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Thread: Positives and Negatives - S4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    Some of the best fights in the verse are Buffy v Faith and Angel v Spike, and any combination of these four characters. I don't think the fights involving humans are any more exciting or compelling.
    They break too easily for a start.

    I’m always shocked when I see people mention that they’re not interested in the fight scenes or don’t pay attention to them. I’m not saying it’s bad or anything but it just always surprises me as a consider them such a huge component of the show, and in many ways, what a lot of the show is about (slaying monsters after all).
    Oh god, ditto.
    Last edited by Silver1; 07-03-18 at 05:11 PM.

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    The Harsh Light of Day

    Positive: Yellow tee. Green band aid. Twenty terawatt smile. Willow's incredibly adorable in this episode.

    Negative: That sex scene, if you can even call it that, is truly terrible. Why does it even exist? What's the point? It's not sexy, it's not enticing, I mean, especially with Giles polluting the middle of it, it's just cringeworthy. With Willow there's usually just a passionate kiss, cut, and then there's a shot of the room with clothes strewn all over it and Willow cuddling with Oz/Tara and being all cute. It works. It's tasteful. And yet with Buffy we get that pointless PG-13 trash with terrible music. Ugh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sosa lola View Post
    "Don't make a fuss."
    Yes, obviously I meant properly questioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    Iím always shocked when I see people mention that theyíre not interested in the fight scenes or donít pay attention to them. Iím not saying itís bad or anything but it just always surprises me as a consider them such a huge component of the show, and in many ways, what a lot of the show is about (slaying monsters after all).
    Personally it's not that I'm disinterested in the fight scenes. I really like them but I'm not sure I notice things like the punches missing like you mentioned, or that the quality of stunts are weaker/better than the other seasons. The stunt doubles standing out really distracts me and I think I'd notice other really clunky moves that lacked fluidity at the time, but I don't think I have a good idea/knowledge of what choreography is good quality and what isn't.

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    Day 4 - Fear Itself

    Positive: Oz has more to do in this episode than we've ever seen before; he gets to berate Willow about her magic, we see how deep he actually fears his wolf side, he belittles Xander, his blood actually allows the fear demon into the house, and he's allowed to be really funny. My favourite moment is the reveal of his choice of costume, that's just iconic Oz.


    Negative: The scary things in the frat house just aren't very scary . . . sorry, there's really not very much negative here

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    Iíd actually argue that the fight scenes with the regular humans characters are far less realistic as thereís no in-verse explanation for why theyíre not a bloody mess after one hit. Their hands should be bloody from fighting and their face should be cut and bruised for days, if not longer, after a fight. At least with Slayers and vampires we know that they have supernatural strength/healing which is why they donít bruise easily.
    You're right about them not getting bruises and permanent scars. But I find non-fighters' fights more enjoyable and less redundant. Like I enjoy watching Willow taking advantage of the vampires beating the hell out of Xander and Giles and staking them while they weren't aware of her. Or when Xander punches the frat guy and then clutches his fist in pain. That's relatable and there's more story and characterization there than Buffy simply kicking and punching some demon to their predictable death.

    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    Iím always shocked when I see people mention that theyíre not interested in the fight scenes or donít pay attention to them. Iím not saying itís bad or anything but it just always surprises me as a consider them such a huge component of the show, and in many ways, what a lot of the show is about (slaying monsters after all).
    For me it's because I'm not interested in vampire/action shows in general. I'm more into drama and comedy, which to my luck BtVS is filled with.
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    Day 4 - Fear, Itself

    Positive - This is one of my favourite episodes of the season. The interaction between Willow/Oz about power is great considering where their two stories are going to head and within the overall theme of fear. It can hold you back but it can also protect you.

    Negative - Ugh, I haven't seen the episode recently enough that one is coming to mind. So I'm going to go with the reference to Hank and how they dumped him out of the story.

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    For me it's because I'm not interested in vampire/action shows in general.
    My god how did you manage to stick it for so long then?

    I'm more into drama and comedy, which to my luck BtVS is filled with.
    Up to a point but there's still a hell of a lot of action in Buffy. Considering It's about a Vampire Slayer, well thats gonna be pretty prevalent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver1 View Post
    My god how did you manage to stick it for so long then?



    Up to a point but there's still a hell of a lot of action in Buffy. Considering It's about a Vampire Slayer, well thats gonna be pretty prevalent.
    I watched BtVS purely for Spander in the beginning Then I fell in love with the verse. I like the stories. Buffy's pain as the only slayer, her complicated relationships with her mother, friends and boyfriends. That's what attracts me to the show. I like the horror episodes and Angel losing his soul and Faith turning evil and Xander lying about the lie and all that and the awesome plot twists.

    What I'm not interested in are the fight scenes. I find them boring. Unless the person doing the fighting isn't accustomed to fighting, that makes it fun. Like Buffy in Helpless when she didn't have her powers, that was interesting.
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    Once again I suspect you're in the minority there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sosa lola View Post
    You're right about them not getting bruises and permanent scars. But I find non-fighters' fights more enjoyable and less redundant. Like I enjoy watching Willow taking advantage of the vampires beating the hell out of Xander and Giles and staking them while they weren't aware of her. Or when Xander punches the frat guy and then clutches his fist in pain. That's relatable and there's more story and characterization there than Buffy simply kicking and punching some demon to their predictable death.
    See Iíd really disagree with you there because how characters like Buffy and Faith fight say so much about their characters. The writing and stunt teams put a lot of effort into giving characters their own individual fighting styles depending on the character. Faith is clearly skilled like any other Slayer but sheís also, in S3/S4 anyway, angry and reckless and prone to throwing furniture and other such outbursts. Whereas, Buffy is more focused but unlike Kendra who is all technique, also shows great creativity and improvisation and uses her scenery to her advantage such as using random objects as stakes etc. Itís even commented on in the show that itís a sign of her resourcefulness. If youíre not interested in fight scenes I can see how youíd miss it but they actually do put a lot of thought into them and itís not just kicking and punching.

    Not to mention that certain fight scenes are really pivotal character moments. Faith beating on ďherselfĒ in Who Are You is (ďyouíre nothing but a disgusting murderous bitchĒ) is hugely important. As is Buffy standing up to Angelus in Innocence and beating the shit out of him or Buffy and Spike unleashing their frustration on each other in Smashed. I just really strongly disagree that Xander ďholding his fistĒ is more characterisation than such pivotal moments as these.

    We all have our interests and thatís totally cool. But I do think thereís a tendency sometimes for fans to be too dismive of the fight scenes. Thereís a huge amount of work and skill that goes into making them and they do tell us something about the characters. The main fighters in the show all have really distinctive fighting styles that reflect the kind of characters they are. Itís not just a generic bunch of kicking and punching thatís indistinguishable or interchangeable between each other. They fight really differently or, at times, very similarity when they want to emphasise their connection (like that brilliantly tense moment Buffy and Faith simultaneously put the blade to each otherís throat, signifying itís Slayer VS Slayer/Faiths threat/their connection).
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    Fear Itself

    Positive: In my opinion this is a perfect Buffy episode. It has everything: action, horror, comedy, drama. If I have to choose one thing, I like how it delves into Buffy's issues. Buffy fears that her friends will leave her yet she tells them to leave, pushes them away. It's very interesting.

    Negative: Buffy, you're not a pumpkin. Also, pumpkin is a fruit. It exists to be cut open and ripped apart, or, you know, eaten by animals so the seeds can be transported away from the plant. That's why it's so yummy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    See I’d really disagree with you there because how characters like Buffy and Faith fight say so much about their characters. The writing and stunt teams put a lot of effort into giving characters their own individual fighting styles depending on the character. Faith is clearly skilled like any other Slayer but she’s also, in S3/S4 anyway, angry and reckless and prone to throwing furniture and other such outbursts. Whereas, Buffy is more focused but unlike Kendra who is all technique, also shows great creativity and improvisation and uses her scenery to her advantage such as using random objects as stakes etc. It’s even commented on in the show that it’s a sign of her resourcefulness. If you’re not interested in fight scenes I can see how you’d miss it but they actually do put a lot of thought into them and it’s not just kicking and punching.

    Not to mention that certain fight scenes are really pivotal character moments. Faith beating on “herself” in Who Are You is (“you’re nothing but a disgusting murderous bitch”) is hugely important. As is Buffy standing up to Angelus in Innocence and beating the shit out of him or Buffy and Spike unleashing their frustration on each other in Smashed. I just really strongly disagree that Xander “holding his fist” is more characterisation than such pivotal moments as these.

    We all have our interests and that’s totally cool. But I do think there’s a tendency sometimes for fans to be too dismive of the fight scenes. There’s a huge amount of work and skill that goes into making them and they do tell us something about the characters. The main fighters in the show all have really distinctive fighting styles that reflect the kind of characters they are. It’s not just a generic bunch of kicking and punching that’s indistinguishable or interchangeable between each other. They fight really differently or, at times, very similarity when they want to emphasise their connection (like that brilliantly tense moment Buffy and Faith simultaneously put the blade to each other’s throat, signifying it’s Slayer VS Slayer/Faiths threat/their connection).
    I never really saw it that way. I've always seen it as two characters swapping punches and I end up spacing out. I especially don't care for the scenes where Buffy fights normal vampires because I know she'll end up winning, except that time in Fool For Love where she gets stabbed, which did give me a "Huh? That's new."

    I like your point about how each slayer has a different fighting style and I do enjoy pivotal character moments in fighting scenes (that's what I'm talking about when I say drama). What I'm not into are the choreographed fighting scenes where it's just kick and punch and nothing else. I'm just not into it. I don't watch Buffy for the fighting. I watch it because I enjoy the characters and their stories.
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    Fear Itself

    Positive: I like that each character's main fear will come true in the future. This episode is foreshadowing to future events: Buffy's fear would come true in Empty Places, Xander's fear is already true, Willow's fear will come true in S6 and Oz's fear is about to come true soon.

    Negative: I didn't like Buffy snapping at Xander when he was rambling about nobody seeing him. His fear was treated as a joke which was annoying.
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    Day 5 - Beer Bad

    Positive - This isn't a great episode but I have to say I enjoyed it more the last time I watched it so maybe that will continue. It's obvious I know, but I've got to give the spot to Willow calling Parker out on his sensitive/connection act.

    Negative - I dislike seeing Buffy readily enter such a risky/dumb situation. Not the drinking in and of itself, which is over-demonised in the show but hey ho, but willingly going drinking with four guys who she doesn't know at all.

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    Day 5 - Beer Bad

    Positive - Since Willow's scene with Parker was mentioned, I would say I enjoyed Cave Buffy and Supportive Xander. He was just humiliated but at the sight of Sad Buffy, he just forgets about his pain and goes ahead to comfort her. I also love his retort to Giles, "Well excuse me Mr. I-Spent-the-60's-in-an-electric-koolaid-funky-satan-groove."

    Negative - God, Buffy being so hung up on Parker took way too long. He's no Angel, Buffy, just get over it. This also makes me so angry because we didn't get to see Xander being upset about how Faith treated him.
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    Day 5 - Beer Bad

    Positive: Buffy looks gorgeous pre-Neanderthalism.

    Negative: The jerk jock who puts Xander down because 'we are the future of this country, and you keep the bowl of peanuts full'.

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    Beer Bad

    Positive: The opening scene is incredible. The fighting sequence is amazing and completely ridiculous in that 80s karate action movie way, blaring soundtrack included, even Buffy's outfit looks badassified. Buffy, a superheroine, still gets to have properly shallow monster fighting fantasies, I love that! And what fantasy-Parker says is super-interesting in the context of Buffy's relationships with Angel and Spike.

    Negative: Buffy's too old to star in an after school special.

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    Day 6 - Wild At Heart

    Positive: The ending is so sad, Willow's 'don't you love me', tears streaming down her face, Oz driving off in his van, it's heartbreaking


    Negative: Veruca just doesn't have the charisma needed for this part and she's just so mean to Willow about her shirt.

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    Day 6 - Wild At Heart

    Positive: Loved Willow's separate scenes with Buffy and Xander. I loved Buffy saving Willow and then hugging her as she wept as well as her apparent anger at Oz. I also liked Xander's advise to Willow about sex.

    Negative: Veruca. The writing for the character is horrible.
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    I find it hilarious that Season 3 is one of the most popular seasons of the show while Season 4 is one of the least popular seasons because I think the two seasons are about equal in quality. While Season 3 may have been the most consistent of the high school years, it had its flaws. I found its portrayal of the Buffy/Angel relationship very lacking, the first half of the season felt a little off and too light, and characters like Angel, Cordelia, and Oz who were really well-done in Season 2 were sort of pushed to the side and not used to their full potential throughout Season 3. Season 4 is the funniest season of the show, it does a great job at focusing on the developments of the core four main characters and their relationships with one another, and it features the addition of Spike and Anya into the main cast. Despite the change in setting and loss of old characters, I think Season 4 does a remarkable job of handling these changes. However, real-life issues like Seth Green and Lindsay Crouse being unable to finish the season, apparently cut storylines like Xander joining the Initiative, along with a few underwhelming new characters (I hate Forrest, Adam is Adam, and I do like Riley but I lose a lot of interest in him after around "Hush") stop this from being one of the greatest seasons of BtVS. But nevertheless, it's still a damn good season of television overall, if you ask me.

    "The Freshman"

    Positive: This is one of my favorite season openers and I think it's one of the wittiest scripts Joss Whedon has ever written. There's some truly top-notch dialogue in this one. I loved the disorientated feel of the episode. Big new setting, new characters introduced in every other scene, Xander and Giles being absent for most of the episode (this will probably be the only time I consider underutilization of core characters to be a strength of an episode ). It makes the viewers feel just as lost in this new world as Buffy is and I think it's pretty realistic.

    This is also one of my favorite SMG performances. I think this episode does a great job showing off what is, IMO, her greatest strength as an actress: her comedic timing and perfect delivery of the Buffy-esque dialogue. But I also like the way she plays Buffy's obvious sadness. Buffy spends much of the episode very sad and SMG does a great job of conveying that, while at the same time, being funny enough that Buffy's melancholy doesn't drag down the episode entirely as it's supposed to be rather light-hearted.

    Also loved seeing Willow enjoy college. I've always imagined her as someone who would have blossomed in college, especially socially. While I think the series was right for eventually dropping the college setting, I would have loved to have seen more stuff like that later on and more evidence of Willow's rapidly improving social skills. It's a shame that the series became so insular and exclusively focused on the Scoobies by the end. One of the strengths of the high school years were the peripheral supporting characters like Larry, Snyder, Percy, Jonathan, etc. They helped to expand the show's universe a little bit. It was fun to see characters who were neither good or evil and interacted with the Scoobies enough for us to see the average Sunnydale citizens' point of view. I always felt like I discovered new things about the Scoobies whenever I saw them interact with their peers outside of supernatural issues and, while I think S4 does a good job with this, it's a shame that wasn't continued as much in S5-S7.

    And I can't think of anything that encapsulates the essence of Xander's character better than his speech to Buffy, right down to his problematic but very funny "And sometimes, I think: 'What is Buffy wearing?'" that even Buffy can't help but be amused by.

    I also ADORED Sunday. Her snarky, nonchalant attitude was great and she felt like a good mixture of Cordelia and Glory. I was rooting for her to be a recurring villain... right up until she broke the Class Protector Award. Then I just wanted Buffy to dust her ass.

    Negative: While I think it does a really good job setting up the plot, theme and character threads of Season 4, I think this episode does a lousy job at acknowledging the aftermath of Season 3. There's no mention of Faith or the Mayor, and Cordelia's absence isn't explained or referenced at all. But I loved the moment with Buffy imagining Angel at The Bronze.

    And While I loved Buffy's plot with the vampires, it does kind of confuse me a little. It's a bit weird that Buffy's slaying weakens due to her sadness in this episode because I've always thought that Buffy's slaying *improves* when she's stressed out or emotionally off and that pummeling vampires was a coping mechanism for her. See "Ted" or "Checkpoint" where she takes her frustration (about Ted in "Ted", about her professor humiliating her in "Checkpoint") out on vamps during patrol.

    "Living Conditions"

    Positive: I really like Kathy. The actress who played her was really good at making her annoying (her scenes in "The Freshman" were also a highlight for me), but in a funny way. Also, the zoom-in on Buffy's pissed off facial expression and her twitching eye is hilarious and one of the funniest moments in the whole series. It's become a quite popular gif, and I'm always glad when I see people use it.

    Negative: I think this episode is funny and all, but whenever I watch it, I kind of wonder what the point is. Usually, the comedy episodes of the series (like "Doppelgangland" or "The Zeppo") are the ones that show us a lot of new things about the characters using humor to do it, but this one just leaves me scratching my head. "Living Conditions" doesn't tell us anything new about Buffy's character, besides the fact that she's apparently difficult to live with, a character flaw that doesn't seem to last considering Willow, Dawn and Tara never have any of these problems living with her later on.

    I don't cite this as neg or pos, but am I the only one (and I surely can NOT be) who thinks that Parker looks a lot like Xander?

    "The Harsh Light of Day"

    Positive: Harmony and Spike. They're like a warped version of Cordelia and Angel and their scenes together are genuinely hilarious and interesting. I liked Buffy's line about Harmony's boyfriend before she knew he was Spike -- "He must be the most tolerant guy in the world". In a sense, he is. I think Spike puts up with a lot from the women he dates (Dru's unfaithfulness, Buffy's mistreatment of him in S6), just not with Harmony. His "I like syphilis more than you" is up there with Buffy's "Your mouth is open, sound is coming from it, this is never good" and Wesley's "I wasn't thinking about you when you were here" as one of my favorite insults from the shows.

    Negative: While I think the Buffy-Parker stuff is good, I really wish it had been a genuine misunderstanding between them rather than him being an ass and knowingly leading her on. While Parker being a jerk is realistic, it does feel a tad typical to me and I thought it would have been much more interesting if he and Buffy had just genuinely misunderstood each other about the nature of their date. I'm still majorly sympathetic to Buffy here though, and her heartbreak devastates me every time I see it.

    And yeah, I loved Anya here but the way the episode groups her with Buffy and Harmony always confounds me. Xander didn't mistreat her at all. And I do think it's weird how none of the Scoobies show any grief about Harmony being a vampire. The poor girl *did* die (in battle for team good actually!), but the Scoobies show no sadness and still just treat her like their annoying classmate.

    "Fear, Itself"

    Positive: Joyce's appearance in this episode. I gave Joyce a lot of shit for her parenting throughout S1-S2, but I really think she's amazing by this point. The scene between her and Buffy where we see Buffy actually opening up to her and Joyce giving her good motherly wisdom was really lovely and something of a rare occurrence, considering their strained relationship in the early seasons and Joyce's sporadic presence in the later ones. I think it's realistic how little we see Joyce starting now, but her presence is missed a lot. At least by me.

    Negative: The jerkass in the teaser who gets mad at Buffy for hitting him after he sneaks up on her. She's a small young woman alone in a dark street and you want to... get angry at her for hitting you when you sneak up on her???

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