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Thursday, April 24, 2014

EBook update (last one)

I've let my OCD get the better of me for what I hope is the last time. I did one final (yeah, sure) review of the EBook and made some more editorial changes to improve the flow of the argument. As was true for all previous updates, I didn't change the substance at all.

When I made the previous update, I learned for the first time that updating the book will erase your bookmarks and underlining. I probably should have known this before, but I didn't. Be aware of that if you update this time. But as I say, I expect this will be the last one.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Top 25 Dramatic Scenes

I originally posted a list of my top 25 dramatic scenes at ATPO in 2003, shortly after Chosen aired. Those original selections hold up pretty well – he said as he graded his own answers – though I’ve reorganized them to suit my latest views. In a few cases, what qualifies as a single scene is debatable, but I tried to be reasonable about it.
There’s a pretty straightforward logical connection between the scenes I list below and my episode rankings: (1) I rate dramatic episodes highly; therefore (2) episodes with top quality dramatic scenes will be highly rated, and vice versa. This list is bound to be subjective, even though many of these scenes will appear on others’ lists, because they’re the scenes which had the greatest emotional impact on me personally.


1. Beneath You: "Can we rest?"

2. Passion: “Upstairs.”

3. The Body: "Mom? Mommy?"

4. Becoming 2: Buffy fights Angelus (“Me.”) and sends Angel to Hell: "Close your eyes."

5. The Gift: "The hardest thing to do in this world is to live in it. Live. For me."

6. Smashed: B/S bring down the house.

7. Dead Things: Crypt scene

8. Becoming 2: "The winter here is cold and bitter..."

9. Wild at Heart: "In my whole life, I've never loved anyone else."

10. Prophecy Girl: "I'm 16 years old. I don't want to die."

11. Passion: “The ecstasy of grief.”

12. Innocence: "That was then. This is now."

13. OMWF: Walk through the fire

14. The Body: “I don't understand how this all happens. How we go through this.”

15. Becoming 1: "No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does."

16. Dead Things: "Please don't forgive me."

17. Innocence: “Was I not good?”

18. Graduation Day 1: “You know you're not going to take me alive.” “Not a problem.”

19. Tabula Rasa: "Goodbye to you"

20. The Body: “We're drawing ... the negative space ... around the object.”

21. Afterlife: "Every night I save you."

22. Normal Again: "Thank you. Good-bye." And the camera pans out the door of the asylum.

23. Passion: "I can't do this without you."

24. Storyteller: “I’m making it all up.”

25. Angel: Goodbye to you.

I could do another 10 pretty easily, I think. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Episode Rankings: The Dirty Dozen (Bottom 12)

Every time I mention an episode as “weak”, someone jumps in to say how much s/he likes it. With some trepidation for the comments I might get, this post will contain my list of weakest episodes. Please do remember that even the weakest episodes can have a good scene or two in them.

I have some criteria for what makes an episode weak. The catch-all term would be poor execution, e.g., hitting us over the head with the point, or leaving the point obscure, or making the plot line implausible. That sounds as if the list is objective, but it’s no more so than my “best” list.

I’ll confess that I’ve allowed my personal distaste for Dead Man’s Party to affect its ranking. A more neutral observer might find it not as bad as I do (not much of a bar, I freely admit).

133. Gone
134. Teacher’s Pet
135. Reptile Boy
136. Beer Bad
137. Two to Go
138. Doublemeat Palace
139. Wrecked
140. I Robot, You Jane
141. Where the Wild Things Are
142. Go Fish
143. Dead Man’s Party
144. As You Were

I’ll list my top 25 dramatic scenes next Thursday.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. update

For those following the show, I thought the events of last night made this a good time to review the predictions I made after watching the first episode. Overall, the show is still not great -- it could really use Joss to improve the dialogue -- but it has gotten better after a very slow start.


1. My first prediction was that Chloe = Echo. I feel very good about this. I still think it's dead on, down to something in their blood being special. Of course it's their blood:

XANDER: Why blood? Why Dawn's blood? I mean, why couldn't it be like a, a lymph ritual?
SPIKE: 'Cause it's always got to be blood.
XANDER: We're not actually discussing dinner right now.
SPIKE: Blood is life, lackbrain. Why do you think we eat it? It's what keeps you going. Makes you warm. Makes you hard. Makes you other than dead. (quietly) Course it's her blood.

2. I thought other characters might map on to Dollhouse characters, suggesting Fitzsimmons/Topher as an example. I think I got that wrong.

3. S.H.I.E.L.D. would be morally ambiguous. I think I called that. Here it's a case of infiltration rather than something necessarily inherent in the system, but the net result is the same: the institution is corrupt.

4. There would be Foucaltian themes of societal coercion. I'd give myself half a point on this. There has definitely been mind control, deception to force others to act, and the prospect of more subtle forms of coercion from higher up in S.H.I.E.L.D. remains.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Episode Rankings -- Top 25 Favorites

My “favorites” list will have some overlap with my “best” list. Since there’s such overlap, I’ll list more “favorites”.

The top episodes are those which are both of high quality and easy to re-watch. They’re in rough order of the number of times I’ve re-watched them. Like anyone would keep an exact count of such a thing.

I’d call this list totally subjective; I can’t even pretend that it represents anything more than my own personal taste at this point in time.

  1. Once More With Feeling
  2. Becoming 1 & 2
  3. Storyteller
  4. Chosen 
  5. The Gift
  6. Fool For Love
  7. Hush
  8. Primeval
  9. Doppelgangland
  10. Pangs
  11. Touched
  12. Wild at Heart
  13. School Hard
  14. Band Candy
  15. Triangle
  16. Checkpoint
  17. Tabula Rasa
  18. Choices
  19. Phases
  20. Prophecy Girl
  21. Selfless
  22. Lover’s Walk
  23. Life Serial
  24. Lessons
  25. Beneath You
"Weakest" episodes next Thursday.