Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Whedoning Soon...

It's been a while since I've posted on The Whedoning, and I just wanted to update folks on the status of the project.

My intention was always to post Buffy season three without interruption during September and October, take a hiatus during November to participate in National Novel Writing Month, and then come back in mid-December with reviews of Buffy season four and Angel season one (which aired concurrently).

However, things didn't go as planned. During October several unforeseen developments occurred in my professional life and my living situation. Not uniformly bad developments, mind you. Just unforeseen. These required my attention to such an extent that I fell dramatically behind on The Whedoning. By the time November began, it was clear to me that if I was going to participate in NaNoWriMo then the Whedoning would have to go on hold for most of November, along with several other projects (such as The Cloister Room and Videobloggery, among others).

Now that December is in full swing, all of those projects are re-awakening and vying for my attention. Please bear with me while I get The Whedoning back on its feet. Throughout December, I'll be posting irregularly until I'm caught up on Buffy season three. It's my hope that in the new year I'll be able to post alternating Buffy and Angel reviews five times a week without interruption, but we'll see soon enough whether that is realistic.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Buffy 3x18 - "Earshot"

"Earshot" would be a notable episode of Buffy even without taking into account the circumstances under which it aired, but it's kind of necessary to do that anyway. Either way, it's one of the best episodes of the third season, and I suppose that's what really matters. More after the jump.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Buffy 3x17 - "Enemies"

In addition to exploring Faith's new role as a villain, in this episode we see the return of an old villain. Sort of. But not really. But... oh, you know what I mean. More after the jump.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Buffy 3x16 - "Doppelgangland"

It's not that often that the Buffy writers go back and revisit the concept from a standalone episode, but that's just what's going on here in "Doppelgangland." Luckily, what might have come off as beating a dead horse turns out to be a really enjoyable ride. More after the jump.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Buffy 3x15 - "Consequences"

Coming after the events of "Bad Girls," and having a title like "Consequences," you know that something major's going down. And you're right. This episode moves the storytelling of the season forward by leaps and bounds. More after the jump.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Buffy 3x14 - "Bad Girls"

A new watcher arrives and with him he brings new authority to refresh Buffy's rebellious spirit. It makes for an interesting episode that quickly takes some even more interesting turns. More after the jump.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Buffy 3x13 - "The Zeppo"

Apologies, once again, for the lateness of this review. Due to some unexpected circumstances, I moved into my new place a week early. And my new place has no Internet connection. That lack, plus the moving chaos, caused some issues getting the review up, but I think I'll be fine for the rest of the week. Anyhow. Review after the jump.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Buffy 3x12 - "Helpless"

For some reason, "Helpless" didn't resonate with me very much the first time I watched Buffy all the way through. After watching 144 Buffy episodes and 110 Angel episodes, a lot of it starts to bleed together and some of the less memorable episodes become a bit of a blur. This was among the less memorable ones on first viewing, but this time around it's probably one of my favorite episodes so far. Find out why after the jump.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Buffy 3x11 - "Gingerbread"

It was only a matter of time before Buffy took a stab at the witch hunt. Given its enduring popularity as an allegory and the prominence of witches in the Buffyverse, an episode like "Gingerbread" was bound to happen eventually. What results is a pretty fun episode. More after the jump.

Scott Hope: A Retrospective

Because he was a recurring character, I suppose I owe Scott Hope a bit of a retrospective. But considering his relative lack of importance, it's going to be a short one.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Buffy 3x10 - "Amends"

In this episode, Angel faces some demons from his past. Or rather, some people from his past, when he was a demon. It leads to a pretty interesting episode which does a lot to advance Angel's character arc. More after the jump.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Buffy 3x09 - "The Wish"

So with Xander and Cordelia a thing of the past, this episode leads us to expect that we're going to be following a story about how Cordelia deals with it all. And that's sort of right. But it turns out we're getting something a bit larger more ambitious than we bargained for. More after the jump.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Buffy 3x08 - "Lovers Walk"

Sorry for the delay. "Lovers Walk" is a Buffy classic, both in terms of how fun it is and how well it throws the characters' romantic lives into chaos. More after the jump.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Buffy 3x07 - "Revelations"

I know I said the reviews would run without interruption, but stuff got in the way of me posting yesterday. There will be another review late this evening or early tomorrow morning to get us back on schedule.

With a new Slayer must come a new Watcher. But on a delay of several episodes, apparently. Anyhow, the arrival of Gwendolyn Post brings out a lot of interesting drama in this outing. More after the jump.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Buffy 3x06 - "Band Candy"

"Band Candy" is another Buffy episode which focuses mainly on thrills and laughs, and it works wonderfully. Find out why after the jump.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Buffy 3x05 - "Homecoming"

It's homecoming time, and retreading old ground would seem to be the order of the day. In some ways it works, and in other ways it doesn't. Find out more after the jump.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Buffy 3x04 - "Beauty and the Beasts"

The full moon comes around again, and with it comes... well, not much of interest, despite a major advancement of the season's plot. More after the jump.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Buffy 3x03 - "Faith, Hope, & Trick"

This wraps up the first week back! I just want to thank you all for your patience, and assure you that it still looks like season three will run interrupted. There will be a planned hiatus afterward, just to give me time to get some more reviews queued up and to make sure that Buffy season four and Angel season one can run concurrently with no breaks (or as few as possible).

In any case, thanks for reading. And I also assure you not to be shy in commenting! I only have a couple of people who comment regularly, but I know there are quite a few more reading. I love getting comments, and it's a great motivation to keep me posting every day. So do comment! And tell a friend.


After spending the first two episodes unpacking the baggage from season two, it's finally time for some major developments that herald the new storyline for season three. Which is not to say, of course, that no baggage remains to be worked through, because it's certainly still around in this episode. Find out more after the jump.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Buffy 3x02 - "Dead Man's Party"

As I settle back into blogging, Buffy has to settle back into Sunnydale. We'll see how it goes after the jump.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Buffy 3x01 - "Anne"

After a major downer finale to season two, season three opens in a suitably melancholy fashion. But of course it's not long before Buffy is kicking demon ass again. It makes for a strange season opener, but it's certainly an enjoyable episode. More after the jump.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Buffy Season Two Wrap-Up

It's taken a while to get here, but finally we've finished the second season of Buffy. What is it about this season that makes it so popular with fans? Click through to hear about my thoughts.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kendra: A Retrospective

Aaaand we're back.

Given that Kendra appeared in multiple episodes, I suppose she warrants a proper retrospective. But unlike Jenny Calendar, she only appeared in two stories, so it'll be a little less substantial. What I do have to say, you can read after the jump.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sorry about the temporary hiatus....

I'll be back next Monday if not sooner. And then reviews of each episode of season three will run without interruption. Promise!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Buffy 2x22 - "Becoming (Part 2)"

So, yeah, end of the season. Another review. You know the drill.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Buffy 2x21 - "Becoming (Part 1)"

As Season Two of Buffy rapidly approaches its ending, the emotional tension is building and everything seems to be coming together. But in the midst of all this forward momentum, the show slows down and dwells on the past. It results in an episode that works great on its own as an episode of television, and also does an excellent job of setting up a finale that will, quite obviously, be pretty danged explosive. More after the jump, naturally.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Buffy 2x20 - "Go Fish"

(Once again, apologies for the lack of images or a quote in this review. That's how this will have to be for the next few days. I'll edit them in later.)

"Go Fish" is perhaps not as remarkable as "Only Have Eyes for You," and certainly not significant to the ongoing plot of Buffy in any notable way, but it is a pretty solid hour of television. It features some great humor, a pretty interesting mystery, and a dose of some classic Buffy metaphor.

Buffy 2x19 - "I Only Have Eyes for You"

(Sorry this review is going up without images.  At the moment I'm more interested in just getting them published at all.)

"I Only Have Eyes for You" is often considered one of the high points of Buffy's celebrated second season, and that's a reputation that's well deserved. It's a pretty damn enjoyable episode of Buffy, and more emotionally raw than many, and it contains some pretty damn good performances. It's a shame that my current rush to catch up on reviews doesn't allow me to say as much about it as I might otherwise like to, but there are a couple of things that need to be said.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the Vampire Slayer

Before I get back to the reviews (which I will soon, I assure you), I want to say a few words on the topic of the new Edgar Wright film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and the series of comics that inspired it. What, you ask, does this have to do with Buffy, or Joss Whedon in general? More than you might think, I say. Fans of Buffy would do well to check out Scott Pilgrim, and vice versa. Find out why after the jump.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jenny Calendar: A Retrospective

In addition to my previous apologies for sparse posting, I'd like to apologize for the fact that a very early draft of this post went up a couple of weeks ago. And by very early draft I mean rough notes. And by rough notes I mean a single rough note. The post was meant to be an empty placeholder just as a reminder to myself of its place in the schedule, but I accidentally scheduled it to automatically post. Oops.

This post is meant to be just a brief retrospective on the character of Jenny Calendar, something I thought it might be nice to do for a character on their "final" appearance. Some characters either die or leave the show and then return later as a dream, ghost, flashback, or some other cameo, and even though we're actually going to see the character at least one more time in at least one of these forms, I thought now seemed like the appropriate time to comment a bit on her place in the story and her exit from it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just a couple of notes:

First order of business:

I'm going to get back to writing reviews again soon, really. I assure you that I have every intention of seeing The Whedoning through to its conclusion, but I fully recognize (as I hope you do too) that the schedule was only ever a guideline and it may well take quite a bit longer. And I also have a few posts lined up which contain some Buffy-related content other than reviews. You'll just have to wait and see about that.

And... other order of business:

In the mean time, you may be interested to know that my podcast The Cloister Room (of which this blog is ostensibly a side project) has finally begun to release new episodes. These are a lot of work to put together. I learned long ago that whether you're writing, making a video, or making an audio production, editing is where the magic happens, and it's also where a lot of hard work happens. But I'm really proud of the first episode and I'm hard at work putting together the second episode.

So I guess that's about it for now.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Buffy 2x18 - "Killed by Death"

After an extremely dark episode, which advanced the ongoing story arc a lot, we get something a little more standalone and less dark. It's a strange occasion when an episode about a monster that murders sick children can be described as "less dark." Anyhow, more after the break.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Buffy 2x17 - "Passion"

Just when you think the tension can't get any higher, Buffy surprises you with a frightening and dramatic look at the depths of Angel's obsession... or as he calls it, "passion." More after the jump.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Buffy 2x16 - "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"

"Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" is an episode composed mostly of frivolous fun and a horribly cumbersone title. However, as is common on Buffy, the fun leads to some interesting character moments, as we get some nice developments in Xander's relationship with Cordelia. More after the jump!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Buffy 2x15 - "Phases"

EDIT: [ by a bizarre coincidence, this review was posted on the full moon. How weird is that? You might think I planned it that way, but I'm nowhere near smart enough (or organized enough) for that. ]

While Buffy's love life has taken a turn for the absolute worst, the Cordelia/Xander/Willow/Oz love trapezoid has now been fully activated, and this episode features the show's first earnest attempt to work through it. As if that weren't enough, it features an exciting standalone plot and some interesting subtext regarding issues of masculinity. It's just a pity the werewolf looks so lame. More after the jump.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Buffy 2x14 - "Innocence"

My complaint about "Surprise," that none of its numerous constituent parts seem to go anywhere, is rectified more or less completely in "Innocence." Not only do all of the threads of the previous episode bear fruit, but they all collide and intersect in deceptively complex ways, without getting in the way of the episode's considerable emotional weight. More after the jump.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Buffy 2x13 - "Surprise"

I apologize for that little hiatus. Things got away from me. In some ways, reviewing Buffy three times a week is harder than reviewing it five times a week, because there's less momentum to sustain. That shouldn't be a problem in the coming week, as I post new reviews daily (or as close to daily as I can get) until I catch up to the schedule. So, on with it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Buffy 2x12 - "Bad Eggs"

Bad Eggs? More like... Bad Episode! HEY-OH!

I kid. But this wasn't really the strongest episode we've seen recently, and I'll explain why after the jump.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Buffy 2x11 - "Ted"

After a fairly long run of episodes centering on the serialized aspect of the show, Buffy takes a breather from Spike and Drusilla for a mostly self-contained episode focusing on Buffy's home life. A standalone Buffy is not necessarily a bad Buffy, though, as this episode proves by uncovering some interesting themes and making great use of its first celebrity guest star, sitcom actor John Ritter.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Buffy 2x10 - "What's My Line, Part 2"

"What's My Line, Part 2" picks up right where "Part 1" left off, with Buffy and Kendra at a stand still, Angel in danger of death by sunlight, and Cordy and Xander in Buffy's house with the second member of the Order of Taraka: a man made entirely out of bugs. But while we're left with some really tense cliffhangers, the major cliffhanger is a sort of existential or ontological cliffhanger regarding Buffy's status as the Slayer: "One girl in all the world" etc. Of course, this leads Buffy to consider not being the Slayer anymore, but by the end of the episode this concern is dropped (without, I think, having been explored to its full potential), but I think regardless of this, the "What's My Line" two-parter is on the whole some pretty fantastic Buffy. More after the jump.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Buffy 2x09 - "What's My Line, Part 1"

This episode and the following are a two-parter, but while they, unlike "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest," share a title, also unlike those episodes they weren't aired together. They were also produced as separate entities, with different directors and separate writing credits. So although the episode doesn't really tell a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end, I'm going to consider it on its own entity. Review after the jump.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Buffy 2x08 - "The Dark Age"

Sadly, I'm not going to be able to say as much about "The Dark Age" as it probably deserves. I'm vacationing in beautiful Cape Cod, and my internet access (and writing time) are limited at the moment. What little I do have time to write, you will find after the jump.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Buffy 2x07 - "Lie to Me"

"Lie to Me" is yet another fantastic hour of Buffy, and yet for completely different reasons from "School Hard" and "Halloween." It just goes to show how well this show is maturing as it tackles a variety of different kinds of stories. But I think "Lie to Me" might just top both of those episodes. Find out why after the jump.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Buffy 2x06 - "Halloween"

After a couple of pretty weak episodes, Buffy rebounds with "Halloween." While the episode lacks the suspense, action, and dramatic heft of "School Hard," it makes up for these shortcomings in zany fun, complete with a few good character moments. More after the jump.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

An Announcement

It's irregular for me to post on a Saturday, but I'm breaking the routine for an announcement. A special announcement. A scheduling announcement. 

Don't worry. I'm not going away. I am, however, reducing my weekly output. Starting with the coming week, The Whedoning will be switching to a thrice-weekly schedule for the summer (and hopefully not much longer than that). I feel I owe you a brief explanation, after the jump.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Buffy 2x05 - "Reptile Boy"

If you thought "Inca Mummy Girl" had a case of season one retrogression... well, you were right. And so does "Reptile Boy." Review after the jump.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Buffy 2x04 - "Inca Mummy Girl"

Isn't that always the way? After the excellent "School Hard" we get the rather lackluster "Inca Mummy Girl," backsliding into the so-so monster-of-the-week territory of season one. It's not a bad episode, but it's a bit boring in how much familiar territory it covers. Find out more after the jump.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Joss!

I know it's highly unusual for me to post twice in one day, but I'm not here to say much. I just wanted to express my happy birthday wish for Joss Whedon. Because I know he reads this.

Happy birthday, Joss!

Tomorrow, we shall return to our regularly scheduled Whedoning.

Buffy 2x03 - "School Hard"

With School Hard, one of the Buffyverse's most popular characters arrives in Sunnydale with a bang. Or rather, a crash. The result is an incredibly enjoyable episode. Find out why, after the jump.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Buffy 2x02 - "Some Assembly Required"

After an enjoyable but heavily flawed season premiere, "Some Assembly Required" is a breath of fresh air. Not only is it a really solid monster-of-the-week episode, but it's also one of Buffy's most thematically interesting episodes to date. Click on through for the review.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Buffy 2x01 - "When She Was Bad"

It's only been three days for us here on the Whedoning, but the gap between "Prophecy Girl" and "When She Was Bad" was three months. But now that the show's finally back, does it meet expectations? Well... yes and no. overall, it's not a stellar episode of Buffy, but in some ways the writing nad production is more assured, which is nice to see. More after the jump.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Buffy Season One Wrap-Up

So we're done with the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and now I have to take what's been a rather inconsistent, even schizophrenic little show, and tie it all up in a nice little bow. So what did I think? Well, obviously, you're going to have to click through to find out.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Buffy 1x12 - "Prophecy Girl"

It's been a lot of ups and downs for such a short season, but now we find ourselves at the end of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's an episode that doesn't have the greatest deal of tonal coherence, but throws enough interesting material together that even while it doesn't really come together it's quite entertaining.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Buffy 1x11 -"Out of Mind, Out of Sight"

If you were expecting that the penultimate episode of the season would lay the groundwork for Buffy's final confrontation with the monster, then you're bound to be disappointed by "Out of Mind, Out of Sight." What we get here instead is a fairly standard, high concept Buffy episode with only passing references to the ongoing plot, but with some long-overdue character development for Cordelia.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Buffy 1x10 - "Nightmares"

"Nightmares" marks another attempt by the Buffy writers to delve into the psyches of their characters, with mixed success. But while some elements of the episode are less than inspired, it's overall a pretty enjoyable watch. Click through for the review.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Buffy 1x09 - "The Puppet Show"

This episode has a cringeworthy premise, straight out of Goosebumps, but the cheese factor is not always a problem. Buffy often rises above the ridiculousness of the premise to produce something pretty entertaining, and that's the case here. More after the jump.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Buffy 1x08 - "I Robot, You Jane"

The boy Willow is getting romantically entangled with turns out to be more than he had seemed at first. In other words, this episode seems in some ways to be a bizarre parody of the previous one. But aside from some extremely cheesy usage of technology, this episode held up pretty well. More after the jump.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Buffy 1x07 - "Angel"

It's often said that Buffy doesn't really hit its stride until the middle of season two, but new fans take a look of "Angel" for a preview of what it's going to be like when it does. more after the jump.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Buffy 1x06 - "The Pack"

"The Pack" continues the trend of the previous episode, digging into the characters and using their personalities as an engine for drama as well as comedy. But unlike that episode, the main plot here suffers from some really lackluster performances. Even so, it has enough good moments to make it seem pretty entertaining, if inconsequential.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Buffy 1x05 - "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date"

As I’ve been writing these reviews, I’ve been doing only a very small amount of “research”, looking up a little bit about what people have said previously about these episodes. It seems to me that "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" hasn’t exactly been celebrated, and that's not really fair to it. It won't be making any top ten lists, but it’s a very good episode that’s significantly different from what’s come before and does a good job of showing the versatility of the show—even if the main antagonist is another vampire. More after the jump.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Buffy 1x04 - "Teacher's Pet"

Frankly, "Teacher's Pet" is a pretty uninteresting episode of Buffy, which is a bit of a surprise because it comes from David Greenwalt (who was a frequent contributor to Buffy and also a co-creator of Angel). But this is his first episode, so I'll give him a pass. Besides, we don't really know how much the writing credit means. In the Buffy writer's room, as in most shows, the script is a collaborative effort. So let's not go passing out blame on this one. Check out my thoughts after the jump.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Buffy 1x03 - "Witch"

This week it's "business as usual" for Buffy and friends. But don't for a second think that means I won't write extensively on it. Perhaps someday I'll settle into the paragraph-length reviews I originally intended, but today is not that day. More after the jump.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Buffy 1x02 - "The Harvest"

"Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest" were originally aired on the same night (under the former title), but the DVD and other official episode lists list them separately so I decided to treat them as such. And a good thing too, because after the long review I wrote for the previous episode, breaking them up seems like the only sane thing to do. Another longish review after the jump.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Buffy 1x01 - "Welcome to the Hellmouth"

If you've watched the earliest episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer just to see what all the fuss is about and you're unimpressed, then I urge you to keep with it because, in the opinion of a lot of people I know, the first season is not very good. So, stick with it. It gets good later.

That's their take on the first season of Buffy, and I encourage you to follow their guidance, because it may well by your take on it as well. But it's not mine. While the first season of Buffy is hardly the show at its best (see the latter half of season two for when that starts to kick in), I really do like the first season, and I think the premiere is a particularly strong moment for the show."Welcome to the Hellmouth" provides a great introduction to these characters and this world. More after the jump.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Buffy Unaired Pilot

You can't watch the unaired Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot legally. There are bootlegs, which I won't link to. It's not very difficult to find if you want to (I found it fairly easily). In 2003, IGN Movies (or, as it was drolly called back then, IGN FilmForce) did an interview with Joss in which they discussed the possibility of it ever being released:
IGNFF: Is the [pilot] presentation ever going to make it to DVD?
WHEDON: Not while there is strength in these bones.
Well, I mean, it's one of the most heavily bootlegged things on the Internet...
Yeah. It sucks on ass.
Yeah, it does, but it's sort of that archival, historical perspective...
Yeah, I've got your historical perspective ...
It would take it off the bootleg market...
Ah, I don't – what are you going to do?
Put it on the DVD.
Not me.
But does the pilot really deserve this reputation? I'll weigh in after the jump.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

NOTE: If you happen to be new to Whedon's work and Buffy in particular, the movie, while chronologically first, is probably not the best place to start (for reasons I'll get into below). Probably better to begin with Buffy 1x01 - "Welcome to the Hellmouth," which will be reviewed in a few days.

That said, on with the review, after the jump.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Buffy: What's to Come

Next week The Whedoning will officially kick off with the Buffy film, the unaired pilot, and the first three episodes of the show’s first televised season. So I feel the need for some preliminary remarks, which you'll see after the jump.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Welcome to The Whedoning


I'm Tom Dickinson, the host of the podcast The Cloister Room, a podcast about Doctor Who and other things. You may also know me from Videobloggery, or somewhere else, or nowhere at all.

Whatever the case, welcome to The Whedoning.