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Lead characters, supporting cast and our love for them.

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  • Lead characters, supporting cast and our love for them.

    I saw an interesting theory that people prefer a side-kick more than the lead character. This was in the context of Buffy vs the other BtVS characters. Which sounded like a good theory, lead characters are the characters who have the most time to screw up and also the most time for a big story. So it makes sense ...

    But after that, somebody started the poll in the Ats section about favourite characters, and Angel won that one. The others didn't even came close ... and Angel makes a bigger mess of his journey than Buffy.


    So what is the difference? Are the minor characters less fun in Ats? Is Wesley less interesting than Willow? Or is it the difference between the characters that the core 4 will survive while Ats kills the other characters and people have more time to fall in love with Xander/Willow than with Wesley/Cordelia?
    Nina
    and her haircut.
    Last edited by Nina; 01-10-08, 01:52 PM.


  • #2
    Personally, I don?t have as much love for all the characters in Ats than in Buffy. It depends too of the character. For example, I love Wesley and his journey is awesome. But Buffy characters (all of them) just connect with me on an emotional level and it makes it hard to choose. I usually say that until today, I haven?t met a show that made me care so much about all of them. Buffy connects with me emotionally, and although Ats is amazing and some of the characters have interesting journeys, the truth is that Ats never fully clicked with me emotionally, like Buffy.

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    • #3
      I agree to an extent.

      For some reason I'm able to have a really strong emotional connection to the Sunnydale characters such as Angel or Cordelia. That's probably because, Cordy in particular, are very "Buffy-like." It also stems from the fact they come from a period in my life, like Buffy/Xander/Willow/Giles, where there's a great deal of nostalgia attached to the characters. It was a happier time for me when I first watched them, and a really fond memory of my childhood. Those memories and feelings are permanently attached to those characters. I also find Angel and particularly Cordelia, more relatable.

      But others like Gunn, Fred, Groo and even Wesley to an extent, I watch from a more 'creative' viewpoint point. I'm thinking about what an interesting journey they're making, rather than connecting to those character's emotionally.

      They most certainly have their moments, although not a terribly popular episode to most I got very emotional during 'A Hole In The World' and Fred's death. I was also very emotional throughout Wes' death scene in 'Not Fade Away' and connected with Fred and her trouble adapting to our world again in 'Heartthrob.' I thought the scenes between Angel and Fred were adorable. So it’s not as if I wasn’t at all connected to them but in comparison to the Scooby gang, my heart has never been in it as much.

      So in part it's my own personal fond memories of growing up with the Scooby gang and Buffy's sidekicks that makes me connect to them more. However, in general I think they're written very differently. In my opinion there's something far more personal in watching a character/s literally "grow up" right in front of your eyes, than simply, "grow." The Ats characters were older and therefore we watched them deal with events and change according to those events rather than "grow up." It's different with the Scoobies.

      On another level, the Scoobies also dealt with more "common" problems. Which are probably more relatable to a lot of people. In season eight the characters are far more ‘Ats-like’ in the fact that they’re dealing with more bigger, wider issues. But the series has earned that to an extent, other, particular early seasons, let us connect through very relatable issues and then the characters can move into more surreal territory. We didn’t have that as much with Ats, that world has always been more surreal and otherworldly.

      In my opinion Joss managed something really special in the group of characters he had in Btvs and how their stories were told. In my own personal opinion, I don't believe he's ever truly been able to capture that in any other show, including Ats. Granted, the relationships have slipped a little as the series progressed, but in it's hey-day, the core characters seemed more emotionally open and far more easier to relate to than the Ats characters. As for example, little to nothing in ‘Ats’ ever made my heart melt like the scene of Buffy leaping on Willow and hugging as the two girls giggled in ‘Choices’ or when we saw Willow in ‘Consequences’ crying in the bathroom, or when Xander tells Buffy she’s his “hero” in ‘The Freshman.” The only time Ats ever managed to get that feeling to me were in many scenes between Angel/Cordy, as for example at the end of ‘You’re Welcome’ ect.

      Plus there was always the whole "colleagues" vibe for me with the Ats gang, whereas the Scoobies had a more family vibe. It seems silly since at times Ats really tried to drive home the message of family between the characters, as for example in the opening scene of 'Deep Down' or the group shot as Angel pushes along baby Connor, but scenes of Wes threatening to fire Gunn always grated on me and ruined it. Not to mention the fact that their whole lives pretty much revolved around eachother in the Scooby gang, whereas it was different with Team Angel. They all had their own parents, their own history, their own personal childhoods, whereas Joyce was all the Scoobie's mother and they shared their childhood together.
      vampmogs
      Slayer Supporter
      Last edited by vampmogs; 01-10-08, 02:17 PM.

      ~ Banner by Nina ~

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      • #4
        Angel was my favourite character in Buffy 1-3 already.
        That I identify more with the lead character in Angel than in Buffy certainly has to do with the fact that Angel is male, like me, and I don't identify with female characters generally (that is to say, I like Buffy, but she is no role model etc for me because she's a girl).
        Still, I don't think the fandom has a vast male majority, so... well, got no explanation.
        Interesting observation, anyway.
        Sin is what I feast upon
        I'm forging my crematorium
        Your tomb is waiting here for you
        Welcome to my ritual

        -Judas Priest, Death

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        • #5
          See thats weird. I very rarely identify with female characters in either Buffy or Angel for some reason.

          I 'identify' (If thats the correct usage) more with Angel then I ever did with Buffy, except during season 5 when she was having to deal with her mothers illness and death.

          I often prefer 'sidekicks' as often their more fun, and given license to do what the main character cannot be seen to be doing.

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          • #6
            Funny thing is that I'm a girl and have almost no problem with relating to Angel while I couldn't relate to Buffy. She was always above me or something like that ... she was the shiny hero. The only person I can relate to in BtVS was Xander ... also a guy.

            I'm a closet man.


            But back to my actual question;

            Which is 'Why do Buffy's side-kicks have a fanclub with the same size as Buffy's fanclub but is Angel the most popular character in his own series?'



            I think that Mogs has a point when he said that you create a bond with people you see grow up. We saw her grow up into a fantastic woman and she is the only one we followed since she was 16 of the Ats team ... still she isn't the favourite of the most fans. I still think that Mogs has a valid point and I do think that Cordelia's storyline is screwed up by the writers.


            Another thing that I noticed is that if people dislike Angel ... they don't watch Ats. While people who dislike Buffy do watch BtVS. Another reason why Angel is more popular in his own show?


            And maybe I'm not the only person who can't relate to Buffy because she is too much of a hero? Just like it's easier to relate to Batman than to Superman?

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            • #7
              I never got the "too much of a hero" vibe from Buffy. She always seemed really grounded to me? Even in her most heroic moments, like killing Angel or sacrificing herself, there was still something very human about the whole thing. As for example, kissing Dawn on the cheek, or bursting into tears after Angel gets sucked away.

              I actually thought they did a really good job at making her relatable, but perhaps I'm in the minority there? I thought episodes like 'The Freshman' were designed to show that Buffy is like everyone else when she has a hard time adapting and fitting into her new life? And even in her most heroic episodes and acts I found her very grounded, they counter-balanced her heroism in 'Prophecy Girl' by having the very human and relatable "I'm sixteen years old, I don't want to die!" moments.

              Hmmm, very strange.

              I also was easily able to connect with the opposite sex, I'm a male but related to both Buffy and Angel as characters, the gender was very rarely an obstacle to me. Somehow I could always place it in accordance with my own struggles and simply substitute a few things, the emotions were always similar enough.

              ~ Banner by Nina ~

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              • #8
                I love my characters to have flaws. Really bad ones sometimes. Batman was my type of hero, whilst poor old Superman came across to me as being incredibly dull for some reason.

                Buffy had flaws, but sadly as the years went on the writers developed areas of her character that didn't really do much for me personally. Angel I found was at his 'cutest' when being out and out 'petty' as odd as that may seem.

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                • #9
                  I agree with Sue here (except the petty thing, I like petty Angel sometimes ... but it's not why I can relate to the guy.).

                  Buffy's flaws are very clear but also very ignored. She was called on her mistakes in the past, but when that stopped and the writers made her something more than a girl. She became more than the people around her. Willow saying that Buffy is not one of them, says enough for me. The same for Buffy feeling alone. The moment Buffy stopped relating to the normal humans, I stopped relating to her. And it's just too bad that the last seasons have a bigger impact than the earlier seasons when it was easier to relate with Buffy.
                  Nina
                  and her haircut.
                  Last edited by Nina; 09-10-08, 11:41 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nina View Post
                    I agree with Sue here (except the petty thing, I like petty Angel sometimes ... but it's not why I can relate to the guy.).

                    Buffy's flaws are very clear but also very ignored. She was called on her mistakes in the past, but when that stopped and the writers made her something more than a girl. She became more than the people around her. Willow saying that Buffy is not one of them. says enough for me. The same for Buffy feeling alone. The moment Buffy stopped relating to the normal humans, I stopped relating to her. And it's just too bad that the last seasons have a bigger impact than the earlier seasons when it was easier to relate with Buffy.
                    I think the problem with her "alone" storyline is that it stems from the "otherworldly" aspects of her character, rather than from the human attributes she has. The loneliness stems from her slayer hood, and that's not something audiences can easily relate to. Whereas when it focused more on her normalcy, her problems were far more normalized and therefore accessible to a wider range of people.

                    But I think it took them a while to find their footing with Angel, it certainly hasn't been an easy ride for him. Episodes like "City Of.." for example, I found, didn't go a great job at showing the more relatable sides of his character. There were only three seasons in that pilot that really stuck out for me, his drunken scene at the start, sitting by the phone and hanging up on Buffy and smiling as he hands Cordelia the box to start setting up the office. All the rest was far to out of this world for me to relate to the guy. Thankfully it progressed as time went on.

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                    • #11
                      All the rest was far to out of this world for me to relate to the guy.
                      In what way?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Vampmogs
                        There were only three seasons in that pilot that really stuck out for me, his drunken scene at the start, sitting by the phone and hanging up on Buffy and smiling as he hands Cordelia the box to start setting up the office. All the rest was far to out of this world for me to relate to the guy. Thankfully it progressed as time went on.
                        I agree with you there, when I saw Angel for the first time I wasn't like 'He is like me!' (not that I think that if I see him in ATF, I would sit under a table somewhere ... ).

                        I guess that it helps that you didn't expect to relate to Angel. he is a 250 years old vampire with some really weird quirks. So it's a suprise when you look at him and see that he is human and very relatable. But like I said in my previous post, the last thing I see has more imact than something that happened before that. Where Angel became more relatable every season, Buffy became less relatable.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sueworld View Post
                          In what way?
                          To help better explain my point I'll compare it to 'The Freshman' which aired on the same night. In Btvs we had Buffy deal with feeling alienated to University and having to leave behind High School and the world she was used to. She had trouble making friends, felt incredibly small in her environment, had trouble with an overbearing lecturer and felt like she was the only one of her friends not fitting in with their new life. All of that is something I could relate to and did experience my first time at University.

                          Whereas over in "City Off.." we had Angel dealing with trying to see the people he was trying to save as not food, we had him in car chases, with batman gadgets, leaping of buildings, making a mission statement to help the helpless ect. One character and her struggles were far more relatable than the other. I couldn’t possibly relate to all of that. I found it interesting and great to watch but not relatable. Except for those few scenes that I mentioned above, that felt incredibly more grounded to me.

                          However, in saying that both episodes had a fun little moment that worked together quite great. Buffy was ontop of the crypt's glass roof trying to act all menacing about how "this time we do things my way" and the glass breaks in underneath her, sending her crashing to the ground and with a worried "oh.." Over on Ats we had Angel leap into a car all heoric like, only to discover it was the wrong car. Both scenes grounded both our leading heroes and showed them as imperfect.

                          Originally posted by Nina View Post
                          I agree with you there, when I saw Angel for the first time I wasn't like 'He is like me!' (not that I think that if I see him in ATF, I would sit under a table somewhere ... ).

                          I guess that it helps that you didn't expect to relate to Angel. he is a 250 years old vampire with some really weird quirks. So it's a surprise when you look at him and see that he is human and very relatable. But like I said in my previous post, the last thing I see has more impact than something that happened before that. Where Angel became more relatable every season, Buffy became less relatable.
                          Good point. What’s interesting about Angel is that they made their mission statement and stuck to it. In season four you have Angel and Jasmine exchange;

                          JASMINE: You’re not human!

                          ANGEL: Working on it

                          And that’s true, the series evolved and throughout the course of the seasons Angel became more and more “human.” There’s even that line in ‘Waiting in the Wings’ when Angel makes the comment about how people used to complain the wanted to sulk in the shadows and now he wants to hit the town. It’s true, he became less “vampire” and more “human” as the series progressed. Buffy’s mission statement changed, for the first four years it was about Buffy being “just a girl” who happened to also be a slayer, but she was still that ordinary girl trying to have an ordinary life. By the end of season five it was more about the slayer and she became less normal.
                          vampmogs
                          Slayer Supporter
                          Last edited by vampmogs; 01-10-08, 03:17 PM.

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                          • #14
                            My favorite character is Buffy, with Angel coming in as a close second (sometimes he moves up to first place). I love the "sidekick" characters, but my first interest is with the main characters. I think Joss did a great job balancing the main characters and the secondary ones (not so much in Season 7). I liked watching the episodes that focused on other characters, but I always wanted to get back to the main character's once it ended.

                            Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                            I never got the "too much of a hero" vibe from Buffy. She always seemed really grounded to me? Even in her most heroic moments, like killing Angel or sacrificing herself, there was still something very human about the whole thing. As for example, kissing Dawn on the cheek, or bursting into tears after Angel gets sucked away.

                            I actually thought they did a really good job at making her relatable, but perhaps I'm in the minority there?
                            I totally agree with this. Buffy, although a super hero, always came across as so human to me. I feel the same way about Angel. They might have grand lives, but the little human moments intertwined really made them connect with me.

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                            • #15
                              Hm. I may just have been proven a bit of a macho.

                              Sue, good point about the flaws. I'd even go as far as saying I like dark, tormented characters who nonetheless fight for the good.
                              But yes, Buffy appears human to me too, not entirely flawless. She makes mistakes like everyone, she sometimes is not so nice to someone or not fair, she has her teenage girl phases like any other girl...
                              However, I think I get the Superman/Batman comparison - while Buffy has her little flaws too, she does not have an actual dark side to her, right?
                              Sin is what I feast upon
                              I'm forging my crematorium
                              Your tomb is waiting here for you
                              Welcome to my ritual

                              -Judas Priest, Death

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                              • #16
                                IMO I think there's three reasons here.

                                The first is that Joss had been "prepping" Buffy in his head for a long time and therefore created whole, very real and likeable characters with Xander, Willow, Angel, Giles and to an extent Cordelia (not so much likeable, but definately real - like someone you'd know). AtS was a spin off and therefore the characters that were created for the show weren't quite as "whole" and rounded out before it started (if that makes sense). The AtS characters that we already knew from Buffy are probably the best liked for that reason - they were created for BtVS and had the same treatment

                                Secondly though, AtS is a series about redemption and nearly every character has something they want to redeem about themselves. Angel's obvious, Cordelia for her bitchiness in High School, Wesley for his mistakes as a watcher, Gunn for the death of his sister and Lorne for leaving his family and "duties" behind in Pylea for a preferrable life. These are tainted people from the outset. In BtVS the sidekicks start sweet and pure and we grew to love them before they had made their morally dubious choices. The AtS sidekicks are harder to love in that respect. Also the ones that did go over to AtS weren't the most popular characters when they were in BtVS (except Angel, of course which strengthens my point)

                                I'm in the faction of liking my characters grey and compromised, which is why I slightly prefer AtS to BtVS. My favourite character in AtS is probably still Angel though. Which brings me neatly onto my third point, the way the series revolves around the lead character:-

                                BtVS is about all of the Scoobies lives - not just Buffy's. She leans on them and learns from them and their stories are told in tandem with hers. In AtS though, the story is always about Angel. We do see what happens in the lives of "Team Angel" but it's always related back in some way to how it affects Angel. We don't get as much opportunity to fall in love with Team Angel because they don't get as much exposition into their emotions etc as The Scoobies do.
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                                Peter Capaldi is the 12th Doctor

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                                • #17
                                  All of your comments are great, but I agree more with vampmogs. I think the writers did an amazing job with Buffy, they are always showing us that she is human and she screws up, like the rest of us. That makes her relatable and throughout the series, there are little moments that make me love the gang and just makes me emotional. For example, in "Choices", the small talk Willow and Buffy have about going to UC Sunnydale or that moment that vampmogs said, Willow crying in the bathroom on "Consequences". These are people that grow up, go to highschool, go to college, face their own demons, and face life. I feel like they?re my friends. For example, in "The Prom" I really feel I?m right there with them, enjoying things. I even feel I go to school with them. And those emotions happen every time I rewatch Buffy.

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                                  • #18
                                    As times gone by, I've learnt to love and enjoy the characters in AtS a lot more then when I was viewing them at the time it was airing. I used to look at AtS as a sort of weak version of the parent show, but now with the exception of Giles I think that I prefer the AtS 'sidekicks' more then the Buffy ones for some reason.

                                    Maybe because it's since I've become a lot older that I appreciate watching older characters too.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by sueworld View Post
                                      As times gone by, I've learnt to love and enjoy the characters in AtS a lot more then when I was viewing them at the time it was airing. I used to look at AtS as a sort of weak version of the parent show, but now with the exception of Giles I think that I prefer the AtS 'sidekicks' more then the Buffy ones for some reason.

                                      Maybe because it's since I've become a lot older that I appreciate watching older characters too.
                                      Like yourself I didn't really start appreciating Ats until after it had aired. When it was on television I always found it nowhere near as good as Btvs but after it finished airing and I spent more time on it, I appreciate it a whole lot more.

                                      I still prefer the Scoobies but the Fang improved a hell of a lot in my eyes.

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