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Old 01-26-2013, 12:31 AM   #241
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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.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:50 PM   #242
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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.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:28 PM   #243
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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.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:58 PM   #244
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Originally Posted by Zevida View Post
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.
It was the only 16:9 episode.

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/Buf...ire-Slayer/414. Looks like Netflix somehow may have digitized the UK region episodes.

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Old 01-26-2013, 07:10 PM   #245
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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.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:17 PM   #246
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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.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:54 PM   #247
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In any case, I like it. I've not noticed anything that shouldn't be there or looks awkward.
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.

Quote:
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?
Quite often, the latter, particularly for anything shot to film (vs. video tape).
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:12 PM   #248
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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.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:35 PM   #249
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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.
Thanks for the link. That picture is hilarious:


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Old 01-26-2013, 09:54 PM   #250
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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.
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)
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:29 PM   #251
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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.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:07 AM   #252
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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.
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.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:20 AM   #253
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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).

Highslide JS

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 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.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:41 AM   #254
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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.
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.

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.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:01 PM   #255
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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.
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 )

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.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:07 PM   #256
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Zevida, keep going with Angel. I think you will appreciate it more and more as it goes on.

I tend to agree with others here that, on the whole, Angel was a "better" series than Buffy. By that I mean that it spent less time on monster-of-the-week episodes before spinning out the complex, overarching, character-driven storylines that Joss Whedon does so well. I think it really fired on all cylinders for 4 of its 5 seasons, with the occasional clunker ep like all series have.
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.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:41 PM   #257
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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.
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).
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:53 PM   #258
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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.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:09 PM   #259
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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.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:22 PM   #260
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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.
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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Old 01-28-2013, 10:25 PM   #261
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The idea that was described going into season 7 was "back to the beginning," and there was a definite suggestion that we were going to get sort of the formation of a "Scrappy Gang" around Dawn at the newly rebuilt Sunnydale High. I would have been very much on board with that.

My idea for a replacement season 7: I would retain episodes 1-6 of season 7. Around season 7, I'd introduce a "little bad" of some sort that would cause Faith to return. Somewhere around episode 10, they'd face off against and defeat the little bad, but Faith falls in the battle. Given that the monks made Dawn from Buffy, with Faith falling, Dawn becomes the next Slayer. Giles then returns with news from the Watchers' Council that Buffy will be Dawn's watcher, but that Giles will remain in Sunnydale for a while to serve as watcher, while Buffy gets up to speed.

Somewhere about this point, while training as a watcher, Buffy encounters a prophecy in one of Giles' long forgotten books that doesn't predict who the big bad is, but it does indicate what would be required to defeat him: destroying the Hellmouth itself. The latter half of the season develop Dawn and her friends as critical to the plan to defeat the big bad and destroying the hellmouth.

I would completely lose the Potentials from the season, as well as the idea of "the first" as the big bad.

Edit: ooooh... the new Sunnydale High principal would be the little bad... and the *school itself* could be the big bad. They end up determining that the school itself is like a lens that sort of focuses all the mystical evil in the hellmouth. And the only way to defeat the school and save the earth is to destroy both the school and the hellmouth itself, ensuring that the school is never rebuilt. Mmm... I like that.

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Old 01-28-2013, 10:37 PM   #262
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What Loadstar and Zevida said. I can't even rewatch season 7 at this point.

And don't get me started on the afterschool special middle section of season 6. Magic is drugs, we get it. I liked the end of the season a lot, but wish they could have figured out a different way to get there.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:48 PM   #263
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S04E21 Primeval - B
S04E22 Restless - A

I enjoyed the very end of Primeval, when the Scoobies all joined and Buffy gained the strength of first slayer. That part of the battle between her and Adam was pretty great. I also liked Spike fighting the demons. Pretty good.

Restless I did not appreciate during the original run. It was a pretty big WTF to me back then. I'm older, more mature, and wiser, and this watching, I loved it. The symbolism, foreshadowing, and cinematography were all spectacular. (Even in 16:9 .) One of the standout episodes of the show that really demonstrates this really isn't Twilight.

Season 4 - B

So far I'm 2 As (2 & 3) ad 2 Bs (1 & 4) on seasons. That seems about right to me. Season 4 had some standalone great episodes, but the season arc was weaker and packed less emotional punch than the two previous seasons. I think I liked season 4 better on a binge viewing rewatch than I did in the original watch. Binge viewing allows you to forgive the weak episodes more because you can quickly get to a good episode rather than waiting a week or more and stewing on the sub-par episode. At the end of the original airing, I probably would have given season 4 a C.

Now because I'm a geek, I have to start a pivot for my ratings. I'm pretty sure I've only given one D, if that many, so my rating scale for episodes is really only A, B or C.

S05E01 Buffy vs. Dracula - C

Some funny moments, a good scene at the end with Buffy and Giles, and a total mindf*ck at the very end, but I still feel just meh about this one.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:20 AM   #264
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If I was going to rank the seasons off the cuff so far, I'd rank them 2, 3, 4, 1.

But if I calculate based on average episode grade I've given, it would go 3, 2, 4, 1. Season 3 I have at 80% A or B, while season 2 is only 68% A or B.

I'm such a nerd.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:36 AM   #265
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If I was going to rank the seasons off the cuff so far, I'd rank them 2, 3, 4, 1.

But if I calculate based on average episode grade I've given, it would go 3, 2, 4, 1. Season 3 I have at 80% A or B, while season 2 is only 68% A or B.

I'm such a nerd.
I believe what you're seeing is that the overall quality of season 3 was superior, but the emotional punch of the last half of season 2 just overwhelms everything else when you consider ranking them. I do exactly the same thing, because when I first watched season 2 I was just crushed at the end. So perfect. I don't think anything matches the emotional resonance of that ending, other than perhaps The Body.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:51 PM   #266
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Totally agree about S3 being stronger on the whole, but at the same time, the final 1/3 or so of S2 is so devastatingly powerful that it lingers longer.

As for S7, I had similar feelings when I watched it the first time, but I found that on a binge rewatch it worked a lot better for me (as did S6 - Buffy's seemingly endless moping is not quite as arduous when it's over in a matter of hours, as opposed to a month or more. )

I really liked the Potentials in concept (not so much in execution), and I found that montage in the finale (after Willow does her thing) where all of the potentials world-wide receive their abilities to be incredibly moving. I don't think I've done a re-watch since my daughter was born (she's now almost 7), but I'm sure it would affect me even more now.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:54 PM   #267
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I'd rank the seasons as follows:

2/3
5

4 (some great eps, but I didn't find Adam very compelling as a Big Bad)


7 (the finale moves it ahead of S6 for me)
6 (just too mopey, although some fantastic stand-alones)

1 (barely watchable, but worth it for the nostalgia factor)
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:51 PM   #268
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I'd rank the seasons as follows:

2/3
5

4 (some great eps, but I didn't find Adam very compelling as a Big Bad)


7 (the finale moves it ahead of S6 for me)
6 (just too mopey, although some fantastic stand-alones)

1 (barely watchable, but worth it for the nostalgia factor)
Ha. As someone who was semi-obsessed with the Friday the 13th syndicated series back in the late 80's, I find the first season to be quite enjoyable.

Of course it can't attain the heights of later seasons, but the beginnings of Whedon wit are definitely present through all the episodes.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:15 PM   #269
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I guess I don't understand the dislike of season 1. *shrug* I thought it was a nice, well paced, short season, and very enjoyable. The tone was a nice mix of light and dark. Yes, from a production aspect, Joss still has some growing up and learning to do, but it was far from "barely watchable" for me.

I also don't get the love of the series finale. Frankly, the season 3 and season 5 finales WAY outshine the series finale. It's not even a close competition for me. In fact, there were moments of the series finale I'd call corny or even cringe-worthy. (It didn't help that the "big bad" was so lame that I didn't care who won or lost.)
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:27 PM   #270
john4200
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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Originally Posted by LoadStar View Post
I also don't get the love of the series finale. Frankly, the season 3 and season 5 finales WAY outshine the series finale. It's not even a close competition for me. In fact, there were moments of the series finale I'd call corny or even cringe-worthy. (It didn't help that the "big bad" was so lame that I didn't care who won or lost.)
I agree with that. I could not believe how bad the final fight scenes were. Cringe-worthy is being kind.

And if I recall, they trivialized the whole thing afterwards by saying there was another hellmouth in Cleveland. Although I suppose you could argue that that was only a joke. But in the context, it did not seem like a joke.
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