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February 28 2008

Harvard Independent gives Buffy Season 8 comic the thumbs down. The article describes the comic as "rather like a second helping of dessert on a full stomach...".

FTA: Many facets of the narrative in the eighth season of Buffy appear unintentionally vague, incomprehensible or unclear, not because of poor writing (what blasphemy it is to ever consider Joss Whedon and poor writing in the same context) but because of the change in medium.

Oh I can not WAIT to refute this properly.

But it's late, and I'm tired, so I am just going to say that if the article's author finds Buffy Season 8 to be so flawed- why does her final paragraph literally beg for more of the series?
I agree that, so far, the comics haven't pulled at my heart and my tears as the show so often did. I do love that regardless of the review she asks that the comics keep on coming.
Ah Harvard, what other institution can turn out someone who can say absolutely nothing with such big words...I guess that is what they pay the big tuition for.

There has been mucho pathos in the series, and that is lacking in practically every medium today.
I always find it interesting to see how quick people are to disagree with someone who criticizes Joss, even though I know this is whedonesque. Magnus, you state she said nothing? That's obviously incorrect; she said a lot, giving reasons for what she likes and does not like about the comic. I tend to agree with her; the comic has not caught my attention. I started out reading it, but realized within around 5 issues that this was not anywhere near as sharp as the show was- it reversed its message from the end of Chosen ("hey, let's empower all the slayers and then put them under my control!"), it refused to focus on the characters that built the show, and with the news as noted in a separate thread on this page about upcoming issue plans indicate,

[ edited by Simon on 2008-02-28 16:43 ]
I have to say I agree with some of here points.I am enjoying the comic on a very superficial level. I enjoy it but I don't *have* to get it. When I go to the comic shop and if it's out I get it. But I have no interest in discussing it or in rushing out to buy it.

But there are people that love it, so it's all good.And yes with the new revelations of 16-19, that may push me off the ship and stay with my Angel and Serenity comics.
Because, missb, the author is a Buffy and Whedon fan. That much is obvious. She's not so much a fan though, that she can't look at Season 8 so far and see its flaws.

Flaws of course, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder. Except Gigli, I think we can all agree on that one.

Anyway, I've been enjoying S8, yet not as much as I hoped. So far I've enjoyed the Faith arc the most – and while I liked what her character brought to the mix, I was never a huge Faith fan, so I was so pleasantly pleased with that arc. I agree with Truc Doan that "The Chain " is the single best issue.

When I say I haven't enjoyed it as much as I hoped, its because there are still aspects of the story and the characterization that I don't like, however I know this is Joss so I'm very willing to take the ride and see where it ends up, and I think the author of the article feels the same way.

I think another way to put it is that Joss Whedon's failures are more interesting than most people's successes. Now I'm not saying that S8 is a failure just because there are aspects of it I don't like or would take in another direction.

One of the reasons I love Joss is that he is brave enough to try new things. In regards to Buffy though I think things have become a bit comfortably/uncomfortably formulaic, i.e. huge arc, Buffy alone, a real bad Big Bad to defeat. Haven't we all seen this before?

How much more interesting would things be if Joss had broken from that formula?

Of course the big break from formula was the contentious S6, which I recently re-watched over about 4 days and while I enjoyed (if that's the right word) it when it first aired S6 holds together even better being able to "read" it like a chapters in a book. It remains a fabulous 22 hours of TV (and for me holds together better than the similar attempt in Angel S4 - which was too Oedipussy for me – wait! wasn't that a James Bond movie?).

So that brought us the equally controversial S7 which I cannot, despite many attempts, rewatch in its entirety and suffered, among other things, from trying to be all seasons to all people IMHO.

And thence comes S8 , and yes there are some familiar tropes like Buffy alone or isolating herself – yet I see growth toward her changing that and I'm curious how the predicted "betrayal" will effect that growth. So I'm willing to go along.

By the same token could we please heal the rift between Buffy and Giles already? I still don't buy it and think much damage was done to ASW's character for the sake of plot in S7 that has yet to be rectified.

Even though I'm not a huge fan of the Campbellian classic heroes arc, there are times when I wish the show had ended after S5

Joss himself once said (and I'm going from memory, so Help Quotergal! Help!) that: "Buffy was was a beautiful symphony with all the movements leading to the next and then coming to a wonderful resolution in the final movement. And that was the end of Season 5 and we still did 2 more after that."

Anyway... I've got to get to work, more later...maybe...

[ edited by malformed on 2008-02-28 16:20 ]

[ edited by malformed on 2008-02-28 16:21 ]

[ edited by malformed on 2008-02-28 16:23 ]
FFS, can we please NOT have any "new revelations" revealed on this non spoiler thread ? Thanks.

She has a few points, some of which seem straightforwardly true to me (it's less immediate, issues are shorter than episodes and 'Chosen' would've been a fine place to end it), some of them not so much. Ultimately of course it's an opinion, just the same as all of ours and equally meaningless/full. She also seems to contradict the body of the article in the final paragraph (it's either doing something for her or it's not - if all she's saying is that the comic isn't as "good" from a fan's perspective as the TV series well i'd say that's bordering on facile it's so obvious - we didn't fall in love with the comic, after all).

... it reversed its message from the end of Chosen ("hey, let's empower all the slayers and then put them under my control!")

Nah. Even if you assume Buffy actually controls all the Slayers in her "army", that's only 500 or so out of what, a couple of thousand ?

The comic's working fine IMO, it's just slower moving than the series and, i'll admit, harder to get emotionally involved with (partly because, no matter how much I enjoy reading it, I know i'd enjoy seeing the actors perform it much more). Just to play the broken record again though, we've had 2 episodes plus some "webisodes", judging whether it's working is like judging a season after 3 weeks.

[ edited by Saje on 2008-02-28 15:26 ]
But... but... Saje, Fox judges a season after three weeks all the time!

Oh - I guess that kinda supports the point, doesn't it? Nevermind...
I agree with the author's point, and I do think that the comic book series is "like a second helping of dessert on a full stomach"...but I love dessert!
There are some good points in there. Don't really agree with the main idea though. I don't feel hyperglycemic. I think I would if Season 8 tried to be more like earlier seasons of Buffy. I realized on page 1, when Buffy was jumping out of a helicopter, with gun-like things and slayers-in-training following, that we weren't in Kansas anymore. And that Buffy Angst was still a key player. Rather than overeating at one meal, I feel like that dinner party was fun, and it's over, but we've been invited back for another, bigger party with the same crowd and new people. I think we've just now moved past appetizers to the main course. Sometimes I suspect some of us are very drunk.
Beautifully summed up, Sunfire.
Yes Sunfire, and in keeping with the food theme we're about 1/3 of the way through a multiple course banquet. Not everyone is going to, or indeed will enjoy every course.

Still, its far too early to say whether or not the overall feast was enjoyable or a success.

Foodily yours...
I think there's inevitably a learning curve for both creators and audience in the switch from TV to comic-book. Season 8 began to really work for me in Issue 5 (which this reviewer also enjoyed) not, however, because it focused on a "marginal" character, but because it played to a strength of graphic novels which is to much more easily and effectively play with space and chronology without readers getting completely confused.

In any case, let's continue to focus on the content of the review rather than its source, ta very much.
For former viewers of the show, the comic format may be frustrating. One issue is not the same as an episode of TV. I've been a comics lover most of my life, and I too feel some of the frustration of seeing so little happen in a single issue; but that just makes me want the next issue more.
I'm not a big comic fan. I've tried, but it's not a format to which I've ever been able to emotionally connect. That said, I will consume anything Joss produces, so I've been on the Astonishing X-Men and Buffy S8 train. Both are enjoyable, In the case of Buffy, it's partially the fact that I'm not into comics. But it's also the fact that Chosen really was the perfect ending to Buffy, the show. Buffy, the epic. I don't need more.

On the other hand, this reversing the message business is where I have to take issue, because a character doesn't just cease to exist when her show ends. I mean, the last line of the show was "What are we going to do now?" Those characters continued to live in our minds, and obviously in Joss' mind, and people don't tend to glide through life without confilct. One bold choice wouldn't change that, nor would it make Buffy & Co. suddenly infallable. Every choice has a consequence. So to suggest that a character should just stop acting human after she makes a statement...well, that's kind of a limited view of storytelling. It's the kind of storytelling that's interested in making that statement, and then moving on. What makes Joss' storytelling interesting though, is his ruthless exploration of human behavior. So in that regard, I say rock on Season 8.
Ah Harvard, what other institution can turn out someone who can say absolutely nothing with such big words...I guess that is what they pay the big tuition for.

I think disparaging many, many people because you disagree with one person's viewpoint is unfair.
I think the reviewer was trying to say that she doesn't see why Buffy is still involved now that she's free of the "one girl in all the world" burden.
On a very sueprficial level I see that point b ut let
s be serious. In the first place, Buffy enjoys being a hero, so she's not going to walk away completely*. And also there's a simple fact of responsibility. Given how many lives her decision affected, she owes it to her own karma if naught else to be involved in picking up after herself.

SoddingNancyTribe; I've been wondering, could I ask what job you do (I have absolutely no desire to know your name, tho, and I'm not even hinting at asking that) that makes you into a purple person? (I don't imagine any Eaters are flying by.) And I'm just asking.
DaddyCatALSO, I think SoddingNancyTribe is actually a BLUE person, making him one of the moderators of our wonderful Whedonesque world.
azhippieinoz; I see, said the blind man. I'd sort of always thought of him that way anyhow. I was just having an attack of what, in my brain, passes for logic. Thanks.
DaddyCatALSO: it's a little scary to think that I might have been chiding and nudging and correcting all y'all without any basis for my "authority" whatever. (Of course, noone would have paid the teensiest bit of notice.) And possibly scarier that it remains unclear what my function is. So, yep, as azhippieinoz says.

(But my name, which is not the source of my power, is no secret - it's on my profile.)
I probably agree with most of the article, I'm struggling to connect with the 'verse through comic form but will continue to buy s8 even if it tastes like "diet buffy" as "diet buffy" is better than no buffy.

Just my 2 cents.
Not gonna comment on the comics medium; it's frustrating, certainly, but I'm getting used to the relatively slow pace. I do want to respond to the following:

Because the eighth season was forced to continue from a series whose primary conflict had resolved, it had no choice but to pretend otherwise in order to keep the storyline going. Although the last scene of the last episode was of Buffy, surrounded by close friends and family, finally coming to grips with the fact that she was no longer alone, the eighth season does it best to continue an internal conflict that, for all intents and purposes, was already terminated. After having alienated her best friend for a very vague and unclear reason, Buffy has a conversation with Xander, another close companion, about the loneliness of leadership and power (both of which should have been moot points post-“Chosen”).

Maybe. Or, maybe, Buffy made a decision--a correct decision--that also has consequences that can't be ignored, and Buffy still refuses to share the consequences of what is in fact her decision with the thousands of girls around the world who didn't make it. As the 'verse pointed out over and over again, one gesture--no matter how great--can't make everything all better, not the world, and not one's personal demons. It's a constrant struggle. And that's why the show shouldn't have ended with season five, or season seven.
I just like all the pretty pictures ;)
I think the comic series is fantastic but I agree with a lot of the points in the article. I think in my mind (which is well fashioned for this kind of thinking by years of sci-fi fandom) I've been treating the Buffy comics as kind of equivalent to the Extended Universe in Star Wars. Fun stories to keep some of the ideas and melodrama flowing but that the real story, the real canon literature, ended with the TV show and what is, as the author of the article states, one of the most philosophically satisfying conclusions to a work of TV or film.
Yes! A reader response response! :-)
The Buffy comics (she shrugs her shoulders): meh. To me, they look like a storyboard (with dialogue) for the BTVS t.v. series.
In other words, a poor substitute for the real, original, living thing. The comics are parasitic in that they can't function without the reader's vivid memory of the show. In my opinion, they don't stand & breathe on their own. But they are fine for what they are: thin nourishment for Buffy/Whedon-deprived fans like myself. I am so looking forward to watching "Dollhouse". (Know it's been said before but I will say it again : "SSSQQQQUUUUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!")

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