Enough with the politics, I think (who said “yes, please!” ?). Erin and I have been watching our new Buffy DVDs, and we came to the episode of The Wish. This is the one where Cordelia wishes that Buffy never came to Sunnydale, only to have Anya the vengence demon grant that wish and dump Cordelia in a horrific alternate universe where Sunnydale is run by vampires.
Two of the major vampires in this episode are Xander and Willow (allowing Alyson Hannigan to flex her muscles as a steamy evil temptress — very Drusilla in her way). Watching the episode, and watching her torture Angel, sent some shivers down our spine because of what we knew would come, years later.
You have to understand that Erin and I did not get into Buffy until near the very end of the fourth season. Until we purchased these DVDs, we had not seen seasons two and three straight through. Now that I’ve seen them, not only am I impressed by how early the series hit its stride as one of the best shows on television, but I’m also impressed at the little hints and homages the later seasons make to the earlier ones. Watching the series backwards, as we do, these end up coming across as foreshadowing, and foreshadowing is good.
For instance, Evil Willow’s catchphrase in The Wish is “Bored now!”. She usually says this before doing something quite evil. Flash forward to the finale episodes of Season Six, where our Willow goes off the deep end after seeing her lover Tara shot to death. After cornering Warren and torturing him, she says (you guessed it) “Bored now!” before flaying him alive.
There’s a similar connection between the famous Season Six musical episode Once More With Feeling and the Season One episode Nightmares. Willow’s line in the song “I’ve Got a Theory” goes “I’ve got a theory / Some kiddie’s dreaming / And we’re all stuck inside his wacky Broadway nightmare” which of course refers to the Season One episode where a boy in a coma exports his nightmares on the population of Sunnydale, and where as a result Willow was expected to sing before an audience.
These are fine examples of the series’ attention to detail that makes it one of the best things on television. And these details are not pumped, or made blatant; they’re just left there for the fans to pick up, if they want to. Thus a new viewer (like me) can breeze by them and still enjoy the episode.
But there’s more to it than that, there is an exchange in Nightmares which goes as follows:
XANDER: Uh, our dreams are coming true?
GILES: Dreams? That would be a musical comedy version of this. Nightmares, our, our nightmares are coming true.
(transcript courtesy of this site)
There’s attention to detail, and then there is sheer, unadulterated luck. How do you guys do it?
The writing group marking time before Kathy Stinson launches her spring class continues to meet. Yesterday was a good session, even though only four people came out (myself, Heather, Barb and Lydia) and the place we booked was shut down for lack of heat. We headed over to William’s and braved the canned music. Fortunately, the staff kept the volume to a minimum.
I read a portion of chapter two of The Young City, and I am feeling better about the story as a result. The scenes of Peter and Rosemary feeling their way around 1884 Toronto are compelling, and Heather, Barb and Lydia pointed out a number of areas that could be improved.
The story still requires a lot of setup, with foreshadowing elements placed early on so that the plot points they turn on don’t come out of the blue. I’m happier with how villain Aldous Magnait is introduced in chapter two, despite not really entering the plot until chapter five or six. There is clearly more about him, now, and his gang of ruffians that the readers can log and save for future reference. But can this long setup sustain reader interest? I’ll just have to write on and see.
So, although the setup and the pacing problem may be resolved, it looks like the research problem is going to bite me in ways I hadn’t expected. Lydia called me out on a couple of details about the sound of horses and carriages. She knows of what she speaks, and my descriptions of hooves on a muddy road were just wrong. Thanks, Lydia, this is very good to know. Can I run a few other animal facts past you?
Another culture-shock moment in The Young City:
Rosemary got up and staggered blearily over. “Faith? What is it?”
“Good morning!” Faith held out a bundle. “I meant to give you these yesterday, but I forgot. They’re clothes.”
Rosemary flushed. “Faith, you don’t have to do this. You’ve already given us good clothes.”
“I’ve given you presentable clothes,” said Faith. “Not good ones. These are good ones that I used to wear. I thought you could use thse today.”
“Why? What’s today?”
“Sunday,” Faith replied, as if that said it all.
“What happens Sunday?”
Faith looked at Rosemary as though she’d sprouted horns. Rosemary clued in a second later. “That would be church!” she said.
Faith kept staring.
Rosemary flashed Faith a smile. “Which we go to!”
“Every Sunday,” Rosemary added. She snatched the bundle. “Thanks!”
Faith left, then. Rosemary closed the door, then banged her head on it. “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!”