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"Oh my god. What can it be? We're all doomed! Who's flying this thing!?"
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August 02 2005

David Fury does commentary for Lost DVD. Herc got a early copy of the DVD and reveals some of its contents.

I'm definitely picking up a copy for myself. It's got a decent amount of extras--plus I'll do just about anything to watch a David Fury commentary!
You honestly enjoy David Fury commentaries? I've always found them rather... well... dull. Each to their own though.
I'm cool with Fury's commentaries. I think most of the commentary on Joss' shows have been pretty good. The exception being David Greenwalt. All he does is tell you what your looking at. As in "Cordelia is trying to convince Buffy to go to the frat party because the friend of the guy Cordelia wants to date is attracted to Buffy."
You honestly enjoy David Fury commentaries? I've always found them rather... well... dull. Each to their own though.

Wow, really? Besides Joss' I think DF's commentaries are some of my favorites.

The exception being David Greenwalt. All he does is tell you what your looking at. As in "Cordelia is trying to convince Buffy to go to the frat party because the friend of the guy Cordelia wants to date is attracted to Buffy."

Heh, yeah I do agree with that.
Maybe I need to go back and give DF's commentaries another listen...
Yeah, I find that most one-on-one commentaries are the best (aka, ones with just one person and you). Although I like when actors and actresses are involved, sometimes you don't get the same information out of the them. I love listening to a writer or director's vision and concept for a certain scene. I don't necessarily care to hear about how actor A didn't get along with actor B in a certain shot. I do have to admit, however, that Joss and Alexis' Spin the Bottle commentary was one of the funniest things I've watched in a while...possibly funnier than the episode itself. And while I don't think I've ever watched a DG commentary, I can say that the Bell/Minear commentary for "Billy" was one of the worst I've ever viewed--and "Billy" was one of my favorite Angel episodes, so that was really dissapointing.

[ edited by MySerenity on 2005-08-02 21:21 ]
Really? I love the Billy commentary. Very informative.
It's interesting what people like in commentaries. I personally don't like the ones where they tell you about what kind of lens they're using or just describing what we see. I like hearing the dish, "Oh, I wanted to kill Alexis because he wouldn't stop laughing during this scene" or "Tony Head wasn't wearing pants during this scene"...ya know, stuff like that.
I think it's best when you have two people doing commentary. Then it becomes more conversational and casual. I don't like it when 5 people do it and some people don't get to talk. Or when one person does it and ends up watching the scenes themselves instead of talking about it...*I'm thinking YOU, Joss! Get over yourself!!* ;~P
Hmmm. Now I can't remember if it was David Fury's commentary on Helpless or Doug Petrie's commentary on Bad Girls that I thought was the worst I'd ever heard. Of course, there are a few I still haven't listened to, but whichever that one was, I made it through about 20 minutes of totally uninsightful description of what was going on on-screen, and awkward silences, before finally turning it off.

I've always found the commentaries to be a mixed bag, apart from Joss's, which area almost always excellent and informative. I think my single favorite is his on the Body. I agree that one-on-one are almost always better (apart from Spin the Bottle and pieces of Wild at Heart) - with more, they tend to just start chatting with each other and have less of a vision they're trying to communicate to the viewer. I also tend to prefer writers' commentaries over directors' and actors' -perhaps just because they talk more about the episode, its purpose, what they were trying to accomplish with it, etc, and have a better sense of how it fits into the big picture and larger plot, with characters' growth and motivations. Directors (on TV shows, not movies) tend to be more concerned with how and why they lit a certain shot a certain way, or the limitations of the set, and it gets more tedious to me after a while.
A commentary from a television director is not something I have much interest in hearing. I respect their work, but I'm always interested in the creative end. A film director, for instance, talking about how he interpreted the script once it landed in his hands. A writer describing the genesis behind the screenplay and the process of writing it, where he drew his inspirations and why things changed along the way.

Actor commentaries are hit or miss. Too often the actor will nod and admire for scenes they weren't involved with or even blink when a scene they thought was there isn't (a particularly heinous example of this is Anchor Bay's Dawn of the Dead UE, where the actors commentary appears on the shortest, least actor-driven cut of the film). If you get the whole cast, they can fill the whole space, but again you get the problem of two many cooks. I think too much camraderie can be a problem if they start cracking inside jokes or referring to things they don't have the time to explain.

That said, there are a few actor commentaries I absolutely love. Bruce Campbell on the first two Evil Dead movies (because he was heavily involved in the production aspect of both). Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and he-says-he's-there-but-never-speaks Andy Garcia in Ocean's 11.

The best combo commentaries, I think, come from teaming the writer and the director. Toss in the producer (producer commentaries are underrated -- check out Richard Rubinstein's from the Dawn of the Dead UE) and you have a triple threat covering all aspects of the production from three distinct viewpoints. So few of those, though...

And to keep it on-topic, favorite Whedonverse commentaries are always Joss. Joss & Nathan Fillion on Serenity is great. After that, Drew Goddard and the Fabulous Jane E. are good for solid commentaries (although poor Drew has to corral the wandering mind of Nicholas Brendon in Dirty Girls -- must've been a chore!)
Oh god, don't let Nick loose on commentaries, please.

I tend to like either one-on-one commentaries (from a writer/director/creative point of view) or writer & actor ones (eg joss and nathan). Tim's commentary to Are You Know Or Have You Ever Been, for example, is excellent.

Basically, if they have a lot to talk about the creative process, great. If they can be funny, great. If they can do both, have a gold star.
I've got to go with Rogue Slayer on this one. I also prefer anecdotal commentaries to the 'lens size' type. Unless its Joss. I'd sign up to hear him speak about anything. At all.
I guess if you are not an aspiring writer/director yourself, it's probably not that interesting :)
I am neither an aspiring writer or director (on the grounds that I have absolutely zero creative talent in either respect) but I find "lens size" commentaries fascinating. On the other hand, my patience is occasionally tested by anecdotal commentaries, although these can often be interesting and fun. I guess we all just react to these things in different ways.

The way I see it, all commntaries are good because someone, somewhere, is going to get something out of them.

(I wrote my original message in a rush and it came across a bit 'brusque'... I've re-written it to try to smooth it out a bit.)

[ edited by dashboardprophet on 2005-08-03 11:30 ]
I always wonder who decides which episodes get commentaries and why? Some, like "The Body" are obvious choices, but sometimes episodes that seem like obvious choices don't get them. I suspect availability of likely commentators plays some part.

Does anyone wish particular episodes without commentary tracks did have them? And why? And how the ones that do were chosen?
Willowy, are you inquiring to the size of Joss' lens?? :~P
Does anyone wish particular episodes without commentary tracks did have them? And why?

I wish Joss had done commentary for The Gift because it's one of the most important episodes of the series. When that season was released I was bummed that there was no commentary for that episode. It's one the most beautifully made episodes of the series, and I wanted to get some of Joss' wonderful insight into the making of that episode.
Rogue Slayer (you are baaad!), Of course not! *feigns shocked expression*

I'm quite sure that whatever lens he uses gets the job done verrry nicely... ;)

esg, I'm so with you there. I never really understood why there wasn't a commentary for The Gift. Of course it's one of my favorites too. I'll bet Joss used an amazing lens to shoot that one!
I enjoyed the comentaries on Firefly a lot. Everyone had something to offer in the episodes they talked about. Especially Nathan and Alan on 'War Stories' and Joss on 'Objects in Space'. Both different kinds of perspectives, and both interesting to hear.

I also agree about The Gift's lack of comentary, and a number of other pivotal Buffy episodes which I can't remember right now. I guess I'll just have to go and watch them again to refresh my memory... :)
My wish-it-had-a-commentary ep is definitely the 2 parts of "Becoming", because the commentary on "Innocence" has to be among my top three commentaries ever and thematically, "Becoming" is the fulfillment of the arc. The Season 2 finale is pretty much the pinnacle of all good things.
I agree, The Gift and Becoming were obvious candidates for commentaries. Basically any season finale written by Joss is guarenteed to be special, and really need a commentary.

Personally I enjoy a mix of both technical and creative comments along with some humour. I don't want the speaker just constantly cracking jokes, but when a couple of funny things come up it makes it more entertaining. It's also nice to hear about the more technical stuff, and I think the best commentaries talk about all the important stuff- the writing, acting, direction, music, sets and such. That's one of the reasons why Joss's commentaries are so good, because he is so heavily involved that he knows about all these aspects.

One thing I really dislike is when they just basically regurgitate the plot and don't add anything new to it. If all I needed was a synopsis, then I'd read The Watcher's Guide. It also annoys me when there is too much ass kissing. Fair enough they should be proud of their work and their colleagues, but occasionally you notice that every scene has the commentator praising all the actors involved again and again.

I think one of the worst B/A/F commentaries I've ever listened to was Fred Keller's one for "Over The Rainbow" from Angel season two. Incredibly boring, simply repeating the plot and with lots of long pauses. Not that I've anything against the guy and I'm sure there could have been more factors that caused this, maybe he was nervous or whatever, but it just seems so disappointing when you compare it to Joss's commentaries.

I do think Joss is one of the most consistant Buffy/Angel/Firefly commentators, and any commentary with him involved is bound to be great. I love everything he talks about because he is so passionate and specific and gives a great insight into how the shows are made.
Considering the many different aspects of it that have caused controversy (rape! murder! orbs!), the lack of a commentary on Seeing Red will always bug me. I wish Edlund had done commentary on Smile Time and wish Joss had participated in the commentary for Not Fade Away.

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