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September 23 2003

Listmania What are the five worst decisions Joss has ever made? The top five fights and villians? Find out what Daniel Erenberg chose in his opinion piece.

Love his little comment about how hard it is to find "genuinely good-natured" Buffy sites. Couldn't agree more with that one.

Also, I can't think of five bad characters either. Although I am sure many others don't share that opinion.

Wow, just looked at this. My night for the pissy, which is kinda funny since I was being pissy about peopel not being good-natured.

[ edited by unitas on 2003-09-24 09:08 ]
The first list stopped me cold. I didn't go any further on the lists because that first one just got my mind reeling. Just five? I could think of five fantastic Joss-directed Camera Angles in the episode "Once More With Feeling" alone. To wit:

5) They got the mustard out chorus.
4) Tara floating off the bed.
3) Dawn dancing while Sweets serenades her.
2) Spike terrorizing the funeral gathering.
1) The close up near the beginning of the episode where Buffy stabs the vampire and he dusts, revealing a close up of her face singing the last line. Wow! What's this series really about? The soul of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is revealed in that one shot. Break through the evil, watch the dust clear, find a beautiful soul singing through the rain and smelling like a rose. That could very well be the best shot in the history of the series.

A very close second to best camera angle ever (directed by Charles Martin Smith & not Joss) was in the series premiere, where Angel enters the alley and we see in a reveal that Buffy is quietly balanced in a handstand ready to pounce on him. That too is what Buffy's about in a nutshell. She is the revenge of all those helpless victims in the horror movies. She takes back the night. If you want someone to understand in a manner of seconds what BtVS is all about, all you gotta do is show those two shots. A close up of Buffy stabbing a vampire, and the shot of her ready to pounce on a dark figure in an alley. You don't even need the audio.

Gun through the glass table? Sure that was good, but what about the money shot in season two's "Anne" where the camera reveals a rejuvenated Buffy ready to kick some major ass? That scene is lit in such a way where our favorite vampire slayer is veritably glowing. The running on the rooftops? Of course that was enjoyable but a bit rough around the edges and obviously computer generated. I'd prefer to list a shot from that scene in Doppelgängland where we see both Vamp Willow and Normal Willow in the school library. Granted, there's special effects going on here, but it's not quite as 'in your face' so to speak. It feels very natural and believable, even though consciously you know you're looking at Hannigan and the back of some standin's head, or a camera trick, it feels natural.

The Dawn shot at the end of "The Body", I accept that one. That episode has a lot of very subtle but excellent shots though. That's just expertly directed from start to finish.

I'd replace "Innocence" with the visual of the scream in "Hush." DAMN that was powerful. Way more potent than the rocket launcher, because of the buildup and the payoff. Desert in "Restless"? Yeah I could agree with that one. Actually the close up of Buffy's feet as she walks from a normal hallway to the desert. A most effective, but very simple visual. Although the landscape of the desert itself is awe-inspiring, much could be written about how Whedon goes from one scene to the other throughout that episode. I could go on and on though. Okay I'll shut up.
I can only think of one camera angle, Anya sitting in the passenger's seat in 'The Body'.
That's the same one I thought of. It communicates the disconnected feeling Anya has, the world flying by right beside her sitting still. The "eerie wide desert shot" seems a little undeserving to me because nature does most of the work (the same reason Dances With Wolves won Best Cinematography in 1991), though I did enjoy the fight scene with the First Slayer, very Kurosawa -ish/ey/esque(?).

And I actually liked Kate Lockley and the Gorch brothers, though I could think of a whole season's worth of Six Feet Under openings involving Kennedy and Ronah.


Ooh, and I liked Miss Kitty Fantastico at 30fps slow motion while the creepy music swells up. And the wide shot in "Chosen" right before they split up. And no Buffy vs. Faith fights in the top 5?

[ edited by Robo-Ritter on 2003-09-24 09:33 ]
Personally, I'm disappointed that the fight scene with Xander and Harmony from The Initiative wasn't included in the top fights.

But I'm a raging dork.
I agree with Robo-Ritter and Greyflowers. The Buffy/Faith fight in Graduation Day part 1 is superbly choreographed and Xander and Harmony are too funny for words.
Gee. He really hated Kennedy, didn't he?
I'm a big fan of his "Top 5 Episode Titles" List.

Lies My Parents Told Me would be my #1 as well. Not the strongest episode, but a very cool name.
After a bout with the crankys last night (accurate but cranky nonetheless), here is my top five Whedon-driected camera angles...

5. Tara & Willow floating above the dance floor in 'Family'

4. Buffy kicking in the door of the Bronze in 'OMWF'

3. Negative Space in 'The Body'

2. The Firetrucks passing behind the Scoobies in 'OMWF'

1. Buffy & The Primitive's endless tumble in 'Restless' (Buffy's ever-going war within herself in one shot)

... & Top 5 Fight Scenes

5. Buffy & Riley Vs. The Gentlemen in 'Hush'

4. Angel Investigations Vs. The Beast in 'Apocalypse Nowish'

3. Buffy Vs. Spike in 'Smashed' (may make my top five love scenes as well which is why it's such a great scene)

2. Buffy Vs. Faith in 'Graduation Day'

1. Buffy Vs. Angelus in 'Becoming'

[ edited by unitas on 2003-09-24 16:41 ]
I'd have to add/replace the following to the shot/camera angles

*in Chosen, the battle shot with Spike and one of the potentials, Choah Ahn, I think, crossing paths in mid-leap in the background

*I'd knock off the gun on the table shot and replace it with Willow/Warren's face through the glass gun shelf in the pawn shop in The Killer in Me

*ditto to robo-ritter on the mkfantastico stalking shot

*how about pretty much every shot in Passion-there are at least five amazing visuals in the at ep alone.
For the top 5 deaths I would replace Jesse's death with Jenny's in Passion. It was the first time a major character was killed on Buffy and it showed the audience that no one was safe.... We also got a glimpse into how cold, taunting and malicious Angelus could be. I know I'll never forget the chase in the school (just like an animal going after his prey) and the way Angelus couldn't even be bothered to bite her. The shot of him just snapping her neck was unforgettable and disturbing. Then we have Angelus planting a love note to lure Giles to the bedroom so that he can discover the woman he loves dead in his bed!! I doesn't get any worse than that. How could that death be forgotten??
Most heartbreaking? Oz leaving Willow. Huge boo-hoo factor.
Haha, everyone does love a list don't they?

Top 5 Camera Shots:

5. Buffy & Willow getting the phone call from Giles about Jenny's death with Angelus lurking in the shadows from "Passion".

4. Tara with the Sappho poem written across her back from "Restless". It was beautifully lit.

3. Buffy telling Dawn about Joyce through the window in "The Body".

2. Anya in the car from the "The Body", Robo-Ritter & Simon hit the nail on the head with that one.

1. The overhead shot of Buffy in OMWF during "Walk through the Fire" That shot summed up 6th season Buffy-- Cold & alone with the darkness creeping in around her. Just great.
Best fights ever:
5. Xander versus Harmony
Gotta agree it deserves at least an honorable mention cuz of its sheer brilliance. The slow mo flurry of near misses.
4. Faith versus Angel s.4
Shooting herself up to spike his drink? Classic Faith strategy
3. Faith versus Angel s.2
The wind up and the pitch and the truth that wills out. Wondrous. I loved the message too. Faith's hate was a cry for help.
2. Buffy versus Anyanka
Emma's style was like a viking warrior. Buffy was tactical and Anya felt more improvisational. It was one of the most believable and heartfelt routines ever done for the show. Whoever choreographed that fight scene is to be commended because the ladies' history and personalities shown through
1. Glory versus everybody, in "The Gift."
Willow retrieving Tara's sanity, Xander's wrecking ball, Buffy weighing in, and Giles getting in the final gut wrenching blow. And then the show STILL wasn't over! What a coup de grace.

Honestly the series could have stopped at season five, and no one would have thought any less of their effort. Seasons six and seven were gravy. Or perhaps a better analogy: the first five seasons are like a warm inviting and friend-filled ski resort in the middle of winter. Seasons six and seven are the hot cocoa and warm blanky at the end of a long and rewarding weekend. =)
Most heartbreaking? He didn't even include the only scene (besides the breakdown of Dawn at the news that Joyce was dead) that makes me weep every single time I see it. Never fails. The end of Becoming Part ll when Buffy shoves the sword into Angel's gut. "full of Grace" begins to play, Buffy breaks down, and I'm all teary eyed, every time.
I'm in much agreement with nychick. It never fails...every time I see the end of Becoming Part II I cry...without a doubt, very, heartbreaking scene. SMG & DB play it so actually feel the stab. **sniff...I think I'm gonna cry right now...I must go...**sniff
ohhh, Buffy Vs. Anyanka is a very cool choice.

And second (or is it third) thought, I may have to bump the 'Hush' fight sequence for Xander & Harmony. 'The Initative' is not the greatest episode but between Xander & Harmony's fight and Spike's bout of impotence it may have two of the funniest scenes in the verse.

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