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Reacting to Reactions! - BtVS Season 2

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  • #76
    You're rapidly catching up to both FailWhale and Alley Box as they're currently in mid Season 3. On Patreon, Failwhale has just finished Amends and Alley Box has just finished The Zeppo. I'm very much in a S3 headspace at the moment as I am following them along so it will probably be easier for me to comment know once you catch up. If you were to ever follow any of the reactors on Patreon these two would be my personal suggestions.

    Honestly, watching everybody's reactions to Becoming I & II really helped solidify for me what superb hours of television they are. Not that I didn't know that already of course but watching someone else react to the tragedy just reinforces how strong the writing/directing/acting is.

    ~ Banner by Nina ~

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    • #77
      vampmogs I really do like both alley box. and failwhale. The only thing that puts me off following them on Patreon is that the reactions would be longer so just harder to fit in with others. But I might support them anyway, even if I stick to the YouTube vids often.

      I've just got to the part in Liam's S2 summary where he's about to talk about his/his viewers voted favourites of the season so it'll be interesting to see how Becoming 1&2 do. I think with the flashbacks especially they are a real treat and so much happens in them. I agree it's easy to forget how great the two part finale is. Maybe when you know where it is going you forget the impact and how much happens as you focus on key points in the season that led there more.

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      • #78
        Okay, I hadn't intended to watch the summaries because they were so long but then I had some time to fill whilst waiting on responses to our tech investigations when the site was down and having them playing in the background worked quite well. So here are some reactions to the reactor's reactions to their own reactions.

        alley box.'s S2 summary
        So she recapped the season, running through the episodes, rating them, and then responded to questions that had been submitted.

        With the ratings I really like that she emphasised they were based on what she feels the show can do, the levels she knows it can reach. So a 4 for a BtVS episode might be the equivalent of a 6 on another show. With just under three quarters getting 7 or more, I think we can safely say she liked the season. Those that scored less were pretty much what you'd expect really. The degree to which she was down on Killed by Death was the only one that I was a little surprised by.

        Highlights for her in the season seem to have come around where she felt character moments were key like When She Was Bad and, as we all find, episodes that focus on your favourite characters. So she gave The Dark Age 8/10 for example. Her love for Giles shining through.

        I found it interesting that she talked about how set up is important in monster type episodes for her, that she has to feel like it fits into the world rather than acts just as a standalone. Some Assembly Required isn't a favourite episode of mine in the season either, I don't really disagree with her 5/10 rating (if anything I might say it's a tad high), but there are themes that run through it in the expectations others have, the trauma of resurrection, power over life and reanimation of the dead, second chances too and feeling out of place but wanting that connection with someone still, which all resonate with other stories/arcs/episodes of the season for me. I think she misses these links in the motw episodes when they are thematic/message driven and not adding directly to the main plotline of the season (other examples being the ties between Ampata and Buffy in Inca Mummy Girl, or the integration of slaying/other in Buffy's life, hidden sides, within Ted).

        In fairness to her, as I've said before, I didn't see a lot of them or find ties between the episodes and wider season until I was considering the episodes more deeply and definitely watched on a more surface level the first time I saw the show. It's part of why I like seeing her reactions alongside others like Liam that tend to think more thematically instantly, variety is good.


        Her increased appreciation for School Hard looking back to it after getting to know Spike's character better, is very like my own experience. I mean I enjoyed it initially, always thought it was a good character introduction, but definitely enjoyed it more in hindsight after coming to love the character so much. Possibly even pedestaled it a bit too fondly for a time.

        I'm finding her interpretation of the Angel/Angelus split fascinating. She is still talking about him as if 'Angelus' is the demon in Angel and so isn't Angel at all. She really is applying a more complete separation and so it'll be very intriguing to see how she views Angel's obvious feeling that he is tied to what he has done and how it affects her perspective and understanding of the vampire mythology. Getting to observe someone coming from this point of view, with such a firm degree of separation is compelling to watch and see the development of.

        In her Q&As: The wish for more flashbacks and info on the police/Snyder as standout future 'wants' are good things to wish for (in terms of getting future satisfaction). Really pleased her opinion of Xander stands out as the most changed and she likes his humour. I really like how much she appreciates getting into Buffy's personal life too.

        Her thoughts of how Kendra's death might be followed on from and around Snyder are interesting. Some waaaay off. I like that she is trying to avoid expectations so that she stays open to wherever the show goes and doesn't set herself up for feeling disappointed. Shame she's got even hints from YouTube's automated recommendations (the idea something happens to Joyce, although no idea what, and that Spike is in Angel's show, but with no idea when/in what way), but I'm glad she's trying to avoid spoilers and isn't even reading the episode summaries. But interesting that the size of the fandom and having heard that there are academic papers written about the show has somewhat affected her expectations, even though she actively tries to not have them.


        Liam Duke's S2 summary

        I can't believe he was still at the start mentioning when he was corrected over BtVS inventing the term big bad. I was actually behind him at the time in finding it a bit irritating when numerous people commented on something they could see someone had already said, but really it's time to let the irritation pass. [ Uh, I've now got an internal Frozen gif playing 'Let it go'. ]

        So, he gave some general thoughts, looked back on his S2 predictions, talked about characters, themes, favourite episodes (inc viewer voted ones) and gave some S3 predictions.

        Very much agree with him that the references to the past episodes gives a great sense of continuity and growth for the characters. A lot of appreciation for the acting, particularly DB's improvement, the writing, production, music and structure.

        I think I was more dismissive, incorrectly as it turns out, of the Willow/Xander possibilities than the reactors seem to be, so that has been interesting.

        His perspective on the characters across the season was interesting, particularly when you know where things are going to go and what other things will be faced. The point of how much Buffy faced in the season around death I found an interesting point and he discussed this as a theme too which was really great. A real highlight of this vid.

        His view on Xander seemed balanced in praise and criticism (with acknowledgement to the context of the times in how he was written). I really enjoy how much he has come to like Xander and Cordelia together and hearing about his turning opinion on Cordelia herself. His thoughts on Willow, her place in the group and where she might go, were really interesting. I'm a little uncertain how he'll take where she does go when his liking for how 'wholesome' she is was repeated. Giles had plenty of praise too.

        He also talked of the other main characters in the season and that was interesting. Appreciation for Spike's character I'm always going to like of course, but also acknowledging Dru's uniqueness and the twists with Jenny. No shock at the Oz love and hearing his thoughts on him were interesting. His understanding and balanced view on Joyce was great and I think far more considered than how I initially responded to the character.

        The lie, which I had been surprised didn't receive as many comments in the 2.22 reactions, was mentioned. I can understand his interpretation and I do think it is arguable that was all that was at play, but I do think there are feasibly more elements wrapped in there too. Interesting to see the thematic repetition of lies in the season in relation to it too.

        Again that wish for Snyder to be eaten. Still, check.

        After his thoughts on the theme of death he moves on to offer his ideas around the theme of darker sides within you and who you are/were/should be, which was also really good. The later links to the monsters inside too I really enjoyed. His thoughts on the moral decision about bringing Angel back were interesting and his thoughts on Giles in regard to the reveal of his darker side against how he had seemed really added to my still developing sense of character cohesion there too. He also gave time to consider hidden identities and how that worked alongside these ideas. I liked that he acknowledges the direct examples of life challenges they include as well.

        In his survey of the viewers' top three episodes only four episodes in the whole season didn't receive at least one vote! There is clearly a lot of subjective preference in the many episodes that got around 1-5 votes and it isn't until you get to their top five that the numbers who voted for each episode gives more of a sense of a wider consensus. There are a lot of really enjoyable episodes in the season but I did expect more agreement when people were being asked to choose only their top three.

        Very interesting after what vampmogs was saying above that Becoming 2 was voted No1 by his viewers. I wouldn't have chosen it as the winning episode, although I do think it is great, but the top five was a pretty solid selection. Like Liam I would put the ones his viewers chose in a different order, but not the same as him either. There are just so many great episodes in the show it is often really hard to choose. Lie to Me and Ted are real fond favourites in S2 for me and they might bump into a top five over others depending on my mood at the time, so there is even some changeability when selecting only five. I enjoyed hearing why he loved Halloween so much that it got his second place slot. But it was Innocence that got his top slot and hearing how it impacted him, how he felt it shifted the characters and show and affected how he felt about the show itself was intriguing. A great part of this season review. His S3 predictions were fun too. He's not off on much and has picked up on the main hanging threads really well.


        Very amused that he commented on having been pointed to some forums where he was told people were commenting on his reactions at the time and liking hearing that his obvious enjoyment of watching the show was being enjoyed in fandom. Ah, we do all like to share our love of BtVS.

        --

        I'm glad I made time for these, they were good vids. Particularly Liam's and his thoughts on the characters/themes of the season. So there we have it, I've truly run out of S2 vids with these guys now.

        I have an episode of Lovecraft Country to post about and I want to watch the next Wentworth and read/respond to the fabulous Never Leave Me review in the S7 rewatch thread too, so the week ahead looks busy. But I'm going to try to pop in seeing reactions in between other things fairly regularly still to try and keep playing catch up with alley box. and failwhale and just continue to enjoy seeing these first responses to the show.


        As I said before, if I watch S2 reactions from other reactors I'll be back here again. Please anyone feel free to put up posts about S2 reactions generally or give recommendations, I'd still love to hear about them. And also feel free to join me in the S3 thread when I start that soon too.

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        • Double Dutchess
          Double Dutchess commented
          Editing a comment
          As you know I really like Liam's analyses (and you hit all the high points of this one in your review) but he does get hung up a bit too much on what some of his commenters say.

      • #79
        I have promised to come back and tell what put me off of failwhales's reaction to Kendra's death. It has been a while since I watched it and I am not remembering it very clearly anymore but I felt as if he thought her death was great story writing. He almost applauded it and of course, it is great story writing but it should also evoke some sort of emotional response. I admit that most of us are not as attached to Kendra as we are to Joyce or Tara. However, some genuine sign of an impact would have been nice.

        flow
        ................................ Banner by buffylover

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        • #80
          Originally posted by flow View Post
          I have promised to come back and tell what put me off of failwhales's reaction to Kendra's death. It has been a while since I watched it and I am not remembering it very clearly anymore but I felt as if he thought her death was great story writing. He almost applauded it and of course, it is great story writing but it should also evoke some sort of emotional response. I admit that most of us are not as attached to Kendra as we are to Joyce or Tara. However, some genuine sign of an impact would have been nice.
          I don't think he was emotionally upset by it, no. I think he said at one point that he felt more could have been done with Kendra's character, but understood why they'd used her as they did. But I think that he believes, at this stage, that it eradicates the two slayer anomaly and perhaps that they did it to keep the focus on Buffy instead. He made some comment as well about expecting that Kendra was going to be killed as Dru turned up because they had opted to bring Dru into the scene. So I don't think that it shocked him as such and that would have affected his response too. I suppose I just don't have a problem with him responding mostly about her death in terms of the narrative use because I do think that we see him react with more emotion, although low key, to other character moments. He seems to have more affectionate regard for Willow and Joyce to me.

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          • #81
            flow I do think FailWhale has emotional reactions to the story. Willow is a clear favourite but he actually seems really emotionally connected to Buffy's character and seems greatly sympathetic to the trauma she goes through. However, what I actually like most about him (and AlleyBox to an extent) is that he does approach the story from the perspective of someone interested in storytelling/directing/cinematography etc. I also really like how often Alley comments on certain camera shots or musical scores. This stuff really appeals to me (I always wanted to be a director) but in my experience there's not as many people in fandom who pay much attention to the choices of music, production values, stunts, direction etc so I'm really enjoying that they're noticing all of this stuff. I think it's a refreshing take on things and makes the reactions different from the majority which are very emotion-based.

            ~ Banner by Nina ~

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            • Stoney
              Stoney commented
              Editing a comment
              Definitely agree. I've commented on several occasions about liking these elements that they both mention as it is raising aspects I often don't consider.

          • #82
            I think it's exactly what you two find intriguing that puts me off. His enthusiasm is a bit too focused on "technical stuff", imho. I do admit though that Kendra might not be a good example because her death did not have a huge impact on anybody. I am perfectly willing to follow him through season 3 and give him another try.

            Stoney Will you start a new thread for season 3?

            flow
            ................................ Banner by buffylover

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            • #83
              Originally posted by flow View Post
              I think it's exactly what you two find intriguing that puts me off. His enthusiasm is a bit too focused on "technical stuff", imho. I do admit though that Kendra might not be a good example because her death did not have a huge impact on anybody. I am perfectly willing to follow him through season 3 and give him another try.
              I think the difference in his character investment in S2 to S1 is noticeable so if it continues to build you may find him even more character aware in S3 in a way you connect with more. I would agree with Mogs that he does often express concern about Buffy too and everything that is on her plate. The impact that Kendra's death was going to have on Buffy was more his focus than the loss of Kendra herself (outside of his feeling she could have been used more). It'll be great if you do stick with him for S3 and see if his reactions start to capture you more.

              Stoney Will you start a new thread for season 3?
              Yes, definitely. It will probably be tomorrow but I'll be watching Anne later tonight/tomorrow if I can fit it in before I fall asleep.

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