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May 08 2005

Review from Beyond the Slimy Wall: 'They' co-starring Marc Blucas. Box Office Prophets review the horror film by Wes Craven, you may have not seen the first time around but might want to catch some dark night on DVD. "...a decidedly stable boyfriend Paul (human blank Marc Blucas, who manages another remarkably chemistry-free screen romance)".

I'll never know whether I dislike Marc Blucas because he's too much of a prettyboy or because he played a character who replaced Angel far too soon.
Hee. Um, as someone who never was all that fond of Angel either, I never liked Riley because he was far too bland to be interesting. The review is dead-on about his appeal. As an actor, he comes across as nice and willing, but it's his lack of charisma that's remarkable.
I'm not sure if that happens to be the role he was given, though. His role in They (a film with such a non-ending, they actually show the last 20 seconds of it in the trailer) was to be ... a lot like Riley: supportive, attached to the female lead, generally not get in the way of the plot.

On the other hand, he has a pretty solid scene wherein he gets pissed at his girlfriend for whining about her tough day while ignoring his, which involved pulling bodies out of wreckage. When he got good material to work with, like that, he came to life. There are other actors who, possibly due to their good if not-particularly-striking looks, are rarely given scripts that call for outstanding acting. Instead, they serve as human filler - decorative but not captivating.
Riley is a character I had no negative opinions about at the time of his initial introduction into BtVS, although I did not think he was particularly noteworthy at first. However, the complexity of the character and the quietly impressive performance of Marc Blucas has become increasingly evident to me as I have watched and re-watched the various S4 and S5 episodes many time over the years.

Based on 'I Capture The Castle' and 'First Daughter', the two other examples of his work I have seen, Blucas strikes me as a competent and likeable actor. He might not have the skill and electrifying screen presence of someone like Robert Downey Jr, but variety is the spice of life and all that.
I'm with dashboardprophet, Riley has grown on me with each subsequent rewatching of Season 4/5. I didn't like him much to begin with- too bland. But to accuse him of lacking charisma because his onscreen relationship lacked fire... um, wasn't that the POINT? That Buffy was all self-involved and distant, and he had ardor galore and still couldn't keep her attention? I think he's a great actor, but is somewhat crippled by having such wholesome good-looks. I'd really like to see him play someone unexpectedly dangerous (Riley was such a good boy, even when he was kicking butt). I don't think he came in too soon after Angel. I think some people remained so caught up in the Buffy/Angelness that they didn't want to give up on that (some of us still don't), but frankly, I don't think Buffy ever did either. She didn't love Riley, she dated him. He was rebound material for her, and unfortunately she was the real thing for him. Poor Riley, and poor Marc Blucas. I don't think he gets enough credit.
The character of Riley completely redeemed himself in my eyes with his comeback episode. I'm a simple man.
But to be fair, Riley did get fairly dark -- getting his mind and body meddled with by Prof. Walsh, going nutso from the drugs, getting addicted to vamp-whores... and I was basically left unconvinced he could emote convincingly outside his nice-guy role. Whenever he turned dark and angsty, even as he was jealous over Buffy, I never really bought his emotional veracity. Of course, I will admit that rewatching the eps on DVD, he's easier to take than I remember. Maybe because this time I know that Buffy feels about him the same as me, and he was never meant to be an enthralling character.
Pixxelpus, I think you've given me the words I couldn't think of. I hope he gets to try a bad boy role. I thought the vamp whore was pretty creepy, but you are right. He's so wholesome, which was part of the point of Riley.
I'm one of the few in the pro-Riley camp. I thought it was good for Buffy to be involved with a decent guy. But that relationship could only be interesting for so long. Once The Initiative was gone he became a fifth wheel. When Riley realized Buffy didn't love him I thought we had an interesting story development. I thought if they had played that out in a more realistic way (for one thing I would have liked for Buffy to realize Riley was right) instead of that whole turgid vampire-whore thing, the Riley chapter of Buffy's life could have come to a poignant end. Imagine a You'll-always-be-special-to-me-we-can-still-be-friends breakup scene played against the backdrop of the black helicopter about to depart. I think it would have been a more dignified exit for Riley.

As it was, I was glad to see Riley go but not because I didn't like him but because I really didn't like the way the creators were handling their relationship.

One more thing. I always interpreted Buffy's running after the helicopter to mean that she realized she was in love with Riley. Did anybody else see it that way? 'Cause she was upset that she didn't catch up to him. Yet after that it seemed like it was unimportant to her that she let him "get away".

I liked seeing him again in "As You Were" (although I think the ep as a whole could have been better) and was glad for him that he became one half of Nick and Nora Fury. And if there's ever another 'Verse story on TV, I wouldn't mind seeing those two drop in as supporting characters.
I liked Riley, but that might be because I started watching Buffy in seasons 4 & 5 (that's what was on FX at the time!). He did come too soon after Angel, just as Kennedy came too soon (WAY too soon) after Tara. It's something that bothers me about the Buffyverse: people seem to bounce back effortlessly from their breakups, which I guess makes sense for TV, but Buffy is supposed to be more than TV.
I never really liked Riley. I liked Angel, and that immediately meant that I hated Buffy's new boyfriend. But even after I let go of the whole "what about Angel!?!?" thing, I still didn't like him. I've seen some of Marc's other work, and I have no idea how he got so many decent acting jobs. He's just so dull! LOL. Oh, Riley was likeable enough, but he didn't really seem to fit in Buffy's world like the others.

I didn't like the character of Riley, and they couldn't have picked anyone to make him seem more boring than Marc Blucas did. I think his acting ablilities have something to be desired, but who am I to judge... it's not like I'd make a better actor!
It was hard for me to invest much in Riley at first because I, like a lot of you, was still all "what about Angel?". I slowly began to enjoy Riley. I think it was Hush that sold me. That kiss during all the madness was beautiful. Oh, and I love the end with them sitting on the beds, looking at each other. I began to let go of Angel gradually after that. bartmarlowe, I'm with you. The whole run to the helicopter obviously meant she DID love him, and DIDN'T want him to leave. I would have enjoyed it more if Buffy actually realized (as Riley did) that she really didn't love him. I would have loved a painful breakup and dramatic scene for closure before he leaves in the helicopter. I think this would have helped Riley and Buffy's relationship to not be dismissed so often. Their relationship is constantly being overshadowed by Spike and Angel's.

Marc Blucas has a lot of potential. I saw First Daughter on a plane with out the sound (because I was watching Buffy on my portable DVD player). When my batteries ran out I checked out the movie. With out even hearing the sound in the first half, I knew what was going on. It was absolutely horrible. Marc needs some good writers to help him. And yes, run away from the goody goody roles, Marc, before you continue to be type cast for the rest of your life!
To be brutally honest, I don't think it's the nature of the roles that lack fire. In Prey for Rock 'n Roll, Blucas plays a heavily tattooed convicted murderer named "Animal" and still has little-to-no spark. Even when confronting his sister's rapist.

I say this as a big fan of Marc's that has seen everything he's ever done and will be seeing They shortly, but he's never really connected to a role. At least not enough to evoke a glint of rage or any honest-to-goodness raw emotion. But he's awfully pretty, so he doesn't really need to be a great dramatic actor in order to get work. Good on him. I'll continue to watch, regardless. Another Buffy actor I'd follow to hell and back.

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