Buffy

Watching the first episode of Buffy, “Surprise,” I forgot how awkward some transitions can be in a serial television show. There are two specific scenes which feel extremely forced and almost jarring. The first comes when Buffy is driving with her famle guardian (this is unknown to Buffy at the time) to meet up with the “English professor,” but is unaware of the surprise birthday party that her friends have planned. When the car stops, Buffy immediately jumps out of the car to fight vampires because they are robbing her school. After defeating most of them, Buffy wrestles with one vampire and falls into a glass window which is connected to the room where her surprise birthday party is located. Not only does this sequence seem wierd because the vampires are robbing the school, but the vampires loose a crucial piece of their defense against Buffy. For some reason, the vampires were carrying around the “Judge’s” arm, which is needed to fully complete the assembly of the Judge. In a scene previous to this one, at the vampire hideout, the Judge is talked about as finally “bringing an end’. If the Judge is so valued, then why would the subordinate vampire “bees” be carrying around his arm when looting the high school. Also, it is kind of ironic that the surprise birthday party inside is seperated by a glass window from the fighting outside, but I guess it is within the realm of possiblity. The second scene comes when Buffy and Angel are captured by the vampires, when checking out the vampire hideout. Right before Angel is about to be killed by the Judge’s touch, they fend off the vampires, and manage to knock down a web of television’s. As these television’s fall they smash through thick concrete, and seem to injure the Judge. This sequence allows Buffy and Angel to escape, but it seems like such a copout. When the camera transitions underneath the broken concrete, the slabs look huge, and this escape does not seem reasonable. Not to mention, what happened to Judge? You are telling me that a web of television’s took him out, when it initially took several armies to dismember him. However, then I remebered the term genre versimilitude.

Not being a regular watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I figured this type of beat style must be normal for the show. However, I kept thinking, how do people watch this? I realize that all serial’s are trying to create quick, reactionary beats in order to keep the audience invested in the ensemble plot structure, but should this always be the norm. What if writers were not restricted to having every scene be reactionary? Instead, what if Buffy’s problems were slowly developed in a way that made the audience have to piece the storyworld together, not be told the story all the time. It seems to be widely accepted that this serial style would loose spectators. However, if the quality of the show were devloped in a more creative way, it might help gain spectators as well. For instance, Buffy could fight the gang of vampires at the school and fall through the glass, but finding the Judge’s arm with the gang of vampires is a weak introduction to the main plot of the episode; it’s not that believable. If one looks at the show Soprano’s, not every scene is rushed, there is a natural pacing to the beats. I think this type of pacing could help a serial television show like Buffy. Also, maybe certain genre’s work better for serial television shows than others. Buffy is a science fiction genre that requires constant explanations about the Judge or the new “bad guy” because they represent something supernatural; something that is unknown to the majority of spectators. While, a show like Soprano’s deals more with personal relationships, which everyone can relate to because relationships are the center of everyday life. There is not a need to have constant explanations, or forced exposition which allows the audience to understand the new material; spectators can relate better to Tony Soprano than the Judge because Tony is a human being. I feel like constant explanation by characters quickens the pacing of a show, but it can ruin a storyworld due to time constraints.      

      

Leave a Reply

Sites DOT MiddleburyThe Middlebury site network.