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January 12 2003

A Vampire With Soul, and Cheekbones. James Marsters interviewed by the New York Times (reg required).

""And if you're going to seriously redeem a character like Spike, who is a mass murderer, then he's going to have to go through a real journey," he said. But he hoped the writers got it over with soon, he added, laughing, "because I'm tired of getting dragged across gravel." "

Good article.

I always shake my head, though, when people like that start talking about specifics. Clearly whoever wrote that article isn't a huge "Buffy" fan but was mostly interested in the "Spike" angle for the article. Because, I mean really, "Beneath You" is so clearly, indisputably (as much as any matter of judging quality ever is) that "Beneath You" is *not* the best episode of the season; the only thing about it is that it has the best Spike moment of the season.

delavagus did you access the article from the US? Because I wasn't sure if the New York Times charged American citizens for viewing their articles whereas the rest of the world can view them for free.
I thought Spike's scene in Beneath You was overwritten. The whole Shakesperian wording and diction seemed terribly out of synch with the rest of the show. And SMG was acting like she was in a silent movie. JM's last great moment was in Fool for Love, I think. His character hasn't resounded with me for a long, long time. If you ask me he's getting a lot of press for taking his kit off and walking around with his mickey in a sock. He should have got that recognition years back.
Hi Simon -
I'm in the US, and I was able to access the article without having to pay for it.

Thanks for posting the link - I thought it was a good article, and I'm glad James Marsters is getting the recognition for being the wonderful actor he is.
AFAIK the Times lets you see the articles for free only the same day they're in the newspaper - tomorrow you'll have to pay!

I loved the idea about Spike making a garden for Buffy!! I'd love to see that happen -- although of course now hardly seems quite the time for it.
Thanks Julcjek and melsta :). Sky One in the UK repeated "After Life" last week and while I'm not a Buffy/Spike shipper I had forgotten how powerful the scene was when Spike saw Buffy for the first time.

(from Psyche's site)

BUFFY: How long was I gone?
SPIKE: Hundred forty-seven days yesterday. Uh ... hundred forty-eight today. (smiles a little) 'Cept today doesn't count, does it?

James is a superb actor.
I figured Marsters was starting to get attention now partly due to all the topless acting he's been doing the past couple years, but also because unlike some actors, Marsters is able to pull off his performance with believability. I mean sure yeah let's face it the man's being used as beefcake in the show, but considering that the series is a female empowerment kinda thing it makes sense that there's at least one male being _used_ the way a lot of women have been used in the past on other shows, and despite all that he's still able to pull off an incredible performance, given the material placed before him. Marsters is not just a pretty face.

All that said, I didn't check out the NYT article because on principle I don't go to websites that charge for text.
I'd rather do Andrew than Spike, but who am I.
The discussion above is just sad. Here we have an absorbing, well written article about a show we are supposed to adore, that is appearing in the New York Times and all anybody can do is complain. Why? Because Marsters is geting too much publicity (yeah, that is bad for the show) or the writer didn't pick out my favorite episode. The on-line Buffy community has devolved into something so insular, so negative that it is a snake eating it's own tail happy only within itself, only about itself.
I'm pretty sure all you have to do to read a NY Times article is register, and registration is free and quick.
Concur: Register for NYT and you're in. I've prowled around the site before -- I think you can see two weeks into the past before the archive fees kick in.
Been reading for ages, love the site to death, and have finally registered, all to say...


(Actually, I heard that already somewhere. See where my priorities lie?)
My problem with the Marsters media attention is that it reflects a trend I don't like -- namely paying more attention to Spike than to the real core characters of the show (Buffy, Xander, Willow and Giles). If the trend were not reflected on the show itself, I wouldn't care, but I do see Spike co-opting storylines and getting a bigger and bigger share of the story arc, and it bugs me. It bugged me in season 5 when Spike got more character development than Xander or Giles; it bugs me even more now when the series may be ending and yet the whole story seems to be about Spike. Since I don't believe that Joss Whedon or ME infallibly know what they're doing, I'm annoyed by this and annoyed by the fact that this "cool punk" character gets so much of the attention now. It's like a show that originally celebrated being uncool has devolved into a celebration of cool shirtless punkdom. I have nothing against James Marsters; but then I didn't have anything against Henry Winkler either, and Spike has become the "Fonzie" of Buffy.
The voodoo man agrees.
I couldn't disagree more. Every season is about Buffy. Is this season any different? Was Angel stealing storylines in S1-S3? Buffy's boyfriend--especially when he's a vampire/has soul issues--is always a focus. Xander isn't funny anymore, so I could really care less about his character development. The marriage/wedding focus was a major drag on the show. I love Anya, though. Willow had a huge role(maybe the biggest) in last season. Giles hasn't been a main character for awhile. Sure he's back now, but he's had a reduced presence since last year. How is it anybody's fault that when he left, more attention was paid to Spike? If I sound like a Spike fan, that's because I am:)
To me the show was always as much about friendship -- the core friendship of Buffy and the geeks she befriended in high school -- as anything else. Even Angel struck me as peripheral to that, and I would have preferred if he hadn't come back for season 3 (because he didn't have much to do except mope around and then leave). But at least Angel was more or less a member of the ensemble, and left plenty of room for explorations of the core friendship. But Spike's popularity increased at a time when the core characters were getting less and less to do, and I feel that the writers gave Spike more screen time instead of giving Xander or Giles more or better stuff to do. (Giles was marginalized long before he left, and frankly I still believe that's one of the reasons Anthony Stewart Head left, that his character didn't have much reason to be there any more.) Xander is far more important to what this show is about than Spike was or ever will be, but Xander has had almost no exploration of his character in recent years except the botched wedding story. And there's also, ultimately, the personal point that I don't find Spike very interesting. He was a funny and creepy villain, but all the "can a mass murderer be redeemed" issues are being handled on ANGEL. I'd much rather see a Xander episode.
You raise some interesting notes about the show always being about friendship. I agree with that, but that's not all it's been. I think you can argue it's been less and less about that since the end of season 3. Buffy's been much more of a loner(towards the original group) for the last couple of seasons. I don't agree with the reasons why Head left. From what I've read, he wanted to get back to England and his reduced role had more to do with the reality of his character than anything else. You can only be a mentor so long, before the pupil has to take over. How very kung fu of me. Having said that, I think him not being around last season was felt in the season's rudderless direction. I find Spike to be very different from Angel(in character and outlook), so I don't think their issues are the same. The dialogue this week from thebuzz ( made some really good points about those two. I guess we both agree that they've screwed up Xander. I wonder if some of that is the actor isn't willing to play him as a complete goof anymore; it probably wouldn't make sense anyway. Although, I think you might be saying he should be more important and not funnier. I don't see how that could be done, but they could make a good Xander-centric episode. Like Anya, it can be done if you put the work in. At this point, it would take ALOT more work, and I think Spike is much more important to the show now than Xander is. I've liked Spike since he first appeared, but I can understand you wanting to take the show back to the basics. BTVS hasn't been the same since the school blew up.
you wrote: "I don't agree with the reasons why Head left. From what I've read, he wanted to get back to England and his reduced role had more to do with the reality of his character than anything else. You can only be a mentor so long, before the pupil has to take over. "

I think if you give an actor meaty stuff to do, they'll forsake anything, women and kids included. It's the nature of the beast. It's never a black and white decision. I know his fans (and I'm one of 'em) like to think he went back to be with his family, but I believe these kind of decisions are never as clear cut as that and many more factors weigh in.
Also... re: Spike. He doesn't get more screentime than the others, but most of his scenes have been just him and the FE, or him and Buffy. I think non-Spuffyists and Spuffyists alike will enjoy him a lot better if he's part of gang, or at least interacts with the rest of them. The way he's integrated now (or separated) makes it seem it's all about him. And it's not. It's all about Giles, dontchaknow...
Prolific--I like Giles too. I was just disputing wilsonwilson's points. I was very worried when it looked like he was going to leave in Buffy vs. Dracula. Spuffyist=Spike and Buffy-ists? Are you talking about Spike and Buffy shippers? I guess I'm one of those. Now he's back with the group, so maybe your wish is granted.
re: it's all about Giles...

It isn't, of course. Joss keeps saying it's all about Buffy. But since he's supposed to be Xander, I bet that deep down it's all about Xander on the outside looking in.

Xander will outlive them all in the end and write their story with a happy end.

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