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June 15 2006

Positive NY Times review of "Hex". Rather favorable review of this show that many Whedonesquers have reviled. Takes a few sideswipes at Buffy, too (reg req).

I'll be interested in the British response to this article.

''I have trouble calculating these things. British viewers have been ambivalent on this subject, as on most features of this beautiful, intelligent, imperfect show.''

The word imperfect' is the only part of this review that I agree with. Is this the same Hex that I tried to watch?!! The reason why we were ambivalent was that it was a pile of dross! Sky once again proving that they can't make an original peice of programming If they're lives depended on it.

And yes, I'm British.....you can tell can't you....
I have trouble calculating these things.


Watch more than one episode. Then you'll have no problem calculating these things.
I have to admit, Cassie is hot!
I watched one episode of "Hex" and thought it was horrible. Just to be sure, I watched a second. It stank.

Virginia Heffernan's taste is *not* my own. And what's with her gratuitous sideswipes at Buffy? I wonder if Heffernan is one of those American reviewers who think that shows filled with plummy British accents are ipso facto beautiful and intelligent. Of course, plenty that is beautiful and intelligent originates from Britain, but never underestimate the power of a British accent over us Americans. It blinds us sometimes.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2006-06-15 19:58 ]
No, kidding about the accent thing, phleb, see the excerpt from the Spike novel a few posts below!

I was going to give Hex a try, but what I read on this board from people I respect a great deal, decided to pass. Now I'm gladder than ever that I did.
This is one of the stranger reviews I've read. It seems like the author really wanted to like the show and spread the word but it's obvious that she is reluctant to just come out and tell us she likes it. She calls it beautiful and extols the lush settings. But then spends half the article complaining about how one of the actresses is too beautiful. Another big complaint is that someone's hair is too yellow. Don't you remember all those articles complaining about how red Willow's hair was?...not! Personally, I think it's a testament to how little the show has going for it.

My complaint is that nobody (including Whedonesque and the NY Times) said SPOILER ALERT. She wrote, "Last week Thelma died. The vibrant and cerebral character had pined for Cassie, who is apparently not gay, in a way that seemed far beneath her, and her death looked like lovelorn suicide." If that's not a spoiler, then I don't know what is....er, maybe its not a spoiler per se because it already aired a week ago?
I think you answered your own question there alexreager.
I read her reviews all the time in the NY TIMES and she only really loves "reality shows". She gave a glowing review once to "The Surreal Life" which is akin to praising the freak show at a circus. I think her patronizing attitude about Buffy is her expressing her actual feelings. She hates "genre" shows involving fantasy. When she reviewed ALIAS she admitted that she hated that type of show and then went on to pan the episode. I actually wrote to the entertainment editor and complained about her getting assigned to watch a show she hated. She just seems "dumbed down" to me. Sorry for the rant.
I agree with the "langurous" tempo - also the beautiful look. And the weirdness of Cassie - there is something unreal about her.
A nice postcard - which here, in NYC is plastered on lots of buses.
I could say, watching the buses slowly pass by pretty much takes care the Hex watching experience for me. The screen version doesn't add much to this.

I also went to the NYT link for Joss and noted the mysterious absence of "Angel" from his credits (while more minor works are duly recorded).
I guess it wasn't "fit to print"

@angel fan I noted the personal hate touch in "as a teenager you liked realistic stuff that told you how to get by"
Obviously, she didn't grow up much since, and getting by is quite the pathetic goal.

[ edited by highly staked on 2006-06-15 20:19 ]
Must have been a different 'Hex' they watched.

The two episodes (yes, two - I stuck it that long) I saw when it premiered here in the UK were appalling. Not bad enough to be good, if you get my drift.
The opening run-on sentence of the article negating the wit and metaphor Buffy, pretty much says it all. Some folks do not like their entertainment complex or deep or remotely philosophical and those of us who do, are nerds. “The OC” with witches please! (Actually, “The OC” is better than Hex)

Also, there is some real forethought venom spewing at Buffy in this article. It strikes me as “I decided to like Hex so I can bash BtVS publicly.”

ETA after reading Raven's comment: The grand hall in Hex looked exactly like the hall in the estate in "Gosford Park"....anyone know?

[ edited by Charmuse on 2006-06-15 20:40 ]
highly stalked - they were only listing Whedon's movie credits. None of his tv credits were listed. So you would not have seen Angel on the list, nor was Buffy or Firefly mentioned in the tv sense.


Also it's obvious to me that this person must have attended a boarding school instead of a public one. Cause I have yet to see a public school or any private schools in my area that even remotely have the type of look or feel the one on Hex does, my school looked a bit like the one on Buffy actually, except not as much sunshine.

[ edited by RavenU on 2006-06-15 20:23 ]
How in the world is Buffy's dialogue "uptight"??? I have a feeling this writer tried Buffy, didn't "get it" and in her book that made it bad. *shrug*
@RavenU - I stand corrected - I should have noticed the years for the credits.
And right on the look of schools.
Hex has a Hogwarts like setting - but lacks the story to fill the pretty walls & scenery.
I have yet to see a public school or any private schools in my area that even remotely have the type of look or feel the one on Hex does, my school looked a bit like the one on Buffy actually, except not as much sunshine.


And of course, Sunnydale High was a real Southern California high school. I think the writer is trying to say that gothic stories work better in gothic settings. That is a point of view. That someone I am not interested in reading again would have.
“The OC” with witches

Charmed ;)
How in the world is Buffy's dialogue "uptight"??? I have a feeling this writer tried Buffy, didn't "get it" and in her book that made it bad. *shrug*


Well, I'd argue the same for everyone dissing Hex in this thread. I think it's an excellent show. I think the perception that it's a British Buffy isn't really helping matters, since it has absolutely nothing to do with Buffy (blonde teenager is focal character, horror elements, and that's really it).

*shrug* Whatever. Any show that has Colin Salmon in it is okay in my book anyhow. *grin*
Point taken, krad, but in the case of Hex I don't think its that people don't get it, its that there's nothing to get ;) Ooh, zing! How many eps have you seen? If you make it into season two and still like it, you are a stronger man than most... or maybe strong enough for a man, but made for a woman- I forget!

For some truly great Brit shows (instead of meh... shows) - see Spaced, Look Around You, Life on Mars, the new Doctor Who (usually), Coupling, and some would say Shameless.
haphazard mythology

Like a semi-coporeal ghost?

killed any chance for a fully human lesbian character on the show, someone other than a woman who comes around just for a kiss during sweeps week.

Trying to decide if this is a dig at Buffy or The OC.

Oh, and zeitgeist? Would definately include Shameless.
I've only seen the two-hour pilot, thus far, but don't presume to lecture me on good British shows, as I've been watching good British shows since I was a wee tot. *grin* In fact, I was just watching my DVDs of Chef! (the first and second seasons, not the absymal third), and have been assiduously watching the new Who.
Zeitgeist, I'd add 'Strange' starring Richard Coyle, Sam Janus and the excellent Ian Richardson to the list of good UK shows. If Hex is trying to be Buffy (and failing) then Strange is what Ripper could have been like.
*grins at krad* All in good fun, sir :) My above post only spoke of recent ones, perhaps a longer list of all time favorites would be appropriate over on flickr or whedonesque.org?

zz9 - ah, yes, I still need to track that down and watch it (Strange, that is). Thanks for the reminder!
"you never fully understood the connection between adolescent alienation and the supernatural because as a teenager you liked realistic stuff that told you how to get by"

Ah yes, I forgot how many people use television as a guide to life.

Incidentally, I would like to add The Day Today and The Adam and Joe Show to the list of great British TV shows. As well as Keeping Up Apperances, although thats probably just me.

[ edited by Jona on 2006-06-15 22:21 ]
Insulting the Buffy sets of yore not too happy about that, poor budget anyone but the remark about the dialogue - is she trying to make Whedon fan-base mad at her, not the smartest thing ever. The dialogue is one of the things that got me hooked on Buffy in the first place.

I'm from the UK and have never remotely seen a school like the one on Hex, in fact dilapidate about covers the school I went to, boarded up windows, porter cabins as classrooms and gaping holes in walls. (Yeah, not good times.)

[ edited by Aurey09 on 2006-06-23 21:07 ]
Jona- Keeping Up Appearances? Definitely just you. ;)

But what about A Bit of Fry And Laurie? Or Murder Most Horrid? Genius, I tell you.

Topic: it is quite odd that the reviewer seems to be painting Hex as a genre show for people (like her) that don't like the genre. While at the same time mentioning that the reason Hex is superior to Buffy is that Hex is more genre-y in setting and dialogue.

So I'm thinking that maybe she just likes tv that conforms to her expectations? And Buffy worked very very hard to defy all expectations, in all its various genres. With step one being to use more than one genre in the first place.

Chacun a son gout, I guess. *shrugs*

[ edited by gianetta on 2006-06-15 22:46 ]
I'm sure it won't be long till we see a fanfilm parody of Hex titled, Vex.

And a side note (of advice) for the creators of Hex, it seems like it might be time to start jumping the shark. I hear anything to do with snakes is all the rage.

"Hex season 3: Snakes in a MF'ing British Prep School" Now that I'd watch!
Hex has already been cancelled, alex. 'twas a few months ago.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-06-15 23:33 ]
If we're listing good British shows, here's some classics: The Prisoner and The Sandbaggers. :-)

I actually did watch Hex until the very end--though I'd decided I'd only stick it out until the end of the second season before it was officially cancelled--and I have to say the show didn't start off too bad. It's just that as it went along, the story and the mythology just felt more and more random and contradictory.
Despite airing Hex, BBC America redeemed itself by picking up Life On Mars. It's the best new show in ages and that includes your Losts, Veronica Mars, Battlestar Galacticas, Doctor Whos etc. I think it's being shown at the end of July. It is well worth a look. I was hooked from the beginning.
The Good Life
Yes, Minister (and Prime Minister)
To the Manor Born
The Benny Hill Show (Yes, The Benny Hill Show, damn it!)
All Creatures, Great and Small

And if we want to go into mini-series, Granada's Brideshead Revisited is spectacular. A towering achievement.

As is the BBC's "low budget set" I, Claudius.

Oh, their Shakespeare plays series was not too bad, either.

Loved The Prisoner and The Avengers. Secret Agent, too (I think it was called Danger Man in the UK.)

Other than Buffy, I really believe Brideshead to be TV's crowning achievement.
Have never heard about Life on Mars (I mean, not since I bought Hunky Dory before most here were born!)...will have to have a look in July, cheers, Simon.
Despite airing Hex, BBC America redeemed itself by picking up Life On Mars. It's the best new show in ages . . . It is well worth a look.


Simon says? I'm there. Looking forward to it!
Completely agree Simon. I thought 'Life on Mars' was just excellent. Maybe being a 70s child helped but the whole idea was original and well executed (my only small worry is that they don't end it within a reasonable time frame but, on the other hand, i'll take as much as I can get so long as they keep up the great writing and top notch cast).

I'm gonna throw 'Callan' into the classic British TV mix. Imagine a younger version of 'The Equaliser' (Callan was played by Edward Woodward) but bitter and cynical and proper, proper hard and you have Sgt. David Callan, a working class spy and assassin from a side of the tracks James Bond never even knew existed.

For the record, BTW, we're not ambivalent on the subject of 'Hex', we just don't like it ;).

(though there's not much doubt that Christina Cole is extremely fit and Colin Salmon is way under-used on British TV)
I didn't get this show. I gave the first season a watch and I didn't see how it was compared to BtVS. Perhaps I missed something. If so, I'm all ears.
I just started the watching Hex the other day, and the first episode was so bad that it took me too days to watch it. I decided to watch the second episode just in case it got any better, and it did, a little bit.

I'm going to add Red Dwarf to the clasic British shows list. Now that's good TV.
I'll add Father Ted, the Office, Extras and HG2G to the list.
My wife has instructed me to point out that 'Father Ted' is Irish - but I'll add 'Auf Wiedersehen Pet' and 'Boys from the Blackstuff' to the list of British shows. Just two of many, many examples. Yes, we are capable of making decent TV shows over here!
Hey! I brought up Life on Mars first in this thread - what am I, chopped liver? :) Though, to be fair, I watched it after talking to Simon and Caroline about it off-site after the first episode aired. That show hooked me from episode one as well and I made a point to obtain them for watching immediately after they aired.

Loved The Prisoner, also enjoyed All Creatures Great and Small, and even though its pretty well rubbish, I do enjoy Monarch of the Glen from time to time (yes, I know, thats BBC Scotland/Ecosse/etc.). Sorry, Chris inVirginia, Benny Hill is absolute rubbish :)
This one doesn't get mentioned often, but there was a (1990) series called 'Die Kinder' (as in 'The children') which was a British series starring Miranda Richardson and Frederic Forrest. I've never seen Forrest play better than he did in that series. I wish they'd release it.

Someone upthread mentioned Brideshead Revisited. That one probably made me believe television could be great.
...yes, I know, thats BBC Scotland/Ecosse/etc...


Uh, well Scotland part of Britain, unlike the Republic of Ireland, which has the good fortune to be neither part of Britain or the United Kingdom. Yes, I am in an annoyingly pedantic frame of mind today!

Not a series, just a one-off drama, but I'll put in a word for 'Fantabulosa', based on the self-lacerating diaries of the great Kenneth Williams and shown on BBC4 a few months back. It attracted the highest viewing figures in the history of the channel (just under a million) and rightly so. Michael Sheen was near perfect in the lead role.
Oh, alright, I also completely agree with zeitgeist about 'Life on Mars'. Happy now ? ;-)

(and about Benny Hill too, not my cup of tea, but then humour's like that isn't it ? Very subjective)

dashboardprophet's mention of the excellent 'Boys from the Black Stuff' reminds me about 'Edge of Darkness'. Is it me or is that kind of crusading, angry TV extremely rare/non-existent these days ? Or has it just become less obvious or maybe drifted more into documentary territory ?
dbp - just threw that in for the picky folk :) In case someone decided to bring up British vs. English, etc. again. Stranger things have happened! On the subject of Russell T. Davies, I enjoyed The Second Coming and Bob & Rose as well.
Second Coming was fantastic, as might be expected in something featuring Christopher Eccleston, Mark Benton and the great Lesley Sharp. I just watched it again on DVD last week.

Saje, I agree that crusading/angry/political drama does seem to be a thing of the past at the moment. The end of Thatcherism and the general increase in economic prosperity in Britain definitely had an impact on this but what goes around comes around. It will return.
MINOR SPOILERS FOR HEX PILOT

I actually enjoyed the pilot of Hex.

I did not expect much believe me; so at first I just started listing in my mind all the common points with Buffy, thinking that would be the only way not to be bored to tears (let's see: blond heroine; an outcast; with supernatural powers inherited from a long line of women about whom she has visions and nightmares; powers she does not want; a lesbian best friend; a cast of cordelia-types; a tall/dark/handsome angel--yes, Azazeal IS a fallen angel-- she's attracted to but who turns out to be evil; etc, etc.). That was fun enough for a while to keep me entertained (I don't need much!!). But then I started really liking the interactions between Cassie and her best friend Thelma. Don't misunderstand me, the dialog in Hex definitely lacks. But I found their relationship... quirky. On the other hand, I did really dislike the way Cassie is so clueless about things, not just the way she leads Thelma on, but her fascination for the idiot jock, etc. I mean why make a central heroine so dumb? (even though most high schoolers are that dumb, because of hormones and all... Me first; I remember it well!) The actress is also--as pointed out in the article--quite emotion-less... The other actors are much much better IMHO. I especially liked the teachers and the principal (almost a Giles-type, well at least when it comes to exposition!). I smiled a few times. Nothing like Buffy in the end, of course. Anyway, I enjoyed it enough that I'd like to stick around for a while. Not because it's like Buffy but because it's light, intriguing and harmless. Not as God awful as I expected. Won't be my next cult show. But another show to watch in this dreary summer TV season.

[ edited by Alanna_Wolff on 2006-06-16 20:40 ]
Well, okay, the critic obviously did NOT like Buffy. Which is okay, though I could take her to ask with every point she makes. You have to remember, I've written many such angry diatribes against the abysmal Fight Club--which is apparently some sort of sacred cow amongst people who've never seen Citizen Kane or Persona--so I can understand the writer and what kind of flak she's getting/going to get.

As for Hex...I've heard very, very bad things. The pilot is on BBC On Demand on my digital cable. I'm thinking of just taking a curious gander...

And Simon, thanks for letting me know about the awesomeness of Life on Mars! I've been planning on watching it when it comes to BBC America, but I definitely will remember to now!
I've watched the premier ep and the second ep. It makes me miss Keen Eddie.
"My wife has instructed me to point out that 'Father Ted' is Irish" - dashboardprophet

I know it's not technically British, but it's part of my PBS's block of British comedy that's on at 2am in the morning, so I figured I include it anyway.

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