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December 01 2005

Buffy features in TV Guide's "The 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments". 'Once More With Feeling' comes in at number 44 due to the "townsfolk revealing their innermost thoughts in song".

Course there's at least half dozen other unexpected moments one could have chosen from the show. Buffy killing Angel at the end of Becoming part two springs to mind.

When I got this week's issue and saw the cover, I immediately scanned the list for Buffy. My first thought was "Innocence" -- Angel turning evil was a major unforseen twist. "Becoming pt. 2" and "Passion" (Angelus snapping Jenny's neck) were also high on the list. The musical isn't really unexpected. JW said in an interview somewhere that the show really lent itself to musical format, because of all the overwrought emotions and fantastical elements, and TV show musical have been done before and after. What was unexpected was how good it was.

Maybe the editors at TV Guide are big Spuffy fans?
What was unexpected was how good it was.

I was going to say the exact same thing. I think the only thing that really surprised me about the musical was how fantastic it was. (I was really, *really* afraid it was going to be bad, as many tv series can't pull off musical episodes)

Still nice to have the mention I suppose.
I seem to remember before OMWF aired that a lot of people predicted that it would be embarrassing and far too gimmicky.

Though a couple of months afterwards I read an article about modern dance in America and there was a quote from James Marsters saying about half the audience had switched off way before the episode finished. If anyone else has a copy of this article or quote, give me a bell as I'd love to read it again.
Hmm... interesting list, although I expected Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire to show up. Also, I think they should clarify that this is American TV only... cause it seems to be.

Although personally I'd say the most unexpected TV Moment was the cancellation of our beloved Firefly. (And Wonderfalls... and Angel... and... you get the picture)
Don't agree with a lot of their choices, but they got number one right.
I'm fine with this pick but I do think there were other shockers they could have chosen. Angel turning evil and Spike's finding out he loved Buffy were both very surprising.
Not to mention the whole Ben-is-Glory thing.

See? I'm not mentioning it.
Having browsed the list, there are some real shockers that aren't even mentioned. I think number one should be the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. A real murder, broadcast live, of the highest-profile prisoner in the country, at a time when America and much of the world were already in shock and mourning.

One of the things that has truly changed the world is the immediacy of live news, especially of war and disasters around the world. This was perhaps the first such event, and America in 1963 certainly wasn't ready for it. How did this possibly get dropped from the list of most shocking moments?
I just knew Buffy would get a mention. I was pleasantly surprised to see a picture of James/Sarah too, because not everything was pictured.

I think that people didnt' expect the musical to be that GOOD and it was unexpected. It's like you have a preconceived idea of how something was going to be (based on others who had tried it).

So TV LAND is going to air this, too?

ETA: Misskittysmom, I agree about Lee Harvey Oswald. That would seem like an incredibly shocking TV moment. TV was new too, you got few channels and no doubt everyone was watching that after Kennedy's death. I would actually call that one of the most shocking of all, along with 9-11, that just kept getting more horrifying as the morning progressed.

[ edited by spikeylover on 2005-12-01 15:58 ]
I'm amazed 9/11 isn't mentioned. That went out live. Several thousand people died on TVs across the world.
Simon I've never seen a quote from JM like that. Try MTS, they have a fully comprehensive database of quotes.

OMWF was a suprise as it was so much better than expected. Same with Smile Time. That could have been a train wreck but was actually sublime.

Angelus turning evil was my first real "OMG!!!!!" eyes out on stalks moment. That was huge. Spike being in love with Buffy is another biggie, as was finding out he was a little poet when human. And of course Spike fighting and gaining his soul, despite getting no support from anyone when trying to change. He did it all himself. Pity they screwed up the gotcha in the end of that episode, so much so that despite what DF and JW have since said many, many times some people still think he wanted the chip out. *rollseyes*

Dru turning up to sire Darla was pretty suprising too.
I agree the the Ruby/Oswald murder on live TV should definitely be there. I was a little kid watching daytime TV when all of a sudden the man who was accused of killing the President was murdered in front of me. Even little kids were confused and shocked by the assasination of JFK. We knew that everybody was assuming that Oswald would be the key to understanding why JFK had been killed, and now someone had killed him, in front of us, before we had learned anything.

Maybe they did not include it because it did not happen in primetime. I wonder if they took into account how many of the millions who were watching were children because it was on in the daytime.

I also agree that there were far more surprising moments in Buffy, but I guess to the critics the fact that a musical episode *could* be good was the biggest surprise. I was not watching BTVS when it was first on, but I remember hearing only good things about it buzzing around after the fact.
If you're gonna pick a shocking moment from "Buffy," it's got to be Spike getting his soul restored in the closing moments of season six. Nobody saw that coming. Everyone thought the cards were set up for Spike to turn evil once more. Which is amazing, considering by that time we should have expected Joss and company to go in the direction we weren't looking.

The number two moment would be Buffy's death at the end of season five.

The musical...Brilliant? Yep. Different? Sure. Shocking? Uh, no.
To be fair, it's 100 Most UNEXPECTED TV Moments but I guess shocking TV is unexpected TV, don't you?
I have to say, bobtaylor, I thought Spike would get his soul restored - really didn't shock me at all. But then, I over think things from a story perspective.
I think the reason live news moments (Ruby/Oswald, 9/11)weren't included on the list is because the entire list would be populated with shocking true life stories.

I have to agree, of all the 'shocking' things that happened on Buffy, the excellence of OMWF wasn't one of them.

Buffy sacrifices herself to save the world? THAT was shocking.
I think the reason live news moments (Ruby/Oswald, 9/11)weren't included on the list is because the entire list would be populated with shocking true life stories.


OK, if we're limiting it to scripted events, then it's OK for Janet Jackson to be on the list, cuz someone sure scripted that!
The Ruby killing of Oswald, yes, over all.

For Buffy, I'd go with Joyce telling Buffy to take her sister (yeah, right!) to the mall with her, and, huh, there actually *is* a sister!

I plead guilty to being petrified at the prospect of a musical...thought it was just a chance for the cast to show off their singing and dancing chops...never imagined it could be so beautifully integrated into not only that episode, but the entire story arc of the season.
But Sport moments are unscripted, too. Susan Lucci winning an Emmy..(hee) um..

I do agree, there were plenty of other unexpected moments on BTVS (But maybe not for us spoiler lovers) I think I agree with Dottikin, they just wanted to use a Spuffy picture.

[ edited by spikeylover on 2005-12-01 19:09 ]
Actually there were live news moments included on the list. There are two or three moments involved in the coverage of the Presidential Conventions, for instance. Even assuming that they were including things that were staged for broadcast but went differently than expected, Challenger exploding on live TV should also be included.

I don't think the list would be overwhelmed with real life news incidents. Unlike those mentioned, most unexpected things in the news do not happen on live TV when you are expecting something else. In the case of Oswald/Ruby we were expecting a quick walk from a building to a car with reporters shouting questions, just like we have seen dozens of times before and after. In the case of Challenger we were expecting a smooth launch of the Space shuttle.

9/11 was different. The coverage was already of a terrible event as it was happening. That is why the TV cameras were there, because a plane slammed into one of the Towers. The subsiquent unexpected events followed and were captured by the cameras because something bad was already happening. For that reason I can see it not being included, though others could see it as splitting hairs.

The Jimmy Swaggart confession that they included, and other such things could be considered real-life things being broadcast, in that it was his life, and he is a real person. (You will notice how I refrained from making any cheap televangelist jokes in this paragraph, even though the possibilities are endless. I am either growing as a person, or just getting boring.)

Regarding Buffy's death: Since I saw everything after season two or so out of order, I already knew she had died and come back by the time I saw it, so it is really hard for me to judge. The episode really set it up, so I did not feel a sense of surprise until I saw the gravestone. Then I realized how shocking that must have been. It was used as such strong punctuation that she was really dead.

The ones that always get me though are the introduction of Dawn and Spike's realization he is in love with Buffy. Both were done in such a compact and sudden way that explained everything and were totally unexpected, even though I already knew when I saw them that each was going to happen...somehow. I still laugh with delight every time I see either one.
I honestly didn't find Spike's realization that he was in love with Buffy unexpected. I think it was well foreshadowed by their relationship in nearly every episode he had appeared in. It was done elegantly, but not unexpected. For me.

More unexpected would be the death of Principal Flutie, Angelus's reappearance, Angel regaining his soul at the end of Becoming Pt. II, Buffy's self-sacrifice (although that was foreshadowed too, of course), Dawn's arrival, Joyce's death, and Buffy and Spike's crazy sex at the end of Smashed - just cos it was so out there. But I suppose none of these moments would make an American TV Top 50 list.

To hearken back to the top of the thread, I agree with dottikin that "unexpected" here seems to be standing in for "wow, we didn't realize TV could be of such quality!"
I would definitely have to agree with others about the Oswald killing on TV, and, newcj, you are absolutely correct about the Challenger disaster. And I would agree with all about OMWF's not really fitting the category -- although I'm always happy when the show is given its due. There are a number of moments mentioned on the list that I would place in a second hundred. Some that are missing here and that are much more memorable are: Rosalind Shays falling down the elevator shaft in LA Law; the streaker on the 1974 Oscars, and David Niven's perfect on-the-spot recovery with the line about the man's "shortcomings"; and, in sports, when Mary Decker, the expected winner, tripped and fell in the 3000m final at the 1984 Olympics. Of course, in news/sports, one could also add Jim McKay's tearful announcement of the deaths of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, when everyone thought that the hostages were going to be rescued by the Germans.
Good list, palehorse. You could almost hear the network breathe a sigh of relief when it just happened that the camera angle did not show anything of importance on that streaker. Of course from what David Niven said, it sounded like there wasn't much of any importance anyway. ;-) Would that the network had been so lucky with Janet Jackson.

Good BTVS list, SNT. I can see your point on the Spike realization moment. I guess for me it is not the realization itself, but how they did it that was unexpected...and IMO, inspired.
I have to say I was really looking forward to Once More With Feeling without any sense of reluctance or fear. Joss has never disappointed me. At the time, when I first heard of it, I was probably only watching season five over here, so it seemed quite far off, then I watched the preview on UPN's website and got really excited, because I just knew it was going to be good.

But I wouldn't say it was "unexpected". Unusual perhaps, but everyone was certainly aware that it was going to be a musical, there were press releases and advertising and stuff. It wasn't like Buffy killing Angel, or Dawn suddenly existing, or Buffy dying for the second time. Those were really shocking.
Wow! As you all are talking I am remembering how shocked I was at all these happenings.

The Angelus becoming evil. Killing Jenny. Buffy killing him.
Buffy's Death. Dawn's arrival. The end of Smashed made my jaw drop! Spike getting his soul.

Plus the Anointed one being the kid instead of the big guy.


Last but not least was when Spike showed up offering to help Buffy save the world during Becoming part 2.

I certainly didn't see that one coming!

Still I'm always glad to have Buffy make any list. So yay!

[ edited by Xane on 2005-12-02 10:46 ]

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