Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 10 - A show you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  And, by extension, Angel, although I didn't know Angel existed until it debuted.

I'd heard of Buffy in a general way before I went to college in 1998.  Clearly, based on the title, it involved vampires, which were something I wanted nothing to do with.  Anything involving the horror genre whatsoever was just not my cup of tea. I assumed the show was scary, probably involved black magic and other un-Christian things, and there was no way I would ever watch it.


David Boreanaz and Sarah Michele Gellar
My freshman year of college, I gradually became friends with three girls I'll call Pebbles, Z, and Bon-Bon.  Z and Bon-Bon were high school besties who became college roomies.  I recall one lunch with them where Bon-Bon tried to interest me in Buffy by describing how hot one of the characters was, a vampire named Angel who was sometimes good and sometimes bad, but always sexy.  I was polite, but declined their invitation to join them on Tuesday nights in the lounge to watch the show.

Sophomore year, I shared an on-campus apartment with Pebbles, Z, and my dear friend ED (Bon-Bon didn't continue at our college, though she did stop by for a visit now and then).  And one fateful Tuesday night, I had a cold and didn't attend the evening Self Defense course I was taking for PE.  It happened to be the night of the season 4 premiere of Buffy and the series premiere of Angel.  Pebbles and Z persuaded me to watch with them since I was too sick to do homework, so I huddled in our living room, wrapped in a blanket, and grudgingly watched the shows.

David Boreanaz as Angel
I was not an instant fan, though I acknowledged the hotness of David Boreanaz as Angel.  (Completely unnecessary aside:  Josh Holloway, who went on to play Sawyer on Lost, has a tiny role in the premiere ep of Angel, "City Of.")  But I realized that they'd been telling the truth when they said the shows weren't scary or horrific, and I was intrigued enough to watch subsequent episodes that Pebbles or Z brought back from home every weekend (as our college's cable company dropped the WB network the week after the premieres).  It was the third episode of Angel, "In the Dark," that hooked me.  Like I mentioned a few days ago, it was one bit of dialog that captured my still-reluctant attention.  When asked repeatedly what it was he really wanted (while being tortured for information), Angel finally admitted, "Forgiveness."  That got me to sit up, take notice, and actually get interested in Angel, which eventually became my second-favorite show ever.  Weeks later, around the time the episode "Something Blue" aired, I became a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer too, mostly because of Spike and his unutterable coolness.  And the show's fabulous dialog.

James Marsters as Spike
And now, a decade later, I own every season of both shows.  Because Joss Whedon and the other writers of these shows are amazing, the stars are solid actors, and these are two of the few shows that actually generally line up with my own world view.  Um, yes.  Because unlike most TV shows (and movies and books) today, Buffy and Angel do not subscribe to the humanistic view that all people are basically good.  They say, instead, that all people are basically evil and need to rise above their inner badness.  Which lines up so perfectly with the Christian (particularly Lutheran) belief that we are all born spiritually blind, dead enemies of God, sinful in every way.

Yes, there are things about Buffy I don't agree with. But it's one of the few modern shows that says actions have consequences.  If you disobey your parents, you will get in trouble.  If you have premarital sex, there can be unpleasant repercussions.  If you kill someone, you will pay for your actions.  In the morals-are-irrelevant morass that is much of today's programming, Buffy and Angel take a stand against evil, whether it's the evil of a demon out to destroy the world or the evil of lying to your parents.

Plus, did I mention David Boreanaz?  Mmm.  Enough said.

4 comments:

  1. Oh, I so loved Spike ... and the "wee puppet man" ep! :)

    I agree with what you said about there being consequences in Angel's world. There were a lot of things that set this show apart for me, but that was definitely one of them.

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  2. I always forget you saw Angel first, then Buffy. Love the bit you wrote about actions having consequences. :-D

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  3. "smile Time" is a great ep! I love the Angel puppet, it's too perfect, with that frown that goes all the way to his jawline.

    I saw the beginning of Angel before the beginning of Buffy, is that what you mean, Deb? I didn't see all of seasons 1 and 2 of Buffy until season 7 was airing, and season 3 after that. But I saw Angel in order.

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  4. Yep, that's what I meant, that your intro the the universe was through Angel not Buffy.

    I'm really enjoying reading your responses to the prompts.

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