Friday, May 2, 2003

Recent viewing: “Buffy”, “Get Carter”

Watched Buffy with missjenjen last night. Some of the old form: backs to the wall, Giles in the fold, protecting the innocent, some of that old White Magic from Willow, a villain with a bad name (“The First”) and a bad-ass hench-vampire. Almost enough to make a regular watcher of me again, even if SMG still couldn’t carry off a St Crispin’s Day rallying the troops moment if her life depended on it.

I stopped watching (boo! heretic!) during the early University years. Four words: Riley, The Initiative, Adam. Some of the dumbest urban fantasy concepts ever. Redeeming features, the Josh written/directed episodes: Hush (so spooky!), the extended dream sequence (“I do not wear the cheese, the cheese wears me” and the Anthony Head rock-opera number), and the sublimely funny “Once More With Feeling”. Otherwise, largely a waste of time. The progressively emasculated Spike pissed me off, as did retro-stripping Xander of his soldier-boy powers to give Riley (farken Riley!) something to do.

The demise of Xander as a character is the unsung tragedy of the series. As a paragon of geeky, witty, bumbling masculinity he rocked in the early series, but then became a progressively whiney, sexually jealous (of Buffy), habitual naysayer. Yawn.

Even the new evil Willow was nowhere near as sexily compelling as the old Evil Vampire Willow. Alison Hannigan has rocked my world from her first bad jumper and fuzzy backpack. No, honestly.

It’s heyday was clearly the Evil Angel/The Mayor period. Hands-down. It’s just never really got back there. And early Spike (“It’s a really big rock. I wish I had a rock this big. I can’t wait to tell all my friends.”) and Dru! Those were the days when villains were villains, swordplay was swordplay and Giles wore tweed. Sigh.

The series is as dead on its feet as the average vamp. Its final demise will be a relief as much as anything. Doesn’t mean I won’t be watching next week.

Also watched “Get Carter” on the weekend with missjenjen: Michael Caine in a British gangster piece shot in 1971. He looks young and damn fine in a classic three piece blue suit and black trenchcoat, just riding that tsunami of bad 70s cinema fashion without being crushed (unlike most of the villains). It was atmospherically bleak, but lacked variation. The sound recording quality just also wasn’t that sharp (damn this digital age) so I’m sure it took me longer to pick up on the plot pieces than it should. Still, impressive to see the usually exuberant Caine turning in such a restrained, cynical, nasty performance. Blonde hair, trenchcoat, cynical manipulator of old friends and a history of trouble in Liverpool, only living relative he cares for a niece – the prototype for John Constantine anyone?

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