How do you Solve a (Scheduling) Problem like Angelus?
June 4th, 2010
You can follow along with the Cultural Catchup Project by following me on Twitter (@Memles), by subscribing to the category’s feed, or by bookmarking the Cultural Catchup Project page where I’ll be posting a link to each installment.
We have reached a crossroads in our journey with Buffy the Vampire Slayer – later today, I intend on watching “Graduation Day,” at which point I will be officially done the show’s third season. Now, I’ll likely take the weekend to write about that finale and Season Three as a whole (which will include the previous four episodes of the series, which I haven’t found the motivation to write about in further detail amidst a fairly busy period of time but which seem to be building towards the finale in a way which will make my essay on the finale more complex), but there are other pressing concerns which need to be addressed.
While I’m looking forward to the finale, I’m also looking forward to what comes afterwards, the million dollar question of sorts. When I started this project, I committed to doing both Buffy and Angel this summer, and I don’t entirely think I understood the enormity of that task. Just so we’re clear, enormity isn’t all bad: I don’t mind watching large volumes of entertaining television, after all. That being said, I can’t help but feel like the decision I make now will fundamentally change how I experience two different television series, and it’s a decision I do not want to make lightly.
Accordingly, I want to run down my options here at the blog, and then ask anyone with experience in this area to share their own opinions on how, precisely, to handle the complicated nature of the series’ crossover episodes which start with Buffy’s fourth season as Angel splits off into its own narrative. I’m aware there is no right answer, and ultimately this is going to be a gut sort of thing, but I still want to see what the Cultural Catchup Commenters, those who have been reading but not wading into the discussion, and even those who haven’t been following the project at all, have to say on the issue.
As far as I can see, my options are the following:
- Just keep watching Buffy, Crossovers be damned, and then shift to Angel.
- Watch Buffy and simply include the Angel crossover episodes within my viewing schedule, returning to Angel in earnest after Buffy is complete.
- Watch Buffy and Angel simultaneously, using episode orders like this one or simply a rotation system.
For me, there are two distinctions here: how do I want to watch the series, and how do I want to write about the series? It’s a difficult balance because I’d like to believe that they’re the same, but in reality I think it would be tough to keep writing about the series as I have been while trying to watch two separate narratives intertwined with one another. However, at the same time, I am aware that many of the narratives and character arcs which I’ve been following will be continuing on Angel, and not on Buffy, so would it feel even more strange to abandon a character like Cordelia and have to return to her story a few months down the line?
I know that there are different opinions on this, and I know that many of the regular commenters have gone through the series numerous times using various different viewing patterns. Any insight you may be able to offer would be most wonderful – I’m not going to include a poll, as I don’t necessarily want to quantify the response. It’s not an issue of what pattern is better but why it would be best for the project, and I’m really interested in the responses.
However, once you finish letting me know your thoughts on this issue, there’s more Buffy and Angel to consider: Noel Murray has finally returned to his Buffy the Vampire Slayer T.V. Club Classics writeups at The A.V. Club , and this time he’s brought Angel along for the ride. I’ll be soliciting Noel’s opinion on the above problem, but in the meantime you should all be heading over there to read his thoughts on the first two episodes of Buffy’s fifth and Angel’s second seasons, which I’m sure are fantastic (but unfortunately, for a while at least, still off-limits for me due to spoilers).
And now I turn it over to you – looking forward to reading the responses over the weekend, and I’ll be back with thoughts on the end of Season Three, probably on Monday.