Friday, December 30, 2011

How do I like my Big Bads?

This thread over at slayalive got me thinking about what kind of villain I want for the season 9 comics, the Buffy series in specific. So I wrote a little text, about what I like to see in villains:

A goal. Being evil in general, or simply killing to eat will get old fast. The goal could be as simple as trying to hurt or kill Buffy, but it has to be something. As awesome as Angelus at the killing, he would have gotten boring quickly if he hadn't had breaking down Buffy and then ending the world as his goal. The exception to this rule would be if the villain is three dimensional and/or has a lot of character development, like Faith & Spike got.

Motive. They have to have a reason for their goal/behaviour, to make them more relatable. For example, creatures of non-human species could get away with acting non-human simply because they aren't human, while humans should have some sort of reason for being evil. Faith believed it was either use or be used, and she obviously had had issues in her past, making her a murderer. Warren seems to be a phsycopath (not sure if that's the right term). It seems like he's been pushed around during his childhood, so that's one of the reasons he identifies with comic book villains who are also outcasts, outsiders who are disliked. But unlike them, he didn't have power. So he made sure to get some. And that feels believeable to me, a former victim of bullies.

However, I think a villain might possibly get away with being evil for unknown reasons, if there is such a great air of mystery around them, that we're too intrigued to care that we don't understand them right away.

Something we can't explain. I want villains that feels believeable in the sense that I can somehow understand what they're doing, as mentioned above, but at the same time, there has to be something about them that makes me want to discuss their behaviour, to figure them out. If a villain's simply out for food, or wants to hurt others because he/she himself has been hurt, that could get old after a few episodes. There needs to be some sort of mystery. That's why I'm still find vampires interesting, even after seeing so many and getting that they kill for food and fun, things the more animalistic side of me can understand. Because I still don't quite get them. I don't get what a lack of a soul does, why some are more sadictic than others, or why some seem to be so similar to how they were as humans, while still being so evil. It's a mystery.
Of course, if they're too big a mystery, and lack of motive seems to me a big fat questionmark, that could be a problem.

Better than the last villain. A random kind-of-interesting villain will do for the stand alones episodes or the smaller arcs, but a Big Bad needs to somehow be more interesting than the last one.

No-no on the clich├ęs. Fun for the random stand alone episode/issue, but not for a Big Bad. Which is why I yawn at The First wanting to end the world (only interesting in the first season 7 re-watch) and Angel's "I wanna make the world a better place for me to live in and, and oh, you're going to be my queen."-thing of Season 8. It's not as unique as the other Big Bad's we've seen, and I think that's partly why I don't like the seasons as much as I could have (okay, Season 8 has a lot of reasons for being not so brilliant to me, and that might even change when I continue to read).

New Big Bads, not old ones. This goes for smaller villains as well. Brining Amy back for season 8 worked, since we didn't see her a lot of on the show, but not Warren, who had a good run in season 5-6 and is only used for comedial relief now. i'm also very unhappy The Master was brought back in season 8. He was great in season 1, but didn't seem to have much to give in season 8, he became a joke, which I didn't like, since I liked recalling how scary he had been, back in season 1.

So I guess I want something like what I described above. It seems like Simone could be the or a, Big Bad in Buffy season 9, and Angel & Faith seems to get their hands full with Whistler and the siblings. No complaints about any of them yet, seems like they could be testing our heroes both mentally, emotionally and physically. I'm happy that Joss is keeping the promise he made in the letter-section of issue 40 of Season 8, and is making this a smaller scale season.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Is Joss cruel?

This is a question often asked. Or Joss is simply called a sadistic bastard. Like here. He supposedly puts his characters through Hell(sometimes literally) for no reason, and seems to kill them off with no remorse.


But I disagree. Okay, I think anyone with a heart has atleast once thought "Damn you Joss Whedon!!!" while watching one of his shows.

But I don't think he means to be cruel at all. It's just good TV.

I can't tell you how hard it is to find a show, with "dangerous situations", that I'm not bored with because I know the good guys will very rarely die. And if it looks like they'll die, we all still know that they'll make it. I've just gotten spoiled, growing up with Whedon shows, so I get bored by shows that don't take enough risks.

With Whedon shows, you never know, and I love that. A death could be slow and bitter-sweet, like with Fred, it could be quick and brutal, like with Anya. We don't know what Joss will do with the characters.

And because of that, I learned to appreciate the good times on the show, because you never know when something bad will happen. They're not shows were everything will be happy all the time. And that makes it feel real. Because Dollhouse, Buffy, Angel & Firefly were shows where people are put in dangerous situations, which means that they get hurt, because anything else wouldn't make sense. That's real.

If Joss made a show about a ordinary family, in a ordinary place, yet bad things kept happening all the time, it would be different. He couldn't go to the same depths over and over again, not unless there could be a reasonable explanation.

For example; Buffy and the others lived on a Hellmouth, and they fought demons. Of course they would die, and get serious emotional and in mental problems. Them living happily ever after wouldn't work. One could argue taht death and pain happened to often on the show. I mean it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I just personally think it's just enough.

So I don't think he's sadistic. I just think he's realistic. And that he also want to explore characters. I think I've read how Joss decided to keep Spike on the show after Lover's walk(Buffy, season 3), because wasn't until then that Spike became interesting to Joss. And I see his point. Like that crazy guy said in The Train Job(i think that's the episode) in Firefly, you can't trully know someone until you hurt them, or something to that effect.

To sum up; no pain, no gain.

Maybe Joss is sadistic. Depends who you compare him too(I compare him to me, and I think I have a slight above average interest in pain). But considering the love between the characters on the show, I assume he (unless that's all from other writers) is a empathic man. Which is why he knows what to write, to get us to love the characters as well.

For example, I don't think I ever loved Fred as much as when she died. Or admired her more. And now when I do re-watches, there's always a bitter sweet feeling, knowing she will die. And I'm always afraid for the characters when they get into dangerous situations. Because I don't know what will happen. And when they're happy, I'm happy for them. Because I know it won't last.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What to buy for the winter-y holiday this year.

Don't know what to buy that special Buffy/Angel fan for Christmas/Hanukkah? Well, I know what I want. I could fill a entire A4 with things I want just from etsy.com

They have awesome Buffy jewellery over there. like a sterling silver necklace of the Buffyesque letter B (look in the same etsy shop for more Buffy-necklaces). Or why not go to ebay and look for more jewellry, and maybe buy this Italian charm link bracelet?

For those of you with some wallspace to fill, I'd recommend some Once More With Feeling themed metal art I own a Dollhouse piece from the same seller and it is pretty shiny! Literally and figuretively.

I love the idea of Buffy-themed outfits, but hardly ever wear them. Here are however some cool unofficial clothing articles from cafexpress.

And speaking about electronics (no?), I kind of want to buy a iPhone just so I could buy these and put them on.

And while you're on darkhorse's site, buy the first digital comic of season 8 and try the comics, if you haven't already. It's won't hurt, just cost you 1.99USD(I recommend buying the first bundle, since I myself didn't falle in love with the series until the poignant issue 5). But beware, they're best read on apple apps, like iPhones and iPads. Look a my two previous entries if you want to know more.

Then there's the more general vampire themes gifts. I swear, one day I will put together my own vampire hunter kit, like these shown on ebay. Some garlic, a Mr. Pointy-look alike stake, holy water, knives and some nailpolish, to make it more "Buffy". Considering that slaying is a killer on the nails, I assume Buffy often has to touch up her manicure after slaying.

And finally, I recommend looking high and low for Buffy-themed presents. buffycollector.com shows off lots of official Buffy merchandise that is out there(it's not a shop, it just shows collectibles), that can be found on ebay, amazon and other sites with geek-y inventory. If you're into the home made things, I suggest etsy, cafexpress, looking for a print on deviantart.com, and so on.

Darkhorse app for the win.

So, I ranted about how hard it was to read the digital Buffy comics on a laptop's webbrowser in this post, but now I've tried to read the Spike comic on a my sister's iPhone(3?) and my mom's iPad2, and it works great, because unlike on my laptop, I can zoom gradually in and out as I wish, and scroll over the pages. No need to squint at fullscreen version on a web browser, since the fullscreen is much more fitting on the iPad. The zoom function is still there(needed on the iPhone but not the iPas where fullscreen works just fine) but it doesn't cut off any text. The difference between reading on a app on a iPhone/iPad and in the web browser on my laptop is huge. I'm suprised they don't make that more clear.

I hope they get a app for Android phones soon.

Since these great news came, that the comics will be available the same day they come out in print, I'm much more excited about digital Buffy comics than before. Even though I do have to read them off my mom's iPad. I really wish I had the patience to wait for the tradepaperbacks, but I don't. So this way I save money on import fees and shipping. I do plan on buying the single issues one day as well, since I want to own a copy of every version of every comic(except every cover of every issue), but I could do that years from now, when they're sold cheap on ebay.