much to tackle about Willow's character, but it was either mishandled or wasn't given enough attention and care. Basically after Get It Done, Willow fades into the background until Chosen. (I do like Xander's role in S7, even if his role was very quiet and passive, I like what I saw. Dawn's maturity was also something I enjoyed in S7)

TimeTravellingBunny
10-10-18, 02:43 PM
Nitpick - CWDP had 4 main storylines. The focused on characters were - Buffy, Willow, Dawn, Andrew and Jonathan.

bespangled
10-10-18, 11:07 PM
@Sosa lola - I think it's a bit disingenuous to compare Anya's arc to Spike's considering that Anya was never a major character. Her character has always been reactive rather than proactive. Sadly, the one character who could have filled the role of wise woman had long ago been reduced to orgasm jokes and much needed sarcasm.

Willow going to LA to resoul Angel, then bringing back Faith is fairly major. If I didn't loathe Kennedy, I'd feel better about her finding someone to love, and her struggle to trust her own control of her power leads her from led her from being unable to control her Marcy syndrome to being able to channel the power of the scythe to empower all the potentials. Her arc affects everyone in the series -as you said it's not a matter of screen time and lines. I think what we miss from her is the Tillow time - which was tender and sweet. Tara - like Anya - was there for the purpose of humanizing Willow. Without her presence we lose a whole dimension of Willow, and Kennedy is not a replacement in any way. Overall Willow is as important as Buffy and/or Spike. There would be absolutely no reason for the entire potential arc without her.

Buffy and Willow have the strongest arcs, I would say. Spike's arc is pretty much reactive - and it centers around Buffy. This is the only relationship arc left that started in earlier seasons so it does have a huge impact compared to Killow. The second tier of series regulars would be Giles who was only there for about half the episodes, Anya, Faith, and Xander. The fact is that both Robin Wood and Andrew have better story arcs than any of them - and we just don't have the emotional investment in either of those two.

Overall the main thing that Spuffy has going for it is that it's the only arc with two characters that has roots in earlier seasons. The emotional investment is there - which makes the relationship story larger than the sum of it's parts. Spike's character exists - on a story level - mainly to give Buffy a source of unquestioned support even when the others turn against her. Everything he does - from getting a soul to wearing the amulet - is all based around Buffy's need.

Sosa lola
11-10-18, 01:46 PM
@Sosa lola - I think it's a bit disingenuous to compare Anya's arc to Spike's considering that Anya was never a major character. Her character has always been reactive rather than proactive. Sadly, the one character who could have filled the role of wise woman had long ago been reduced to orgasm jokes and much needed sarcasm.

I will forever lament the wasted opportunity that is Anya Jenkins!


Willow going to LA to resoul Angel, then bringing back Faith is fairly major.

But all the Willow goodness was on AtS. It wasn't in BtVS. So those who don't watch AtS will miss it. It's so sad that there was more of Willow's charm and charisma in one episode on another show.



If I didn't loathe Kennedy, I'd feel better about her finding someone to love, and her struggle to trust her own control of her power leads her from led her from being unable to control her Marcy syndrome to being able to channel the power of the scythe to empower all the potentials. Her arc affects everyone in the series -as you said it's not a matter of screen time and lines. I think what we miss from her is the Tillow time - which was tender and sweet. Tara - like Anya - was there for the purpose of humanizing Willow. Without her presence we lose a whole dimension of Willow, and Kennedy is not a replacement in any way. Overall Willow is as important as Buffy and/or Spike. There would be absolutely no reason for the entire potential arc without her.

I don't think Willow needs a love interest, just more focus on her POV and where she's at. I would have liked if Dawn kept her uncertainty about Willow and her quick return to Sunnydale, and have Willow try to earn Dawn's trust back, and then have Dawn be the one there for Willow in The Killer in Me. I understand why Joss needed Willow to have a female love interest after the uproar fans made after killing the lesbian lover, though.


Buffy and Willow have the strongest arcs, I would say. Spike's arc is pretty much reactive - and it centers around Buffy.

I guess we're agree to disagree about this. I didn't find Willow's arc strong in S7 at all. I also don't find Spike's arc reactive. The stuff with Wood/the trigger/his issues with his mother are all Spike. They had nothing to do with Buffy.

Silver1
11-10-18, 04:19 PM
I also don't find Spike's arc reactive. The stuff with Wood/the trigger/his issues with his mother are all Spike. They had nothing to do with Buffy.

And that a problem because? :lol:

Sosa lola
11-10-18, 04:45 PM
And that a problem because? :lol:

I didn't say it was a problem. I commented earlier that Spike's arc in S7 was the best thing about the season. I was just replying to bespangled's argument that Spike's arc centers around Buffy.

Stoney
11-10-18, 05:20 PM
I didn't find Willow's arc strong in S7 at all. I also don't find Spike's arc reactive. The stuff with Wood/the trigger/his issues with his mother are all Spike. They had nothing to do with Buffy.

I think Willow's arc continuation was there in S7 but I struggled to connect with it/her somewhat, compared to her journey S1-6. I'm not sure how much of that was about Kennedy for me or just where/how she appeared. I like the idea of having used Dawn with her and really liked the Willow/Buffy in STSP, so it isn't an overall dislike on my part. I'd possibly agree with saying it wasn't strong, even though I didn't think it was absent. I'm going to closely consider how/where I think the Scoobies get time in S7 when we get to it in the rewatch, having heard criticisms about it quite a few times.

I also totally agree with you about Spike. For me he has the strongest arc across the whole show, for him personally, and it is what I love most about the show/character. Yes it is greatly entwined with the progressive development of the relationship with Buffy and the Spuffy development is one of the strongest parts of S7, absolutely no doubt. But I adore how coherent Spike's whole arc through the series is from the backstory he was given in FFL, S2 through to his sacrifice in Chosen, so it's very much about 'him' for me too. :biggrin1:

bespangled
11-10-18, 11:31 PM
I will forever lament the wasted opportunity that is Anya Jenkins!

Oh, Sosa speaketh serious wisdom!


But all the Willow goodness was on AtS. It wasn't in BtVS. So those who don't watch AtS will miss it. It's so sad that there was more of Willow's charm and charisma in one episode on another show.

I'd say a lot of it was on BTVS - it simply lacked emotional impact. She had the arc, the dialogue and scenes - but none of it mattered because there was no reason to care.




I don't think Willow needs a love interest, just more focus on her POV and where she's at. I would have liked if Dawn kept her uncertainty about Willow and her quick return to Sunnydale, and have Willow try to earn Dawn's trust back, and then have Dawn be the one there for Willow in The Killer in Me. I understand why Joss needed Willow to have a female love interest after the uproar fans made after killing the lesbian lover, though.

But a love interest of some sort is what humanizes a character and gives the viewer a reason to care. This doesn't have to be a romantic love interest. In fact, part of the reason that the Kennedy pairing doesn't work is Kennedy's flaws are kinda surface spoiled brat flaws. There's no vulnerability. A potential who really needed her help in some way would have given her the kind of story line that would make me care.


I guess we're agree to disagree about this. I didn't find Willow's arc strong in S7 at all. I also don't find Spike's arc reactive. The stuff with Wood/the trigger/his issues with his mother are all Spike. They had nothing to do with Buffy.

I think we're agreeing but I'm trying to figure out why. Willow's arc has everything a good season arc should have. The problem is that Spike and Buffy have each other to lose - which gives emotional vulnerability. Willow has less on the line. There's the big apocalypse (yawn) and...I just don't give a damn if Kennedy dies, and I don't buy that Willow is in love with her.

Now - give Willow a Chloe instead of Kennedy, and have her fight to save her. It would make a huge difference in the threat level of the First. It would make for a vulnerable Willow with someone to lose - a callback to losing Tara.

As for the Spike & Wood interaction, Buffy is actually at the center of that. Wood is actively siding with the First in order to betray Buffy.

flow
12-10-18, 11:13 AM
vampmogs:

In S4 I knew how Willow, Xander and Anya felt about the Initiative because the writers included a scene of them talking about the Initiative over a game of poker. I knew how Willow felt about Buffy/Riley because not only was there plentiful of scenes of Buffy and Willow discussing Riley, but there were actual scenes of Willow/Riley interacting completely independently from Buffy. I knew how Willow felt about Buffy’s involvement with Riley and the Initiative because the writers not only included scenes of Willow expressing her concerns to Buffy but also scenes of Willow discussing this with Tara and Giles or fretting over Buffy’s absence with Xander and Anya. This happened throughout a season where the characters were meant to be distanced from each other, by the way. Because back then the writers were still invested enough in all the characters to flesh them out regardless of whether they were interacting with Buffy or not. They were also still invested enough to make the distance between the characters an actual plot point of the story rather than something fans were meant to “infer” from the simple fact that the characters no longer really spoke or had any meaningful interactions with one another or, apparently, had any interest in what was happening in each other’s lives.

I don`t know, how Buffy feels about Anya having been a vengeance demon - and having hurt or killed people - for a thousand years, because she never expresses her feelings about that apart from being rather cold and distant towards Anya, which could also be due to the fact, she doesn`t like Anya`s haircut or her taste in music. Heck, I don`t even know, how Xander feels about that.

I don`t know, how Joyce felt about the very matter-of-fact way Giles acted towards her after having had sex with her on a police car. They never interact again. They never talk to others about it.

I know, how Willow and Xander feel about Buffy running away at the end of season 2 because they express their feelings loud and clearly. But I don`t know, how Buffy feels about the fact, that Willow tells her to kick Angel`s ass and then re-souls him behind Buffy`s back just before Buffy has to kill him. Mind you, that is not, what happened, because Willow had never said to kick his ass but had instead informed Buffy about a second attempt at the soul spell. We know that, because we saw it. But Buffy doesn`t know that. In her eyes she has been betrayed by Willow and it never gets adressed (well only very shortly in season 7)

I don`t know, how Buffy feels about having been betrayed by Giles in Helpless. She never adresses this as well and he doesn`t either. They never talk about it. He is her father figure and he drugged her to be slaughtered by a vampire. And that happened within a week or so after she had been betrayed by her own mother, who set her up for a witch trial including the inevitable burning.

I know, that Joyce was acting under a spell. I can understand that Buffy forgave her, because Joyce wasn`t responsible. But that doesn`t necessarily mean, it had no emotional impact whatsoever on Buffy. Am I meant to "infer" the emotional aftermath Buffy went through, because the writers weren`t interested enough in fleshing out the character?

Your points regarding the flaws of season 7 are all valid. I am just saying, that we have had the same issued in earlier seasons as well. It`s nothing that happened in season 7 for the first time.


flow