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Re-Watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer SPOILERS!

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by hummingbird_206, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Zevida

    Zevida witless and unarmed TCF Club

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    S04E15 This Year's Girl - B
    S04E16 Who are You? - A

    Im torn on which episode I like better. I liked the dream sequences and the great Faith/Buffy fight at Buffy's house in the first. The second had some great acting by Sarah and some quite good, uncomfortable scenes. And the first glimpse of a possible road to redemption by Faith. I don't think it was worth two As, so but which gets the B was a toss up.

    Billy, that's exactly what I was thinking. I'll follow Faith over to Angel. I watched the third episode of Angel tonight. It had Spike so it couldn't be all bad, but it was still too L&O: Special Victims Unit for me.
     
  2. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

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    I'm still way back in season 2.

    One thing I'm surprised by is how bad the prints are that they used for the DVDs. There are several scenes with debris hanging over an edge of the frame... not to mention, there is a huge amount of film grain visible. I don't recall a TV show with prints that look this bad.

    Case in point, Buffy's over-the-shoulder shot in "Innocence" in Angel's residence... there is a very obvious bit of debris in the upper right corner of the frame.
     
  3. Zevida

    Zevida witless and unarmed TCF Club

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    I'm watching on Netflix and I was surprised when the aspect ratio switched to 16:9 in season 4. I had thought the musical in season 6 was the only 16:9 episode.
     
  4. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

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    It was the only 16:9 episode. :confused:

    Wait... Buffy , or Angel? Buffy was 1:33 throughout. Angel switched to 1:78 in season 3. (Although some season 2 sets are in 1:78, they were not framed that way. Viewing them that way exposes production issues like characters appearing in mirrors that shouldn't, and characters appearing in frame before they should.)

    Edit: seasons 4-7 of Buffy are available in 1:78 in some regions, but were never intended to be viewed that way, for the same reason as Angel season 2. See: http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Buffy-Vampire-Slayer/414. Looks like Netflix somehow may have digitized the UK region episodes.
     
  5. Zevida

    Zevida witless and unarmed TCF Club

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    So if they were intended for 4:3, why were they filmed 16:9? Or, have television shows always been filmed 16:9 and just framed for and cut to 4:3 for viewing on TV?

    In any case, I like it. I've not noticed anything that shouldn't be there or looks awkward. Season four also looks terrific via streaming. Very high quality.
     
  6. Zevida

    Zevida witless and unarmed TCF Club

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    Oh, and while I'm here (see, I said I have no life!):

    S04E17 Superstar - B
    S04E18 Where the Wild Things Are - C
    S04E19 New Moon Rising - B
    S04E20 The Yoko Factor - C

    I remembered Superstar as better than it was I think. It is a fun standalone and I appreciate the funny parts, but it wasn't an A episode. Where the Wild Things are had some nice Xander and Anya growth moments, but was just too silly a premise. New Moon Rising got me all choked up. I'm so sad Oz left. I was madder about it the first time around, and I still don't like Tara, but this time I was ready for it. It should probably get an A, it was quite good.

    The Yoko Factor I don't like. I hate it when the Scoobies fight. But Spike was entertaining. And the Buffy/Riley/Angel triangle had some entertaining moments.
     
  7. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

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    Well, this essay has a couple of visual examples of things that are suddenly visible that shouldn't be.

    But beyond that, even if if visually looks correct, and there isn't any unfortunate production equipment visible, the simple fact is that in many shots, the characters are blocked to convey a specific look or feel, which would be totally altered from what the cinematographer intended if the aspect ratio is altered.

    The best example of this is in the episode "The Body." There is a scene with Buffy and a paramedic. In the commentary, Joss describes the scene thusly: "It's an over (over the shoulder shot) where I squeezed her in the frame as much as possible. It's just like she didn't have room to maneuver. … A normal over would have been her with a tiny slice of his shoulder; instead, I let his shoulder own the frame. I took his eyes out of the frame. To show her experience of, literally, being trapped, being blocked off from reality." When the scene is altered from 4:3 to 16:9, that feeling of "being trapped" is totally gone, because there is suddenly open space next to Buffy.

    I stole the above quote from this page that makes the same point, and also provides another rather comical example of an unintentional production gaffe suddenly visible when the show is viewed in 1:78.

    Quite often, the latter, particularly for anything shot to film (vs. video tape).
     
  8. Zevida

    Zevida witless and unarmed TCF Club

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    Interesting. I never knew they filmed in anything but 4:3. I'll have to watch for the examples they gave and see if I notice them.
     
  9. john4200

    john4200 Active Member

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    Thanks for the link. That picture is hilarious:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Jonathan_S

    Jonathan_S Active Member

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    Northern...
    I assume it's cheaper for them to use cameras and film stock that's the same as movies rather than having to invest in "narrowscreen" tv specific camera & film. (Economies of scale and/or reusing existing material)
     
  11. SleepyBob

    SleepyBob Active Member

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    Just finished season 1. Good enough to keep watching for another season, but pretty cheesy at times. Can't stand the vampire makeup. I swear Buffy keeps killing the same one over and over.
     
  12. Zevida

    Zevida witless and unarmed TCF Club

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    Glad you're liking it! It definitely gets better in season 2!

    I always find it funny that sidekick vampires stay in vamp face all the time, even when just hanging out. I guess not worth the time to go from nor,al to vamp for them.
     
  13. alansh

    alansh New Member

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    Re: the 4:3 conversion, here's a helpful image from AVS forums showing an actual TNG film frame with the 4:3 TV frame marked (click to enlarge).

    [media]http://img707.imageshack.us/img707/605/sttngframegroundglass.jpg[/media]

    The inner box is the TV frame, and is considerably smaller than the film frame. I'm not sure what the historical reason for this is, but it's how TV is framed on 35mm film.

    The obvious solution is to take a bigger bite out of the frame, but since the director "knew" that nothing outside the TV frame was going to show up, you end up with studio equipment, underwear :D etc. in the 16:9 frame.

    The other problem is that the TV frame is to the right of center, so using the full frame width unbalances the composition of the shot, like in "The Body" example. In the sample here, the crosshairs are right on Picard's nose. He'd be off center if you used the full width of the frame.

    So the answer is, no, TV shows have not been shot as 16:9 all along. They were shot as 4:3 with the understanding that there'd be unused area on the film that the viewers would never see.

    In my not so humble opinion, 4:3 should stay 4:3. People that don't like it can use the stretch or zoom options.
     
  14. Zevida

    Zevida witless and unarmed TCF Club

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    Well, they were shot with the ability to have 16:9, but framed to 4:3, just not intended to be 16:9. That's what I meant, I had assumed that they had to use 4:3. I never really thought about the film being larger than the frame.

    I have no problem watching in the original 4:3. It is funny when I googled the issue and read comments from people in the early aughts, they were all bitching and moaning about how widescreen sucks and they'd never have a widescreen TV. :D

    The only gaffes I've noticed so far is dialog when the mouth isn't moving - the character steps what would be just off screen in 4:3, but their face or mouth can still be seen in 16:9, then the character speaks a line but never opens their mouth. So far it's not bad enough to be annoying.
     
  15. Jonathan_S

    Jonathan_S Active Member

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    Then there was babylon 5; which they attempted to frame for 4:3 and 16:9. (Some directors/episodes pulled it off better than others).

    The idea was that they would be able to redo the CGI (which should be cheap to rerender on future faster computers) and release it widescreen even though it was originally aired in 4:3. Unfortunatly by the time they got around to releasing the (widescreen only) DVDs, they'd lost the CGI files so all the special effect and space combat were the original 4:3 renders with strips along the top and bottom masked off. (So you got less onscreen widescreen than fullscreen :rolleyes:)

    That plus the occasional misframed wide shot makes me wish they had a fullscreen version of the DVDs. Oh well, it was a great experiment; just not perfectly executed.
     
  16. DreadPirateRob

    DreadPirateRob Seriously?

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    I don't know if I'd go so far as to say that Angel was overall a better series than Buffy - in fact, after a drink or two I might consider them fightin' words ;) - but I will admit that back when Buffy S6/Angel S3 and Buffy S7/Angel S4 were airing, more times than not the Buffy episode paled in comparison to the Angel episode.
     
  17. billypritchard

    billypritchard Embiggener

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    If you were to make a combined season chart, the best seasons of Buffy may eclipse the best of Angel, but the average for a season of Angel is probably better than the avg for Buffy. Seasons 1 and 7 really drag down Buffy (in my book at least).
     
  18. DreadPirateRob

    DreadPirateRob Seriously?

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    I agree with you about S1, but I liked S7 on the whole. Well, most of it. And most importantly, they stuck the landing with the finale. But there were chunks of S6 (basically, the entire middle third, which was ended by the gorgeous mindf--k that was 6.17 "Normal Again") that I really detested, while at the same the Angel episodes were really, really good. And S7 had a few rough spots as well in middle third.
     
  19. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

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    Season 7 was for me by far and away the worst season of them all. Not even a close competition. When most times I usually say even a bad episode of a Joss Whedon show is better than virtually everything on TV... I thought virtually all of season 7 was simply bad TV. I'll be curious to see if that impression holds true.

    I thought season 7 suffered from several critical flaws:
    1) Joss Whedon had handed over control to Marti Noxon, and was more of an "executive producer" than an active one. Marti was great in early seasons as a script editor, but I don't know that she truly had a good grasp of what really made the show, or to be honest, how to run a good show. I don't think she does now either, as proven by her lack of any truly successful show since.
    2) The "big bad" they chose was a bad mistake on multiple levels.
    3) The "little bad" was poorly cast. It was simply charity casting from Joss. I think the actor is great in certain roles, but I just don't think that the role Joss created for him was right for him.
    4) There was a distinct sense that there was a totally abrupt change in tone and direction for the season from the one they originally had conceived before the season started.
    5) There were simply too many characters, most of which were poorly developed, that distracted from the main cast.

    I could go on and on, but it was simply a bad season IMO. Now, that said, these were my impressions from the first watch - I don't think I've seen any of that season since it originally aired. I'll be curious to see if my impression changes on a rewatch.
     
  20. Zevida

    Zevida witless and unarmed TCF Club

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    I agree with everything you said. Season 7 sucked. I especially hated the whole idea of "potentials" and that really soured me on the whole thing, along with the pity casting (which Whedon did in both Buffy and Angel), which threw things off and introduced one of the worst Buffy villains ever.

    I also haven't seen any of it since the first airing. I'd been considering stopping my rewatch at the end of season 5, a perfect ending where I wish the series had stopped. But I'm curious enough about some of the season 6 episodes that I want to watch, and if I get through all of season 6, maybe I'll slog through season 7...
     

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