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If Buffy/Angel was a book series and it got an "adaptation" like Game of Thrones...

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  • If Buffy/Angel was a book series and it got an "adaptation" like Game of Thrones...

    Like so many in the fandom, I've found GoT season 5 to be terribly disappointing and just terrible overall, both as an adaptation of the books and in itself. I think that the former would be a legitimate complaint even if the latter were not true, because, you know, it's supposed to be an adaptation of the books and the show runners insist on following some major plot points even when they change everything else, like context, character motivations, characterizations, themes, even the identity of the characters at times. But it seems that there are a lot of those, including some professional critics, who seem almost insulted by the idea that book readers may be upset at what the show is doing to the story and characters, and keep going out of their way to disparage book readers as purists who just can't take any change.

    That got me to imagine what it would look like if Buffy and Angel were a book series and if they got a TV adaptation similar to what GoT is right now... Say, two showrunners, let's call them Ray and Rick, started to adapt Joss Whedon's story and decided that they should really make some changes:

    - You know, Rick, this Buffy is a really cool character! People are totally going to love her!
    - Of course, Ray! A hot blonde chick who can fight and deliver quips, what else can you want?
    - But you know what, there are some things that bug me about her story, like the culmination of this thing with the Master - I mean, that when she dies and comes back, what a great scene! Totally a season one finale!
    - Yes, awesome! But I know what you mean, we have to make some changes. Wouldn't it make more sense if, instead of her going to his cave to face him, his minions came to the library and attacked her, and Giles tries to save her...
    - But he doesn't succeed. And then they drag her to the Master, and she shivers and is ready to die, and he kills her. But then Xander and Angel appear, kill the Master and save her!
    - That will totally improve the story!
    - And Willow. I really like the way she grows from an insecure girl into someone powerful and more confident, like when she starts using magic and shit...
    - Yes, female empowerment! Great! But her storyline is kinda slow and boring in this part, we can't give Alyson Hannigan so little to do. So maybe we give her some other character's role as a filler this season?
    - How about this Katrina, Warren's girlfriend that he mind controls and tries to rape and then kills? I love that storyline! But nobody cares about this Katrina chick, so why don't we make that Willow's storyline?
    - Great idea! We'll bring in that storyline, we'll use Willow for Warren's storyline. But how do we make it work?
    - Well, let's say, Willow agrees to date Warren.
    - But why does she do that?
    - I dunno. We'll make up some shit. Like, Rack tells her to? We'll make it look like she totally trusts Rack.
    - OK, but he still needs to give her a reason.
    - How about, he tells her the only way she can fight Warren is if she becomes his girlfriend?
    - Great! Forget magic. A woman using her sexuality, that's totally empowering.
    - And I think it will make perfect sense!
    - It makes perfect sense!
    - And then Warren locks her up and mind controls her, beats her up and abuses her for an entire season. This will give Alyson Hannigan such great material, she's at her best when she is looking sad and downtrodden.
    - She'll look really pretty with bruises.
    - But that's, like, not intense enough. Maybe we also create a love triangle. Like, Warren has a a really jealous girlfriend who hates Willow, and then they have bitchy conversations?
    - Great idea. And in the end, Jonathan saves her by killing Warren's bitchy girlfriend and they run away.
    - This will be a great way to show what a bad guy Warren is, and for Jonathan's redemption story. But she'll also show how she's empowered and all, when she tells Warren's girlfriend she's ready to die, before Jonathan comes to save her.
    - Totally empowering. Next season we'll just get her back to her real story.
    - I love the way we'll streamlining this story.
    - But I dunno, maybe someone will be upset with us putting Willow through all of that?
    - Bah, we'll just tell them that's "in the source material!" And it's worse, Katrina gets killed! So they will have no cause to complain!
    - You're right. You know what else, I think we must change some things about Angel. His story gets too depressive, he hates himself, he does really bad things... the audience will have a problem with that! He's our hero, people like him!
    - I know! We can't have him do, like, problematic shit, like locking up those lawyers, or being nasty to his friends and sacking them, or that thing with Darla...
    - Right. We'll just have him be sad and sulk a little for a couple of episodes, and Cordelia will tell him he's awesome, and then he'll turn it around and be a great guy for the rest of the season. He will never lock up those lawyers, he won't sack his friends, he won't try to lose his soul. He must be a good guy 100%.
    - But what about Darla?
    - She'll offer him sex because he's such a great guy, but he'll politely refuse her.
    - Oh, that's perfect.
    - Spike also has some boring shit this year. I don't understand this story of his at all.
    - Me neither. Like, he's supposed to be changing, or something? What's this crap about fighting for his soul? Now he wants to be a good guy? WTF?
    - Doesn't make sense to me either, must be bad writing. I think he should still be totally in love with Drusilla, they were the perfect couple, and he should still be doing everything for her and to be a big bad vampire.
    - But fans seem to like this Buffy/Spike thing... And this makes it seem like he has been falling in love with Buffy?
    - OK, we'll give one little nod to this thing with Buffy, but that's all. And anyway, we'll see what to do about him next year. But now we'll give him some filler storyline.
    - Like we did with Willow? So, like, he gets abused by some bad guy?
    - No, you fool! He's a male character, his filler story will be some random action stuff where he gets to fight and all. Like, maybe he gets to go on a hilarious bro trip with Andrew where they fight some bad guys!
    - Oh, great idea! They will be so funny together! We gotta think of some witty lines for Spike... I'm not very good at that, can you do it?
    - Meh, we both know that Andrew is the funnier of the two! Andrew will get most scenes. We don't need Spike to be funny, too. He can just fight and look sexy, I mean that's why people love Spike, right? Being a sexy badass?
    - TBH I don't know why people like him, but that must be it. So, how about we have him fight some stereotypically hot and badass Latina evil Slayers...
    - Wait, fighting humans? I thought he is handicapped because of his chip, that was kind of a big deal in the story...
    - Bah, you're such a nerd. It doesn't matter.
    - You're right. Who cares. OK, now what about this Wesley Wyndam-Pryce dude?
    - Well, he's a bad guy, right?
    - Yeah. He was totally annoying when he first appeared. Must be a bad guy.
    - So we have to make sure people see how evil he is before we kill him off. Like, he'll throw Connor into the other dimension with an evil grin on his face, to stick it to Angel. All because of his crazy ambition and lust of power, he was always angry because he wanted to be the top guy, that's why he hated Giles and why he hates Angel, because Angel's authority overshadows his.
    - You read his character perfectly. Ambition and lust for power, that's totally what always motivated Wesley.
    - We are so good at this characterization thing. We must also fix a few other characters that don't make sense. Like that Larry.
    - I know, right? He just doesn't seem gay at all. He has to talk constantly about how much he likes Broadway, hairdressing and Liza Minelli.
    - Exactly. We'll make him such a great gay character. Everyone will see how progressive we are, totally not homophobic.
    - That Wood guy, too. He doesn't seem black at all. He must be always listening to hip hop and talking about the life in da hood.
    - Perfect, we'll show we're also not racist.
    - Another character we need to fix is Tara. She's just so dull and weak. We need to make her stronger and more empowered! Like, she should be always yelling about revenge and urging Willow and Buffy to kill people.
    - We'll make her such a strong female character!
    - I think we need to humanize Glory. We'll show that she's really nice and justified in everything she does and that people just hate her because she's a woman.
    - Yes, we're not some woman-haters. That will show how feminist we are. We are so good with female characters, Rick.
    - We totally are, Ray.
    - And not only have we streamlined the story, I think we've really improved on it.
    - We totally have.

    ...and that's basically how Game of Thrones at this point is "adapting" A Song of Ice and Fire.
    Last edited by TimeTravellingBunny; 29-06-15, 09:12 PM.
    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.

  • #2

    This is great. I really loved the first season of GoT, but then things started to go down, until I realized it wasn't my stuff and just stopped watching. Never read the books, though.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Rihannon View Post

      This is great. I really loved the first season of GoT, but then things started to go down, until I realized it wasn't my stuff and just stopped watching. Never read the books, though.
      The first season was the only one that was a really faithful adaptation (except for a few things). From season 2 onwards, they started to diverge more and more and change not just the plot but also the characterizations, culminating in season 5, which had about as much to do with the books it was 'adapting' as the scenario above has to do with the plot of BtVS and AtS. Show defenders keep telling us book fans that we dislike the show just because we're "purists", but really, I think the show is bad in itself (and I'm not surprised that fans who haven't read the books, like you, feel the same), and it gets worse the more it diverges from the books, because the show runners are below average writers.
      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.