Friday, January 30, 2009

"The Write Environment" interviews Joss Whedon

"You either have to write or you shouldn't be writing." -Joss Whedon

Writer/Director Joss Whedon is one of Hollywood's hottest writers, having created one of television's most critically praised series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as its hit spin-off Angel. In this candid interview, this third-generation Emmy and Oscar nominated writer talks openly about the early days of his career, his legion of fans and the trials and tribulations of taking a cult TV series to the big screen.

This is the first episode of a series and features the man himself, Joss Whedon. See an extended clip of it below. Joss is mellowed out in his house. He talks about his writing process, Dollhouse and serialized television vs. "reset" television, which is usually a big topic in the fandom.

Details here:


Alyson Hannigan, who has apparently traded in her vegan ways for meat, cheese, and ginger ale, will be on Ellen today at 3pm EST. I secretly suspect that Aly is giving birth to my clone because those three things are what make my dietary world go round.

Newsarama hooks it up with a preview of the next issue of the Buffy comic due out February 4th. I'm excited about this issue because of Satsu (yay!) but annoyed because of Kennedy (boo!).

Look whose blogging now. It's Amber Benson! And did I just make a reference to a horrible John Travolat/Kirstie Alley series? Oh, the humanity! Where was I? Right, Amber Benson. She joined Twitter, too. Welcome to the nut house, Amber!

Seth Green turned up on David Faustino's latest episode of Star-ving. Seeing the two of them side by side is weird and hilarious because I totally remember when people thought they were the same dude. Also, like everyone from Married... with Children appears which is pretty cool. That show was a misogyny fest but I still laughed. Oh, the 90's, you were messed UP!

Spoiler - Chris Ryall previewed the cover for Angel 21 in it's stages of development on his blog. I have to say that IDW has been such a gem about reaching out to fans of the series and providing just tons of great behind the scenes stuff. With each passing day I get more and more excited to see where Angel: Aftermath is going to take us post ATF. This cover gives me a case of the "Ooooos!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Michelle Trachtenberg Makes a Pledge

Michelle Trachtenberg has made the Presidential Pledge along side some big name celebrities. The idea was spawned by Ashton Kutcher (and directed by Demi Moore) in order to inspire people to get active in America. The pledges range from shutting off the lights when leaving the room to bringing an end to human trafficking around the world. Ms. Trachtenberg's Pledge - "To be more green."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Review - Demons - Episode 02 - "The Whole Enchilada"

Hopefully you heeded my advice to stick with our little Buffy knockoff because, hey, it actually got better and it managed to do so in one episode. Better pacing, a new character, creepy kids, and general improvements overall all tied up in a little bow. Here's ITV's synopsis.

"In the second episode, six-year-old Madge might think her sister has been ‘taken up to heaven by an angel’ but Galvin suspects otherwise. Everything points to half-life involvement and he thinks it’s the perfect project for Luke.

A visit to zombie priest, Father Simeon (guest star Richard Wilson) confirms Galvin’s suspicions. Gilgamel is no angel – he’s a demon, a travesty demon, a Type 9 entity attracted by the odour of sanctity. Can Luke rise to the challenge?"

Click through for the trailer, review, and promo for episode 3.

Continue Reading...

The Review:

If the previous episode played out like an episode of Buffy Season One, then this one takes it's cue from the first season of Angel. The Whole Enchilada, while possessed of the simplest of mysteries, tells its story well. The children are equal parts cute and creepy, the monster of the week is actually pretty scary looking, there's even a twist and a turn in there just in case you like to be surprised.

Mina and Ruby show marked improvement. We get a little more insight into Mina's supernatural extra sensory perception and some much needed snark. Ruby is actually useful and, dare I say it, full of cuteness and even a little moxy. The sole holdout remains in Rupert whose American accent is so bothersome and wrong that it makes anything coming out of his mouth sound completely disingenuous and false. That's a travesty considering what a fine actor Philip Glenister is.

Easily making up for that is the first appearance of Father Simeon, a zombie priest as portrayed by the great Richard Wilson who recently had a turn on BBC One's Merlin. His macabre turn in this role brings some much needed depth and drama to the episode in the form of some cryptic commentary regarding Luke's father's death and Rupert's part in it. Wilson does a fine job of giving Glenister someone to work off of, a foil that finally gives just enough meat to Galvin that the accent finally starts to bug a little less.

At the heart of the episode though is Luke having to learn the all important lesson: heroes don't have personal lives. No matter how fast he might run, his destiny will always catch up to him. There's just enough resistance on Luke's part to make his reluctant acceptance come episode's end feel earned.

All in all a big step up from last episode and more than reason enough to keep watching. And because you're appetite needs whetting, here's a promo for episode three. Enjoy!

Piggy, the Vampire Slayer

I watched Muppets Take Manhattan just over the weekend and, later, happened upon this hysterical custom figure. I don't know about you but I think Miss Piggy would make a kick ass slayer. This looks like the outfit Buffy wore in The Wish, doesn't it? Now if only someone could dress Kermit up like Angel...

You can find a number of other customs made by Quinn Rollins here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Exclusive Interview with Mark Lutz

"This death is hardly glorious enough." - Groosalugg's swan song in Angel: After the Fall #15.

One of the many great aspects of Joss Whedon's storytelling is the way he brings new characters into a story, and even if their stay is short, somehow we as viewers feel a connection. A great example of this bond between viewer and character is The Groosalugg - an adorably naive hero from Pylea who would do anything for his princess and for the world.

Angel: After the Fall's writer Brian Lynch seems to love the character as well. He added Groo into the comic and sent him to Hell-A with the rest of the crew. In the most recent issue, #16, Lynch expressed his interest in possibly doing a Groo one-shot awesomely called Savage Sword of Groosalugg. He even spoke to Joss about it!

We had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Lutz who played Groo on screen. He is not only a talented actor, but a storyteller, too. On top of all that, he's a funny guy. His playful and down-to-earth attitude had us intrigued, confused, awkward, but mostly laughing.


Buffyfest: So Groooo! You played Groo, who so many fans adore! Do you realize how many people love your character? Do you get a sense of that when you meet fans?

Mark Lutz: No what...what 's the number? Can you give me the exact number?

B: (laughs) Oh um?

ML: Do you think more than 20?

B: I think there's probably more like....hmmm...(enthusiastically) 20 million!

ML: 20 million! (laughs) Wow! That's quite a few.

B: Yeah. (laughs)'s a lot.

ML: Whoa. No, yeah I'm told the character was pretty popular, so....

B: And Groo left on kind of like a sad note. Did you watch Angel after your character left the show? Were you a fan of Angel?

ML: I'm sorry what show are we talking about?


ML: Yeah every once in a while I would catch it, but I didn't watch it religiously.

B: Did you know about the controversy about the love triangle between Groo, Cordelia and Angel?

ML: No I didn't hear about that. Was there a controversy?

B: Heh...(coyly) Not that we know of!

ML: No? (laughs) There was a love child between...what?

(Everyone laughs)

ML: No I haven't heard any of that...but that's news to me.

B: Yeah, you were the love child of two vampires.

ML: Ohhhh. Okay, well.......that's good to know! I'll put that on my resume. I'm the child of two vampires.

B: Haha. No, in reality though, how was working with Charisma Carpenter?

ML: Oh, she's great. She's a very funny girl. I don't know how many people know that, but yeah she's a real hoot . I mean obviously, probably most of my scenes were with her over the course of those two seasons so, yeah. She was really great. I had only just moved to Los Angeles very recently when I had started to work on that show so it was great...the whole cast and crew were very welcoming.

B: Did you do anything in particular to prepare for your scenes with Charisma?

ML: We would neck all the time and it was...yeah, we had to do that a lot.

B: (sarcastically) I'm sure that was hard.

ML: (laughs) No, not really. It was pretty standard fare. Maybe one or two rehearsals during blocking, and then you shoot your stuff, you go home.

B: How about Joss Whedon and David Boreanaz? How was it working with t hem?

ML: I haven't heard of those people, who are they?

B: Right!

ML: Joss was very nice the first time I met him, very gracious, got to spend a lot of time with him the first couple of years. Actually visited him up in his vacation home, up in the Cape and stuff. So yeah, couldn't be nicer and more accommodating. It was really quite a nice thing. Like I said, I had just been out in L.A. a couple of months when I got that, so it was great to sort of make a connection and friends on many different levels. You know, from cast, crew and producers.

B: You became close with Andy Hallett we read, do you guys still keep in touch?

ML: Unfortunately we do, unfortunately we do still keep in touch. So...the bane of my existence, the thorn in my side. Uh, yeah Andy and I are still tight.

B: Do you have any funny stories from the set?

ML: Yeah we had a lot of fun, I mean there was a lot of camaraderie on that set, a lot of joking around and it was just a really good vibe. You know, sometimes you get on a set and it's just, there's a bad energy or bad mojo going on, but I really enjoyed my time there. Everyone was, like I said, welcoming and...yeah it was great.

B: Well, right now Angel is in it's 6th season in the comic and obviously your portrayal of Groo left a mark on fans because he was just brought back into the fold.

ML: That's great! Yeah, Brian Lynch emailed me saying, "Oh you know we're putting Groo back in." He sent me some pages from it and everything. So that was kinda neat to see, being a comic book nerd from WAY back.

B: You are?

ML: Oh yeah, definitely. Grew up on all the super hero stuff, so it was funny to see my picture in a comic book. It was pretty funny.

B: Very cool. Do you read it [Angel:After the Fall]?

ML: I have a couple issues. There's gotta be like 20 of them now. I think I have two or something. Me, or the character Groo, on a horse or something like that?

B: [Tara]: It's a flying horse.... [Michelle]: That he calls Cordelia. [Tara]: That's right.

ML: Oh that he's a....the horse is named Cordelia?!

B: Yes!

ML: Okay, I didn't know that.

B: Do you mind if we spoil you for something in the comic or are you gonna be reading it?

ML: No, haha, I don't think at all.

B: Well....Groo just died.

ML: Ohh!

Oh! (cries all around)

B: Sorry!

ML: Oh that's a shame. Well that's good cause they're not paying me anyway. So now if he's not going to appear, I won't have to feel bad about not getting paid for it.

B: (laughs) You're like, "Good!"

ML: Yeah "Good!....Dammit!"

B: So yeah, he had a return and then a quick demise, but he died heroically!

ML: Oh well, no one ever stays dead in the Jossverse anyway so....

B: That's true.

(Editor's Note: And we now know how true that is, since Groo and the whole Hell-A crew has since been revived!)

B: Speaking of, if there had been a 6th Season on TV would you have come back and reprised the role?

ML: Yeah, there was talk in the 5th season, I know, between my agents and the producers, but I'm not 100% sure whatever happened there. I think they ended up going in a different direction. I think they were thinking about bringing him [Groo] back in and then changed the storyline, but yeah I'd be totally opened to...if they pay me money, I'd be totally opened to it.

B: That always helps. I wonder if that was the storyline they ended up using for the comic then.

ML: I don't know. I mean that would have been neat if I...had a winged horse. That would have been cool. I would have gone back free just for that.

B: So, if they make a Buffy/Angel movie of some kind, you would still be willing to reprise the role?

ML: Wow, you guys will not let this go will you? (everyone laughs) Uh, yeah, sure, why not?

B: No, we really won't...we love Buffy and Angel, but why don't we move on to the rest of your career now?

ML: Oh no! I pretty much knew that this is what was going to happen so…you run a Buffy and Angel site, right? I didn't think you'd be asking me about my toe nail clipping practices (everyone laughs). Although, I would like to get into that a little bit later if you have the time.

B: Sure. Go for it (laughter). Alright, let's talk about Victor. You starred in it, but you also wrote the script. Can you talk about how it was, going back and forth between screenwriting and acting, what the two different roles were like?

ML: Well it was the first thing I had written. If anything I gained a anything else you do for the first time, you know, you gain a new, an amazing appreciation for the people that do it all the time. It's an incredible amount of work and because it was a true story, I wasn't given a lot of latitude in terms of what you can write, ya know? If your writing Buffy and Angel you can write, "Oh, he comes in on a flying horse." You can put anything you want there, but when it's a true story you have to stick to the story, so sort of crafting that was definitely a challenge and I probably put in a good two years of research before even sitting down at the laptop to start writing it. It was a pretty involved process.

B: Do you plan on writing anymore?

ML: Oh yeah. I've got three things that I'm writing as we speak. It was a nice break to get away from acting.

B: In you're upcoming film Bitch Slap, are we to understand that both Hercules and Xena make cameos in that film?

ML: Yeah! Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless...

B: So, how was that? Can you tell us a little bit about the plot and the character you played?

ML: It's a throw back to sort of the B movie exploitation films of the 50s and 60s, a lot of hot girls and big guns and outrageous action. I play a German super spy who runs around in lederhosen with a giant cod piece (laughter), and shooting guns. It was a lot of fun. It was completely ridiculous, but really well written and that was another great, great set. I think all of my stuff was shot on green screen, so I don't even know what it looks like (laughter) or anything. I have no idea.

It will be interesting to see. A friend of mine was one of the producers on it and he said they have the first cut of it now and it's disturbingly ridiculous, so I think that's a good sign.

B: Sounds fun. When does it come out? Do you know?

ML: No. I know they're looking for distributors now. I would imagine sometime this year, though.

B: Any other projects your working on that you'd like to talk about?

ML: Yeah, I'm writing two movies and a third which is a pilot I'm doing. So, that's pretty much taking most of my time right now. One is a World War I biopic [about an aviator] and we're hoping to get that up and running, hopefully by the end of the year. That's sort of the next one, the follow up to Victor. I'll be writing, starring and producing in that one as well.

B: Is it a feature?

ML: We'd love it to be a feature. It's written as a feature. I guess we'll just have to see. It depends on money. It'd be quite an expensive undertaking, so yeah, ideally a feature, absolutely.

B: What's the pilot about?

ML: It's a dramedy that revolves around Los Angeles city paramedics. That's in development right now as well.

B: Well, good. We're looking forward to those.

ML: Yeah, yeah. It'll be exciting.

B: Great. So, unless you want to talk about your toe nail clippings (laughter)?

ML: Well, you can get all that online at, so…

B: You better be careful because you know someone is going to now find that domain name.

ML: (laughter) Yeah! I'm sure they are.

B: After reading this interview.

ML: That's $9.98! If they want to throw it in the garbage, they're welcome to do it!

B: Well, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us.

ML: Oh, you're welcome and good luck with your website!

B: Thanks!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

NPR Reviews Buffy's "Wolves at the Gate"

NPR gives "Wolves at the Gate" a positive review, highlighting the many happenings of that arc - Buffy/Satsu, Xander/Renee and...Xander/Dracula?


Of course, that's not the only happenings of issues #12-15. Drew Goddard takes the reigns on this one and does a great job highlighting Buffy as she struggles with her role as leader and, as always, tries to straddle the line between slayer and girl.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Writer. Executive Producer. Director. Actor. Singer. David Fury is Buffyverse Royalty.

He has penned more episodes of Buffy and Angel than any other writer besides Joss Whedon himself, and given us such amazing moments as the firing of Giles in "Helpless", the homage to Raider's in "Awakening", and the vote at the end of "Power Play".

Post Angel, David went on to the massive hits Lost and 24, and recently came back to Mutant Enemy to sing once again in the little project that could: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Even with the premier of 24 looming, David still took the time to give us a glimpse into his creative and humorous mind, his future with 24, insight into his vision for John Locke, and answers to some difficult and fanatical questions about the Buffyverse.

Without further ado, the Emmy Award winning David Fury...

Buffyfest: Mr. Fury

David Fury: Please... Mr. Fury is my imaginary father. Call me just "Fury".

Buffyfest: First of all, we just wanted to say thanks.

DF: You're very welcome.

Buffyfest: We know you're very busy with 24 at the moment...

DF: Yes, very busy.

Buffyfest: So we really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. Everyone here at Buffyfest is a big fan (as you've written some of our favorite episodes) and it's such an honor to speak with someone who has brought so much to the Buffyverse.

DF: The honor is mine.

Buffyfest: Ready for the interview questions?

DF: Oh... I thought those were the questions. Damn, this thing is hard. Did I mention I'm busy?



Buffyfest: You had a breakthrough on-screen role as a man struggling against the trials of a harrowing mustard stain. In your most recent part, you played a stern yet hopeful television anchor who makes a stand against the network brass to deliver the news people really want to know. Tell us once and for all, who's gay?

DF: Well, it certainly isn't me... I can tell you that! No, sir, ma'am, no gayness here. I don't care what posters of Chase Crawford I have in my bedroom... or how many bathhouses someone may have seen me come out of at all hours... I'm not the least bit attracted to men. Okay?... So quit hounding me about it!

Actually, my most recent part is as a hard-drinking, hard-loving pharmaceutical executive trying to earn the heart of the President's daughter on an upcoming episode of 24... So, you see... I'm certainly not gay.

Buffyfest: You and the entire cast of Dr. Horrible did a phenomenal job.

DF: Well, it is all about me.

Buffyfest: At what point of production did you become involved? Did you have any idea that it was going to achieve such popularity?

DF: I saw Marti at a WGA meeting at the end of the strike. She asked me if Joss had contacted me yet about this thing he's doing. I knew nothing about it, until a week or two later when Joss wrote me to tell me of Dr. H -- he included a script and mp3 recordings of the music. Said we'd be meeting at his house for a complete reading with the cast a couple of weeks later. Of course I knew it was going to be hugely popular. It's Joss. And a bunch of other Whedons. And Maurissa. And it's a musical. How could it not be popular?

Buffyfest: What effect do you expect that the project's development amidst the Writer's Strike will have for writers in Hollywood in the future?

DF: Clearly, it's been the most inspirational use of the internet from someone of Joss' caliber. Dr. H has helped to show that writers will always be able to create content, without studios... And they can have complete creative control.

Buffyfest: How did you go from being a stand-up comic and working on Pinky and the Brain to writing some of the most dramatic stories on television for Buffy, Angel, Lost and 24?

DF: You make a left at Mutant Enemy, turn right onto Bad Robot until you reach the dead-end at the Fox cul-de-sac.

Truthfully, my career trajectory has baffled me, too... I never would have expected to be writing something as grave and earnest as 24 , but I am looking forward to the day of writing some genuine snarky banter. Perhaps on my next job at C-Span.

Buffyfest: You wrote for the Buffyverse for seven seasons. What do you consider to be Buffy's finest moment as a character? How about Angel's?

DF: There are so many fine moments for both characters - Anytime Buffy and Angel looked past their personal pains and issues, and embraced their heroic destinies, either through action or sacrifice, were always great and powerful.

Buffyfest: Where do you see Buffy when she's 50 years old?

DF: Snuggled up in bed next to me. Heh heh. See? 'Cause, I'm not gay. Would a gay man say that? I don't think so.

Anyway, I leave it up to Joss to imagine B's future.

Buffyfest: You wrote "Awakening", which ends on a scene of Angel making love to Cordelia (with his eyes closed the entire time). As he loses his soul he cries out "Buffy!" Some fans concluded he was actually imagining he was with her, while others believe he was saying it simply out of fear or that you were just echoing "Surprise". What was your actual intention?

DF: Wow... That was, like, fifty years ago, so it's difficult to remember. I'm gonna go with answer B. Or C. I think it was more of a sense memory thing, rather than imagining he was with Buffy.

Buffyfest: Was it difficult writing the fight between Spike and Angel in "Destiny", especially having Spike win, knowing the fans tend to have such strong opinions on the Spike versus Angel issue?

DF: Truthfully, Steve DeKnight wrote most of the fight in "Destiny" (off my outline). Originally, Angel won the fight (y'know, 'cause show called ANGEL), but as I was scripting the first couple of Acts, I realized it HAD to be Spike in the end. I called up Steve who was writing the later acts to tell him of my brilliant revelation Then we had our own big fight over it. You can hear about it on the commentary for the episode. Suffice it to say, Steve kicked my ass.

Buffyfest: You also hold the crown of being the only person other than Joss to write a season finale for Buffy, "Grave". Did you feel extra pressure to write a killer finale since that season was so controversial and divided in fan reaction?

DF: I felt a great responsibility, but not really pressure. Joss and Marti were very involved with the story break so I just did my best not to screw it up. I knew it was a terrific honor.

Buffyfest: How did it make you feel to write and direct the send off of both Cordelia and Charisma Carpenter from the series in "You're Welcome"? Did you have a similar feeling while writing "Parting Gifts", which followed Doyle's death?

DF: "You're Welcome" was another great honor thrust upon me. This one I felt a bit more pressure for... It took a lot of last minute writing from everyone, including Joss, to give the 100th episode the weight it deserved -- not the least of which, to give Charisma a send off that was respectful to her and Cordelia Chase. I was very proud to have my name on it.

"Parting Gifts" didn't have the same weight, since Doyle had died in the prior episode. The fun part was introducing Wesley into this world.

Buffyfest: What do you think of the Buffy: Season 8 and Angel: After the Fall comics? Does Angel: After the Fall have similar parallels to what the televised Season 6 of Angel would have been like?

DF: I can't comment on the Angel comics since I haven't seen them, but I have read a handful of the Buffy Season 8s. They're undeniably fun, but I prefer not to think of them as canon, even if Joss does. It's like a movie adaptation of a great book... Two different mediums need to be appreciated as separate entities. The plus side of comics is there are no limits to what can be imagined or created... But those limits are what made the show such a great accomplishment of storytelling. Still, it is nice to know the characters live on...

Buffyfest: Is there a sense of loss or strangeness when a character whose personality your writing has greatly helped to define (for instance, Connor through his soliloquy in "Peace Out", or Locke via his flashbacks in "Walkabout") is later drastically altered and/or killed off?

DF: Well, in the Connor case, I didn't really have a hand in defining him until "Peace Out". And I was proud of my efforts to help people understand and feel for Connor a little more than they had up to that point, but that was very much at the end of Connor's arc. I never sensed that the portrait I painted for the kid who grew up in a hell dimension was altered after that, or was inconsistent.

Locke, on the other hand, was a character I had a hand in defining from the start and it was greatly frustrating to watch episodes that diminished him, or took away his power. Flashbacks about his working in toy stores and being scammed by his father... They did nothing but made the man more pathetic... When in fact, they should have been building him up. It was a waste of Terry O'Quinn's talent and charisma. So, yes, I did experience a sense of great loss... Not for me, but for the show.

Buffyfest: What's next for you after 24? Are you currently planning any other upcoming projects we should know about?

DF: With the exception of a limited run reunion of my old comedy troupe BRAIN TRUST, and collaborating on a pilot script with my old writing partner (and young wife), I got nothing.

I would love to tell you of my other big plans and upcoming projects as I was certain I'd be moving on from 24 at this time... But, instead, I am in the process of renewing my contract as an executive producer of 24 for two more seasons.

I'm just a glutton for punishment.

Buffyfest: Thank you once again, Mr. Fury. We appreciate it very much.

DF: You're very welcome.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Review of Amber Benson's Death's Daughter

The first time I recall hearing the name Calliope Reaper-Jones was almost exactly one year ago when Amber Benson was being interviewed by Trent of Pink is the New Blog. After having an impromptu conversation about personal philosophies and spiritual beliefs, Amber brought up a forthcoming three book deal she had signed. Those books, a kind of modern Divine Comedy, would tell the tale of the reluctant heir to the throne of Death. Now, one year later, as the premiere story in this upcoming trilogy is about to be released, I finally had the chance to get my first glimpse of Miss Calliope Reaper-Jones herself in Death's Daughter.

Continue Reading...

The Story:

Calliope Reaper-Jones (or Callie, for short) is just your average girl in an average world. While she dreams of the perfect job and the man to go with, Callie trudges through a seemingly never ending PA gig at Home and Garden bemoaning her uneventful life and inability to afford designer swag. Every mindless day she wakes up only by sheer force of will and the knowledge that, so long as she sticks to the plan, all of her wishes will come true.

Just like us though, Callie's life is not destined to turn out like the fairy tale ending of a Disney movie. Unlike us, however, her destiny takes a decidedly more bizarre track when she remembers, quite against her will, that she is a part of a far greater world, a world where nearly every god and goddess, demon and devil, Olympus and Hades is a reality. Not only that but, as the title suggests, Callie is daughter to none other than the Grim Reaper himself.

Callie's adventure begins when her father, elder sister, along with most of the board of Death Incorporated get kidnapped by forces unknown. Her quest to save them and take on the responsibilities of the Grim Reaper are the journey that both she and the reader take in Death's Daughter.

The Review:

One of the greatest risks but ultimate triumphs of the novel stems from Benson's deft ability to take any myth or belief and make it her own. Bringing in such a rich tapestry of religions and philosophies to an original story could have potentially made it feel stale, heavy, even confusing but, through the eyes of our story's protagonist, Benson provides a devilish sense of humor and a modern pop culture sensibility that keeps the proceedings light and entertaining. This is a story that stretches from the dingy cubicles of a dead end office gig all the way to the hallowed halls of the lost city of Atlantis to everywhere in between and it all works.

High concepts and exciting locales are nothing without strong lead characters to light the way and it is here that Benson truly shines. Fiercely inventive characterization carries this story throughout. The supporting cast and even incidental characters all have their distinct and fun flavors.

It's with Callie though where we find our true every woman. Her reluctance to get into the family business, the obsession with designer labels, and her hypercritical attention to her own body image both help us identify with her and simultaneously adds a depth of humanity to these fantastical proceedings. Benson also never shies away from Callie's sexuality. This is no Donna Reed we have on our hands and, once again, Benson provides more realism in one of Callie's stray dirty thoughts than most of other writers can do in an entire novel.

Some readers might find the characters in the story to be perhaps a tad more clever than any one person ought to be. Think of writers like Diablo Cody and Kevin Smith and you'll get an understanding of what I mean. There were times when the snarky dialogue took me out of the moment and detracted from the innate drama of the story. Whenever an author creates truly original characters with their own voices, however, they run that risk.

In Death's Daughter, Benson provides a fun romp that defines the rules of an exciting new universe you'll be chomping at the bit to dive back into time and again. There's action, there's intrigue, redemption, an adorable hell puppy, and even a hot guy or two. What more could you ask for?

Death's Daughter will be availableon February 24th.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mercedes Bites! An Exclusive Interview with Mercedes McNab

With Harmony being the main focus in the Buffy Comic right now, we thought it would be a great time to catch up with Miss Harmony Kendall herself, the lovely Mercedes McNab, and get her take on the resurgence of the character she played for 8 years. She was so great to take the time to talk to me, along with Tee, and is amazingly down to earth in person. We here at Buffyfest have spoken about this at length, and all agree that Harmony would not have the longevity she's had as a character if not for the way Mercedes portrayed her over the years: ditsy but slick, weak but strong, "the popular girl" yet relatable. So, sit back and enjoy the many musings of Ms. McNab.

Buffyfest: Let's start by talking about the the Buffy Season 8 Comic that Joss Whedon just put out. Have you heard anything about it?

Mercedes McNab: A little bit. I definitely heard that there's a Harmony one coming out.

B: It actually came out already. Harmony's the star of a reality show, "Harmony Bites"!

MM: Yeah, I also saw a little bit about it on the Mtv site. There's a lot that's been written about it and that Jane [Espenson] was the one that wrote it. So, I know a little bit about it, but I haven't seen the actual comic book yet.

B: How do you feel about your character creating such a buzz all these years later?

MM: I think it's flattering, I mean that people will take an interest in my character. I don't know if it has anything really to do with me, I think it has more to do with the writing and the writing of my character, especially since now it's you know, now in a comic book format. Um, and I think Jane [Espenson] definitely knows how to write for Harmony really well. It's really funny and I think the reality series idea is perfect for the Harmony character.

click below to hear the audio of Mercedes' answer

B: Did you see the cover?

MM: I did. It was with the two dogs and funny enough I have a dog that looks like one of those dogs.

B: The likeness is spot on. It's basically a perfect portrait of

MM: I know it's pretty crazy. It'd be fun to have in my collection of things for posterity and the grandkids, ya know, "Oh, I was also in a comic book."

B: Right, I'd want to frame it and put it on my wall.

MM: I know!

B: Okay, so let's talk about the film you did called The Pink Conspiracy.

MM: Yeah, it just came out on DVD a couple of months ago.

B: How was working on it with Sarah Thompson [Eve from Angel Season 5] again?

MM; Well, she's really lovely to work with. She's just a really nice girl. So, we had fun and it's always nice to be reunited with people you worked with in the past because there's a familiarity there. It was a different character, but again my character didn't like her character, so we kind of had that down pat and it was easy. This time I didn't have to be violent with her.

B: Right, haha. Can you tell us a little bit about the movie?

MM: It's a dark comedy and about a group of girls that get into a big conspiracy about the male gender. Basically, from the beginning of time girls have been conspiring against boys who they don't like and ruining their lives. It's definitely written from a guy's point of view (laughter). It's really funny and it was a great experience.

B: So you were in the Buffyverse from Buffy Season 1 to Angel Season 5? Which show did you prefer working on? Was it because of the story or the people on set?

MM: Well, I liked both shows and working on both shows. I enjoyed working with Spike and Harmony, those two characters the most. I really liked our relationship in Season 4 of Buffy
and how that kind of evolved. I liked working on Angel Season 5 just because I got to be there every day basically and more consistently as a regular rather than Buffy where I was just reoccurring. I would just show up here and there, ya know? As for hanging out with the cast and stuff, it was nice to be more familiar and get to know everyone and be there on the day to day [on Angel]. So on a personal level, I think it was more fun for me on Angel...but on Buffy I liked the story and what James [Marsters] and I got to do, I always looked forward to our scenes together.

B: I'm sure (laughter). Can you describe what it was like when you were filming the last episode of Angel, "Not Fade Away"?

MM: It was pretty sad. Everyone was a little bit in shock and overwhelmed and thinking "Wow". I think after 5 years or 8 years or whatever, you kind of take everything for granted and you just think you'll have this job and these people in your lives forever and then all of a sudden it just hits you, that it's not the case. I guess it could be likened to graduating from college or high school or something like that. The kind of uncertainty of what's going to happen next and also just being with these people, working with them for so long and not having them in your day to day life anymore. It's pretty sad.

B: So you were under the impression that you were going to have a Season 6 pretty close to the end, right?

MM: Yeah, we definitely did. We were kind of blindsided. So, we were all a little bit shocked.

B: Okay, this a fan question. Do you find that people who work on Joss Whedon's projects have an interaction and a relationship with fans that's different than any others?

MM: Definitely. I think with the conventions and all those kinds of things it gives the sci-fi community a chance to meet the actors. I think it's the genre of the show that helps that. There's more exposure to the people on the show and the fans. There's more of an opportunity for them to meet one another. Also, the way Joss writes so well is what makes you feel like you're a part of these people's lives. It's really intimate and the fans get a chance to live in their [the characters] lives. In that way, I think the fans are very close to us.

B: Does it surprise you that to this day people are interested in talking to you about your character and about that world?

MM: Definitely, yeah it is. As it gets further and further away, there's less stories I have to tell because it's getting further away in my memory so... and there's people who sometimes remember it like it was yesterday. Yeah, it's pretty surprising.

B: And you probably didn't expect it to go this long.

MM: No, definitely not. All I had was a few lines in the pilot and then I ended up going all the way to the last episode of Angel. I had no expectations what so ever. I thought I was just going to have a couple lines in the pilot and might never be heard from again.

B: That's so cool. That goes to show what a great character Harmony is. So, obviously we're Buffy and Angel fanatics because we still want to talk to you about it, but we wanted to ask you if you had any geek obsessions of your own?

MM: I don't know if they're geeky, but I really am obsessed with shoes.

B: So are we (everyone laughs).

MM: I think that's pretty much a feminine trait. Yeah, shoes and handbags, I'm pretty obsessed with.

B: They say you're either a bag girl or a shoe girl.

MM: I'm both. I wouldn't want to narrow it down to just one.

B: That's a good one (or not, depending.) We also wanted to talk about the popularity of vampires, in general, right now with Twilight and True Blood. Do you think there's a chance for a Buffy movie?

MM: I would hope so. I mean I would love to be a part of it if there was, but they better hurry up because we're all getting older and we're not suppose to, we're vampires. Yeah, so they better hurry up if they're going to do it. I would hope so, it would be a lot of fun. It's been long enough that the show's been off now and I think a lot of people would go to it.

B: So, you think it would be embraced, even by people who didn't watch the show?

MM: Yeah, because I feel like people who didn't watch the show have figured out that it was such a hit through DVD's and whatnot, so people can totally catch up. Where before when it didn't really exist. If there was a movie made out of a TV show you never saw, you would have no idea what was going on. Now with people having an interest in it and it's so hyped up, they could go back and watch the DVD's and then see the movie.

B: It does make you question if Buffy and Angel came out right now, what it would be like compared to when it originally aired.

MM: Yeah, it would probably be crazy. People have always been fascinated by that darker vampire life.

B: So, you've been on Supernatural, Reaper, and Psych and other TV shows since Angel ended. Do you have any other TV spots coming up?

MM: I think February 11th is the air date of a Criminal Minds episode I did, which is on CBS. It's a really dark show, to say the least. It's about serial killers. I get kidnapped by a serial killer and held hostage. I thought it was a really great acting experience for me. Actually, Nick Brendon is now on the show as a reoccurring character, so I got to see him at the table read which was nice. Yeah! I haven't seen it [the episode] yet, so I hope it's good. I'm pretty proud of it. I was proud of what I did while I was there.

click below to hear the audio of Mercedes' answer

B: What do you like about working on television?

MM: I like the consistency of it. Like with Buffy and Angel, you can be a guest star where you just pop in and be a totally different character then after a week you're done. Then you can go pop in somewhere else. Kind of jumping into other people's worlds – a cast and a crew that you don't know necessarily and try to figure out how to work with everybody in a new environment.

B: Do you have anything else coming up? Any projects you want to talk about?

MM: There's a few horror films coming out. Ones called XII, ones called Dark Reel. Those will be coming out soon. They were some independents that I did last year. So, keep a look out for those.

B: Great. Well, thanks so much for talking with us, Mercedes. We really appreciate it.

MM: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

Check out Mercedes McNab's latest film The Pink Conspiracy and don't forget to watch the February 11th episode of Criminal Minds, Wednesday 9:00pm ET on CBS

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Joss Whedon to attend NY Comic Con for Dollhouse

As predicted by us and many others, JOSS AND DOLLHOUSE WILL BE AT NEW YORK COMIC CON!! oh yeah. They will be having a panel and we'll be there asking all the right questions! This coincides very nicely with the premier, which is mere days later. Newsarama has the scoop:

And while we're on the subject, if you too are attending this year's NY Comic Con and are worried about how you will navigate and plan all the events, panels, booths you want to visit, etc....then check out this handy dandy widget. I'm sure we'll need it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jo Chen delivers once again with Buffy #24

I'm not going to post it here as not to spoil anyone, but the cover of Buffy #24 is spectacular. It just reconfirms that Jo Chen is an amazing artist and such a huge asset to the Season 8 comics. Check out Jo's Playground to see more of her work. Thanks Jo!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Are you going to New York Comic Con?

We are!

New York Comic Con is February 6th - 8th at the Jacob Javitz Center. List of Buffyverse guests so far include:

Georges Jeanty - Season 8 Comic Artist & Illustrator
Thomas E. Sniegoski - Buffy Novelist
Scott Allie - Editor, Dark Horse Comics

Do you think they'll do a Dollhouse panel sneak attack? It would be awfully timely for the premier on Feb 13th!

Most importantly, we'll be giving away free goodies. Let us know if you'll be in attendance and we'll hook you up with some Buffyfest shwag!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Anna Paquin wins for Tru Blood

Anna Paquin wins the Golden Globe for Tru Blood...solidifying and extending the vampire's current hot streak. Buffy movie now!!!

Fanvid Sunday

Another Sunday, another chance to be wowed by the might of fan videos. This week we present Michael Kean's Buffy centric video Breathe Me.

I thought this one was really powerful especially since it wasn't about a preferred pairing but simply Buffy herself. I think, as fans, we sometimes lose hold of just how much she's been through but this video really brings it home. Haunting and beautiful, it's one you won't soon forget.

If, however, you're feeling depressed like woh after watching that and are thinking to yourself "What the hell, Bitney? I want a video that will make me laugh and be happy, dammit!" Well, then... to go along with your glass of whine I offer up a vid by bachaboska of my favorite pairing, Spangel, after the jump. Spangel?!?!

Continue Reading...

*Both videos are nominated for Vid of the Year 2008.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Live Blogging SNL with Neil "Dr. Horrible" Patrick Harris

NPH and the whole cast of HIMYM got a huge raise! This past year's been great to him. He's hosting SNL right now and we're going to do a blow-by-blow below. Let's do this thing!

Continue Reading...

11:32 I really like SNL. A lot of people bash but I love so many things...especially the Lonely Island Digital shorts including (but not limited to): Lazy Sunday, Beep in a box, and the hilarious: Space Olympics. The openings, like this one, are usually lame. Who's this chick, is she new? Looks like Kate Hudson. -- Tee

11:36 I don't recognize the girl playing Rachel Maddow but, hey, good news: they didn't have a lesbian played by a man! That's always nice. -- Bits

11: 37 there he is....Mr. Handsome. Michelle and I have a huge crush on him now. Hahaha "Fred Savage" & "say hello to the cast of how I met your mother for me..." The Mark Wahlberg bit always kills me. -- Tee

11:40 no mention of Dr. Horrible yet but I'm happy with the Doogie reference and, more good news, they made a gay joke and it was tasteful. Wacky, huh? --Bits

11:47 He was the only good one in that Kathy Lee skit but was a-ma-zing doing the work outs.Hee! Nice headband! -- Tee

11:53 Your mom's the Rent of knives... your... mom... yeah... -- Bits

11:57 That was ok. Just do a Dr. Horrible thing and be done with it...will ya? --Tee

12:04 The actress who plays Penelope co-wrote that misogy-fest "Bride Wars" so I basically hate her. Super hate. Hate to the max. And now it occurs to me that NPH should be a fraggle. WTF is Liza Minelli doing here? What just happened What??! That is all--Bits

12:07 WTF?? I was like all zzzzzzz on my keyboard that was so fricking lame but then I popped up when I heard Liza Minelli and I was like "wha?" ooh digital short!! That was cool...the tear really sold it. But why has there been like 6 Doogie references so far and no Doc Horrible? --Tee


12:21 Having to explain that you just made a Cast Away joke means it's not funny. Or, put another way: fail.--Bits

12:23 You say 's' my 'd' like it's a bad thing --Bits

12:26 I miss Amy Poehler. The end. --Bits

12:29 "2 first names" Lol David Lee Roth! Ho ho ho to Samberg playing Billy Bob...are those fake teeth? His teeth are pretty large to begin with.

12:40 Please don't take offense, NPH, but you make a terrible woman. On the other end you make a tasty man so that's you know... good. --Bits

12:41 The woman at my college bookstore had nails many times longer than that and she opened cans of soda with a vengeance. --Bits

12:42 It occurs to me that I haven't actually said anything about the sketch proper. There's a reason for that. --Bits

12:48 zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz -- Tee

12:49 was that a commercial for optimism? it's bad when the commercials that you should be fast-forwarding are more interesting than the show. -- Tee


12:57 heh...guess the racism jokes need to be after midnight. The Horatio Sans type guy was kinda ok. Was that a wig on NPH? --Tee

12:58 I totally agree that the Burger King "Virgins" commercial is rife for mockery but, dear SNL, making rape jokes is NOT THE WAY. love, me -- Bits

1:00 so. very. lame. Poor NPH...I'd say the highlight was the digital short as usual. Why don't they have the Lonely guys just take over the whole show?

1:01 agree. I liked the opening monologue too, actually, but the actual sketches let loose the loud trumpeting sounds of failure. I'm almost glad there wasn't a Dr. Horrible sketch. They probably would have just screwed it up. --Bits

Don't forget to watch NPH on SNL

Just a friendly reminder that Neil Patrick Harris will be on Saturday Night Live tonight. The important question here is, does SNL know that Dr. Horrible fans will be watching and hoping for a reprise? Hope so!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Vote for the Buffy and Angel Comics at the Wizard Awards

Buffy and Angel are both up for awards at the 17th Annual Wizard Fan Awards. To be fair to both of our favorite heroes, let's split up the votes, so they both get to win. Angel's up for two awards with "Favorite Licensed Comic" (along with Buffy) at #26 and IDW for "Favorite Publisher" at #8. Then move onto Buffy for "Favorite ongoing Series" at #3, "Favorite Female" at #23 and Scott Allie at #14 for "Favorite Editor".

Also, the Willow Statuette is up for "Favorite Merchandise" at #28.

Go vote!!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Amber Benson!

A great, big Happy 32nd Birthday to Amber Benson. She captured our hearts as Tara Maclay on Buffy and her incredible gifts as a writer and filmmaker kept us coming back for more. Keep an eye out for her this year with her new novel, Death's Daughter, due out February 24th and don't forget to catch her at New York Comic Con where she'll be on the panel Writers on Writing on Sunday, February 8th.

Why is a Dr. Horrible sequel more exciting than Dollhouse?

"Beyond the fact that I'm excited about pursuing that story and that world, I love the fact that, you know, you can make something and just put it up without, you know, without having to reshoot the whole thing."Joss Whedon on [Sci-Fi Wire]

Holy Moly! Dr. Horrible wins the People's Choice Award!

Fans Rejoice! We're a really good fandom, you know that? Anyway, they just sent this via Twitter:
drhorrible we won the People's Choice Award thanks to you people! thank you thank you!  from web

Everyone know what an enormous sucker I am for Doc Horrible. Check out the results here:

ps, it wasn't mentioned during the that's business as usual. Lame but still awesome nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Live Bloggin' Suburban Girl Part 2

Here again, here again, jiggity jig. Welcome to part two of the agonizingly awful Suburban Girl. Here's another whole ten minutes of torturetainment for your snarking... pleasure?

As usual, click on "Continue Reading" to view my commentary once you're done watching. Weigh in here, folks. Should I continue this series? Thus far only Sarah and thegift have commented (thanks, ladies!). I'd like to escape the vacuum of interweb space and find out whether anyone else is enjoying this. What say ye? Shall I continue, yay or nay? Post in the comments please or for sure I will totally like die or something... totally! To death! Onto the commentary...

Continue Reading...

- Ironically, the giant Bunny was played by Emma Caulfield. You get it? You see what I did there? Because Anya was afraid of... yeah... yeah. You know it's a free show, folks.

- They're in a sweets shop presumably to establish that Alec Baldwin is diabetic. Instead we've established that Alec Baldwin looks like a giant pedophile when next to Smidge.

- Dear Alec Baldwin: You *are* the suckling pig and I want to punt you across the room.

- Chris Hanson wrote a book, too. Perhaps you've heard of it? It's called "To Catch a Predator"!

- Your aunt's parties were legendary... as was her vaginal canal. Seriously, thing is like the length of a football field.

- A boyfriend, says you? How much money do you wager he's a complete tool box?

- In what way does gesturing in some random direction signify 'Europe'?

- Hello, office stereotype! In fairness, I have met many a douche nozzle dude who does push ups at the office. Dude. We got it. You are not so well endowed. They're called sex toys and women the world over love them.

- Why is Smidge checking Eurotrash's pantsless ass out? And why is she kind of half smirking at it in approval? I thought she only goes in for pudgy, diabetics... or Freddie Prinze Jr. Which one of those do you think is worse?

- Eurotrash speaks french. This is suppoed to make her even more eurotrashy and annoying. I like her though. I like her specifically because this movie wants me not to. I'm a spiteful bitch that way.

- Did Metrovestual just accuse Smidge of sleeping to the top and the other girl of being ugly and incapable of sleeping to the top? Can this movie be any more misogynistic?

- It would be sweet that she called her dad for moral support if it weren't completely evident that the motif of this film is "Are you a girl? You better depend upon older men because you can't possibly do anything by yourself without becoming a slutty, pantsless, eurotrash whore in the process!"

- And once again Alec Baldwin is telling Smidge what to do. Guess what? She finds it romantic. Please, kill me now...

- A department store where women are actually *fighting* over clothes. I stab at thee, movie. Stabbity, stabbity, stab, stab, STAB!

- Oh my god she bought a new outfit for the date! Are you fucking kidding me? And it involves leather pants! Wait. Don't tell me. I got it! He has a Buffy fetish!

- Oh wait, no. She switched to jeans. I don't know whether to be relieved or annoyed. I was kind of hoping that she'd show up to his apartment and stab him in the heart with a wooden stake.

- Holy shit, indeed. Emphasis on the shit.