Archive for buffy the vampire slayer

odds and ends: summer, buffy

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , on May 25, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Finished! The 2011-2012 school year is in the books, folks… the history books. The history books that write about how school years end. Every year. Very boring, unnecessary history books that no one ever looks at.

Where was I? Oh yes, summer vacation. We’ve got some tentative plans for the next few weeks. Ellen and I may be taking the boys on a mini-vacation somewhere next week. I know we’ll be spending about two weeks in New York this July… or rather, a week or so in New York and then one week on the New Jersey shore. We have a couple of friends who are visiting Ohio in August.

Somewhere along the line, I made the command decision to spend a huge chunk of my summer working; I’m going to be teaching two reclamation courses for students at my school who did not pass the Ohio Graduation Test. I’ve taught the same class for the past three years and it’s a pretty good thing; the students who attend are VERY serious about getting finished with this test and we normally get a chance to do some good work.

Besides that? Yardwork, I guess- our fence is looking like garbage and I have to replace it. The battery on our electric lawnmower just broke, so that needs to be replaced. I’m going to paint the downstairs bathroom; it’s been adorned with the world’s ugliest wallpaper since we moved in three years ago.

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Ellen and I embarked on another of our great summer TV marathons this week. You may remember two summers ago, Ellen fell in love with Veronica Mars. Last summer I became obsessed with Doctor Who. This year, after much cajoling, Ellen agreed to give Buffy the Vampire Slayer a try.

I figured this was a natural progression for Ellen. As I said, she already loves Veronica Mars, which takes a lot of its’ lead from the Buffy template. Ellen also loves Joss Whedon’s work on Firefly and Serenity. For my part, I’ve been a fan of B:TVS since the beginning and I’ve been looking for a reason to see if the show continues to hold up today.

So far, we’re on the fourth episode and the show has aged… decently. Of course, any television which wants to be a reference-dropping tastemaker is going to show some wear and tear when looked back on years later. In particular, one exchange from the first episode is unbelievably awful:

Cordelia: Well, you’ll be okay here. If you hang with me and mine, you’ll be accepted in no time. Of course, we do have to test your coolness factor. You’re from L.A., so you can skip the written, but let’s see. Vamp nail polish? 

Buffy Summers: Um, over? 

Cordelia: So over. James Spader? 

Buffy Summers: He needs to call me. 

…JAMES SPADER. Like… he was almost 40 years old in 1997. I’m not saying he wasn’t a good looking man, I’m just saying it’s a weird choice to use James Spader as your go-to “hunky guy” example when you’re establishing your protagonist.

Then again, Buffy does end up falling for Angel, an almost 300 year old vampire. Perhaps she just has a thing for older men?

(Expect more Buffy updates throughout the summer with my apologies in advance.)

odds & ends

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

Tomorrow is the Cincinnati Comic Expo and I will there indulging my nerdier vices. I was in attendance at last year’s Comic Expo and I thought it was terrific, especially as a “first year” show. The focus was clear, the guests were engaging, and I found a bargain or two in the long boxes. That’s a prescription for a fun comic book show if I ever heard one.

The guest of honor for this year’s show is Jim Steranko, the legendary artist best remembered in comic circles for his run on Nick Fury in the 1960’s. Steranko also did a ton of concept art for Raiders of the Lost Ark. I could be wrong, but I believe Steranko is the first guy to take George Lucas’ ideas for a fedora wearing archeologist and create an image for the character that would become Indiana Jones. I can’t say I’m a great fan of Steranko’s myself, but it’s impossible to deny he’s an influential creator and I am sure many folks are going to be jazzed to meet him. Personally, I’m more excited to meet Mitch Breitweiser and his wife Bettie. I’ve been enjoying both of their work on the Captain America titles in the past year… but to each their own.

As far as shopping goes, I’m going to be on the lookout for any issues of The Batman Adventures I find.

Based on the seminal mid ’90’s animated series, The Batman Adventures is a gorgeous comic I stupidly passed over when I was younger because it was a “kid’s book”. Imagine my surprise, years later, to find that instead of being kid’s stuff, The Batman Adventures was the showcase for some of the best Batman stories of the 1990’s. I’ll run across an issue or two here and there when I hit up Half Price Books, but I’d love to start filling in the gaps of my collection.

…and it goes without saying that I will be on the lookout for ALF comics.

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The 2011-2012 TV season begins in earnest next week, but there were a couple of early premieres over the past few days. As I mentioned last week, I’m not much of a TV watcher anymore… but not for lack of interest. I’ve just found it hard to find a lot of television to be excited for. As such, I’m going to audit a couple of new series in the next couple of weeks to see if I can’t find something that grabs my attention. This past Tuesday, I gave The CW’s Ringer a shot.

Ringer’s something of a big deal in that it’s a return to television from Sarah Michelle Gellar, best-loved as Buffy Summers on The WB’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her take on that character demanded that she be tough and vunerable, funny but serious… all while dealing with the physical demands of a weekly action/adventure series predicated on a joke. I was a tremendous fan of her work on that show and that had everything to do with my tuning in for Ringer.

It’s a bit hard to judge the show on the pilot, which spends the bulk of 40 odd minutes bending itself into knots trying to plausibly set up the premise of the show. Gellar pulls double duty here, playing twin sisters, one of whom ends up, by a confluence of events, masquarading as the other in her glitzy, mystery-filled New York lifestyle.

Ringer is set up as a noir story with a lot of twists and turns and I will admit that I found some of the pilot engaging. Unfortunately, there was also a tremendous amount of hokiness about the show. The plot rests on a lot of coincidences. Some of the green screen work on the show was truly hideous; the boat scenes in particular were hard to watch.

I’ve been seeing a lot of Internet complaints (the best, most productive kind of complaining) that Gellar is miscast in this role. I honestly don’t think that’s the case. There are scenes in the pilot that ring quite true. The problem is that Ringer is not yet playing to Gellar’s strengths as an actress. She’s asked to be morose and serious about 90% of the time in the first episode of Ringer, which denies her the chance to deploy any of the good-naturedness or humor that distinguished her in my eyes as an actress worth following. Ringer shouldn’t become Buffy Redux but I hope that facet of her talents can be somehow worked into the show.

I am, at the very least, on the hook for next week’s episode.