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Random Thoughts...are well random

Because I have no idea how else to title this post.

1. Saw an interesting question regarding the other day. What seasonal arc of your favorite tv show would you change and how?

Easy. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 7. No contest.

While S6 and S4 clearly had their issues arc wise, I'd have to say the only plot arc that irked me on that series and I felt a need to tinker with - was Season 7, the final season, where you could sort of tell that 85% of the writers were burned out, the only one who didn't appear to be was Drew Goddard (the new guy) and were entertaining themselves by writing quirky lines for Tom Lenk. Plus for reasons that escape me, the showrunner decided to spend money on bringing in a whole slew of new characters in the final season and bringing back an unlikable and sort of peripheral character (Andrew) from the previous one, mainly because Danny Strong (Jonathan) was busy doing other things (his career has taken off by the way, I hear he's been tasked with writing the script for Mockinjay - the third and fourth films of the Hunger Games, and he wrote The Butler.). Instead of spending the money on bringing back more old favorites or focusing more on the current cast. It was the final season for heaven's sake. But the show-runner and lead were playing footsie with everyone and not admitting to it until quite late in the season.

At any rate, how would I change it?

Simple:

* Cut Andrew and Wood's roles entirely.

* Made Rona - Nikki Wood's granddaughter or daughter. This makes it harder for Buffy to shirk off Spike's killing of Nikki and centers the theme more on female empowerment and less on how men view women. And it develops Rona from just a whiny brat, plus gives her a good reason to despise Buffy and Spike.

* Developed Kennedy, but cut the Willow/Kennedy romance. Why they felt the need to give Willow a new romance in the final season, I'll never know. It rung a false note and didn't work. Friendship might have. Also, maybe had Kennedy start out liking Buffy, then shifting course. Made her less one-note.

* Giles is really dead and the First Evil. This was a missed opportunity. And could have solved so many problems with the First Evil. Actually, they should have spent the money and brought back a few other characters to play the First - such as Prof Walsh or Ford or Angelus or used Joyce more.

* The First Evil - could have been more manipulative. An original idea was to kill off Xander and have him appear as the First. They could have effectively done that as well.
Or at the very least, had Jesse, Xander's friend from the First Season pop up as the First.
OR Sheila from S2. Warren could appear to Willow as the First Evil, actually that would have been more interesting than to Andrew. And have Sheila appear to Spike as the First, the girl he fed to Dru in S2. OR you could have Angelus appear to Spike.

* Developed Willow's redemption arc more - provided some screen time with her and Spike, as well as Anya (all three were in redemptive arcs, why they felt the need to add Andrew to the mix, I don't know). Maybe have the first evil appear to her as Spike. Read a fanfic once that had Spike appear to Buffy. Shame they couldn't convince Amber Benson to reprise Tara - because that would have been awesome and more effective - if she appeared as the First to Willow and manipulated her, as Joyce would appear to Dawn and manipulate her.

*Used Faith to help Willow get past what she did with Tara, and worked in Faith more, as well as Faith's relationships with Buffy, Xander, Anya and Spike. She met all these characters in S3 and S4 - after all.

* Either killed Xander and made him the First, or at the very least explored his issues with Spike, Willow, Anya, Buffy, and Giles more.

* Worked Dawn's past as the key into the plot somehow. Caleb wouldn't be in the story. I'd have the First turn a current character - Dawn (the ground-work was certainly laid for it).



So What arc would you change in your favorite series and how?


2. Finished What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarity which was not as well written as The Husband's Secret, I did a lot of skimming. The writer is repetitive and tends to ramble a bit. That said, this was a fascinating study of how a marriage can crumble and then be built back again. It also depicts how relying too much on one person can disrupt your life or one friend. Rather interesting narrative style as well - a sort of stream-of-consciousness ramble. And through this style - the writer subtly conveys how self-absorbed people can be and oblivious to others feelings, too focused on their own. To the extent that they don't listen. It also explores the nature of memory - what it means, and how it forms character.
(One of my story kinks.) And finally, explores forgiveness, what it means, how we do it, and how it comes about (another story kink).

I recommend it with the following caveats...it rambles (more than I do, yes, I know hard to imagine), stream-of-consciousness in nature, and repetitive in places. Great literature it's not. But it is interesting and compelling in places. Also I found the cultural language differences between Australia and US fascinating. We do however watch the same tv shows. More so than we did in the 1990s (when I visited Australia).

Next book on the horizon? I don't know. I'm flirting with Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin again, also with Cloud Atlas, and buying another memory loss novel - either The Song Remains the Same or Remember When, although both may be too fluffy for my current mood. I want something better written. But is there anything literary about memory loss and forgiveness, which is not about Altzheimers?

3. On FACEBOOK - someone posted: "I am loving Marvel Agents of Shield - why are people hating it or not liking it?"

A better question might be - why do you love it? Quite a bit has been written on why people despise and hate it. Very little on why people like it - that isn't reacting to why people hate it. But I restrained myself from replying.

4. The Oscars...it's admittedly hard to care, there's over 100 award entertainment award shows. It gets lost in the shuffle.

But...I was happy to see American Hustle, Philomena and 12 Years a Slave get nominated. Surprised Tom Hanks and Robert Redford weren't. I think American Hustle and Nebraska may have kicked them out of the running. Christian Bale is beginning to remind me of the great 1970s method actors...who could play anything and got nominated numerous times.

Comments

"Made Rona - Nikki Wood's granddaughter or daughter."

The chronology makes this pretty difficult. Nikki died in 1977 and can't have been very old given Slayer lifespans, so any child couldn't have been much older than 4 or 5 (like Wood). Even if Wood had a child at 16, she would be just 14 by S7. Similarly, if Rona had been Nikki's daughter, she would have been at least 26 by S7, too old to be a potential Slayer.

"Either killed Xander and made him the First "

You'll always have my vote for this. Couldn't we have done it in Amends? :)
Yeah, I thought of that...but, considering how they tinker with ages on Buffy, I'm not sure it would have mattered that much.

OR it could have been someone else he killed. It didn't have to be Nikki. I actually preferred the Dana storyline in Angel S5 Damage - that delved into the same topic. Having it be her son, just doesn't quite work thematically.
It always felt jarring. I should have sympathized more with Wood - instead of wanting to see his ass kicked.

If they'd made it a female character...actually they should have made the Principal female, and made Robin Wood female. And had Rona be her niece.
Nikki could have had a sister or siblings?
Another thing I'd suggest them to do with s7, would have been to explore what it means that a vampire could choose to regain his soul, and have Buffy start wondering why Angelus couldn't do the same. Have Buffy get over Angel once and for all and if they didn't kill of Giles, then at least have him start questioning himself and the Council's teachings after Spike willingly regained his soul...
Give it some impact.

I agree with you on Rona, and the rest of the potentials. If they'd just cut Andrew and Wood's parts, and kept the potentials to a manageable amount of say five a six at most, then they could have explored who those girls were and given them something to do worth following. Maybe make one or two of them friends with Dawn and explore Dawn's character through that...

Andrew as a whole was a waste of screentime.
I honestly think the writers wrote themselves into a corner with the whole soul thing back in S2, and never quite figured out what to do after that, not helped by the fact that they couldn't agree on what a soul actually was or the canon - even amongst themselves.

But I agree with you - the whole search for a soul bit should have been addressed. It also should have been handled differently in S6, but that's another discussion. At any rate, unfortunately, what they did in S6 affected s7. [ie. The fact they chose to use Spike's attempt to rape Buffy as his motivation to get a soul, ended up making the story more about Spike attempting to rape Buffy and not about Spike's search for a soul. And as a result no one could explore the soul bit, without commenting on the attempted rape and getting all upset over it. In short? The writers chickened out in S7, I don't know why - it was the last season of the series. This is the time to have fun, to take big risks. Not to play it safe.] But I do agree - this was a big deal, and they barely delved into it.


One of the ways they could have addressed Spike's soul - was having Nikki visit Spike as The First. That was a missed opportunity. Actually they should have had the First visit Spike as each of the slayers he killed.
That would have connected both threads - which they attempted to do with Wood and Spike - but it doesn't quite work, and felt a bit like we jumped tv shows.



Agree with a lot of what you say, but I don't think bringing Sheila back as the FE with Spike would have worked. I doubt he would even remember her.

True. He probably wouldn't...just can't think of anyone else outside of Dru, Darla, Nikki (oh, they could have had Nikki appear to Spike instead of Wood. That would have been more interesting and far less predictable.)
OT, but someone asked me this today and I don't know the answer: Where did the term "Big Bad" originate? The phrase gets used in BB&B, but the first real appearance of the term is in Gingerbread. Were fans using it before that?
No idea. I vaguely remember ACIN News - a spoiler site referencing it as far back as maybe S2. But it was a long time ago, so I can't be certain.
My guess is fans did it first, and the writers picked up on it and started. That's what happened with the phrase "The Scooby Gang". Keep in mind the writers were interacting with their fandom.

The late 1990s introduced the internet...and this enabled writers to interact with fans in chatrooms for the first time ever. As a result, they inadvertently included bits and pieces from those chats in their tv shows. This wasn't always beneficial to the tv show. Actually, the decline in Whedon's writing has a direct correlation to his increased interaction with his fandom and the internet.
That was my guess too, but I don't actually know and I'd probably have to search the archives at The Bronze or AICN. I'm not even sure if that's possible, so I was hoping you'd know off the top of your head. It makes sense that the fans came up with it, but it's probably lost in the mists by now.
You'll never find it. Those sites didn't archive. ATPO is amongst the rare sites that did, it had less traffic and moderators who had the time and inclination.

I know I've looked. All the links I had to online interviews, gossip, etc back in 2002, are dead. It's annoying when you get into a debate with a new fan who insists that what you are remembering never happened, but it is what it is.
Made Rona - Nikki Wood's granddaughter or daughter. This makes it harder for Buffy to shirk off Spike's killing of Nikki and centers the theme more on female empowerment and less on how men view women. And it develops Rona from just a whiny brat, plus gives her a good reason to despise Buffy and Spike.


This. This would've worked quite well I think.

I also agree, and really believe, that the Boreanaz crossover at the end of the season was WASTED by their not having him show up as Angelus. One of Buffy's biggest issues was always the way she distrusted her feelings because of what happened when she loved Angel. Even in Season 7 they had her crying out about her "never loving anything again" like she had loved Angel in 2, and for a 22 year old girl THAT IS A PROBLEM. For her own empowerment they needed Buffy to set Angelus aside (they could've left the Angel thing open to appeal to both ship bases) but they SHOULD have had the First appear as Angelus in the penultimate episode. Angel showing up as a pod person actually undermined the story. Having her overcome The First with a stint of Angelus would have helped.
For her own empowerment they needed Buffy to set Angelus aside (they could've left the Angel thing open to appeal to both ship bases) but they SHOULD have had the First appear as Angelus in the penultimate episode. Angel showing up as a pod person actually undermined the story. Having her overcome The First with a stint of Angelus would have helped.

Agreed. Instead of having a dumb mislead of Spike seeing them together but choosing not to listen to the First, and being a better man (which is why they did it by the way), and make it about Buffy's issues with Angelus.

They could have explored both Spike's issues with Bangel, as well as Buffy's issues with Angelus - by having the First appear as Angel to Spike, and Angel/Angelus to Buffy. It would have been more effective.
And it would have addressed Buffy's issues regarding Angelus and why he didn't seek a soul for her. The First could have even played on that theme...

I don't know why it never occurred to them to do it. I was sure they would, and remember being disappointed when they didn't. Boreanze was at his best when he got to play Angelus.