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October 05 2007

Buffy's Mixed Legacy: Reaper (Yay!) and Moonlight (Boo!). "This fall season, two shows in particular are borrowing heavily from the 'Buffy' franchise."

"At its best, horror allows for writers to reveal otherwise undocumented layers of character: When people are placed in inhuman worlds, dark extremes, or fiendish circumstances, their essential natures become clearer."

"Part of the genius of Buffy was that it contextualized its major teen themes in the setting of the Hellmouth. When mom tells Buffy that the world won't end if she stays in one night, we all know it just might! The asshole jock? Demon. Mom's dorky new boyfriend? Psycho robot. The strange health teacher? Giant insect. The corrupt principal? Vampire patsy. All the normal high-school struggles become extreme battles between life and death, giving the audience a new look at classic themes."

[ edited by Pointy on 2007-10-05 22:04 ]

I actually enjoyed Moonlight (not Joss, but very few things are).
I keep feeling like I'm the only one that dislikes Reaper -- not just because it feels a bit like Buffy For Dummies, but because reminds me of how Brimstone never got a chance despite having John Glover and Lori Petty in the cast (could you please stop canceling my shows, Fox?).
LiLi: Could you please stop cancelling my shows, Fox?

FOX Executive: No.
Wasn't the vampire wannabe professor in the pilot (of Moonlight) the same actor who played Dracula in Buffy?

[ edited by shicks on 2007-10-05 20:41 ]
A friend of mine told me he's seen Reaper, and thought Joss produced it. I had to tell him Joss is doing comic books now...but the creators were big Buffy fans, as I recall. I wonder if they will set up a romance between Andi and Sam, but it eventually ends tragically more or less like how Buffy and Angel's romance ended at the end of "Becoming." It fits with my suspicion that Andi's the adopted daughter of Satan.
Are there any actual spoilers in this article?
Yes shicks, that was Rudolf Martin, who also played Dracula.

I didn't want to like Moonlight, and yet found myself doing so anyway. Sure it's cheesy, and totally rips-off 'Angel', 'Forever Knight', and 'Kindred' (complete with dumb blonde reporter that our hero falls in love with), but it's that cheesiness that ultimately won me over. Not appointment television, for sure, but escapist fun on a Friday night. And hey, I'm always happy if a genre show can succeed... it means they'll greenlight more of them.
Shicks, Rudolf Martin was the actor that played Dracular and yes, he was in the pilot of Moonlight.

I haven't seen Reaper but I think why it may also do better is because it's not a BLATANT copy of a Joss show. Moonlight is so obvious that a fan of the Angel can't help but be a little rankled (in my case a lot rankled) at how much they copied Angel. Moonlight creator would've done better to have paid some homage to Joss but not try to re-create his shows.

Sorta like how in the shark thriller, Deep Blue Sea they had some moments and what not that paid homage to JAWS.
LiLi, you're not the only one who doesn't like Reaper. The pilot left me a little amused but much more skeptical. But then the second episode was just awful. I'll give it another one or two episodes before giving up completely, though.

The Buffy comparisons are weird. I mean, yeah, obviously that's the style the writers and producers are going for, but it doesn't even come close in my opinion. No way would I ever think Joss or any of the Mutant Enemy team had their hands in this. For many reasons, but one of them being that the two women characters (the mom and the potential love interest) are flat, weak-willed, simple-minded and uninteresting. Other reasons being the poor pacing, stilted dialogue, simplistic monster-of-the-week set-up, character inconsistencies, and failure to really tap into the emotional metaphor each MOW represents and how that affects the main character(s).

Buffy got off to an inconsistent start, too, but from the beginning it was clear that the series was about the characters first, plot second. The monsters of the week all tied into a character arc, literally and metaphorically, from the very start.

(I miss Buffy on my TV.)

[ edited by orphea on 2007-10-05 21:07 ]
I frequently enjoy cheesy, and I really enjoyed Moonlight's pilot episode (I'll discover tonight if I like the second episode). I have to say that Reaper's pilot was way stronger than the second episode, it was already feeling a little hackneyed (but I'll hang in for the third episode).
Beware that tonight's second episode of Moonlight was written by David Greenwalt, who left the show shortly after.
Don't be surprised if it's better than the Pilot, which was itself retooled a lot, since CBS ordered the show without an official Pilot, just a about 30 minute long treatment.
But if it's actually a better episode, it might not be a trend.
I wasn't going to watch tonight's Moonlight until I found out about being a DG episode.

I'm enjoying Reaper so far, it's fun, it's no Buffy though, but it does share a little of the heart from the Scoobs.
I taped Moonlight and watched about the first 15 minutes before I decided it was one show I didn't need to add to what I'm already watching. Maybe it was because I had just finished watching Blood Ties which, while not anywhere close to BtVS, of course, is enjoyable light entertainment to me.

I've been watching Reaper and Ray Wise definitely makes the show. Just the right touch of dark humour, mixed with the underlying evil which is necessary if you're the devil. ;) I find the characters and situation very similar to those on Chuck, so much so that I probably won't watch both for long (and Chuck has the advantage - Adam Baldwin!).
Yay to the Brimstone love, LiLi! But as noted, you're definitely not the only one not feeling the Reaper. I left the pilot thinking I might be able to partake just as cheesy fun, but the second ep was so bad (and inconsistent with what was set up in the first, really) that I don't think it'll happen. I may give it one or two more, but we'll see...

Are there any actual spoilers in this article?

Not if Moonlight's already aired. Just making sure. I'll un-spoiler-tag it.
Reaper is kinda sorta Buffy meets the Three Stooges and they have a five or sixway with Brimstone and the Clerks. It ain't no Buffy.

I'll probably watch it again if the mood strikes and I'm home, but unless it starts to say just a little more about life and death, or Andi gets to do something interesting, I'll probably be outta there soon.

It's got a certain something that works well - loved the backstory of the exec consigned to Hell in episode two - and I do enjoy what Ray Wise is doing with his character... but life is just too short to watch something I don't care about that much...
I personally like Reaper, and since it stars the same guy who was in another show I love (The Loop),I'll give it a chance. I'm still waiting for a little more, either a decent season-long arc or just some good backstory. Otherwise, it's a nice guilty pleasure.
I liked the first episode of Reaper (haven't seen the second yet), but comparisons to Buffy always seem strange to me. Because of Buffy, I want to fall in love with all of the characters, I want to laugh a lot and occasionally cry, I want silliness combined with dead seriousness, I want metaphor and quotable dialog and great action scenes, and strong, complex female (as well as male) leads...So far only two shows have really met all of my criteria (that would be Firefly & Angel).
There are lots of TV shows I like, but I try not to compare them to Buffy. Just leads to disappointment.
I enjoyed both episodes, but I hope the characters get smarter. Seems a lot of time standing around not doing anything is part of the premise of the show and its making me antsy. If the writers can make the characters a little more intelligent (trying to trick and escape a box from hell? Really?) I think there is something here to be enjoyed. Acting is fine, some funny moments. I don't see how it borrows from Buffy all that much, thanks for the Brimstone reference, there have been other shows before Buffy with the same premise, just not as successful.

Which brings me to my last point, I don't understand why people say Bionic Woman is borrowing from Buffy. I started thinking about it and wonder if the bionic woman with Lindsay Wagner was at all an inspiration for Joss. I mean, super powerful, has an older guy with glasses handing out missions and "watching" over her, last name is SOMMERS, she was blond. Sound familiar? I heard that Kitty Pride was Joss's main inspiration for Buffy, but I think its possible there were other contributions to the mix.
The Greenwalt-written episode of Moonlight on tonight will probably make or break the show for me. Still, if this is the only episode written by him, was everyone else paying attention?
Everything is in the mix if Joss saw it or was even aware of it from Emma Peel to Jaime Sommers to Kitty Pryde though I also think most comparisons to Buffy are extremely reachy ('Reaper' ? Really ?). Used to be it was any show with a young female protagonist, now it's any show with a young protagonist (male or female) and/or a supernatural element. Next up, any show wherein the actors have legs and/or a missing eye. Looking at you 'Columbo' ;).

I don't hate 'Reaper' but I must confess I haven't really "got" the lavish praise heaped upon it (in other threads). It's not bad, as mentioned above it seems pretty similar to 'Chuck' just with more overt metaphysical undercurrents but if not for Ray Wise it wouldn't do much for me. As it is i'll certainly check out the next one or two and then, when the time comes to start paring down my TV hours i'll decide whether to dump it or not (almost definitely won't watch it and 'Chuck', possibly neither).

'Moonlight', well, I liked the powers and the effects, and Sophia Myles, didn't like most of the writing or the terrible music montage at the end of the pilot. Might give it one more (she was The Girl in the Fireplace, after all ;) but I don't see it lasting (for me that is - for the viewing public it'll probably run and run like 'Cleavage' 'Charmed' did).
Forget Reaper. Watch Supernatural.

I don't get the big deal with Reaper and all the praise that it's getting right now. And I'm just watching Moonlight for Jason Dohring. :)
Heh. I find it funny those two new shows are linked here.

Forget Reaper. Watch Supernatural.

I second that. I don't get the big deal, either....Reaper doesn't remind me of Btvs at all. It's premise is a whole lot like Supernatural, in my opinion.
Well, speaking as someone who LOVES Supernatural, I'd like to say that it's okay to watch Reaper as well. Why are the two mutually exclusive?

Reaper is a dumb but harmless, funny and entertaining little "fluff" show. No one is gonna shoot anyone's puppy if you watch it. I personally think it's pretty good, for what it is. And I love the fact that they avoid certain cliches of this type of show, namely that it's not a person with some kind of secret that he must hide from all of his friends and family. The sitcom element doesn't revolve around him having to come up with increasingly bizarre explanations for the weird in his life just so his girlfriend or his mom and dad or his landlord or whomever doesn't find out that he's secretly a spy... or an alien, or the son of Sasquatch, or whatever. None of that nonsense because everyone knows. So instead we get him and his friends surviving weirdness together... and his parents know 'cause it's all their fault.

Anyway, I guess there's some kind of Buffy comparison to be made there. In the meantime I'm gonna go watch some Reaper AND some Supernatural.
"I liked the first episode of Reaper (haven't seen the second yet), but comparisons to Buffy always seem strange to me. Because of Buffy, I want to fall in love with all of the characters, I want to laugh a lot and occasionally cry, I want silliness combined with dead seriousness, I want metaphor and quotable dialog and great action scenes, and strong, complex female (as well as male) leads...So far only two shows have really met all of my criteria (that would be Firefly & Angel).
There are lots of TV shows I like, but I try not to compare them to Buffy. Just leads to disappointment.

(I'll learn to format quotes and turn off italics when my life slows down a little.)

Friday Night Lights has all of that IMO except quotable dialog. The FNL dialog is good, just naturalistic, so not very quote-worthy. And the humor is of the social comedy variety.
No one hated the pilot of Moomlight more than me .... well, maybe the New Republic critic. "Crossing the line between homage and grand larceny", indeed. But I gave tonights ep a try because of David G. & I have to say, it was like watching a completely different show from last week, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although, being such a cynic about netwotk TV, I fully expect it to slide back down into clunky cheeseville next week.

Does anyone know if this ep was originally scheduled for this slot? Because last week's preview featured a prominent mention of a Celine Dion soundtrack for this week's show. Which I waited for, preparing to cringe all over again, but which didn't ever materialize. So I'm wondering if the reviews for the pilot were so universally awful that they moved their big gun/David Greenwalt ep forward, to pull in the faithful jossverse fans.
Am I the only one who thinks the guy playing... Mick St. John (can't help but cringe when writing that idiotic name) can't act?

The Husband really seems to like Moonlight, so we'll probably stick it out for a while. I laughed at one line, can't remember what it was now, and was happy to find at least one moment that wasn't unrelentingly dour, but otherwise am still not excited. I can watch it and not be totally bored, but it's not doing anything much for me. Jason as Josef is nowhere near as evil and fun as Jason as first-season Logan, IMO.

Can't watch Reaper because it conflicts with House. We saw the first episode and thought it was fine, sort of Dead Like Me-ish, but I didn't mind the idea of not continuing.

[ edited by Kirochka on 2007-10-06 15:56 ]
I liked both shows OK. Of course, they are not Angel or Buffy, and until Joss gets through with comic books, there probably won't be their equal. But at least they are in the genre I prefer. Moonlight is up against Flash Gordon and that is so cheesy you have to eat crackers while you watch. I've got to say though, that the blonde reporter on Moonlight is terrible. She is so wooden. I liked the brunette guest star last night much better. But a girl's got to get her vampire fix somewhere. The guy that plays Mick St. John, IMO, he does a good job.

The reviewer says that Reaper is original. He must not ever have watched Brimstone, which I really liked. Reaper is obviously much lighter, and he got into the business in a much different way, but sending bad guys back to hell - not original.
Yes, janef, Friday Night Lights has just recently become my favorite current show. (I'm steamrolling through the first season on DVD.)
This week's episode of "Moonlight" was average TV at best. I felt like the plot was intersting, but there were some things that were just off....Maybe the dialogue, maybe the acting, probably the chemistry between the characters, also possibly me being too critical.
Anyway, if you want to watch it and give it a chance, skip the pilot and try this episode. Its on CBS's streaming video thing.

I've been meaning to watch "Friday Night Lights" for the past year but have managed to miss the whole first season. I've heard good things about it. I'll probably start watching this season and rent Season 1 or something.
And I haven't seen "Reaper" because I have a class at that time and record "House" and CW hasn't put full episodes online.
I didn't like the pilot of Moonlight, but I liked the 2nd episode. It was encouraging, not the least because I saw Greenwalt's name in the credits, but if he walked away from the show after that, I have little hope for it.
Reaper is definitely not as good as Buffy (I'm currently going through the Jossverse again). I'm hoping it will pick up a better pace, dialogue, and, heck, I'll throw in acting for the main character. I do think that the author of the article missed something in terms of the life station of these characters. Their jobs and post high school non-life are relevant to the show in that they're stuck in a kind of hell themselves as they wander about aimlessly and mistake a safe comfort level for a life (as in Andy staying at the Home Depot place because it's familiar and safe). The sidekick is great, though, as is the Devil (although a bit too slick?). Pushing Up Daisies is more fun, though, frankly.

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