Tag Archives: Sarah Michelle Gellar

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Anya Jenkins

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, especially when a woman takes revenge on her cheating husband or boyfriend.

On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Anya Jenkins (Emma Caulfield) was introduced in third season as a guest character. Though she was once human, the audience meets her as Anyanka, a demon that women call on when they want to take revenge on the men who have cheated on them. When Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) catches her boyfriend, Xander (Nicholas Brendon) kissing Willow (Alyson Hannigan), she wishes that Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) had never moved to Sunnydale. This opens the door to an alternate reality where there is no slayer and the vampires control the town. Thankfully, Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), destroys her necklace (where her power comes from), returning the world back to normal and returning Anya back to human form.

Because she has lived for 1000 years as a demon, Anya is unaware of the social cues and social norms. This leads to uncomfortable moments within the Scooby gang and comedy for the audience as Anya says and does things that someone who is aware of social cues and norms would not say or do. She also has a will they or won’t they relationship with Xander, which leads to them nearly saying I do. But Xander is manipulated by someone from his soon be wife’s past and his growing anxieties lead him to break off the engagement just before the ceremony. At the end of the series, Anya becomes a martyr, sacrificing herself to save her former lover.

To sum it up: the woman taking revenge on her cheating significant other is a standard narrative. Anya makes the character more interesting by adding the comedy and the lack of awareness of what not say and do. This comedy not only lightens the dark mood of BVTS, allowing the audience to laugh and wanting to come back for more.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Dawn Summers

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

To be one’s little sister is not always easy. Especially when one’s older sister is the Slayer. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that little sister is Dawn Summers. Introduced in the beginning of season 5, Dawn appeared to be the average, annoying little sister. She adored her sister’s friends and wanted to be around them. But like any big sister,Buffy did not want to have her sister around.

But up until that point, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), was an only child.  But no one questioned Dawn’s existence. Then Buffy discovered that Dawn is the Key, a mystical object turned into human form so she can be protected from Glory (Clare Kramer). After Buffy defeats Glory, Dawn is accepted as she is. But then her mother dies and Dawn has to deal with the loss of her mother. In her grief, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) helps Dawn with a spell to bring her mother back, but that does not end well.

The sisters finally mend their relationship after Buffy’s bought with with depression and Dawn’s feelings of abandonment. During the final battle at end of the series, Dawn fights with the Scooby gang and earns her stripes as an ally of the Slayer.

To sum it up: The stereotype of the annoying little sister can be fun to play with as a writer. The character of Dawn is interesting because she is much more than the basic character trope. Beyond her magical conception and abilities, she is a fully formed character whom we love to hate because she is so annoying. When a character is memorable because they are annoying, the writer(s) have done something right.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television, Uncategorized

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Spike

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Change is a hallmark of the human experience. No matter who we are or where we come from, we all change somehow. When building characters, the key to a character’s success is to see them change somehow. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Spike (James Marsters) transformed from a villain with a capital V to a good guy over the course of both series.

Spike was originally introduced to the Buffyverse as the villain of the week in the first season. Like any villain, he wanted to be the one who would finally do away with the slayer. But Spike is not your grandparent’s vampire, he is all rock and roll. Cockney accent, bleached blonde hair, leather jacket and bad ass in every shape and form. But he didn’t start out that way.In the late 19th century, he was a young man who just wanted to be a poet. Then was transformed into a vampire by Drusilla (Juliet Landau) and joined Drusilla’s gang of vampires. During this time, he and Drusilla become and item and stay together for many, many years.

After Drusilla dumps Spike, he starts to realize that his feelings for Buffy go deeper than the typical villain. Buffy also starts to contend with those same feelings and they play the will they/wont they game for quite a while. This game continues until the series finale of Buffy, when Spike sacrifices his himself to save the rest of the Scooby gang. The next thing he knows, he is in LA working with Angel (David Boreanaz). Despite their shared past and ex-girlfriend, Spike works with Angel to save the world once more.

To sum it up: Change is the spice of life and the backbone of any writer’s toolbox. Characters, especially major characters must change, in one form or another.  The transformation that Spike experiences over the course of both series represents the ideal change that a writer puts a character through. That transformation is why over twenty years later, fans of the Buffyverse still adore Spike.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Angel

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Since the beginning of storytelling, there has always been something about the brooding bad boy or girl with a romantic streak.The audience knows that this person might be trouble, but they also fall for the softer side of this character. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, this character is Angel (David Boreanaz). Angel makes his first appearance in the Buffy pilot. He appears to be the older, romantic bad boy who often appears in movies or television shows that focus on teenage girls.

But Angel is more than that. He is completely aware of who she is while hiding his own secret. He is vampire who is cursed with a soul. After Buffy and Angel sleep together (and he has a moment of pure happiness), his soul is gone and he reverts to his previous identity, Angelus. Angelus gets off on torturing Buffy until his soul is returned and he must come to terms that his relationship with Buffy is not meant to last.

After leaving Sunnydale, Angel opens his own supernatural detective agency in Los Angeles. Initially aided by Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) and Doyle (the late Glenn Quinn), Angel works to protect the city from the darkest of supernatural forces. He also becomes a father and continues to fight against evil while protecting those he loves.

To sum it up: While the bad boy with the romantic streak may initially sound appealing, the reality is that the relationship may not last. But then again, not all romantic relationships are meant to last forever. As a character, viewers (myself included), fell in love with Angel. We watched him grow from a Heathcliff type character to a character who, in spite of his past, becomes a hero. That is why nearly twenty years later, fans still return to vampire bad boy turned hero of their younger years.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Emily Bronte, Feminism, Television, Wuthering Heights

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Rupert Giles

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Every hero needs a mentor, especially when the hero is in the throes of adolescence. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that mentor is Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head). Though he looks and acts like a mild-mannered school librarian, Rupert (refered to as Giles) was strategically placed at Sunnydale High School. He is a watcher, responsible for guiding and supporting the slayer as she protects the living from the undead. But Giles is much more than just Buffy’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) watcher, he becomes a father figure to his charge and her friends. He also provides the historical background of the baddie of the week and home base (the school library) for the Scoobies to do hang out and do research before Buffy does her work.

Though he may look like and sound a proper Englishman, Giles was quite the rebel in his youth. His vices were dark magic and rock and roll. That is, until a life changing event forced him to change course and follow in the family tradition of being a watcher. After the high school was destroyed at the end of season 3, Giles felt like he had no direction in life. Then he takes over as owner of The Magic Box and Giles had his place in the world back. He also began to feel like Buffy needed to stand on her two feet, his presence in her life was not helping her grow as a human being. By the end of the series, Giles is able to move on with his life, knowing that Buffy no longer needs her watcher.

To sum it up: Being a mentor, especially when your men-tee is a teenager can be both gratifying and heart breaking. It is gratifying because you can shape a young mind, but it can be also heart breaking. At some point, your men-tee will no longer need you. As a character, viewers remember Giles because he is not just the adult mentor, but he also has a heart. He was also a young once and experienced his own rebellion, adding a layer of understanding to the adult that the audience thinks they know.  This combination endeared Giles to the audience and allowed the young audience to see him not just as an adult, but as someone who we can relate to. For that alone, Giles will forever be a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Willow Rosenberg

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Confidence is not always something that some of us have naturally, especially when we are teenagers. Confidence sometimes has to be grown into. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy’s BFF, Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) was not the most confident when the series started. Book smart, tech smart and a little awkward, Willow was not exactly at the top of high school social hierarchy. But she was not alone in her social awkwardness. Her other BFF, Xander (Nicholas Brendon), was equally looked down upon.

But then things changed for her. Willow discovered that not only was she a witch, but also found solid romantic relationships. In high school, she dated rocker/werewolf Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Seth Green). In college, she not only came out of the closet and dated Tara Maclay, but also became confident with her magical abilities.

But even with her new-found confidence, Willow is far from perfect. Her addiction to magic nearly kills her and everyone around her. It nearly ruins her relationship with Tara and compounds her grief when Tara is murdered. But she is able to heal from the loss of Tara, move on from her addiction and find the will to move on with her life.

To sum it up: Watching a character gain confidence in who they are and their abilities can be a very compelling narrative. Over the course of the series, Willow grew from a teenage girl who doubted herself to a woman who faced personal trials and survived. That story is as old as the human race and continues to be compelling because we all go through a similar narrative in our lives.

P.S. As a Jewish redhead, seeing myself reflected on-screen was the cherry on the top of the ice cream that is Willow Rosenberg.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Xander Harris

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Every superhero has to have the mortal friend. Sometimes, this friend is a wise ass, always cracking a joke when the tension has reached its highest. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this mortal friend is Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon). Xander is not just one of the Scooby Gang, he is the one who is frequently attacked by the baddie of the week. Like many teenage boys, his romantic life is often hit or miss, especially with crushes on Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter).

Years later, Xander was engaged to the demon in human form Anya (Emma Caulfield Ford). But he broke the engagement out of fear. They had what can only be described as the science fiction version of will they or won’t they, until Anya died during the battle with The First Evil.

To sum it up: Laughter is always the best medicine. Especially when all h*ll is about to break loose. On Buffy, Xander not only provides the laughter, but the humanity to Buffy’s super-strength. A good writer knows where to provide the balance between the drama and the laughter, the humanity and the superhuman. By injecting Xander’s humanity and comedy into Buffy, the show is not just another science fiction/fantasy show. It is a show that underneath the magic and the fantasy, there is a humanity to the narrative and the characters. That is what usually hooks audiences and keeps them coming back for more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Buffy Summers

The new characters I be reviewing are…..the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

To be a teenage girl is hard enough. It’s even harder when you have to save the world on a near daily basis. Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is not just the average teenage girl dealing with boys, friends and school. She is the chosen one, the slayer who is gifted with power to protect the living from vampires and other creatures that can only come out of our nightmares.

But while she is slaying the undead and protecting Sunnydale from a constant stream of baddies who would love nothing more than to take her down, she is dealing with everyday stuff that all teenage girls deal with. Labelled as uncool by popular girl Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), Buffy becomes best friends with equally unpopular Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon) Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan). She also has a series of boyfriends, including the soulful vampire Angel (David Boreanaz).

To sum it up: when creating a superhero, the writer or writers cannot just create an all-powerful, perfect character. He or she must have something that makes them human and fallible. This allows the audience to relate to this character. Buffy Summers speaks to her audience because we understand her humanity and the common experience of being a teenager. As a character, more than 20 years after she was introduced to television audiences, Buffy Summers is still fondly remembered by fans not only as a bad ass, but as a woman who goes through the same sh*t we all went through during our teenage years.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Flashback Friday- Ringer (2011-2012)

Deception/impersonation is often a very interesting backbone of a narrative.

In the short lived television series Ringer (2011-2012), Bridget and Siobhan (Sarah Michelle Gellar) are estranged twin sisters. Bridget is trying to put her life back together after getting out of rehab six months ago and being the sole witness to a murder. Siobhan, on the other hand, has it all. She has a loving marriage to Andrew (Ioan Gruffudd) and lives a comfortable life. In an attempt to rebuild their fractured relationship, the sisters go on a short boat trip. Then Siobhan falls overboard and Bridget makes the decision to pretend to be her sister.

Bridget will soon learn that her sister’s charmed life is not all that charmed. Underneath the appearance of perfection are dark secrets that could endanger Bridget’s life.

I honestly enjoyed this series. It was dark, slightly twisted and never quite gave the audience a straight answer. Unfortunately, like many shows, it just didn’t find the audience to continue beyond the first season.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, Television, TV Review

Cruel Intentions The Musical Review

Two thoughts come to mind when it is announced that a musical based on a story that is not a musical will soon be on stage. One thought is that the producers have chosen a known work with a dedicated fan base, who can spread the word and reduce the work of the publicity department. The other thought is that the producers took the easy way out, choosing a known work instead of taking a chance on a work by a writer whose name is not as well-known.

I saw Cruel Intentions: The Musical earlier today. As with the 1999 film of the same name, the story is set in New York City. Sebastian Valmont (Constantine Rousouli, taking over from Ryan Phillipe) and Kathryn Merteuil (Lauren Zarkin, taking over from Sarah Michelle Gellar) are rich step-siblings. They make a bet that Sebastian can seduce Annette Hargrove (Carrie St. Louis, taking over from Reese Witherspoon), the virgin daughter of their school’s new headmaster. If Sebastian wins, he gets to sleep with Kathryn, the one girl who is out of his reach. If Kathryn wins, she can claim ownership of Sebastian’s car, his pride and joy.  It seems like a simple task, but by the time the game of seduction and lies is over, nothing will be the same.

Based on the book Dangerous Liaisons, the show is a ton of fun and extremely enjoyable. True to the film incarnation, with a singable soundtrack straight out of the 1990s, the show is one of the best I have seen in a very long time.

I absolutely recommend it.

Cruel Intentions is playing at (Le) Poisson Rouge (158 Bleeker Street, New York City) until March 16th, 2018. 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Broadway Musical Review, Movies, Music, New York City