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Thread: A Willow spinoff - pros and cons

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    Default A Willow spinoff - pros and cons

    I'm wondering what lessons DHC took from the Willow miniseries? First of all I would like to hear from people more knowledgable than myself who can analyze the sales figures of the Willow miniseries and put it into context regarding any viability to a possible spinoff.

    First off the negatives to such a spinoff.

    1. No Spuffy. No Bangel. In other words any attraction the Buffy series had with the debating over Spike or Angel being with Buffy get thrown out the window. I don't know..to some of you this might not qualify as a negative but its safe to say such a spinoff would entail an entirely different set of pointers to follow if there is a Willow series.

    2. The need to populate any such spinoff for Willow with new people...or giving Willow her own version of the Scoobies. There really isn't much to choose from and the people that are there may not inspire much in the way of any loyalty alongside Willow herself. As to what Willow would call her new gang? I vote for The Banana Splits. Correct me if I'm wrong on this but I don't see a copyright issue with this since Buffy used Scoobies for the name of her inner circle.

    3. Willow's mission for the new spinoff series would need a clearly defined set of goals...which unfortunately doesn't come up when I consider a series about a powerful witch. What does a powerful witch need to do that doesn't smack of overreach when it comes to using magic powers?

    4. Storyline ideas seem surprisingly hard to come up with when I think of what Willow could do in such a series to generate interest.

    Now for the positives for a Willow spinoff.

    1. Aside from Batwoman, Willow would be the only other widely known gay character in the comic book world but she would instantly get a following of people who have followed her doings from the beginning. Instantly recognizable is a great way to start off a new series with a known character such as Willow.

    2. Willow's unique set of circumstances and personality quirks make for some new lines of discussion other than Buffy so this can also be a positive.

    3. The issue of magic and what it means would be a terrific way of engaging discussions on why it can be a positive force instead of a negative one and Willow would be a excellent way to focus attention to Wiccan matters to a public interested in learning more about this topic.

    If there's anything else I've missed on this please feel free to contribute whether a Willow spinoff is a good idea or not.

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    About the Willow spinoff possibility...she needs her own version of a Spuffy or Bangel shipping debate. But right now Willow has exactly zero choices to choose from. The question of who would fit the category I think is wide open for discussion.

    Snake Lady is out of the question. One possibility I would consider would be Illyria. The other one could be Anaheed. As for the Banana Splits gang for Willow?

    Billy, Andrew and Anaheed.

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    So, since we are drawing so close to the end of the season, I thought I'd post in this thread since it's fun to speculate about possible titles for season 10.

    I think most of the characters could hold their own spin-off. Certainly Angel, Faith, Spike have proven strong enough characters who would hold enough interest for an ongoing series, and I'd argue that maybe, Willow could as well. Depends where the writers want to take her. One thing that would make me lose interest VERY quickly is if they did the same thing they did with her Wonderland series: cosmic, magical bullshit that they invent on the spot. Basically, the Willow series that would appeal most to DorothyFan would be the most boring to me.

    1. No Spuffy. No Bangel. In other words any attraction the Buffy series had with the debating over Spike or Angel being with Buffy get thrown out the window. I don't know..to some of you this might not qualify as a negative but its safe to say such a spinoff would entail an entirely different set of pointers to follow if there is a Willow series.
    The Bangel vs Spuffy pissing contests are one of my least favourite things about the fandom. There's plenty to explore without turning the series into Team Edward vs Team Jacob.

    2. The need to populate any such spinoff for Willow with new people...or giving Willow her own version of the Scoobies. There really isn't much to choose from and the people that are there may not inspire much in the way of any loyalty alongside Willow herself. As to what Willow would call her new gang? I vote for The Banana Splits. Correct me if I'm wrong on this but I don't see a copyright issue with this since Buffy used Scoobies for the name of her inner circle.
    Well, Willow's girlfriend from Buffy's party is pretty much a blank slate character that could be explored. Then there's Kennedy who probably still holds a torch for Willow, as does Aluwyn (there's your Bangel vs Spuffy analogue right there) and if Kennedy is interacting in a hypothetical Willow series you could also have Faith. Depending on where season 9 ends up you could also maybe have (hypothetical) vamp-Xander tagging along hoping to get re-ensouled, turned human or whatever. Or you could throw Billy, Devon and Anaheed into the book and turn it into one big public service announcement book.

    As for your idea of the Banana Splits... I don't think the group needs a name. Generally, a group of adults who hang out together don't need a "group name". Sorry, but I think Banana Splits sounds kinda dorky and juvenile. The scoobies rarely ever refer to themselves as such, it's usually Xander referring to them as scoobies in a kind of dorky, ironic way. When was the last time anyone actually used the word "scooby" anyway? The "fang gang" is a fandom term that has never actually been mentioned on screen. Angel doesn't need a name for his group. My circle of friends in real life doesn't have a name for our group and I imagine that yours doesn't either. I can't imagine Willow as an adult, deciding to refer to her circle of friends as the Banana Splits.

    3. Willow's mission for the new spinoff series would need a clearly defined set of goals...which unfortunately doesn't come up when I consider a series about a powerful witch. What does a powerful witch need to do that doesn't smack of overreach when it comes to using magic powers?
    Maybe she's treasure hunting for a rare magical artifact? Maybe she's on a dimension hopping adventure? Maybe she's trying to fulfil or avert a prophecy? Maybe she's on a mission to help a vamped Xander? The possibilities are up to the imagination of the writer, there are plenty of ideas out there.

    4. Storyline ideas seem surprisingly hard to come up with when I think of what Willow could do in such a series to generate interest.
    I agree, mainly because of the boring way the writers have chosen to use Willow in the comics. If they were going to do a Willow series, I'd need her to have a clearly defined set of powers. Basically, I'd want it spelled out in the first issue what she can and can't do. No more of this bullshit where she just pulls a new magical power out of her ass whenever the situation demands it.

    1. Aside from Batwoman, Willow would be the only other widely known gay character in the comic book world but she would instantly get a following of people who have followed her doings from the beginning. Instantly recognizable is a great way to start off a new series with a known character such as Willow.
    I think it would be pretty weak sauce if the writers expected people to be interested in Willow just because she's gay. That's why Billy is such a failure as a character, the writers thought they could sell him purely on the basis of his orientation. The only people who really latched onto Billy are the tubmlresque social justice crusaders and really, who cares what they think. I can't imagine the quality of writing in a Willow book would be very high if their main sales pitch was "read this book, she's gay! OMG, we're so progressive." I mean yeah, they'd have an instant audience in the form of the handful of people who actually like Billy and I guess they'd also have a handful of people who force themselves to like the book, lest they be seen as homophobic if they don't. But I don't think I'd really care to read a book if the plot and the characters were so weak that the publishers had to sell the book purely on the basis of Willow's orientation like they've done with Billy.

    About the Willow spinoff possibility...she needs her own version of a Spuffy or Bangel shipping debate. But right now Willow has exactly zero choices to choose from. The question of who would fit the category I think is wide open for discussion.
    Completely disagree that a hypothetical Willow book needs a Bangel vs Spuffy equivalent. Like, I couldn't disagree more. But yeah, I think there are plenty of characters you could pair Willow with. Kennedy, Aluwyn, the blank slate girlfriend from Buffy's party, Illyria or even a new character.

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    There is the distinct possibility Willow doesn't get magic powers back at all...and is left powerless for a very, very long time. I'm wondering how a Willow series like that would work out?

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    I wouldn't want a Willow spin-off in S10. IMO, the way that Buffy and Willow mirror and play off and interact with each other is one of the fundamental pleasures and building blocks of the series. I didn't enjoy Buffy's or Willow's plot this season very much (in large part) because they didn't have the other in it. As a Willow-centric fan, I see the prestige of Willow having a spin-off where she becomes the protagonist and the corresponding privileges but it's little consolation for how much poorer her arc feels away from Buffy and the main title.

    Wonderland also made Aluwyn less interesting. During S8, I thought that Aluwyn had some master strategy for Willow that would shape core events. Wonderland turned Aluwyn from a real chess-master to a pouty clingy girlfriend. In Wonderland, I was intrigued by certain images and dialogue that painted Aluwyn/Willow as a dark or more interesting, an accurate minus Tara-teflon and feel-good veils version of Willow/Tara. (i.e. The Body-esque cover of Aluwyn and Willow embracing). However, I doubt the series is going to be brave to dissect Willow/Tara's and Tara's own screwed-up and unattractive qualities.

    I like Kennedy but if Kennedy is partnering with Faith, I see Faith and Kennedy having a three-issue arc or something in Buffy's title in S10.

    Again, I don't want a spin-off. However when Dark Horse announced that Willow would be getting her own mini in S9, I fervently hoped that part of that would involve her traveling to Tibet to consult with Oz. I accept that the Willow/Oz ship is dead.

    However aside from that, I think it's a waste that Dark Horse threw away Oz as a character when they can have him free from the constraints of Seth Green's career and schedule. In the hands of a funny writer, Oz's witty spare dialogue lends itself brilliantly to the concise, glib comic. Since Oz has been away from the gang for so long, his story and POV feels fresh and unexplored. There's so much we don't know. And yet, he was a founding Scooby and he made a deep and incredibly positive impression- he's appealingly familiar from the TV show. At a time when other series embrace the werewolf mythology, the Buffyverse has done little to expand on it. The mythology could become even more interesting since Oz and his pack use mystical forces to control the change.

    I vote for bringing back into the Buffy title for like, two 3-issue arcs to start.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dipstick View Post
    I wouldn't want a Willow spin-off in S10. IMO, the way that Buffy and Willow mirror and play off and interact with each other is one of the fundamental pleasures and building blocks of the series. I didn't enjoy Buffy's or Willow's plot this season very much (in large part) because they didn't have the other in it. As a Willow-centric fan, I see the prestige of Willow having a spin-off where she becomes the protagonist and the corresponding privileges but it's little consolation for how much poorer her arc feels away from Buffy and the main title.
    I think you're correct. I also noticed how empty Season 9 was and it's largely because there wasn't any interactions between the Scoobies. That lack is what made Season 9 deplorable. But I have to wonder whether the writers themselves know about this problem. They certainly haven't made any comments saying they're aware of this issue. As for Willow interacting with Buffy...that's actually going to be a problem in Season 10 assuming she survives and is in fact without any powers for the next 200 years. How do the writers go about repairing a Willow who had powers and now doesn't?

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    Ah, the discussion has gone back to how useless Willow is without powers and how inevitible the Frayverse is. That stuff hasnt been run into the ground at all... I wish now that I hadn't bumped the thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vampire in Rug View Post
    Ah, the discussion has gone back to how useless Willow is without powers and how inevitible the Frayverse is. That stuff hasnt been run into the ground at all... I wish now that I hadn't bumped the thread.
    I wasn't meaning to resurrect *that* particular nasty little dispute. I'm referring to *how* are they going to go about showing Willow from this point on. Nothing about uselessness here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dipstick View Post
    I wouldn't want a Willow spin-off in S10. IMO, the way that Buffy and Willow mirror and play off and interact with each other is one of the fundamental pleasures and building blocks of the series.
    I couldn't agree more. If S9 has taught us anything it's that the story suffers when all the characters are split apart. Now, I do think with better writing that both the main book and Willow's miniseries could have been much more interesting than they were but the story still would have suffered by keeping them separate. I'm not interested in yet another season of the characters being splintered off into different books when they’re far more interesting when bouncing off each other.

    I really hope the writers won't give Willow her own series on account of it doing well in sales. Keep the core cast together and use the miniseries format to either flesh out background characters or tie up loose ends. If they insist on giving characters such as Willow or Spike miniseries I hope it won’t mean taking them away from the main book. Just set stories in-between arcs the way the old non-canon novels would insert stories in-between episodes of the TV show.
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    You still haven't explained your ideas on this matter. Interactions are fine but Buffy can interact with anyone or anything. What exactly is it that's supposed to make Willow being there for Buffy so important now?

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    No, Buffy can't just interact with "anyone or anything" and have it carry the same meaning as when she interacts with Willow. Buffy and Willow have been best friends since the pilot episode. They've been through practically everything together and have over 10 years of history. I don't know what on earth you mean by asking what makes it so important "now"? It has always been important and the Buffy/Willow relationship has been on the most pivotal components of this entire series.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    No, Buffy can't just interact with "anyone or anything" and have it carry the same meaning as when she interacts with Willow. Buffy and Willow have been best friends since the pilot episode. They've been through practically everything together and have over 10 years of history. I don't know what on earth you mean by asking what makes it so important "now"? It has always been important and the Buffy/Willow relationship has been on the most pivotal components of this entire series.
    How does Buffy interacting with Willow make it different than how she interacts with Xander, for instance? Because if Willow went away Buffy still has Xander. I guess what I'm asking is whether there's supposed to be a difference between what Willow and Xander offer to Buffy and whether what they give Buffy is merely interchangeable depending on the needs of the plot or the direction of the characters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DorothyFan1 View Post
    How does Buffy interacting with Willow make it different than how she interacts with Xander, for instance? Because if Willow went away Buffy still has Xander. I guess what I'm asking is whether there's supposed to be a difference between what Willow and Xander offer to Buffy and whether what they give Buffy is merely interchangeable depending on the needs of the plot or the direction of the characters.
    There's just no way that they're interchangeable. Both are incredibly important but they also represent very different things in the series. You can’t just slot in Xander or Willow as if it doesn’t matter what character the writers are using. For instance, you couldn't have just given Xander's arc in S9 to Willow (being a "Watcher" who feels useless and resentful over all the people he's seen die) as she has a very different story to Xander. Not to mention that it's not just about what they offer Buffy's story but also what Buffy offers them. Both Buffy and Willow's stories are richer when they're together than when they're separated and acting just with OCs. And that's to be expected when for 8 seasons the two were so closely entwined and had arcs that bounced off each other’s.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    There's just no way that they're interchangeable. Both are incredibly important but they also represent very different things in the series. You can’t just slot in Xander or Willow as if it doesn’t matter what character the writers are using. For instance, you couldn't have just given Xander's arc in S9 to Willow (being a "Watcher" who feels useless and resentful over all the people he's seen die) as she has a very different story to Xander. Not to mention that it's not just about what they offer Buffy's story but also what Buffy offers them. Both Buffy and Willow's stories are richer when they're together than when they're separated and acting just with OCs. And that's to be expected when for 8 seasons the two were so closely entwined and had arcs that bounced off each other’s.
    I'm not sure I agree with the Xander bit because that confuses me. He had his issues and this is in spite of being Buffy's "Watcher". Having the title didn't exempt him from betraying Buffy's trust. But even there we have the issue of "usefulness" coming up especially with him in regards to what happened last season. His frustration was understandable given the storyline direction that took place but with Willow I'm not sure I understand what she offers to Buffy now.

    If they have interacted for all this time and supposedly are still important to Buffy...then Buffy's reactions to Willow really doesn't make any sense now. Willow's been through hell and high water to try and restore magic only to have Buffy still being mistrustful of Willow's intentions. Now that Willow's "spent" in terms of her magics, how does this affect what Buffy considers that Willow can offer now? Please don't misunderstand me here...I'm not referring to the issue of magic and usefulness. I'm talking about relationship dynamics and how what happened affects what is supposed to happen *now*.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DorothyFan1 View Post
    How does Buffy interacting with Willow make it different than how she interacts with Xander, for instance? Because if Willow went away Buffy still has Xander. I guess what I'm asking is whether there's supposed to be a difference between what Willow and Xander offer to Buffy and whether what they give Buffy is merely interchangeable depending on the needs of the plot or the direction of the characters.
    Willow adds very particular value. For one when writers' apply her science and magic know-how, Willow is instantly able to raise the level of antagonists and intrigue because the writers have someone on Buffy's team that can credibly play at a high knowledge and/or power level. If Willow was in the main BtVS book, I doubt that they'd be stumbling around the robot plot for three issues.

    Buffy and Willow have similarities and areas to identify and mirror each other that Xander doesn't. Buffy and Willow are both women- and particularly in the early seasons, they've identified and commiserated on problems that uniquely affect women. The writers have always told story about the fact that Buffy and Willow have superpowers- and the ways that those powers lead to interpersonal conflicts and power struggles at varying points of their relationship.

    (And then on the other hand, Buffy and Xander share commonalities that Willow doesn't share. Buffy and Xander aren't struggling over some defining behavior nadir the way that Willow still is for S6. Buffy and Xander both embrace and deal with normalcy more. Buffy's and Xander's shared hetero-ness is a point of bonding and double dating that Willow is pretty excluded from because she is the Other.)

    What's more, Buffy and Willow have always had this very particular to them dynamic where they're each other's most consistently powerful and helpful allies but they unintentionally break each other. I.e. Willow's presence motivating Buffy to sacrifice herself to the Master, Buffy's presence dragging Willow away from escaping Sunnydale for the Ivy League, Willow unintentionally forcing Buffy to sacrifice Angel, Willow dragging Buffy from her grave where Buffy wanted to remain, Buffy's existence past S6 leading (in Willow's mind) to Tara's death, etc.

    It was INFURIATING that after one of the most stunning examples of that (Buffy's Twangel sex leading to the Seed being broken and Willow being left powerless) that the writers just took Willow out and decided to not tell a story about the Buffy/Willow of that. And then Willow's own betrayal and hurt of Buffy by keeping the Seed secret was just not-discussed and I don't think it ever will be. There's got to be some lecture that warns against that in a Comic Book Writers 1.01 class.

    It's made all the worse because S8 was telling a very interesting and extremely sweet but dark story about how Buffy was finally affirmatively letting Willow back into her heart after the events of S6. However, conclusive reconciliation was somewhat put on the backburner because of Buffy's and Willow's different flaws and the chaotic, miserable fight that was S8. That whole story was excellent and the end of S8 (flawed as it is) could have made the story even more interesting going into S9 but it was just...barely touched.

    Even aside from the Big Plot and meta-metaphor babble, the Buffy/Willow bond provides its own unique version of the fun in the story. IMO, Buffy/Willow is the relationship that most epitomizes the quirky, crazy-fun dialogue that helped make this whole damn series famous. (Although the unique Buffy/Xander dialogue of hard-core sarcasm and deconstructing the action cliches is awesome and definitive for the series too.) We even got a lampshade put on that in how Spike mocks the putting an "y" at the end of everything after the Buffy/Willow squabble in 9.01. However, all that fun just left the building when Willow left.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dipstick View Post
    Buffy and Willow have similarities and areas to identify and mirror each other that Xander doesn't. Buffy and Willow are both women- and particularly in the early seasons, they've identified and commiserated on problems that uniquely affect women. The writers have always told story about the fact that Buffy and Willow have superpowers- and the ways that those powers lead to interpersonal conflicts and power struggles at varying points of their relationship.
    I think this signals one of the big problems with the comic book...there aren't many women writers on the Dark Horse editorial staff. I think this is why the comic book is suffering. They really do need to bring more women in there because only if that's done will we see an improvement in the interactions between the Scoobies and maybe Buffy and Willow in particular.

    I mentioned a long time ago that Dark Horse should bring in Kathryn Immogen. She was brilliant as the editor to the Wolverine and Jubilee story which I still have on my iPad and iPhone. Bringing in Nicholas Brendan was nice for the writer's meeting and I'm sure he'll do a great job. I'm questioning whether the plot driven nature of the comic is ruining the interactions between the main characters. Too much plot drives home the choppy nature of the medium and this in my opinion ruins what is supposed to make the Buffy story different.

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    Xander and Willow are obviously not interchangeable dynamics for Buffy. I'd add that some of it is sex-based, and I guess orientation based incidentally -- I've always been in the school that candidly believes that there is always a sort of sublimated "sex, maybe?" tension in even the closest of friendships between a heterosexual man and a heterosexual woman. No, I don't think they can't be friends, I do think they manifestly can be friends; but it's a piece of furniture in that relationship one must step around and will bump into in the dark or when trying to carry in a new mattress, etc. I don't think even Xander dating Dawn necessarily changes that, especially since the most recent time it came up openly between Xander and Buffy (it has, what, only three or four times?) was after they started dating.

    Point being, that is an objective and demonstrated difference in the ways that Xander and Buffy even can relate compared to how Willow and Buffy can. Now, if they ever go to the idea of Willow being attracted to Buffy beyond as that tweak of humor in 8.10, that math changes and the dynamics are more alike, but still even then not exactly alike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Xander and Willow are obviously not interchangeable dynamics for Buffy. I'd add that some of it is sex-based, and I guess orientation based incidentally -- I've always been in the school that candidly believes that there is always a sort of sublimated "sex, maybe?" tension in even the closest of friendships between a heterosexual man and a heterosexual woman. No, I don't think they can't be friends, I do think they manifestly can be friends; but it's a piece of furniture in that relationship one must step around and will bump into in the dark or when trying to carry in a new mattress, etc. I don't think even Xander dating Dawn necessarily changes that, especially since the most recent time it came up openly between Xander and Buffy (it has, what, only three or four times?) was after they started dating.

    Point being, that is an objective and demonstrated difference in the ways that Xander and Buffy even can relate compared to how Willow and Buffy can. Now, if they ever go to the idea of Willow being attracted to Buffy beyond as that tweak of humor in 8.10, that math changes and the dynamics are more alike, but still even then not exactly alike.
    I've wondered why that comment by Dark Willow to the unconscious Buffy over her "excellent nose". I don't think they'll go there between Buffy and Willow...but it would definitely change things if they did. This would really raise the tension to the point one could cut it with a knife. But this actually brings home a problem regarding Willow. Are they supposed to give Willow a love interest now? Is this off the table or is the solution to keep them all celibate?

    Regarding interactions between the Scoobies it's going to be interesting to see if the writers own up and start bringing the characters together...and this refers to Buffy, Xander and Willow. This raises the issue of what are they going to do about Giles and whether he gets brought back to the comic and how are they going to deal with Angel and Spike. But for the most part I think vampmogs is right, it's Buffy and Willow that matters at least to me in terms of what makes the series interesting.

    If that goes, there really isn't much left to keep me tethered to the Buffy series. One has to wonder whether Scott Allie is looking at those falling sales numbers and asking himself how they can stem the tide. I think a good way to stem it would be to bring the Scoobies back together and keep them that way. The plots don't matter as much as character interaction. Let's hope they learn that lesson before it's too late.

    Edit: getting back to Willow - what's going to happen if Giles comes back? Willow might be the first one to learn the truth about his return and it's going to be interesting to see whether this is going to be one of the main plot points of Season 10. How will Willow play this news? Does she tell Buffy or does she let her find out on her own? This is making me wonder whether Angel is hoping if Willow finds out this would give her the ammunition she needs in helping Buffy "forgive" him in exchange for them having another chance. Angel wanting Willow to play Cyrano de Borjac to woo Buffy back to his side.
    Last edited by DorothyFan1; 30-08-13 at 08:11 PM.

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