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'BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER' Season 1 dvd challenge!


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#1 of 171 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted May 29 2006 - 01:27 PM

Alright guy's and gal's, it's time, thanks to the memberships eagerness to begin this little escapade, Wendy and I see no problem with starting now.

So fire up your players, dust off your sets and fire away, this should be a lot of fun. Posted Image

For me personally, the thing that I was struck by when revisiting 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' and 'The Harvest' was simply that this was the beginning, the formation of the Scooby gang, the development of the group dynamic that would eventually form one of the most enjoyable ensembles in recent television memory.

Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles all found themselves in Sunnydale and it almost seemed as if they were destined to meet and fight world-threatening evil together from the moment they encountered one another. It was also cool, since I know the outcome from all of this, seeing how the characters grew up and changed over the years, Willow found self confidence, Giles lightened up quite a bit and became a father figure in Buffy's life and Xander proved more than a few times that he isn't just the 'Zeppo' of the group.

But it's Buffy that held them all together through all the tough times, she went from being a reluctant hero who was in love with a certain brooding, not to mention toothy, charmer named Angel to a strong willed and confident young woman who empowered almost everyone she met with her charm, wit and strength of character, she embraced her calling as 'The Chosen One' and proved to be the best of them all. It's fitting, I think, that this formerly average valley girl (pre-calling) would emerge as the world's saviour, whether it be from the Master, Glory, Adam, the Trio or
even Willow herself, as her epitaph read
...She Saved the World a Lot.

And saved millions of tv viewers from bordem every week in the process.

I was also struck by how much better the FX got in the show, including the make-up for the vamps and the show's trademark "dusting" effect. The production values starting out weren't as great as they later became but this only adds to the effectiveness of those early eps which were appropriately dark and ominous, the sunny skies and pleasant streets of Sunnydale that hid the darkness beneath which we soon find out is a gateway to hell itself.

I'll stop now, I could type all night, but i'll let you guy's take it from here. Posted Image
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#2 of 171 OFFLINE   Scott-S

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Posted May 29 2006 - 01:55 PM

I have just finished watching the first disc of season one. Here are my thoughts:

It is really strange going back to the beginning. It really drives home the point of how much the characters have changed over the seven years. It is almost sad to see how much more innocent they were when they were sophomores.

Welcome to the Hellmouth / The Harvest:

I watched the first 2 episodes twice. Watched it though normally first, then watched it again while listening to Joss’s commentary track. If you have not listened to it, I really suggest you do. It had some nice information, but he is a little dull.

I hadn’t realized that it was Darla playing the “innocent” girl in the opening sequence. I guess I figured that she was just some random blond, so I didn’t pay much attention. It is amazing how much better she looked later on (in Angle). She actually looked older in this episode some how.

It was interesting that Sarah M. G. was initially cast to play Cordelia. That seems really strange to me. I would have loved to see her audition for that.

It was also interesting how Joss was asked to change how Willow was dressing after just one episode. Guess the network thought she was just way too nerdy. Seems funny now, knowing how she turns out.

The Witch:

Buffy as a cheerleader! Need I say more? Seeing her acting drunk and all cheery was just plain funny. I just have to believe that Sarah loved hamming it up for those scenes. Posted Image

Amy sure changed a lot. In fact, I never quite understood why she became so mean toward the gang in later seasons. She was helped by them in this episode, and seemed really sweet. It is sad to know her fate.

This episode points out how much Cordelia has changed over the 3 years in Buffy and in Angel. She was particularly nasty in the first season.

The whole notion of Witches was really different in this episode. I don’t think they knew how much magic/witchcraft would become such a major factor as the series progressed. I mean, how cheesy was the cauldron? And how did the cat get inside the trunk? Is that where witches store them. Posted Image

Teachers Pet:

Poor Xander. This is where his bad choices in women started.

You could really tell how low their budget was this first season. The Mantis affect was more cheesy than scary.

I never have figured out what the deal was with the egg sack that was shown in the closed at the end. How was it fertilized? The whole “egg cracking open” ending was way too cliché.

This has always been one of my least favorite episodes of the entire series.
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#3 of 171 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted May 29 2006 - 02:13 PM

"Fun" is the best word I have to describe season 1.

It almost seems to be a supernatural comedy with moments of dramatic depth to legitimize the silliness on screen.

Season 2 may have changed all that, but it's nice to see that this series started out embracing the camp value of a cheerleader superhero and her misfit sidekicks from the beginning - dealing with that before exploring darker, more serious, and ultimately realistic stories...it's a very fine line to balance the integrity of the characters with the absurd situations, but it suceeded. I've always liked season 1 for these reasons...it's a lot of fun.

It's cool seeing Danny from CSI:NY (Carmine Giovanazzo) as the first casualty, and man...it would have been so cool if Whedon got his wish to include Eric Balfour in the opening credits.

Mark Metcalf may be most famous for his "Animal House" character, but I'll always think of Seinfeld's Maestro, Bob Cobb whenever I see The Master.

#4 of 171 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted May 29 2006 - 02:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Martin
Mark Metcalf may be most famous for his "Animal House" character, but I'll always think of Seinfeld's Maestro, Bob Cobb whenever I see The Master.

LOL that's right, he was the Maestro, I forgot! Posted Image
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#5 of 171 OFFLINE   Jeff#

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Posted May 29 2006 - 05:34 PM

It was fun seeing Mark Metcalf return as The Master in the 3rd season episode "The Wish" in an alternate Sunnydale, run by his character! Posted Image

#6 of 171 OFFLINE   Scott-S

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Posted May 30 2006 - 02:10 AM

Has anyone else seen the original unaired pilot? I have. The story is similar, but the production values of the original looked like a high school film project.

I am so very glad they didn't use the girl that they had playing willow in the pilot. She wouldn't have worked.

Posted Image

What really amazed me was how Joss managed to get the show picked up using that pilot.
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#7 of 171 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted May 30 2006 - 03:56 AM

Riff Regan is her name.
I downloaded the same crap-quality video file of the pilot as well...
It was okay, I guess. Interesting seeing Stephen Toblowsky as the original principal.

#8 of 171 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted May 30 2006 - 05:44 AM

I watched the first 2 episodes (which is really one episode, as it's all one story) yesterday. I'll comment later with "The Witch" after lunch.

"Welcome to the Hellmouth" 2.5/5
"The Harvest" 3/5

Not much to say really. Like most first episodes, this one too falls under the weighty baggage of having to set up the series. As John mentioned. The production values were pretty cheap, but what struck me was how it seemed to be uncomfortably walking the line between childrens and adult entertainment. It well be interesting to see the series find it's voice, according to my Buffy nerd friend, this happens in season 3. So something to look forward to. The harvest gets extra marks for getting so hard assy in the finalle, but ultimately still dissapointing. The Master vampire in the bubble (?)is not all that threatening and the principal is basically a stock charachature of every principal in every teen series. Zander and Willow pretty much completely steal the show, Cordellia looks too old to be in high school that gives her character a pathetic as opposed to bitchy quality, and neither Buffy or Giles look all that comfortable with the material (which I'm going to let pass in this instance as character wise within the show they are also not certain with their positions in vampire hunting, so maybe Sarah and Anthoney are just totally killer actors*).

So in conclusion, I'm not to impressed with the first 2, and my friend sounds almost apologetic in explaining that it gets really great in season 3. I am looking forward to the next episode, as now that the introductions are out of the way, we can get to the real business at hand.

* in Sarahs case, I'm going to vote no to being a killer actress, based on her movies. Head seems pretty reliable on that Doctor Who episode, so I'm pretty sure he actually does possess the chops.

#9 of 171 OFFLINE   Scott-S

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Posted May 30 2006 - 05:56 AM

I too have always thougt that Cordelia looked way too old to be playing a 16 year old.

I can only tell you she does grow on you after a while and gets less annoying. She becomes quite a nice person after a few years in Angel.
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#10 of 171 OFFLINE   Pete Battista

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Posted May 30 2006 - 06:08 AM

I just finished disc one.
It is fun seeing it all from the beginning again. I think that The Master was my favorite of the Big bads... to bad he was only around for the short season 1 (Other then a couple eps here and there later). Don't know what else to say really... you all pretty much covered my thoughts already.

I have seen at least part of that original pilot. It didn't seem to go all the way through the episode when I downloaded it. Is there a full episode out there... or what I saw was it?

#11 of 171 OFFLINE   Dan Rudolph

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Posted May 30 2006 - 06:56 AM

It isn't a full episode.
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#12 of 171 OFFLINE   Jay_B!

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Posted May 30 2006 - 06:56 AM

I have seen season 1 fairly recently so I'll add my 2 cents.

Welcome To The Hellmouth / The Harvest:
I think these episodes really sets the show up in high fashion. Granted, many things changed over time but this was a nice way to say hello to the Buffy and the gang. Seeing Eric Balfour without facial hair is the big shocker of this episode, lol. Does a good job introducing the characters, but seeing skateboard Xander and private school-uniform girl Willow are both funny knowing how much they change. At this time, you really could tell that Sarah was having fun with the show and knew the sky was the limit.

The Witch:
Great, campy but eventually irrelevant to the show considering down the road, the series ends up looking at Wicca in a much different light (won't say who, why or how to the newbies). A nice way to introduce Amy to the series, as she came in and out of the show for some time to come. Like others, I loved "drunk" funloving Buffy, a total aboutface to the almost cold character she became in later years.

Teacher's Pet:
Eww!!! the scene with the insect sandwich is disgusting. I agree that this sets up the "Xander always winds up with demons" joke that goes on through to the end. However, the finance was so low-budget at the time that the episode works better as camp than anything else (in latter seasons, Buffy was able to work out how to be campy at times yet good).

All in all, an OK set of four introduction episodes, but I think if the show stayed in this direction, it would never have become the cult sensation it became and certainly we wouldn't be discussing it nine years later.

#13 of 171 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted May 30 2006 - 07:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott-S
Has anyone else seen the original unaired pilot? I have. The story is similar, but the production values of the original looked like a high school film project.

Wow, I never knew about this! I agree, the original Willow would have tanked, big time. I also meant to bring up Xander riding a skateboard in the pilot, that was really wierd because it would be the first and last time we ever see him on one lol.

I'm just waiting for Wendy to get back so that we can watch the next two, don't want to do this without her, I had too much fun "watching" the first two eps "together". Posted Image
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#14 of 171 OFFLINE   Bryan^H

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Posted May 30 2006 - 08:46 AM

The original pilot is only about 30 minutes, but is very cool because of the alternate dialouge/scenes. My favorite would have to be when Buffy is battling a vamp, Buffy"You know you really shouldn't be here a vampire all alone at night it just isn't safe" Vamp " you've got it all wrong" Buffy "oh your not a vampire?" vamp" I'm not alone"

Buffy" I don't suppose you'd be sweeties and attack me one at a time?" Vamp" You watch too many movies"
Buffy angry "You can never watch too many 'kicks vamp' movies"

Buffy after getting thrown to ground" that was my favorite spine"

housekeeping 2.jpg

"She always does that, she just wanders away"

 

 

 


#15 of 171 OFFLINE   Johnny S

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Posted May 30 2006 - 09:24 AM

Yeah Joss mentioned something about Xander's skateboard escapade on the commentary if I recall correctly.

Welcome To The Hellmouth/The Harvest:

A great way to start out the series. I mean no, it isint brilliant television, but it sets up one of the most beloved series of all-time. It's also a really fun episode with some great lines. ie. "It's in the library... Where the books live."- Willow. Something about that cracks me up. "Morbid much!? I didn't ask..." -Cordelia. There are many more funny lines in these two episodes, but those stand out. I also would like to point out how much of a babe Sarah is in these early episodes... Before she gets so thin later on. Darla, Darla, Darla.... She starts of as just some random vamp, but little did we know she'd become so much more later on. Juile Benz lightens up the screen whenever she is on it in these episodes. It's also really funny to see just how low-budget this series was. The "dusting" sure does improve later on. Overall though this episode dosen't merit an Emmy, but it is really fun.

The Witch:

Buffy... In a cheerleaders outfit. *faints* This is another fun episode. It isint a "series-changing" epsiode, but it does keep you entertained & has a good twist. The show is evidentally still finding it's way at this point. At the end we see the eyes of Amy's mom & it's eyes moving. Could they possibly bring her back later on? You'll have to watch to find out, but i doubt it. Posted Image

Teacher's Pet

We are now at the 4th episode of the series & this is where the Scoobies really start to get used to their evil-fightingness. Nothing much stands out about this episode though... Probably the worst episode of season 1. (I Robot, You Jane may take that trophy though) I agree with Jay... Eww about the cricket sandwich. Poor Xander... He always manages to get himself into hot water. Really corny overall... Way more funny than scary.

All in all this is a great way to kick off the series. I can't wait for next week to get deeper in to this beast. Happy watching everyone.
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#16 of 171 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted May 30 2006 - 10:00 AM

Quote:
Yeah Joss mentioned something about Xander's skateboard escapade on the commentary if I recall correctly.
He said it was a pain in the butt to do a tracking shot of him on the board.
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#17 of 171 OFFLINE   Kevin Grey

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Posted May 30 2006 - 12:41 PM

What impresses me the most about the opening two parter is how much it set everything up- You've got Buffy, Xander, Giles, Willow, Angel, and Cordelia, all of whom would either be with the show until the end or would be moving over to 'Angel'. Then you've even got Darla doing an appearance and who knew what a major role that would turn out to be?


Considering the number of shows that require some sort of major makeover or cast addition to really find their stride, I think it's impressive that so much of what made the show special was present in the very first episode.

For example, just constrast 'Welcome to Hellmouth' with Angel and how little it's pilot really matched what the show would become.

#18 of 171 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted May 30 2006 - 03:25 PM

What are you insinuating, exactly?

#19 of 171 OFFLINE   Kevin Grey

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Posted May 30 2006 - 04:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Martin
What are you insinuating, exactly?

I don't believe I'm insinuating anything. Just that Angel sort of started out as an offbeat detective show with Angel, Cordelia, and Doyle working out of a rather traditional, noirish office with one of the employees having a convenient gift that provides them the link to whoever they are destined to help that week. But by the beginning of the second season one of the original cast members is gone, two more have been added, their new HQ is a decidedly unconventional location, and the "bizarre case of the week" has largely been ditched for an ongoing serial plotline.

Given all of the changes that Angel would go through in it's first season it's pretty apparent that it took Mutant Enemy some time to find their footing and really figure out what direction they wanted to take the series in.

Buffy on the other hand obviously had a lot of maturing to go through too, but it didn't really jettison or change up it's core format in the way that Angel did.

#20 of 171 OFFLINE   Simon Massey

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Posted May 30 2006 - 07:40 PM

I think we should be careful about discussing future stories or plotlines as there are people taking part in this who are watching the show for the first time. Much better to discuss the relative merits of each episode without reference to what is to come IMO.

Watching this tonight so will post review later.


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