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November 29 2003

"How Soon Is Now?" Daniel Erenberg' newest opinion article for Slayage. com looks forward to S5 AtS post-"Lineage," particularly the work of Drew Goddard.

FYI, it looks like Ultimate Drew's next episode will be #11 (99 overall.) Personally, I'm really hoping to see another episode with Joss's direct involvement-- when he said earlier that he would have "more involvement" this year, I had hoped that that would mean at least three written and/or directed by credits, though with Firefly back this hope is fading.

Erenberg also mentions Mere Smith, whose show "Tarzan" has been cancelled. I wonder if there's still room for her at ME.

Yeah I'd forgetten about Mere Smith, be cool if she came back. Still miss Tim Minnear on the show, in my fan mind he and David Fury should be writing the 100th episode.
Joss should be writing the 100th episode.

But, then, I think Joss should write _all_ the episodes. Er, well, not really, but yeah, in a perfect world: a world where time moved at one speed for us and a much slower speed for Joss -- so he could write and direct each episode while still doing everything else he does for the show and for all his other projects. (Sounds a bit like the Buffyverse hells, doesn't it?)

Personally, I think Mere Smith is good but not _that_ good. I get the distinct impression that her best episodes were her best episodes because there was a greater-than-usual amount of input from the other writers, particularly Joss (I'm thinking "Orpheus"). Same with Drew Goddard. I mean, I love Ultimate Drew. I'm a huge fan. Always talking up the Drewmeister. But I'd bet a pile of money that "Selfless" is as good as it is because Joss sort of took Drew's hand a bit to help him along with his first episode. (Evidence: we all know Joss wrote the Anya song for the OMWF flashback -- obviously Joss played a bigger-than-usual role in the crafting of the episode.) I was very impressed with Drew's work on "Conversations With Dead People" because I figured he wrote the sections with Holden Webster. I had good reason to think this, since he'd written somewhere that his treatment of Six Feet Under which got him the job on BUFFY involved the characters talking out their problems with a dead guy. Of course, that sort of things happens all the time on Six Feet Under, which I didn't know. I figured, "Holy crap, Drew wrote Holden Webster -- he rocks!" But no, it was Joss who wrote that section. Drew wrote Jonathan and Andrew, which was good and funny and all that, but it was the Holden Webster sections that made CwDP so damn good.

It's weird that I'm talking shit about Goddard, because I really am a big fan. I was more excited about him moving to ANGEL than anyone else I know. I, for one, was entirely unsurprised with the high quality of "Lineage," based solely on the fact that he wrote it. But still... I suspect what makes his episodes so good is that he's a great collaborator, a great listener, a guy who's looking for extraordinary ways to please (hence his constant -- and awesome! -- referencing of older material, e.g., in "Lineage," Spike talking about people having sex with robots... I mean, really, how cool was that?).
re: delavagus' couldn't have said it better myself
I think it's unfair to imply that the Ultimate Drew is anything less than an extremely talented writer. Especially in the case of 'Selfless', where there's no proof that Joss had any involvement aside from penning Anya's song. Give the guy some credit, maybe he is simply REALLY GOOD even without other talents helping him out. I think that 'Selfless' and 'Lineage' have proved that immensely.

As for the article, I agree and disagree with it. I've loved the new direction of the show this year and am thankful for any and all Spike that I can get. I do miss the original Cordelia from seasons 1 & 2, but am glad to be rid of the Cordelia from seasons 3 & 4. Eve is no Lilah, but I'm still warming up to her and enjoying her on her own terms, especially now that she has a juicy new secret. I also feel that the overall tone of the show is much more enjoyable this year then in the past two seasons, where nearly every episode had to be melodrama central. A little humor never hurt anybody.

As for the writers, I agree that Mere Smith was never a favorite and I think her best episodes were the ones Joss had something to do with. Craft & Fain need to go to the unemployment line as well, or at least to a lesser show. And oh, how I would love more Joss episodes. :(
Who is writing the 100th episode, is Joss doing it?
David Fury is supposedly writing/directing the 100th episode.
MindPieces, re: the Drew-inator

I have zero hard evidence that Anya's song was not Joss's only contribution to "Selfless." I did read once, though, that he tends to contribute more to the scripts of first- or second-time writers than to the scripts of old hands, whom he feels more comfortable, well, handing assignents off to.

You could construe my comments to mean that I think Drew is less than an "extremely talented writer," but my point is subtler than that: he's proven himself to be a great writer, but what makes someone a great writer? Joss, more than any of his staff, more or less creates this stuff out of nowhere. I suspect that Drew's strengths are different, at least at this stage. It doesn't mean he's anything less than an extremely talented writer, only that maybe, _just maybe_, he doesn't deserve status as the Second Coming of Joss. Especially working on the staff of a TV show, being "a great collaborator, a great listener" are perhaps the most important qualities a writer could possess. And I suspect -- total conjecture based on what I've seen of his work -- that these are Drew's greatest assets (at this point, anyway). The guy doesn't shit gold, after all. "Selfless" was excellent, but it was his first and I suspect (again, conjecture, admittedly) that Joss played a big role in that one. "CwDP" was great, but he only wrote the Jonathan/Andrew section, which was far from the highlight. "Never Leave Me" was mediocre at best. "Lies My Parents Told Me" was great, but that was co-written with Fury. And "Dirty Girls" was good, only good. Now he's done "Lineage," which was excellent -- but again we're in "his first episode of the series" territory.

Drew is obviously a good writer. I'm simply offering a deeper analysis of why and how and when he's a good writer.
Re: Mere Smith and collaboration on Orpheus- Yeah, someone did collaborate big time with her on that one, but it wasn't Joss, it was Tim Minear (according to him on the Succubus Club I believe).

""CwDP" was great, but he only wrote the Jonathan/Andrew section, which was far from the highlight."
While I agree that the Buffy/Holden section was overall the best of the episode's sections, Jonathan's speech to Andrew was one of its major highlights to me. Course, could be that Joss even wrote that, who knows? I'm just saying.

""Never Leave Me" was mediocre at best."
I disagree, I think 'Never Leave Me' was a pretty darned good episode.

"And "Dirty Girls" was good, only good."
Depends on who you ask. I liked the episode a lot but I know of several people whose opinions I respect who think it's one of the best episodes of all time.

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