Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Familiar Faces on Buffy

In my last post I wondered how well it work for MTV to start off their run of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the U.S. with Season 3 episodes. From my point of view it worked just fine, since I was happy to see a lot of familiar faces from Angel in the Buffy Season 3 premiere, "Anne". (Full disclosure: I'm the one person in the universe who, prior to today, had seen all of the Angel episodes but had not seen any Buffy episodes all of the way through.)

In "Anne", besides the usual suspects of Buffy, Angel, Cordelia, Oz and Willow, I also recognized Julia Lee as Chanterelle/Lily/Anne, and Carlos Jacott as Ken. Julia Lee, of course, put in some memorable performances in Angel as Rachel in Season 1, and as Anne the youth shelter coordinator in Seasons 2 and 5. Carlos Jacott later appeared as Richard Straley, Doyle's ex-wife's fiance, in Season 1's "Bachelor Party".

Julia Lee is a fine actress who seems to specialize in portraying characters who have enormous impacts on TV series way out of proportion to the number of episodes she actually appears in. I was pleased to see a little bit more of her character's backstory in Buffy so I can fully appreciate how far she had progressed a few years later in Angel. Carlos Jacott is, shall we say, almost normal looking, but has an unmistakable odd bent about him. This makes him the perfect actor for those Buffyverse human-to-demon roles.

I wasn't loving the school scenes in the beginning of the episode, but then I never cared for high school dramas even when I was in high school. (Although I thought all of the lead actors were fine, and I loved the kids' vampire-staking escapade in the park, culminating with Xander and Cordelia's kiss). It was almost a relief to see Buffy, since it provided a nice change of pace to the frenetic action of the school hallways. I was never blown away by Buffy's crossover appearances in Season 1 of Angel. It was nice to find that Sarah Michelle Geller was outstanding as Buffy when she appeared in her own series, and now I understand what all of the fuss was all about. It's always a relief to find out you actually like the star of a show. My only regret was that I would have loved to have seen a lot more of her girl-power kick-ass action, but I guess it wouldn't work if we had too much of a good thing either.

Rupert Giles didn't wow me, although it's too early for me to shut the door on him. However, I did enjoy that wonderful "Is there something going on?" tension between him and Kristine Sutherland's Joyce Summers.

As I expected, there was some food-for-thought dialogue that I think will help me understand the Buffyverse a little bit better, particular with "Ken's" "What is hell but the total absence of hope?"

"Anne" was written and directed by Joss Whedon. Whedon always serves up a nice frothy little souffle, and I always enjoy these types of episodes as stress relievers. Personally, I would be perfectly fine if all episodes of Buffy were like this, so I wouldn't get obsessed about seeing every single show. Like I've said earlier, I don't have time to get sucked into another series. I was telling myself I should probably see all seven seasons before I start writing posts, just so I won't make a fool out of myself by writing about things that I think are happening, only to be proven wrong at a later date. Unfortunately for me, I have my doubts about how long I'll be able to hold out before I start writing about Buffy again.

Closing Thoughts. I loved the theme music and the opening credits for Buffy. Speaking of opening credits, I was surprised to see that a shot from "Anne" (the woman standing on the curb looking out over the street in Los Angeles) ended up in the Season 1 opening credits of Angel.

I had to suffer through a bunch of ghastly promos for upcoming original MTV shows. I mentioned a few posts ago that I have a hangup about Grandpa Having Sex. I have just as much of a hangup, if not more so, for unattractive pea-brained White Trashy Kids having sex. I'm going to have to keep a puke bucket nearby if I keep watching Buffy on MTV.

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