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February 03 2011

10 Good Things About Buffy Season 8. Sex, Slayers, Dark Witches and More! Oh My!

I'm first. Best thing are Jo's covers.
I agree with a few of these: the fact that Buffy returned at all was, of course, great. I also loved the one-off Animated Series comic and the Giles/Faith team-up. I liked-but-not-loved the Satsu storyline. Same thing goes for the return of Dark Willow. And as for the Fray crossover: I did like the storyline, but I would've been fine with these two aspects of the 'verse never crossing lines, as those two worlds were always just too far apart for me - not just in time, but certainly also in tone, look and feel.

I wasn't all that happy with the Harmony storyline - especially as it went nowhere, fast. It would've been a fun idea if explored a bit more. But now it just felt like a retread of an idea we'd seen executed better in the True Blood television show.

Same thing with all the Spike and Angel stuff. I would've preferred to just not touch any of that anymore and have Buffy move on to someone else - or, for a change, not go into her love life for once. To me, it feels like we've explored those relationships enough by now. Plus - but that's external to the story - I don't really like what stirring that stuff up does to our fandom. Heck, some of it even seeped onto whedonesque, which is usually a haven of sanity.

They forgot a few others I did like, though. I loved the Buffy/Xander talk pre-Twilight, I loved The Chain and - sue me - I loved Giant!Dawn.
The Harmony story would have been great if they would have actually done something with it. The whole thing was just poorly executed and took time out of the main story arc. There weren't any repercussions for Harmony's 'outing' of vampires - at least not any that were explored in the book; there were a few off comments about how slayers were seen as the evil ones now, but that's about it. I hate it because it could have been one of the most interesting aspects of the season, but they just let it falter off into nothing.
The sex dream, random return of dark Willow, the completely random lesbian Buffy that still makes no sense for the character, Harmony's tv show, and DEFINITELY the super powers are in my "huge negatives" list, not positives.

Wasn't too happy with Spike and Angel returning either, as they destroyed the reunion scene we have been waiting for since Buffy's finale with Spike and Buffy, and Angel's actions and attitude made absolutely no sense with all of the series about him.
Faith and Fray and the return of Buffy were just the best in my opinion. The Satsu thing was interesting when it comes to character development with Buffy. Could have lived with Angel and Spike staying on their own turf and Dark Willow was never a favourite of mine. Harmony needs so desperately to get staked.
Giles and Faith storyline was awesome. Xander and Dawn storyline was a little iffy for me, but I loved how Dawn started relating to Buffy in that final issue. Buffy and Fray storyline was outstanding. But I agree, some of those 10 reasons would not be my 10 reasons. Oh, and the Jo covers were outstanding. And I only just realized from that list the pop culture references within those covers (apparently I was too eager to see what happened to look at the cover). Finally, I was shocked to discover I had been reading this season for nearly 4 years. Time flies!
I enjoyed many things during season 8, the Faith storyline is one of them, what I disliked highly is Buffy's superpowers, the bugs' spaceship, Whistler truning dog/liar (??) Angel buying his story and turning to Twilight ...
I loved Giant Dawn, and I loved Centaur Dawn even more, but I was really, really hoping for Mermaid Dawn! I actually really enjoyed Dawn's storyline in general this season (I feel like I'm probably one of only a few fans who thought that the Dawn/Xander relationship actually makes sense). I loved the return of Dracula and the whole Japan arc. I plan on re-reading the whole season as soon as I get some free time; now that it's over, perhaps I will be able to view certain plot elements in a new light.
Yeah not a bad list but not my top 10. I also could have happily lived without the return of Angel or Spike. And for me none of Jane Espenson's issues really hit the mark. And Twilight was kind of a fail for me.

Time of Your Life, Wolves at the Gates, The Chain, Beautiful Sunset, Willow one-shot...all good for me. And heck I even liked Buffy superpowers...mainly for the fun bits with Xander it must be said.
I totally agree, Tumnus, Spike's 'reunion' with Buffy was a major letdown.
I'm curious, digupherbones, why didn't you like the two vamps returning? I was never as big a Spike fan as Angel fan, but I never did like the two halves being seperated. I only wish they would have done better with some of the things, like what luvspike mentioned. Also agree about the 'random lesbian Buffy', it just seemed OOC. So did some of the Giles elements.
Nice to see some focus on the positive aspects of season 8. Honestly, when you look at the good versus the bad mathematically, I think the good greatly outweighs it. I don't think I have ever experienced a bad Buffy season. Even seasons 4, 5 and 7 had their positives. I have always found it ironic that some of the show's best moments came from seasons that have been vilified by a lot of fans(Once More with Feeling, Hush, Chosen, etc.)

I agree with BlueSkies about Faith and Fray being some of the best things to come out of this season. I am always much more interested in the stories of the REAL slayers-Buffy, Faith, Fray and everyone in the Tales of series-than I am the FAKE ones(all of the slayers activated in season 7). I actually think seeing Buffy contrasted against Faith and Fray this season gave us a great look into who Buffy has become and how she has changed. Loved the fights too! Buffy beating Fray made sense given that Fray is technically only half a slayer and Faith overcoming Buffy was an eye opening moment that showed that Faith is on Buffy's level now
It was a good season. My favorite moments were seeing Fray again(who is my favorite slayer), Spike back on Buffy, spaceship, Giles/Faith,ect;

Some things i didn't like, everything to do with Angel, overuse of magic, Harmony, Buffy and Angel having superman powers(makes the fights superboring and ridiculious), Twilight arc was by far the worst,ect.

Arkham, i don't think that being "half" a slayer was the reason Buffy defeated Fray. In fact it was more an advantage for Fray as Buffy couldn't read Fray's fighting style because it was completely new and was created by Fray. Compared to other slayer who do have the slayer dreams/visions, Buffy would know their moves and could much easier defeat them, unlike Fray who is a relative young slayer who came close to defeating the queen of the slayers at the height of her power.

Same thing with Faith, i don't think that she's a better fighter then Buffy, you have to see where and why the fight took place. Buffy was kidnapped and set in a extremely dangerous situation. Being surrounded by enemies that want to kill her(from her point of view) Gigi,Faith. Faith only seems to have overcome Buffy when she was disoriented and weakend. If you would have put her up against a Buffy that is strong and determined(like the one Fray faced), i'm pretty sure Buffy would come out on top.
Good points Vergil, here are my thoughts.

Well, having a different fighting style may have given Fray an advantage, but ultimately, experience is what beat her. Buffy has plenty of experience on her own, but combine that with what she knows from PREVIOUS slayers and their memories and Fray never had a chance really. All those memories are carried by Fray's brother if I remember correctly, making her HALF a slayer and putting her at a great disadvantage. If you took previous slayer memories out of the equation, then it would just be Buffy's own combat experience versus Fray's unique fighting style and home turf advantage. That would have been more of a fair fight in my opinion

Buffy vs Faith is more of a fair fight though and I think they are evenly matched at this point in time. You could argue that Faith beat Buffy due to her being weakened and disoriented, but it's rare that Buffy can go into a fight under the best of circumstances. However, she still manages to win most of the time. Any other slayer in the world would have been beaten, just like Gigi was, but not Faith. I honestly think she is the only slayer who can go toe to toe with Buffy

Bottom line, we know that Faith CAN beat Buffy. She gave Buffy a good beating at the end of the body swap episode too as I recall. Of course, you could point to their season 3 battles where Buffy always won. It's a lot like the Spike vs Angel arguments. Sure, there are different factors to consider like state of mind, motivation and other factors. However, I think Spike and Angel are both capable of beating eachother. My point was simply that Faith is a match for Buffy. I wasn't saying that she is BETTER.
Interesting Arkham.

It's not just that it's a different style, it's that it's a totally unique and unknown style to Buffy. But yes, experience and legacy was what beat Fray. But that specific experience and legacy can only be found with Buffy, no other slayer including Faith has this. On top of that, the way the battle was ended seemed to be only possible because it was Buffy and she is/was the queen of the slayers. Buffy blocking and breaking the scythe with her bare hand was extraordinary. Buffy also herself admits that Fray is stronger, on her home turf, knows what she's fighting for.
I highly doubt that we are supposed to see Fray as a lesser slayer and her lacking the visions isn't that big of a disadvantage. Just look at all the slayers in our time that do have the whole package, not one of them could match up to Buffy. The previous times Buffy was easily sparring with 3 slayers at a time, issue 40 Buffy defends herself from 3 slayers without breaking a sweat. Compared to Fray who was more then able to match Buffy and came close to beating her(this from someone that is comperable season1/2 Buffy of their slayer-carreer). Yeah, Harth has the slayer-visions but i think that was only done to make him a credible threat, him being Fray's beloved twin brother + having the knowledge and know how on how to start apocaylpses. And another very powerful slayer also didn't have the past-slayer experiences to draw upon, the First slayer. I suspect that this is what Fray is/will be. The first of the new slayerline as Buffy was the last of the old line.

Not even close to being a fair fight imo, i just reread the issue and Buffy got severaly weakend before the fight with Faith started, both mentally and physically. Buffy has lots more experience as a slayer, non-stop since she was called(outside of being dead), needed to be in constant great shape. It's also about where their paths are taking them now. Faith helping problem slayers is admirable, just like her stint in prison to redeem was but it is not the slayer-mandate. Buffy continues to follow that path, she is THE slayer.

Sure Faith can beat Buffy, under the right circemstances. Buffy isn't undefeatable. Previous Buffy/Faith battles have always been close calls, wouldn't be entertaining if one can defeat the other with ease. Still i think Spike and Angel have better odds at defeating Buffy if they were her enemies. Spike because he spent the most time fighting against her/alongside her giving him the most knowledge on her fighting style. And Angel the same but to a lesser degree, he's been figthing,watching her this whole season. As for Spike/Angel, Angel lacks the passion for figthing that Spike has always had. Wether good or evil, souled or soulles, Spike loves figthing, especially challenges.
But you are right, it mostly depends on motivation, state of mind, dis/advantages,ect. Still i don't consider Faith to be on Buffy's level fighting wise.

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