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  • Ratings and Character popularity

    Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post

    There were never any plans for a Dawn spinoff. I only used it as an example that James doesn't really offer any real insight into the writer's room, at least not as much as he seems to think he does. To paraphrase Fury: He doesn't know what he's talking about.

    If Joss didn't want Spike to be so ever-present, he simply wouldn't have given him much to work with. Certainly he wouldn't have made him a main character much to the ire of the broader fanbase. The only time Joss was forced to include Spike was S5 of AtS.
    You don't have to like a character to recognise they are popular and will bring in ratings by having them on the show.
    Not to long back Joss did a Non Joss Whedon Top 10 episode list and it was signicant that FFL or any other real Spike heavy episode was not included in that list.

  • #2
    Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post

    You don't have to like a character to recognise they are popular and will bring in ratings by having them on the show.
    Not to long back Joss did a Non Joss Whedon Top 10 episode list and it was signicant that FFL or any other real Spike heavy episode was not included in that list.
    Yeah, it's too bad the ratings went down the more prominent he was then, isn't it?

    So what if Whedon didn't like FFL enough to put it in the top 10. I don't think I would either. Considering there are only 2 Spike episodes in the entire run of the show, the odds are more against it than for.

    Comment


    • a thing of evil
      a thing of evil commented
      Editing a comment
      The secret spuffies don't want you to know.

    • flow
      flow commented
      Editing a comment
      Know what?

  • #3
    Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post
    Yeah, it's too bad the ratings went down the more prominent he was then, isn't it?
    This.

    The idea that Spike is a ratings juggernaut has always been a fandom myth. It's not actually supported by any statistical data at all. For one thing, S3 was the highest rated season of the show with an average of 5.3 million viewers and Spike appeared in just 1 episode (and it wasn't the highest rated episode either, by the way). Whilst the 2 seasons were Spike features most prominently (S6-S7) were the two lowest rated seasons of the show (besides S1) with an average of 4.3 and 3.9 million viewers.

    Even with the comics, S8 was the highest selling season of the comics by far (originally pulling in 100k readership) and Spike only appeared in the last arc whilst the heavy-Spike seasons (S10-S12) dwindled to around 10k.

    Now, before I get pounced on, I am not saying that Spike is the reason that ratings/sales dwindled in both the Spike-heavy seasons. I think certainly with the comics there's a lot of factors that contributed to that (S8's incredibly high sales at the beginning were largely due to the novelty factor) and I wouldn't presume to know how fans felt in S6/S7. But what we can conclusively say is that Spike's popularity in online fandom does not automatically translate to popularity amongst casual viewers, which is frequent trend with fandom in general. The hardcore online fandom is often out of step with what the majority of viewers seemed to prefer at the time.

    As for Whedon and not picking Fool For Love, I don't think that means anything. I'm pretty much testament to that fact as I do consider Fool For Love as one of my all time favourites and I'm largely apathetic to Spike. So the idea that not choosing Fool For Love automatically means you don't like him is flawed IMO.

    ~ Banner by Nina ~

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    • TimeTravellingBunny
      TimeTravellingBunny commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm a Spike fan and FFL is not in my top 10.

  • #4
    Originally posted by vampmogs View Post

    This.

    The idea that Spike is a ratings juggernaut has always been a fandom myth. It's not actually supported by any statistical data at all. For one thing, S3 was the highest rated season of the show with an average of 5.3 million viewers and Spike appeared in just 1 episode (and it wasn't the highest rated episode either, by the way). Whilst the 2 seasons were Spike features most prominently (S6-S7) were the two lowest rated seasons of the show (besides S1) with an average of 4.3 and 3.9 million viewers.
    6/7 were on a different network that didn't have the same number of outlets as the WB, so it was going to be lower rated no matter what. BUT, the ratings started faltering even before the switch to the UPN. The falling ratings in S4/S5 played a huge part in that move so it's a valid point either way.

    And yeah, that's not to say it's Spike's fault. Just that he's not this huge ratings boon people like to claim. Even after the WB forced him to be brought over, there was no massive ratings jump that can be attributed to him so much as the post-Buffy effect. The show was already dropping in viewership again by sweeps. Contrary to Fury's comments, the renewal of the show was far from guaranteed. The main reason the show had a larger overall viewership than S4 were the premiere and series finale.

    The hardcore online fandom is often out of step with what the majority of viewers seemed to prefer at the time.
    Fandoms are like US political candidates like Ron Paul and Jill Stein. They have a huge online presence but in reality no one cares about them.

    Comment


    • #5
      If truth be known Whedon can't stand either of the damn Vamps, Spike nor Angel imo. He's not drawn to that type of character and It shows in his writing. Didn't he say as much in an interview years back?

      I like both of them, although imo I feel Spike (mainly down to the superb performance by JM) get and keeps my attention more. To say nothing of a kind of ongoing 'loyalty' towards the character If you get my drift.

      Comment


      • #6
        Originally posted by vampmogs View Post

        This.

        The idea that Spike is a ratings juggernaut has always been a fandom myth. It's not actually supported by any statistical data at all. For one thing, S3 was the highest rated season of the show with an average of 5.3 million viewers and Spike appeared in just 1 episode (and it wasn't the highest rated episode either, by the way). Whilst the 2 seasons were Spike features most prominently (S6-S7) were the two lowest rated seasons of the show (besides S1) with an average of 4.3 and 3.9 million viewers.

        Even with the comics, S8 was the highest selling season of the comics by far (originally pulling in 100k readership) and Spike only appeared in the last arc whilst the heavy-Spike seasons (S10-S12) dwindled to around 10k.

        Now, before I get pounced on, I am not saying that Spike is the reason that ratings/sales dwindled in both the Spike-heavy seasons. I think certainly with the comics there's a lot of factors that contributed to that (S8's incredibly high sales at the beginning were largely due to the novelty factor) and I wouldn't presume to know how fans felt in S6/S7. But what we can conclusively say is that Spike's popularity in online fandom does not automatically translate to popularity amongst casual viewers, which is frequent trend with fandom in general. The hardcore online fandom is often out of step with what the majority of viewers seemed to prefer at the time.

        As for Whedon and not picking Fool For Love, I don't think that means anything. I'm pretty much testament to that fact as I do consider Fool For Love as one of my all time favourites and I'm largely apathetic to Spike. So the idea that not choosing Fool For Love automatically means you don't like him is flawed IMO.

        You say this but wasn't Angel renewed for a 5th season because Spike was brought over ?

        Comment


        • #7
          Yes, but because WB demanded it. In their eyes, no Spike, no series.

          Comment


          • #8
            Originally posted by Silver1 View Post
            If truth be known Whedon can't stand either of the damn Vamps, Spike nor Angel imo. He's not drawn to that type of character and It shows in his writing. Didn't he say as much in an interview years back?

            I like both of them, although imo I feel Spike (mainly down to the superb performance by JM) get and keeps my attention more. To say nothing of a kind of ongoing 'loyalty' towards the character If you get my drift.
            No, he said he didn't get or understand Angel, but identified with Spike. But he's said so many things it's hard to keep straight.

            You say this but wasn't Angel renewed for a 5th season because Spike was brought over ?
            The WB was hedging their bets. They also cut the budget dramatically, something they started in S4 (it's why Greenwalt left--didn't want a pay cut) and stipulated that the show go back to a more episodic storytelling approach rather than the serialization of S4. Yeah, they wanted James. He was gettable. Sarah was out of the question, as was Aly and Eliza was doing Tru Calling. Nic and ASH made zero sense. There really wasn't any other character they could bring over to try to pull whatever BTVS audience that wasn't watching AtS. In the end, it didn't work.

            Comment


            • #9
              Originally posted by Silver1 View Post
              If truth be known Whedon can't stand either of the damn Vamps, Spike nor Angel imo. He's not drawn to that type of character and It shows in his writing. Didn't he say as much in an interview years back?

              I like both of them, although imo I feel Spike (mainly down to the superb performance by JM) get and keeps my attention more. To say nothing of a kind of ongoing 'loyalty' towards the character If you get my drift.
              I like Angel but only on his own show. To me On BtVS he was just the Teen heartthrob boyfriend basically Twilight mk1 . On Ats he was a real character who I was interested in. Its why I found his Buffy crossover apparences (Forgiving aside) as jarring. It felt like his character regressed.
              At the same time Angelus in Buffy S2 was great but on Ats S4 was just ridiculous.

              Comment


              • #10
                I can’t understand the obsession with attributing ratings to this or that character ‘s appearances on a television show. Ratings have zero to do with quality to begin with - Buffy was more popular in its first three seasons when it was a novelty and most likely lost viewers because of the shifting movements in television at the time. When Buffy began, the serialized comedy-drama was still in its infancy outside of Hill Street Blues and a few other shows and there were very few black comedy-dramas that took risks. By the time Buffy and Angel ended, there was a huge rush of adult-themed serialized shows marking the ascendancy of HBO and other non-commercial platforms. We also see a huge leap in internet activity from 1996 - 2003 that had a tremendous impact on the reception of certain shows like The Sopranos which became the new benchmark for quality. BtVS was an early pioneer of that kind of drama - one of the first to introduce the idea of an organizing Season theme/Big Bad - but near the end of the run, it no doubt came off as old hat.

                Moving Spike to Angel was an attempt by Whedon and others to keep his franchise going in the face of network opposition fueled by fears of the new cable juggernauts that were pulling millions of viewers away from network TV. I don’t think anything could have saved Angel even if every episode delivered a masterpiece. Like Firefly, it was in the wrong place at the wrong time - stuck on faltering networks at the dawn of a television revolution - just a few years later they might have moved to Showtime or HBO instead of WB, Fox and UPN.

                As for whether Spike’s popularity or unpopularity drove the show’s ratings, it’s easy to create specious causation for any opinion. I could claim that the ratings for Buffy declined from Season Four onward because of the introduction of Willow and Tara due to the rampant homophobia of the time. You can pretty much make any kind of connection - but that doesn’t really prove anything at all unless you conduct national polling to find out exactly why viewers turned from Buffy and Angel.

                I can say with almost absolute assurance that the new Disney owners consider Spike to be one of the essential factors in Buffy’s popularity. I’m pretty sure he’s made the top ten who won’t be eliminated in any future reiteration of the project. Anecdotally, I never watched BtVS in its original run, but I probably knew over 50 people who did in the theater industry and the same five names came up over and over again as to why they loved the show. Buffy, Angel, Willow, Xander, Giles - and Spike. It was always the core four and the two vamps.

                Weirdly, I mixed up the characters of Spike and Angel and thought Angel was the platinum blond and Spike the dark broody one from a casual glance at pictures and media. It wasn’t until I saw Once More WIth Feeling when it premiered - the only one of two episodes I watched during its original run - that I realized my mistake - and then promptly forgot it again. I can’t remember any one character being singled out as especially important - it always struck me as an ensemble effort from what I heard that only clicked when all the actors worked off one another. In reality, I recall Whedon and his writers as being the actual ‘star’ of the show because of the peculiar Buffy slanguage that felt so novel when the show began.

                I personally don’t think Spike had much effect on the ratings either way - changing tastes were far more likely to have caused a decline. When I hear things like this, I think about that article in Salon decrying Spike as a “Fonzie-like” character who ruined Buffy in its Seventh Season. I have to admit that I knew that writer personally and interacted with him frequently regarding musical theater in the 90s. Let’s just say we frequently disagreed - and his opinions on musical theater haven’t held up very well over the years.
                Last edited by American Aurora; 17-07-20, 09:02 PM.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Originally posted by American Aurora View Post
                  I can’t understand the obsession with attributing ratings to this or that character ‘s appearances on a television show. Ratings have zero to do with quality to begin with - Buffy was more popular in its first three seasons when it was a novelty and most likely lost viewers because of the shifting movements in television at the time. When Buffy began, the serialized comedy-drama was still in its infancy outside of Hill Street Blues and a few other shows and there were very few black comedy-dramas that took risks. By the time Buffy and Angel ended, there was a huge rush of adult-themed serialized shows marking the ascendancy of HBO and other non-commercial platforms. We also see a huge leap in internet activity from 1996 - 2003 that had a tremendous impact on the reception of certain shows like The Sopranos which became the new benchmark for quality. BtVS was an early pioneer of that kind of drama - one of the first to introduce the idea of an organizing Season theme/Big Bad - but near the end of the run, it no doubt came off as old hat.

                  Moving Spike to Angel was an attempt by Whedon and others to keep his franchise going in the face of network opposition fueled by fears of the new cable juggernauts that were pulling millions of viewers away from network TV. I don’t think anything could have saved Angel even if every episode delivered a masterpiece. Like Firefly, it was in the wrong place at the wrong time - stuck on faltering networks at the dawn of a television revolution - just a few years later they might have moved to Showtime or HBO instead of WB, Fox and UPN.

                  As for whether Spike’s popularity or unpopularity drove the show’s ratings, it’s easy to create specious causation for any opinion. I could claim that the ratings for Buffy declined from Season Four onward because of the introduction of Willow and Tara due to the rampant homophobia of the time. You can pretty much make any kind of connection - but that doesn’t really prove anything at all unless you conduct national polling to find out exactly why viewers turned from Buffy and Angel.

                  I can say with almost absolute assurance that the new Disney owners consider Spike to be one of the essential factors in Buffy’s popularity. I’m pretty sure he’s made the top ten who won’t be eliminated in any future reiteration of the project. Anecdotally, I never watched BtVS in its original run, but I probably knew over 50 people who did in the theater industry and the same five names came up over and over again as to why they loved the show. Buffy, Angel, Willow, Xander, Giles - and Spike. It was always the core four and the two vamps.

                  Weirdly, I mixed up the characters of Spike and Angel and thought Angel was the platinum blond and Spike the dark broody one from a casual glance at pictures and media. It wasn’t until I saw Once More WIth Feeling when it premiered - the only one of two shows I watched during its original run - that I realized my mistake - and then promptly forgot it again. I can’t remember any one character being singled out as especially important - it always struck me as an ensemble effort from what I heard that only clicked when all the actors worked off one another. In reality, I recall Whedon and his writers as being the actual ‘star’ of the show because of the peculiar Buffy slanguage that felt so novel when the show began.

                  I personally don’t think Spike had much effect on the ratings either way - changing tastes were far more likely to have caused a decline. When I hear things like this, I think about that article in Salon decrying Spike as a “Fonzie-like” character who ruined Buffy in its Seventh Season, I have to admit that I knew that writer personally and interacted with him frequently regarding musical theater in the 90s. Let’s just say we frequently disagreed - and his opinions on musical theater haven’t held up very well over the years.
                  At the time of Riley leaving I did read online that the Network pushed it because of declining ratings and forced Whedons hand but I have no idea if that's true or not. Though the writers obvious love of the character makes me wonder if there is some partial truth to it.

                  Regardless ratings or not , that should have no bearing or justification on how Joss Whedon behaves on set towards other people. On the Directors Commentary for The Harvest he admits the Cordelia scene of her insulting/humiliating Willow was based on what he did to a person in real life and that he wasn't just the good guy.

                  At the end of the day I guess it will come down to each individual viewer amd whether they can separate Joss Whedon the creator and Joss the Crappy Human being.
                  Though Podcasts like Buffering who go on about the Patriarchy being dead silent on real life Patriarchy because its Joss is hard to take and seems a bit hypocritical

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by Silver1 View Post
                    If truth be known Whedon can't stand either of the damn Vamps, Spike nor Angel imo. He's not drawn to that type of character and It shows in his writing. Didn't he say as much in an interview years back?
                    That explains why Angel was written so bad in the Buffy Season 8 comics.

                    Angel was always better in my opinion when other writers such as Tim Minear, and Brian Lynch wrote the character instead of Joss.
                    My deviantart: http://vampfox.deviantart.com/

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by American Aurora View Post
                      I can’t understand the obsession with attributing ratings to this or that character ‘s appearances on a television show. Ratings have zero to do with quality to begin with - Buffy was more popular in its first three seasons when it was a novelty and most likely lost viewers because of the shifting movements in television at the time. When Buffy began, the serialized comedy-drama was still in its infancy outside of Hill Street Blues and a few other shows and there were very few black comedy-dramas that took risks. By the time Buffy and Angel ended, there was a huge rush of adult-themed serialized shows marking the ascendancy of HBO and other non-commercial platforms. We also see a huge leap in internet activity from 1996 - 2003 that had a tremendous impact on the reception of certain shows like The Sopranos which became the new benchmark for quality. BtVS was an early pioneer of that kind of drama - one of the first to introduce the idea of an organizing Season theme/Big Bad - but near the end of the run, it no doubt came off as old hat.

                      Moving Spike to Angel was an attempt by Whedon and others to keep his franchise going in the face of network opposition fueled by fears of the new cable juggernauts that were pulling millions of viewers away from network TV. I don’t think anything could have saved Angel even if every episode delivered a masterpiece. Like Firefly, it was in the wrong place at the wrong time - stuck on faltering networks at the dawn of a television revolution - just a few years later they might have moved to Showtime or HBO instead of WB, Fox and UPN.

                      As for whether Spike’s popularity or unpopularity drove the show’s ratings, it’s easy to create specious causation for any opinion. I could claim that the ratings for Buffy declined from Season Four onward because of the introduction of Willow and Tara due to the rampant homophobia of the time. You can pretty much make any kind of connection - but that doesn’t really prove anything at all unless you conduct national polling to find out exactly why viewers turned from Buffy and Angel.

                      I can say with almost absolute assurance that the new Disney owners consider Spike to be one of the essential factors in Buffy’s popularity. I’m pretty sure he’s made the top ten who won’t be eliminated in any future reiteration of the project. Anecdotally, I never watched BtVS in its original run, but I probably knew over 50 people who did in the theater industry and the same five names came up over and over again as to why they loved the show. Buffy, Angel, Willow, Xander, Giles - and Spike. It was always the core four and the two vamps.

                      Weirdly, I mixed up the characters of Spike and Angel and thought Angel was the platinum blond and Spike the dark broody one from a casual glance at pictures and media. It wasn’t until I saw Once More WIth Feeling when it premiered - the only one of two episodes I watched during its original run - that I realized my mistake - and then promptly forgot it again. I can’t remember any one character being singled out as especially important - it always struck me as an ensemble effort from what I heard that only clicked when all the actors worked off one another. In reality, I recall Whedon and his writers as being the actual ‘star’ of the show because of the peculiar Buffy slanguage that felt so novel when the show began.

                      I personally don’t think Spike had much effect on the ratings either way - changing tastes were far more likely to have caused a decline. When I hear things like this, I think about that article in Salon decrying Spike as a “Fonzie-like” character who ruined Buffy in its Seventh Season. I have to admit that I knew that writer personally and interacted with him frequently regarding musical theater in the 90s. Let’s just say we frequently disagreed - and his opinions on musical theater haven’t held up very well over the years.
                      No one said or suggested it had anything to do with quality. However ratings, particularly declining ratings, are a pretty good indicator of continued popularity especially within set parameters of the previous seasons. I personally don't think Spike drove anyone away from the show, nor AtS although some people screamed and shouted online they were done with Angel if Spike was brought on board. But he wasn't bringing anyone in, either. Nothing suggests it. In fact, as was the point of this whole side topic, the sole indicator we do have suggests otherwise.

                      As you said, the most popular characters in the verse are Buffy and Willow.. Then Angel. Then characters like Spike and Faith, etc. As vampmogs pointed out, the comics sold fine for a long time, but once they assassinated Buffy and Angel in S8, the franchise was done. Bringing in Spike didn't help. Spuffy didn't help. Pairing Angel with Faith in their own book didn't help despite AF S9 being widely seen as one of the best book runs.

                      I actually find the declining ratings, particularly S6 very interesting because in that season the main dropoff was men. But that's getting even more off topic.

                      In reality, I recall Whedon and his writers as being the actual ‘star’ of the show because of the peculiar Buffy slanguage that felt so novel when the show began.
                      No, that's what critics claimed and that's why he wrote Hush. You can go back and watch all the promos if you are curious who was considered the star of the show.

                      Though Podcasts like Buffering who go on about the Patriarchy being dead silent on real life Patriarchy because its Joss is hard to take and seems a bit hypocritical
                      That's typical showbiz for you. They can talk all they want but in the end they're not going to insult their meal ticket.

                      That explains why Angel was written so bad in the Buffy Season 8 comics.
                      I think Joss doesn't care about Angel as a character at all. That storyline wasn't his, but Brad Meltzer's. As I recall BM pitched the storyline about this character and Joss said durr, that has to be Angel as if he were plugging a name into a madlib. But the same can be said about all the characters in S8.

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Originally posted by eevol76vamp View Post
                        Dawn was popular with Spike fans as a little sister sidekick before season 6. She was also shipped with him by some Bangel fans. I think that was the extent of her popularity.

                        I think Joss was ambivalent towards Spike after the show was over but before he did the Avengers. Basically during the beginning of season 8. The comic book characters Saga Vasuki, Nick, Simone Doffler visually resembled him. I suspect Captain Hammer was a spoof of Spike/James also.
                        That doesn't make any sense. Captain Hammer is an obvious parody of a classic male superhero and has absolutely no similarity to Spike.

                        Joss never seemed "ambivalent towards Spike after the show". He made it clear he liked the character more than Angel and called him "most evolved".
                        Which, BTW, doesn't mean Joss doesn't like Angel.

                        That stuff James said always sounded pretty silly to me. Joss didn't want vampires as love interests or appealing and complex characters? Um, why did he then write them that way throughout his shows? No one forced him to.
                        I get the impression that James didn't quite understand Joss' sense of humor and took him too seriously.
                        You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post

                          No one said or suggested it had anything to do with quality. However ratings, particularly declining ratings, are a pretty good indicator of continued popularity especially within set parameters of the previous seasons. I personally don't think Spike drove anyone away from the show, nor AtS although some people screamed and shouted online they were done with Angel if Spike was brought on board. But he wasn't bringing anyone in, either. Nothing suggests it. In fact, as was the point of this whole side topic, the sole indicator we do have suggests otherwise.

                          As you said, the most popular characters in the verse are Buffy and Willow.. Then Angel. Then characters like Spike and Faith, etc. As vampmogs pointed out, the comics sold fine for a long time, but once they assassinated Buffy and Angel in S8, the franchise was done. Bringing in Spike didn't help. Spuffy didn't help. Pairing Angel with Faith in their own book didn't help despite AF S9 being widely seen as one of the best book runs.

                          I actually find the declining ratings, particularly S6 very interesting because in that season the main dropoff was men. But that's getting even more off topic.



                          No, that's what critics claimed and that's why he wrote Hush. You can go back and watch all the promos if you are curious who was considered the star of the show.



                          That's typical showbiz for you. They can talk all they want but in the end they're not going to insult their meal ticket.



                          I think Joss doesn't care about Angel as a character at all. That storyline wasn't his, but Brad Meltzer's. As I recall BM pitched the storyline about this character and Joss said durr, that has to be Angel as if he were plugging a name into a madlib. But the same can be said about all the characters in S8.
                          IMO people stopped reading the comics because they were rubbish, not because of this or that character.

                          What's your source on Angel being more popular than Spike? Or even Buffy and Willow being the most popular? These are just guesses.
                          You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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