So, a while ago I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD. It is going rather well so far for me. Knitter, one of my upstairs neighbours, has all of the episodes, so it is both fun and economical to do.
I was warned that Season One was sub-par, and I agree. It does a good job of setting the story and the future tensions that would come out, but it left me a little wanting. Season One focuses the story on Buffy, and places all of the pressure on her, story-wise. Unfortunately, after watching Firefly about umpty-zillion times, it falls a little flat. Buffy was a good character and got rather well rounded, but the rest of the characters got left empty. The surrounding cast become a group of excessively useless babies. It was pretty sad, and almost hard to watch.
It also drove me nuts that Buffy was wearing bras to bed. It is just one of those facts that firmly takes the tv show and places it within such a specific context that it does feel artificial.
I can see that most of it is done for a reason. The image of Buffy as innocent victim is repeatedly thrown at you as she both kicks ass and falls for Angel, the ultimate in "safe" bad-boy. She is never shown as interested in a man unless she comes up to just below his shoulder, and he outweighs her by maybe 100 lbs. The show also throws many horror movie staples at you, the viewer, as well. The disembodied monster-hand. The implacable advance of the monster. The innocent victim. The not-so innocent victim. The ghostly child as pathway to Other and also expositor.
I'm glad I watched it, however, because I've never been able to watch horror and be able to deconstruct it before. It was always too scary and I couldn't remove myself from watching it enough to look at it analytically before. I'm actually pretty excited about perhaps being able to do it now.
The other main problem I had was with Angel. He is supposed to be the romantic lead. He is supposed to make the audience drool and cheer when kissing happens, and riot when shirts come off. I remember watching a few episodes and having a huge crush on Angel. It was a little disappointing to realize that not only was the crush completely gone, I was almost repelled by him.
Then inspiration struck.
1) Angel is such a flat character, and is so mysterious, he becomes "that guy, you know, the one in black." There is nothing there. He just shows up, is good looking enough that you know you are supposed to want him, and then leaves.
2) I dig smart boys. Boys who read make me do double-takes. When I saw Prince Charming's bookcase, I knew for sure he was both very interesting and definitely worth my time. It's not until Season Two that you see Angel's apartment, and you see the reams of cool books lying around. He's just now becoming interesting and nicely layered (am currently watching Season Two.)
3) She is 16, he's 300-ish. I'm 24, and wouldn't consider dating a 16-yr-old, or even and 21-yr-old. It's beyond cradle-robbing, and is moving into criminal action for me.
4) Whoever does his eyebrows needs to take less off, and darken them a bit. They are not dramatic enough. His hair is dark enough that he could handle, and in fact needs a darker eyebrow. It looks funny. This is a complaint I've had of David Boreanaz for a while, and it still needs doing.