Yes, my mutant beast of a computer is still being reassembled, with the same love and care put into the BuffyBot. I’m excited. Much has been done to it!! I’m starting anew as well. I will be following through with my Buffy Movie podcast episode, but I’ve decided to disregard my old ideas about doing commentary-like podcasts and stick to a more fluid discussion. I’ll be exploring things that occurred during the film, locations, brief bios on the actors, and the differences between the film, the graphic novel and Joss’ original script. As well, I’m taking a cue from BuffyCast and delving into some far more interesting subject matter. I’ve been reading lately, and I’m using my books for inspiration.
Why Buffy Matters: The Art Of Buffy The Vampire Slayer
by Rhonda Wilcox (I.B. Tauris Publishing)
Rhonda Wilcox is the world’s foremost authority on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its characters, and its themes. She is co-editor of Fighting the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies. She is an English Professor at Gordon College in Barnesville, GA. Wilcox argues that Buffy is enduring as art by exploring its excellence in both long-term story arc construction and in producing individual episodes that are powerful on their own. She examines the larger patterns that extend through all seven seasons: the hero myth, imagery of light, naming symbolism, Buffy’s relationship with Spike, sex, and redemption. Wilcox also focuses on acclaimed and noteworthy episodes, including the musical “Once More, with Feeling,” the largely silent and wordless “Hush,” and the dream episode “Restless.” She examines Buffy’s literary narrative, symbolism, visual imagery, and sound. Combining great intelligence and wit, written for fans, this is the worthy companion to the show that has claimed and kept the minds and hearts of watchers worldwide.
This accessible collection of essays on Buffy the Vampire Slayer defends the artistic merit of the fantasy TV show with equal parts wit and insight. Wilcox, an English professor at Gordon College, is a fan of the series and doesn’t condescend to other fans or disparage what she believes is “art, and deserves to be so studied. It is a work of literature, of language…of visual art…of music and sound.” Wilcox looks at the big-picture narrative arc and at individual episodes, finding impressive, but sometimes tenuously connected, influences at work: Joseph Campbell’s momomyth, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, John Donne, Virgil and Charles Dickens. “One of the great themes of Dickens’s Bleak House,” she writes, “is our interconnection; and one of the great themes of Buffy is the virtue of community.” Not surprisingly, the author has no patience for critics and academics who dismiss Buffy as mere “cult TV” on the basis of its genre and argues that fantasy can have more emotional resonance than realism. Though not convincing as a work of genuine scholarship, Wilcox’s book is a serviceable addition to the canon of Buffy.
Although television is often looked down upon, Wilcox, one editor of Slayage, the online journal devoted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, presents a compelling argument for it as an art form as worthy of respect and acknowledgment as film or literature. She furthers her argument by using Joss Whedon’s iconic show as a salient example, drawing on the depth of the characters, the symbolism in the show, and the many real-world commentaries that permeate its narrative. The first half of the book deals with everything from the significance of the characters’ names in relation to their identities to parallels between Buffy and the Harry Potter saga, while the second half offers detailed analyses of seven of Buffy’s finest, most complex episodes, including the ones that deal with the loss of Buffy’s virginity and the almost entirely silent episode “Hush.” The library of scholarly Buffy titles continues to grow, with Wilcox’s thoughtful, accessible volume an honorable addition to it. (4/5)
The Psychology Of Joss Whedon: An Unauthorized Exploration of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly
by Joy Davidson (Benbella Books)
Joss Whedon—creator of the wildly popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its spin-off Angel, the short-lived series Firefly, and the feature film it inspired, Serenity—takes a seat on the couch in this in-depth examination of the psychological gravity that has captivated his deeply devoted fan base. Whedon fans will enjoy a discussion of issues that are both funny and profound, from the significance of Angel’s mommy issues and the best way to conduct government experiments on vampires to what could drive a man to become a cannibalistic Reaver and the psychological impact of being one girl in all the world chosen to fight the forces of darkness.
Joy Davidson, PhD, is a psychologist, certified sex therapist, and author who is a familiar expert guest on national television and radio, including Oprah, 20/20, CNN News, NPR, Prime Time Live, Entertainment Tonight, and Montel. She is the author of or contributor to 6 nonfiction books and the creator of multivolume self-help videos for women and couples. She is a well-known magazine and web advice columnist and appears frequently in publications such as Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Esquire, Redbook, and Men’s Health. She lives in New York. (5/5)
Other books I’m interested to get my hands on…