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What happened this year? -- LeeAnn, 22:58:42 05/23/04 Sun

What really happened this year?

When I think about it all I come up with is:
Spike returned as a ghost then recorporealized then became an unimportant sidekick.
Cordelia died but passed on one vision to Angel. The difference between comatose and dead was minor.
Connor got his memories back but it wasn't important since it didn't change his life in any way.

Trying to think here.....

Lindsey came back and forth but didn't really change anything.
Fred was transformed into Illyria but catalyzed nothing but Wes being sad.
Wes died.
They fought Wolfram and Heart.

There are a lot of plot details but most of them are just white noise and didn't move anyone's story along.

Seems just a little for 22 episodes. But it's what comes to my mind. Not much character development this season. Not much change. Not much happened till the last episode. Even though I enjoyed a lot of the episodes when I think back on them they mostly blend together into nothing very important. I'm Spikecentric but I have trouble even remembering his episodes.

I don't feel much happened this year. Very little character development and until the contrived plot developments necessary to end the series not much plot movement either. I think Wes' death was the only emotional note for me all year despite being unspoiled till the last 3 episodes.


[> Re: What happened this year? (spoilers here and above) -- lunasea, 04:49:19 05/24/04 Mon

Not much character development this season.

**Realized he did nothing much in "Chosen" but stand there wearing a necklace (which is why he refused to wear any jewelry in "Not Fade Away")
**Discovered the power of the mind being incorporeal
**Realized Buffy didn't love him (sure he said it in "Chosen", but look what he says when he comes back) and doesn't go after her when corporealized
**Thought he had a major destiny complete with Shanshu which he was willing to fight to get
**Actually became a force for good, not because of some girl, but because that's who he is now
**Became willing to do what was necessary and take orders from Angel
**He took some very important steps out of Angel's shadow (which has dogged him his entire vamp existence). He did this not by fighting Angel, but by fighting *with* him.

Spike's line of "Kill them all" mirrors Angel's first interaction with Buffy. He has come a long way. He was more than an unimportant sidekick, and I am not Spikecentric. If he is the spin-off, that has been set up.

**Got lawyered up, which he still is.
**Got to make a real difference
**Discovered it still doesn't make a difference
**Really experienced cause and effect

Gunn's brain boost caused him to do more than fight with his fists as vamps arose to be dusted. Strategy involved more than getting a tricked out truck. Think back to the first time Angel met Gunn. Gunn not only was their main strategizer from "Just Rewards" on, but in doing that, he learned more to look at the world. As Gunn has gotten away from his neighborhood, he isn't on a basic survival level any more. It isn't just "kick the board over." Gunn has a much better idea how the world works now.

**Totally broken by the end of the season
**Realizes what he believed before was wrong. He doesn't want to be the poster child for Angel's breakdown

I have an essay about this, so I'll save it for then

**grew up
**fell in love and was able to see Wesley

Fred's development this season was beautiful. In her position as head of Practical Science, she didn't lose her femininity, but she did gain confidence. By "Smile Time" she was arming herself and saving Wesley.

**dealt with some Daddy issues
**managed to overcome some of his Watcher Training and be happy with a lie

Wesley finally got the girl of his dreams, lost her and realized it won't be enough unless he lets it be.


I have an entire essay below that traces Angel's development. It quotes 8 episodes from this season. Angel made a huge change, from smallest acts of kindness to fighting in order to be strong.

This season was incredibly heavy on character development. It just wasn't overtly symbolized as much as we are used to on BtVS. That's part of the symbol. No matter how much the characters change, their impact on the world is minimal. We can't use how we affect the world to be the justification for fighting. We have to find other reasons. Each character was given tremendous power. That changes people. It did. It broke Lorne and it freed Angel. It allowed Gunn to see the world differently. It helped Fred find more confidence. It allowed Spike to move a bit out of Angel's shadow. It allowed Wesley to deal with his feelings of inferiority.

It was a great season.

[> [> Re: What happened this year? (spoilers here and above) -- MaeveRigan, 06:57:18 05/24/04 Mon

Well-said, Lunasea.

In the words of an ATPo board epigraph, "You don't sit back on the couch watching [Angel], you have to sit forward and think about it." --James Marsters

And I'll just add that Connor's regaining his memories did seem to change his life considerably. From the conversation between him and Angel in "Not Fade Away," his regained memories enabled him to understand himself and his purpose better and, mixed with the loving family and home foundation Angel had given him, he was willing and able to help Angel when needed. A4 Connor? Unlikely to come through in a pinch and still be balanced enough to apply for a worthwhile summer internship.

And I'm not much of a Connor fan :)

[> Re: What happened this year? -- Rob, 13:51:04 05/24/04 Mon

For an explanation of all of Lindsey's actions this year (including why Spike was brought back), I came up with a theory that Masq posted at her site in the Power Play analysis:

"All season long, Lindsey has been trying to infiltrate the Circle of the Black Thorn. Why?

[W]hen he left at the end of S2 [Lindsey] certainly didn't want to work for the Senior Partners. ...Lindsey may have been trying to do the same thing Angel had: infiltrate the Black Thorn to attack the Senior Partners from within. This could explain why he didn't want the SP to know where he was (he could have used an assumed identity when approaching the Circle), and why he resurrected kill Angel (with possible plans to later kill Spike, too). Spike could have been a contingency plan, in case Lindsey found himself incapable of taking out Angel himself. By prepping him as the new "Champion for the Helpless," he could have been hoping to slowly manipulate Spike into seeing Angel as the Enemy who had to be taken out to help the Little People of L.A. Coming to the Circle from the position of having just caused the death of the Vampire With a Soul would have probably greatly helped his chances of getting in. ...[M]ere vengeance [against Angel] after all these years doesn't seem right, especially after the understanding they reached in Dead End) but a means to an end of being accepted in the Circle of the Black Thorn. ...I wonder, btw, if he had been planning on having Eve be his sacrifice, as the Black Thorn believed Fred was for Angel. This would explain why he seemed to hold her more at arm's length than she did for him (Rob 2004-05-16 02:04).

While Lindsey may have seen "helping the world" as a side benefit of destroying the Circle, this formerly dirt-poor ex-Wolfram and Hart attorney isn't ultimately motivated by the best interests of the world. For him it was a way to gain power."


[> [> Rob, your theory is still excellent. But.... -- Briar Rose, 00:39:59 05/25/04 Tue

How did you get yourself dragged into another posting to the multi-named one that will never accept any positive post about Buffy or Angel without an argument?>^~.^<

[> [> [> Re: Rob, your theory is still excellent. But.... -- LeeAnn, 03:45:47 05/25/04 Tue

You know that's pretty rude.

So you discourage people from responding to certain posts?

Interesting to know you police the board.

[> [> [> [> BR Probably thought you were one of Claudia's aliases -- dlgood, 11:28:52 05/25/04 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> on the nose dl.... LeeAnn, I'm sorry if you are not Claudia, but that truly read like Claudia. -- Briar Rose (my apologies), 16:10:29 05/25/04 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> and how is that? -- LeeAnn, 17:29:34 05/25/04 Tue

I don't post much so I'm not sure who Claudia is.

But your "apology" read like a backhanded insult.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: and how is that? -- LittleBit, 18:54:05 05/25/04 Tue

Before this really deteriorates, maybe I can help? A few weeks ago Claudia posted (under one of her posting names) that she was completely disgusted by the latest episode and was giving up on the series completely at that point... wasn't even going to bother watching. This didn't stop her from posting her negative opinion of the subsequent episodes. I think it was simply that you expressed disappointment in each character that triggered the response, from someone who didn't know you'd been a long-time poster here who just hadn't posted much this season.

Couple that with the facts that Claudia has used at least 6 different posting names here, often at the same time and occasionally within the same thread, and that she often posed negative opinions just to see what we'd say, since she wasn't interested in actual discussion and it was just an unfortunate misunderstanding.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: and how is that? -- LeeAnn, 19:28:34 05/25/04 Tue


Actually I wasn't disappointed in the season. I really quite enjoyed it. I just thought when it was over that not much seemed to have happened. I see from Lunasea's post that a lot did and it only felt to me, on a personal level, that not much did except Wes's death and the break with W&H leading up to the battle. I see my feeling it not supported by the events of the season. Maybe I feel that way because...hmmm...the characters mostly seem unchanged. Even Fred, when we see her, is the same. And Illyria seems like the addition of a new character.

If you are getting someone posting with multiple names and object to that it's easy enough for Masq to configure the voy forum so the author/Host IP shows on every post like they do on ASSB and Cross and Stake. She can even do that for a while then change it back if people don't like it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks LilBit. I do truly apologize LeeAnn. Teaches me to not jump so fast. -- Briar Rose, 22:39:56 05/25/04 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Unfortunately -- KdS, 22:51:09 05/25/04 Tue

The poster in question was using public computers with several different IP addresses, and that other people might have been using as well.

Theory about the FE -- David, 12:06:12 05/24/04 Mon

Hi today in my english class, we were doing faustus and i read something that had to do with mephostophilies and it made me think of the FE. It said how pure evil couldn't be represented as any 'true form' and i thought that this might be why the FE never shows its true face because it doesn't have one and it only uses dead people to get its message across.

Anyone else think the same or have a different view?


[> Re: Theory about the FE -- Wizard, 13:53:50 05/24/04 Mon

I never thought about it like that before. I think you might have something there, but why keep it to only dead people (and the undead)? The First also had that balrog-like manifestation, but that was just another illusion.

I really like this theory.

Need a Whedon fix? -- Kenny, 03:16:59 05/24/04 Mon

Just a reminder to you non-comics people out there that JW's 12-issue stint on Astonishing X-Men starts this week. Issues of AXM #1 can be found at your local comic shop this Wednesday.


[> also... -- Nino, 07:25:04 05/24/04 Mon

Joss was interviewed for Bravo's TV Revolution, a documentary on TV and social issues. The first 2 episodes aired last night, one on gays another on women. Joss was interviewed for both (and Buffy mentioned in both), so hopefully he'll be included in the rest of the series...keep an eye out for him!

A Brief History of Mutant Enemy -- Ocipital, 08:52:44 05/24/04 Mon

A brief history of ME. By Ocipital

In 1995 a young and upcoming Network Executive, Gail Berman, was looking at the current crop of shows and realised that there was a shortfall of strong female characters especially in genre shows, which was handy given the fact that the company of which she was president, Sandollar, had produced a feature featuring exactly what TV was missing 3 years prior, and held the rights to produce a TV series from it. That feature was of course Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

A TV series resulted, created by the features scribe, Oscar Nominated and talented script doctor Joss Whedon, produced by Sandollar Television and 20th Century Fox. Whedon himself would be given his own production banner which he named Mutant Enemy. However the TV show was not in the most desirable situation, picked up late as a midseason replacement, and on the little watched WB to boot, it was an unappealing career choice. Former House of Buggin Supervising Producers David Fury and Elin Hampton (wife and writing partner) were interested in the show and offered the job after Fury bluntly pointed out the enormous flaws with the feature, but they were put off by their agents who pointed out they had a much safer offer with ABC's Life's work.

Still a TV series needs a staff of writers and thankfully not everyone had 'better' offers. Whedon whose TV background was based exclusively in comedy was keen to attract both comedic and drama based writers (quite an unusual choice at the time). New writers Ashley Gable and Tom Swyden got their first gig as staff writers, whilst comedic duo Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel were picked up as story Editors from the recently departed Comedy Hope and Gloria. Finally genre writers Matt Kiene and Joe Reinkemeyer joined from the critically acclaimed Morgan/Wong skein Space, Above and Beyond also as story editors. Pauly producer Dana Reston also agreed to write a freelance episode.

Still the team was missing something, or so Fox thought, namely someone with much in the way of any experience writing a TV series let alone producing it. Whilst there was no doubt in Whedon's ability to write (few shows can boost an Oscar nominated writer even if it is for animation), there was very much doubt over his ability to write and run a television series. For a start Whedon had only just turned 32, secondly he had only worked in television for a total of 18 months (though he had wrote 9 scripts in that time); thirdly he hadn't worked in television at all in the last 6 years. Fox decided the show needed an experienced producer in the frame at least for the first season, and let it be known they were looking. Still they cant have anticipated someone of David Greenwalt's calibre being interested. Greenwalt was fresh off his own creation Profit, a dark tale of twisted corruption in the co-corporate world and an anti-hero who earned millions but slept inside a cardboard box. Profit had been cruelly cancelled after just 3 episodes (such is the will of Fox), but those 3 episodes were enough. Hollywood was impressed, Greenwalt had the pick of any show he wanted, so it was with some surprise that he chose to join Buffy as Co-Executive Producer.

The first season was filmed between September 1996 and January 1997. This posed a problem, the premiers' airdate was not until the 10th of March, and whilst the extra time allowed Whedon to perfect the season, the other writers needed to know if they'd still have a job come fall. The thing with midseason shows is there not generally expected to last, there pretty much exist to fill the gaps in networks scheduling, and whilst the WB's bottom line (they were haemorrhaging $100 million a year at the time) guaranteed the show would air, it was doubtful it would return. Greenwalt quickly moved on, he had a standing offer from the X-Files and joined them as Co-Executive Producer almost as soon as shooting wrapped. The other writers also began to move on, Matt Kiene and Joe Reinkemeyer decided to stick with the Movie to TV theme by joining freshman series Honey I shrunk the kids. Eventually they moved to Andromeda where they continued to write together until last year, when Reinkemeyer departed. Kiene though remains as supervising Consultant, recently writing the episode 4x13 The Warmth of an Invisible Light. Ashley Gable and Tom Swyden also departed but not by their choice. They eventually found work in 1998, on the syndicated series Special Ops Force. The partnership died thereafter, Ashley Gable is currently Co-Producer of The District.

The Mutant Enemy's writers ranks had now dropped from 8 to just 3, only Whedon, Batali and Des Hotel remained, but the 1st season of Buffy had been successful, earning the WB its highest ever rating for a drama with the 2 hour premier (3.4), and now the WB wanted 22 more episodes. So it was some relief when Greenwalt decided to return. Even better he bought one of the X-Files writers and Executive Producers with him, Howard Gordon. Gordon wasn't looking for a permanent job, but rather a resting point whilst he pitched his own show. Taking the Buffy gig part time as Consulting Producer, with a view to leave should a network like any of his pitches. One final addition was rookie writer Marti Noxon, who joined as staff writer, the move marked her first Television gig.

Still 6 writers wasn't really enough for a full season, especially when one was only part time and looking to leave, and 2 of the others worked only as a partnership. Freelance writers were the answer. They offered one off pitched ideas for the show, which would not only keep the ideas fresh, but also give the staff writers a breather to come up with their own ideas. Even better former writers Kiene and Renkemeyer were able to fit a freelance script into their schedule (sadly it was Inca Mummy Girl). Also offering up a freelance script was Joss's former Executive Producer at his last show Parenthood, David Tyron King, better known to Buffy fans as Ty King. King was actually semi-retired and living in Seattle, but found the time to pen Some Assembly Required before being invited back to kill of Ms Calendar in Passions. Ty immensely enjoyed working with Joss again, but he was settled way up north and so turned down the chance to work on the show again. The two did however develop a pitch for another show, a midseason replacement for Fox called Cheap Shots, about people making low-budget horror films at a B-movie company. Sadly the project did not work out. Rookie Carl Ellsworth was another freelancer, pitching the episode Halloween, Ellsworth latter found permanent work at Animorphs, and then Cleopatra 2525, he has not worked since its cancellation. Finally David Fury and Elin Hampton fired their agents for telling them to take the 'safe' Life's Work, over Buffy, when Buffy was still on the air, and their own show cancelled in 18 episodes. They then hired new agents (Joss's agents) and pitched a freelance script Go Fish.
The 1997/8 season was a successful year for Mutant Enemies. Fox decided they were wrong about Whedon, and offered him a $16 million 4 year deal in August 1997, which included both running Buffy, developing new shows and writing feature films. Marti Noxon also had a good year, she didn't get to start writing until episode 9 but was thereafter a prolific writer, in the span of 5 episodes, she wrote 4 of them and wrote a total of 6 that season (Only Joss can boast the same for his debut season, he wrote 6 scripts at Roseanne). Noxon's ability was very apparent to Whedon, especially in "the opening a vein" aspect of drama, she was promoted to Story Editor after Bad Eggs, only her third ever script. Still not everything worked out Howard Gordon successfully pitched Strange World to Fox and left to write the pilot after 12 episodes (more on him and that show latter), and it became apparent that Batali and Des Hotel were not keepers, and were ankled at the end of the season. They were unemployed for a year before returning to comedy for Fox's "That '70s Show" in 1999, where they both remained for the past 5 seasons, and are now Co-Executive Producers, though they have split the partnership. Allyson Hannigan recently guest stared in Rob Des Hotel's episode 6x13 Won't Get Fooled Again.

In August 1998 Mutant Enemy itself became an official company when it became Mutant Enemy Inc, though in reality it was a "tax dodge". Jeff Bynum (Marti Noxon's future husband) was appointed senior Vice President of Production, and George Snyder was named director of development. With it's establishment followed lots of ideas. An animated musical about Dracula, Grampire, a feature film family comedy about "two kids who suspect their grandfather is a creature of the night" and Alienated, a comedy about someone kidnapped by aliens who turns the tables on his captors. None of these projects actually materialised. However a Buffy spin-off did, Angel. Buffy had proved a major success for The WB in the 1997/8 season, the second part of a two-parter (Innocence), in combination with a move and promotion to a new night, proved to be a major success, hitting a then record high rating for the WB of 5.2. The WB wanted another hour, a spin off to give them the same level of success. Whedon agreed and collaborated with Greenwalt in creating the spin-off, Angel.

Still that was a year off, first they had to write the third season, and with only 3 writers left (Whedon, Greenwalt and Noxon) more staff were needed.Jane Espensen who had spent 7 years at 6 different comedies (they kept getting cancelled), joined the show from Ellen as Executive Story Editor, off the back of an NYPD Blue Spec script, and a pitching session that included Parents being turned into teenagers (Band Candy), book burnings (combined with an old pitch from Thania St-John about a parent's group, witch hunt, to become Gingerbread) and someone whose using telepathy to cheat on tests (Earshot). Doug Petrie who had long ago written for Clarissa Explains it All before embarking on a features career with Harriet the Spy (which starred Michelle Trachtenberg), broke the cardinal rule of applying for a writers gig, by writing a Buffy spec script and getting the job at Buffy as Story Editor. Finally animated writer Dan Vebber who wrote for such shows as Daria joined as Staff writer. Following the success of Go Fish David Fury and Elin Hampton were again offered a job, and again turned it down. They decided to split up the writing partnership (not the marriage though). Hampton went to Mad About You whilst Fury would stay home to look after the kids. However he didn't completely back out of it, and pitched another freelance episode with Helpless, and was subsequently asked to pen Choices whose story was plotted out by the other Mutant Enemy staff.

There were more promotions. David Greenwalt was promoted to Executive Producer, and signed a 4 year, $6 million overall deal with 20th Century Fox in December 1998, whilst Marti Noxon's fast track continued as she was promoted to Co-Producer in the fall, completely side stepping the rank of Executive Story Editor, and given her 3 years worth of promotion in just one year of writing. Doug Petrie's talent was also recognised early on and he was promoted midseason to Executive Story Editor (Petrie would continue to be promoted midseason, rather than the typical fall). Dan Vebber was not to last however and was ankled, Vebber continued to write freelance for Daria, and then joined Futorama in the 2000/1 season where he rose to Executive Story Editor, and remained until its cancellation last season. He subsequently moved to the WB's midseason replacement The Mayor which was cancelled only a few weeks into production, and never aired. He is currently

working on a pilot

Into the 1999/0 season and there were now two Mutant Enemy shows on air Buffy Tuesday at Eight, and spin-off Angel an hour later. Whedon and Greenwalt created the new show, and both would Executive Produce it, with Greenwalt running it on a day to day basis (show runner), but also remaining at Buffy part time as Consulting Producer, though he would never write another episode (in fact he hadn't since episode 5 of season 3). Whedon meanwhile would remain primarily at Buffy. Marti Noxon would also double up on both shows, as Consulting Producer on Angel where she would do rewrites on a number of scenes. These uncredited rewrites would continue for the next couple of years, to give another example, the line "God Doesn't Love you but I still do", was actually penned by Noxon. Meanwhile back on Buffy Noxon was again fast tracked, side stepping the rank of Producer completely to become Supervising Producer (If your paying attention that's five years of promotion in just two). In part this promotion was likely due to the fact that Greenwalt was gone from Buffy for the most part, and Whedon was no longer totally exclusive to Buffy, and this would result in periods when Marti was in charge of the show (i.e. when Whedon was onset directing, writing an episode, or over at Angel), and such a role demanded a decent rank that matched in stature. Another possible reason was that David Fury had finally succumbed and accepted a third offer of joining Buffy as Producer, and Marti needed to be officially distinguished as the superior. On a side note, if Fury had joined Buffy in season one, he could have been an Executive Producer by season Four. In addition to Fury, one more writer joined the staff of Buffy, Toronto native Tracey Forbes Joined Buffy as staff writer, from the Dan Akroyd's Canadian series Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal

Generally when a new fall series is started the new shows actual writers wont get to write an episode till around episode 6, this gives the creators time to set up the show and utilise writers they are familiar with, and writers who are familiar with the style the creators want. Angel was no different, and utilised the Buffy writers Greenwalt, Whedon (both the shows creators), Fury, Petrie and Espensen to write the first 6 episodes. However only the shows creators were actually on staff, meaning they would be in the writer's room helping shape the other episodes stories and rewriting episodes or scenes uncredited, the remaining 3 Buffy writers were all technically freelance. Meaning they came in, penned their episode but contributed nothing beyond that. Fury then went on to co-write Parting Gifts, again freelance (A necessity given the introduction of Wes who Jeannie Renshaw had never written for before, and had not been expected to)

In addition to Angel had it's own exclusive staff writers completely separate from Buffy. Starting the season with Producers Tim Minear and Tracey Stern, Consulting Producer Howard Gordon and staff writer Jeannie Renshaw. These writers had spent the summer writing an episode of Angel that given the anthology nature of the show would be rewritten to fit in to the show at a latter date, when they were desperately short of available writers. Minear wrote Somnambulist and Stern Eternity, it is not known what the other two episodes were (they may have been about Doyle, so never used). Howard Gordon had actually been briefly consulting producer on Buffy (see 1997/8). His Fox midseason series Strange World was a flop and cancelled. But what was bad for Gordon personally worked out very well for Angel and Mutant Enemy, Greenwalt asked Gordon to join Angel on similar terms to his Buffy days, and he recommended his former Producer Tim Minear as well as some of the crew, Minear's PA from Strange World, Mere Smith joined Angel as a script co-ordinator. Tracy Stern joined from Aaron Sorkin's acclaimed Sports Night, whilst Jeannie Renshaw who had co-created Anthony Stewart Head's former show VR.5 (with a team of four other writers including Strange Worlds' Thania St. John). She had been ranked as Supervising Producer at VR.5, normally creators are ranked as Executive Producer, I would imagine the sheer number creators was the reason she was not, and the fact that the show was short lived and her first job the reason she did not keep this rank. Angel was her first job since VR.5's cancellation in 1995. Renshaw was originally an actress, and appeared in the feature Hook as well a guest staring in shows such as Home Improvement and Dream On (Which David Fury had wrote for, though not at the time Renshaw appeared).

Only one of these writers was to last. Tracey Stern was gone by episode 7, the reasons are unknown (which strongly suggests fired). Her second episode of Season one Eternity was actually a rewrite by Minear of her summer emergency script. Stern subsequently wrote freelance for Law and Order: SVU before joining showtimes Leap Years as a producer in 2001. She has not worked since its cancellation in 2002. Howard Gordon left Angel after 15 episodes to write the pilot Ultraviolet for Fox, Ultraviolet was not picked up and neither was his subsequent 2000/1 pitch Ball and Chain, in 2001/2 he joined 24 where he is now executive producer and recently signed an overall deal. Jeannie Renshaw made it to the end of the season before departing. She worked as staff writer on UPN's short-lived action thriller Level 9, following its cancellation she was unemployed until this season when she was picked up as Executive Story Editor on Charmed. The big find though was Tim Minear, who worked (either credited or uncredited) on 11 of the 17 episodes after ep 6. Minear's promotion to Supervising Producer midseason was a sure sign that the powers that be were desperate to keep him. With all the writers problem was on staff in Season 1, after Howard Gordon's departure Jim Kouf joined the show as a consulting producer. Kouf was not only Greenwalt's former screenwriting partner from the 1980's, but also an established feature writer and Executive Producer of such big screen hits as Rush Hour and Con Air. Even so the inclusion of Kouf and Minear on major overtime, was not enough to completely fill the void of only having 2 full time exclusive writers, and Mad-TV's Co-Executive Producer Garry Campbell had to be drafted in to write a freelance episode Warzone.

Going into the next season the Buffy's staff remained pretty much unchanged. Forbes was ankled, and joined the syndicated drama Code Name: Eternity as Executive Story Editor. Since then she has wrote freelance for a number of syndicated and cable shows, most recently at MTV's Spider Man. Though she has not had a full time gig since Code Name: Eternity was cancelled in late 2000. Forbes replacement was former Freaks and Geeks writer Rebecca Rand Kirshna, but other than that the Buffy staff was unchanged at the start of the season, and everyone just got the normal promotions, even Noxon.

Angel though had been far from stable going into its second season Only Whedon, Greenwalt, Noxon, Minear and Kouf survived from the previous seasons staff. With Whedon and Noxon tied up primarily on Buffy, and Kouf only working part time they needed new writers. Thankfully they found them. Shawn Ryan, a who had spent the passed 3 seasons at CBS's Nash Bridges joined Angel as producer, whilst Mere Smith was promoted from script co-ordinator to Staff writer. Mere's rise to the writing ranks is one which most fans can take heart, Mere, or rather -Mere- was one of the shows initial online fans posting at the WB's official Buffy board, the Bronze. In addition to the staffers Buffy writers Jane Espensen, Doug Petrie and David Fury penned some scripts freelance. Espensen successfully pitched the episode Guise will be Guise, Fury was needed for Disharmony, and Petrie was badly needed to help Minear write the teleplay, for a Greenwalt story in The Trial.

Mutant Enemy began setting up a third project that year, again from the Buffyverse, Buffy the Animated Series. Fox were impressed with Whedon's pitch and agreed to commission 13 episodes likely for the fall of the 2002/3 on Fox kids (Animated series take a very long time to produce, they have only 13 episode seasons). but for the most part episodes could be written by the Buffy staff, with only 13 episodes to write in two years, the show would need only a minimum start up staff and maybe some freelancers. But it would need an Executive Producer and show runner, and perhaps one more staff writer. Jeph Loeb, who was supervising producer on PBS's animated series Seven Little Monsters, and comic book writer for a number of runs including Batman: The Long Halloween for which he won an Eisner, the comic book equivalent to an Emmy. Also in the running for a possible staff position was MTV Undressed writer Steven S. DeKnight. DeKnight was looking to move away from Undressed, he quickly tired of the shows theme of getting attractive people to take their clothes off as quickly as possible, and the gruelling schedule which had seen DeKnight co-write 58 episodes over little more than a year. DeKnight wrote a Buffy spec script, and led to him going for a job at Buffy the Animated Series, the meeting with Joss went well, very well, and in addition to being offered the Animated gig, he was also offered the chance to write a freelance episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Initially it was planned that he would write a standalone episode, however the season 5 arc got in the way, and DeKnight ended up penning the arc heavy Blood Ties. Following it's success he was offered another freelance episode with Spiral.

On the financial front both Whedon and Minear were to profit from new Overall deal contracts. Whedon's whose previous contract was up at the end of the season, brokered a new 4 year deal "worth well over $20 million" in January, and featured astronomical bonus's to get Buffy to season 8 and Angel to season 5. The contract applied only to TV work, and left him a free agent for Film. The deal whilst tying him to Buffy and Angel for another 4 seasons, also called on him to create and develop new shows. whilst Minear signed a three-year seven-figure drama development deal in August 2001.Going into the 2001/2 Season network changes were afoot. Negotiations for a sixth season of Buffy on the WB went badly, and in the end the show walked, entering an auction with rival networks, UPN emerged the victors with a $112.5 million 2 year deal. Staffing wise there was little change, everyone from the previous season returned (the first and only time in the shows history), whilst Steve DeKnight became a permanent fixture joining the staff as Story Editor. Also joining the staff was rookie writer Drew Z. Greenberg, who had previously written freelance for Queer as Folk. Whedon's PA Diego Garcia Guiterez would also be given the opportunity of writing an episode of Buffy, penning episode 17 Normal Again freelance. Internally though the staffing dynamic changed somewhat. Marti Noxon was promoted to Executive Producer and became somewhat equal to Whedon, whilst Whedon himself began to take a much more back seat, taking 4 months off at the start of the season (including the summer hiatus) to pen the musical episode Once More With Feeling, it was to be his only episode of the season. Latter on in the season Whedon's involvement became more diminished when Fox ordered the pilot, for a new show he had in development, Firefly. Which in effect led to Noxon becoming defacto show runner.

Over on Angel Jim Kouf and Shawn Ryan left at the end of the year, Ryan to Create and Executive Produce his own show on FX, The Shield. Kouf meanwhile returned to the features world, most recently working on the film Taxi, which features Christian Kane. He also made a brief return to TV in the 2003/4 season as supervising Producer on CBS's The Handler, but the show was cancelled in January 2004. In addition to losing these two, Angel also had to contend the near effective loss of both Whedon and Noxon, Whedon who hardly had time for Buffy, certainly didn't have much time for Angel. Noxon meanwhile was kept busy over at Buffy by the lack of Whedon there, leaving her Consulting position little more than honouree. Just Greenwalt, Minear and Smith effectively survived from the previous season. Two more writers were hired, Co-Producer Jeffrey Bell joined up, after 3 years of working on the X-Files (in his defence he only wrote 5 episodes in all that time), and Story Editor Scott Murphy joined Angel, having previously worked on the WB Saturday morning show The Nightmare Room. Mid season it became clear that Bell was a keeper and he was promoted to Producer, simultaneously Minear was promoted to Executive Producer. Murphy however doesn't appear to have worked out and he wrote only 2 episodes that year, and nothing after episode 11. He hasn't worked in Hollywood since. There was also more freelancing. After the success of Smith, they looked to Buffy Script Supervisor, David H Goodman to provide a couple of episodes freelance (Dad, and Double or Nothing). Goodman left his Buffy gig, and joined Birds of Prey as a staff writer and Director, and following its cancellation is working on ratings giant Without a Trace. Also freelancing was David Fury, who was again drafted into write The Price when a shortage of available writers necessitated.

In May, Fox picked up the rights to the new Mutant Enemy show Firefly. Whedon had created the show, but it would need its own show runner, Whedon wanted Tim Minear, and in fear that Greenwalt would quit in protest over losing his best writer, he offered to transfer Buffy's new great writer Steve DeKnight, who would be promoted to Co-Producer. Minear would maintain involvement with Angel as a Consulting Producer. Unfortunately Greenwalt did quit in protest, but not over that, his contract with Fox was up (see 1998/9 season), and Fox "weren't stepping up to the plate". He had an epiphany and decided that show running ABC's Miracles was a much better idea. Greenwalt did remain nominally at Angel, like Minear as Consulting Producer. Not all contracts proved to be a disaster for the mutant enemy family though, Marti Noxon became one of only a few writers to sign new overall development deals with studios looking to trim costs, tying herself to Fox and Buffy for 3 years, with a seven-figure overall deal. However she too was to depart her consulting position at Angel.

This left Angel with a bit of a staff shortage, Minear was sort of there but not exclusively and only until episode 7 (there after he was at Firefly), Noxon was totally gone, Greenwalt was gone in all but name, and Whedon had two other shows on the air. With the loss of Murphy, only Bell and Smith remained on staff. DeKnight though had been bought in, whilst former Glory Days scribes Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain were hired as staff writers. Buffy Co-Executive Producer David Fury had written freelance in every season of Angel, was also bought in as consulting Producer, in a move envisioned to be similar to Noxon's in the first 3 seasons. Still the show needed a show runner and former Roswell Consulting Producer, David Simkins who had an overall deal with Fox, was drafted in. However Simkins was not to last, after just a few months in the job he was fired (creative differences), and was never credited on an episode of Angel. In the end Angel's show runner was found in-house, with Jeffrey Bell being upped to Co-Executive Producer, which gave him 3 years of promotion in just one. Fury also picked up some of the flack, and his part time gig actually ended up taking a larger proportion of his time than his day job, seeing him pen 4 episodes of Angel that year.

Mutant Enemy's new show was Firefly, Like Angel it had its doubled up staff, this time of Whedon and Minear and like Angel the regular staff did not begin work on the show till episode 6. With Whedon writing the original 2 hour pilot (Serenity, and episode 5(Our Mrs Reynolds, and sharing honours with Tim Minear on episode 1 (The Train Job)and Minear also writing episode 2 (Bushwhacked), and as with Angel Buffy writers were bought in to fill in the blanks, this time Jane Espensen and Drew Greenberg. Firefly's own staff consisted of Ben Edlund, creator of all 3 forms of the Tick (comic, cartoon and Live action series), joined as producer. Former Roswell writer Cheryl Cain joined as Executive Story Editor, as did Jose Molina who had previously worked on both Buffy and Angel as Howard Gordon's PA, and was most recently at Dark Angel as Story Editor. Finally comic book writer Brett Matthews, who had previously worked with Whedon on a number of comics, also wrote for the show. Over at Buffy the staff officially changed little. DeKnight had obviously left, but his departure was somewhat made up for by the hireling of talented new staff writer Drew Goddard, who got the job through a Six Feet Under spec script. However Whedon's role was diminished further, with him split between 3 shows, his time was at a premium, in one case the story to Selfless was plotted out, with Drew Goddard, whilst he simultaneously directed Firefly! Noxon meanwhile was on maternity leave during the early part of the season, and Fury was required more at Angel.

In June Buffy the Animated Series was finally green lit, having
spent a year in development hell. Unfortunately it was one week to late for Executive Producer Jeph Loeb who signed up as Consulting Producer on Smallville, where he remains. However by November the project was scrapped, after Fox kids, had a rethink on their programming, and decided they needed a different approach on Saturday mornings. Still the animated series was the last of Mutant Enemy's worries when in December 2002 when Fox cancelled Firefly. Which whilst bad for Mutant Enemy was good for Angel as Minear was able to come back full time (though he remained credited as Consulting Producer). Ben Edlund was also rescued from the dying show, joining Angel as Producer. Also on Angel Craft and Fain's talents, were recognised midseason when they were promoted to Story Editors. The rest of the Firefly writers went elsewhere however. Cheryl Cain to Threat Matrix as story editor, whilst Jose Molina recently wrote for Law and Order - Special Victims Unit. Brett Mathews returned to the comic world.

Mutant Enemy's woes were confounded further in January when Buffy star Sarah Michelle Geller announced she would not be renewing her contract, effectively cancelling the show. The move was expected and long rumoured, and a Faith the Vampire Slayer spin-off was in the works, created by Tim Minear and Joss Whedon, it had been green lighted by UPN, but that too fell apart in February, when Eliza Dushka turned down the offer to star in it. Other spin-off ideas were pitched, but none were felt feasible. November to February was a bad 4 months for Mutant Enemy in which they lost 2 projects in production, and 2 in development.

For the most part the Buffy staff moved on. Joss of course was still attached to Angel, as was Fury who signed on permanently with the show as Co-Executive Producer. Noxon departed Mutant Enemy to show run the still unseen Fox midseason replacement series Still Life, and also had a pilot Point Pleasant in production that was not picked up. Espensen headed to The Gilmore Girls as Co-Executive Producer, where she bought actor Danny Strong along for company, next fall she'll join the staff of Eliza Dushka's Tru Calling. Tru Calling also was Petrie's home briefly as Co-Executive Producer, before he left to create The Robinson's - Lost in Space for the WB. He was however sacked over creative differences prior to the pilot being rejected. Kirshna signed on as co-producer at the frosh ABC drama Las Vegas before departing to replace Espensen at The Gilmore Girls, finally Greenberg who headed to Smallville as Executive Story Editor in 2003 will be joining The OC in the fall. Drew Goddard meanwhile became the only Buffy writer to jump ship to Angel, joining them as executive story editor.

Angel itself future though was in jeopardy. The fourth season whilst critically acclaimed had performed badly in the ratings, in the year that Dawson's Creek was cancelled Angel averaged 18% less than it for first run episodes. With no idea if it was coming back it was hard to keep key principals, Tim Minear departed to show run frosh Fox show Wonderfalls as part of his overall deal, whilst Mere Smith headed for frosh WB drama Tarzan as Co-Producer. However luck was on Angel's side as the show was renewed after a third successive year on the bubble and the bulk of the talent remained. Jeff Bell remained as show runner, Fury joining full time as Co-executive Producer, whilst Edlund, DeKnight, Craft and Fain also remained. Whedon divided his time between writing for Angel, and writing the next new project ME were developing, Firefly the Movie, later to become Serenity

The fifth season was however to prove to be the last. Whilst luck, fortuitous coincidence and hard work had helped get the show renewed, Luck abandoned AtS, and despite the fact that ratings increased nearly 15% the show was cancelled as a result of other problems at the WB and increased costs. It is the second highest rated program to be cancelled on the WB. Several of the writers received final promotions as this Both Jeff Bell and David Fury became Executive Producers and Steve DeKnight was upped to supervising producer. Jeff Bell also signed an overall deal, not with 20th Century Fox but with Touchstone in a two year 7-figure deal that will see him write for Alias as Co-Executive Producer in the first year, and upped to Executive Producer in the second year. Drew Goddard will also be joining Alias, whilst Steve DeKnight will head to Smallville, and Craft and Fain to former Angel writer's Shawn Ryan's show, The Shield. ME will continue however, Serenity will start production soon with Whedon directing, whilst Buffy the animated slayer is back in development.

Thus concludes the history of the first Eight years of Mutant Enemy, May there be another Eight years still to come.


[> Wow -- KdS, 12:48:49 05/24/04 Mon

Don't know that much about the backroom side of things, but very informative.

[> Thanks for bringing it over here! A Great read! -- s'kat, 18:21:34 05/24/04 Mon

[> Holy Moly... ! -- OnM, 18:56:08 05/24/04 Mon

[> Great information (and a not-so-tiny request)... -- Kenny, 19:32:58 05/24/04 Mon

I really enjoyed reading that. Those types of comings-and-goings are fascinating. I was wondering, though, if you had a bibliography for the info. With so much detailed information, it's sometimes fun to go back to the original source. And some facts (such as knowing that Fury only decided to sign a contract upon his third offer) seem to have come from interviews that could have some other cool info.

[> [> Re: Great information (and a not-so-tiny request)... -- Ocipital, 11:49:07 05/25/04 Tue

tis kinda hard, there is a lot. Might forget one

City Of Angel's - varrious interviews
BBC ANgel section - varrious interviews
Succubus Club - varrious radio interviews
David Fury.Net (might be com)
Bronze posting archive - Varrious writer comments, verrified with and database (reg required)
Variety - Overall deals, Mutant Enemy Launch (which has now gone)
Buffistas, and its archived Table Talk threads - Tim Minear
The DVDs - More interviews
The show itself - confirmation of unusual and different credits

I think that's it.

[> Buffy animated might still happen??? *squeal* -- angel's nibblet, 03:02:16 05/25/04 Tue

[> I put this on over on the Trollop Board -- Rufus, 03:06:57 05/25/04 Tue

Trollop Board

[> I love this kind of stuff -- Jay, 19:32:39 05/25/04 Tue

[> Ocipital, can you drop me an email? -- The Sidereal Coder, 04:06:54 05/26/04 Wed

[> Thanks! I didn't know I didn't know so much about ME -- MsGiles, 09:27:19 05/29/04 Sat

... so many ideas that never get on the screen even. My wish-it-had-been (apart from Faith tVS) has to be Cheap Shots. My glad-it-wasn't, Grampire.

[> Re: A Brief History of Mutant Enemy -- cjc36, 04:57:58 06/01/04 Tue

Ocipital, that's a lot of work! You should write for Variety (in the event you don't!).

One thing stands out to me, and I've heard this all my life, but DARN if Hollywood isn't a hard life! It is like pro sports or something in that only a very few (writers in this case) ever "make-it." And more than a handful of the writers in your history either haven't worked since their ME experience, or didn't work for years between jobs. The 'reality' trend must make this even tougher now.

Angel Viewer's Choice marathon on Space channel -- Ames, 20:58:27 05/24/04 Mon

Space Channel (Canada) is showing an all-day Angel marathon right now. They don't seem to have posted the results of the online viewer's choice poll held over the last few weeks, but the episodes they're showing are:

City of
I Will Remember You
Five By Five
Waiting in the Wings
Spin the Bottle
Smile Time
You're Welcome
A Hole in the World


[> Here's the order -- Evan, 21:31:19 05/24/04 Mon

10. Spin the Bottle
9. Five by Five
8. Waiting in the Wings
7. A Hole in the World
6. Orpheus
5. Damage
4. Hero
3. You're Welcome
2. I Will Remember You
1. Smile Time

Interesting choices.... some unexpected (by me, anyway). Where's season 2??

[> [> That is weird -- Wizard, 22:50:13 05/24/04 Mon

I expected A Hole in the World (death of Fred), Orpheus (the trip into Angel's psyche, Faith, Willow), Hero (death of Doyle), You're Welcome (death of Cordy- I notice a trend...), IWRY (everything), and Smile Time (Puppet Angel). I did not expect the order, though. Smile Time beating IWRY for best ep? I'd ask in what alternate universe, but apparantly it's this one.

I did not expect the others. Spin the Bottle? It's got the cool narrative, and the characters as teens. Five by Five- again, Faith, and her collapse at the end. Okay. Waiting in the Wings? What the frell? Damage- fallout from Chosen, and the revelation that the Scoobies don't trust the Fang Gang anymore.

Most of these are just fine, but with the possible exception of Five by Five, I wouldn't have put any of them in the top ten.

I would have expected Epiphany to show up on the list, or Dear Boy. But, obviously, that's just me.

[> [> Re: Here's the order -- Ames, 06:34:08 05/25/04 Tue

Thanks - I still don't see where they posted the order online.

I would agree with some of these - some of them I voted for. I guess the problem I have picking favorite AtS eps is that they're much more erratic in quality than BtVS. I have no problem picking a group of BtVS eps which I think are masterpieces with only a few forgiveable flaws. But with AtS its more like great moments that didn't quite make a great ep because they were let down by other elements that were just too weak.

The S5 story arc was probably the most intriguing of the series, and none of the episodes were really weak, but it was correspondingly difficult to rate them apart from the arc. No doubt that Smile Time is a strong sort-of-standalone comedy episode though, and I would agree with it being on the top 10 list.

I'd agree with Five By Five in S1, and IWRY (only for SMG's 60-second scene at the end), but Hero stunk. Orpheus, ok. But I would probably have gone for something from the Darla arc before some of the others.

[> [> Re: Here's the order -- Unitas, 10:16:15 05/26/04 Wed

Episodes seem pretty consistent with most fan listings. Am a little disappointed Home didn't finds it's way on the list but that's democracy for you.

Excellent news for "Wonderfalls" fans!!! -- Rob, 12:45:13 05/25/04 Tue reports that DVDs of the entire series should be coming soon!!!

We've got some very good news for everyone who's been campaigning their asses off for the past month -- it looks like we're going to get those DVDs! Tim Minear posted this on a messageboard today:

"Okay, some tiny good news -- looks as though 20th is going to go through with "Wonderfalls" DVDs. The folks on the DVD marketing side love the 13 episodes and see great potential. We're talking about extras and commentary and all that good stuff. December/Holiday release was mentioned. I'll keep you updated. (BTW -- a flood of 'postcards' was mentioned. We were asked, 'that's not your families sending those, is it?' Um. In a *way*...)"

We also spoke with Bryan Fuller, who says "20th is very interested in releasing a DVD but we have to figure some things out to make it financially doable, specifically the music liscensing. They did the same thing on Roswell, swapping out some more expensive songs with more affordable ones. You'll also notice on the Sixteen Candles soundtrack that very few of the songs you may have seen in the theater actually appear on the video version."

Bryan also stresses that we "shouldn't stop sending post cards until it's done and done -- you never know what can derail something like this." So please continue to show 20th you're interested -- obviously they're listening!

Woo hoooo!!



[> Why wouldn't they? -- Ames, 13:30:24 05/25/04 Tue

Just curious - I'd assumed it was a certainty that they'd at least put the series out on DVD. How much could it cost? Anyone know what the breakeven point is in DVD sales for a series that was already in the can?

BTW, the additional episodes 6 and 7 that have been released as individual DVD screeners are also hilarious. Really looking forward to the DVD set with all 13 eps and lots of exras!

[> [> Yes, I've seen them too! Can't wait to see the rest! -- Rob, 13:35:58 05/25/04 Tue

[> That's great! -- Cheryl, 13:53:54 05/25/04 Tue

And just got word from Amazon today that my Firefly and Buffy S6 DVDs have been shipped. Hopefully they'll arrive in time to watch over the holiday weekend.

[> I have to hijack this to say...I got my Buffy season 6 !!!!!! -- Rufus, 14:52:44 05/25/04 Tue

I must be popular, they sent a duplicate along with a book I didn't even order.

But to be on topic. People like us order the DVD sets. It's too bad that so many imaginative series never get past a few eps while the reality crap goes on and on. Next thing you'll know they'll do a reality show about us...can we vote anyone of the internet island?...

[> [> Me too!!!!!!!! Plus Angel S3!!!!!!!! -- LadyStarlight, 18:01:08 05/25/04 Tue

WalMart is good for something after all.

[> [> [> WMWF is as grand as ever -- CW, 19:27:49 05/25/04 Tue

But, I turned off the commentary for Bargaining about a third of the way in because it was so lame. Can anyone tell me if it gets better later?

[> [> [> [> OMWF is as grand as ever, anyway! Not my day for typing! -- CW, 19:30:52 05/25/04 Tue

[> [> [> [> But still without the "Previously on..." :-( -- Ames, 19:33:29 05/25/04 Tue

I've always been used to hearing it start with the musical prelude under the "Previously on ..." segment, which was particularly good for WMWF. It still seems so wrong that they stripped it out. :-(

[> [> [> [> I'm listening to it right now....the answer is...nope. -- Rufus, 00:57:59 05/26/04 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> Agreed...But the OMWF commentary...Whoa, dude. Absolutely amazing! -- Rob, 17:50:27 05/26/04 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> Seconding that 'nope' -- but here's something I found *very* interesting re: *Normal Again* -- OnM, 18:47:56 05/26/04 Wed

The ep description from the enclosed booklet has this to say:

"A demon which Jonathan, Andrew and Warren unleash on Buffy causes her to drift between her friends in the real world and an alternate reality where her mother is still alive.

Hummm... wonder if someone out there is actually reading my stuff. Too much to hope for, I suppose? But I dug that description anyway.


Also, in Grave, back when I reviewed the episode, I noted a controversy over whether Buffy said "A world I have chosen to protect" or "A world I've been (or I'm) chosen to protect". The spoken dialog sounded like the first version to me, and I thought that was a powerful statement to present, because it meant that Buffy had finally willingly accepted her calling as Slayer, rather than resisting or resenting it, understandable though the latter may have been.

However, the 'original script' and the closed captions of the broadcast ep had the 'I'm chosen' and/or 'I've been chosen' variants instead, the subtle difference of course being who does the choosing-- not Buffy, but some outside force or entity or somesuch.

On the subtitles on the DVD, the phrase is depicted as "I've chosen".

So, that was very cool also. Since this is the most recent version, 'I'm choosing' that as ME's intended reading!

OMW :-)

[> [> [> [> Karaoke OMWF! -- Vickie, 08:16:09 05/28/04 Fri

I'm sure this is old news to a lot of people, but there are 3 karaoke tracks for OMWF: Going Through the Motions, I'll Never Tell, Walk Through the Fire.

I predict much hilarity at the Chicago gathering. Take good pictures, folks!

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Karaoke OMWF! -- not so much -- lenair, 08:56:38 05/28/04 Fri

Doesn't karaoke mean the original vocals are stripped out, so that you can sing instead? Cause that's not what the Buffy "karaoke" videos do. They're basically just videos with fancy subtitling. Unless I'm missing something...

[> [> [> [> [> [> I just assumed -- Vickie, 12:48:56 05/28/04 Fri

that there was a switch somewhere to turn off the vocals. No?

[> [> [> [> [> Well, we had the sing-a-long OMWF last year -- Masq, 11:34:18 05/28/04 Fri

With pizza, beer and wine, so you can guess the fun shenanigans involved in that!

I kinda want to do something different this year....

Maybe we could act out the entire plot to "Smile Time" with sock puppets or something.

[> [> [> [> [> [> OOOH, sock puppets..I'm in! -- Jane, 18:40:25 05/30/04 Sun

Ratings -- ghady, 01:24:20 05/25/04 Tue

How do they work? What do the numbers mean? Do the powers that be at the big network places go around and CALL ppl to ask them whether they like the show or not? And how come AS4 ratings were (apparently) very low, when so far it's been an ASS-KICKING season, and (i hear) has been critically acclaimed??


[> Re: Ratings -- CW, 06:43:26 05/25/04 Tue

The Nielson company has been publishing ratings almost as long as there has been network television. Since they began they've been placing little black boxes on TVs in selected homes to monitor peoples viewing habits. Basically it's a statistical tool. You take a sample of the whole viewership that's large enough that according to statisics it represents the whole viewrship fairly well. Nielson increases their accuracy by carefully selecting a variety of family incomes, racial and social backgrounds, etc. From Nielson's results the sponsors of television programs can tell how many people have the opportunity to see their ads, which is what ratings are all about. No one wants to pay big money for ads no one will see. Hence shows that don't have decent ratings die quickly.

Ratings have nothing to do with critical acclaim, which generally has to do with artistic quality. It's been almost universsally true since the beginnings of radio that high quality programs with intelligent thought-provoking writing have not done particularly well in a market full of folks looking for entertainment after a hard day's or week's work.

Incidentally, I think if anyone would actually check, the critical reviews of season 4 Angel were mixed at best. I know, for example, our local newspaper critic had mixed feelings about talking about it since he liked ME in general and didn't want to hurt their over all image.

[> [> Re: Ratings -- botitas, 23:54:43 05/25/04 Tue

Ironically, I believed that ATS ratings were up about 15% this year accorrding to an article on In fact, it may have been the increase in ratings that caused E magazine to report incorrectly earlier this year that ATS had been picked up for another season. However, despite the reported increase in ratings, ATS was an expensive show, and the networks would rather spend less money and produce reality show crap. Unfortunately, the public watches that swill. Hell American Idol is the #1 show with over 25 million viewers each episode.

[> [> [> Re: Ratings may the WB rot in Hell -- botitas, 00:01:08 05/26/04 Wed

On the subject of ratings the WB had the biggest drop in ratings this past season losing 11 percent of its viewership. They're down to 3.6 million average viewers and with the UPN at 3.4, the bastards are almost in the basement where they belong.

[> [> [> It also had to do with producing -- Finn Mac Cool, 08:05:04 05/26/04 Wed

Angel was produced by Mutant Enemy and FOX; the WB didn't have a producing credit with it like they do many of their other shows. This means they don't get any extra cash out of DVD sales, Angel based novels/comics, or any other franchising, which is the arena where cult TV shows are able to somewhat make up for their lack of mainstream appeal.

[> [> [> [> Re: Ratings, budgets, ....... -- Mike, 14:06:19 05/27/04 Thu

It's a darn shame that Angel never really met certain network expectancies in order for it to have made it past five years. However, network expectancies these days lean more towards fodder like reality crap, eye candy, and way-too-much family hour stuff. If Angel really had to end, then it ended a high high note. The series hasn't sold out once and never will in its (wishing thinking) next incarnations. It was/is a largely fan-based, creatively-driven, and critically-acclaimed presence in modern television. I'll share my perception of this whole ratings, budgets, popularity stuff that ultimately affected the series in the end.

Now, a few things that most likely brought upon the series' demise. It's rather funny that many people at home seem to only want to watch any entertainment that doesn't require a thinking cap these days. Plenty of that entertainment is simple primitive urge stuff with strangers hooking up, getting married, breaking up just as fast (The Freekin' Bachelor). Other forms are anything with millionaire or billionaire celebrities in them (Everybody Loves Freekin' Raymond). Yet other shows are for family hour, excuse us if Angel couldn't appeal or be seen by anyone under 18. Not to say popular shows are not intelligent, but Angel was one of those particular shows that did require you to think while enjoying it.

Ratings are another funny thing. Certain homes selected to represent what everyone in this country alone watches. Angel probably had many more viewers but maybe they weren't included in the statistics or something. Also, the fact that Americal Idol, The OC, West Wing, were up against Angel just sickens me. All those rival shows have way too much hype, big stars, and press, that unfortunately Angel couldn't compete. Yet Angel wasn't about selling out or trying to win over the mainstream as much as it was following its own heart, its own world. Moving its time slot around once a year didn't help matters either. And there are plenty of shows that generate lower ratings and still go on. Other shows exist that are dropping in ratings like Charmed and Gilmore Girls yet they'll always go on.

Budgets, well that's another problem since Angel's budget was lowered for its last year, yet I think it did very well
for a lowered budget. It's also funny how much special effects a show like Charmed is able to dish out. Charmed's budget must be real expensive and, sure, that show doesn't get its budget cut down. And shows like One Tree Hill (which I do like actually), 7th Heaven, and the forthcoming Summerland and The Mountain, don't use special effects. Therefore, not as expensive and yet will win more viewers for seemingly obvious reasons.

Current television status of things, well, there was once the day and age of Buffy, Charmed, and definitely Angel, on the WB. Fantasy may have only been no more than 30% on the WB, yet there was enough for the late 90s up to 01.
Mind you, Angel had some hype for its first two years, but concidentially once this reality tv emphasis hit big by 01, television viewership seemed to change big. I mean, Buffy lost some viewers when it went to UPN for its final two years.

And finally what I understand is that as others have said, the WB will probably be facing the end of 7th Heaven and Charmed, other current shows may lose in the ratings and viewers. Therefore they need new shows hoping at least two will stick in the long run. And Angel was probably the first expendable long-running show for them to afford to get rid of now. It's unfortunate and probably won't help the network's troubles anyhow, well whatever.

Anyways, here's hoping television gets better and quickly, the second half of the 00s is coming now.

The Conduit -- ghady, 01:30:35 05/25/04 Tue

Are they good or bad? In Birthday, we're told they work for the PTB.. but then i hear that "they're" that tiny girl in red in the white room. So what's the deal w/ them? (as little spoilers as possible, PLEASE!)


[> Re: The Conduit -- lunasea, 04:09:17 05/25/04 Tue

The Conduit is a shortened version of the conduit for or to.... It can link to the PTBs such as in "Birthday" or the Oracles from season 1, or it can be the Conduit to the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart. The Conduit in "Birthday" replaces the Oracles that are killed by Vocah (thus severing Angel's link to the PTBs) in "To Shanshu in LA" as a more direct link to the PTBs than Angel's messengers.

Shanshu is not a Reality TV reward -- StarryNightShade, 07:55:53 05/25/04 Tue

I'm mostly in agreement with what most have said about Shanshu in some very good analysis, but some of the discussion centres on a "who wins, Angel or Spike", which reduces the entire Ats story arc to a Reality TV reward....i.e. will Donald Trump please pick my favorite contestant. Joss Whedon doesn't do that. Ats is about redemption of the title character, Angel, which can represent many things but in many ways parallels the struggles of an alcholic. Bringing a popular character into the story in the last season and then saying to the struggling Angel, "sorry, but Spike's popular and he's done this and that and the other thing, so he wins" would debase the grand story arc and the character development of both Angel and Spike.

Shanshu, as intrepreted, has come to mean that the "vampire with a soul" will become completely human. It has the ring of "happily ever after", just as the Reality TV programs would have us believe that once a contestant wins the grand prize they will "live happily ever after". It doesn't happen that way in real life....just read about the troubles experienced by those few astronauts who lived their lifetime high of walking on the moon. "Winning the big prize" might be exhilarating, but life moves on and so does the individual....and the end prize is death (Shanshu).

It's useful to review what was really said in Season One about Shanshu.

At first Wesley translates Shanshu as a proto-hugaric word meaning "death" (i.e. that the vampire with a soul will die).

Later he realises that it is proto-bantu in which life equals death; it's part of a cycle. Wesley then considers that, "a thing that's not alive never dies", so to Shanshu is to experience the cycle. Speaking to Angel, Wes says he "get to live until you die. It's saying you become human." Remember this, that is Wes' intrepretation. What the prophecy actually says is "the vampire with a soul, once he fulfils his destiny will Shanshu", but only after he "survives the coming darkness, the apocalytic battles, a few plagues and some - uh, several, - not that many - fiends that will be unleashed.

Clearly there is a lot of ambiguity in what it means for a "vampire with a soul" to Shanshu. However, keep mind that Shanshu is the completion of that vampire's desting. So, if it is Spike that would preclude a Spike spin-off series. What's the point of a Joss Whedon series in which the title character has achieved their destiny?

In the final episode of Angel, it's clear that Angel has completed his destiny by accepting his own power and the responsibilty that goes with it. Furthermore he has already "lived" in the sense of experience many of the things humans experience such as parenting a child, losing a child, regaining the child, making and losing friends, winning a losing at love, moving on from a lost love (finally moving on from Buffy to Nina in Power Play). The only issue is that he isn't physiologically "alive", which is probably a moiot point. [I'm not sure that Angel as a weak human would be very happy or useful; and, in my opinion neither would Spike be happy.]

However, notice that the prophecy will be fulfilled be only after he "survives......some fiends that will be unleashed". Does that not resemble the final scene? What exactly will be fulfilled? If Angel dies in this batle, is that not a fulfilment in some sense of "lives until he dies". Wesley may have been right the first time...Shanshu might have been a prophecy of Angel's death in a final battle. [Of course in the Whedon universe that may not mean he's dead to future movies, etc.]

What about Angel signing away his rights to the prophecy? The prophecy is mostly about how Angel is a key player with a hint of a supposed reward. So what has Angel signed away...a bit of the prophecy or all of it? We're not told. Is the signature binding? We don't know, but what is important for the story is the emotional effect signing the document has on Angel....and this act moves the story along. Still, despite this act, one could intrepret the Shanshu prophecy as having been fulfilled if Angel suffers some type of death..."he will have lived until he died". All without having been made actually human.

Only one thing is clear, the Joss Whedon has meant things to be ambiguous / open-ended. It has generated interesting discussion, but let's not make Shanshu into a "happily ever after" reward like the ones on Reality (sic) TV. There are enough of these programs already.



[> Oops - forgot to mention SPOILERS to Angel 5.21/5.22 above -- SNS, 07:58:46 05/25/04 Tue

[> What I would do (spoilers Not Fade Away) -- lunasea, 11:53:12 05/25/04 Tue

Angel believes that he has signed away his "reward." That means he gets it. That is how things go on AtS. Angel wants something. Because of this, he pushes it away. Then because he has moved beyond it, he gets it in is some unexpected way.

Next season was supposed to open in an alternative dimension. Who knows what happens there. Alterno-dimensions suns don't affect vampires. Who knows if the gravity is weak there, so creatures from our dimension would be super strong (gotta love the tie in to Superman there. Angel has been Batman and Spiderman. Let him be Superman.) I would have Angel as human, but he doesn't figure it out for a while. Maybe Spike vamps out and expects Angel to and Angel can't. That would be a priceless moment.

Angel being human is an important part of his story. It isn't just a smile to walk off into the sunrise with. Coping with his inability to fight is important. At this point Angel has fighting is what makes us strong. He needs to learn other ways to be strong. Sometimes it takes more strength not to fight. He also needs to learn how to live without a purpose, like the rest of us schlubs.

It would also be interesting to see Spike have to deal with *not* getting this just reward. It isn't a reality TV show prize, but will Spike see it that way? I can see Spike launching into a chorus of "It's not bloody fair." Then he gets to learn that life isn't about fair.

Or maybe it is going through the portal that makes them human and they both Shanshu. Or maybe they are only human in the alterno-dimension.

Perhaps Angel doesn't see it as a reward and it takes a lot to get used to. He signed it away, but the PTBs don't care and give it to him, just like Angel gave Connor a new life. Lots of parallels possible.

Lots of possibilities. What matters is that the symbol fits.

[> [> Totally Agree with you (spoilers Not Fade Away) -- SNS, 12:23:55 05/25/04 Tue

Hi lunasea,

I really like the way you look at Ats and Btvs. You are right there are lots of possibilties which can be explored as long as the symbol fits. I very much agree that the self-sacrifice of Angel signing away his so-called "reward" means he gets it...that's the way Joss thinks and it has parallels in many relgions / philosophy. It's exactly what happened in the Trial.

Angel coping with being human would be very interesting...learning to accept his loss of power and importance, regaining a sense of self and meaning, having to deal with a serious long-term relationship....given, as you've said before, Angel is about an introvert dealing with the world. We have to remember twice before Angel was human and didn't cope.

Spike first dealing with not getting the "lottery prize"; Spike realising that he's bigger and badder than Angel and then Spike and Angel having to redefine their relationship would be fun....a lot more fun the both turning human and more interesting than neither turning human (too much more of the same).

The remaining alternative with Spike as human and Angel not just doesn't fit the grand arc. What's that supposed to teach Angel? Just more of the same....crappy things happening to him....and it doesn't follow this season's finale.

Are you getting involved in the board's Season 6 project? It seems like you'd have a lot to offer.


[> [> [> thanks for the compliments -- lunasea, 12:55:49 05/25/04 Tue

Are you getting involved in the board's Season 6 project?

Unfortunately I can't. Right now I have a lot of time. That won't last. Come Saturday I have to start preping for our move to Maine (We move June 2). After I am settled, which probably won't be until after the Gathering, I'll have time again, but by then things will be in motion. I won't even have a computer from June 2 - June 11 or more. I am up for writing an episode if they need writers.

I'll just have to settle for writing essays. Next one is about Lorne. I found his conclusion to be the most interesting and the poor guy never gets his due.

that's the way Joss thinks and it has parallels in many relgions / philosophy. It's exactly what happened in the Trial.

I still have an essay about Buddhism and AtS that I promised Masq a year ago which goes into this. It isn't just within an episode, but seasonal. The premier sets up something Angel wants. The season is him not getting that (actually pushing it away with his desire) and finding a way to get beyond it. The finale is him getting it in an interesting way. Sort of the exception is S4, but the rest of "getting it" takes place on BtVS. Angel can't get a family, but he gets one for Connor. He ends "Deep Down" wanting Cordy and ends BtVS with "sometimes." I think the most interesting way this played out besides this season was S2. "Judgment" is about reward and redemption. On Pylea, Angel faces the pure form of his demon and finds out he is stronger than it. Not just Angelus, but the actual pure form of his demon. It was important for Buffy to be out of the picture at this point, since as "Bachelor Party" shows, it is his issues about being a demon that causes him to leave. Angel gains freedom in discovering how strong he is against the demon. He is much more than Darla's Dear Boy.

I love season 2.

[> [> Re: What I would do (maybe spoilery) -- purplegrrl, 16:23:00 05/25/04 Tue

***It would also be interesting to see Spike have to deal with *not* getting this just reward. It isn't a reality TV show prize, but will Spike see it that way? I can see Spike launching into a chorus of "It's not bloody fair." Then he gets to learn that life isn't about fair.***

Although it would be interesting to Spike as a "real boy" again, I'm not sure that's what he really wants. He doesn't want to go back to wimpy William. He likes, no *loves*, being the Big Bad. You'll notice that when Spike asked the demon to restore him to what he once was, he got his soul back but he didn't become human again. Spike identifies with being a vampire, even with his soul intact.

But seeing Angel as human and Spike as vampire having to create a new relationship between themselves would definately be worth watching!
Fye on WB! May their reality shows suffer low ratings.

Vails, Veils, Liars, Anagrams: 250 in Whedonland (Angel Odyssey 5.18) -- Tchaikovsky, 09:37:45 05/25/04 Tue

But you know I think I recognize your face
But I've never seen you before

Oasis- actually that's a more optimistic version of 'Origin', in which the perspective is "But you know I don't recognise your face/ Though I've seen you many times before". Rather than the joy of someone you don't know seeming right, there's the strangeness of even the people nearest to you.

From... The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.

Oscar Wilde- who claimed there is only good writing and bad writing. Were this true, his writing would be close to the best of all. Sadly for him then, he's wrong.

So there.

Hello everyone. I'm tempted to do a review of Wilde's poetry instead of this episode, but I'll trudge along. Heaven knows, if I don't do it soon, I might get inadvertently spoiled...;-)

5.18- 'Origin'

I was thrown a curveball by this episode, which I was expecting to be the point of the Season, and was handled as an interesting diversion on the road to the two things which will presumably now take centre stage- Angel's Wolfram and Hart position, and Illyria's identity and similarity to Fred. I expected this episode to be a little more weightier, a bookend with 'Home'. But perhaps I expected to much, and certainly my inner prejudice that what Angel did to Connor was wrong, (what I like to call my Inner Masq), would have expected more comeuppance in this arciest of shows. Instead, I got a sweet little potboiler episode.

While themes are bumbling through this episode quite amiably, they don't ever build to a point of climax that makes for an emotionally resonant conclusion. Instead we get something that is barely more than a puzzle for our final scene: I would have expected a little more legerdemain from Drew Goddard.

What he does do elegantly is continue the parallel constructed by Craft and Fain in the previous episode- between Wesley, Gunn and Angel. Each are working out how to survive after the death of something- in Wesley's case Fred, in Angel's Connor, and in Gunn's, his ability to believe he is a Good Man. And each in different ways, and throughout the episode, will come to terms with the fact that the loss is very real, but will negotiate the terms of that loss so that it seems just a little easier to bear.

We start on Wesley, smelling of frustration, (an apposite and beautiful non-metaphor for scotch), looking at Illyria examining the world. He is still trying to understand how Fred is dead when the body walking next to him looks identical. And while Illyria shares Fred's memories, she is an a certain sense still a part of Fred. 'We are more than a summation of our recollections', Illyria almost insists- and yet Fred, with memory changed in 'Home' was still accepted as the same person by an unknowing Wesley. So here we have a double-jointed fence, all wiggly and cumbersome. Three Freds: pre-'Home', post-Home-pre-'Shells', post-'Shells'. And then we start wondering about Pylea, and about how she set out from Texas, the open road in front of her, and life seeming like an endless ball of twine spread out before her feet. How did Pylea affect her memories of her small-town life? Since we don't remember everything we do, and much of what we do remember we remember in what could be argued as a false manner, how much qualitative difference is there between Fred and Wesley with their memories of Connor and without them. Was Fred's first change larger than her transformation into Illyria? Memory and past misdemeanours float away, ephemeral somehow, quicksilver reveries.

And so to Gunn. We see some unnecessarily hideous images of him in the basement this time. Or are they? What does the gore show? It connotes the heart of a warrior, being ripped out day after day. This is because, at least in part, Gunn doesn't believe that he is a Warrior anymore. He doesn't deserve the heart he used to own, now that he's made his selfish mistake, he thinks to himself. In the retold myth, Sisyphus wants to roll the boulder up the hill for all eternity; this, not just cruel fate, is the real tragedy. And so for Gunn, the position is like this new Sisyphus, precisely: he doesn't have to have his heart ripped out, but he believes he should. It makes his pain less, and he wants to atone, he wants to have pennance. That his atonement is impossible without the full knowledge of the facts is an issue probably to be dealt with in the next episode. Because by the end of this one, Wesley is coming to terms with the results of his returned memory, and Angel is biting into what it means to be an absent father all over again.

The tragedy of Angel. In this episode, we see the 'Real' Prophecy fulfilled. The one born of the vampire comes to age and kills Sahjhan. And yet, how many times has the three couplets 'The Father/ Will Kill/ The Son', come true, or been hinted at, in the previous two years? In 'Home', there's death of a kind. Then there are ironic reflections with Spike in 'Just Rewards' and Lawson in 'Why We Fight'. What matters about prophecy anyway? Is the point of Vail's introduction to show us the madness that comes of believing in prophecy and fate? We think about Angel, and if any part of him wanted to go to Wolfram and Hart because of the Shanshu prophecy. Did he then Kill the Son just to aid his own position. We are certainly given a subtext of this in the fight. Angel bows to Vail's blind belief in prophecy and puts his son in mortal danger. He is being blackmailed, but the object of the blackmail is that Vail reveal the past. The incontrovertible past, that, much more than prophecy, is inescapable. Angel opts for belief in certainty in the future, rather than the belief of reality in the past. And while he can't look back to his past mistakes, he will never cope with his future problems.

It's a lucky old twist then, that Wesley has so much lost faith with the world that he smashes the Orlon Window, and having peered through the glass, starts to adapt to how the past really was. What he could never have accepted from Angel would have been Angel sacrificing Fred for Connor. In the situation where that was not true, he was still unable to trust Angel any more. He tries, unsuccessfully, to argue with Illyria earlier that he is not being insolent towards Angel. But while Angel goes on blindly believing in prophecies and Eternal Rewards, Wesley has lost trust in his elder and better. Wesley, as a parallel is running along a little ahead of Angel in this Season: the more battered, the more cynical, and, ultimately, the more enlightened.

Away from this triptych, here are some other meanderings:

-Vail. Sounds like: Vail. Spelt backwards. Liav. Spelt backwards and written in my illegible handwriting- Liar. Vail built Connor, into a real boy, A Pinnochio whose nose would never lengthen regardless of how much he lied (unknowingly) about the past. Angel makes a liar of his own son, after Vail enacts the transfer. Here we have a man so ritualistically tied to prophecy. His name is in 'Accounts Paid' for having re-made Connor. His world is Action, and Reward. Prophecy and Enactment. An entirely deterministic world where free will takes a back seat. Sahjhan, the trickster of Season Three, the bloke who took Connor to Quortoth thereby thwarting all four likely results, (Wolfram and Hart, Angel, Wesley, Holtz), would like to return to upset the applecart. As the trickster, he appears as the Genie of the Lamp. The demon who can make the unreal possible. In reality, though, anyone this flighty gets the Hammer of Prophecy staked against them. The question is: in a world where everyone believes in Prophecy, how impossible is it to live without believing in it, even if you are right? This is a Question crucial in understanding Middle Ages religion, in understanding the Universe of Angel, and in understanding Sahjhan's fate. He causes all sorts of mayhem by faking a prophecy. But in the end, due to others unremitting belief in the truth of the future, he dies anyway, thwarted by Society's inability to accept that the future is to be decided. This is what makes Connor being a good argument for Free Will so wonderfully noir.

-Hamilton. More threat in a little finger than Eve had in her entire body. Looking liek some kind of magnificent undertaker, he struts around. Now the apocalypse has been claimed to have begun, Wolfram and Hart's form lingers larger round Angel, and Hamilton shows this- one of the very few people ever on Angel to be significantly taller than David Boreanaz.

-Connor Riley. Clearly, we're supposed to think, living the 'Life of'. I think that's the hint, rather than any relation back to the big solider man. Though Connor has moments of dangerous sadism, he is really a well-adjusted boy. Hence the irony of all Angel and Connor's scenes together. He reacts calmly, even with a humour that he never had in the previous Season, (Connor may be the only regular character never to have cracked a joke, even a dry one). At the end we haev the odd moment of ambiguity. Did Connor just mention his Father as Angel, or not so. Given so many significant looks, we are supposed to think so. After all, Connor validates his father's decision. It may be a little too generous to Angel, whose decision was morally reprehensible, but this time, he goes back to his family, and to Stanford, having made his own choice. Now, as Sahjhan foreshadows, Connor really does have his own free will. Neither God nor Angel are now playing dice with his universe- he goes into his next throw with all the facts intact.

And so, more or less, do our Gang. Angel knows the past, and he knows other people know, and that Connor has not only the alternate past, but the initial past. Vail's option stands as the Past of Determinism and forgotten events. Wesley's past, ever the anarchist, stands for the Past of Free Will and redemption. That Wesley should smash the Orlon Window gives him a strong and healthy parallel to Alterno!Giles right back in 'The Wish'. He had to believe that there was a better world. But since we're in 'Angel', the world isn't simply better- just different, and the struggle continues.

-Nice shot-work de semain: The first shot on Connor's parents, swinging round onto Wesley rather than Angel, emphasises the parallel neatly, without wasting too much unnecessary time.

-Wesley finds the contract in a similar filing cabinet to the one where he found Lilah's contract. 'Flames wouldn't be eternal if they actually consumed anything', is possibly my favourite line of the entire series, (the last four of 254 permitting), but here Wesley refuses to let his living flame: that little hope he told Illyria about at the end of 'Shells' die out. He does, eventually, void the contract.

-We're Spike'n'Lorne-lite this week. Spike is carrying on with his unenviable task, regardless of Fortune's buffets and rewards. That's the way to do it Angel. Lorne pops in just to be the Green Monster. Which is a shame, but still highlights Angel's complete lack of self-reflection. He's doing, not considering. This episode is plot heavy, thought light, which is exactly Angel's problem.

This one didn't hit me in the visceral way it perhaps should have, but it had moments of Goddard's almost lazy genius, like 'Your thirty pieces of silver'. Now Angel is Judas, and Wesley takes back the memories that make him Brutus, as he remembers how he stole Connor. An interesting slant.

The Giftish montage reminds us of the sheer length of time since Season three, and how much these characters have developed. And makes me, at least, more than a little melancholy.

So four to go, and 'Time Bomb' coming shortly.

Thanks for reading.



[> Re: Vails, Veils, Liars, Anagrams: 250 in Whedonland (Angel Odyssey 5.18) -- Your inner Masq, 10:10:21 05/25/04 Tue

Yeah, I expected the memory wipe to be the point of the season, too, I mean, besides the will-W&H-corrupt-them-or-not theme. I wanted a big confrontation with the whole gang reacting in anger to Angel, and I wanted Connor reacting in anger to Angel for giving him another lie, for rejecting him, so to speak.

Or at least being a lot more flipped out and troubled by his old memories than he was.

We had a lot of foreshadowing that this all would happen, from the intermittant references to Connor through out the season, and especially Cordelia's "You raped your friends minds" thing in "You're Welcome".

What I suspect happened is that ME wanted a bigger climax to all of this than they gave us, but that with the cancellation, they had to put that aside to resolve the W&H plot arc. My understanding is that the gang running W&H thing was supposed to go on into season 6, at least that was the plan when "Home" aired.

So the implicit promise and foreshadowing of the earlier episodes was watered down into a sort of happy shiny no-big-deal, but you know what? I'm rapidly getting over my disappointment with that.

Partly because I get a happy, well-adjusted super!power old-memories-having Connor, and partly because we can deal with the moral ambiguity of Angel making rash decisions for his friends without their permission in our fictional season 6.

And besides, I just like to watch Connor kill Sahjhan over and over and over again. I never thought ME would follow up on that. So a little credit to the writers under seige.

[> [> Yes, well -- Tchaikovsky, 10:55:53 05/25/04 Tue

All I'm saying is that they better not go halves on the finale in s similar manner, and then blame it on cancellation. They had plenty of time to prepare. And even if the Season Six fic is better than the programme, it's not going to get to as wide an audience, and I still have I thing about Angel going out as the most perfect television series ever made. Season Five is also just on the cusp of rating as my favourite season ever, above Season Two, depending on the last four.

As for Connor, even the hardest of heart, grumpiest Englishman couldn't help but feel happy for where he ended up.


[> [> [> Re: Yes, well -- Masq, 12:34:35 05/25/04 Tue

All I'm saying is that they better not go halves on the finale in s similar manner, and then blame it on cancellation. They had plenty of time to prepare. And even if the Season Six fic is better than the programme, it's not going to get to as wide an audience, and I still have I thing about Angel going out as the most perfect television series ever made. Season Five is also just on the cusp of rating as my favourite season ever, above Season Two, depending on the last four.

I look forward to your assessment. Season 5 is not a personal favorite of mine, so maybe I have less invested in it, but that can't be true, because it was the last season, and we all had so much invested in how they ended things. Almost too much invested in how they ended things, becuase it was the end, and so you know it will be a let-down to everyone in SOME respect SOMEhow (unless you're Rob), just because that's unavoidable when there is no more story.

All I can say is, I love my show. I still love my show. It is number one on my list as I sit here, post 5.22.

I only mention the season 6 fic because there are always loose ends, always, and i'm happy I can sew a few of them up. But you know I am a canon whore and I have a general disdain for fan-fic. So it can never truly satisfy.

[> [> [> [> Did somebody call my name? ;-) -- Rob, 12:52:07 05/25/04 Tue

Almost too much invested in how they ended things, becuase it was the end, and so you know it will be a let-down to everyone in SOME respect SOMEhow (unless you're Rob), just because that's unavoidable when there is no more story.

Yeah, TCH, if you were at all wondering, I thought the finale was perfect. Surprised? And looking back on it all, S5 ended up being my personal favorite. And I think you'll see in the next bunch of eps that while plotwise the resolution of the mindwipe did not figure into the climax of the series, there are some subtle ways (some subconscious, some conscious, some thematic) that it affects the characters who found out about it, in the final episodes. Particularly, I would say, Wes and Illyria. But I'll keep my mouth closed for now until you get a chance to finish watching. :-)


[> [> [> [> [> Can I second this? -- lunasea, 13:14:40 05/25/04 Tue

I love Season 2, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, want to make mad passionate monkey LOVE Season 5.

I don't think I even complained while the episodes were airing (unlike S7 BtVS, which I love in retrospect, not because it was the last, but because of the final message)

Actually, I did complain, sort of. Every single one of Craft/Fain's episodes would have been better if Mere Smith had written them. That isn't saying that Craft/Fain aren't good writers and haven't come a long way, but they aren't MERE and I NEED MY MERE.

I have a dream series, Marti Noxon, Mere Smith and Jane Espenson write it. I don't care what it is about. I can be about rat farts. It will still be the best thing on TV EVAH!!!!!!

[> [> [> [> [> [> Please! :-) -- Rob, 13:29:08 05/25/04 Tue

unlike S7 BtVS, which I love in retrospect, not because it was the last, but because of the final message

S7 was interesting for me. I adored it up until Bring On the Night, and then after that, I became very worried about it: didn't know if I liked what they were doing with Buffy's character, wasn't sure where they were going with a lot of the stuff, so although I still liked many of the episodes, I wasn't wholeheartedly loving the season on the whole. Now that it's over and I've seen Chosen and understand what Joss was doing, I love the whole thing. There are some plot details, particularly the First's plan that could have been handled much smoother, but thematically and emotionally I love it. On another issue, nlike you, I had always liked Spike, but was growing bored with him in the 7th season. Then the 5th season of Angel came along, and he all of a sudden became an extremely fascinating character again. The fallout from saving the world and then not being rewarded (unlike Buffy, he didn't get one second of peace in Heaven) made his arc this year amazing.


[> [> Re: Vails, Veils, Liars, Anagrams: 250 in Whedonland (Angel Odyssey 5.18) -- lunasea, 11:07:41 05/25/04 Tue

I think the memory wipe not being the point of the season IS the point of the season. Season 4 was a lot about memory and feeling. The season opens with Angel's MC Esher perspective. Jasmine hurts Angel because Cordelius now has Angelus' memories and feelings. Cordy just can't bring herself to be with Angel any more. She uses this to manipulate him into agreeing to lose his soul. As Ångelus, Angel gets to really experience again what it is like to be him without Buffy to obsess about. He gets a chance to compare his memories about Angelus to the real deal. In "Orpheus" the showdown with his evil alter-ego, which he thinks he has wanted for so long, isn't what holds his focus. Angelus can no longer be a scapegoat for Angel. Instead Angel realizes that he isn't Angelus any more and can finally move on.

Darla appears to Connor with the whole, memories feelings making us who we are. It is Connor's memories of Quortoth/lack of normal memories that make him irredeemable. This is contrasted with Fred who has all those normal memories and even though she temporarily loses it in "Supersymmetry" regains herself rather quickly. She recovered quickly from the 5 years of hell on Pylea. Even as she is killing Prof Sidel, she doesn't become the shell that Connor is. It affects her, even if she could do it.

The season ends with the mind wipe. It is memories that mess up Connor, so it is memories that undo the damage. Connor changes because of his memories.

But this season isn't about memories. We have a great deal of flashbacks this season. We see how the characters' pasts affect them. We even have Robo!Dad in "Lineage." This season is about something more powerful than memories, action. Even with the hold over Wesley that his father has, he still manages to blow him away. Roger takes Angel's free will away, but not Wesley's.

Memories are present perspectives on the past. Actions ARE the present. Spike's actions are motivated by his new soul more than his memories. In doing good, Spike becomes good. The more good Spike does, the more it feeds his new conscience and the more good he can do.

Connor needs his memories to beat Sahjan, but he isn't a champion because of his memories. He is a champion because he beat Sahjan. Memories are the creator, not the creation. Darla says memories make us who we are. She does not say they are who we are.

This episode is important for Wesley's exchange at the end with Illyria. He focuses on the lies that Wolfram and Hart have implanted to take the place of reality. Their purpose is to endure the truth. What is that truth in the angry atheist existentialist world of Joss Whedon?

That is what this season is about. Memories are lies we all construct about the past. The difference between memories and what Vail did is who makes them. We lie like this/remember what we do to endure the present. That allows us to act, to be who we are, to become who we are. Memories may make us who we are, but actions ARE who we are.

[> [> [> Interesting -- Tchaikovsky, 03:19:00 05/26/04 Wed

I agree up to a point. But I'm tempted to attribute the problems of Angel, (and then, indirectly, the rest of the Gang), this Season, not to overl-reliance on falsified memories, but instead on over-reliance on false or at least not verified prophecies. Angel and Spike fighting for the Cup of Perpetual Torment in 'Destiny'. The whole shanshu issue. It is memories that hold truths about how to act in the present, not prophecies. And so, while we must live in the past, our aim should be to live in knowledge of past mistakes, rather than in certainty of future events.


[> [> [> [> Re: Interesting -- Lunasea, 06:28:48 05/26/04 Wed

I'm beginning to see what prophecy is in the Buffyverse beyond Deus Ex Machina. A prophecy is only as good as its interpretation. When prophecy is used in the Buffyverse, the point of it isn't that something has been pre-destined. It is what about the characters' way of looking at things messes up the interpretation. Shanshu is brought up repeatedly this season, even being the focus of a couple of episodes, not because it is important for Angel to believe or disbelieve in some words on a scroll. Instead, those references are about something important in the Buffyverse, Angel's belief in himself.

"Destiny" doesn't stand on its own. It sets up "Soul Purpose." Is it Angel doesn't believe he is someone because he doesn't believe that the destiny is his or is it that he doesn't believe the destiny is his because he isn't someone? I don't think it is about believing in what some piece of paper says. It is believing that you can do that. It is about believing that you are big enough to be able to save the world. It is about believing in yourself.

When the show talked about the prophecy season 2, the emphasis was on no one knew what side Angel was on. This played on Angel's doubts about his ability to control his demonic side, even with a soul. Once that is tested in Pylea, we don't hear about the prophecy much. Jasmine brings it up again to label what Angel did as wrong. It is still about which side is Angel on. She even brings that up.

Not this season. When Shanshu is mentioned it isn't about what side Angel will be on. Instead it plays into Angel's feelings of being someone. Angel's character focuses around three lines from BtVS: from "Angel" he tells Buffy, "You have no idea what it's like to have done the things I've done... and to care." from "Becoming" he tells Whistler, "I wanna help her. I want... I wanna become someone." from "Amends" he tells Buffy, "Look, I'm weak. I've never been anything else. It's not the
demon in me that needs killing, Buffy. It's the man." (this last one is Joss' favorite that he wrote for a reason).

Memories gave Connor the knowledge how to fight. I wouldn't say they hold "truths" though. Memories are lies every bit as much as the manufactured ones of Vail are. We have seen this through the show's use of flashback. Compare "FFL" and "Darla" and you will see how accurate Spike's memories are. Memories are stories that we create. They have the illusion of truth because we believe they actually happened. That is why they are lies. Illyria says it is hard to tell the real memories from the manufactured ones. Is this because the manufactured ones seem so real or because the real ones are also manufactured? The difference between Vail and our real memories is who creates them. They are both manufactured.

Memories are like prophecies, they are only as good as our interpretation. That is why neither determines who we are. It is our present actions that do that. We can be paralyzed with self-doubt or we can be strong and fight. No matter what our history, what our memories are, we can always rise above them. At least that is what the show shows.

[> [> [> [> [> I wanted to clarify something (warning fairly personal) -- Lunasea, 08:22:59 05/26/04 Wed

I have a bizarre perspective on the memory wipe because I have bizarre experience with memory wipes, namely I did one to myself. I blocked out not only the traumatic event that caused me to do this, but my life before that. I didn't discover this until I was 18. That was 10 years after the trauma. At age 18, I started having flashbacks to the trauma which closely resembled Doyle/Cordy's visions.

I didn't actually regain my memory until the week "Damage" aired (due in part to that episode). From age 18-32, I really didn't know exactly what happened. You've seen how those visions are. It is hard to piece together what happened. On top of that, I had constructed stories/false/incomplete memories to fill in for the wiped/blocked memories. Nature abhors a vacuum.

After I had dealt with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the point where I was functional again, the hardest part was learning to trust myself. Those memories are so important. I couldn't tell what was memory and what I made up. I couldn't trust my own recollection of things. I still have a lot of trouble trusting myself and my own perceptions. I know the power of the mind. I've experienced it.

I could really identify with how Illyria felt at the end of "Origin." The weakness of being human isn't our frail bodies. It is our powerful minds. It is minds that don't just objectively observe and remember. It is minds that manufacture memories in order to endure.

I could also identify with Wesley. I learned that by working through what was real and what was manufactured, I could learn about what I was enduring. Perhaps something was dangerous when I was younger, hence the illusions, but seeing through these illusions now that I could handle the truth better was extremely beneficial.

I am an extreme circumstance, but what I learned applies to anyone. The hard part is figuring out what is real and what is manufactured. Comparing my memories and current impressions with others helps in this. That is one of the reasons I like this board and interviews. I can compare how I see the show with how others do. I tend to give a bit more weight to the writers because they are the ones writing the show. I'm interpreting what I see. I do that in ways that help me endure the truth. When I disagree with someone, I like to see why we disagree. Not just how we see the show differently, but why. What colors the glasses each of us see life through.

That is what I got out of that episode. "Damage" helped give me my memories back. It hasn't been easy to deal with them. On one hand, it is great to have my childhood back. On the other, it is evidence of how powerful my mind is and what it did. There are people in the audience that are focused on the violation of the "mind rape." Violation is but one part of having to deal with this sort of trauma. The extreme nature of our self-defenses shows us things about ourselves that is just as important to deal with. I'm glad the show chose to focus on that rather than just have Wesley be mad at Angel.

It fits with Angel and Darla. For the longest time Angel was obsessed with Darla. It wasn't until he was able to get beyond that that he could deal with his vampiric nature. It was more important for him to deal with what he was now than it was for him to be upset that it happened. What happened to me was horrible, but what I have to deal with every day for the rest of my life is what that has done to me and what it has shown me.

That isn't to say that other perspectives aren't valid. I wonder what the writers' experiences are that they can write Dana and the vampires so well. I would love to know what prompted them to write Dana as a Slayer.

Thank you for sharing your perspective. I just wanted to clarify mine and share where it came from. I hope it wasn't disturbing to anyone. There is a place more scary than the Twilight Zone, the TMI zone. Since my comfort levels are so messed up, I have trouble figuring out where it may be for others.

[> [> [> [> [> [> OK, some psychoanalysis on my previous assertions -- Tchaikovsky, 01:41:35 05/27/04 Thu

I do enjoy it when the reasons behind people's opinions come out, for some reason or another. And I say this not as exposing their prejudices in one direction or another, but on the contrary, stengthening their case by real world examples. At times, I wonder whether some people are arguing in one direction in the abstract cosetted world of the board, only to do something entirely different in their life, which belies their lofty arguments. I suspect I have done this in the past.

So in this situation, where we're arguing about whether memories are lies; false mirrors like the grotesque visage you see when examining your reflection in a milk bottle; or conversely necessary part-truths and guidelines to spur you on through the next phase of your existence, we perhaps come from different sides of the circus tent. Here's the experience behind my argument.

As ever, the rider is, as Darby once and so memorably put it before making me cry with the beauty of his writing, that I am amazingly dull, so the big, life-changing things in my life are trivial little moments.

In this case, here I am at university, doing the third year of a maths degree. First year, plain sailing, 83%, which I was delighted about, if not slightly bemused. The big mark in British universities, though, is 70%, to get a first class honours degree.

So, the obvious movie-style twist, (although without car chases, hot chicks, or an enigmatic lead character), and I get a bit complacent. Last year, having spent a vast amount of time on Voy, having much more difficult courses, worse lecturers, no supervisor and a new amazingly hands-off tutor, I end up freewheeling. So I do badly in several exams, and end up with 64% for the year. No, it's not a disaster, and due to the 10/20/30/40% weighting of my first four years, I'm still just about on 70% overall.

But this year, the struggle to re-engage with the maths, to put the hard hours into the syllabus, to get to exams having done all I can to learn what has gone before, has been a big one. And aside from a genuinely impossible 'Manifolds' exam last week, it's gone pretty well. If I do alright on my exam on Saturday, moreover, the fact that I've taken more modules than I have to will offset Manifolds, and I should get a mark I'm happy with this year. Even if it's not 70, it's what I feel was my best shot, and my best investment of time and energy into the process.

So how is this relevant? Well, I could easily have spent my third year repeating the mistakes of my second. Using the incompetent, disinterested department as an excuse to be incompetent and disinterested. Drifted into exams having crammed but not learnt very much. It was the memory of the previous year that kept me from doing that. Are these memories false? In a way, yes. I probably over-emphasise my second year's profligacy, adn perhaps under-emphasise bad luck, and a million other tiny little factors. But it is by remembering my past disappointment that I can adjust and act in my present.

I could take my first two years' marks as a prophecy. First year 83, second year 64, implies third year 45. The inevitable slide. Of course, as Wesley points out in Season Four, two points make a line not a pattern. But it would be by being in thrall of prophecy- of a belief that my fate is already written, that I would give away my chances of getting a first. It's not the most important thing in my life, by a long chalk, but it is, after all, what I'm here in Coventry for.

I have to live in the present, and act correctly, but by being in contact with my past, I am able to live without making identical mistakes again. This is why I see Angel's dilemma this Season not primarily being about problems with memory, but problems with prophecy.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Prophecy isn't about mathematical trends -- Lunasea, 05:17:21 05/27/04 Thu

At times, I wonder whether some people are arguing in one direction in the abstract cosetted world of the board, only to do something entirely different in their life, which belies their lofty arguments

I can't do this. Again it ties to my unusual circumstances. When the flashbacks started, I started therapy and one of my diagnosis was "dissociative." Not quite multiple personality, but real close. I spent a lot of time reintegrating myself, so to compartmentalize myself is something that I really don't like to do. I'd rather lose an argument than present something I don't really believe in my heart. When it comes to the Buffyverse I'm trying to figure out what Joss is saying (to see how he constructs his story), but I know my own beliefs keep creeping in.

I think the way that Joss uses prophecy and the PTB's, two concepts he doesn't believe in IRL, is interesting. If anything, the prophecies in the Buffyverse tend to be outside normal established patterns. Not only do two points only make a line, but if there was a prophecy in the Buffyverse it wouldn't be on that line. His statement isn't that prophecy is garbage and don't come true. Instead, they have. An angry atheist writes a show where prophcies come true.

Season 1 BtVS we have our first major prophecy, the Master will kill Buffy. (We'll try to forget about the Annoying One) The established pattern is that Buffy kills things. She has faced every challenge that has crossed her path, including killing his Vessel, and she believed she stopped the rising of the Annointed One. The idea of the Master killing the Slayer fits with the pattern of Slayers dying young. It does not fit with the pattern of Buffy winning.

So the question is what do you include to make your pattern. I think that is Joss' point. Two points don't make a line, but life is much more than two points. How well you do at university has other precedences, such as how well you did before university. The 64 may be the anomaly, not the trend. It depends on how you want to interpret things.

There are two positive options here: you can either look at the past to motivate you about the future or you can just have faith in your ability and not require evidence of this. That is what memories are. Evidence. Whether actual or manufactured, that evidence can be used to support us or hurt us. You used the memories to motivate you. You could have also used them to console yourself. A big choice in life is how we choose to let memories affect us.

This works best when we have a bank account full of times we were whatever we want to be, smart, strong, good, successful or whatever else. What if you don't? As of age 8, I lost my bank account. I was forced to figure out other ways to motivate myself. It wasn't too hard, I had plenty of people around me telling me how smart I was and how important this was. Recently I discovered I'm a leader. I had no evidence to support this and plenty to contradict it. Didn't matter. My daughter needed a leader, so I became one. The more I did, the more I realized what I am.

Angel is in a similar position. After he is resouled, he has no bank account. He can't motivate himself to act until it is no longer about him. Then he starts accumulating that account. He has lots of people around him feeding his ego by calling him a Champion. Eventually that isn't enough for him. Self-esteem has to come from the self. Otherwise we have Angelus just beneath the surface telling us what a fraud we are. Angel can go from believing he isn't what he thought he was, to being who he is.

Do Angel and Spike no longer feed because of their memories or because that isn't who they are any more? It is a step in recovery, not doing something because we remember the consequences. The "goal" is to be able to move beyond this. It isn't I won't drink because I remember X, but I don't want a drink. It is a hard transition to make that few ever do.

Thank you so much for sharing. I think one of the most fascinating things about humans are how different we are. Because of these differences, different things work for different people. It is amazing to me to see these, so amazing that I changed my major from biology to psychology. Humans are an ever changing puzzle.

I use my past to motivate me sometimes. I'm not going back to what I once was. As I get further and further from that, I find I am using who I am now to motivate me more than who I was. I'm not the terrified 8 year old or the 18 year old crazy person. It isn't about not being them again. It is about becoming whatever else I am. Season 1 ends with "Prophecy Girl." Season 2 ends with "Becoming." How do we become what we are? That's the important question.

"No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are." (Whistler in "Becoming")

It is interesting to see what motivates us afterwards. Even different motivation can produce the same action.

It will be interesting to see what you think after the finale.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> It can be- it depends what book of prophecy you're using -- Tchaikovsky, 07:33:58 05/27/04 Thu

Prophecies aren't anything as mundane as things which can easily be got a handle of by studying at Watcher academies. They're things that you decide are going to happen- or that other people decide are going to happen for you.

Not only do two points only make a line, but if there was a prophecy in the Buffyverse it wouldn't be on that line.

I think the weird thing about life is, that you assume that if it's not on the line, it will at least be in some kind of curve which is in the plane. And then it goes all hyperspace on you.

After he is resouled, he has no bank account.

One of the puzzles is: just how good was Vail at correlating Connor's memories to his character traits? For if he strayed even one iota from sense, then the Connor post-Home has a faulty, scammed bank account. A bank account where his memories of success may not accurately represent what he is good at or not. This cuts to the heart of my problem with the mind-reconstruction. I do believe that I function better with my memories, with my bank account. Witness the infuriating pain of a patient with Alzheimer's disease. Watch 'Iris' forget all the words she used to use with such mastery. And while Connor still had memories, his memories were of a life that hadn't formed him. And my puzzle at the end of the episode is: with both memories, just what kind of person is Connor? It's some kind of Trill identification game.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: It can be- it depends what book of prophecy you're using -- Arethusa, 08:50:35 05/27/04 Thu

I think the question is, what do you do with the memories? How do you let them affect you? Because this is Angel's problem. He lets his memories control him, just as he lets the prophesies control him. The prophesies, like the past, must not be the basis for his decisions. Your memories are what happened to you in the past-they should not control you because you have a choice how to act. And knowing a prophecy will come true should not control you now, because life is not just what happens to you in the future, it is what you are doing right now. It is the choice, not the memory or prophecy, that is important.

"I've spent so much time worrying about the past and the future and my very complicated life... it's been a while since I looked up and really saw what was going on around me," Angel told Nina. You can't change the past, you can't control the future. But you can make good decisions that make your present life a better one.

quote from

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> you have to chose based on something -- Lunasea, 10:06:11 05/27/04 Thu

I think that is what Tch and I are discussing. He sees memories as helpful in making choices. I'm not sure if he believes that decisions can be made without memories. I see other things as more helpful in making our choices.

It wasn't that Angel necessarily lets anything control him, memories or prophecy. He chose what his focus was, the past and/or the future. He spent his time trying to make up for a past he can't make up for. He spent his time trying to provide a future that he can't provide. These weren't things that controlled him. These were choices he made. As Rush says "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice." If you believe in choice and free will, you can't escape it. You can't give it away.

Instead the debate is how do you make those choices. You can pretend things control you, past or future. These are some of the biggest illusion in life there are. It allows us to serve our desired "master" not realizing that we are the master. We use past and future as scapegoat for present choices.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The basis for decision making -- Arethusa, 11:09:32 05/27/04 Thu

Why did Angel feel the need to make up for the past? Why did he try so hard to control the future? Why would someone choose to avoid making a decision? What informed his choices?

You are not just your memories. You are not just "who you are." You are the sum of your memories and the sum is greater than the parts, because humans exists simultaneously in the past and present.

As a psychology student you know that when people lose one way of coping, they tend to find another. If a person doesn't receive affirmation from one source, they will try to find another. Do we use our memories to motivate us? Or does our unconscious also affect us? While I disagree with some of Freud and Jung, I do agree that our unconscious affects our decision making.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The basis for decision making -- Lunasea, 12:41:50 05/27/04 Thu

humans exists simultaneously in the past and present.

But we can't. Verbs are time sensitive. Exists is present tense. We can think we exist in the past, but that is just an illusion we create to give our illusions about the past validity. Memories aren't the past. They are present recollections of the past. They are colored by time.

Why did Angel feel the need to make up for the past?

There are lots of answers here, depending on what level you want to dig to. Ultimately, it boils down to his drive to be someone. That drive comes from not knowing who he is. His drive to be someone fills in the vacuum his lack of identity creates. He isn't what his father wants him to be. He doesn't know what he is. He just wants to be someone. First he has to define what someone is.

That is even before he is vamped. After he is vamped, his definition of someone changes and he does become someone. When he is resouled, that someone isn't what he now considers someone. Buffy gives him a way to be someone, to make Amends. That is what sets up his drive to try to make up for the past.

Why did he try so hard to control the future?

Two reasons. First his definition of being someone is tied to how he impacts his world, which manifests as how he changes it and its future. Once he moves beyond making Amends, his focus in on the impact of those smallest acts of kindness. The second is that he has a future in Connor and wants him to have what he doesn't. He lives vicariously through his child, as many parents do, especially ones that feel they can't do any better for themselves they they are currently doing.

Why would someone choose to avoid making a decision?

They don't. What they do is think they abdicate their responsibility to choose by giving it to something that makes the choice they want. Our government is a very good example of this. That is why the people are responsible for the choices the government makes in their name.

Do we use our memories to motivate us?

Some do. Tch has provided a very good example of this.

Or does our unconscious also affect us?

Have to define unconscious. Are we talking just about the repressed memories of Freud's subconscious or are we talking about Jung's rich unconscious which not only includes Freud's subconscious, but adds in a collective unconscious.

We make decisions on a conscious and unconscious level.

But we haven't even begun to get into that. We are just talking about the conscious decisions we make. Tch has provided an example of how he uses memories postitively to motivate him and learn from his mistakes. I have contended that this isn't necessary and we can make decisions based on who we are, not who we were.

We make decisions all sorts of ways. The question is how should we make those decisions.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The hyperspace of life -- Lunasea, 09:49:01 05/27/04 Thu

Prophecies aren't anything as mundane as things which can easily be got a handle of by studying at Watcher academies. They're things that you decide are going to happen- or that other people decide are going to happen for you

Don't we do that all the time? I am going to have children or I am going to graduate college. Don't other people do that for us? My child is going to be a doctor. My child is going to be successful. You will vote for my candidate or buy my product. The difference between prophecy and regular life plans is who is doing the planning. We see in Season 1 that the prophecy in Codex is what makes Buffy face the Master and thus free him, the entire prophecy. With Sahjan, the original true prophecy that was written in blood comes true because of the chain of events set off by his reaction to it. I wouldn't be surprised if the Scroll of Aberjian comes true in a similar matter. (such as Wolfram and Hart are interested in Angel because he is destined to be a major player, thus making him a major player, not because Angel believes he is destined to be one, but because Wolfram and Hart are interested in him). Prophecy isn't just predictive. It is prescriptive. Even trying not to fullfil it ends up fullfilling it.

The idea of higher powers playing some game with us like pawns on a chess board is repugnant. Jasmine presents an interesting dilemma. She doesn't take away free will until she is born on this plane. Before then, it was manipulations that required the characters' ability to choose what she wanted. She used their free will against them. If Angel had just accepted Darla's fate/death, there would have been no Trial. If Cordy could accept her own imminent death, she wouldn't have been demonized. Gunn talks about "kicking over the board," but that attitude is what Jasmine used to get what she needed. Both Angel and Cordy did kick over the board.

Jasmine says the other powers are too hands off for her. That the other powers have let Man down. They have become little more than observers. They still sent Whistler to Angel. They sent Whistler to help Buffy. They sent Doyle to Angel and had Doyle's visions pass to Cordy. Even if the ability was passed just by physics, those visions have to be sent from the PTBs. There are some that say that Jasmine could have done all of this. If so, why did she require Lorne in order to tell Angel about the Trial? She could have used Cordy. Jasmine was working behind the other Powers' backs. The other powers were doing something, just not enough for Jasmine.

The idea that the Powers, even if their intents are benevolent and they won't cross certain lines, are doing things is still repugnant. We cling so tightly to the fragile idea of free will that any threat to it is reacted to harshly. If we focus on prophecy as the strategy of higher beings to get us to do things, it is a horrible thing, especially for atheists and agnostics.

However, that isn't what I focus on. Instead the prophecy isn't important. It is just another plan, like so many have. What is important is why we interpret it the way we do. This isn't something we can learn in the Watcher's Academy, any more than we can really learn to interpret great literature at university. The place that informs our interpretations is the place that informs us, life itself of which university is just a part. An academic setting can help us hone our skills, but our interpretations ultimately come from the totality of ourselves. If anything academic settings in their drive to find "objectivity" often drive us away from ourselves, which is why Giles and Wesley's interpretations aren't that good.

I think the weird thing about life is, that you assume that if it's not on the line, it will at least be in some kind of curve which is in the plane. And then it goes all hyperspace on you.

I had a similar thought during nap today. We see time and life as linear. Even if it isn't a straight line, there is some curve that contains all the points that make up our life. Curves still have functions to define them. There is a pattern there, even if it is more than X + Y = Z. We mess up because that isn't life. I think there is a general line or curve that describes our lives for the most part. There are so many variables that not all points in our lives are along this. There are some out in who-knows-where land. The problem comes is when people take that point and draw a line through it to form a new line, thinking that is their life line. This can cause problems even when the point is just slightly off the life line. A few degrees deviation translates to a small distance at first. The further out it goes, the larger that distance away from the original line is.

One of the hardest parts of life is recognizing what are points along our life lines and what aren't. What are deviations caused by any number of variables. Once we recognize this, we have to make corrections. These are rarely easy. Do we add the lines together to produce some new line?

A bank account where his memories of success may not accurately represent what he is good at or not.

Another side to this is that we are better at things we think we are good at. How many people can't do math because they think they are bad at it? We get ideas in our heads about what we are good at and what we aren't good at and they becomes self-fullfilling prophecies.

And while Connor still had memories, his memories were of a life that hadn't formed him.

But they had. His new memories made the new Connor. The Connor we saw. When his memory was wiped, he was given a clean slate. That slate was filled with memories that allowed him to become confident and able to respond to love. Not being at a subsistance level, allowed him to develop other talents. The memory of those talents makes him have those talents. The memory of his family comforting him, makes him able to receive comfort. "I have her memories, her feelings. Isn't that what makes someone who they are?" Those false memories did form Connor. That life did form him. They aren't Connor, but they helped make him.

Just as it formed Dawn. The difference is that Dawn was literally formed, not just her memories. She was a complete creation.

And my puzzle at the end of the episode is: with both memories, just what kind of person is Connor? It's some kind of Trill identification game.

It is a question for each person in the audience to ask himself. Not just of Connor, but Wesley and Illyria as well. What issues will each have to deal with? How will they deal with them? What are their particular coping mechanisms?

I don't necessarily want to see a messed up Connor. It would be interesting seeing inside his head a bit more, questioning who he is when he is ready to. Not "Oh my God, what did I do?" or "what was done to me." More along the lines of questioning accepting a lie. Accepting it, but wondering how much of life is a lie, not just his manufactured memories, and is a lie such a bad thing. He told Angel you can't be saved by a lie. I would like to see him revisit that.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The rhumba of recollection -- Tchaikovsky, 12:58:47 05/27/04 Thu

Hmmm, feeling all terpsichorean. Must be singing Duke Ellington. All those off-beat scats and the occasional illicit syncopation. Does wonders for your heart.

Don't we do that all the time? I am going to have children or I am going to graduate college. Don't other people do that for us? My child is going to be a doctor. My child is going to be successful. You will vote for my candidate or buy my product. The difference between prophecy and regular life plans is who is doing the planning.

I'd be more inclined to see the difference as a difference between aim and certainty. I am going to have children comes with various unspoken riders- ('However I am not going to die in the process, and my children will not be with Margaret Beckett'). My child is going to be a doctor ('but not at the expense of her happiness'). These things are escapable plans. Prophecies, for people who believe in them, are not bartering positions. You're given the skinny, and no matter how thin you are, you can't squeeze out of it. One thing I entirely and wholeheartedly agree with you about is the tendency to over-interpret prophecies. That's almost the soul of drama. The over-imagined future turns out to be an elaboration in totally the wrong direction. 'None of woman born can harm MacBeth' so up pops Caesarean Macduff, to lay on (in a fight way, not a buffet way). 'Buffy will be killed', so hey, she does a few mutual breaths with Xander and is away and firing.

However, that isn't what I focus on. Instead the prophecy isn't important. It is just another plan, like so many have. What is important is why we interpret it the way we do. This isn't something we can learn in the Watcher's Academy, any more than we can really learn to interpret great literature at university. The place that informs our interpretations is the place that informs us, life itself of which university is just a part. An academic setting can help us hone our skills, but our interpretations ultimately come from the totality of ourselves. If anything academic settings in their drive to find "objectivity" often drive us away from ourselves, which is why Giles and Wesley's interpretations aren't that good.

This I more or less agree with to the letter. Ask not what your prophecy can do for you- ask what you can do for your prophecy. Be creative; open the sticky-back plastic cupboard and doodle with your nearest wax crayons, (though preferably not on the sofa). Interpretation is both personal and freeing, and in having our own personal interpretations of the show, we allow ourselves differentiation from the determinist world where Joss Whedon, Entertainment Weekly or even Masquerade have all the right answers to how to react. And objectivity is a mischief tool- an umbrella in a world that hasn't decided it doesn't like rain. Often merely tailored or adapted to suuit the subjectivity of the incumbent of the most important Professorial seat.

Another side to this is that we are better at things we think we are good at. How many people can't do math because they think they are bad at it? We get ideas in our heads about what we are good at and what we aren't good at and they become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Then we get to self-belief in the present itself- learning to transcend memories. But I still contend, (possibly to the point of fatigue), that a transcendence is required. We need to accept our memories first- then channel them, then subvert them. Absolutely not doing this is either ignoring them altogether, (Angel during most of 'Origin' and my most major problem with it), or having them hijacked and replaced with alternates.

The Connor/Dawn parallel perhaps allow me to clarify my point. What do I have against children being born, wholly new creations? Absolutely nothing. What do I have against human beings formed out of the selection of other humans? The worry of human infallibilty, of their possible lack of good intentions, or their very neutrality leading to susceptibilty. Connor, then, is the proto-Designer-Baby, and that makes me worried. For Vail is not a God. He is fallible, or he is malicious, or at very least he does a great job, second only in quality to a real life. But that still isn't enough, for me at least. Creating Dawn creates a whole person. Creating Connor creates a lie.

[Sidebar: This doesn't take into account the memories altered of Buffy, Willow etc vs Wesley, Gunn etc. I see no real difference, other than the fact that Angel made the choice in 'Home', and therefore is morally reprehensible, whereas Random Monks, (hey, if I ever start a rock band, there's the name), made Dawn, and therefore their moral reprehensibilty is barely part of the story.]

He told Angel you can't be saved by a lie. I would like to see him revisit that.

So I end up Amening. Which is always a good place to pause.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The rhumba of recollection -- Lunasea, 18:17:03 05/27/04 Thu

I'd be more inclined to see the difference as a difference between aim and certainty. I am going to have children comes with various unspoken riders- ('However I am not going to die in the process, and my children will not be with Margaret Beckett'). My child is going to be a doctor ('but not at the expense of her happiness')

Not all parents have those riders and some do act with the certainty of the gods which either results in their kids becoming what they want or so not becoming it. I think the difference between Jasmine and the other PTBs can be compared to parents. Jasmine wants what she considers best for humans NOW. She takes steps to "kick up our evolution a few notches." The other PTBs have prophecies, but they will happen, eventually. That is where the wiggle room in prophecies is, when they will come true. Very rarely is a time specified. As such, even if you absolutely believe in them, who knows if it will happen in your life. In "To Shanshu with LA" the additional parts of the prophecy, the coming darkness yada yada, are to say that it will be a while before it comes true.

That is how you can squeeze out of prophecies. Even if you believe in them, without a set date, how can you know when it will happen? It is amusing to watch the End of Times people who not only believe in a literal interpretation of the Book of Revelations, but believe it will happen in their lives. How many generations have felt the same way?

Interpretation is both personal and freeing, and in having our own personal interpretations of the show, we allow ourselves differentiation from the determinist world where Joss Whedon, Entertainment Weekly or even Masquerade have all the right answers to how to react.

I like the way you put this. Agreement is good, not because it supports my position, but it is interesting to find common ground with someone when you come at things from such different perspectives.

Prophecy doesn't really bother me. Believing in prophecy doesn't really bother me. I've worked the 12 Steps and belief in a higher power is crucial to that. Angel is patterned on an alcoholic and many of the ideas on the show could be straight from The Little Red Book used in Alcoholics Anonymous and adapted for many other Anonymous programs. I see Angel's belief in the PTBs and prophecy to be that belief in a higher power that supports the 12 steps. Until you believe in yourself, you need something to believe in.

The interesting part is making the transition from a belief in a higher power that can save you, to believing in yourself. Working through the 12 Steps helped me find that belief. As I said before I do have a lot of trouble trusting my own perceptions. I know the power of the mind to manufacture things. I also know its healing power. That is my god, in a sense. The mind is both devil and angel. The Prince of Lies and the Son of Light.

As Angel lost his faith in the PTBs season 4, he had to start believing in himself. Season 5 has been so rocky because he doesn't have that yet. He believes he has been abandonned by the gods and he is still weak.

Season 5 AtS is by far my favorite season out of either shows.

We need to accept our memories first- then channel them, then subvert them.

Depends on what you mean as accept. Wesley brings up some very good points this episode. I particularly liked his exchange with Illyria at the end. We have memories that we have manufactured to some degree in that we don't really remember what happened exactly as it happened. If we just accept these memories, we are accepting lies and are basing our lives on lies. My first reaction to memories isn't to accept them. It is to question them as I like to do with pretty much everything in life. This is neither ignoring them or having them hijacked. I acknowledge memories. I don't just accept them.

Then again, my circumstances are rather unusual. Memories, for the most part aren't that warped, so for the most part people can just accept them. They should just remain open that what they remember may be off a bit. The more warped you are, the more warped they will be.

Connor, then, is the proto-Designer-Baby, and that makes me worried.

This is an interesting point, but Connor is an extreme situation. This isn't like Willow who didn't want Tara mad at her or wanted Buffy to be happy. This is a child where there are two options, physical death or mental death through having his memories erased. Should Angel have chosen physical death? Possibly. Ethically, that might have been the best option. He is still a father who wants his child to live.

I liked that they did restore Connor's memories. Angel's child is now alive not only in body, but also in mind.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> gods -- Arethusa, 06:58:56 05/28/04 Fri

He believes he has been abandoned by the gods and he is still weak.

Why do you think Angel thinks the Powers (and therefore the Senior Partners, probably) are gods? Do you think they are?

[> Obligatory plug'n'preserve -- Tchaikovsky, 10:50:31 05/25/04 Tue

So you didn't like 'Origin' anyway, and my references to pasts in the future were pretentious nonsense? You got it. Try and find the needle in a haystack of a good review here, where 106 episodes are reviewed. Go on, it's yellow...


[> Great review, enjoyed it more than the episode. -- s'kat, 14:49:29 05/25/04 Tue

[> [> Thank you -- Tchaikovsky, 05:32:18 05/26/04 Wed

I've been scouring the archives, and found your conversation with fresne about this episode, which was a million dollars. So I just wanted to mention that, though archived, it is still being enjoyed.


[> Connor's sense of humor -- Masq, 15:20:57 05/25/04 Tue

Is in keeping with pre-Home Connor. We just didn't see it that often back then, because Connor wasn't much in a laughing mood. The new Connor is apt to tease, and Angel is an easy mark.

Teasy Connor also happens in "Habeas Corpses" where Angel tracks down Connor in the Wolfram and Hart building. Angel and Connor head off together to get out of the building, and Angel is trying to explain what zombies are.

ANGEL It's an undead thing.

CONNOR (with humor) Like you?

ANGEL No, zombies are slow-moving, dimwitted things that crave human flesh.

CONNOR (smiling): Like you.

It's actually a comic moment in an otherwise dark episode.

[> [> Don't forget his interaction with Angel in "Spin the Bottle" -- Lunasea, 16:34:56 05/25/04 Tue

ANGEL: I'm supposed to be evil, but they attack me without cause. They gang up on me because I'm different. They're as bad as my father.

CONNOR: Fathers. Don't they suck?

ANGEL: Say one thing, then... "Be good. Fear God. Do as you're told." And the whole while I know good and well, he's had his share of sinning.

CONNOR: Sounds kinda like my father.

ANGEL: Is he a self-righteous bastard?

CONNOR: You'd be amazed.

[> [> [> Re: Don't forget his interaction with Angel in "Spin the Bottle" -- Masq, 19:18:27 05/25/04 Tue

That wasn't teasing. Connor was uncertain what Angel was up to (he didn't know he'd lost his memory), but he came to that conversation with no humor at all.

[> [> [> [> The last part was -- Lunasea, 18:33:26 05/26/04 Wed

Connor's not stupid, as supported by his post-Home existence. He figures something is up quickly. The last line is making fun not only of Angel as a person/father, but that he has lost who he is for whatever reason. Connor's wit is so biting you would think that he's a vampire.

Connor had to be dark most of this episode to balance the rest of the characters. I think I actually stopped breathing a couple of times during that episode. My sides were killing me. Only episode I was glad there were commercials, so I could regroup. I guess I'll have to pause it when the DVDs come out.

[> [> [> [> [> Just watched this episode last night.. -- Jane, 10:14:32 05/27/04 Thu

Laughed out loud at that exchange. I agree that Connor's sense of humour is rather dark and biting. I like that in a person ;).

[> [> [> [> [> [> What makes it funny -- Masq, 08:05:12 05/28/04 Fri

Any humorous Angel-Connor interchange, is that Connor loves to tease and Angel is one of those people who is just so easy to tease. He walks right into it and then gets all defensive.

Of course, I don't know *anyone* else like that in the world! ; )

[> [> I loved that exchange -- Tchaikovsky, 01:21:28 05/26/04 Wed

Though I thought that scene was really more a joke at Connor's expense, about his relentless criticism of his father. But I probably recollect falsely, since I've only seen 'Habeas Corpses' once. Now the Orlon Window's smashed and I have my original memories back, I'll plug in my DVD some time soon and have another gawk.


[> [> [> Re: I loved that exchange -- Masq, 06:06:01 05/26/04 Wed

Now the Orlon Window's smashed and I have my original memories back, I'll plug in my DVD some time soon and have another gawk.

LOL! That is an apt metaphor for me, too. I was so upset by the events in "Home" I stopped watching my tapes and DVDs of the old seasons. Haven't watched any of them in over a year now, only season 5. I wanted to wait until there was a resolution to the memory wipe and the Connor story before I did so, mainly because the memory wipe seemed to make seasons 3 and 4 moot and pointless, and seasons 1 and 2 lead into those later seasons.

I know, I'm neurotic that way.

Now that the season is over, I can rewatch these eps. "Remember them", as you say. I have a big long Angel marathon planned, from the beginning. All five seasons.

Hopefully, that will give me fodder for some interesting "summing it all up" posts as well.

[> [> Re: Connor's sense of humor -- skeeve, 08:39:13 06/01/04 Tue

ANGEL No, zombies are slow-moving, dimwitted things that crave human flesh.

I hadn't known that zombies were supposed to crave human flesh.
I've heard that people who believe that there are zombies don't fear zombies, they fear becoming zombies.

It's interesting to note that Conner's opinion of Angel seems to have improved greatly by the finale.
It seemd to have happened by the time Conner had killed the recently unbottled demon, but that might just have been tolerance.
It wasn't clear until he came to the W&H offices and helped Angel deal with Hamilton.
Conner said something like "You come to hang out with me and the world's not ending?".
It says something about what Conner thinks is important to Angel.

How do visions pass on from one person to another? -- ghady, 10:33:48 05/25/04 Tue

Doyle kissed Cordy and POOF the visions became Cordy's. Same w/ Angel/Cordy in Birthday. BUT Cordy has kissed Groo on several occasions, none of which have lead to a transfer of visions--they had to have sex for that to happen. So am i missing something, or is that just something the writers overlooked?


[> Possibilities (none of them certain) -- KdS, 11:52:10 05/25/04 Tue

i) That the transfers from Doyle to Cordy and Cordy to Angel were direct PtB intervention

ii) That whatever the visions are powered by is sensitive to impending death - Doyle was consciously about to sacrifice his life, Cordy was physically dying.

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