Age of Ultron is Written!

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Word on the street is that scripts are coming out for The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Mark Ruffalo got his, anyway. This means that Joss is pretty much done writing it, and it will go into production soon, and then he can direct it and then he can come home to S.H.I.E.L.D. and rescue it from mediocrity.

S.H.I.E.L.D. Makes Good

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It finally clicked for me. As of Episode 1.7 “The Hub” S.H.I.E.L.D. has officially grown on me. And now I’m worried that they’ll possibly either get rid of one of my favorite characters (Ward) or cancel the show altogether. Internet chatter says people aren’t loving the show. People want more references to super-heroes, people want actual super-heroes, people want whatever it is that S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s not dishing out. I couldn’t agree less.

The true test of a show, for me, is whether I can watch episodes repeatedly without getting bored or sick of it. And with this show, I can. There are enough bits of quirk, good enough dialogue, and enough unsolved mysteries (what’s going on with Coulson, where did Skye come from, etc.) to keep me hooked. And I was so happy, at the end of 1.8 “The Well” that Ward went into Agent May’s room at the end of the night. I’d been worried that he’d hook up with Skye, which would have been both sappy and predictable. In real life, the two actors are hooking up (which is sappy and predictable.) But it is much, much cooler for Ward to hook up with May.

However, S.H.I.E.L.D. is a deeply flawed show. I have gone on at length about this. Its biggest problem is that it is sometimes boring. The biggest mistake the creators have made is to repeat the mistakes of so many shows that have gone before – to deliberately make the episodes episodic, with no real overarching plotline. The biggest “big bad” we’ve seen so far is Project Centipede, but a) the only time that came up after the pilot was in the very worst episode so far (“Girl In The Flower Dress”) and b) they already killed off the doctor! What a waste of a potentially good character.

I don’t understand why anyone would deliberately make a show so episodic. It has been proven time and again (see: Angel, Season 1, Dollhouse Season 1, Buffy Season 1) that it just doesn’t work. Not for a Whedon show anyway (my expectations are higher for a Whedon show than an ordinary show.) Every time there’s a new Whedon show and it starts out this way, I’m baffled. What’s it called? “The definition of insanity?” Trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. You’d think they would have learned by now.

But all complaints aside, I still like this show better than anything else on TV! So please don’t cancel it, ABC. Let Joss get back and start working on it, and let’s see if he can turn it into something excellent. And if he can’t, then I will sadly agree (with him) that he’s done doing TV and should concentrate on new media instead. He’s out to make things better, not worse, so maybe this is just no longer his medium. Sucks for me, but I’d rather see him doing excellent movies than mediocre TV shows, even though it’s TV that I want more of. We shall see what happens, won’t we?

Success! La La La

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I just had a total religious experience while watching “Once More, With Feeling” with my friend. She told me about 1/4 into it that she totally got it now, why I was so obsessed with Buffy. And maybe it was because I knew she got it that I was able to let myself fully dive into the thing and experience it with all my being. I felt the way I felt when another friend had her first baby, and I was by her side. Kind of almost-crying and then real-crying from the insane beauty of it all. My friend thanked me for the Buffy experience, and went home to process it. I couldn’t be happier! I had wanted so badly to turn her onto Buffy so we could share it, and now she’s turned on to Buffy!

Watching the musical with someone who got it was like watching it for the first time. It was wonderful. Also, I was seeing it for the first time on a big screen, which made the special effects all the more wow-y. Everyone looked and sounded so beautiful. I could see all the individual muscles in people’s faces as they sang, and I appreciated the wonderful acting (and lip-syncing) better than ever. The emotion! So much emotion. And so funny. I’m so glad that all my worry about my friend not loving it was for naught.

I know it shouldn’t have been a question. But I have shown the musical to other friends before, and they’ve said “That’s cute” or “That’s campy!” and had no further interest in the Buffster and her gang.  And I really wanted this particular friend to get it, because she could use some Buffy in her life. Her life is very hard, and she struggles. And I know her struggles would be less painful if she had Buffy by her side the way I do. So I didn’t want to screw up the initiation and I didn’t! Yaaaay!

If you’re curious, we watched “All The Way” first, so she could get the lay of the land. It’s not my favorite Buffy episode, but it does introduce all the characters and what they’re going through. And I didn’t mind talking during it, since it wasn’t the most awesomest episode ever. I knew that episode wouldn’t have to really pique her interest, because the musical would do that. So we didn’t even talk about that episode and I put on “Once More, With Feeling” immediately after. And the rest is history.

But my job’s not done. Next up: “Hush”!!

Converting The Un-Converted

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I have a friend who is willing to give Buffy a try after months of raving on my part, and I want to make the most of this opportunity to turn her on to the show.  I’m nervous because I have to do it just right, to hook her within two episodes. I know that if she gets hooked, she will be so glad to have Buffy in her life. She needs Buffy, but she doesn’t know it yet.

So I’ve been asking around, querying people on how they got hooked or how they would recommend hooking someone else. One person said “Start them on Season 2, and then if they’re interested later they can go back and see Season 1.” But a couple people have told me that they started with Season 1 and were hooked from the start. Whereas I was introduced to Buffy during a Season 6 Buffy party when the musical episode aired.

Until that night, I had been a staunch anti-Buffy snob. I assumed that Buffy must be a terrible show, or mediocre at best, probably some campy kind of crap. This opinion was based entirely on having seen the Buffy movie, and having of course hated it. How could such a terrible movie spawn a spin-off at all, not least a watchable one? I wondered. I didn’t have television during the days when Buffy was on, so there was no chance I might stumble upon it. I needed to be taught.

After the musical episode, I was hooked. I realized how very very wrong I had been in avoiding Buffy, and I wanted more, more, more. Next I was invited to another Buffy party, where we viewed the episode “Hush”. After that, I started borrowing tapes from my friend to watch different episodes, and then later the DVDs came out and at that point I started at the beginning and watched Buffy (and Angel) all the way through. When it was all over, I couldn’t bear to part with the shows so I just started watching them again. And then again. And again and again. And now here we are, 8 years later and I am still watching Buffy.

If I could give one gift to a particular kind of super-intelligent person, one thing in the world that I think would benefit them more than anything else, it would be to turn them on to Buffy. And this uninitiated friend of mine is exactly the kind of person who could appreciate Buffy fully, if introduced properly. I adore this girl, and I want to share what is more than my favorite show – it’s my religion. Buffy helps me through my darkest times and I want my friend to have the same light in the darkness. But I have to do it right. If I show her a couple episodes and she doesn’t want to see more, I’ll be crushed and wonder how I could have done it better.

Does anyone have suggestions as to how to rope in a new Buffy fiend? I will take all suggestions seriously, and seriously consider them. Right now I am leaning toward showing her “Hush” and “Once More With Feeling” and then giving her the Season 1 and 2 DVDs to watch on her own. If she can get through Season 1, it will be free flying from there. But if not… well that’s why I don’t know if maybe I should give her Seasons 2 & 3 instead. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. Help?

From Buffy to Bard

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Today I went on a pilgrimage with my friend to see the Joss Whedon exhibit at Joss Whedon’s alma mater, Wesleyan University. It was in the film building, where he took his film courses. Unfortunately photos were not allowed, except I was able to take this pic at the entrance to prove I was there:

Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 9.32.37 PMYou can kind of make out the outline of my head and shoulders in the reflection. Anyway, it was in a tiny room, but the exhibit didn’t feel tiny. It was really fun! They had scenes from Buffy running on a screen, and then things around the room like posters from Buffy, The Avengers, Much Ado, etc. and then in glass cases some props, such as money from Firefly, and Buffy’s stake! But for me, the most exciting thing was Buffy’s scythe from the end of Season 7, on the wall. When I touched it I felt a rush of slayer power coursing through my veins, and I felt connected to generations of slayers!

There was a Chitauri helmet (not the infected one, I hope) in a glass case as well, and other things like some of Joss’ notebooks from when he was coming up with Buffy and Dr. Horrible. And there was a map of Sunnydale on the wall. One of the most fun things was Hawkeye’s quiver, from The Avengers. It had an “ON” switch which I was allowed to operate, and the quiver actually worked! Remember how it would turn to ready a new arrow? It did that.

After visiting the exhibit we wandered around town, thinking about how this was where Joss hung out for four years. And we went to the movie theatre where he must have gone to see who knows how many movies! We saw Thor: The Dark World, which I must say was a disappointment. I found it nowhere near so funny nor fun as the first one. But we had to see it because it supposedly sets up the next episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. So in spite of my disappointment in the movie (it was battles, battles, battles, and one cute bit where Eric Selvig was naked on TV) I am ready for S.H.I.E.L.D. on Tuesday! (Or Wednesday morning, or whenever Amazon has it ready for streaming.)

All in all it was a great day. I’m still buzzing from touching the scythe. Scythe matters!

Firefly MMORPG On The Way

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Firefly fans… is it time to rejoice, or time to weep? A new game is on the way for iOS and Android. It’s based on Firefly, takes place in the ‘Verse. But it’s put out by FOX. The irony of this is that FOX is basically the Alliance, and Browncoats fought the Alliance. Now they’re to be co-opted and drawn into a game that… well, only the trailer so far actually reminds me of Firefly. And that’s because of the music.

The goal of the game is to find a crew, outfit a ship, find jobs, and keep flying. Will this actually be interesting? Theoretically, it will be Browncoats (Firefly fans) playing, and they can meet other fans this way, it being a game where real people can interact. But will the game have any of the things that made us love Firefly the show? We won’t get to interact with the show’s characters. We won’t have Joss Whedon writing the witty dialogue. So I don’t really get how it’s going to feel like Firefly at all. Anyone else have thoughts on the matter?

The game is set to launch sometime next year.

Angel: Illyria and Drogyn

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I was hanging out (like the total geek that I am) on a S.H.I.E.L.D. chat site tonight, and I met this cool Aussie girl who reminded me of this moment in Angel, Season 5, which happens right before the end of the world (for Los Angeles, that is, as it is about to get sucked into Hell!)

OMG how I miss Buffy and Angel. Or rather, I miss them being on TV so I could talk to people about them! All my Buffy friends were in California where I used to live. I’ve only met a couple people here (East Coast) who’ve watched Buffy. And one of them was a guy at a party who likened me to a marsupial frog! Which looks like this: