Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sneak Peak at Buffy's Cover for Issue #39 (Spoiler)

But, where's the rest of it? I guess we'll have to wait until Buffy #39 is released to see the mystery behind this highly anticipated issue. Buffy looks pissed and we're assuming the person who she's about to pummel or be pummeled by is the "closest, most unexpected". Ruh, roh.

Update: People are talking up a storm so here is a poll.  Cast your vote and state your case in the comments!

Terminator 1984: #1 Review (SPOILERS)

The Preamble: I remember watching Terminator for the first time in Tommy Jung's parents' basement when I was a little kid.  I was way too young for that movie and, god damn, did it scare the Spiderman underoos right off of me.  A scary movie can have a profound, lasting impact on a little kid.  It stains the psyche like Ecto Cooler used to stain my shirts.  I'm not the only grown man who still remembers being terrified of the relentlessness of the scarily symmetrical, Austrian, robot of death and, as such, the Terminator franchise is in a perpetual state of "you got big shoes to fill, son".  Sometimes it lives up to the hype (Terminator 2, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) and sometimes it doesn't (basically everything else).  Bless Zack Whedon and Andy MacDonald for landing themselves very firmly in the former category.

The Overview: Terminator: 1984 comes hot off the hells of Terminator: 2029.  What you need to know is that there is now another man, Ben, who has suffered immeasurable loss at the hands of Skynet and has followed Kyle Reese back in time because he already knows that Kyle is doomed to fail in his mission.  Speaking of Kyle, we open with video of him singing that old, familiar, country tune "Robots done rose up and blew humanity all to hell and my dog died, too" while mysterious sciency businessmen types questions how he knows so much about Skynet, something that is so top secret that even the people working on it are in the dark.  Meanwhile, Ben is soaking up the ecstasy that is the 80's and is reminded just what it is that he's been fighting for all this time.  He waits for the events of the movie to unfold.  This is where things start to change.  After the Terminator is crushed, we discover that Kyle Reese is not actually dead, merely stolen away by the people responsible for that whole end of the world thing.  Ben hunts down Sarah Connor and enlists her in an attempt to find Kyle and save the future.

The Review: I was really nervous going in (as was Zack Whedon, as it turns out) that the comic would toy too much with established history.  Instead, we get these beautifully recaptured scenes from the first movie as drawn by the magnificent Andy MacDonald whose style fits the genre perfectly.  The mixture of excitement and dread that the franchise can provide is all there.  A little love must go out to Sierra Hahn whose deft editing makes this book sing.  Ben makes for an excellent protagonist because, even though he and Kyle share a goal, they are not the same.  Ben is less certain but more pragmatic.  He's more thoughtful, patient but just as passionate.  We also get the murky waters that is a humanity you're not quite sure is worth saving.  I suspect that is one of the dilemmas Ben will face.  In this issue, his resolve is clear, he sees what humanity can have but, in time, he may discover how humanity can squander it's resources.  We already have a moment where Ben devours hot food that was thrown away, all the while questioning why anyone would be so wasteful.  I hope we'll get more of that.  In the meantime, there's a good mystery afoot and Sarah Connor has just joined the fold.  Whedon has successfully grounded his story in the mythos, now he just needs to let it fly.

Bottom Line: If you're still hurting from the Sarah Connor Chronicles being canceled, this book is your salvation.  Zack Whedon is one of those fans who knows how to continue a story he loves and do it in a way that respects what came before while still keeping you surprised.  Go get it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

(SPOILERS) Mariah Huehner talks Angel #37

Today marks the release of the next issue in the Angel ongoing and, to get the ball rolling on the discussion, we sat down with writer and editor, Mariah Huehner, to talk about some of the particulars.  Stay tuned below for an overview and review of the issue, as well as a bonus Illyria question.  Ready?  Here we go!

Buffyfest: Let's address the elephant in the room: in Angel #37, Illyria uses the word "please" when asking Spike to stop fighting with Angel, surprising fans who are used to thinking of her as the uncompromising god-king.  Can we talk about how Illyria has changed since Angel, the TV series ended and why you think she is now in a place where she would ask anything so politely?

Mariah: First, I saw it as a small but important way of re-establishing her relationship with Spike, which is different than it is with any other character. Since After the Fall we've seen her in various situations, and while I think she's still mostly uncompromising, she's also been trying to work through some really conflicting ideas in her head. She has a collective set of memories bouncing around in there. Fred's, Wes's, Spike's, and then there's her own perspective. Which tends towards the self-important. But that's been challenged a lot and I thought it was important to show that she's not the same. There's been a lack of forward momentum with Illyria that's bothered me, and the "please" was a simple way of showing that something is shifting, while also re-establishing that she and Spike have a connection. Plus, it ties into the Illyria mini and some of what happens there. I didn't want the events there to feel too sudden, which means you have to drop little hints that change is coming.

Buffyfest: We're getting somewhere with the question of Spike's soul.  Would you please elaborate on what the Arcadia Sum is and how it affects Spike's behavior?

Mariah: The way David and I envisioned it, it's something that latched onto him when he was flux back in Season 5. The soul parasite idea was originally Bill Willingham's, we just put detail to it. Something that lay dormant (not unlike what happened to Cordelia) until it was triggered. The fact that Spike was incorporeal and would fade in and out seemed significant to me in a show where things from "outside" are constantly trying to get into our reality. And with all the time shifting and the idea of "old" magicks getting stirred up, it was an opportunity to show that, like the limb dusting, some very strange things are going on. I know Spike's behavior has been very controversial, but it was never done out of disrespect for the character.

To me, if a soul can be cursed, if people can come back from the dead,  then it's completely and entirely believable that a soul can get "sick" or however you want to interpret it. Like when The First circumvented Spike's soul, allowing him to feed on humans again without him knowing, the Arcadia Sum kind of allowed Spike to do things that he otherwise wouldn't. By "infecting" his moral centers and the part of him that would see some of these actions as clearly bad. He wasn't really aware of how off things were until they were pointed out to him. Which is also why there was that "crazy in the basement" line came from. That was the last time souled Spike did anything even remotely like what he'd been doing, so it was a way to hint that something significant was going on.

Buffyfest: The Sisterhood of the Jaro Hull take violent action in this issue to become "reborn" but, with James preparing his attack, are they a necessary evil?

Mariah: You'll find out in #38. We discover something significant about Connor in #37 that gets even weirder in #38, and it will directly effect what happens with the Sisterhood from here on in. Not to mention change how Connor may be viewed, too.

Angel #37: The Review

Overview: Angel and Spike are looking into Connor's disappearance but don't get far because Angel is still distrusting of soulless Spike.  Tumble, grunt, insert slashy comments here, and the two separate, agreeing that their times is better spent focusing on what's actually important.  Angel and Illyria head off on their quest to solve the Great Connor Caper, while Laura and Mr. Polyphemus spitball ideas on what's happening with Spike.  Surprising absolutely no one, The Sisterhood of the Jaro Hull have kidnapped Connor and plan to draw from his powers in order to be reborn.  Meanwhile, Eddie Hope has a run in with Team Angel mid Gunn murder.

Eddie Hope Preview
Review: I mentioned last month that it seemed very evident that the story arc Bill Willingham had started is now being very speedily concluded in favor of telling one, last big story before Angel and co. head back to Buffy land permanently.  This issue follows suit in that regard, throwing us headlong into the conclusion to the Connor story and skipping us straight through the Spike's soul plot thread.  That's fine.  We all kind of knew that Bill's story wasn't quite meshing with fan expectation.  The nice thing is that Mariah and David continue to be adept at getting the voice of the characters and so the comics feel much more like the show than they have in a while.  So while things feel rushed, we're getting dialogue between characters that feels fresh and genuine.  The Connor stuff actually seems like it could get an exciting conclusion, too, which is nice for those in the crowd who were happy to see him get more time in the spotlight.

On the less good side is the art which I will only talk about briefly.  It's terribly challenging to capture characters from a show in comic form.  Only a few artists can truly master that combination between capturing the actor's look and the soul of the character and, in my opinion, Valerio's art was too inconsistent to satisfy me.  There are certain panels that I really enjoy but some characters, Connor especially, who never really look quite right.  You can see the difference when Elena comes back to perform the art duties for the Eddie Hope story.  She's had a lot of practice with these characters and it shows.

Overall, this issue is solid despite feeling like it's on fast forward.  I'm looking forward to wrapping this story next month so we can move on to what's next: A Wolfram & Hart story and two spin offs (Spike and Illyria) all of which I fully expect to blow my socks clean across the room and into an adjacent hell dimension.

Enough from me, though.  I'll leave Mariah with the final word. 

Buffyfest Bonus question: When Illyria says "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me", Angel assumes she is quoting "Star Trek" but, according to Illyria, the quote originated as an ancient, demon proverb.  My deeply philosophical question is this: If Angel watches hockey and Spike watches "Passions"; what sort of television do you think Illyria would get hooked on?

Mariah: Well, she likes to play Crash Bandicoot, so that kind of makes it hard to guess, you know? I can see her watching anything from Muppets to the History Channel. In spite of what she says, I think she finds humans and what they do interesting, even when she doesn't understand it, finds it futile, or beneath her. We do things she would never even think of and I think she can't help but be a little intrigued. I also think she might watch things she thinks Fred would watch, but only when no one else was looking. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

*Spoiler* Buffyfest Reviews Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

If Sarah Michelle Gellar is the Queen of the Whedonverse, then Summer Glau must be the Princess. (Or is it Eliza? Hmmm...might have to do a poll.) Anyway, one thing Summer is super-dependable at is adding her talents to some good Sci-Fi and Genre stories. Last Thursday, the Paley Center here in NYC hosted the premiere of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse which Summer starred in. She played the part of the beloved character DC, Supergirl. Another fun fact, the original print comic version of this story was penned by an additional Whedonverse connection, Jeph Loeb.

Now, since none of our regulars here know much about the Superman franchise, we asked our correspondents Darren and Cathy to check out the scene in our stead. Check out Darren's review of the film below:

"Darren here, longtime Superman fan and correspondent of Buffyfest. I attended the premiere of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse for Buffyfest last week and it was a fun time. The Paley Center did a good job with the event. As far as the movie goes: Overall, I'd say that someone who is seriously into the Superman comics may not enjoy it but someone who is a general Superman fan would definitely find it entertaining. I found it entertaining but I had problems with the inconsistencies of the story. Like Superman killing a thousand Doomsdays with one flash of eyebeam. Listen, these two killed each other in the past. If the continuity that's been established over the years is that Superman killed Doomsday before and because of what happened could never be killed again, then how is Superman killing him in one eyebeam? I don't get it.

And the story of Kara/Supergirl (who was well played by Summer Glau). Superman gets hit by 1 omega beam by Darkseid and he was out forever and got flown all the way out to space. He has to get all the way out to the sun, recharge and come back in order to deal with Darkseid. But Supergirl gets hit and was fine? In the end it appeared that Supergirl was stronger than Superman and took way more of a beating than Superman and that's stupid.

Batman, he's an asshole. Batman is human, he has no superpowers of any kind but he can get his head put through walls and everything like that and walk away...gotta get some kind of realism in there. Just saying.

Since we're talking about the Whedonverse connection on this fine blog, I'll say that Summer Glau's voice performance was cute, her krypton was spoken fine. But as far as Supergirl goes, I didn't like her hairdo...way too kryptonian."

And there you have it! Superman/Batman: Apocalypse will be released tomorrow, September 28 on both DVD and Blu-ray. If you pick it up at Amazon, it comes as a Two-Disc Exclusive Limited Edition with bonus Litho Cel.In the mean time, check out the clip below with bonus Summer Glau introduction. And thanks to Darren and Cathy for the contribution!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fan Vid Sunday

This week's fanvid comes to us from our friend the gingerpire.  It's a little bit of Cangel love for those of you out there who ship it.  Not much else to say.  Busy, busy, Buffyfest Bloggers are out doing thingly things.  We've got stuff coming this week, though, and we'll be covering those convention of the NYC variety in the coming weeks, too.  In the meantime, huge thanks to the ultimate ginge from Ohio.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

We Have a Winner of September Silliness - The Whedonverse Season Finale Tournament!

She saved the world. A lot. And that's pretty much what this epic finale was all about. "The Gift" has taken the Best Episode Tourney as voted by the people and boy does it deserve it! It's a favorite around here at Buffyfest... I've personally watched this episode more than any other by far. Some of us believe that if this 100th episode was the true series finale, it would be the best series final of any show, ever. From the flashing "previously on Buffy The Vampire Slayer" montage all the way to the final headstone shot, it truly is a masterpiece of an ep. Not to mention that every single character is at the very top of their game at this point in the story, including the fabulous season villain: Glory. Let's recap "The Gift" in photos:

And there you have it! If you'd like to see how the entire tournament went down, click below. Thanks to everyone who voted! Until March....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Championship of September Silliness - The Whedonverse Season Finale Tournament

It's Buffy vs. Buffy in this final match of our September Silliness Finale Tourney! We started with 16 fabulous Season Finales in the beginning of the month, but that made this a short and sweet one. Here's a recap of the surprising results of last round:

- Buffy S.4 finale beat Dr. Horrible Act III, squashing any hopes for another Whedonverse title taking the top spot...but he put up a good fight!

Buffy S.5 "The Gift" beat the S.2 finale "Becoming Part 2" like Buffy beat Angel's ass.

The episodes fighting for the title were randomly seeded. This is the last poll and will run until Sunday evening at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced on Monday!

Here are the polls for "The Championship". These are 2 eps with totally different vibes, vote carefully!:

If your curious to see the entire bracket and how it went down, click below to enlarge:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Epic Interview Moment!: Buffyfest Talks To Jane Espenson

We are so proud to publish this interview with a woman who has consistently given us Whedonverse stories since 1998 with no end in sight and the very person that Scott Allie proclaimed as "the nicest and the bestest of all the writers. Anywhere." We're talking about, of course, the Buffyfest crowned Queen of the Whedonverse: Jane Espenson.

Jane has written and produced for over a dozen hit TV shows including Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Tru Calling, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Torchwood, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and many more...not to mention comics. Oh, and she invented the word "Zima". How cool is that? We couldn't be more honored to pick her brain.

On writing

Buffyfest: First of all, we just want to say thank you. We’re huge fans of your work and we’re delighted that you’ve taken time out of your busy schedule to talk with us!

You've worn many hats in your career - showrunner, executive producer, writer - which do you find to be your most comfortable title and which is the most challenging?

Jane Espenson: "Writer" is the one I value. That's the part that interests me the most and that I have some faith I can do well. Running a show involves a lot of things that aren't about the writing – and that take time away from the writing. I mean, I can imagine running a show again, but it will always be the writing that I love.

Buffyfest: Which actors do you think have done the best with the lines you’ve given them? Was there a moment on a show where you were blown away by a performance of the words you created?

JE: Oh, there have been a lot of such moments from many actors. The one that's coming to my mind now is the work of Enver Gjokaj on Dollhouse when we had him impersonate another actor in the show and he absolutely nailed it, and then went beyond impersonation to a real and deep performance. Loved that.

Buffyfest: Joss Whedon is known for having a "Joss" character in every show he creates (Xander, Doyle, Wash, Topher). Are there any "Jane" characters in shows you've worked on or created? What are the pros and cons to the writer having an avatar or raisonneur in their work?

JE: I've often commented on a certain awkward bluntness that I share with Anya. But I didn't create her. I haven't really created enough stuff from whole cloth to have even had this chance. I certainly put myself into every character as I write them – I think it's most likely that I'll continue like that and not have a character that represents me.

On Buffy

Buffyfest: We obviously love Buffy. What are you watching right now on TV that you love and why?

JE: Glee. I love it. Love the energy and the colors and the music and the humor. Why aren't there more shows copying this wonderful energy? I thought this season would bring on the Glee clones, but I didn't read any pilots that would qualify. I think companies are missing the boat by not creating more recession-era bright programming like this right now.

Buffyfest: You've been writing for the Buffyverse for over a decade now. What do you consider to be Buffy's finest moment as a character?

JE: Can a moment be a whole episode? Because I want to say the whole episode "The Body."

Buffyfest: What was your favorite season of Buffy and why?

JE: Season Five because I believe I wrote more episodes that season than any other season. I like writing a lot of episodes. Or maybe you mean dramatically. Probably Season Five. The show was mature, just turning dark, and our wrapping up of the high school experience capped the main metaphor of the show. Loved that year.

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

JE: In which timeline? I can see a future where she's scarred and bitter, and I can see one where she's transcendent and at peace. I don't feel it's for me to declare one more valid than the other.

Buffyfest: If Season 8 was written for TV, besides the special effects limitations, do you think the story would've been on the same track?

JE: Hmm... probably not. The visual freedom of comic books allowed us to do things that would've been impossible to stage and film and to intertwine characters played by actors whom we'd never have been able to get back at this stage.

Buffyfest: Let's turn to the Riley One-Shot. The title “Commitment Through Distance, Virtue Through Sin” was very powerful. Can you talk about how that title came to you?

JE: Oh, thanks! I haven't heard anyone comment on that title before. I often like one word titles that point out the theme, but this just wasn't lending itself to that. But there was an interesting commonality between the two stories in the issue – Sam was making the argument that Riley could go to Buffy and yet strengthen, not damage, his marriage. Whistler was making the argument that Angel could serve the bigger good through a whole lot of evil along the way. Counterintuitive ways to a goal. But "Counterintuitive Ways to a Goal" is a terrible title. So I decided to just spell it out and I liked how it sounded.

Buffyfest: The one-shot seems to be written as an allegory, mirroring Angel’s story through the narrative of Riley. How hard was it to write that type of narrative in the short space of a comic?

JE: It was actually one of the easier ones I've written since it was a lot of talk. I disguised it with action, but it's just a pair of two-person conversations, which are my favorite thing to write. The mirroring was the reason to tell the story, so that happened first and then it was just writing people talking, which is just a matter of winding them up and letting them go. I didn't have it all right the first time through – there were a couple sets of notes from Joss that led to adjustments. But it actually was a pretty easy road!

Buffyfest: Buffy seems to be at the center of this issue although she doesn’t ever appear. Is she the parallel connecting Riley and Angel’s story?

JE: Yes, she's at the center of both decisions, which is structurally lovely, but the story would've worked without that. It was the similarly counterintuitive solutions to the problems that tied the stories together.

Buffyfest: At Dragon Con, Scott Allie mentioned that for a moment they felt like your arc of Season 8, "Retreat", could have run for ten issues. Would you tell us what your original pitch for that story was and what, if anything, you wish you'd had the chance to keep in there?

JE: Oh that's right. There was that moment. I remember that. Scott had that idea, and I think I was like, well, I can write as much as you want and then Joss jumped in right away to say, no, the plan was right as we'd imagined it to begin with. So the ten issue plan lasted for a minute. Nothing was expanded and then lost. My original pitch was shockingly close to what you see on the page. It was a rare moment where I pitched a story to Joss and he just said, yes, go do that.

Buffyfest: In the second issue of “Retreat”, Dawn compares Werewolves to Slayers in this way: "The demon part is the part that you are and the old human part is the weak, rejected part that gets tossed aside--" that's very telling. What do you think it means to be a slayer? Other than being the leader, what makes Buffy different from all those other chosen?

JE: I think the thing that makes Buffy special is the Buffiness – Dawn is wrong about the human part getting tossed aside. That's a fear Buffy has, but I don't think it's true. It's her essential character that she was born with that makes her special.

Buffyfest: Buffy Season 8 has taken some criticism from fans who say that Buffy has lost her feminist message by way of her bank robbing, rogue slayers abusing their powers and the recent Twilight arc. How do you feel about Season 8 so far from a feminist perspective?

JE: I hadn't heard that. I think if we try to make women characters better than we really are, then we're holding doors open for them. Let 'em be as disarmingly fallible as men. No one's better than anyone else—that's the important thing.

On Firefly, Caprica and Torchwood

Buffyfest: We recently read your Firefly short story "What Holds Us Down" and thought it was fantastic. Would you tell us the inspiration for this love letter to Kaylee and Wash?

JE: I wanted to bring those two together because it was a combination I wanted to see. And it made sense to me that the pilot and the mechanic would have a story that centered around the ship. And I wanted to play with a lot of the stuff you don't to do in script form – I wanted an "internal" story. This just hit all the switches. I'm really proud of it – it's the kind of story I would want to read. That's what lets me know I'm on the right track.

Buffyfest: It was just announced that Caprica will be back sooner than we thought. Any hints from the writer's room as to what we can expect from the Adama and Graystone families in the new season? Will we eventually get to see a link between Bill Adama the boy and Bill Adama the pilot as the show moves forward?

JE: The announcement is about the airing of the second half of season one, so these are episodes that have already been shot – I can tell you that you should look forward to visiting some other colonies and that you're going to see more of the structure of the monotheist religion and you're going to learn more about the history of young Joseph and Sam Adama.

Buffyfest: You've recently been announced as a writer for Torchwood which you've mentioned you're a fan of. What are your favorite characters/episodes? How about its parent show, Doctor Who?

JE: Oh I love Torchwood so much. I adored Children of Earth. I love Jack and Gwen so much. Loved Ianto, of course. I loved James Marsters when he was on the show. Love love love. I haven't dived into Doctor Who yet, I have to admit. I know that's shameful. But I simply found Torchwood without going through Whoville.

Buffyfest: With Torchwood's move from the BBC to Starz, some fans (and actors, including James Marsters) have expressed concern about the continued equal representation of queer characters. What are the challenges of telling authentic, LGBT stories on American television? Will Torchwood be able to remain as queer friendly as it's been for the last three series?

JE: Torchwood will not change in this respect in any way. There is no pressure, no obstacles, not a whisper of concern.

And Finally...

Buffyfest: You recently reunited with your former Buffy co-writers for the Stop the H8 photo campaign. In light of the recent rulings that both Prop 8 is unconstitutional, what are you’re hopes for the future of the marriage equality issue in California and nationally?

JE: Drew Greenberg organized that photo shoot and I thought it was brilliant. It was important and it was also a great excuse to get the gang together again. As for your question about hopes, I don't even want to state them as "hopes," since that leaves open the possibility of doubt. Marriage equality is an absolutely certainty and it's just a matter of when. I feel that even the opponents themselves are starting to realize that they're the people who are going to make future generations shake their heads and blush. You can see it on their faces now, that they're hearing their own words ringing hollow. Hang on. It's going to be soon.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Final Four of September Silliness - The Whedonverse Season Finale Tournament

Because this game started with a mere 16 nominees unlike past tourneys, we're already at the Final Four! The last round was already super-difficult, though, and the results were pretty close. It's only going to get harder from here on out. Here's a recap of last round:

- Buffy S.2 finale "Becoming Part 2" took down the series finale "Chosen"
- And in the hardest match so far, for us anyway, Buffy S.5's fabulous  finale "The Gift" beat Angel's legendary series finale "Not Fade Away"

And that's that. Actually, all Whedonverse titles have been eliminated save for Buffy and Dr. Horrible now. Firefly's finale got booted right away and Dollhouse didn't stick around much longer. Now that Angel is out, all bets are on a Buffy ep winning the whole tourney. Or will Dr. Horrible swoop in and crown himself the new kind o' the verse? We'll see...

The episodes fighting for the title were randomly seeded. Rounds will end each Monday and Thursday night at 11:59 pm EST after which we'll post results and the nominees for the next round. Voting for this part ends Thursday at 11:59 pm EST.

Here are the polls for "The Final Four". Vote with care!:

If your curious to see the entire bracket (and what's up next), click below to enlarge:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bitsy's Bad Buffy Review - I Robot, You Jane

You remember when Obscurus Lupa reviewed Beer Bad?  Good times, huh?  I figured I would try my hand at a video review and so I went where any old man with limited video editing skills goes: Season one.  I tried my comedic stylings (and I use that word very loosely) with I Robot, You Jane.  Enjoy!

This was definitely a lesson in "leave it to the professionals, kids". Video reviews are not easy. I spent way more time on this project than I thought I would. Still, it was pretty fun. If I did another one of these, what episode would you want to see me take on?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Round 3! September Silliness - The Whedonverse Season Finale Tournament

We're now at round 3 of this "Best Finale in the Whedonverse" Tournament. Coming up in this round we have 2 incredible finales facing off against each other already! That's "The Gift" vs. Angel's "Not Fade Away". "Chosen" vs. "Becoming II" is pretty hard too! This thing got difficult fast. But before we do that, let's go over the results of the last round. Those are as follows:

- Buffy S.4 finale "Restless" took down Dollhouse's Series Finale "Epitaph Two"
- The 3rd act of Dr. Horrible beat Angel's S.2 finale, "There's No Place Like Pltz Glrb"

Again, this tourney will be much faster than some massive past tourneys, as this one started with a mere 16 nominees. The episodes fighting for the title were randomly seeded. Rounds will end each Monday and Thursday night at 11:59 pm EST after which we'll post results and the nominees for the next round. Voting for this part ends Monday at 11:59 pm EST.

Here are the polls for the left half of the bracket "The East". Vote below:

By the way, if you need a refresher, click here for the full list of episodes and their descriptions.

If your curious to see the entire bracket (and what's up next), click below to enlarge:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Angel #37: Exclusive Preview Pages

By: Bill Willingham, Bill Williams, Mariah Huehner, David Tischman, Elena Casagrande, Valerio Schiti, Jenny Frison

Soul-Eaters. Demon armies. Dusting limbs. Prophecies run amock. The Angel-verse is always a little bit strange. But with Connor's life in danger, Angel must step up and take back his city. The only problem? It may already be too late!

32 pages, $3.99, in stores on Sept. 22.

Click the below images to enlarge:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Buffy Season 9 Draft Picks

Even though there are four issues left of Buffy Season 8, the discussion has turned to Angel's return to the Dark Horse stable and the multiple titles that will represent Buffy Season 9.  Scott recently mentioned at Dragon Con that he had locked down an artist for the Angel comic which only spurned me to be more curious.  I've been thinking a lot about what titles I'd like to see, what characters I think should get their own books.  I've come up with eight, four ladies and four gents, each who brings something to the table to merit a miniseries at least.  For each book I will pitch a concept and an artist.  With that, our premise, let's begin with some minor characters and slowly build our way up to the big leagues.

See the full draft picks under the cut!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Whedonverse at Dragon Con: Georges Jeanty Interview and the Dark Horse Panel (Spoilers)

(Spoilers Ahead)

The lovely Georges Jeanty took time out of his busy day at Dragon Con to speak with TFAW about the experiences of Buffy Season 8 and the road ahead for season 9. The way he talks about Issue #39 has got me very worried. I'm scared.

And here's part of the Dark Horse Panel where Super Scott Allie and Georges talking about all things Twilight.

and here is the rest:

Round 2! September Silliness - The Whedonverse Season Finale Tournament

Here lies Round 2 of this "Best Finale in the Whedonverse" Tournament. In Round 1 we had some close ones. Here is a rundown of those results:

- Dollhouse's S.2 "Epitaph Two" beat out Angel's S.1 "To Shanshu in L.A."
- Buffy S.4 "Restless" just barely edged out Buffy S.6 "Grave"
- Dr. H's Act III even more narrowly beat Dollhouse's S.1 "Epitaph One"
- It was Angel vs. Angel with S.2 "Plrtz Glrb" beating S.3 "Tomorrow"
- Buffy's Series Finale "Chosen" took out Firefly's Season Finale "Objects in Space"
- Buffy S.2 "Becoming Part 2" beat the hell out of S.1 "Prophecy Girl" that's out.
- Similarly, Angel S.5 "Not Fade Away" beat S.4 "Home" by quite the landslide.
- Finally,  Buffy S.5 "The Gift" beat Buffy S.3 "Graduation Day Part 2"

This one's going to be a quick one! Unlike some massive past tourneys, this one started with a mere 16 nominees. The episodes fighting for the title were randomly seeded. Rounds will end each Monday and Thursday night at 11:59 pm EST after which we'll post results and the nominees for the next round. Voting for this part ends Thursday at 11:59 pm EST.

Next up are the polls for the left half of the bracket "The West". OK, voting time!:

Region 1:

Region 2:

By the way, if you need a refresher, click here for the full list of episodes and their descriptions.

If your curious to see the entire bracket (and what's up next), click below to enlarge:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Firefly Sunday

So this is what it feels like to be on the outside looking in...

TFAW has amazing video of the Dragon Con Firefly Panel with Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, and Morena Baccarin.  It's great to watch but, hot damn, will you ever wish you were there.  Guest appearence via cell phone from Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk.  Enjoy the crap out of this, por favor, and huge thanks to TFAW for making it happen.

Friday, September 3, 2010

September Silliness - The Whedonverse Season Finale Tournament

It's that time of year again! This will be the 4th Whedonverse Tournament that we've done now. Unlike some massive tourneys we have done in the past, this is a much shorter one as the question is "What is the favorite Season Finale of all Whedonverse shows?" Seem simple? Well, it's not!

Will it be a hero plummeting to their death? An anti-hero's final turn to the dark side? An ocean plunge? A smile? It's definitely a toughie, but we'd love to know the answer.

So, this tournament has 16 randomly paired finale episodes fighting for the title. The contenders are, of course:

Buffy Season Finales 1 - 7
Angel Season Finales 1 - 5
Firefly Season Finale
Dollhouse Season Finale 1 & 2
Dr. Horrible Act III

Rounds will end each Monday and Thursday night at 11:59 pm EST after which we'll post results and the nominees for the next round. Voting for this part ends Monday at 11:59 pm EST. Let the games begin!

If your curious to see the entire bracket (and what's up next), click below to enlarge:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What's the Sitch - Thursday Edition

It's been a while since we did one of these, but there's a lot going on in Whedon land so it's time to get all our various and sundries sorted.

- First up, let's address the "Spike is a former vampire" situation.  For those just tuning in, on the inside cover of Buffy #36, the blurb reads: "Enter Spike- former vampire, former lover, latest prophecy keeper."  We got in touch with Scott Allie who confirmed the "former vampire" line was an accident.  He had this to say:
Yeah. We are fixing it for the next issue, or, if it's too late, at least for #38

- A new book of essays is coming out, called Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon by the Women Who Love Them.  Amongst those involved are a few friends.  Katy Shuttleworth is responsible for the awesome cover, Racheline Maltese has written an essay, and so has IDW editor, Mariah Huehner.  It's due for release in March of 2011.  You can preorder it at Barnes & Noble here.

Illyria Issue 2
- On the art front, we have two items.  Jenny Frisson, cover artist for IDW's Angel series (as well as for the Spike ongoing and the Illyria mini) has a number of fantastic pieces of art for sale over at Cadence Comic Book Art.  Meanwhile, Joss has written a foreword for artist Bryan Hitch's new book, Bryan Hitch's Ultimate Comics Studio which is due out on 14 October.  Could Bryan be tapped for one of the Season 9 books?

- In interview land we've got two.  one from Slay Alive where we get some insight from Scott Allie into the final arc of Buffy, Season 8 Last Gleaming.  On the IDW side, Pat Shand at Buffyfverse Comic Reviews interviews writer Scott Tipton and artist Elena Casagrande about all the Angelverse shenanigans they've been getting up to.

- Charisma Caprenter has landed another role, this time in indie thriller Crash Site.  The story centers on a family vacation in the woods, during which a couple must fight their way back to civilization through injuries, creepy critters and wild animals after their Jeep crashes. Jason Bourque is directing the film, which recently began principal photography in Vancouver.  Congrats, Charisma!

- And, finally, here's a video from Geek Dad, John Anealio, who teaches you how to play the theme song to Firefly on the guitar.  Adorable.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Buffy #36 Review (SPOILERS)

It's the issue that everyone's been waiting for, the first of the Buffy ongoing proper in months, the return of Joss as writer, and the issue where Spike gets more than a panel or two's worth of attention.  This review is full of spoilers and, what gets revealed, you may not like.  It's not safe out here in comic book review land.  It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross but it's not for the timid.  With that Star Trek quote paraphrased, let's dig in with Buffy #36.

Full review under the cut...

David Tischman talks Angel: Barbary Coast

Today marks the release of Angel: Barbary Coast in TPB form.   Did you miss it the first time around?  Never fear, now is your chance to pick up this beautiful, collected edition of one of the best Angel stories IDW has put out in the last five years.  We sat down very quickly with author, David Tischman, so he could give us some insight into how this story came about.

Give us the background: What inspired you to write this particular story, create these original characters, and set the whole thing in Barbary Coast?

DT: The BARBARY COAST is a favorite time in history for me.  Or is that too geeky?  It had gambling and whores and drinking and opium and violence--all the good stuff that made America great.  You get a very white-washed peek at the area on a couple of episodes of WILD WILD WEST.  And yes, whoever's out there, I still want to do the WWW comic book.  William Shatner also did a short-lived series, "The Barbary Coast."  But not enough people know about the area or the period.  The Chinese immigrant population at this time is also under-explored.  I saw it as a great backdrop for an ANGEL story, in a period where his moral compass was being pushed in different directions.  The magic and the exotic foreign nature of the Chinese gave the story the mystic element you need for ANGEL.  

What's the story about?

DT: Angel's come to San Francisco seeking a Chinese herbalist named Xin, who he thinks can purge his recently-restored soul of guilt.  Xin agrees to help Angel, but he needs Angel to do something for him, first.  It's a great way to get a morally-ambiguous Angel to fight on the side of good, at this period.  But, of course, Angel hasn't gotten the whole story, and it sets off events that make Angel's life a lot more complicated.  Like starting the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

What's the underlying meaning of the story and why is it an important point in Angel's history for us to see?

DT: We use a Chinese "fortune-cookie" style of philosophy for comedic effect in BARBARY COAST, but some of those unanswerable questions also makes Angel realize that his life isn't easy.  Magic may have restored his soul, presto-chango, but there's no instant cure to fix the guilt and the remorse that soul makes him feel.  Because he now "feels" in an emotional way, not just in a sensory way that regular vampires feel.  It makes him fully aware of the consequences of his actions.  If there is a point of this story, it's that--maybe for the first time--Angel realizes he needs to start living his life in a positive way, as a way of dealing with that guilt (his feelings) and as a way of moving forward.  It's that conscious choice that makes Angel a hero, and the character we all love.  Like super-heroes, we all aspire to Angel's higher moral ground.  

Bonus Question What's up with Angel and dragons?

DT: It's Chinese magic.  So you go to the animal symbols that represent the Chinese calendar.  Sure, we could've gone with a dog.  Or a snake.  A tiger probably would've worked, too.  But a dragon is so cool and visual, and it breathes fire, which is a big part of the destruction of San Francisco (more damage was done to the city from the series of fires than from the earthquake).  The fact that Joss and Brian used a dragon in "After the Fall" was gravy.  It made the period story dovetail with something very modern, and a fan favorite.  It was a win-win.