Friday, 30 May 2014

Connections Buffy The Vampire Slayer by DJ Forrest




Buffy The Vampire Slayer
By DJ Forrest

The first ever Buffy episode was broadcast on 10th March 1997 and featured a young Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers who was a student in LA who moved to the quieter town of Sunnydale after causing a fire at her old school.  She was labelled a trouble maker and was skating on thin ice with every principal after that.  Her grades were lousy but there was a reason – she was a Slayer and out most nights, so failed to complete hardly any of her homework.  She had super human strength, was a Chosen One, and was there solely to protect the human population from the Underworld that prowled the dark streets. 

With Buffy was her valiant crew, Xander Harris, heart in the right place but completely luckless in all things regarding furthering education or in love (until you get to 3rd Season onwards).

Willow Rosenberg who though quiet, dabbled in spells that didn’t always meet with everyone’s approval, didn’t always have the desired effect till she got to grips with the darker arts, and who was dating a werewolf named Oz till the middle of Season 4.

Cordelia, who often reminds me of one or two people in the real world whose lights were on but there was a definite vacant sign at the window, had fashion sense more than common sense, but when the chips were down, would wade in like the rest of them and fight the demons with whatever means possible.

Rupert Giles, librarian by day, Watcher by night was himself not unknown to have dabbled in the darker arts and often we see one of his adversaries making an appearance in the show.  Giles knows his demons, and ready with the right page of an old antiquated book is able to throw whatever information Buffy needs in order to stop the demon before it summons up whatever bad ass other demon is lurking near the Hellmouth.

Joining this happy rabble is Angel, a 250 odd year old vampire who kept his soul until he had a moment of happiness or is that weakness and then the gypsy curse took it away and turned him back to the murderous, bite anything with a pulse vampire, who plagued Sunnydale, but after a spell that was cast by Willow, regained his soul in time to stop the world from being sucked into a vortex and remained swallowed up by a stone statue sporting a very nice sword in the belly. 
Much later he returns from the bowels of hell and slowly gets his ‘life’ back on track, helps Buffy, breaks up from Buffy, helps Buffy, leaves, comes back.  (I’m almost up to Season 5).

Also in the series is Spike and Druscilla.  Druscilla is mentally unstable, but we have Angel to thank for that apparently.  She’s very much like Bellatrix L’estrange, beautiful yet unpredictable, and definitely not someone you could trust with small children.  

Spike is an equally nasty vampire but he has humour and good looks and during Season 4 is caught by the Initiative who implants a chip in his brain to stop him from attacking humans, however, it doesn’t help the demons or any other underworld creature from his attack.  He begins to call on Giles for help, for blood and a way of getting back at the Initiative.  At the moment (or where I’m up to in the saga) he’s working for a human/demon/cyborg called Adam, in order to achieve his chip removal.  (end of Season 4).

Faith is another vampire slayer sent in after Buffy died for a few moments. But she soon loses it after killing the deputy mayor and discovering a taste for killing more than just the vamps. Her character disappears before returning to cause more mayhem, and is put into a coma by Buffy, who then seeks revenge on Buffy when she wakes up, then disappears again. 

The series has a massive following; it’s one of those Cult Classics that everyone must watch at some point in their life. The demons and the make up for the vampires are still brilliant, and although nothing was green screened like it is nowadays for special effects, the ‘in its day’ scare the hell out of you effects were great, however looking back now at the transformation of Oz to the werewolf, you are just looking at a man in a hairy costume running on his hands and feet along a corridor. 
There are the occasional outdoor scenes that are filmed in a studio and the fight scenes wouldn’t wash with today’s society, where kick ass moves by both male and female have better co-ordination, but for 1997 – 2003 it played its part.

While I was reviewing this for ‘Connections’ I thought only two people were linked with the Whoniverse, but I was wrong!

First off you have Jane Espenson, writer and co-executive producer of Buffy.  Now anyone who knows Torchwood and has read our awesome interview with Jane http://projecttorchwood.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/interviews-jane-espenson.html will remember her involvement with Miracle Day as both writer of five episodes and co-executive producer of ten.
Jane also wrote two episodes of Dollhouse also created by Joss Whedon, as well as being consulting producer on eight episodes. 

Keeping with the Torchwood links, we have Eliza Dushku who was also in Dollhouse as a character called Echo.  Eliza was also a producer of that show. 
She also played Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and appeared in Angel, the spin off series.  But did you know that Eliza also played a lead role in the comic motion series ‘Web of Lies’ that introduced us to the Miracle Day story? She provided the voice for the character Hollu Mokri in the first seven episodes of the 10 part story. 

Another link into Torchwood we have James Marsters, our Captain John Hart.  James played Spike.  Spike is entertaining and I have to wonder if James’ role as John Hart wasn’t down to his Spike character as they’re almost identical – apart from the fanged teeth and lots of biting.  They both share the same wit and sarcasm, they also don’t care who they hurt, or who gets in their way.

Still with the Torchwood link we have Robin Sachs, who played Ethan Rayne, an old adversary of Rupert Giles, who was mixed up in the same kind of world, he dabbled in the Dark Arts.  Robin Sachs played an unnamed British Professor in Miracle Day: A New World, the first episode of Season 4.  His Dad Leonard Sachs, aside from being the host of The Good Old Days was also in Doctor Who as Admiral Gaspard de Coligny in The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve and Lord President Borusa in Arc of Infinity. 
On 1 February 2013, Robin Sachs died from a heart attack, he was 61.

Anthony Stewart Head played the role of Rupert Giles in Buffy, the quiet librarian.  Anthony is no stranger however to the world of Who.  In 2001 he appeared in the webcast version of Doctor Who in a story called Death Comes to Time in which he played the Time Lord Valentine.  He guest starred in the Excelis Trilogy, a series of Who audio adventures produced by Big Finish.  He narrated a two-part documentary called Project: WHO? for BBC Radio 2 which was later released as an audio. 
In 2006 Anthony appeared as Mr Finch at Deffry Vale High School as the Krillitane Headmaster in ‘School Reunion’ with the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant.  He narrated ‘The Nightmare of Black Island’ one of my favourite Who novels by Mike Tucker.  Anthony was also the voice behind Doctor Who Confidential (series 3 & 4) which we all miss like crazy!
In the Infinite Quest, the animated Doctor Who special, Anthony voiced ‘Baltazar, Scourge of the Galaxy’ an evil space pirate, determined to locate the whereabouts of the Infinite at any cost.
In Merlin directed by Alice Troughton, (another link to Who) he played the role of Uther Pendragon, king of Camelot, father of Prince Arthur.

I’ve still not located the season I began watching Buffy at all those years ago, but I’m enjoying the ride.  If you’ve never watched Buffy, then you’re most definitely missing out on a brilliant series, and at the moment Netflix are showing the full 7 Seasons.

I couldn't isolate one particular episode that I found more enjoyable than the rest, but I can isolate the one so far that has scared the hell out of me.  In episode 10 of Season 4, called ‘Hush’ creatures that could quite easily sit in a Doctor Who episode at the hands of Steven Moffat, sailed up the street a few inches off the ground, wearing dark suits, bald heads and freakish smiles and calling themselves The Gentlemen.  They entered rooms to steal your vital organs, having already taken your voices as you slept, rendering you completely at their mercy.  After seeing this episode, werewolves, Masters, demons and vampires were mere pussy cats compared to them.

If you have a favourite episode from Buffy, one you liked or one that completely freaked you out, post below, we’d love to read them.

Resources:
©Buffy The Vampire Slayer 1997
©BBC Torchwood 2006
©BBC Doctor Who 1963
Wikipedia





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