August 2003 posts

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Recommendations needed--new fall TV shows? -- mamcu, 11:20:40 08/12/03 Tue

TV for fall looks very unpromising. Do any of you see anything out there that should be checked on, esp. new shows?

[> Well there's a couple that look interesting -- s'kat, 21:49:56 08/12/03 Tue

Karen Sisko - comes on from 10-11pm on Wed, on NBC?orABC?
and is after Angel. It stars Carla Guigino (the mother in Spy Kids) and was developed by Danny Devito who did
developed Get Shorty. It's gotten very good buzz and is based on the Elmore Leonard characters in Out of Sight.

Wonderfalls - mid-season replacement with Tim Minear heading it. A young women wakes up from a concussion with the ability to talk to figurines in a shop. Sort of Twin Peaks meets Family. Looks like it could be interesting.

Joan of Arcadia - could be great or really stupid. Has a great cast though, with Joe Mantega and Mary Steenbergen and Amber Tambyln.

Tru Calling - not getting good buzz, but worth checking out
I think.

Vegas - stars James Cann, Vanessa Marcil and Josh Dushamel
in a show about the security people behind a casino. Really good trailers.

Coupling - if it's as good as the Brit series - worth a shot.

The Kingdom - Stephen King's new series based on the Danish mini-series about a haunted hospital, in the Danish version by the guy who did Dancer in The Dark, it's ER on Acid. This is premiering in February. Midseason on ABC.

Still Life - Ordinary People meets Ghost with Marti Noxon as the head writer/executive producer. We watch the mixed up tortured lives of a family through the eyes of their newly dead son. Mid-season replacement on Fox.

(And i'll probably check out Tarzan, just for the heck of

Angel's premeire is Oct 1st now by the way not Oct 8th.

[> [> Karen Sisco, The Kingdom, Wonderfalls, Joan of Arcadia, and Coupling for the newbies... -- cjl, 07:46:41 08/13/03 Wed

As for the returning series:

Everybody Loves Raymond - Yes, a domestic sitcom, and almost fanatically devoted to exploring the minutiae of family relationships. But aiming small has kept everybody focused, and eight years in, the series has never devolved into cartoonishness or done the special episode. (Well, except for the trip to Italy--but I consider it an aberration.) Catch it now before Brad Garrett's spinoff tarnishes the memory.

Angel - Watch it, won't you?

Smallville - Omar G. of TWOP calls Smallville "the gayest show on TV," and you have to admit that the fascinating, complex relationship between farm boy Clark Kent and future arch-enemy Lex Luthor (the series-stealing Michael Rosenblum) reeks with subtext. (Jeez, imagine what it'll be like when Greenberg gets there.) Pink Princess Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) is annoying as heck at times, but Alison Mack's Chloe is cute and sexy as all get out, and John Glover adds a healthy dose of stylish creepiness as Lex's ubermanipulative Dad. A Superman/Batman combo with Angel could (ahem) spike the ratings and keep our favorite vamp-with-a-soul on the air for a sixth season.

Without a Trace and CSI - I'm not a big fan of police procedurals, but Anthony LaPaglia and William Petersen make these worth watching. (Don't know how long they can go without repeating themselves, though.)

Scrubs - Hospital sitcom. But it's funny. Kudos to Zach Braff, Donald Faison and Sarah Chalke as the plucky interns, but the series turns on John McGinley's raging monster of a chief resident, and Christa Miller (jumping ship from the bloated corpse of the Drew Carey Show) as his equally monstrous ex-wife.

ER, NYPD Blue, the Simpsons and Friends? Still decent, but rapidly approaching exhaustion.

Enterprise? Fifth trek series, and the franchise looks like its running out of gas. The Delphic Expanse plotline has potential, but with Smallville poised to steal their audience, Berman and Braga may have come up with inspiration one season too late.

[> [> [> Thanks, all! -- mamcu, 10:30:30 08/13/03 Wed

Looks like lots of possibities. Since I didn't get to Buffy until the end of S5, I'm treasuring insights from those of you wise enough to find the good shows early. Now if my local channels will just carry these, all will be great...

[> [> [> [> Carnivale -- Tymen, 15:43:05 08/13/03 Wed

A new show coming onto HBO, looks intriguing set in the Dust bowl in 1930's america. About a travelling carnival and those connected to it with supernatural elements.

[> Re: Recommendations needed--new fall TV shows? -- MaeveRigan, 12:09:41 08/12/03 Tue

It really depends on the kind of thing you like, of course. Sadly, there's no one like Joss Whedon, and the only thing he's doing is Angel.

I plan to check out Joan of Arcadia on CBS (there's an extensive preview on the CBS website). TV Guide's Matt Roush likes it, and he's always been a big BtVS/Angel fan, FWIW. Of course, since it's on a major network, that probably means that it will be cancelled about midseason.

Former ME writer/producer David Greenwalt is now executive producer/showrunner for Jake 2.0 on UPN, unfortunately scheduled opposite AtS Wednesdays at 9 p.m. But I guess that's why God made VCRs. Personally, I've given up on The West Wing, so I might tape Angel & watch Jake, at least for a week or two, just to see how it looks.

Other than that, and of course, Eliza D's Tru Calling, which may not last, either, not much promise in the fall schedule. Unless others have suggestions.

[> Re: Recommendations needed--new fall TV shows? -- dmw, 12:30:00 08/12/03 Tue

Here are some of the shows I'm contemplating viewing:

Alias: I started picking up some reruns this summer and it looks good, though I'm quite confused.

Angel: Angel's coming off of its best season ever, but it's changing in the areas which made last season so great: the writing team and the tightly woven episodes. Losing three characters I like for two I have little interest in isn't a recipe for keeping my attention either.

The Dead Zone: This show, which I discovered this summer, is fast becoming my favorite fantasy/horror show on TV.

Gilmore Girls: The bright spot in the Fall schedule, and my favorite show for the past couple of years. It'll be interesting to see how well GG survives the switch to university, but I've heard Paris is back so I'm hopeful.

Tru Calling: Might check it out to see Eliza.

[> [> Re: Recommendations needed--new fall TV shows? -- Ann, 15:05:38 08/12/03 Tue

Alias is excellent! It is my second fav after Buffy. Check out this website to read back episode's guides. It is a somewhat confusing plot line but worth the effort.

For those that watched Firefly there are also episode guides.

[> [> [> Thanks for the site recommendation. -- dmw, 20:02:44 08/12/03 Tue

[> The OC is on tonight! ;) -- ponygirl, 12:44:57 08/12/03 Tue

[> A while back I heard about a new show on the WB . . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:17:24 08/12/03 Tue

It was called "Fearless" and was about a girl who's physically incapable of feeling fear. It sounded interesting, but I'm not sure if it's still on the line up.

NBC's also supposed to be getting a show called "Couplings" that looks pretty funny from the commercials.

[> [> I thought Fearless chickened out.. -- ZachsMind, 14:52:24 08/12/03 Tue

Read somewhere that "Fearless" didn't make it to the fall lineup. Maybe it'll show up as a midseason replacement? Shame though. I mean I agree, the premise sounded like fun.

This fall's "Coupling" on an american network is actually a retread of a BBC comedy by the same name, which is playing presently on some PBS stations. You can also get the DVD of the first season. It's hilarious when BBC does it. The most hilarious thing I've seen from the BBC since Red Dwarf. I fear that prime time U.S. networks are gonna dumb it down and censor parts of it. In the first episode of Coupling on the BBC, the lead ingenue female flashes a breast at her friends. One of the guys finds himself accidently naked in public a lot. I don't see some of the gags making it past network censors. You'd be better off seeing the BBC version. America's version's gonna be a slightly raunchier "Friends" and that's just not what the original version was all about. I bet the only laughter the US Coupling will get's gonna come from the gigaloop.

As for my recommendations for this fall? I plan to order all the Buffy and Angel dvds from and have a marathon in my house. I might check out the pilot of Tru Calling just cuz I like watching Dushku in tight jeans, but the premise hasn't intrigued me - anyone remember Haunted? It sounds like that to me. Actually it sounds like a cross between Haunted and First Edition, neither of which did all that well.

[> [> [> Couplings is funny -- sdev, 15:24:35 08/12/03 Tue

Hysterical. I've yet to see one that did not have me rolling-- an extreme and lascivious battle of the sexes. But I never understood the lack of censorship. I thought the BBC was stricter than US networks about sexual material.

[> [> [> [> Actually it's the opposite... -- ZachsMind, 16:23:16 08/12/03 Tue

Monty Python, back in the 1970s, had occasional nudity. It also dealt with topics considered far too disturbing for american television in the same years. Like cannibalism, or the disposal of dead human bodies. Benny Hill broke the rules even moreso, although in my opinion not quite as effectively.

I mean, they do have censors at the BBC, but I think it's easier to distract them.

[> [> [> [> [> Question -- sdev, 17:54:44 08/12/03 Tue

I thought I had read somewhere that some of the sexual stuff from BtVS was cut out in England. Am I mixing up different networks? Or was this just a bad hallucination?

[> [> [> [> [> [> The UK censorship issue is complicated -- KdS, 03:51:22 08/13/03 Wed

In general, UK terrestrial (two state-owned BBC channels, the commercial ITV and Channel 5, and the state-owned but much more arms-length than the BBC Channel 4), (ie not satellite or cable) television is far more relaxed about sexual (especially homosexual) material than American mainstream networks. Probably HBO is a good analogue. They are a little more restrictive on what can be shown in terms of graphic violence. However, what complicates things is the so-called "nine o'clock watershed", which both terrestrial and satellite/cable channels observe. The essential idea is that anything shown before nine o'clock in the evening must be suitable for children, but after nine you can go farther.

Because BtVS and AtS are considered "fantasy", and hence "for kids", the BBC, which showed BtVS, and Channel 4, which showed the first two seasons of AtS, put them in early evening slots. All the early-evening showings of BtVS on the BBC were heavily censored for sex and violence, in some cases (reportedly including Consequences [whole X/F scene cut], Who Are You [whole R/F scene cut] and Dead Things) doing serious damage to the plot of the eps. There is a detailed and very disturbing article on about the nature and effects of the BBC cuts to Dead Things. After protests from fans, the BBC agreed to reshow all episodes in uncut form in a late-night time slot the night after the cut early-evening broadcast, both for new episodes and reruns.

Channel 4 even more foolishly attempted to show AtS S1 in an early-evening slot, with very severe cuts. However, they were forced to change this when they were reprimanded by the Broadcasting Standards Council (a goverment body which investigates complaints from viewers after broadcast) for showing In the Dark at 5 pm despite cuts which reportedly added up to over ten minutes of footage. Subsequent eps of S1-2 were shown at very late night with zero promotion, albeit uncut. However, UK viewers without satellite TV didn't get to see the early S1 Angel eps uncut until the VHS video release. AtS S3 is currently being shown by Channel 5 in a pre-nine pm timeslot. I am unaware of any cuts.

The Sky One situation is even more complex. New BtVS/AtS eps are shown on the same night, BtVS first. AtS is shown at nine pm, and as far as I know has never been cut. BtVS is shown at eight pm and is hence subject to the nine o'clock watershed. Things get more elastic as you approach the watershed and there was no problem until S6 when cuts started to be made, mainly for horror and violence. Definite cuts which were either reported by fans or personally inferred by me from comparisons with US fan transcripts are:

Bargaining - shot of Buffy's rotted corpse in coffin, and the reverse-decay.

After Life - Anya slashing her own face.

S7 "previously on Buffy" sequences - Warren's flaying routinely cut.

Same Time Same Place - probable cuts to Gnarl skinning Willow and Buffy stabbing Gnarl through the eyes.

Dirty Girls - brief cuts to weapons entering bodies as Caleb kills the potentials, and much longer cut of Caleb blinding Xander (a shot of Caleb's finger in Xander's eye socket was subsequently retained in "previously on" recaps despite having been cut from the original broadcast).

Touched - whole R/F, W/K, X/A sex montage cut from point where music begins until end, including whole tongue piercing business.

To see these, we'll have to wait until the VHS release or the BBC late-night showing.

Somewhat ridiculously, the BSC has reprimanded the BBC for showing The Harsh Light of Day, and both Sky and the BBC for showing Entropy, despite cuts. After the Sky reprimand, the BBC early-evening showing of Entropy was reportedly cut even more, but was still considered too sexy. There were complaints about passionate lesbian kissing and "preparation for sex on a table"...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Censorship is by its very nature ..complicated. -- ZachsMind, 06:19:04 08/13/03 Wed

Not to mention absurd. It's impossible to be objective. What's acceptable one moment, or what might get past censors on any given day may not do so the next. Consistency is elusive. It's one of many reasons why I believe censorship should be considered unethical and inhumane behavior, when for many the opposite appears to be true.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The UK censorship issue is complicated -- MaeveRigan, 10:55:41 08/13/03 Wed

Because BtVS and AtS are considered "fantasy", and hence "for kids", the BBC, which showed BtVS, and Channel 4, which showed the first two seasons of AtS, put them in early evening slots.

Obviously, this assumption that "fantasy is for kids" is the root of the whole UK BtVS/AtS censorship problem. Of course, it's also at the root the lack of respect Buffy has always gotten from many potential viewers who never even give it a chance, and from the Emmys, for example.

AtS has never been scheduled earlier than 9 p.m. in the States (first-run episodes, anyway--looks as if syndicated reruns will be at 5 and 11 p.m.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Angel at 8 -- skeeve, 13:04:54 08/13/03 Wed

AtS was shown at 8 PM in the central time zone.
That would be 9 PM eastern.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> "Coupling" and censorship question -- sdev, 20:51:10 08/13/03 Wed

Thanks for the info. If you are familiar with the show Coupling, is it uncensored beacause it is on late?

[> [> [> [> [> [> So had I. -- Finn Mac Cool, 18:36:12 08/12/03 Tue

From what I heard, the Buffy/Riley sex scene in "The I in Team" was extremely edited for British television. I think it even says so at

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Question -- ZachsMind, 19:02:03 08/12/03 Tue

Oh. Well. The English don't mind sexual stuff when they do it, but they do mind the idea that Americans actually, you know, reproduce. Gives'm the heebie jeebies. =)

[> [> [> Spoilers for "Coupling" commercial . . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:20:48 08/12/03 Tue

Actually, in the commercial, one of main female characters did flash her breasts (with a camera angle blocking them, of course). Make of that what you will.

[> [> [> [> Omigod... -- ZachsMind, 19:05:09 08/12/03 Tue

You mean they are literally stealing the scripts from the original British Coupling to make this American version? Why don't they just rebroadcast the original on network tv? Oh yeah. Right. That darn accent might confuse us Americans. Gah!

[> [> [> [> [> Well, I did say "make of that what you will" -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:46:33 08/12/03 Tue

But that does seem a little cynical. Besides, everyone knows that the original scripts for sitcoms get twisted into totally different creatures after the three dozen writers, seven directors, and six actors get through retooling it so that they like it more. So an exact translation is unlikely, even if they did try to use the same scripts.

[> [> [> [> [> Simply rebroadcasting the British version wouldn't work... -- cjl, 21:02:38 08/12/03 Tue

Mainly because there are only eight episodes per "series" on the BBC, compared to 24 on America's major networks. If NBC broadcast the first three years' worth of the British "Coupling" in American prime time, it would cover exactly one season in the U.S. Extending this to its absurd conclusion, if this strategy produced a smash hit, for season two, they'd have to produce 24 episodes with the British cast for stateside production, then import it back to Britain. I don't even want to think about the weird legalities associated with such a convoluted maneuver.

No, better for the Yanks to keep the format, recast the parts, and use the condensed plot arcs of the British series as a guideline for the expanded U.S. season. NBC did the smart thing and hired "Couplings" creator Stephen Moffat to script the U.S. pilot (which I've heard is a virtual copy of the British pilot) and supervise the writing staff. Once it's safely off the ground, he can then go back to England and write Series Four of the British version. If we're lucky, we'll have two versions of the same series, and both will be funny.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Good to stress the shorter length of UK seasons -- KdS, 03:48:32 08/13/03 Wed

I have heard that a major problem with the proposed US/BBC coproduction of the Giles spin-off is that the BBC wants to make their usual one-hour drama series length of six eps, which by the US approach is too short for a season but too long for a mini-series.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Didn't Steven Spielberg have a 10 part mini-series, though? -- Finn Mac Cool, 11:07:46 08/13/03 Wed

And there was one called "The 10th Kingdom" that went for five segments.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yes! Golden Years -- Arethusa, 12:13:43 08/13/03 Wed

With Keith Szarabajka, btw. But it isn't rerun much (or at all), so a limited series must be hard to sell to syndication.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Bah. King, not Speilberg. -- Arethusa, 12:55:15 08/13/03 Wed

You're talking about Taken, right? Maybe there's more room for limited series now that there are so many cable channels, and they are beginning to realize that the networks' pattern of having new shows in the fall and reruns in the summer leave them vulnerable to channels that put on new programming while others do reruns. Hence The Dead Zone's choice to air new episodes in the spring, not fall.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Golden Years was Stephen King. Taken was Steven Spielberg. -- s'kat, 12:55:52 08/13/03 Wed

Golden Years went for almost 22 episodes and was more of a limited series than min-series. It was both episodic and serialized and a complete subversion of the television formula - since it combined elements of the series with the mini-series. The only reason it got made was Stephen King's popularity. He wrote and produced it. Some famous people lended hands directing it.

Steven Spielberg did two limited series: Taken and one
with Tom Hanks about the Moon and Band of Brothers.

Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Sex in The City is more in keeping with British formula of 6 episodes a year. I think they have anything from 6-13 episodes a year.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks. :) -- Arethusa, 13:27:43 08/13/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> More on HBO seasons... -- Rob, 12:47:09 08/14/03 Thu

Most of HBO's hour-long shows have 13 episode seasons--Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire. Oz had 8 episode seasons, because it cost more to produce, I believe. Sex and the City actually has 19 episode seasons, except they divide them in 2 parts usually...13 episodes in the summer, and 6 episodes in the winter (which they call "Bonus" Episodes every year for some reason!), which, yeah, is really 2 separate seasons a year. Except for last year, where there were only 8 eps all together, b/c of SJP's pregnancy. And Sopranos will be another exception to the rule, in its sixth season. The 5th will be the standard 13 episodes, but the 6th will be only 9 or 10, I believe. And why am I even posting this? Eh, out of a mix of boredom and an obsessive desire to fill in all information where Six Feet Under is concerned. ;o)


[> [> "Fearless" has 2 'Buffy' alumns -- Kate, 17:15:32 08/12/03 Tue

Don't quote me on this, but I think "Fearless" might be a mid-season replacement on the WB. I remember reading a critic's review of the pilot episode so I think it is getting picked up at some point. As for the alumns, both Eric Balfour (Jesse) and Bianca Lawsom (Kendra) are part of the cast (again, if my memory is correct). Does sound like an interesting premise, but the point the reviewer made was how long can the show sustain interest in a lead character who doesn't fear anything? So we'll see.

Before mid-season last year I would've suggested "24," but I couldn't stand it by the end. But maybe the producers & creators smartened up and will learn from last year's mongo mistakes. Though the show is kind of worth it for Kiefer Sutherland and Dennis Haysberth. Plus, D.B. Woodside was just cast in a major role as the president's new chief of staff.

Otherwise I'm in the boat you are...not sure what shows to checkout. Do have to ditto the rec for "Alias." Really great eye candy show with some awesome performances by Victor Garber, Lena Olin and several other supporting cast members. And of course "Angel." (Why-oh-why October 8th?!?! :( lol )

[> [> [> Bianca Lawson as "Harmony"! -- Darby, 09:50:28 08/13/03 Wed

Could she haved played the Buffyverse Harmony?

This is a Jerry Bruckheimer show, and he's the hot producer right now, so I'd expect to see it actually air.

[> [> [> From what I heard, "Fearless" is based on a book series -- Finn Mac Cool, 18:38:26 08/12/03 Tue

I've never read it, but I heard it ran for several dozen issues. So, obviously, it can be done (though that doesn't necessarily mean the WB will).

[> [> [> [> Yep. By Francine Pascal. -- HonorH, 00:06:04 08/13/03 Wed

[> Discovery Channel -- Jay, 20:15:15 08/12/03 Tue

Monday night: Monster House, Monster Garage, and American Chopper. I'm not a fan of network reality tv, but these cable shows kick pansy ass.

[> [> oooh! American Chopper! -- Sheri, 11:54:20 08/13/03 Wed

It's really the interaction between the father and son that makes the show worth watching--that and I'm always LMAO at the screw up kid brother (who in one episode, spent the whole day popping bubble wrap instead of placing the order for a very critical part).

The things they make on Monster Garage can be nifty... but geez, Jesse James can be such a jackass.

Quick thoughts on my re-watching of "Nightmares" -- Q, 15:22:25 08/12/03 Tue

Grade: C+

This episode uses the main plot device, nightmares coming true, as a major exposition device. Through this they are able to give us a little more insight into Buffyís inner feelings, but in a way that isnít strictly literary. Finding out Buffyís fears as well as her guilt surrounding her parents divorce is a major stepping stone in developing her character. Because of this, this is a very important episode. Knowing this, as well as remembering some fore-shadowy details, allowed me to always hold this episode in high regard. Buffyís death and tombstone, Gilesí feelings of inadequacy, and Hank becoming an absentee father who ìgetís nothing out of their weekends togetherî are all aspects hinted at here that became rather important aspects of the show in later seasons.

All of that said, the show plays out better in my memory than it does on the screen when Iím actually watching it. With no real good explanation, all I can say was the scary parts didnít scare me, and the funny parts werenít that funny. Cordeliaís hair scare was good, but not great, and that was about all there was. There were attempts at humor with Willow the opera star, Xander in his boxers, etc, but they all fell flat to me. A non-funny episode should surely be very dark and scary right? Well this one didnít cut it in that area either. A decent story, but it just wasnít infused with the proper energy for my taste.

I wonder if the name ìScooby Gangî came from this episode (I know it was first said in WML). The scene in the hospital with Buffy and Billy de-masking the ugly man, and the whole ìI would have gotten away with it if it werenít for you meddling kidsî like apprehension of the kiddy league coach were eerily similar to every ending I ever saw of a certain cartoon.

Where is Sunnydale? -- HonorH, 16:11:50 08/12/03 Tue

A discussion on another board prompts the question of where Sunnydale is, according to canon. Anybody have any clues?

[> Re: Where is Sunnydale? -- Valheru, 22:54:36 08/12/03 Tue

As everyone else has pointed out, Santa Barbara is the rough model/location of Sunnydale. Some more locational tidbits:

1) Oz and Dingoes go to a gig in Monterey before Doppelgangland. The gig was on Sunday, but Oz indicates that a school day was missed ("Didn't figure you for missing school," he tells Willow), probably Monday. He also says that they got back very late at night. So Monterey is far enough away to discourage day-trips.

2) Spike and Andrew obviously spent a long time on the road to Gilroy and they had to spend the night in the church. Gilroy is about 1 to 1 1/2 hours north of Monterey.

3) Los Angeles is only two hours away, referenced a couple of times.

4) Sunnydale has a lost mission (seen in Pangs). The California missions are roughly a day's ride by wagon train apart from one another, and most are in seaside towns (the furthest from the ocean, San Juan Bautista, is still only 30 miles or so), although some of the "seaside" missions aren't exactly touching the waves (San Luis Rey in Oceanside is nearly 10 miles away from the beach). If Sunnydale is anything like the real missions, then given that there aren't any gaps in the day's-ride-distance between the standing missions, Sunnydale's must be a stand-in for one of the others. So if it's in the general Santa Barbara location, it could be any of the following towns (from south to north):

Ventura - Mission San Buenaventura
Santa Barbara - Mission Santa Barbara
Solvang - Mission Santa Ines
Lompoc - Mission La Purisima Concepcion
San Luis Obispo - Mission San Luis Obispo

Any further south and you're practically in L.A., and any further north and you're sniffing at Big Sur.

Personally, I think heywhynot is right: Sunnydale is as vague a location as Metropolis or Gotham or Springfield. Although the DC Comics connection could have some merit--Coast City, former home of Green Lantern, was alternately a smallish city and a metropolis, depending on the writers' needs, until it was finally turned into a giant hole in the ground...

[> [> Re: Where is Sunnydale? -- carniriel, 05:15:20 08/13/03 Wed

i haven't read this forum for ages cos I've been spoiler avoiding but now it's summer so I don't care.
re: location
Santa Barbara has been used for long shots of the town I think, the one I remember particularly is in "Nightmares" with the bees. I've been there and I have a postcard of the view from the Court House (I think), it's exactly the same.
Plus in one of the S3 episodes when the mayor is planning the ascension, there's a big map on the wall of his office. It's definitely of that particular bit of socal...
I also went to the clifftop park in Santa Monica by the pier, but I never found the archway in the hedge...

[> I always thought the whole Whedon universe just an alternate reality away from ours. -- WickedHeavily-Influenced-by-The-DarkTower-right-now, 09:11:48 08/13/03 Wed

[> [> Cool! I just finished reading the fourth Dark Tower book in preparation for the new ones! -- Rob, 12:53:05 08/14/03 Thu

[> Two hours north of L.A. -- Scroll, 16:22:42 08/12/03 Tue

"Two hours on the freeway from Neiman Marcus?" Buffy to Giles, from WttH, I think. I'm not sure about miles and "two hours on the freeway" and I'm too lazy to look it up, but I think we can assume Sunnydale is geographically the same as Santa Barbara. Feel free to contradict this, however. I can't really remember where I got this from.

[> [> Attempts to find documentation... -- ZachsMind, 18:34:59 08/12/03 Tue

All Things Philosophical quotes Joss as having said Sunnydale is near Santa Barbara.

Of course, elsewhere on that same page Masquerade dismisses a theory I like playing with, regarding how what we've experienced on BtVS can be explained through the use of multiple alternate quantum realities. Despite this descrepancy, I acknowledge ATPOBTVS a dependable source of information. *smirk*

Also from the archives of ATOPBTVS, Eric Lehmann postulated that Santa Barbara in our universe IS Sunnydale in Buffy's universe.

Wikipedia claims that "Sunnydale is 'located' ambiguously between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara." Little Willow over at Tripod quote Joss Whedon once saying, "Sunnydale is in fact near Santa Barbara." Ooh. Also interesting. On that same page Whedon (allegedly) explained once that Faith is from Boston cuz Dushku is from Boston - thus avoiding the accent trouble that befell Kendra. Dr. J. Gordon Melton, Director for the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara California. admits that Sunnydale is "a small California city that bears a remarkable resemblance to Santa Barbara." However, this may have simply been wishful thinking on his part. I've done a search at the Buffyverse Dialogue Database and Santa Barbara doesn't show, meaning they've never referred to that city in the show, but still it may not be canonical to assume Sunnydale literally replaces Santa Barbara geographically in the Buffyverse. By the way, Santa CLAUS was mentioned on the show about seven times, and he's not real either.

It's difficult to say. We do know that Sunnydale, like Santa Barbara, is a coastal city, although we rarely saw the beach. There was one time in season one where Xander almost became a human fish. His fellow school mates in the swimming team did turn, and were last seen in the Pacific off the coast of California. However, except for a couple other times, almost always the town did seem landlocked. I mean Buffy was rarely ever within eyeshot of the ocean herself. Didn't they go to the beach once in season five? Maybe that's just my brain playing tricks with me. Anya, Tara, Willow and Buffy in bikinis.. Mmmmmm... *shakes head* where was I?

Of course, 1630 Revello Drive is Buffy's address, and there is no such thing in Santa Barbara. Indeed, I can't find a street named Revello anywhere in California. So maybe that basically means you can put Sunnydale anywhere you want. =)

[> [> [> Re: Attempts to find documentation... -- Claudia, 09:27:34 08/13/03 Wed

Judging from the fact that Sunnydale is near a beach and two hours north of Los Angeles (in good traffic), I can only guess that it is located in Santa Barbara County, just north of Santa Barbara.

[> [> [> beaches -- Ace_of_Sevens, 02:22:04 08/14/03 Thu

While we din't see the beach much, Sunnydale also has a harbor where people went several times. Most notably in Surprise and Consequences.

[> [> [> Re: Attempts to find documentation... -- heywhynot, 19:15:55 08/12/03 Tue

Yep you have the beach at the begining of season 5. The gang is bbqing on the beach then a freak summer rainstorm occurs (they are rare in CA especially in the Southern half). Dracula's castle is overlooking the ocean as well. The temple Willow raises at the end of season 6 also overlooks the ocean.

We do know it is south of Gilroy but it is kinda given that Sunnydale was not near the Bay Area.

Sunnydale is a fictional town. It is like Metreopolis, Gotham City, etc. All we are going to get is a general sense of where it is in relation to the real world never exactly where it is because the writers give themselves wiggle room.

[> Santa Barbara -- dub ;o), 16:23:00 08/12/03 Tue

Again, Rufus has the exact reference, but Joss has been quoted as saying that Sunnydale is actually Santa Barbara.


[> Re: Where is Sunnydale? -- Sheri, 16:41:52 08/12/03 Tue

I know a lot of people say it's modeled after Santa Barbara... but judging from the area surrounding that big hunkin' crater in Chosen, I'd say it's far more inland.

So, it's a typical California suburb: a green little oasis sitting smack dab in the middle of the dessert. Geographically speaking, we know that it's within reasonable driving/bicycling(?) distance from the beach. It also has it's own small airport, which would indicate that it is inconveniently located away from the closest major city, but is large enough in it's own right to warrant an airport. Business are slow to come to the area (only one Starbucks! Has the world gone mad?), though it does have a fairly generic shopping mall. The invention of UCSunnydale doesn't have to mean that the city is well established; the newest UC campus (in RL) to open is smack dab in the middle of nowhere (I think having enough land is more of an issue than the popularity of the city). I can't seem to recall whether characters say they are going "up to" or "down to" Los Angeles, but that would offer another possible clue.

So--keep in mind that there really isn't squat available in the canon to officially confirm any of this--I would place Sunnydale somewhere in between Santa Barbara and some really hick towns farther inland.

[> [> Re: Where is Sunnydale? -- Kate, 17:04:10 08/12/03 Tue

Just adding on to the logical explanations above.... I don't have any nice quotes, but I'm pretty sure for the first couple of seasons Sunnydale is south of L.A., but by season 4 (I think) and season 1 of A:ts, things switch and Sunnydale is then north of L.A. But it was always a couple of hours from L.A., whether north or south. I would definitely think north though in order to even slightly justify the "cold" weather they would get and need those heavy sweaters and jackets for. lol

[> [> Re: Where is Sunnydale? -- heywhynot, 17:38:19 08/12/03 Tue

The crater scene in Chosen kinda messed things up didn't it? What do we know about Sunnydale?

It has a small college (a liberal arts college?)
A full fledged UC campus
A mall
Close enough to a beach that a day trip is easy, and Xander can get to WIllow before she can destroy the world and you can see Dracula's castle easily.
Within a day's drive of the desert (mojave to be exact since you see Joshua Trees, which grow only in the mojave but not in the Colorado desert), implying Sunnydale is north of LA. Further south and more likely one would drive to the colorado desert, not the mojave.
Based on Chosen, doesn't appear there are towns nearby Sunnydale
Close enough to LA that it is an easy day's drive but not too close (hence the small airport)
It has a military base (along with the secret one seen in season 4)

Santa Barbara would fit. Its population is about 90,000 (SB county pop is aorund 400,000). It would be expected Sunnydale would have more to do for teens/young adults besides go to the Bronze given that population size & having two colleges & an army base, so probably Sunnydale was smaller. At best the SB geographic area would fit.

[> [> [> I always assumed they were basing it on Sunnyvale,CA - westerly Silicon Valley. It fits. -- Briar Rose, 01:35:38 08/13/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> Too far north -- heywhynot, 06:47:41 08/13/03 Wed

Silicon Valley is north of Gilroy and we know Sunnydale is south of Gilroy. Plus Sunnydale does not have that type of vibe. The culture is a little too conservative to be Santa Cruzesque. Plus the distance to LA is way too great if you are driving up the coast. I would place Sunnydale anywhere between San Luis Opispo (which would fit the not being right on the coast and having a major public university, Cal Poly SLO though little far north for my liking) and Santa Barbara . SB fits nicely, because it is a reasonable drive to LA along the coast, it has a UC campus, a small airport (though I would suspect when we saw Giles leave in season 6, it was from LAX), a town that is sizeable enough to have a mall and its "metro" area is spread out over a relatively large county.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Sunnyvale -- carniriel, 08:10:15 08/13/03 Wed

I go to conferences where there are people from Sunnyvale, CA, (usually from a microengineering company called Cepheid) and I always do a doubletake when I catch sight of their namebadges!
No demons yet though....

Tara vs D'Hoffryn --
JBone, 20:05:03 08/12/03 Tue

I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing.

I'm a wee bit tired, so I doubt you'll see results up for yesterday, tonight. It was a pretty decent blowout anyway. Post comments at the voting site, here, or email them to me. Enjoy.

[> Yesterday's results -- Jay, 17:48:56 08/13/03 Wed


[> [> Today's results -- Jay, 19:57:29 08/13/03 Wed


[> Re: Tara vs D'Hoffryn -- Alison, 20:10:13 08/12/03 Tue

This match is class vs. sleaze. And I have to go with class everytime. D'Hoffryn couldn't corrupt Tara or convince her to use her magic for vengence...and that's really all he's good for.

[> [> i don't vote in these things, but i gotta point something out -- anom, 23:38:33 08/13/03 Wed

"D'Hoffryn couldn't corrupt Tara or convince her to use her magic for vengence...and that's really all he's good for."

Alison's right. Can d'Hoffryn do anything outside the context of his vengeance demon stable? He can add to it by convincing women to let him turn them into vengeance demons...but only if they agree to it. All Willow had to do was say she wasn't interested. Tara wouldn't even do anything that would get d'Hoffryn's attention. d'Hoffryn was able to bring dead frat boys back to life...but only because their deaths were caused by one of his vengeance demons (presumably meaning he can reverse the results of their actions). He can summon his vengeance demons (& candidates) without their consent or prior knowledge, & he can destroy them with a gesture...but the only power he has seems to be the power he holds over them. Have we ever seen any evidence that he can affect the world directly rather than through their wish granting, which itself depends on having a human make the right wish?

Unless Tara just happens to be killed as a result of the way someone phrases a wish--more of an accident than a victory on d'Hoffryn's part--the only way he can defeat her is to get her onto his turf. And she's not going to set foot there.

[> Believe it or not, I think this is a toss-up. -- cjl, 20:41:29 08/12/03 Tue

Of course, Tara is the Buffyverse's first saint, and D'Hoffryn is a sleaze. But on the Road to the Apocalypse, I'm judging the participants on four main factors: physical/paranormal power, psychological toughness, multi-dimensionality as a character, and fan appeal. D'Hoffryn's the embodiment of an eternal, unfathomably powerful abstract concept, and Tara is a moderately powerful mortal witch. On psychological toughness, the Vengeance Lord has been tempting and manipulating human females for thousands of years (and the best Tara could hope for is a draw). Multi-dimensionality? D'Hoffyrn is both a nightmarish abomination from the pits, a sleazy demonic flesh merchant, and a perverse father figure to his "girls," with a wicked cool sense of humor. But Tara is so sweet and pretty. And Amber Benson has such a beautiful voice. (Never heard Andy Umberger sing.) And I loved her snarkage during OAFA. ("A cramp--in your pants?") Willow and Tara were such an adorable couple...Oh, bugger. I'm voting for D'Hoffryn, but I'm not-so-secretly hoping he loses. (Grrrr...)

[> [> The clincher for me... -- ZachsMind, 20:53:37 08/12/03 Tue

I agree that it's close on the criteria you explained, but I added one more factor: common sense wisdom.

D'Hoffryn operates in what I would determine to be old-fashioned ways. He doesn't quite act as if things can change. He admits openly that times have changed and he rolls with those changes throughout history. However, there are some things he steadfastly and stubbornly insists remain constant. When Anya wanted to leave his little vengeance demoness cartel, he sacrificed Anya's only friend within their 'gang' in order to allow it. This hurt him as much as her, though he wouldn't readily admit it. However, someone had to die, and he didn't want it to be Anya cuz you don't go for the dead when you can go for the pain. Some things, he insists, never change.

Whereas Tara's precisely the opposite. She's able to cope with change. Her whole life was ever changing, and even when she had to say goodbye to Willow, she didn't stagnate. She moved on with her life. And she wasn't so closed minded as to keep the door closed between herself and Willow. She saw Willow honestly trying to better herself, and with these changes in variables, Tara more quickly adapted.

I submit that Tara has the fortitude to adapt to situations more quickly than D'Hoffryn. He might be able to gain points early in a battle with her, but Tara would adapt to his attacks, change her tactics, and win in the end. Cuz she's just smarter and more adaptive than he is on a common sense level.

Besides, if the issue was a matter of Tara and D'Hoffryn fighting over Willow? I would like to think Tara would never give up.

[> [> [> I agree with Zach.. -- jane, 22:39:02 08/12/03 Tue

my thoughts,too, but you said it way better. Besides, Tara would confuse the hell out of D'Hoffryn with all those little light bugs she'd conjure up. While he was swatting at them, she'd put the wicca whammy on him. Tara wins!

[> I'm going to do something marginally unpopular... -- ApOpHiS, 21:09:50 08/12/03 Tue

and vote for D'Hoffryn. I know, I know: Tara McClay, first canonized saint of the Jossverse, perfect Earth Mother bodhisattva, et cetera. I'm risking massive shock and damage for saying this, but the more I think about Tara's character, the blander she becomes. There were a few moments where she showed some actual depth; that comment she made about Warren's first robot girlfriend, her desperate attempts to disguise her "demonic" nature. Nothing ever came of any of this, though; she always reverted back to the perfect Wiccan posterchild everyone loved. D'Hoffryn, on the other hand, had a personality. He was a pimp, a warlord, a fatherfigure, and agent of karma all rolled in one. You knew he was vile, manipulative, cruel, and evil, yet you couldn't help but like him. And don't say Tara was incorruptible; remember season 4/5, when she messed up Willow's demon finding spell and rendered everyone blind to demons in order to hide the "fact" that she was a demon herself? She endangered her friends and lover (not to mention all the people killed by demons the Scoobies couldn't stop while they were cleaning up her messes) because she was trying to hide something about herself that she "knew" was bad. Being on such a high pedestal just means it will hurt more when she falls...

[> [> Exactly. In fact, I've worked for a few D'Hoffryn's in my life. -- WickedBuffy, 08:48:04 08/13/03 Wed

[> [> Re: I'm going to do something marginally unpopular... -- Alison, 21:15:26 08/12/03 Tue

But thats the thing...she grew past the point of using magic for selfish purposes. She knew from experience that if you used magic irresponsibly, you dealt with the often painful results. She left Willow for that reason- and in doing that proved her strenth. She grew...just not in a flamboyant way. Tara was subtle, but that doesn't mean she wasn't strong. She had a strong sense of self, and when shown a little love she proved that one person can keep a whole group afloat. Can you imagine the scoobs in S6 without Tara? They would have self destructed far, far sooner.But she wasn't a saint, she was person with the same flaws and insecurties all people have, she just handled them better.

[> Tara -- HonorH, 21:11:37 08/12/03 Tue

D'Hoffryn was an extremely kewl demon lord. He seemed so nice--but then turned out to have this really nasty side, and it *worked* as a shocker. However, it comes down to a test of woman power: while D'Hoffryn sold the fake kind as Pimp Daddy to the Vengeance Demons, Tara was the real thing--the quiet, beautiful strength of womankind. So my vote goes to Tara.

[> There can be only one . . . -- d'Herblay, 21:30:14 08/12/03 Tue

. . . d'H referred to on this buffyboard. Therefore, I am voting for Tara; now we can set all discussion of that parvenu behind us. I believe this is the shallowest reason I have ever given for a vote in this contest, and I am someone who routinely favors the actress in the shortest, tightest costume.

Some S7 questions for you all (spoilers S7) -- Maura, 21:18:01 08/12/03 Tue

Still working on my essay, Iíve got a couple of questions (3 actually) on the end of S7 that Iíd like to throw out there to make sure Iím not going to be really embarrassed when I miss the obvious.

1. That message of the season that Joss called ìalmost didactic in its clarityî -- Iím thinking the message is that itís good to spread the feminist empowerment because a) it empowers individuals to fulfill their potential and b) more good can be accomplished when people donít have to work alone but can reinforce each otherís power. Have I got it or...?

2. How was Buffyís plan in ìChosenî supposed to work?

Thereís pretty strong textual evidence that they had no idea the amulet would end up being central to their victory. Ex. Right before the amulet takes effect, Spike says:

Buffy! Whatever this thing does, I think it'só

(from transcript)

suggesting that he doesnít know what itís supposed to do, and if Buffy did, youíd think sheíd have told him.

Okay, so assuming that as far as Buffy knew, the amulet might be ìvery powerfulî in a less dramatic way -- say, it gave Spike the strength of 10 vampires or something -- how was the main plan -- the slayer activation -- supposed to defeat the Uber-vamps?

3. Where, if anywhere, are we told that the scythe is central to the slayer activation spell? Are we ever told *how* itís central (if so where?), i.e. does it catalyze the spell? does it contain the power? or...?

Insights much appreciated!

[> Response to question Number 2 (because I think I'm one of the few that won't just say "Plot hole!") -- Finn Mac Cool, 22:46:00 08/12/03 Tue

I think the Slayer activation plan was just like it seemed: go into the Turok-Hans' world, activate all the potentials, and kick some vampire ass. Granted, it didn't seem to be working too well until the amulet kicked in. However, there are two explanations for that:

1) Buffy wasn't counting fighting the Turok-Han head to head. Rather, she was banking on running across small groups of Turok-Han at a time and taking them down. With roughly 30 Slayers and a Scythe that, seemingly, gives a Slayer extra abilities, this would work very well. Circumstances were just against them.

2) There was really nothing else to do. If they waited longer and longer trying to come up with a plan, the First's army would just grow bigger. As Buffy said, she didn't want the First Evil to choose its own time for an attack. She wanted to force the battle, catch it when it wasn't at its strongest. Their previous efforts to find a weakness in the First had simply given it more time to get stronger and pick them off one by one. While their crew of Slayers beating the Turok-Han army was something of a long shot, it was pretty much the best chance they had.

[> Re: Some S7 questions for you all (spoilers S7) -- heywhynot, 07:01:24 08/13/03 Wed

I am all with Finn Mac Cool regarding question 2 & basically yep for your question 1. I would add to question 2, that Buffy had one of her 6th Sense moments as well that have been shown throughout the show. I mean her blood taking the place of Dawn's was taking a huge risk to reseal the barrier between dimensions. Just like she also knew that there was something at the vineyard that the First was protecting that belonged to her. Buffy along with Adam could tell the universe was not right in Superstar and regarding Dawn being there. Buffy is in-tune with the universe in ways none of her friends were. Just got to have faith in here, which is what the SG and the SiTs did have in her and themselves regarding the final battle. Plus as Finn said, if not now then when? When the First was ready and had its army at max strength and Buffy's army was even weaker?

As to question 3, it was never spelled out that the Scythe will be central to the activation plan. From Buffy we are told it is more than a weapon and both Buffy & Faith feel something when they touch it that no one else can feel . Plus the Guardian hinted it had greater potential. Makes one wonder what the First wanted to do with it. Maybe use it to spread to activate a world of Caleb's?

[> Thanks for the insights, guys! This is really helpful:) -- Maura, 16:23:50 08/13/03 Wed

Dracula anyone? Book Melee -- sdev, 01:47:40 08/13/03 Wed

Dracula or Sex in the Suburbs

Dracula takes existing folklore and previous vampire stories and books and creates a new legend to suit its time and place, turn of the century England. Of particular focus is the theme of sexual repression, voyeurism, and idealized male bonding, a kind of backlash against the birth of the new modern, less dependent woman. Also prominent in the novel is the new Freudian concepts of the subconscious and its revelation in the hypnotic state. The themes of xenophobia, religion pitted against science and the secular, and the supremacy of the intellect over the animal state, are all explored and represent fear and anxiety over the coming changes of the new millennium.

Count Dracula and vampires represent sexuality run amok, sexuality that must be reined in and suppressed, sexuality that poses a mortal hazard to our very existence as human beings. That the entire novel is in epistolary form, from the human point of view only, controls the vampire sexuality internally within the form. The only character with inside knowledge as to how and what makes vampires tick, who informs everyone of their all too real existence, is Dr. Van Helsing. He also has no voice in the book till the very end. This also works to limit reader knowledge and enhance suspense. So the picture of sexuality we receive is the repressed Victorian, middle-class one of Jonathon Harker, Mina Harker and Dr.Seward.

Our first glimpse of the overwrought sexuality of vampires is when Jonathon Harker is trapped in castle Dracula and is roaming looking for a means of escape. He accidentally encounters the three female vampires who are described by their physical appearance, visible by moonlight, two dark-haired one fair-haired,

All three had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. (Ch.3)

Of them he says,

There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips. (Ch. 3)

The two women in the novel, Lucy Westenra and Mina Harker, are not described by their physical attributes until their chastity is brought into question by coming under the seduction and feeding of the Count. Then they are described in a similar fashion to the vampire women. When Mina first discovers Lucy outside in her sleepwalking encounter with the Count she says,

the moonlight struck so brilliantly that I could see Lucy half reclining with her head lying over the back of the seatÖHer lips were parted, and she was breathing--not softly as is usual with her, but in long heavy gasps (Ch. 8)

Lucy's state of dress is described as dishabille, in a nightdress and no shoes, the antithesis of Victorian propriety.

In contrast when not under vampiric influence Lucy is described as pale, soft, child-like and breathing softly. All gestures and touches between Lucy and men are then of a different platonic and non-sexual quality as compared to the way Lucy reached for Arthur in the cemetery scene before they decapitated her.

She still advanced, however, and with a languorous, voluptuous grace said: Come to me, Arthur. Leave these others and come to me. My arms are hungry for you. (Ch. 16)

The bedroom scene when the Count is found both feeding on Mina's blood and forcing her to drink his blood while her husband lies helpless on the other bed is tinged with voyeuristic imagination. For one thing three men burst into a husband and wife's bedroom unannounced in the middle of the night. Second, they walked in on a virtual mÈnage et trois with the husband, Jonathon, as the voyeur. This is the scene they barged into:

On the bed beside the window lay Jonathon Harker, his face flushed and breathing heavily as though in a stupor. Kneeling on the near edge of the bed facing outwards was the white clad figure of his wife. By her side stood a tall, thin man, clad in blackÖ With his left hand he held both Mrs. Harker's hands, keeping them away with her arms at full tension; his right arm gripped her by the back of the neck, forcing her face down on his bosom. (Ch. 21)

This type of look at women's sexuality creates a great disparity with the picture given of the other Mina Harker, all business, modernly efficient, organized, helpmate to her lawyer husband. She begins as a core and vital member of the team. It is Mina who organizes everyone's notes and diaries into a coherent and invaluable journal. She learns how to operate Dr. Seward's phonograph and transcribes everyone's handwritten notes and letters into a typewritten manuscript with duplicate copies. She knows all the train schedules and organizes their various trips. She also provides the spiritual basis of the group and their motivational glue-- saving her from a fate of eternal and damned unlife.

The new woman, embodied in Mina Harker, is frighteningly self-sufficient by Victorian standards. She makes trips by train alone to see Dr. Van Helsing and then Dr. Seward. She travels and stays without her husband at Dr. Seward's sanatorium. She has a trade and can support herself as a secretary.

In short, this new and compelling, enfranchised being, formerly so dependent in every way, cannot be allowed to go unfettered. Her very independence is a threat to the status quo that has always existed. She is a danger to herself and society at large. The vampire women are a glimpse of the next step that must follow women's economic and emotional independence--the step by women into uncontrolled and seductive sexuality that is ultimately damning, that puts all men and society at risk. It is interesting that Lucy's victims were children. This uninhibited monstrous caricature of woman threatens the mother role. Thus society's core need to procreate and care for its young is at stake. Lucy died as a result of unbridled sexuality and before it takes its next victim, Mina, it must be curtailed.

In the end Mina's movements must be observed and restricted. She is no longer taken into consultations as to strategy and planning. Perforce she must be left out of the loop because of her connection to the Count. She is physically debilitated and by the end does not eat and sleeps all the time. She is surrounded by virile hunters with weapons who are sworn to protect her, literally, if need be, from herself. Mina and what she represents, and what her future portends to the Victorian consciousness rounding the century, is subsumed by the end.

The instrument of her metamorphosis and subjugation, and of the defeat of Count Dracula, is the core four men, Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, Lord Arthur and the American Mr. Morris. The idealized male bonding of these men, how they worked together seamlessly sharing work and responsibility, with a singularity of purpose and understanding, and cash, I might add, was the key to their success. This idealized male bonding is the antithesis and answer to the dilemma and threat posed by the modern independent woman.

In addition it is worth noting that the core four brought about the defeat of Count Dracula without any superpowers. The defeat was engineered through a combination of forces. Superior intellect and focus, science and technology as well as religion and old folklore were all utilized to their maximum potential to overcome the animal state represented by the vampire. The vampires had only physical, animal powers on their side. The Count's primitivism and isolation was no match for the combination of mental, spiritual and technological skills the core four brought to bear.

The two doctors of medicine and a lawyer provided the superior intellect. Science was utilized in surgical skills and transfusions, and most importantly, in the latest science of Dr. Freud, accessing the subconscious and dream states through hypnosis. The very concept that dreams contained anything of value and reality was revolutionary. Technology was glorified as well in the modern trains and steamboats, phonograph dictation and typewriters. Yet the reliance on old Catholic religious practices, the sacrament, and the crucifix is also present. Dr. Van Helsing relies heavily on folklore. In fact, it is his only source of information on vampires. Interestingly he is the oldest member, by far, of the core four. He is the old leading the young into the new millennium. The book reaches its solution through incorporating what it considers the best of the old and the new. Neither needs to be wholly discarded. The successful defeat of Count Dracula acted to dispell the fears of the fin de siecle and the fears of the changes it portended.


Dracula was one of several novels that defined a distinctive fin de siecle historical moment. It was written in 1897. Some others that also defined it were Wilde's Dorian Gray, Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde, and Hardy's Jude the Obscure.

[> Bram Stoker and the Man Who Would Be Dracula -- s'kat, 07:59:08 08/13/03 Wed

I haven't made it through the book yet, but thought I'd contribute something I recently learned about it that might be interesting.

Here's a brief biographical sketch on Bram Stoker that I goggled:

"Bram (Abraham) Stoker was born November 8, 1847 in Dublin, Ireland. His father was a civil servant and his mother was a charity worker and writer. Stoker was a sickly child and spent a lot of time in bed. Growing up his mother told him a lot of horror stories. Stoker studied Math at Trinity College Dublin and he graduated in 1867. After graduation he became a civil servant. At this time, he also worked as a free lance journalist, a drama critic and editor of the "Evening Mail". In 1876 he met Sir Henry Irving, a famous actor. Stoker accepted a job as a personal secretary to Irving and went to England in 1878. Before he left Ireland he published his first book "The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland" in 1878. While working for Irving he met an aspiring actress named Florence Balcombe. They were married 1878 and had one son, Noel, born 1879. In England he also began writing a series of novels and short stories the first of which was "The Snake's Pass". Although best known for "Dracula", Stoker wrote eighteen books before he died in 1912. Stoker died at the age of 64 of exhaustion."

And here's information on a non-fiction biography of Bram Stoker that I took from Barnes and Noble.
"Bram Stoker and the Man Who Was Dracula: A Biography Of The Author Of Dracula
From the Publisher
New in paperback: The story of the mind behind the monster (and the monster within the mind)-a tale of obsession and hero worship in Victorian England.ìWhat a splendid subject to sink one's teeth into,î raved the Washington Post. Here was a six-foot-two Irishman with a red beard-a Victorian family man, a spirited debater, and the author of novels and short stories largely forgotten today. All, of course, except for Dracula, which has enjoyed countless stage and screen incarnations and transformations and haunted the dreams of many generations. Bram Stoker lived at the very center of late-Victorian social and artistic life and numbered among his friends Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Whistler, Gladstone, and Tennyson. But it was his relationship with the mesmerizing, domineering actor Henry Irving that may have played the most crucial role in Stoker's life-a real-life monster who ultimately led to Stoker's most famous creation. In this book that the Baltimore Sun called ìsuperb,î Barbara Belford draws on unpublished archival material to reveal the links between the reticent author's life, his vampire tale, and the political, occult, cultural, and sexual background of the 1890's. Author Biography: Barbara Belford has written several biographies on Victorian literary figures, including Violet Hunt and Oscar Wilde. A professor emeritus at Columbia University, she lives in New York City. "

Bram Stoker based the character of Dracula on a particularly evil boss he'd had. A well-known actor. Dracula is in many ways Stoker's way of commenting on fame
and how we adore celebrities. Interesting. Have we changed much from the ancient Victorians? Or do we also stick to celebrities like people in the thrall of a vampire? Is Stoker's vampire, Dracula, a metaphor for how stars such as SMG, JM, DB, Tom Cruise affect fans? And how does this relate to MArti Noxon's use of the character in BTVS? (Dracula appeared as a celebrity in BTVS S5 after all.)

Hope that adds something. Gotta run, appt., no time to fine tune.


[> [> Re: Bram Stoker and the Man Who Would Be Dracula -- sdev, 15:43:12 08/17/03 Sun

One of the predecessor's to this book was Polidori's Vampyre. Polidori was Byronís physician and it is universally accepted that Polidoriís vampire is based on Byron. So there is a history for the literary vamping of famous, charismatic, and notorious men, as you said about Dracula and Irving.

I took a look at a review of Barbara Belford's book on Dracula which you mentioned. It says:

Belford reads the characters of Dracula in terms of Tarot cards, taking Harker as ëThe Foolí, Van Helsing as ëThe Magicianí, Mina as ëThe Empressí, Lucy and Arthur as ëThe Loversí, Seward as ëThe Hermití, Dracula as ëThe Devilí, and Quincey Morris as ëThe Hanged Maní

I thought that was interesting but I know nothing about Tarot Cards. Anyone who does, please jump in.

[> Great analysis! -- ponygirl, 11:15:12 08/13/03 Wed

Not much to add right now, but I really liked your take on the unease with female sexuality that informs the book. As I recall from studying the book in school the fear of syphilis was also considered to be one of the influences as well. The linking of sex and disease gives the book much of its horror, and was certainly something that later authors, Anne Rice in particular, dealt with more fully in vampire fiction.

[> [> Re: Great analysis! -- btvsk8, 15:22:32 08/13/03 Wed

I read the book very recently and consciously kept the Buffyverse in mind as I did so. A few unconnected things jumped out at me:

Firstly I found it interesting that it was such a socially conservative novel, especially with regard to gender dynamics. Of course this is in direct contrast to Buffy. However, and I realise this was not the way the book was intended to be interpreted, I did see Mina Harker as a kind of proto-slayer. She did get stuck in there with the Drac hunting after all.

Secondly this quote jumped out at me- One of the three Vampire women says to Dracula: "'You yourself never loved; you never love!'... and The Count turned, after looking at my face attentively, and said in a soft whisper: 'Yes, I too can love; you yourselves can tell it from the past'" It made me think of Drucilla's line in Crush where she confirms the ability of souless Vamps to love "if not wisely".

It was only after reading the novel that I realise that Xander's role in Buffy vs Dracula is a sort of parody of the character of the mental patient Renfield. He is in an institution and is under Dracula's thrall or control. He tries to consume as much life as possible by eating flies or by feeding flies to spiders and spiders to birds and then eating the birds. Hence Xander's bug-eating. Both also use the biblical quote "Blood is life" (this passage is the reason Jehovah's witnesses don't allow blood transfusions btw). Both also call Dracula 'Master'.

Sorry this is all so disconnected and waffly. It is just what I can remember thinking while reading the book off the top of my head.

Any other connections between Buffy/ BuffyvsDrac and the novel? I'd love to hear...

[> [> [> Good point -- Anneth, 15:54:11 08/13/03 Wed

It was only after reading the novel that I realise that Xander's role in Buffy vs Dracula is a sort of parody of the character of the mental patient Renfield... Both also use the biblical quote "Blood is life" (this passage is the reason Jehovah's witnesses don't allow blood transfusions btw).

This is a great observation, considering how important the idea of blood becomes thematically, symbolically, and metaphorically to S5. A few examples that immediately spring to mind are: Dawn cutting herself and asking "am I real? Is this blood real?," Glory's use of Dawn's blood to open the portal, Buffy's realization that "the monks made [Dawn] out of me" and therefore Buffy's blood could open and close the portal as well as Dawn's, leading to Buffy's sacrifice, and the Xander/Spike exchange in "The Gift" ( transcripts)

From "B vs. D":

XANDER: Well. That *is* intimate. Dracula's gifting these ladies with his own blood. And blood -- (He notices a spider on the desk next to him, glances around to see if anyone's looking) Blood is life.

From "The Gift":

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.

So, the quote from Dracula ends up bookending the entire season. Pretty nifty.

[> [> [> [> thanks for expanding and clarifying better than i could myself! -- btvsk8, 15:55:50 08/13/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> Cool! -- Rob, saving for future annotations, 18:27:33 08/13/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> Great eye for important detail! -- mamcu, 08:09:24 08/15/03 Fri

[> [> [> Powers and weaknesses of vampires in BtVS and Dracula -- sdev, 17:14:12 08/13/03 Wed

Would be a good line of comparison. I wrote up a list but ran out of steam. Then it could be interesting to align form with function.

[> [> [> [> A List of powers, weaknesses, and motivations of vampires in Dracula -- sdev, 21:11:28 08/13/03 Wed


Control rats, wolves, bats
Control fog, storm
Can shape shift- change to mist, whirling specks, a bat, a wolf
Enter or exit sealed places
Extraordinary Strength (20 men)
Sharp teeth
Red eyes
White skin
Can regain youthful appearance
Become more powerful with age
Powerful human=powerful vampire
Women become voluptuous in appearance
Women become sexual predators
Sensed by animals
No shadow
No reflection
Mind connection with victims
Bitten victims become vampires at death, (must also feed on vampires? not clear)

Must return to special home earth
Canít cross running water of own volition unless high or low tide
Canít change shape except at sunrise, sunset, or noon
Crucifix, Holy Water, Sacred wafer- the Host (Sacrament of the Eucharist), garlic repels
Wild rose bars coffin entrance
Lose powers in daytime
Must be invited in
Decapitation kills
Wooden stake through heart kills
Sacred bullet in coffin kills

To feed
To create race of vampires
To take revenge

Please feel free to add

[> [> [> [> [> Comparison to BtVS -- KdS, 02:33:38 08/14/03 Thu

Extraordinary Strength
Can maintain human face when not feeding
Do not age
Become more powerful with age (possibly)
Powerful human=powerful vampire (possibly)
Both sexes become sexual predators
No reflection
A few (Master, Dru, Dracula, possibly Justin in All the Way) can enthrall/hypnotize, but apparently a personal skill that must be developed.
Drained victims who have fed on vampire's blood become vampires at death

Develop demon face when feeding or under strong emotion. Very old vampires become permanently deformed.
Crucifix, Holy Water, Sacred wafer- the Host (Sacrament of the Eucharist), physically burn, garlic repels. Holy water can kill if ingested.
Utterly destroyed by daylight
Must be invited in
Decapitation kills
Wooden stake through heart kills

To feed
To create minions/lovers
To take revenge
To maintain human relationships in undead state

[> [> [> [> [> [> Also -- KdS, 02:56:06 08/14/03 Thu

The fact that Buffy Vs. Dracula's Drac has certain attributes which no ME vampire has (effortless, long-term thrall, flying, reformation after dusting, never vamps out even while feeding) suggests to me that this may actually have been a rare "official crossover".

[> [> [> [> [> [> Don't they both want to make more vampires? -- mamcu, 09:39:53 08/14/03 Thu

Maybe this is covered by "sexual" and "creat minion/lovers," but in some ways it's a little different--seems in both BtVS and Dracula, the vamps want a world of vampires (which seems counterproductive, since what happens to the food supply if vamps outnumber humans?).

(Not messin' with no more tags!)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Presumably, before that time comes, the Old Ones will return -- Finn Mac Cool, 23:54:27 08/19/03 Tue

. . . and I personally believe that, if demons retook the earth, vampires would no longer be bound by their human forms.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Comparison to BtVS -- sdev, 12:31:59 08/17/03 Sun

"Can maintain human face when not feeding'

This strikes me as one of the more interesting (and original)ones in BtVS. Thinking of form suiting function this attribute was very useful and important in BtVS. It allowed vampires to look perfectly normal and interact with humans undetected. It made Buffy's relationships, first with Angel then with Spike, seem more natural, believable, and palatable. It controlled the audience by letting us empathise, like, detest or fear vampires at any given facial moment. It humanized the vampires and allowed us to enter their story. As Spike said (and it applied of course to Angel as well) "I'm a monster but you treat me like a man."

As others have pointed out, facial change was used to great effect by Angel. The scene in the frat party comes to mind when he went in to rescue Buffy (Season 2 Reptile Boy). His facial change was seen on screen and later reported on by a much wowed Willow to Buffy. There it was used to show how Angel becomes an animal in his defense of his beloved, and caused a reversal of the normal feelings of revulsion the audience might have at his monstrousness.

Dramatic facial change was necessary for the multidimensional nature of the vampire story of BtVS, the greyness of that world. And it applied equally to AI. Because the world was often so grey, sometimes a clear line of demarcation was required--enter the face change.

Dracula is not such a world. The world of Count Dracula is much more black and white, and much more classic horror, and defined. The only thing akin to the facial changes is the sexualization of appearances particularly in the women. That change suits the metaphor of vampires as the libido run amok. Otherwise the lines between vampires as the taboo others is clearly drawn.

[> [> [> [> [> Additional attributes: -- Finn Mac Cool, 00:01:28 08/20/03 Wed


Night vision.

Can restore youth through feeding (when Dracula gets a steady strem of fresh blood, he starts to look younger).


Will age without access to blood.

Not the brightest creatures on earth (Van Helsing describes Dracula as having a "child's mind").

[> [> [> [> [> [> Additional attributes: Spoilers for the end of Dracula -- sdev, 20:44:41 08/20/03 Wed

Okay plot holes. In the end after setting up what will kill a vampire, stake through the heart and beheading, Dracula meets his dust with two ordinary knives-- Harker's and Quincy's Bowie.

Spackle anyone?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Two factors: -- Finn Mac Cool, 22:56:37 08/20/03 Wed

First: Decapitation with any instrument will kill a vampire; it doesn't have to be a special one.

Second: When they killed Dracula, they did it while the sun was up (but just barely). It was established that vampire's powers were depleted in sunlight, so they might be killable by things that normally wouldn't work (when they met Dracula in sunlight earlier, he did seem to have reason to fear the knives they pulled on him).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> can you can fix a wall in my apt? (spoilers for THE END) -- sdev, 23:15:35 08/20/03 Wed

But on the instant,came the sweep and flash of Jonathon's great knife. I shrieked as I saw it shear through the throat; whilst at the same moment Mr. Morris's bowie knife plunged into the heart.

Hmm. You read that as decapitation. You may be right. I just read it as cutting his throat. I guess I did not think human strength so able.

[> [> TY -- sdev, 17:09:52 08/13/03 Wed

Didn't know about the syphilis but it makes perfect sense. Pre-pennecillin it was a slow,incurable and debilitating disease.

[> Re: Dracula anyone? Book Melee -- Sara, 21:19:40 08/13/03 Wed

Really interesting analysis (oh, and by the way I loved all your comments on Frankenstein) but I have to disagree with your take on women and Mina. I don't believe that Dracula's attack on her was an attempt by the author to put her in her place. She clearly was the true hero of the book - it was her competance and courage that inspired the four men, and they only left her out of their plans reluctantly. In the end, even compromised by Dracula's control, she made essential contributions. There certainly was an aspect of putting the women on a pedestal - both Lucy and Mina, both worthy of worship and adoration, but the independence of the women was one of the positive aspects of the book. Lucy's mother, a minor character, is a woman who clearly is taking care of her daughter and her household by herself, without needing the care and support of a male partner. If anything, I think the attitude towards women in the book is progressive for the time.

I really like the turn of the century connections to the book. There is something very romantic about the change in era, that does seem captured in Dracula.

Thanks for the great melee essays!!!

[> [> preserving due to power outage -- sdev, 17:17:42 08/15/03 Fri

[> [> Re: Dracula anyone? Book Melee -- sdev, 12:46:32 08/16/03 Sat

Thank you for the compliment. I found Frankenstein the harder read (though short) but the better book. Dracula was an easy read but lacked depth.

I can see why you could disagree because the initial portrayal of Mina was quite positive, and her comeuppance more like a sneak attack. The book never overtly confronted her original portrayal as a "new woman" feminist model. The put down was in action not in narrative. Nevertheless, she was a far different person by the end of the book, and bore a striking resemblance to traditional women of her time, including the short addendum about the birth of her son. I cannot help but see her ending, stripped of all the trappings of where she had begun- the competence, independence, accomplishments- as putting her in her place. As you said, she was back on the pedestal, worthy of adoration, but stuck there doing nothing.

There is a historical context to this push pull, pro-feminist and anti-feminist backlash at the turn of the 19th century. This concept the "New Woman" was a much written about phenomenon at that time. Feminist writers questioned the traditional role of women in marriage, child rearing and career. They questioned whether women even needed to be married. That was indeed revolutionary for its time, and quite threatening to some. Jude the Obscure was created from this environment, and there is a whole body of modern day criticism that examines this literature. Some of this criticism compares this period to the 1970 rebirth of feminism (see Elaine Showalter's work for one). There of course was an overt backlash, some by women, against the concept of the New Woman. I see Dracula as a way to more subtly examine this creature, the New Woman, and then to reassure a jittery society rounding the century corner returning her to her "rightful" place in the social order..

[> [> [> Women in Dracula -- Arethusa, 00:54:47 08/17/03 Sun

The way Mina is presented is almost pardoxical. She is wonderfully competent, but dedicates all that competence and thought on her husband. She learns train schedules, not because she travels often or has a passion for trains, but so her husband doesn't have to look up a schedule when he is in a hurry. She is an assistant schoolmistress, but will quit when she marries and learns shorthand and dictating "because I want to keep up with Jonathan's studies.... When we are married I shall be able to be useful to Jonathan, and if I can stenograph well enough I can take down what he wants to say in this way and write it out for him on the typewriter, at which I am also practising very hard." It is Mina herself who speaks disparagingly of the New Woman, who tries to usurp men's place and has an unhealthy ideas. And Lucy and Mina both have stereotypical views of their place in relatinships, as well as the differences betweenmen and women. Lucy Westenra tells Mina, "A woman ought to tell her husband everything--don't you think so, dear?--and I must be fair. Men like women, certainly their wives, to be quite as fair as they are; and women, I am afraid, are not always quite as fair as they should be."

Dr. Steward and Jonathan both decide Mina is to be kept out of the attempt to eliminate Dracula because her mind might snap under the horrors. "It is too great a strain for a woman to bear," he says. Mina accepts their decision, although she says, "And now I am crying like a silly fool, when I know it comes from my husband's great love and from the good, good wishes of those other strong men...." But she forces herself to stop, for fear of fretting her husband. "I suppose it is one of the lessons that we poor women have to learn...." And while Van Helsing praises her "great brain" frequently, even going so far as to give her the ultimate compliment a man can give a woman-she has a man's brain, and it is trained to think like a man--the emphesis is on her purity, as is Lucy's purity. Lucy is often called child by Van Helsing, and is referred to as good and sweet and, especially pure. And this purity is stained by the foreigner, the unclean monster, who steals the Englishmen's women by seducing them with his demonic power, and spreads his tainted blood like a sexually transmitted disease. Worse of all, they want his advances while under his thrall. And Dracula mocks the Western men, bragging he has their women, and will have more.

[> Harker doesn't listen -- MsGiles, 04:29:28 08/14/03 Thu

Firstly I want to ramble on about buildings a bit

The book opens with real estate. Harker is selling property for his firm of solicitors. How neat! The gothic preoccupation was with old crumbling buildings set in looming landscapes, and here we have that preoccupation married to the new fashion: business. Harker is a gothic estate agent, and his trade is in the lurking unease of the subconscious.

He's an innocent, though, he doesn't realise what his boss has sent him into. He does his bit of historical research, and sails forth as a cheerful tourist. When Harker's journal starts, he is still in the modern world, waiting at a railway station (not daring to wander in case he misses the train). The train he catches will take him away from the rational world, deeper and deeper into the Carpathian mountains and into a landscape redolent of the east:
The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East; the most western of splendid bridges over the Danube, which is here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish rule.
The East at that time would symbolise for western Europeans the source of mysticism, superstition, magic. Napoleon's campaigns in Egypt had triggered a huge fashion for the 'oriental' in interior decor, and through the 19thc, rather like in the 1960's, there was a fashion for gurus and the 'ancient wisdom of the east'. Along with fascination for this 'other' culture came fear of the challenge it posed to the evolving mores of western capitalism. Harker is a modern man, an office worker, travelling on the railway into what, like a modern tourist he sees as an anachronistic hinterland:
Count Dracula had directed me to go to the Golden Krone Hotel, which I found, to my great delight, to be thoroughly old-fashioned, for of course I wanted to see all I could of the ways of the country.
There is a sense of entering the past. As he progresses, he seems to travel back in time:
Sometimes we saw little towns or castles on the top of steep hills such as we see in old missals

When Harker reaches the Count's castle, it's a classic gothic building:
Suddenly, I became conscious of the fact that the driver was in the act of pulling up the horses in the courtyard of a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the sky.
As Harker enters the courtyard, the building embodies his fears:
I must have been asleep, for certainly if I had been fully awake I must have noticed the approach of such a remarkable place. In the gloom the courtyard looked of considerable size, and as several dark ways led from it under great round arches, it perhaps seemed bigger than it really is....I stood in silence where I was, for I did not know what to do. Of bell or knocker there was no sign. Through these frowning walls and dark window openings it was not likely that my voice could penetrate. The time I waited seemed endless, and I felt doubts and fears crowding upon me

He has travelled from the world of railways and telegrams into a place of nightmare. He is surrounded by dark orifices, leading to unknown destinations, sheltering hidden terrors. As in a dream, he feels that his voice would not be heard (In Transylvania, no-one can hear you scream). And he has a house on his books, a house to sell, another dark and crumbling pile. It transpires, back in modern England, Harker is selling one of the oldest properties on his books, the crumbling pile of Carfax House. Definitely a 'restoration opportunity', it sounds like his company see the Romanian Count as a wonderful opportunity to get this monstrosity off their books.

There are many trees on it, which make it in places gloomy, and there is a deep, dark-looking pond or small lake, evidently fed by some springs, as the water is clear and flows away in a fair-sized stream. The house is very large and of all periods back, I should say, to mediaeval times, for one part is of stone immensely thick, with only a few windows high up and heavily barred with iron. It looks like part of a keep, and is close to an old chapel or church.

Incidentally, Carfax is identified as meaning 'Quatre Faces', or facing four ways, aligined to the points of the compass. This echoes the layout of churches (with the east-facing aisle, and the transept that crosses it).

Dracula, having so comprehensively occupied the consciousness and the subconscious of his countrymen, is looking to occupy the psyche of England, turning the crumbling edifices of the past from passive disquiet into an active threat. Its not just a sexual threat Dracula represents, but a political. 'I am Boyar', he says to Harker, from aristocratic base in a feudal society (which did not begin to abolish serfdom until the 1860's, during the Hungarian/Romanian wars). Dracula is living on the blood of the peasants in more ways than one: while they form his prey, he is also funding his operations by digging up treasure stored during the region's many wars, treasure which the local people are prevented from accessing by his vulpine cohorts. In death, as in life, he is the classic Marxist parasite on the workers!

Bynote: one of the inspirations for the Dracula character was Vlad Tepes, known as the Impaler, son of Vlad Dracul, Prince of Wallachia in the mid-15thc. According to tradition he was a totalitarian ruler who kept order by impaling thieves, cheats, and anyone who seemed less than scrupulously honest to him, be they peasant, prince, or foreign envoy. He never had a shortage of candidates. The stories imply that he rather enjoyed the impalings, and liked walking visitors round them after tea. (If the visitor said the wrong thing, they ended up there too.)

One of the effects of the Industrial Revolution was an upheaval in the British class system. The middle classes, effectively the merchant classes, had been on the rise since the 16thc, but the sudden new wealth created by manufacturing processes enabled, in effect, a new, business-based aristocracy. Political power was no longer mainly in the hands of the traditional landowning families, but increasingly wielded by the new wealthy, who could as well come from the workhouse orphanage as from the public school. (well ok the wealthy types had a bit of a leg up. But there were people working their way up from nothing).

Dracula is a blast from the past. His presence threatens to revive, not just the medaeival battlements of Carfax House, but a mediaeval ideology. The Count rants to Harker at length about his aristocratic background: Ah, young sir, the Szekelys, and the Dracula as their heart's blood, their brains, and their swords, can boast a record that mushroom growths like the Hapsburgs and the Romanoffs can never reach. Perhaps the 18thc gothic fascination with the conflict of rationalism and Protestantism with mysticism and Catholicism is shifting, in the 19thc, to encompass feudalism vs capitalism? This is also interesting viewed in the light of Stoker's Irish background

But anyway. I drift onto Harker and Irving (the cover of my edition of Dracula has a photo of Irving as Mephistopheles, looking extraordinarily like Christopher Lee). Harker seems to have had something of an obsession with Irving, and his mixed feelings about this are evident in his Dracula. It's also worth remembering that Stoker was at college with Oscar Wilde, they chased the same woman (who married Stoker), and Dracula was published two years after Wilde's celebrated trial and committal. Certainly there is a low-key homoerotic strand contributing to the erotic anxiety of Harker's experience in the castle's boudoir. Well, now I promise you that when I am done with him you shall kiss him at your will. says the Count, to the lascivious vampire women who attempt to seduce Harker there.

Stoker was certainly fascinated by Irving, who courted him to be a manager for his new touring theatre. There was an occasion, apparently, when Irving reduced his admirer to 'hysterics' (Stoker's words) during a particularly overwrought private recital. Stoker was at that time employed by the Dublin civil service, writing theatre reviews in his spare time, and Irving persuaded him to take on the theatre job. With his family, Stoker toured with Irving for 26 years. He suffered a stroke on Irving's death in 1905, but lived on to 1912. His son Noel thought Irving 'wore him out'.

[> [> Excellent commentary -- sdev, 13:27:11 08/16/03 Sat

You made terrific points.

Count Dracula is the embodiment of the xenophobic nightmare invading England from the East. And of course the Gothic architecture was part of the form since Horace Walpole's (Sir Robert's, of political fame, son) Castle of Otranto. Walpole in RL build a Gothic castle at or called Srawberry Hill.

But I especially like your Aristocratic/feudal versus rise of the middle class take on this. One of my favorite passages in the book is,

And, too, it made me think of the wonderful power of money! What can it not do when it is properly applied...I felt so thankful that Lord Godalming is rich (Ch. 26)

It sounded like the battle cry of the new working middle class throwing off the old aristocratic pretense that money, and talk of it, was vulgar. Of the five men (which makes me realize I made a mistake and called them the "core four") 2 are doctors, one a lawyer, one American, and only one of the Aristocracy, but willing to get his hands dirty and was in fact involved in commerce.

[> My Dracula(s) -- mamcu, 09:31:38 08/14/03 Thu

The first time I read Dracula, I read it the same way I watched Christopher Lee movies or even Buffy at firstófor the thrills, the escape, and maybe just a bit to laugh.

Later I got brushed by the passing wings of literary theory, and heard of (but didnít read) a Marxist analysis. Immediately that fit beautifully. Count Dracula is the decadent aristocracy, Harker the ineffective bourgeois. I wrote a paper, now lost on some unlabelled floppy disk (and good riddance, probablyóit went on to follow the Marxist themes up to Lost Boys, with emphasis on the vampire as metaphor for middle class anxieties, first the aristocracy of the 19th century but now the lower classes. Iíve made the argument that this still holds in Buffy).

But this time through Iím seeing it as a narrative of cultural encounter. I havenít finished this re-reading, but it brings to mind the whole ìOrientalismî thing, with Dracula as the outlandish, dreaded Other who sucks the life out of the wholesome western traveller. Esp. love Harkerís ìnotes to selfî about food, people, etc. To maybe spell this out just a bit, Harker writes about his travels as if he were (well, he is) a fastidious western touristóheís confident that his western point of view is correct, and that the foreigners, the Easterners, arenít quite up to his correct standardsósome are kind of a joke, but also not quite human. And the Count is inhuman with a vengeance. And then he comes to Englandóand horrors! Infects the real humans with his foreign inhumanity. Just watched Gangs of New York, and the anti-immigrant fervor of nineteenth century America was probably matched in England at that time.

So some of you Iím sure will see me as a fad of the week readeróbut it does keep it entertaining, to keep reading old things in new ways.

And I still get a thrill from Nosferatu.

[> [> Arghh! Dropped tag! Sorry! -- mamcu, 09:33:19 08/14/03 Thu

[> [> Re: My Dracula(s) -- sdev, 11:56:05 08/17/03 Sun

The foreigners are outlined in great detail right from the outset--Saxons, Wallachs, Dacians, Magyars, Szekelys, Slovaks, Servian, Cszeks, Turks-- all within the first 20 pages. Jonathon also mentions that he is going among the descendants of Attila the Hun.

He comments,

It seems to me that the further East you go the more unpunctual are the trains. What ought they to be in China? (Ch. 1)

Clearly as you say the "fastidious western tourist."

I haven't seen Gangs of New York. But I think history and a sense of the otherness of places is often best observed through the lens of fiction.

[> [> Dracula vs. Nosferatu -- ponygirl, 07:10:26 08/18/03 Mon

Your Nosferatu mention got me thinking about the different portrayals of Dracula in the movies. I think most of us are familiar with the Bela Lugosi version of the decadent aristocrat whose elegant manners conceal his true nature, but there's also the Murnau silent film Nosferatu, where the Count is far more feral, not so much decadent as decaying. Is this the difference between a Western fear of Old Europe's mysterious aristocracy and a German horror of degeneration? Both versions have influenced subsequent vampire fiction very strongly, but the elegant Dracula remains a far more seductive figure. The bourgeoisie may disapprove of the aristocracy but there's still a certain amount of envy involved. The Count in Nosferatu on the other hand is a near incomprehensible horror.

[> [> [> Shadow of the Vampire -- mamcu, 13:23:54 08/18/03 Mon

Love Murnau's creepy version. Wonderful face and fingers. I didn't see Shadow of the Vampire, but believe that was about the way that the Nosferatu character came to life in the making of the film--must look for that!

Also, Werner Herzog did a remake of Nosferatu that was fairly terrifying in its own right, though nothing's as great as the original.

At the other end of the spectrum, don't forget the fifties-sixties ones with Christopher Lee, etc. They were far from terrifying, but a certain amount of campy pleasure could be had.

[> [> [> Stoker Trivia -- sdev, 16:50:35 08/18/03 Mon

I think I read somewhere that Stoker was a stage hand in a stage version of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi.

Also, Stoker's widow sued over Murnau's Nosferatu and had most copies destroyed for copyright infringement. But some say that Murnau's film was the making of Stoker's Dracula creating its fame and fortune by inspiring numerous other films and arousing interest in the novel. That takes us back to a recent Forum discussion of Fan Fiction and its copyright implications.

[> isolated women, foreign experts -- MsGiles, 09:47:35 08/17/03 Sun

Almost too much interesting stuff to answer in your post, sdev!

I like your analysis of the way Mina, Lucy, and the vampire women, represent various points along a scale of independance, increasingly scary (and also scarily attractive) to Stoker and his male readership. Dracula himself is also scary, and scarily attractive. As you say, the men have to band together to face him. In doing so, they are not only protecting the women from his interest, but themselves. Jonathan, isolated, is as much prey to the Count's mesemeric qualities as he is to the womens': he hangs the crucifix over his bed for fear of Dracula himself, but still awakens after his collapse to find himself undressed and put to bed, with his clothes neatly folded beside him.

It's interesting that the male group, with a strong patriarchal leader, seems to be the only effective solution to Dracula's power. Dracula himself is a patriarch, but he does not gather male vampires around him, apparently, and his 'castle gang' seems to be female. He commands the men of the Gipsy tribes, and the village, but at a distance, as an overlord.
He's not above biting men, though, as he shows by his interest when Harker cuts himself, and is apparently saved by the rosary beads. So why no vampire cronies? It seems to be one of his weaknesses as a Big Bad that he concentrates so much on the women.

It also doesn't seem to be effective (or allowed maybe) for the women to band together. Mrs Westenra is deliberately kept in the dark because of her weak heart, and thereby a useful ally is lost - in fact, because of her ignorance, she is partly responsible for the loss of Lucy. Mina is unable to protect Lucy - although she manages to curtail the sleepwalking, she doesn't work out that it's not a good idea to leave the window open at night. The close friendship of these two women seems to leave them, if anything, more vulnerable to the predator.

The husband/wife relationship is no protection either. Harker, in attempting to communicate with Mina, sics Dracula onto the two women. Neither Arthur nor Dr Seward can prevent Lucy's vamping, and Arthur can, in the end, only kill her (a terrible fate for an adulterous wife!). Harker sleeps while Dracula has his wicked way with Mina. It's as if being in love emasculates them, takes away their ability to defend, and only the determinedly unattached van Helsing can be effective.

S'kats point about Stoker's relationship with Irving is interesting, and teases out more of this strand of anxiety in the book. The relationship, essentially one of great man and besotted admirer, began when Stoker saw Irving perform. Although his 'day job' was that of a civil servant, he was involved in amateur theatricals and writing from an early stage, and secretly hoped to be able to rebel against the sensible career course that his father put pressure on him to follow. He must also have seen the success of his more aristocratic contemporary Wilde (and of course Wilde's dramatic downfall, two years before the publication of 'Dracula'). Irving became Stoker's guru and employer, and yet his interest in Stoker was not in his creative talents. Stoker achieved his dream of being involved with the theatre, but at the price of continuing as an administrator, taking on the tasks that Irving refused to burden his own precious creativity with.

Managing for Irving must have been a lot more stressful than being in the Civil Service, yet Stoker continued to write, and was fairly successful. He must at times have felt torn between his hero's demands, and his own desire to be creative. Dracula's hypnotic power does seem to be based on Irving's seductive charisma (which Stoker experienced the full brunt of), and it may be that more of their relationship crept into 'Dracula' than Stoker would ever have been keen to admit.

Van Helsing is an interesting character. Le Fanu's 'Carmilla' introduced the idea of an expert vampire killer - Baron Vordenburg. The expert is required to explain the nature of the vampire, and provide remedies. (Polidori's earlier 'Vampyre' has no such expert, or indeed, solution). This gives the vampire story something of the nature of a detective story. The actions of the vampire are inexplicable to the victims and would-be rescuers, so the vampire succeeds unchecked. Indeed, it is helped by an increasing secular and non-superstitious society, where people have forgotten or dismissed ancient lore. Enter the expert - a man who allows the 'old knowledge' to be reclaimed in a scientifically acceptable form, as he has scientific prestige. He lays out the rules of vampire attack and defence, defined as clearly as any chemistry experiment. Scientists, like Dr Seward, will follow van Helsing because they recognise him as a peer (would Mina have been equally listened to, if she had had vampire knowledge?).

Van Helsing's decendant is of course Rupert Giles, which raises again the questions that have been asked about his role. S1 Giles counters his patriarchal role by being very much not the action hero. He runs, he cringes, he flaps. However, he did 'wield the mighty power of library books', and he was taken very seriously by museum curators. This was not really where the power lay in the show though, Buffy herself still had the initiative, the ability to win by innovating, and to shock Giles with her methods.

As the series settled in, and Giles became more developed, he became more heroic. The Watchers Council appeared, as yet another authority for Buffy to rebel against. As she died and then graduated, and he ceased to be formally in authority over her, the relationship shifted but basically persisted in the same form. However, as Giles became stronger, he was more and more in danger of becoming a permanent van Helsing figure, a protecting and containing patriarch. Buffy needed to grow out of him, to have any kind of sense of real emancipation, and so it happened, eventually, during S6. But the fans liked him. He came back. His appearance at the end of S6 was brilliant, not least because Willow whupped his ass, and because Joss craftily empowered him via a female coven. But what about S7?

(now, someone else will have to answer that, because I haven't saved up enough for the DVD yet)

But I detour from the matter in hand: van Helsing ('hell sing?), the Dutch authority, complete with rather corny foreign accent, vaguely reminiscent of Drs Freud and Jung. If not Dr Strangelove, but there we jump forward. He is 'a philosopher and a metaphysician, and one of the most advanced scientists of his day', and he is an expert on 'obscure diseases' (rather like Giles is an expert on 'obscure artefacts'). Like Dracula, he is foreign: the nasty disease (be it sexy women, revolution or displaced aristocrats) is best dealt with by a foreigner who knows about that sort of thing. Giles is a foreigner too, come to that (if I can get round the English thing of thinking that in fact it's all the Americans on TV who are foreigners..:))

Interestingly he is the oldest member, by far, of the core four. He is the old leading the young into the new millennium. The book reaches its solution through incorporating what it considers the best of the old and the new
and of course Giles is the oldest Scooby, in human terms (although Anya and Spike are technically older, that's only demon years. They are physically and mentally in their early to mid-twenties, I'd say).

Must stop, losing thread. But interesting stuff!

[> [> Excellent posts. Spoilers for Season 7 -- Arethusa, 12:43:14 08/17/03 Sun

Thanks especially for the Giles analysis. Could we have an Analyze Giles day? ;) The Giles and Buffy relationship is wonderfully subversive; he starts out as the authority figure and ends up with the "strength of a doily." But Buffy wasn't the only one empowered by time in Sunnydale. Giles was freed also, from his fate as a Watcher under the control of the Council. His future is his own now.

[> [> [> Analyze Giles day sounds like a great idea! -- ponygirl, 09:48:18 08/18/03 Mon

[> [> Van Helsing and Giles -- sdev, 16:26:16 08/18/03 Mon

Great analogy of Dr. Van Helsing to Giles- older man, father figure, group leader, savant, possessor of ancient knowledge now forgotten or relegated to folk lore.

What do you make of the name Lord Godalming? That struck me as a peculiar name. Is that an English name you've ever heard? Sounds a lot like god almighty or god damn. Is the aristocracy damned or a stand in for the almighty?

Bram was Abraham Stoker. Abraham is Van Helsingís first name.

[> [> [> Goldalming is an actual small town in South-East England -- KdS, 05:59:55 08/19/03 Tue

It's quite legitimate as a surname or aristocratic title. But I think that the pun may have been a factor as well.

[> Transubstantiation/Vampirism -- Arethusa, 08:42:05 08/18/03 Mon

Do you think repugnance at the idea of transubstantiation (the Catholic Church's belief that wafer and wine are lieterally transformed into the blood and body of Christ) could be a factor in Dracula? (I can't find on the net if Stoker was Anglo-Irish or Irish Catholic; were Catholics barred from civil service jobs in Ireland at this time?)

[> [> Stoker was Catholic -- sdev, 09:44:23 08/18/03 Mon

I took this snippet from a synopsis of an article discussing how the Catholic Stoker and Yeats used their writings to defuse the Protestant fear of the Catholic threat. This is merely a preview of the full article which I have not read.

In Ireland, the Protestants who were in control of the country began to fear the rise of the Catholics, which threatened their land and political power. Two Irish authors of the period, Bram Stoker and William Butler Yeats, offer their views on this ìproblemî in their works of fiction... Stoker feels that triumph over this threat can only be achieved by the defeat of these ìdemonicî forces through modernity.

Also mentioned (by Ms. Giles as well) is the Irish Protestant author Sheridan Le Fanu who used the vampire story to highlight the Catholic threat. That is the way the synopsis describes Le Fanu's book. I have not read it.

So Stoker was Catholic. I would guess that the use of the Holy Wafer which appears over and over in the book was perhaps an attempt to demystify the ritual and make it appear more pragmatic.

Van Helsing walks around with an envelope full of Holy Wafer, and his supply seems unlimited. He uses it in a most scientific fashion creating barrier circles to keep the vampires without. Van Helsing is the man of science and reason, the possessor of knowledge on hypnosis and blood transfusions. Thus his use of the wafer says it is not incompatible with the modern person, not some hocus pocus that must be discarded. Van Helsing is the bridge between the old and the new.

[> [> [> The idea of Van Helsing as a bridge -- Arethusa, 10:35:00 08/18/03 Mon

between religion/superstition and science is very interesting, given the devout atmosphere of the book and the admiration of science. As you no doubt know, many scientists of the time were much occupied with finding a way to reconcile Darwin, Freud and other modern scientific discoveries with faith. (Chardin is one of my favorites, especially as a citizen of the web, even though I think he was nuts mistaken. I've read speculation that his global consciouness theory is the internet.)

[> [> [> maybe another interpretation? -- MsGiles, 08:55:51 08/19/03 Tue

I read the article at this link, and it seemed ambiguous. You may have read more than the bit published here, and apologies if I am wrong. However, the intro to my copy of the book refers to him as Anglo-Irish, which would make him Protestant. I also found this, which seems to bear it out:
Writer of one of the world's most famous horror novels, Abraham Stoker was born to the loosely defined socio-cultural group known as the Anglo-Irish. A Protestant Dubliner, he was the son of a civil servant, and he was expected to follow in his father's footsteps.

I've had a bit of a go a putting some historical background to this.

One of the big obstacles to Irish Home Rule, which was nearly established through the efforts of Parnell in the late 1800s, was the dominance of the Anglo-Irish in the govenment and in wealthy society, and the low social and financial position of Catholics. This had been established via various English-originated 'penal laws' in the early 18thc, which prevented Catholics from owning land and trading.

As Stoker worked in the Civil Service, I would think perhaps it would be more likely that he was both A/I and Protestant, at this time. Although there was an Act of Catholic Emancipation in 1829, which allowed Catholics to vote and sit in parliament, they were still a seriously disadvantaged group by the turn of the century. Many Irish Catholics had travelled to America in the wake of the Potato famine of the mid 19thc, and the radical thinking developed there helped form the Fenian movement, which became the focus of the Catholic resistance to Anglo-Irish dominance.

It would make sense if Stoker linked in with le Fanu as a modern-thinking (in his own terms) Anglo-Irish opponent of the mystical. His friend and rival-in-love Oscar Wilde was Anglo-Irish gentry, which also supports this interpretation.

Interested to know what you think?

[> [> [> [> Re: maybe another interpretation? -- Arethusa, 10:35:10 08/19/03 Tue

I just remember another passage from Dracula that expresses unease with Catholic concepts:

Bless that good, good woman who hung the crucifix round my neck! For it is a comfort and a strength to me whenever I touch it. It is odd that a thing which I have been taught to regard with disfavour and as idolatrous should in a time of loneliness and trouble be of help. Is it that there is something in the essence of the thing itself, or that it is a medium, a tangible help, in conveying memories of sympathy and comfort? Some time, if it may be, I must examine this matter and try to make up my mind about it.

I did more research and found out Stoker was definetely Protestant.

But what really fascinates me is a feeling that Dracula was Stoker's way of exploring his sexual issues. He apparently had "crushes" on Henry Irving and Walt Whitman.(1) He married Oscar Wilde's ex-girlfriend, who was uninterested in sex.(2) Their only child was born less than a year after the marriage and they had no others and were said to be estranged, although Stoker kept up the appearance of a good marriage. If Dracula was indeed based a bit on Irving, Stoker perhaps unconsciously saw himself as being seduced and controlled by a sexual lust that he deeply repressed.

(1)On one of six American tours, Stoker was fortunate enough to meet Walt Whitman, whom he had read avidly since his time at Trinity. Stoker enjoyed most of the Romantics, and Whitman's writing in particular had touched him, to the point of inspiring a quite heartfelt letter which he had held onto for four years before sending it with great anxiety. This letter proved memorable to Whitman, and the two struck up a lengthy correspondence, which only ended with Whitman's death.

(2)On the domestic front, Stoker was married, unhappily to Florence Balcombe, a woman who was described by her granddaughter, Ann McCaw, as being "cursed with a great beauty" while being very "anti-sex" at the same time. His frustration with his marriage could explain some of the novel's preoccupation with women's sexuality--especially since women tend to take the dominant sexual role in Dracula.

[> [> [> [> [> wrong but intrepid -- sdev, 16:25:07 08/19/03 Tue

I hesitate to post this after my embarassing gaffe but I do recall seeing three bits of info (source unrecollectable) on Florence Balcombe:

1) She was an aspiring actress when Stoker met her
2) She was an ardent feminist
3) she was Catholic

can you confirm any of this?

s'kat mentions the Whitman friendship and the mesmerizing influence of Irving in her post at the beginning of this thread. I have seen several mentions of a homeoerotic subtext in Dracula which were tied into, as you say, Stoker's repressed feelings for Irving.

Again apologies for my error.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: wrong but intrepid -- Arethusa, 10:36:01 08/20/03 Wed

I read Florence Anne Lemon Balcombe was indeed an aspiring actress. She was in a play at the Lyceum with Irving and Ellen Terry in 1881. Otherwise, I can't find any information on her on the web. She was part of the Anglo-Irish society and her father was in the army (I think), so I'm guessing she wasn't Catholic. I don't know if she was a feminist.

I'll have to read those articles on Dracula and sexuality. This is the first time I've read Dracula, and I've read hardly any literary criticism on the book.

And don't worry about being wrong. It happens to us all.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: wrong but intrepid -- sdev, 20:33:38 08/20/03 Wed

I found two articles. The first seems like a very dense article on Freudian and political issues. The second is an explicit discussion of the homoerotic. Skimmed not read yet.

Does the homoerotic strike you as a part of the book?

I wrote the original post with few outside sources. I like to form a personal viewpoint from the text alone(and avoid footnotes) initially. Later I looked around. I did notice later that there were opposing views on whether Stoker was supporting or undermining the New Woman. I formed the initial impression that Stoker was not anti-Catholic and pro-religion from my "unspoiled" POV. What do you think?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> sex and religion -- MsGiles, 04:13:23 08/21/03 Thu

Like Arethusa says, error not an issue, doesn't detract from your excellent commentary.

BTW, I thought it was interesting that Irving came from a strong Cornwall Methodist background, and his interest in the stage was apparently initially inspired by hearing the fiery Methodist preachers. NOT the desired effect, I would imagine! So someone's religious background doesn't necessarily define their adult opinion: people change. Although Stoker's background is of interest, it doesn't fix the meaning of 'Dracula' one way or the other

I formed the initial impression that Stoker was not anti-Catholic

I think you're right about sympathy to religion. In some ways 'Dracula' seems to be validating, reclaiming, the 'mysticism and superstition' that Catholicism was condemned for. I can find no reference to the use of crosses or religious paraphenalia in 'Carmilla', simply the necessity of cutting off the vampire's head. In 'Dracula' however, religious symbolism is important in repelling the vampire, both crosses and the host, and is combined with the 'superstitious' folk remedy of garlic:

Keep this near your heart." As he spoke he lifted a little silver crucifix and held it out to me, I being nearest to him, "put these flowers round your neck," here he handed to me a wreath of withered garlic blossoms, "for other enemies more mundane, this revolver and this knife, and for aid in all, these so small electric lamps, which you can fasten to your breast, and for all, and above all at the last, this, which we must not desecrate needless."
This was a portion of Sacred Wafer, which he put in an envelope and handed to me. Each of the others was similarly equipped.

This wouldn't necessarily be Catholic, I suppose, Anglican Christianity retained most of the symbolism and ritual of Catholicism (unlike Methodism, Lutherism and other Protestant religions). It *is* making the religious aspect important, though.

One source of inspiration for the Count, vlad Tepes ('the Impaler') was in fact Catholic, having converted from the Eastern Orthodox church. Another, Henry Irving, was a former Methodist. I don't know that the Dracula of the book implies either: I can't remember any specific references to religion in connection with him. He might almost as well be a pagan, with his affinity to the animal world, and his roots in folk tradition.

I would say the book actively reasserts the importance of religious belief, combined with a scientific approach and 'an open mind'. Dr Seward says of van Helsing:
He is a philosopher and a metaphysician, and one of the most advanced scientists of his day, and he has, I believe, an absolutely open mind.

Does the homoerotic strike you as a part of the book?
I was struck by the tension created between Harker and Dracula, when they are alone in the castle. Although Harker is aware that something is wrong, he continues having to meet the Count during the night, and make smalltalk with him, pretending all is well. He has a strong sense of the Counts predatory intentions, because of the incident when he cuts himself, and he believes that he has been saved by his crucifix. Any implied sexual tension is diverted via the three vampire women that he meets shortly afterward, and and only the vaguely sisister comment of the Count to them, to the effect that they can have Harker when he is finished with him, hints at the Counts possible interest.

This subtext is very sub, though. Maybe Stoker would have liked to explore it more, but discretion held him back. Given that Wilde was actively involved in a homosexual relationship by this time, the issue must have been talked about in literary and theatrical circles.

Given that Irving was such an influence on Stoker's life, and possibly on the book, does anyone know what his sexual proclivities were? Would he have been likely to hit on Stoker's attractive wife, as Dracula does to Mina? Being overtly gay would have destroyed his career, as it did Wilde's, but were there any hints of undercurrents?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Veneration of the Host would be odd for an Anglican -- KdS, 11:31:56 08/21/03 Thu

Because Anglicans officially deny transubstantiation and view the Host as symbolic. Not that some extreme Anglo-Catholics might not believe that secretly. (Anglo-Catholic - Anglican who rejects the authority of Rome but tends to Catholic doctrinal positions.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: wrong but intrepid -- Arethusa, 08:57:08 08/21/03 Thu

Yes, I agree Stoker was definitely pro-religion, as Ms. Giles stated so well, and anti-New Woman. Not anti-woman, though. I didn't see enough evidence to conclude Stoker was anti-Catholic.

I didn't see the relationship between Harker and Dracula as homoerotic subtext. After reading Schaffer's excellent article, however, I can see Dracula as Stoker's attempt to purge himself of his homosexuality. The entire book is an affirmation of the status quo, in matters of race, social class, nationalism, and gender identification. (So is this why Dracula wasn't staked-too erotic a death?)

So much sub-text. So little time.

[> [> [> [> No you are right, Stoker was Anglican -- sdev, 15:18:40 08/19/03 Tue

My apologies.

I misread that summary- they simply said Dracula was an effort on Stoker's part to reconcile the "Catholic threat" with modernity. But I still do not see Dracula as anti-Catholic. In fact even that quote which Arethusa used strikes me as distinctly accommodating. Harker says he should feel antipathy for Catholic symbols but does not. Instead he finds comfort in them.

I did read one explanation that suggested that Stoker was concerned that the Catholic Church was under attack from Darwinism, with which he was uncomfortable, and political changes as well. I sensed that Stoker was concerned that science would replace religion, and thus Dr. Van Helsing was used to show the successful coexistence and necessity for both.

I never read le Fanu. But from what I've read about Carmilla it may take quite a different approach to religion. From what I gleaned, le Fanu's family was Huguenot (French name). Based on the historical Catholic persecution of the Protestant Huguenot's, le Fanu may have had quite a different take on religion. But this is mere speculation on my part. I do think I'd like to read that next though.

Thanks for the history.

[> five degrees of Frankenstein -- MsGiles, factoids by appointment, 02:49:17 08/20/03 Wed

Bram Stoker wrote 'Dracula'

Bram Stoker was Henry Irving's manager at the Lyceum.

Henry Irving, originally John Henry Brodribb, took the name Irving from his favourite author, Washington Irving

Washington Irving (author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) had a romantic liaison with Mary Shelley in around 1825

Mary Shelley wrote 'Frankenstein'

Important News About the Threat of the Undead -- ChickenLittleBit, 18:55:45 08/13/03 Wed

Recently, while reading through the current issue of the well-known supermarket tabloid Weekly World News
1, (whose reputation for accuracy and veracity is unparalleled in its genre), I was alerted to the actual presence of vampires, werewolves and zombies in "HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM THE UNDEAD."2

"Experts agree that blood-sucking vampires, carnivorous werewolves, murderous zombies and the ghoulish undead - once believed to exist only in legends - present a real and terrible danger to you and your family.

Although the best protection from all manner of the undead is to stay away from graveyards, big city alleys and deserted properties or parking lots late at night, the following guide will ensure you and your loved ones are kept safe from harm by these evil creatures.

To keep this short and succinct, I'll just summarize the important points:




In general though, according to this author3, wearing the preserved foot of a rooster on a cord around your neck ... works as a shield from the evil intentions of any monsters of the night you may encounter. And as an emergency measure against vampires, you can simply drink gin...vampires being allergic to juniper berries. But not wine, vampires are said to like the taste of burgundy in a victim.

Now, let me be the first to say that we discerning viewers of BtVS and/or AtS will not be taken by surprise by this. We, more than anyone else, know just how dangerous these evil denizens really are, and the precautions to take to stay as safe as possible. I do have to wonder, though, who these 'experts' are since the Watchers' Council has been destroyed. Also, some of the 'facts' and 'tips' seem to be rather questionable as well. Or perhaps I should say that wearing a silver cross rubbed with garlic, a St. Christopher medal, a bag of salt and a preserved rooster foot4 around the neck might keep more than just the evil undead away. Although, the concept of simply having an adequate amount of gin in the bloodstream might appeal to some people. 5 But based on the revelations in this article it would seem that Buffy had Willow empower the Potentials just in time.

1. Weekly World News, Sizzling Double Issue, August 19, 2003
2. Page 39
3. Who for some unknown reason seems to be completely uncredited. Huh.
4. Just think-had those been rooster feet instead of chicken feet that the Magic Shop had overstocked, the entire population of Sunnydale might have been protected.
5. c.f. fresne

[> I draw the line at Rooster's feet.....just not a fashion do...;) -- Rufus, 19:09:44 08/13/03 Wed

[> I'm a goner. I just don't have enough neck. -- dub ;o), 21:08:45 08/13/03 Wed

[> this all seems a bit irresponsible -- MsGiles, 02:21:04 08/14/03 Thu

when the werewolf sees the religious symbol the vestige of humanity still remaining causes him to go after an easier target ie someone who hasn't read the paper? It's all just about leaving the beasties to eat someone else first, isn't it? I have to deplore the lack of public spirit in our communities today.

Great (roosters) footnotes ..*impressed*..

[> [> Doesn't it though? -- LittleBitAppalled, 09:07:40 08/14/03 Thu

In the full, ah...'article' not only is the reason for the St. Christopher medal (and I should mention here that Christopher was de-canonized and is no longer a saint) to simply send the werewolf in search of easier prey, but that is the reasoning behind the wearing of the garlic-coated silver cross against vampires.

It does seem rather harsh that a person who merely lacks the perspicacity to read this readily-available source of all things that the "regular" newspapers and magazines fear to print will find themselves not only the victim of the evil undead but of those who know to protect themselves. I personally picked it up because I was unable to pass up the main headline story "SADDAM'S WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION -- KILLER DINOSAURS! Madman built evil 'Jurassic Park' -- & Bush knew it!" I bet we won't be seeing that story in Time or Newsweek!

[> [> [> Oh. my. god. -- Anneth, flabbergasted, 14:07:33 08/14/03 Thu

I was unable to pass up the main headline story "SADDAM'S WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION -- KILLER DINOSAURS! Madman built evil 'Jurassic Park' -- & Bush knew it!" I bet we won't be seeing that story in Time or Newsweek!

I just saw the WWN - Bit wasn't kidding. That's really, truly the cover-story.

(LadyS, they're on to us! We're gonna have to tone down the rarring and stomping for a while, till this passes!)

[> [> [> [> Re: Oh. my. god. -- NotEvenALittleBitSurprised, 20:45:14 08/14/03 Thu

I knew it! You and LadyS are weapons of mass destruction! But are you good weapons or bad weapons? Enquiring minds want to know.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Hmmm - Dinos do Dallas -- Brian, 05:55:59 08/15/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Oh. my. god. -- LadyStarlight, 09:40:24 08/15/03 Fri

Well, since we haven't squished anyone in chat for a while (that I know of -- sometimes it's hard to keep track of one's tail), I'm guessing we're good weapons.

(and FYI: no evil genius has tried to put me in an evil Jurassic Park. Can't speak for Anneth, though....)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Nope. No evil Jurassic Parks. Not a one. -- Anneth, swishing her tail innocently, 11:01:46 08/15/03 Fri

Though there was that little run-in with the handlers at the Morally Ambiguous Precambrian Explosion Water Park and Aquarium... ach, but that's ancient history by now; surely beyond the purview of even the WWN.

[> juniper berries and shisha -- Arethusa, 07:27:48 08/14/03 Thu

"Juniper has a long traditional history of use, The Holy Family is said to have sheltered under the branches of the tree when fleeing from King Herod.

During the middle ages, Europeans believed planting a juniper bush beside the front door kept witches out. Unfortunately this did not work if the witch could correctly guess the number of needles on the bush."


So if you see someone squatting in your front yard counting the needles on a juniper bush, run. And if someone asks why you have a mirror over the bed, just tell them it's to scare away vampires.

I also looked up shisha mirrors and found this:

"Shisha is the Indian word for mirror.

Shisha glass is available in a variety of shapes including round (the most common type), square and triangular. Sizes vary from large to tiny.

There are no holes in the mirror glass so it has to be held in place with a framework of stitches over which decorative stitches are worked."

[> [> Re: juniper berries and shisha ...thanks! -- LittleBitBetterInformed, 09:24:04 08/14/03 Thu

Great additional information!

It does mention in the, erm...'article' that the vampire is "allergic to the juniper berries and one sip of gin-laced blood could kill them. Centuries of avoiding juniper has made them highly sensitive to the scent of gin and if you've drunk it they'll pass you up for a safer---and more tasty---treat.

It seems to me that if the vampire knows to avoid the scent of gin that spritzing it on oneself would do the trick just as effectively. I'm concerned that using this emergency measure may protect one against a vampire but leave one wide open to the zombie where salt has to be thrown. Besides, if alcohol makes one perspire then one could become more attractive to the zombie.

As for the shisha mirrors, it is suggested that the mirrors can be either sewn or glued on (an alternative I'm sure many people will appreciate) and that they are readily available at craft stores.

[> [> [> for the salt, maybe a mixture of gin and tequila slammers?? -- MsGiles, 03:44:55 08/15/03 Fri

Although it might make running away rather hard

[> Footnote Alert! -- mamcu, 09:00:39 08/14/03 Thu

Rooster feet with footnotes?

Question about "Dirty Girls" -- Caroona, 02:36:05 08/14/03 Thu

Hi all,

I am writing from Germany where we are just about finishing the seventh season (dubbed horribly, I might add). I am trying to stay as unspoilt as possible, so the sight of Caleb destroying Xander's eye shocked me quite a bit. Has there ever been any explanation from anyone at ME as to the significance of this eye gouging? Or was it just meant to show that there will be losses for everyone in this war? This, I guess, will be the first scene that I might never want to watch again, although I heard that the TV station guys have even cut it somewhat and still I found it just impossible to keep looking. I do not remember Xander making any sound which strikes me as odd but maybe I just did not notice because I was so much in shock.

By the way, I have been lurking here for ages and love to read your insightful essays and like the polite and civilised atmosphere here. You have been part of the Buffy experience for me and I will be very sad when I watch the last episode. Guess I will have to start watching the DVDs one episode each Wednesday to help me cope.


[> Re: Question about "Dirty Girls" -- grifter, 05:06:52 08/14/03 Thu

I¥ve been watching Buffy on german telly as well, although I¥ve already seen it all in english too (watching it again with the family). The translation really IS horrible (although not as horrible as during s5 where they just plain misspelled some words: Dagon¥s Sphere = Dagon¥s Furcht, meaning Dagon¥s Fear in german).

In Dirty Girls, they cut out Caleb breaking Rona¥s arm, the sound of the one Potential¥s neck breaking and the most of the scene where Xander¥s eye gets pushed out. Look for those scenes in the "previously on Buffy" segment of teh next episode though, as they never bother to cut them from there (they¥ve done so with the flaying in Villains and the demon in Conversations with Dead People for example).

[> [> Re: Question about "Dirty Girls" -- Caroona, 05:55:12 08/14/03 Thu

I have to say, I started watching Buffy while I spent some years in London and found it very hard to go back to the German custom of dubbing everything again. I moved back to Germany around the beginning of season six. Hate the voices and the fact that over here very few people seem to appreciate the depth of Buffy due to the crisp and witty dialogue getting mostly lost. Most people I talk to think it is on the same level as say Sabrina or something.

You are right, the flaying was repeatedly uncut in the "previously" bit. I did not mind that, because it was more "fantasy-like". I am not too keen on seeing that eye poking scene again, though. Will have to close eyes and ears. I have a thing with even touching eyeballs, could not even wear contact lenses. And then that. Ouch!

Joss quotes from City of Angel Comic con 2003 report -- Rufus, 03:55:13 08/14/03 Thu

For the whole article go to

And The Highlights Were ~

Audience: Can you shed any light on some of the rumors about Spike . . .

Joss: "We're just good friends."

Audience: Please tell us he's not coming back as a ghost.

Joss: "I'm not telling ya dick. But however we bring him back he'll still be James Marsters, so how bad can it be? We're going to bring him back as a mummy."

Audience: When Spike got his soul back, why didn't he seem to have the same moral quandaries as Angel?

Joss: "Well, he's a different guy than Angel. Hopefully he's a different guy because otherwise Angel's going to be really boring. I think Spike was actually a lot closer to human. Angel was at full-tilt evil, that just got clothes lined by those Gypsies and spent 100 years going, 'Ah yah aha hah,' trying to figure it out -- what it was he had to do. Spike actually went in search for a soul while he had none, so I think he was much more evolved then Angel, personally. I think that's why it was easier for him to make the transition."

A few more quotes......

Audience: Conversations With Dead People - what was attacking Joyce, was that the First?

Joss: "That was the First, she was just messing with Dawn to sort of create a little rift. And then Buffy sort of not choosing her words; it was a benign thing, a warning casting the seeds of death. I had somebody ask me a question about Giles and how we messed that up, how come we didn't pay that off emotionally -- he wasn't the first, and I was like, 'Dude, just having fun.' I thought it would be interesting to let people think maybe and wonder and then don't. Let them rethink what they'd see."

Audience: Do you read or routinely scour the websites, because we've talked about stuff and then like 4-weeks later it'd be on screen?

Joss: "Obviously I've gotten most of my ideas from you. When we go to websites what we're looking for is a general feeling of; what's not playing, what are people really passionate about and what are they debating and where are we getting it right and where are we getting it wrong? If you see something 4-weeks after it comes out on your website that means we've been working on it about 8-weeks before that, at least."

And yet more....

Audience: Have you thought about Buffy's legacy in terms of any changes you might have made or influences to TV, the way it's run, themes?

Joss: "I honestly believe that we were a part of a change about the way people perceive female heroes. What's really important to me is the fact that when I started the idea of Buffy, it was a novel concept; the idea a young high school girl being somebody important and powerful was obviously new, because here I am. I think there are other shows like Xena that deserve way more credit then they get."

Audience: In season 6 were you expecting the negative backlash?

Joss: "Season 6 was a real challenge for people, it was very dark, it was very upsetting and I think because the character of Buffy herself was sort of taken away from the audience, I think that's why when people say it went too far in the darkness, that's what they're missing and I don't disagree with that. We ourselves felt like after awhile, 'Okay we're dealing with some interesting issues, but holy Jesus! I'm so depressed.' So we wanted her to come out and find her power. I think in retrospect when all seven years are taken together you'll see that as with any fiction it always gets darkest before the end."

Audience: When you decided to have Spike rape Buffy and then in the next season proceeded to have a romantic relationship. What kind of a message did that send?

Joss: "It's something that we had been debating for years and we figured our ambivalence was exactly what we wanted to project and we used that on the show. We knew that we couldn't come back from an attempted rape to a romantic sexual relationship. But what we did want to say was that we could come back to a place of trust between these people. That man could redeem himself. And in time what went on with Spike and Buffy was very textured and complicated you couldn't just say, 'Well now he's the villain again.' I think that does a disservice to the complexity of what went on and we went back and forth endlessly. Should they get together once, should they never get together, should she serve her emotional need, should she feel guilty bout that emotional need? Hopefully some of that spilled out into the show because it is probably the most complex question that is asked in the entire run of the show."

Audience: Can you elaborate on Xander's reaction to Anya's death?

Joss: "Xander couldn't just not find her and have no closure at all and we thought it was a nice, interesting gesture to have the thing that Andrew had always been vilified for, storytelling, become what he was necessary for. Become, in fact, the reason as he asks himself as why he did not die. So that's what that moment was all about.

[> Now to the writing team from Angel. -- Rufus, 03:56:42 08/14/03 Thu

For the whole article go to COA

The Demise of Buffy & The Mystique of Angel

CoA presents an adventure into the minds and behind the words of the Buffy/Angel writers as we explore past, present, and future. David Fury: Writer, Producer, Actor, Director; Fury has worn all hats for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and now executive producer for Angel's 5th season.

Steven S. DeKnight: Writer, Director, Producer for Angel, and writer for Buffy's 5th and 6th seasons, Steven began his career as a story editor in 2001-02.

Sarah Fain: Teaming up with co-writer Elizabeth Craft, the duo has written for Angelsince Season 4 with the episode "Supersymmetry".

Jeffrey Bell: Writer, Producer, Director for Angel was promoted to co-executive producer and new head writer at the start of Season 4.

Drew Goddard: Writer for Buffy in its 7th and final season, Drew wrote such outstanding episodes as: "Conversations with Dead People" and "Lies My Parents Told Me", and

Ben Edlund: Writer, Producer, Director, best known as the creator of the comic book "The Tick", Ben joined Angel in 2002-03.

The panel was also moderated by Buffy/Angel novelist, Nancy Holder. Joss offered intros, "And now I have to shut up because we have another panel coming on. You make it possible for me to spend time with my son! David Fury to the principals office please. Remember people, this is your moment to shine, but I will be in the room." As the writers took the stage there was no lack of humor to set the tone as Jeff Bell leaned into the mic and asked, "Are you now or have you even been a vampire Senator?"

"We're following Joss who is like the best damn comic I've ever had to spend any time with," Jeff began, "and so we're all just thinking, 'They're still staying, why? Joss left.' We are really excited to be back on Season 5; we're going in a different direction this year. The hotel is gone and we are now at the center of Wolfram & Hart. Our guys are running a big evil corporation and trying to make sense of why they are there. Vincent Kartheiser (Connor) will not be returning as a regular this year. Connor was brought in to a thankless role and play the foil and did a great job and had a real emotional payoff at the end. Charisma [Carpenter] will not be returning as a regular this year either. People have babies, people have lives, characters have arcs and we thought she had a real wonderful one. She will be hopefully returning, we have thoughts on how to bring her out of a coma and continue to interact. But we have, what's the new guys name?" Drew cut in and offered, "Ah, my name's Drew," which spurred a few laughs. "We have James, James Marsters is coming on," Jeff continued, "and I know people have a lot of concern about how we're bringing him back. I had lunch with James yesterday and he was telling me about seven years on Buffy, whatever the character did he never felt mistreated; he loved what the character went through. I know a lot of Buffy fans think there was a lot of 'Kick the Spike' but he never felt that way. He felt like his character always had very interesting things to do and we plan to continue that. We also feel he died a noble, heroic death on Buffy and to bring him back as if nothing happened would not be fair to him or the character and so we feel whatever he comes back as, is something that we have to earn. So I ask you to bear with us as we figure out what exactly what that looks like. David Fury wants to talk about collaboration, because if anybody put the C in collaboration, it's David."

David took the floor by stating, "Collaboration; the art off passing off work to someone else." The audience applauded and laughed as David gave them an example. "I'm in the midst of episode two right now of our next season. Mr. Edlund here, I was having so much fun, I had to bring someone else into it. And I think Ben here is going to help me do it. Basically, when we're in the room we are going off a general idea that Joss has. He'll have maybe one small story point or some emotion that he wants to bring out in the episode and then it's up to us in a room trying to brainstorm a bit and trying to figure things out. I have the great fortune of working for Buffy for six seasons and Angel unofficially for all of it and these are the best bunch of writers you can ever imagine to be in a room with. And it's one of the reasons I'm here on Angel is I refuse to leave Mutant Enemy." Jeff kept on the topic at hand by adding, "Another example of collaboration is Liz and Sarah can write together as a team - one does verbs; one does nouns and together they put out really wonderful scripts. We actually don't know who the talented one is. We believe one is talented and the other one is just getting half the money."

A not-so-common question, but one that offers some insight to our writers is which series has been the most fun to write for, Buffy or Angel. Drew began jokinly, "I hated those Buffy people. Angel people are way better." To which David replied, "I liked the Buffy people except for Drew Goddard." David continued to explain the difference working with the two staffs. "The Buffy people were wonderful, for me personally because I've had the opportunity to go thru a lot of different rÈgimes of writers. The most fun has been, for me, with Angel which is not to say that Buffy wasn't fun except that we finished up there with about eight writers. On Angel they were struggling with 4-5 at a time and it makes quite a difference when you're both trying to churn out 22 episodes. It was just a little bit more fun the smaller the group. It's like an intimate party, you know you're going to have a little bit more fun there and have a little bit more input and play a lot more office golf."

An audience member asked if there would be any Buffy guest stars on Angel this season, and how that affects the writing if someone's schedule isn't available. Steven admitted, "I think we're supposed to have everybody on but five of them are ghosts." Jeff took the more serious answer, "A big part of it is finding out the need for why the character would show up and we have thoughts about that for many of the characters and then it's just a matter of making time and money, and scheduling work but we have hopes for all of them dropping by." David made the most people happy when if explained a possible scenario, "Sometimes we'll come up with some interesting emotional ideas and we'll want to save it for some of those characters. It would be nice to get Sarah Michelle to play out particularly with Spike and Angel together. So we're saving a lot of stuff right now and going to keep our fingers crossed and hope that we can get her to do it otherwise we'll find some other way to express those emotions without her."

David can sometimes get out of hand when placed before a live audience, strange things begin to happen, especially to his hearing. When asked the status of Stephanie Romanov and the possible return of Lilah, next season David replied, "Eliza Dushku? Oh Lilah. Okay, calm down, having trouble with the acoustics." Steven explained, "He's old." Oddly David continued with his confusion with, "As Joss indicated, she is on another show right now. We would love, love, love to have Eliza back . . ." As the audience shouted back to him: Stephanie! David laughed, "Lilah, sorry. I'm old and feeble. Stephanie, yes I know who Lilah is!" At this point Jeff took the mic and made an announcement: "Is David Fury's nurse in here please?" And finishing the question Jeff explained, "Ah, maybe. We love Stephanie, always does great stuff and currently her character is burning for eternal damnation in hell. And Joss actually addresses certain issues about that in the first episode this season."
Another member of the audience asked the entire panel which was their favorite character to write for and we got our first glimpse of Ben as he admitted, "They all have cool things about them. I like writing for Fred, she's nervous, I'm a nervous person, I think I can understand where's she's coming from to some degree. And my breasts are growing." David anteed in with, "Out of both worlds? Boy, that might be Faith." And the place opened up with applause. "I only had the opportunity to write her twice," he confessed, "but damn! Her voice just comes out of me. The other one I had a good time with was Harmony. Those two women just, I don't know, just touch some part of me that loves writing for those two." Drew also is a Faith fan but with with David stealing his thunder opted with, "I lucked out, Rebecca [Rand Kirshner] let me help out with the Mayor when he showed up." Another round of applause. "I loved the Mayor more than anything, working with Harry is just an absolute joy I have to say." The shy and quiet Sarah offered "Fred." As her choice while Steven stated, "Without a doubt Tara," to which the applause meter hit a solid 8. Of course Jeff would not be left out, "The green guy, writing Lorne is so much fun. We're not as dark as Buffy 6 but our show can be pretty dark and he is always a breath of fresh air and humor even in the most horrible circumstances."

It was observed by one fan that last year seemed to have all the opportunities for possible crossovers with the two apocalypses happening in each story arc, yet it never happen. David simply explained it by saying, "Two different Networks. I was able to tie-in in my Faith episode 'Salvage', with the attempt on her life in the prison. They had a dagger that was used by those guys . . ." The audience helped him out once again: The Bringers! "The Bringers, right." Laughed David as he reverted to, "So you want to know more about Eliza right? It's very hard to coordinate your climaxes together especially when one ---" Now the audience erupted in fits of laughter as Jeff once again announced, "Can security please come to the front of the room?" David tried to take control, "Okay, if everyone can get their minds out of the gutter for a minute. When the episodes aired three weeks apart, Buffy's finale, Angel's finale, it just doesn't pay for us to try and coordinate the two of them and make them one big finale. If Buffy and Angel had stayed on the same Network, I'm sure we would have seen that." The crossover came in a live-action version as Danny Strong [Buffy's Jonathan] surprised the panel by coming up to the mic and asking a question, "I have a question for Drew Goddrad." After the huge applause died down Drew addressed his fan, "Go ahead, and stand up young man." To which Danny replied, "Very funny Drew. I just wanted to know who it feels to be a murderer?" Another round of applause and shouts as Drew counted, "You know, it's not that bad." But Danny wasn't put out as the banter continued, "Is it anti-Semitism?" he asked. "I think it's like anything, at first it kind of tries your conscience . . ." Danny offered, "And then it starts to feel good." ". . . and then you realize," Drew finished, " 'Where's Danny? Is he around? Is he in the john? Ah, who cares.' What ever happened to that Jonathan character?"

It was then asked how the writers went, creatively, into the season finale that could have been a series finale. Jeff offered some insight to a very good question. "It was difficult because Charisma had just had her baby and we did everything we wanted but what we wanted was a really nice emotional payoff. We set up Wolfram & Hart for next year in terms of what next year would be and in addition we have the real emotional component of something that means a lot to our central character Angel, which is the happiness of his son, the one thing that he was never able to give him. And we thought if we just paid that off emotionally for the character we hoped it would be for the audience as well." With a variety of story ideas over the years it was wondered if there were any episodes they really wanted to write but had to defer to another writer and if anyone was jealous of each other for what they had written. Jeff confessed, "I'm very jealous of David Fury" David steeped in to give his honest and this time fact full answer, "I always said, 'Fool For Love', Buffy episode written by Doug Petrie, that is the episode I think most I would have liked to have written. It was an episode that I had an opportunity to write and passed up for reason I can't remember. And Doug just did an incredible job with it and it's on of my favorite episodes. So yeah, I hate and am jealous of Doug Petrie, if that's what you're getting at." Steven confessed, "I'm still upset I didn't write 'Tabula Rasa', Rebecca's best episode ever." And the applause erupted in agreement.

A fan asked how the writers keep the dialogue fresh and original, as it is such a focal point of bother series. Jeff began with the humorous answer, "That's actually very easy to answer, if you don't Joss makes fun of you. Sarah what was your experience?" Sarah explained, "It was our first episode of Angel last year, 'Supersymmetry' and we had a very unfortunate line, it was, 'Brilliant, absolutely brilliant,' said by Wesley. And in context it really wasn't that awful I'd just like to say." Liz opted to point fingers, "Sarah wrote that one by the way." Sarah laughed, "But it probably comes up once a week. That will train you very quickly."

Speaking of Wesley, one fan wanted to know if Alyson Hannigan would be a permanent on Angel? David responded with, "I think Alexis Denisov is getting her as a permanent. The rest of us just have to wait. We'd love to have Alyson on as soon as she's available, and as soon as we figure out the right story for Willow to come on. She's definitely game to do it and we'd love to have her but she does have a wedding to plan." In regards to other members of the cast and how their roles will be changing this season David teased the audience with: "Do we want to talk about Mr. Gunn? He'll be changing, next question! There are changes in store for our characters now that they are working for the most evil corporation on the planet. And working from within to do good, and are given basically the keys to enormous toys and facilities and all sorts of resources they didn't have before. It's going to make them different than the people who were living in a hotel working clandestinely to fight the forces of evil. We'd rather not be specific so as you can find a little more surprise and enjoyment in it, or hate us for doing it. I don't want you to hate me now, hate me later."

One of the last questions led to Steven expanding on the episode 'Seeing Red' and the death of Tara which was of much debate last year among fans. "Joss had an idea of how Willow was going to go bad and he had this idea early on," he stated. "It was at the beginning of the season and he knew exactly what the line was and how it happened. And when he explained it to us we were all just blown away and there were some reservations about, can we do this and not upset everybody? And I think I proved I can upset everybody. I always said that if she had been dating Oz at that point, Oz would have bought it, there's absolutely no question about it. It was nothing against the character, we loved writing for those two characters but it was the direction that Joss wanted to take it and I thought it was the right one."

[> Does what Joss said mean that either guy is better?......NO -- Rufus, 04:08:59 08/14/03 Thu

Audience: When Spike got his soul back, why didn't he seem to have the same moral quandaries as Angel?

Joss: "Well, he's a different guy than Angel. Hopefully he's a different guy because otherwise Angel's going to be really boring. I think Spike was actually a lot closer to human. Angel was at full-tilt evil, that just got clothes lined by those Gypsies and spent 100 years going, 'Ah yah aha hah,' trying to figure it out -- what it was he had to do. Spike actually went in search for a soul while he had none, so I think he was much more evolved then Angel, personally. I think that's why it was easier for him to make the transition."

I think that the fact that redemption depends on the interactions of one party with another or others, means that each guy is on a journey that may or may not ultimately lead them to what they originally sought. Funny how things happen along the way to change motivation. Each vampire with a soul is different just like all of us, the preference we show to either means nothing more than who we connect to is the one we think is better and prefer. I'm lucky in that I can feel for both guys. Angel started out a bit more rough around the edges and his soul was returned out of revenge. Spike sought a soul because he wanted to give Buffy what she deserved. I don't think either guy could be prepared for the impact of being able to feel the remorse for acts that, without a soul they did gladly. Now ask me again how I feel when the story finally ends...;)

[> [> Spike & Angel are two different characters... -- ZachsMind, 09:52:52 08/14/03 Thu

Shadowkat said it best. The two guys don't negate each other. In fact I'm getting tired of the comparisons altogether, and it's not even October yet. This is only gonna get worse.

Whedon saying he _thinks_ Spike's more emotionally evolved is a strange way to put it, and it doesn't really help smooth out the argument Spike fans have with Angel fans and vice versa.. Maybe Whedon's purposefully adding fuel to the fire? I mean this fall if the two guys finally face off? It'd help him if his audience had cheering sections which were facing off too.

Spike CHOSE to get his soul back. It wasn't as much a shock to his system. It was still a shock. It would be a shock for anyone, but he knew what he was getting himself into. When the soul returned, Spike's psyche welcomed it, so the transition wasn't as forced and difficult as things had been for Angie.

Angelus was souled against his will. So when it happened, suddenly the goodness that comprises Angie's psyche could fight back against the evil presence that comprised the vampire Angelus. Liam had embraced his new life with Darla and vampirism. A conscience thrown into the mix suddenly made him have to struggle with every horrid thing Angelus had done, and he didn't like the man he saw in the mirror. So his personality fragmented in order to maintain a resemblance of sanity. It wasn't as immediate. It was a gradual process. It was a difficult adaptation.

Spike looked in the mirror after what he'd almost done with Buffy, didn't like what he saw in that mirror, and thought a soul would change that. After a fashion, he was right. That's kinda what redemption's all about. Something Angel's already learned. Spike just went about it differently.

Just cuz these two guys are both vampires and they both now have souls, that's no reason to cookie-cut them in the same mold. They're two remarkably different characters, and it's apples and oranges trying to compare one to the other.

[> [> [> And about the mirror references? I did not mean literally. *smirk* -- ZachsMind, 10:00:10 08/14/03 Thu

[> [> [> Seeing as Spike is Angel's foil (and not vice versa) the comparisions will continue -- Diana, 13:07:32 08/14/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> The Foil -- Rufus, 17:21:46 08/14/03 Thu


Definition of Foil: One that by contrast underscores or enhances the distinctive characteristics of another: ìI am resolved my husband shall not be a rival, but a foil to meî (Charlotte BrontÎ).

Not that I'm saying that Spike and Angel are going to get married.....;)

[> [> [> Didn't Spike and Faith already have this conversation? -- Cheryl, 16:32:15 08/14/03 Thu

You know, the different coloring and all. ;-)

[> [> Re: Does what Joss said mean that either guy is better?......NO -- Anneth, 10:06:49 08/14/03 Thu

Each vampire with a soul is different just like all of us, the preference we show to either means nothing more than who we connect to is the one we think is better and prefer. I'm lucky in that I can feel for both guys.

Rufus, that was beautifully put. Thanks. Oh, and thanks for posting the interview!

[> [> & i don't think he meant the character when he said... -- anom, 12:08:18 08/14/03 Thu

"Hopefully [Spike's] a different guy because otherwise Angel's going to be really boring."

The show Angel, not the character Angel, would be boring. Although I know some people do think Angel the character is boring. Just wanted that to be clear, 'cause it could be read either way.

[> Thanks Rufus! -- ponygirl, 07:34:02 08/14/03 Thu

[> Thanks, Rufus! Also, FYI, Firefly will be on Space .. -- jane, 20:15:32 08/14/03 Thu

Channel in Canada this fall. Just saw a promo for it which said it will include the three episodes not broadcast on Fox.

[> [> I saw VCR is all ready....:):) -- Rufus, 20:17:07 08/14/03 Thu

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