Thursday Open Thread: Buffy or Angel?

It’s summertime, which means coming up with some good open threads (and remembering to put them up) is going to be tough. In fact, if you have any ideas, be sure to let me know. But for today, let’s go with an oldie but goody, a question that I constantly debate in my own mind:

Which series was better: Buffy or Angel?

Yep, it’s a Whedon faceoff, and it’s a tough question. One the one side, there’s always that argument that spinoffs are never as good as the series that proceeded them. And Buffy had some fantastic, iconic episodes — “The Body.” “Hush,” and “Once More with Feeling,” for example.

But then again, Angel had incredible ongoing story arcs and really took the show into a darker place (that, too, could be argued, given season six of Buffy). And hey, can you really argue with a show that turned its own leading man into a puppet?

Honestly, they’re both two of my favorite series, and when I debate this on my own, my answer changes every time. So which is your pick? Which series was better? Let me know in the comments!


Thursday Open Thread: Standout Season Finales

We’re coming up on the end of the seasons for many of our shows, and while I’d love to dwell on how these shows might end this year, I’m much more inclined to think about how some of our favorite shows have ended in seasons past. Can this year really match up?

Name some standout season finales from past seasons of TV.

These can be shows that are long gone or ones still on the air, but they’ve got to be ones that stand out in your mind as something great. Something that kept you on the edge of your seat for the entire summer. Something that shows these days might just have trouble living up to.

Of course, the first show that comes to mind is Buffy, which had some spectacular season enders. I’m thinking season 2, season 5, season 6 (oh, season 6!). And even though season 3 wasn’t a cliffhanger, it still stands out as one of my favorite eps of the season. Season 2, with “Becoming,” might be the one that stands out the most, though. Sadly, I wasn’t an avid Buffy watcher at the time, so I didn’t see it live. I can’t imagine what people thought after that episode.

Angel, too, had some goodies. Though, really, the one that stands out the most is when the team returns from Lorne’s home dimension, all happy and giddy, only to find Willow in the hotel waiting to tell Angel about Buffy’s death. There was nothing said, but it still gave chills that reached through the entire summer.

As for other shows beyond the Whedonverse, what about One Tree Hill? OTH has always had some killer endings (yes, really, killer), and the one that stands out the most to me was clearly when the wedding limo goes flying off the edge of the bridge, and Nathan jumps in after it, leaving a screaming and sobbing Haley on the side of the bridge, still in her wedding gown. But does that compete with the complete shock of having Clay and Quinn shot in their own home after such a happy trip to Utah last year? You tell me.

Well, spill yours, or just jump on my bandwagon and share more about the shows I’ve mentioned above. And while you think, why not watch the OTH limo crash I mentioned before. Sure, I would love to post the end of “Becoming,” but I can’t quite find it on YouTube.

Plus, I’m not sure I could handle that kind of emotion in the middle of the day.

Every time I watch this clip, I’m reminded I’m supposed to care about Peyton. Oops.

Thursday Open Thread: Favorite Whedon Couple

I miss having Joss Whedon shows on TV, and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Buffy. So with that in mind, I ask you:

Out of all of Joss’ shows, who is your favorite Whedon couple?

There are no rules here. These can be couples that were real (i.e., Buffy and Angel) or unrequited (i.e., Buffy and Xander). It can be from TV or even from the web (Dr. Horrible, anyone?).  Really, this is just my time to see the kind of shows you liked from Joss and the characters you enjoyed as well.

Personally, I think Simon and Kaylee from Firefly were cute, but the connection between Sierra and Victor in Dollhouse was great, too. I think I’ll lean toward Simon and Kaylee, though, just because the hit and miss flirting was so fun to watch on the series.

What about you?

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I don’t normally beg on Raked, but please don’t anyone say Willow and Kennedy. Man, I hate Kennedy.

Thursday Open Thread: Major disappointments

Perhaps I’m just still irritated at last night’s Happy Town. Ok, so I am. I was really looking forward to this series, and it just completely let me down. Uggh.

So here’s a question for you:

What’s been a major TV disappointment for you?

I’m not talking cancellations. That’s an entirely different topic. I mean something you were really excited about–really amped–and then it completely let you down.

Sure, this might go a little in line with our discussion about hype, but this is really your own anticipation, not what a network wants for you. Pushing Happy Town aside, for a second, let me give another example. Perhaps the Angel finale? I was amped up for this enormous battle, and we didn’t even get it? I mean, sure, there were other things going on in the episode that ultimately made it good television, but that didn’t mean I didn’t give a disgruntled “What?!” when I saw the credits roll.

Or, like, Kathy Bates’ role on The Office. That could have been much more awesome than it actually was.

What about you? Show? Episode? Let me know.

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The tagline should have been my first clue…

Vampire Diaries: Not dead yet.

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: 1.15 “A Few Good Men”

This episode was a little…slower than I thought it’d be. With all that happened last time around, I certainly thought we’d be seeing a heck of a lot more of Anna and Claire, the escapee vampire, and Bonnie’s reaction to her grandmother’s death.

And while we did see Anna and Claire in the end (very ominous) and the escapee vampire (he seems so nice for someone so evil), we had no Bonnie at all. Instead, it was all about Elena and her mother.

At this point, I think we should just assume that anyone we think is dead is, in fact, not, and anyone you expect to stay alive will be dead soon…kinda.

I was enthralled by Damon and Alaric’s interaction. It was fantastic. I loved the fight (if you could call it that since Alaric didn’t even scratch Damon) interspersed with Damon’s honest but cruel description of why Isobel came to him to be turned. You know, as much as I didn’t care about Elena’s birth mother, it did become interesting the more we discovered about it. I really want to see how it all turns out–at least why she became something she hated–before I decide if I ultimately like the Isobel storyline or not, but my interest has certainly been piqued.

Do we want to meet her? Well, she’s clearly not a vampire with good intentions. I knew that messenger would kill himself in some way, and the stepping in front of the passing truck was fantastic (very Fringe). I apologize. That sounded very morbid.

But why does she want to keep her away? What’s the purpose? And you’d think that in order to keep her away she’d do a better job. Why not just disappear into the background and be invisible? Why send messengers to tell her to stay away–that will just make her want to see her more?

I did just think of one thing: I guess since she’s the mother of Elena and gave her up, that means Elena’s brother Jeremy is not her brother. I’m curious to see how that goes over when he finds out.

As for Matt and Caroline’s storyline, I just chuckle when I think of them. They’re like the teenage storyline in an action thriller. I mean, they don’t quite fit anymore. But they’re adorable, so I like the breaks and glimpses into their relationship. As for the casting of Matt’s mother, well, that was just an epic fail. I mean, she looked my two years older than him. Why can’t television just cast mothers who look like mothers?


But we’re saving the best for last here. What is up with Alaric’s invincibility ring? Clearly Isobel knows a lot, and if this turns out to be anything like Buffy‘s “Harsh Light of Day” and Angel‘s “In the Dark” with the Ring of Amara, any vampire in a 20 mile radius is going to want to get their hands on it because they can’t be killed. Whether that’s true in Mystic Falls, we’ll just have to see.

I have to say that I’m disappointed. I enjoyed Alaric’s death scene and even I was sitting on the couch with my jaw dropped open in a cod-face in shock. If only they could have ended the episode there. Wouldn’t we have been surprised next week?

One last question: How was it that the escapee vampire could wander around during the day? Did anyone see a ring or talismen?

Ghost Whisperer’s 100th episode

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.15 “Implosion”

Don’t you hate it when a show advertises that an episode is going to kill someone off, and then you find out that it’s some minor character that we’ve met twice and have no emotional investment in? Especially when that death was even noted in a cliffhanger?

That seemed to be what happened here in the 100th episode. Really, people should take note of 100th episodes as a great turning point in a series. After all, in the 100th episode of Buffy, Buffy died. In the 100th episode of Angel, Cordelia died. If you’re going to promote a 100th episode and tease that someone is going to die, have some balls!

Ignoring all that it was a decent episode. There was a bit too much of Eli (really, I just don’t like him; bring back Jay Mohr), but at least things happened. Sure, the ghost didn’t really have much to do with the main plot, and we did have to deal with some threatening shadows on the wall and floor, but ultimately, not bad.

It was all about the book this week, which, unlike Bedford, cannot die. It will change itself, hide itself, and make itself into an economics textbook if need be. Looks like we won’t be rid of the book anytime soon.

Now, someone tell me this, because maybe I’m reading too much into it: Does it seem like Ned might just be changing a little bit because of this book? He was snappish toward Eli when he came to pick it up. And the look on his face when it reappeared seemed a little…strange…to me. There was no shock that it reappeared. In fact, it was more like something was returning to just him, and he was glad to hold the power. Not that I don’t trust Ned, but do you think he’ll be sharing the book’s presence with Eli any time soon? And why do you think the book returned to Ned, and not Eli? Hmmm.

I did think that Bedford’s presence at the window was very creepy. You should learn that just because someone dies, that doesn’t mean they’re gone–especially in a show like Ghost Whisperer. I’m frankly looking forward to seeing what happens with him next, though I know eventually he will get some tear-stained farewell into the light, and that just seems to make me sigh. Hopefully, it won’t be for a long while.

It was a pretty standard episode, but I must say, I wish it had been bigger. Or publicized a little more. The show was very low in the ratings on their 100th episode. Something needs to change.

What would you do to help the show? Other than, say, getting rid of Eli?

Vampire Diaries: Betrayal by blood

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: 1.13 “Children of the Damned”

I’m not unaccustomed to flashbacks in vampire shows. After all, I watched both Buffy and Angel. But I must say, what I saw in this episode was actually really great.

I’m not saying other shows haven’t done a good job (though David Boreanaz’s accent was, at times, problematic), but I guess I just wasn’t expecting too much. I just figured Katherine had betrayed Anna at some point, and therefore, she’s bitter.

Everyone’s always bitter.

But it’s more than that. Who’s to say that Elena’s really a target? At this point, you could guess that Anna’s anger might just be aimed at Stefan (hurting Elena hurts Stefan), who did a great deal to put her mother in that tomb, whether he meant to or not. Further, we see now more than ever why there’s friction between Stefan and Damon. It’s not just that Stefan loved the same woman. It’s that Stefan sent this woman to her death.

It was actually pretty sad. Was anyone else surprised about how attached they grew to Katherine? It’s not that she was particularly likable, but for some reason, I still didn’t want her in that church on fire. I even felt for Pearl, as she was taken from the one man who she thought would give her a chance to run, considering his feelings.

My only question, though, is this: Was Anna a vampire when her mother was killed? Well, I don’t know. She certainly is now–and I must say, I loved watching the realization cross Damon and Stefan’s faces as they realized who Anna really was. But she seemed so much younger in the flashbacks, so it does make me wonder who really turned her. Was it her mother? Or someone else? That’s yet to be discovered, but at least she admitted to turning Logan. Who would have thought that she was the mysterious force behind the mayhem this season? A little girl.

But let’s move back to Stefan. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I’m becoming more and more of a Damon fan. So this, I must ask: Is anyone else getting bored with Stefan? There’s no development there anymore, now that Elena knows all and they’re in their honeymoon face. I’m afraid he’s going to be the next Action-Hero Quinn (Sliders reference) where his main duty is to rush in an save the day in every episode…and that’s about it. I did enjoy his discussion with Alaric, but beyond that, I really just wanted to see someone else on the screen.

Damon, on the other hand, commanded the screen. I adored his time in Elena’s kitchen, spending time with her family and brother (a little like Spike, but without the desperation). His expression when he said he wasn’t compelling Elena to tell the truth was fantastic, and his reaction in discovering that he really couldn’t trust Stefan and Elena was just great. I’m excited to see where it goes from here.

Btw, I totally knew that the book would be in the tomb. Not because the promos showed them digging, but because of the repeated line, “He’ll take it to his grave.” Once? Symbolic. Multiple repetitions? That’s just a play on words telling you where to go.

Finally, Bonnie. I kinda forgot about her dilemma, what with the big Elena cliffhanger ending, but poor Bonnie is held captive as well by Ben! My guess? She’ll be ok. I assume that Ben is kidnapping her so that she can actually say the spell to release the vamps in the tomb, but it’s still an unfortunate situation. Does she have her powers back yet? I can’t recall. But she must have something if she knew to get away from Ben–and as soon as possible!

So a big episode here after I just figured it’d be a lot of filler material. Can’t wait to see what happens next!