frayadjacent: Willow looking amazed, text says "ooh shiny" (!ooh shiny)
Comment with one of my fandoms, and I'll tell you:

the character I least understand
interactions I enjoyed the most
the character who scares me the most
the character who is mostly like me
hottest looks character
one thing I dislike about my fave character
one thing I like about my hated character
a quote or scene that haunts me
a death that left me indifferent
a character I wish died but didn’t
my ship that never sailed
frayadjacent: Buffy and Willow, who's the only part of the image in color and is wearing a silly outfit. Text says "adorkable". (!Adorkable)
I forgot to include audiobooks in my Wednesday reading meme, so I'm posting about them now, and for good measure throwing in what I've been watching and listening to.

The last audiobook I finished was Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes. I finished it a couple months ago so my memory is a little vague. When I started it I was in the midst a roughly two month spike in anxiety, which made it a struggle to leave the house every day, and I was often late for work. (There are generally no short-term consequences for me for that -- I have Stuff I Must Do and where/when I do them doesn't matter much. But coming in at 11 when I'm not willing or able to stay correspondingly late isn't good for my career.) Year of Yes helped with that both by making my walk to work more enjoyable and by giving me motivation to leave the house, because I wouldn't let myself listen to it otherwise. Rhimes is a funny and engaging writer and speaker. I felt inspired as I listened to it to say yes to more things, but of course it didn't magically change my patterns of behaviour. I'm working on it though.

Now I'm listening to Amy Poehler's Yes Please -- I somehow missed the amusing similarity of titles till just now. Because I enjoyed Year of Yes I thought I'd like to listen to another fun/easy audiobook by a famous lady. I was trying to decide between Poehler's book and one of Mindy Kaling's, and I chose Poehler's because it has a bunch of cool sounding guest appearances. So far, though, most of the guest appearances have been very, very brief. It's an entertaining book, it occupies my mind on my long walk to/from work, but it's not doing anything more than that for me. TBH I kinda wish I'd gotten one of Kaling's books instead -- I listened to an interview with her recently and really enjoyed hearing her talk about early experiences with comedy.

I'm also very, very slowly and intermittently listening to Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. Her central thesis is that the changes required to (hopefully) prevent catastrophic global warming are fundamental (i.e., socialist) changes that can make life better in many ways, and that fighting global warming is a unique opportunity for building a powerful movement. I want to like it, I want to embrace the hope that it offers, but frankly right now I don't. It feels very 2014.

My next audiobook will be Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English by John McWhorter. Which takes me to my next topic: podcasts I've been listening to! Because sometime around October I finally caught up with everyone else and started doing that. I started with Lexicon Valley, a linguistics podcast for a lay audience hosted by McWhorter. Obviously I like it a lot since I decided to buy his book.

The other one was, of course, Buffering the Vampire Slayer. It's squeeful and queer and the two women who run it are my age which I think substantially adds to my enjoyment. For example, one of my pet peeves with people talking about Buffy is when they mock the outfits. I mean yes, there are some examples of appalling taste, but mostly it's just a fancier, leatheryer version of how people dressed then, and I find the joking tiresome. On Buffering the Vampire Slayer, they note the costumes with nostalgic glee, and even genuine appreciation during their Buffy Fashion Watch segment, which I love. Also they love Cordelia and made her a song, and they love Buffy too. It warms my heart.

Now I've started also listening to Fangirl Happy Hour, NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, and am in the process of sorting through some leftist stuff to see which ones I like. Oh, and Stuff You Missed in History Class, which is a lot of fun and has two women hosts.

Now, for what I've been watching. I started a Gilmore Girls rewatch and got to the point in Season 1 where Christopher returns. I was enjoying it but I haven't picked it back up again and probably won't. Getting sucked into a multi-season rewatch is not in the cards right now. I've watched the first two episodes of The Get Down, a Netflix show about hip hop and disco in the Bronx in the late '70's. I liked it but didn't get sucked in, so I'm taking my time. There are only two episodes and I love the music, so I'll likely finish it. Finally, Mr. Adjacent and I have been watching Parks and Recreation for the last month or so. I can't believe how much I've forgotten from the first three seasons! It's been very fun to rewatch. As for my current shows, Steven Universe and The Mindy Project are coming back next month.

Also, I'm watching Booktubers, especially Claire Rousseau and Elizabeth at Books and Pieces.
frayadjacent: Close up of Dawn, text says her name (BtVS: Dawn close up)
I have an embarrassing habit of forgetting that fic is a thing that I can read. Unless it's short BtVS gen that comes across my DW reading list, so basically [personal profile] deird1 and [personal profile] beer_good_foamy's stuff. But I am going on a long, long flight tomorrow and the book I ordered has not arrived. So I'm busy downloading SO MUCH BTVS FIC by [livejournal.com profile] kwritten. Who writes gen! And femslash! Including a Jenny/Joyce story, oh my. :D :D :D

I think this could be good.

frayadjacent: Buffy swinging a sword, text says "Big damn hero" (BtVS: Big damn hero)
Title: Never Look Away
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Song: Never Look Away by Vienna Teng
Summary: "you are made of nebulas and novas and night sky" (AKA a love letter to Buffy Summers by fray-adjacent, age 33 2/3)
Premiered at VidUKon 2015

Content Notes: Fast cuts and flashing lights, speed changes. Depression and vague references to suicide. Show-typical violence. Feel free to ask specific questions about content.

Download: 133 MB mp4 with subtitles | 56 MB mp4 with subtitles

Subtitles
are included in the download .zip files. You can delete the .srt file if you don't want subtitles. They are also available in the youtube streaming versions.

youtube | tumblr | archive of our own



frayadjacent: Joyce comforting Buffy at the end of "Innocence" (BtVS: Buffy and Joyce)
Because I have some free time this morning while a bunch of processes run at work, and because when I feel like posting I should just do it.

I read Mark Field's Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Myth, Metaphor, and Morality until about halfway through season 4. I paid $1 for the e-reader version because it's hard for me to read long stuff online. I'm too distractable. Some parts of it were super interesting. I especially liked when he talked about the existentialist moral themes in BtVS. I haven't had the patience to actually read existentialist philosophy since high school, and on the whole I find it compelling in some senses and frustratingly individualistic in others.  Fields' characterization of existentialism and how it plays out in BtVS (and, implicitly, Angel) clarified a lot of that for me, in the sense that I realized that aspects of the shows' treatment of morality are apparently more coherent in their origins than I thought, even if I disagree with a lot of those origins.

I stopped reading it partly because everytime Field talks about Buffy having sex, it is judgmental and sexist and at times pretty gross. I can't say that he's drawing out themes that don't exist in the show -- they totally do -- but he not only fails to criticize those themes, he embraces them more wholeheartedly than the show itself does. Especially in Season 2, which he has a whole Freudian take on that, like I said, is not un-supported by the show but also kinda makes me blech. Also, I started to get tired of it and realized I really wanted to be reading some fiction. Which leads me to....

I finally started Ancillary Justice. Which I'm now about one quarter of the way through, and, I don't know. I love epic stories, but I'm tired of how often they are from the point of view of military officers and politicians and aristocrats and royalty. I don't need empire from the POV of the imperialists, even if the narrative doesn't condone the imperialism (which this doesn't). There are elements that I like, enough that I'm going to keep reading, and I keep hoping that a twist will come.

huh

25 April 2015 03:27 pm
frayadjacent: Black and white image of Buffy and Willow talking circa S4 (BtVS: Buffy and Willow Friendship)
That End of Year Vidding Meme has the category "Most Unintentionally Telling Video". I usually skip that one because I don't even know what that means. Until now, anyway.

I realized that my WIP unintentionally shows that the most important relationships for Buffy -- to me -- are her relationships with Dawn and with Willow. (Giles is also super important to me! But he didn't make it into the vid as much.) I've spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing her relationships with Angel, Riley, and Spike, and there's a lot of important stuff about her character in there. But at the end of the day, it's all about Buffy & Dawn, Buffy & Willow, and Buffy & Giles.
frayadjacent: Buffy and Willow, who's the only part of the image in color and is wearing a silly outfit. Text says "adorkable". (!Adorkable)
I was pretty disinterested when The Mindy Project came out because I'm not usually drawn to stories that focus on romance (no disrespect to those who are, it's just not my cup of tea), and the whole "professional woman succeeds in work but fails in love" added an extra layer of unappealing. However, I read an interesting interview with Kaling in a waiting room magazine a couple years ago, and I adored Kaling's character in The Office. In December we finally got around to giving it a try.

At first I had mixed feelings. I loved Mindy Lahiri almost immediately. Her boisterous charisma, her love for her job, her romanticism, and most of all her confidence and unwillingness to apologize for herself, are all my fannish catnip. Also, Mindy Kaling has incredible comic timing and writes and performs her character so well. But everyone else was completely unfunny and uninteresting, the Dianne/Sam thing with Danny left me cold (that trope usually does) hot with rage at what an asshat he was.

But the show evolved, something with the writing or acting gelled and it started to work better for me, maybe mid or late S1. Though Mindy is still the center of it for me, I enjoy the show as a whole more than I did at first. I'm not thrilled about recent plotlines and I maintain that spoiler for season 3 ). But really, as long as she keeps being a badass gynecologist and eating doughnuts and making me laugh out loud more than most things on television, I'll be fine with whatever this show does.

In February we watched Empire and fell under the spell of Cookie Lyon. There was a lot to like, but Cookie and Porsha's dynamic was my favorite. The finale was so upsetting though! I just want everyone to unite against Lucious and support each other. (Actually I'm not sure I want Andre in on that.)

One thing I liked about it was that despite having an ostensible anti-hero main character, the show avoided the things I hate most about that trope by giving it a strong ensemble with all the characters having agency. I never feel manipulated into rooting for someone I detest because the show actively encouraged me to root for Cookie, or Jamal or Hakeem, often against Lucious.

Also, I have never seen a show that appeared to be written not just about, but also FOR, Black people, to the extent that Empire is. Like I feel like this show really doesn't care much about its white audience and is very interested in Black points of view. To the point that the show even employs a Black stereotype of a scheming, manipulative white woman. It's refreshing to see (not so much the stereotype I suppose, but the rest of it).

After mourning the season finale of Empire and the series finale of Parks and Recreation, we watched all of Broad City. I predictably fell in love with Abbi and her goofy face and their friendship. It has an unrequited lady-love thing that for some reason doesn't bother me. The show is fun and adorable and I liked it a lot. The season 1 finale -- directed by Amy Poehler! -- was my favorite episode.

I recently started watching Bunheads with a friend -- I haven't had a tv date with a friend since I left Seattle, so I'm really happy to be doing that. I spent the whole pilot going "WTF is happening I hate this trope why does [personal profile] chaila like this show well I guess I better trust [personal profile] chaila not to lead me astray oh the lead is having sex she likes and now she's dancing with Emily Gilmore things are looking up WAIT DID I HEAR THAT PLOT TWIST RIGHT IS THIS SHOW MADE SPECIFICALLY FOR MEEEEE?????". I spent the next two episodes basking in the glory of those last few minutes of the pilot and delighting in the general absence of men *anywhere*. And adoring Bunheads!Emily Gilmore. And the teenage girls who are all very cute. I'm looking forward to more.

Finally, we've recently started Steven Universe and it's super adorable and fun. I would like it to spend more time with all the Crystal Gems, I don't enjoy the scenes with Steven without the Gems as much as I do the whole group. I'm like 6 or 7 episodes in so no spoilers!

I'm still watching and mostly enjoying Elementary, but I don't have anything to say about it. At all, ever, lately, now that I think about it. :/ I do enjoy reading fannish interpretations on Tumblr, and I always love Elementary fic.

I stopped watching Sleepy Hollow after the episode early/mid S2 spoiler ). I didn't hate quit (though if anything were to get me to, that'd be high on the list), I just lost motivation, especially when I kept hearing general fannish unhappiness at it after that. I heard the finale was good. I still intend to watch it, it's just a matter of carving out the time and motivation.

Mr Adjacent and I started a Buffy rewatch about a year and a half ago, and we stalled out on season 6. Which used to be one of my favorite seasons, but lately I don't have it in me to watch characters I love suffer like that. Anyway, we finally pushed through (I watched the last 4 episodes without him) and are enjoying S7 quite a bit. I'll never be a S7 detractor -- though I do tire of Buffy's speeches.

I can't wait for Orphan Black to start up again!

frayadjacent: Portrait of Buffy, text says "Buffy is my homegirl" (BtVS: Buffy is my homegirl)
[livejournal.com profile] kikimay asked for my Top 5 Buffyverse women!

Buffy Summers: For the ways she both resists and embraces her calling. For her kindness. For her determination. Because I love her sweet, silly early season self and her relatively hard, battle-worn late season self. Because she loves cheesy puns and figure skating and has a stuffed pig named Mr Gordo. Because the mission matters to her. Because she gets a visceral joy from slaying, and she knows that if she wasn't the Slayer, she'd lose an essential part of herself. Because she loves as deeply and brightly as the First Slayer tells her she does, and she expresses that love most fully not to a boyfriend, but to her sister.

Because her lot fucking sucks, and when she realises she can change it, can share her power and responsibility, she does.

Willow Rosenberg: I don't admire Willow the way I do Buffy, but I feel a lot of affection and sympathy for her and am in awe of the quality of her character arc over the show's seven seasons. Willow is intelligent, hard-working, ambitious and arrogant. She's insecure and in need of approval, and unlike Buffy and Tara, she doesn't have a super strong internal moral compass. She wants to fight the good fight alongside her friends, but she also wants to be important. She doesn't want to be wrong about anything ever, because if she isn't perfect then who will ever love her? If her friends don't need her, why would they want her around? She's at once complex and multifaceted yet very consistent. Sometimes she makes me angry, sometimes she makes me sick, but she is so very human and beautifully written and performed.

Cordelia Chase: it's possible I have a soft spot for pretty girls with hidden depths. She makes me laugh, she plays off other characters in a group incredibly well, and I love her transformation from selfish oblivious rich girl to a member of the team in Angel.

Tara MacLay: she brings a strength and emotional maturity to the Scoobies that no one else on either show possesses, with the interesting possible exception of Oz. The support she gives Buffy from "The Body" to "Older and Far Away" is wonderful and I love her so much for it. You deserved better, Tara.

Anya Jenkins: this last one was tough because I also love Dawn. Which matters more, my involuntary empathy for Dawn and admiration for how she grows in later seasons, or how much Anya makes me laugh? The episode "Selfless" was the eventual tiebreaker. Hands down my favorite character study episode -- when the character being studied isn't Buffy anyway.

Honorary mention (in addition to the one for Dawn) for Faith Lehane. She's a fantastic character, though funnily enough my favorite incarnation of her is on AtS S4/BtVS S7, when she's all emotionally mature and repenty. And when she arguably gets the least narrative attention.
.
frayadjacent: Xena and Gab sexily staring into each other's eyes (Xena: Xena/Gab sexy)
This one is for [personal profile] endeni! I'm so sorry it's late.

I carry on about my love for my primary ship, Xena/Gabrielle, fairly often, at least for my level of dreamwidth talkiness. So I'll just say a few things that I love about this ship.

The first reason is that it's femslash, which I tend to go for more than het or guyslash (with the general acknowledgement that I'm not super shippy generally, and also the hopefully obvious caveat that I'm not criticising het or guyslash, just saying that it doesn't usually hit my buttons). Another reason: the characters have great chemistry together.

But the bigger reasons have to do with the kind of epic love story that Xena: Warrior Princess tells. Xena and Gabrielle's relationship is built on the kind of trust that comes from years of fighting alongside each other, seeing the best and worst in each other, and changing each other.

I also love that, while things like jealousy and insecurity exist in their relationship, it's not the primary source of drama in it (they're much too good at communicating for that, plus, like I said: years of trust). Their drama mainly comes from the ways that Xena's past comes back to haunt them. From their need to constantly negotiate the tensions between their love for each other, what kind of people they want to be, and what kind of people the world requires them to be.

I'd love to find an ace reading of Xena/Gabrielle, that presents their relationship as a powerful, emotionally strong and deeply committed asexual one. I think that would be cool. I think some of the Xena/Gabrielle "friendshippers" are probably homophobes and some of them are probably coming from a perspective like that one.

Other ships I like:

Root/Shaw from Person of Interest, my only antagonistic ship. Those two have amazing chemistry. (I stopped watching mid-S3, but [personal profile] goodbyebird's cap posts of Root/Shaw sometimes make me want to start again).

Buffy/Spike, but ONLY in season 7, and I like it as much as a non-sexual partnership as anything else. Their "I've seen the best and worst of you and fought at your side" thing is somewhat similar to Xena/Gabrielle in its appeal, though to a much lesser degree for me.

Mulan/Aurora in Once Upon a Time. I haven't watched since the mid-season hiatus last year, so my most recent thoughts on this one are that they disappointed me, but for a while there they were the butch/femme ship of my heart.

Willow/Tara, in seasons 4 & 5.

M'Lila/Lao Ma, in an AU where they both live. My only ship that isn't canon or super strong subtext, and entirely born out of vidding Become You and realising they'd be awesome together.

I feel like I should note that Tammi/Eric in Friday Night Lights would be my ship, except their ongoing conflict about how they prioritise Eric's career over Tammi's hits me way too close to home. It's well-handled by the show, but their relationship is often painful for me to watch.*

All in all, I'm a pretty boring shipper. I don't like relationship dynamics that seem unhealthy to me, I'm generally not into hateships, I am mostly delighted by loving, supportive, long-term (would not need to be monogamous, but usually are) partnerships. Especially if they are between women. I think this is related to why I have so few ships. ;)

*For the record, this is not an issue in my current relationship. I am one of the very few women scientists I know with a male partner who prioritises his career after mine.

frayadjacent: Rona from Buffy, text says, "haters gonna make some good points" (haters gonna make good points)
Um, I may or may not have spent 6 hours reading old BtVS meta last night. One of the things I happily came across was one of my favorite visuals about what rocks about BtVS and Xena: [livejournal.com profile] gabrielleabelle's Women, Connecting graphic showing the many relationships among women on those shows. I know I've linked to this in the past but I still think it's awesome. Besides, a fangirl should always cite her sources.

Because I've been thinking: one of the things I've been loving about Sleepy Hollow is the many relationships it shows among people of color. Like, at the point I'm at in the show, Ichabod is basically the only white character, at least in the present day scenes (and the Revolutionary War flashbacks hardly count as part of the show in my head). I thought it would be awesome to do a graphic like this for characters of color in Sleepy Hollow, but since I haven't caught up on the series, I thought that for contrast it'd be interesting to do something similar for characters of color in BtVS.

Images beneath the cut )

ETA: I've since realized that Gabrielle did an update to her Women, Connecting graphic that's pretty on par, in terms of major/minor characters used, with my first one. Perhaps more interestingly, she did one for men and shows that what's unique about BtVS is not that relationships among women outnumber those among men, but that they're roughly equivalent, unlike say Star Trek TNG. I do suspect that in Xena you would find that women majorly outnumber men, but maybe that's just internalized sexism speaking.

frayadjacent: Adaped from the hyperbole & a half comic, stick figure girl is very excitedly shouting "vid all the things!!!" (Vid all the things!!!)
[personal profile] goodbyebird asked: how many vid ideas are you nurturing right now? Care to share any?

AKA Many Vid Plans post! I'll go by fandom. Intellectually I know I'm not likely to make all of these, but these are the ideas I'm actively excited about right now and mostly can't bear the thought of not making.

Xena Vid Series From Hell
2-5 more vids, depending on when you ask. The two I definitely still want to make are 1) a comedy vid about Gabrielle's Horse Fails and 2) an epic Xena/Gab vid that will be partly about coming to terms with the series finale. The first of these involved some of the most difficult song-editing I've done yet, so I figure I'm committed. The other three are 1) a "Xena has manpain" vid, which I've already planned out and will probably make, 2) a vid about Xena and Gabrielle's relationships with other women in the show (because damn there's a lot of women) and 3) a kink vid that I still don't quite have nailed down conceptually.

Orphan Black
I definitely want to make my OB kink vid. I'm also thinking about a clone ensemble vid but I might wait till after the third season. And maybe a Felix vid focusing on the less-awesome aspects of his relationship with Sarah and how it relates to his friendship with Allison.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Haha, more than I realized before making this list! 1) A Buffy character study, basically a counterpart/companion to Tightrope. 2) A Buffy-Dawn-Joyce feels vid. 3) A vid about Giles and Buffy that I completely clipped and subsequently lost interest in making. But I still hope I do. 4) A Willow-PoV vid about her friendship with Buffy.

Farscape
Aeryn character vid. I still haven't finished season 4 though! /o\
frayadjacent: Buffy from Get it Done, looking wise and serene (BtVS: self-aware Buffy)
Restarting a meme from...January (!) to help me get back in the habit of posting.

Day 11 - A show that disappointed you:
Oh this is maybe why I stopped this meme! I dunno, the world is shitty right now and I don't feel like knocking anyone's fandom. So I'll just say that Doctor Who fans are my favorite part of the show.

Day 12 - An episode you've watched more than 5 times:
Lol, most of Buffy. Like seriously intently watched, and within the last 6 years. /o\ The episode I've watched the most is probably "Once More, With Feeling". I still love it so, but I had to back off because the impact was starting to wear off. It's beautiful, it's funny, it makes me cry. Especially when Buffy sings, "well that depends/ on if they let you go". Shit. Shit shit shit. Now I'm all full of love and sorrow for my girl.

Also, I used to listen to the soundtrack (along with my "Buffy playlist", which is what I called it before I knew that fanmixes were a thing, and which by the way sparked my first vid ideas) while bicycling to and from work on the Burke-Gilman trail. So now I associate specific songs with specific parts of the commute. E.g., "I'll Never Tell" immediately makes me think of riding in the dark and cold of a winter evening under the Aurora Bridge and around the corner past Theo's chocolate factory. I always skipped "Rest in Peace", which is the only song on the soundtrack I dislike.

(In case you're wondering, I listened with only one earbud and, um, usually took it out when I was riding on streets with cars. Usually.)

I'm trying to think if there are any non-Buffy episodes I've watched more than five times. Possibly some X-Files or Star Trek: Voyager episodes, because I had a few on tape so I probably rewatched them a bunch, but that was so long ago I don't remember them well. Maybe a few episodes of the US version of The Office, because Mr. Adjacent cycles through sitcoms while he cooks -- which is most of the time -- and there are few I can't resist. Mainly "Boys and Girls", "The Dundies", "Duwali", that beach party one. I like when everyone goes somewhere else together.

Links to previous answers )

the rest of the questions )
frayadjacent: Connie Maheswaran in cosplay with a black cape. Text says, "fangirl". (!fangirl)
Snagged from [personal profile] lostdragonfound 

Send me a show and I'll tell you...
- The first character I fell in love with:
- The character who is my ‘baby’:
- The character who I do not understand:
- The character that I think the show ruined:
- The most attractive male and female character:
- The character death that was the worst for me:
- The character that is the most like me:
- The character I think the writer(s) love:
- The character that I just want to be happy:
- My four favorite characters, past or present:
- My four least favorite characters, past or present:

I think all my shows appear in my tags list?

frayadjacent: Buffy running after Spike after he stole her rocket launcher.  Text says "true love" (BtVS: Spuffy Rocket Launcher)
Mr. Adjacent and I are on Season 5 in our rewatch, so this was especially amusing.
“You’re so noble,” the villain sneered, because he’d totally expected him to do that noble thing he’d just done but he was totally secretly impressed. “Not like me. I do whatever I want. So why do I secretly admire and maybe even love you a little bit?”

 “Whoa,” he said.

“Wait,” the villain said. “I didn’t mean to say that last part. What I meant was why does your goodness shine through the light of my evil deeds and make me wish I was worth of you somehow?”

“Wait,” the villain said again. “You’re noble in a bad way, not a good way,” but it was too late. He was secretly good now, and they were going to become heroic friends.

via Flaws Only a Protagonist Could Have on The Toast.  (The whole thing is well worth a read.  OK the whole site is well worth a read.)
frayadjacent: Buffy looking to the side in black and white (Default)
Day 09 - Best scene ever:

My non-definitive answer is the scene between Buffy and Giles in the training room in The Gift.  A scene which [personal profile] next_to_normal iconned for me!! :D

Fray gushes, with spoilers. )

30 Questions )

frayadjacent: Buffy's face with blue background & orange text that says "srsly?" (!srsly?)
Oops, I'm getting behind!

Day 07 - Least favourite episode of your favourite TV show:

Everytime people talk about the bad BtVS episodes, all I think about is the things I like about them.  Even "I Robot, You Jane" has Giles/Jenny fun, plus that great final scene:

None of us is ever going to have a normal relationship
(This image comes from tumblr, but I can't seem to track down the maker to credit them.)

Hmm.  Maybe "Bad Eggs".  That episode is pretty boring.  Or "Wrecked" -- not because it was as bad, in and of itself, as some other contenders, but because it threw Willow's arc a bit off course.  Before that, I think Willow had one of the strongest character arcs I've seen on television.  After "Wrecked", it was still strong, but it never worked quite as well for me.

Day 08 - A show everyone should watch:

I don't believe such a thing exists.  Sorry.

30 Questions )

frayadjacent: Buffy's face before jump in The Gift (BtVS: Buffy's Sacrifice)
Day 06 - Favourite episode of your favourite TV show:

The Gift (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

My brain isn't functioning on the higher levels this evening, so I'm gonna make a list of reasons why this ep is my favorite.  We'll see if I can manage to turn that list into paragraphs with transitions and complete sentences.  (Hint: if you're reading this, I didn't.) SPOILERS for the first 5 seasons below.
  • The teaser: takes us back to the original mission statement of the show, about a girl in an alley who faces a monster and kills it.  But it also reminds us, with Buffy's sorrowful response to "but you're a girl" ("that's what I keep saying"), how far the show, and the characters, have come.  And how very at the end of her rope she is.
  • The "we're bloody well talking about this" scene.  I just want to HUG EVERYONE.
  • The scene between Buffy and Giles in the training room.  Neither of them changes their mind, but they come to an uncomfortable understanding.  Plus, Buffy's monologue about when she killed Angel, and why she's not that person anymore.  MORE HUGS.  This is actually possibly my favourite scene in the whole show.  *clings to scene*
  • Everyone gets a moment: Xander the bricklayer, Giles the killer, Anya the stick-arounder and problem-solver, Willow the witch but also Willow who loves Tara.  Spike's "you treat me like a man" speech.  Dawn's willingness to die to save the world.
  • Willow and Tara's reunification, of a kind.  One of my favourite moments for that couple.  Oh!  And the callback to Hush, when the two hold hands to share power, and part the crowd.
  • On the other hand, this is a pivotal moment for Willow's magical development.  The Weight of the World is the first time she delves into getting into other people's head, but there it's in order to help them.  Here, she's not only Buffy's Big Gun -- she is unquestionably one of the most powerful characters -- but she's also specifically learning how to get into people's heads in order to hurt them.  *shivers*
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar's face.  Oh my god that face.  She's so sad and my heart hurts for her.
  • Buffy is clearly wrong, but I'm overwhelmed with love and sympathy.  Like Buffy herself, part of me doesn't care that she's wrong.
  • Giles, on the other hand, makes the right call killing Ben.  I actually find this to be a lot less morally ambiguous than many people say.  But it's still a chilling moment, especially since Giles doesn't know that Ben turned Dawn over to Glory.
  • The gorgeous directing and editing.  And music and lighting.  Is it just me or is the Magic Box especially gorgeous in this ep?
  • The humor.  Not as funny as some eps -- even some very dramatic eps like Becoming II have more memorable comedy.  But there's still the trademark BtVS humor that I adore in this episode.
  • And the biggest single reason: that Buffy simultaneously fulfills and surpasses the "death wish" that Spike claimed she'd come to once she'd lost her connections to the world.  On one hand, her death is, to some extent a suicide.  She doesn't "know how to live in this world, if these are the choices."  "The hardest thing in the world is to live in it."  But rather than dying because she's lost everything worth living for, she dies as an expression of love, and of her connections to the world.  This makes me so happy and so sad and did I mention I JUST WANT TO HUG MY GIRL?
  • Also speaking of hugs and Buffy's face, the way that SMG can so perfectly express what I just wrote, only so much better, with a fucking facial expression as Buffy decides to jump.  Who are you SMG?
30 Questions )
frayadjacent: Buffy snarling (BtVS: Badass Buffy)
[personal profile] chaila's prompt: three of your favorite vids by other people and why. :)

To make it easier to narrow it down to three, I'm going to interpret favorite as "vids I watched obsessively in 2013".

[personal profile] charmax's Devotion (Xena: Warrior Princess; Xena/Gabrielle)

MY FEELS ALL OVER THE SCREEN LET ME SHOW YOU THEM.  This is a beautifully made vid that has made it impossible to not think "Xena" when I hear Amy Ray sing, and "Gabrielle" when I hear Emily Sailers.  I probably watched this, teary-eyed and all, every day for like a month after finishing Xena.  Because basically I was like OMG OTP I FINALLY UNDERSTAND SHIPPING IS THIS HOW FANNISHNESS FEELS TO OTHER PEOPLE? 

Alas, this was the only Xena vid I could find that really resonated with my love of this pairing.  Which is part of why I had to make another one.  :D

[personal profile] chaila's Keep the Streets Empty For Me (Twilight; Bella/Vampirism)

I don't think I've ever seen a vid that so fundamentally changed the way I thought about a source before.  And I've never watched a vid on repeat that wasn't one of my main fandoms, except this one.  First off, I love the use of Bella's eyes and her gaze.  I love how often she's just LOOKING, WATCHING, so intently.  There are a few moments where she's looking at Edward and he's looking back and I expect her to look away and SHE DOESN'T.  I LOVE THAT.  The use of text, illustrations, and nature imagery in the vid is also fantastic.  It's a really effective way to convey the message without feeling even slightly anvilicious.  Plus the editing and musicality is super pretty and well-done, but what really excites me about this vid is that those qualities aren't just ends in themselves: they're used to make a super interesting point.  And it makes that point so well.

[personal profile] shati's Boulevard of (Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Slayer Ensemble)

My favorite Buffy vids are the ones that explore what it means to be a Slayer, and I love this one's emphasis on relationships between slayers.   I almost die of happiness at the second "my shadow's the only one that walks beside me", which completely reinterprets that line just like a spoilery thing that happened ).  (Also can be interpreted as a femslash vid, though I don't think of it that way.)

Lately I have become totally obsessed with the editing techniques shati uses, especially the intercutting and repeated returns to the same or similar clips throughout the vid.  It's super effective at drawing out themes that connect different characters, and showing how they change over the course of the series.  The really frequent intercutting between a few different scenes -- e.g., the Kendra section that intercuts between Kendra & Buffy NotHugging and a spoilery thing that happened ) -- are really powerful, and so different from my own vidding style.  I LOVE it, and I've been studying it a lot lately and trying to figure out exactly how it works so I can STEAL IT.

I still have plenty of days left if anyone wants to prompt me.

frayadjacent: The scoobies outside the school bus from "Chosen" (BtVS: Scooby Gang (Chosen))
Day 04 - Your favourite show ever:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
.  Here's some reasons why:

The characters: Buffy herself is my favourite character of all time.  I'll save the why of that for Day 14, but suffice to say I've never seen a character that seemed as fully realised to me as Buffy Summers.  And the love doesn't stop there: I'm still in awe of the coherent, multi-dimensional characterisation that show drew -- across seven seasons -- for Willow, Xander, Giles, Anya, Joyce, Spike, and many others.  Their complex relationships, their love and loyalty, their fights and insecurities -- never has a collection of characters felt so real to me.

The heart: it's not just about feeling real though.  The Whites and Schraders are also complex, multi-faceted characters with interesting, strong, very authentic relationships.  But something Buffy has in spades that many shows of similar quality lack is an attention not just to their characters' failings, but also to their strengths, their capacity to love and to give to each other.  The fact that, even if they fail, they try to do better.  The show has hope, and heart.  In the last year or some I've come to realise that shows have to have this kind of heart for me to truly love them.

The many different relationships among women.  And, relatedly, the way it explores women's power.  I don't always agree with the positions it seems to be taking, but it poses the questions in ways that I still really enjoy.

Out of sheer laziness, for the rest of BtVS's many attributes, I refer the reader to Mike Marinaro's spoiler-free meta: 10 Things Buffy Does Best.  I'm not sure I agree that Buffy is as singular in its quality as he makes out here -- i.e., I agree it does these things well, but I'd argue there are a handful of other shows that also do. I think it's a mix of the high quality elements he lays out here, my own personal taste, and the fact that Buffy came before most of those other shows, that puts it on top for me.

30 Questions )

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frayadjacent: Buffy looking to the side in black and white (Default)
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