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January Talking Meme, Day 14

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velvetwhip - If you could change any major arc on BTVS which one would it be and how would you change it?

I've actually thought about this a good deal, and the one arc I would change if I could is the main plot arc of S7: the whole First Evil/Potentials thing. I may not like the arc Buffy and Spike got in S7, but at least they have one, and it makes a modicum of sense. The main plot arc, though, is a meandering, miserable mess which undercuts its own message in some pretty dire ways.

So I'd get rid of Caleb, and make the First Evil a real psychological menace which uses the Scoobies' weaknesses (as demonstrated in S6) against them. They'd be forced to confront and overcome their own fears in order to defeat the FE. (I feel like canon sort of half-assed this a couple of times, but totally failed in execution.) I'd make Buffy's main message to the Potentials throughout the season not "I'm awesome and you suck" but "You're stronger together than apart." They'd beat the ubervamp by working as a team. In the final battle the FE would incarnate as Angelus, as originally envisioned, and battle Buffy in the flesh, and we'd see the Potentials agree to take on the Slayer power on an individual basis rather than it being forced on all of them.

I'd probably leave the Watcher's Council alive so there could be an epic political battle with them in S8 over the future of Slayers in general.

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( 27 rants — Talk To Me )
shadowkat67
Jan. 15th, 2014 03:15 am (UTC)
That's the arc I'd change as well, although I'd go further and have more scenes between Willow/Spike and Willow/Xander. Willow's arc bugged me in S7. Spike was the only one who got a half-way decent arc in that season.


So I'd get rid of Caleb, and make the First Evil a real psychological menace which uses the Scoobies' weaknesses (as demonstrated in S6) against them. They'd be forced to confront and overcome their own fears in order to defeat the FE. (I feel like canon sort of half-assed this a couple of times, but totally failed in execution.)


I honestly think that may have been the original idea, but they couldn't get a lot of actors - either do to financial constraints, scheduling or personal issues. I know they tried for OZ, Jenny Calendar, Tara, and Angelus.

Personally, I think they were originally intending on killing Xander off in First Date and having him pop up as the First Evil. (Which would have been a stroke of genius and Nicholas Brendon was incredibly disappointed when he learned that the writers chickened out. And they say tv writers don't cater to fans?) I wish they'd done it with Giles - because he also would have made a great First Evil. There were a lot of missed opportunities with that.

I'd make Buffy's main message to the Potentials throughout the season not "I'm awesome and you suck" but "You're stronger together than apart." They'd beat the ubervamp by working as a team. In the final battle the FE would incarnate as Angelus, as originally envisioned, and battle Buffy in the flesh, and we'd see the Potentials agree to take on the Slayer power on an individual basis rather than it being forced on all of them.

I agree. The whole Potential message got a bit murky and confused. I'd have done that as well.

The only thing I'd add? Is I'd have gotten rid of Kennedy and Andrew, who were unnecessary distractions. And focused more on the central characters...Willow did not need another romance, nor was it all that believable. They could have used Faith to help Willow get past it?
Faith was under-used. Also, Willow and Spike could have interacted more - or something.

Instead they added new characters into a storyline that was ending.
I think, limiting the number of new characters to just the potentials, would have focused the story more. Also allowed them to develop some of the potentials better - Rona should have had more development.
In addition they could have gotten rid of Prinicpal Wood - and gone with their initial idea - Nikki's daughter was a Potential - Rona would have been perfect. And it would have been more complex and less easy for Buffy to shirk off.

Agree on the Watcher's Council - that was abrupt - and unnecessary. It didn't further the plot that much or help the story. Nor do I think Caleb did - he was too cliche, and sort of silly.

Having the First manipulate them...by appearing as various people who died was a stroke of genius, if only they kept it up and didn't let it flitter out midway through. (I've seen fanfic - where the First appeared as Spike to Buffy - that was truly inspired.)
rahirah
Jan. 15th, 2014 03:21 am (UTC)
I'd heard they wanted to kill Xander off in the ep where he lost his eye. I'm not sure if I'd have killed off Xander (because Caleb wouldn't be tere to kill him in my version). But I'd definitely have killed Giles, and had the First impersonating him and subtly undermining Buffy until a crisis point was reached. As it was, they had the real Giles undercutting her for no good reason. (Though I actually agree with Giles that she was being unreasonable about Spike wandering around while still under the First's control.)
shadowkat67
Jan. 17th, 2014 12:16 am (UTC)
Oh, I'd heard two rumors - that they planned to kill him during First Date, and the other that they intended to do it during Dirty Girls.

If you killed him off in First Date - no need for Caleb. Actually Xander could have played that role but as the First manipulating Willow and Andrew and Anya.

Agreed on Giles - far more effective having him play the First, and being dead. I was actually disappointed it was a mislead.
fenchurche
Jan. 15th, 2014 04:24 am (UTC)
Ooo... I love that idea of killing off Xander and having the First impersonate him for awhile, almost more than the idea of it having happened to Giles (and they could even still have used the fakeout with Giles to fool everyone into thinking no one had been "replaced" by the First). It would have hit everyone really hard and the First could have done a lot of real damage that way.
velvetwhip
Jan. 15th, 2014 04:27 am (UTC)
That's the arc I'd change as well, although I'd go further and have more scenes between Willow/Spike and Willow/Xander. Willow's arc bugged me in S7.

YES.


Gabrielle
dragonyphoenix
Jan. 15th, 2014 07:24 am (UTC)
I wish they'd done it with Giles - because he also would have made a great First Evil. Yes! That would have been brilliant.

(I've seen fanfic - where the First appeared as Spike to Buffy - that was truly inspired.) Oh, and that does sound interesting.
frelling_tralk
Jan. 15th, 2014 04:08 am (UTC)
The First Evil was definitely one of the more frustrating arcs as that should have been an awesome tool to have it able to appear as anyone and really cause some psychological torment, but it felt like they just gave up when they introduced the original vampires ( and later Caleb) for Buffy to fight instead.
rahirah
Jan. 17th, 2014 03:18 am (UTC)
Yeah. :/
fenchurche
Jan. 15th, 2014 04:20 am (UTC)
I would love to see your version of Season 7!
rahirah
Jan. 17th, 2014 03:18 am (UTC)
:D
velvetwhip
Jan. 15th, 2014 04:28 am (UTC)
I love your version of how it should have gone.


Gabrielle
rahirah
Jan. 17th, 2014 03:18 am (UTC)
:D
dragonyphoenix
Jan. 15th, 2014 07:21 am (UTC)
I like your S7.
rahirah
Jan. 17th, 2014 03:18 am (UTC)
:D
dwyld
Jan. 15th, 2014 09:03 am (UTC)
not "I'm awesome and you suck" but "You're stronger together than apart."

Wouldn't that run counter to the canon message of Slayer solitude and exceptionalism? Which I personally disliked but I feel it was very much there. Buffy did work with her friends and was stronger for it, but there was never any question about the pecking order. I felt that the 'meaning' of the final episode, about how young girls can be exceptional, was a continuity of the theme that had run all through all the seasons of the show, and to break away from that and introduce a new theme of 'stronger together' would be jarring.

I would though have far preferred to see your version of the FE as a psychological menace and for Buffy to end by confronting Angelus (or, if he was unavailable, The Master). I think they could have done without the Potentials entirely. And at the end Slayer exceptionalism should have been made available to everyone - as a choice not forced, as you say - and not just to a few girls selected by birthright.
rahirah
Jan. 15th, 2014 01:52 pm (UTC)
The question is what would I change, not what would I leave the same. :) The whole point of the season was supposed to be Buffy defying tradition by making more than one Slayer at a time. I think that plot would be more effective if the theme and the emotional arc supported it.
dwyld
Jan. 15th, 2014 07:12 pm (UTC)
I'm expressing myself badly. What I'm trying to say is I don't think you could produce a 'stronger together' arc by just changing S7 to introduce it - you would have to change every season to get there, otherwise it would jar horribly. I'm fine with Buffy defying Watcher tradition (or the universe's tradition if you prefer) but not with her jarring with her own personality and the show's theme, as established over all the previous seasons. Buffy couldn't teach the Potentials they were stronger together because that's not what she believes herself - she believes she is best and everyone else sucks and should make way for her accordingly. So to make the change you want you would have to rewrite everything from S1 onwards.
rahirah
Jan. 17th, 2014 03:32 am (UTC)
That would be what her personal emotional battle with the First would be about. Buffy might well start out the season with the it's all about me attitude she had in canon. And First!Giles would be playing up the "It's all on you because you're the only one who can do this (but you're doing it wrong/not good enough really)" But she'd start training the Potentials to work as a team early on because it's really, really stupid NOT to when they have merely human strength and speed.

This would reach some kind of crisis point mid-season, Buffy would be pushed to the brink but would expose First!Giles and realize that no, she does not have to do everything herself. (Yes, her superiority/inferiority complex has been building for years, but it's not a good thing. It makes her unhappy as a person, and less effective as a Slayer.) Buffy would learn about the scythe much earlier and actively seek it out instead of Joss pulling it out of his ass at the last minute blah blah blah.

The key scene in EOD/Chosen is the one where the First taunts Buffy with her being always alone, and she has the realization that she doesn't have to be. I'd just have that come earlier in the season.

Since I'm not actually planning to write this, I'm afraid I'm not terribly invested in convincing you it would work, so feel free to disagree.
quinara
Jan. 15th, 2014 09:29 am (UTC)
It still annoys me how much they threw away S7 after the mid-season break (although, you know me; I can actually live with it up to Touched and then I think it's rubbish). The FE had so much potential (heh), but apparently writing is hard and there needed to be someone to punch.

I somewhat disagree that Buffy's message was 'I'm awesome and you suck'. Until the end I think they did quite well at presenting her message as 'whether you have superpowers or not, winning is about using every single ounce of what you've got to your own advantage'. Which seemed fair enough (at least from Buffy's perspective, whether or not it was true), even if they didn't stick with it.

But I would have definitely kept the Watchers' Council around. Reduce the potentials down to about five or six and have watchers scurrying facelessly about the place (and only have the ones we know talking). It would have been epic and politicsy-talky, balancing out the FE. And Spuffy.
rahirah
Jan. 17th, 2014 03:35 am (UTC)
'whether you have superpowers or not, winning is about using every single ounce of what you've got to your own advantage'.

I can believe that's what the writers meant, but I don't think they pulled it off very well - the first ubervamp arc is a prime example. It comes off as Buffy telling the Potentials that they should just blindly rely on her to save them.
kathyh
Jan. 15th, 2014 09:52 am (UTC)
All of that makes so much more sense than the actual ending of the season did, but particularly having the FE incarnate as Angelus. Shame that didn't happen. I didn't hate S7, but it always felt as if they didn't quite know the best way to get to the end so they kept chucking more and more in rather than concentrating on the core four.
rahirah
Jan. 17th, 2014 03:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, there was a lot of flailing in S7.
kikimay
Jan. 15th, 2014 11:50 am (UTC)
In the final battle the FE would incarnate as Angelus, as originally envisioned,

Was it originally envisioned like that? Cool! I didn't know it. Why they didn't it?

I'd probably leave the Watcher's Council alive so there could be an epic political battle with them in S8 over the future of Slayers in general.

Heh. This.
rahirah
Jan. 17th, 2014 03:37 am (UTC)
I think there were problems getting David to make more than a cameo appearance across networks.
ayinhara
Jan. 15th, 2014 07:19 pm (UTC)
I don't like the plot arcs in S6 or S7. It seems to me that JW likes to extend extra work to actors that he likes. When Firefly was canceled he incorporated Gina Torres and Nathan Fillion into Angel and BtVS. There is nothing wrong with that except for the plot arcs that he wrote to accommodate this impulse.

Your version of S7 seems more more interesting and coherent than the canonical one.
rahirah
Jan. 17th, 2014 03:38 am (UTC)
I have nothing against Nathan Fillion, but Caleb is a terrible, terrible character.
shapinglight
Jan. 17th, 2014 09:56 am (UTC)
I was just going to come along and say this, because Caleb is the main thing I dislike in season 7, but since you've already said it, I don't have to. :)
( 27 rants — Talk To Me )

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