Sixteen years ago today, Buffy’s first episode aired.
I didn’t have a television for most of the time the series was on, but I still remember the summer I first got into it. I’d just gotten back from Scotland and moved in with a total and complete Buffy fanatic who was in the middle of a rewatch.
It only took about two episodes, and I was hooked.
So this month, in honor of the sixteenth anniversary of Buffy’s arrival in Sunnydale, I’d like to dedicate my blog to the show that became one of my favorite stories ever told.
Stay tuned this month for plenty of Hellmouth hijinks!
If you’ve yet to see this show in its entirety and are the sort to be miffed about spoilers, consider this your warning: for the duration of this post, ye’ll be treadin’ the waters of spoilerdom. None is safe! Walk the plank.
When American Horror Story began last season, I couldn’t wait for each episode. The plot picked up quick, and in the midst of really horrific moments and terrifying sequences that managed to actually instill fear into my mind and body, there were these messed up characters who I genuinely cared about.
Violet, who found out her boyfriend was dead and still had a thing for him. Vivien’s horrible pregnancy that wouldn’t let her leave the house — and the freakish, ghostly cause of it. Ben and his seriously messed up past with Hayden, his inability to see Moira as she really is. Constance, Tate, Chad, Nora — all of the one-time inhabitants of the house had me enthralled with the story.
I don’t remember the last time a television show legitimately frightened me. American Horror Story’s first season did that and more. Both Spouse and I couldn’t get enough, and when we heard it was returning for a second season, we were both excited.
And then Asylum started.
Even though the story is fraught with tension, none of it has the immediacy of the first season’s wrenching twists and turns. None of it strikes the same haunting chords of the first season’s ghosts. As a result, I’m noticing that this season’s episodes linger on our DVR as we opt instead to watch Dexter or The Walking Dead or any of the other shows that we watch during the course of a week.
I think what the writers chose wrongly in this season was the setting. Few of us can relate to an asylum with the same amount of intrigue and inexplicable pull that the idea of living in a haunted home generates. In the first season, part of what kept me coming back was that the Harmon family had bought a home, drained most of their accounts to do so, and were now stuck in a house with decades of spirits — some of which were malevolent and cruel. While Asylum still has that sense of “stuck,” it doesn’t “hit home” the way it does when horrors are happening in your basement — or your bedroom.
I also find a lot of the character development so far to be lacking in power. What in the cases of Ben, Vivien, Violet, Tate, and Constance was layer upon layer of history, psychological intrigue, and real danger is only existent in shadow form when it comes to Kit, Sister Jude, Lana, and Grace. The series antagonists during the second season are almost too evil. In the first season, they were real people who had been twisted. In the second season, they’re Nazis and serial killers with Mummy issues who skin their victims and have candy dishes fashioned of human skulls.
I think the writers tried to tease out too much in this season and created a very crowded table. Aliens? Okay. Insanity? You’re in an asylum, so fine. People being wrongly committed? Sure. A Nazi doctor experimenting on patients? Creepy, but it needs more. A recovering alcoholic nun who accidentally killed a kid? Getting warmer. A priest who covers up a Nazi’s work to save his own hide? This could be great — if we saw said priest for more than two minutes at a time. Creatures in the wood? Headdesk. A nun possessed by the devil? Now it just looks silly.
Too much, too soon. Not enough real conflict, not enough real conflictedness. They started the season with a handicap — the setting — and haven’t done enough to reconstruct the same senses of immediate fear and danger they created and exploited so well during the first season. I’ll keep watching, but my high hopes have dwindled.
I think they would have done well to stick with what worked. I doubt we’ll be seeing another 17 Emmy nods for AHS this year.
Do you watch American Horror Story? What do you think of these two, very disparate seasons? Do you feel that the current season inspires the same horror as the first did?
- American Horror Story – Asylum: Origins of Monstrosity: Episode 6 Season 2 – TV Review (screencrave.com)
- An Occult ‘Horror Story’: Inside the Asylum (uci.uloop.com)
…and now I’m gonna eat you.
That saying reminds me of a silly children’s “horror” story that ended in a booger, but that’s not the topic of today’s post.
Regardless, it’s sort of the theme of last night’s episode of The Walking Dead.
Your friendly neighbourhood Emmie’s warning: Arrgggghh, there be spoilers in these here waters. If ye’re no wantin’ to drink of the spoiler cup, ye’d best be on your way, ye scurvy dogs.
The last two episodes of The Walking Dead have been, in a word, balls-to-the-wall insane. Last week’s had everyone reeling. T-Dog? LORI? Great gallumphing bejeebus, and Rick’s spiral of doom was probably one of the best television performances I’ve seen in ages. That said, the past two episodes have made me think of some stuff. Part of that stuff is where the hell is Carol?!? but part of it goes a little deeper.
The Unspoken “Rule”
Okay. Are we in agreement that it is, in fact, 2012? And that as such, we are in the 21st century? Oh, we are? Good.
So can someone please explain to me why televisions shows still seem to think they can only have one main African-American character at a time? Michonne shows up, T-Dog bites it. Or rather, gets bit. What? I touched on this the other day, but it’s still poking at my brain like an apocalypse child with a stick.
I’m not the only one to echo this cynical sentiment. Just about everyone I talked to at work about last week’s episode said something to the effect of, “What’s up with them killing off the one main black character just as a ‘replacement’ shows up?” Not so classy, TWD. Not so classy. There are enough issues on the show regarding race (they’re so far in the south yet somehow white people survived the walker onslaught in absurdly disproportionate numbers…mmmhmmm), but this one is bothering me more and more.
Oscar (one of the prison inmates — additionally the most recent new faces were largely African-American and Latino prisoners, and they all died. Double whammy.) could legitimately be developed into a very interesting character, but let’s not forget that brings the total count of central characters who aren’t WASPs up to three. Glen, Michonne, and Oscar. It’s okay, Walking Dead. You can diversify. I’ll give you a cookie if you do.
You’ve been Savannahed.
Back to the title of this blog post, here’s the more literal reason for it.
Andrea and Michonne got picked up by the Governor together as a sort of package deal. Andrea was clearly most open to
Mayberry Woodbury and its not-at-all creepy promise of safety, showers, and zombie gladiator matches. In a stunning display of manipulation, the Governor gets Michonne and Andrea at odds and Michonne bails. Leaving Andrea right where he wants her.
Dear Andrea: you’re being played.
Although now Michonne’s available to find the prison, and that could get fun.
Rick is spiraling faster than Donald Trump on election night.
I kind of can’t imagine finding out your wife had to get sliced open by an untrained, terrified nurse, only to be shot in the head by your son and then eaten by a zombie.
No matter how much you didn’t like Lori, no one deserves THAT.
But hey, Rick. You’re a daddy again.
Rick’s breakdown at the end of The Killer Within (last week) was epic. He’s going to be dealing with some serious guilt for just throwing Andrew out into the yard instead of making sure he got deady-kins. He’s going to be dealing with a son who had to shoot his mum in the head. And he’s going to be dealing with a newborn daughter who knows nothing about all of that.
I’d say that’s some solid set up for the rest of the season. And if Rick’s little killing spree tonight was any indication, he just got a lot more dangerous.
And who was on the phone?
Where the hell is Carol?
If we see her shambling around as a zombie for closure, I’ll be sad. That said, the zoms around the prison seem pretty hungry, so I don’t know if enough of her would be left to shamble anywhere.
I had had a wee suspicion that Carol found a bleeding Lori and somehow stitched her up, but that’s not looking like the case. With, you know, bloated fat zombie and all. That said, where are Lori’s bones? Did the zombie somehow crunch them? I need answers.
And Carol has just…poofed away. Where did she go? I hope she’s either A: alive and stranded or B: dead. Because the third option of her being alive in the company of more live inmates would mean some nasty, nasty stuff. And Carol’s been through enough.
I’ll leave you with some questions:
Why won’t shows diversify more? Do they think people are incapable of caring about characters who look different than they do? WHO IS CALLING RICK ON THE PHONE? (I hope it’s not inmates holding Carol captive.) And where is Carol?
- TV Review: The Walking Dead S03E05 “Say the Word” (geeksunleashed.me)
- ‘The Walking Dead’: Only the Insane Have Strength Enough to Survive – The Atlantic (theatlantic.com)
- The Walking Dead: Is Carol Really Dead? And 4 Other Burning Questions (seattlepi.com)