Oftentimes, experiencing something (whether it be a song, film, or TV show) a second, third, fourth, tenth time can bring about realisations as to the deeper meanings behind it. Themes can become clear, subtle references can be caught where once they sailed over your head. Back when I was five and my dear mother’s irresponsible parenting allowed me to sit cuddled up with her in front of the TV some evenings, I watched a show where a teenage girl with superpowers and her friends fought vampires and demons and saved the world a lot. It fucking rocked my tiny little world and to this day I describe myself as an Uber Ultra Mega Buffy Fangirl. I can identify exact scenes from single nondescript episode stills. I know the words to every single song from that episode. I bawl my stupid eyes out pretty much consistently in the latter half of season 5. So you could say I like the show a fair bit.
And to be honest, yes, I do like it for all the reasons you’d think. I’m not going to be an arse about it. Buffy is a strong, intelligent, witty feminine character who kicks ass and saves the world. The writing is superb. The soundtrack is absolutely flawless (especially in season one! 90’s emo and post-hardcore and alt-rock all over the place!) and yet, when the show needs to take a serious turn and address real-world issues and circumstances, it does so without abandoning the fantasy-world feel. But that’s not why the show remains a cult phenomenon to this day. it was Joss Whedon’s inspired mix of horror-movie revisionism, pop-culture vamping and wrenching tragedy (remember that episode of season 5?) using the exaggerated trials of its young demon hunter and her friends as a metaphor for the everyday troubles of society and people that connected with the audience on a very visceral, real-world level.
I realised after my most recent rewatch marathon that it isn’t particularly controversial to say that the female-bodied and female-identifying viewers connected far more with the show than the rest of the audience. It’s a given that the demons and vampires and other miscellaneous evil beings are all allegories for abusive people, and in a society dominated by men, rife with sexual violence against women and trans* people, watching a fantasy world where Buffy Summers and her friends hunt down (usually male) vampires attacking women in alleyways at night is escapism and catharsis all at once.
Thankfully, it’s never presented as simple as “They are the good guys, they’re going to kill the bad guys” because it’s not that simple, and sometimes things are more difficult than that. Buffy’s ‘bad’ side is explored, and the presence of ‘good’ in vampires and demons is considered too. The complexity of love in a world of violence and power is something that Whedon was particularly successful in discussing while presenting almost all of the relationships portrayed on the show - even the somewhat dysfunctional ones - as partnerships rather than than usual power-plays full of jealousy and out of date gender-based stereotypes, and even the unhealthy or unsuccessful relationships operate on the idea that the relationship is going south because there is an imbalance of power (see: Buffy’s romantic life in seasons 4, 6 and 7).
To be honest, I still mourn the ending of the television series, even though it ended on such an incredible note, because no other show will ever quite match up to it. Every time I get out my box set and settle down to watching Buffy beat the shit out of the forces of darkness, my inner kid is still sitting next to her mum and doing a tiny little headbang to the theme tune.
Is one of these three actors the next Doctor?: As you’ve probably heard if you’ve been on the internet in the past week or so, Matt Smith is leaving Doctor Who at the end of the year. The Eleventh Doctor is set to regenerate in the yet-to-filmed Christmas special, but his replacement is underwraps… or is it? As is tradition before a new Doctor is announced, speculation has been rife over who will become “Twelve”; names like Benedict Cumberbatch, Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart and Dame Helen Mirren have been bandied around by salivating Whovians, clearly eager for some huge star power in the role. But as amazing as any of those actors would be as The Doctor, think back to when David Tennant’s departure was announced; did anyone expect Matt Smith to be cast? Did anyone really even know who he was? The BBC tends to pick relative unknowns, or at least actors with only some minor name status to fill the Time Lord’s shoes.
Rumours are abound that the new Who will be revealed tomorrow, thanks to a British Sunday paper supposedly discovering the identity of the actor, forcing the BBC to make their announcement much earlier than planned. It’s also suggested that there has been a photoshoot with the new Twelfth Doctor already, and Starburst Magazine has offered up the likeliest options to replace Smith.
- Dominic Cooper
Quite a well known face, if not name, in the contemporary film world, Cooper has starred in The History Boys, Captain America, Mamma Mia, An Education and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer in the last few years. He might suffer from the “pretty boy” prejudice which greeted Matt Smith in 2009, but he does have the talents to pull off the range of emotions required for our favourite Gallifreyan. However would Cooper want to give up a burgeoning Hollywood career for a trip in the TARDIS? Probably not.
- Daniel Kaluuya
If Kaluuya gets the job, he’ll join a number of actors (namely Freema Agyeman and Karen Gillan) to have reappeared in the series in a major role after first appearing in an earlier episode. However he’ll be the first to return as The Doctor himself, which may be evidence enough to put him out of the running. Kaluuya played Barclay in the Tennant-era episode Planet Of The Dead, but is best know for playing Posh Kenneth in the first generation of Skins. He also appeared in the Black Mirror episode 15 Million Merits, as well as Psychoville, Welcome To The Punch and The Fades, not to mention a role in the upcoming Kick-Ass 2. Kaluuya would be a fine choice for Twelve (his performance and especially his closing monologue in 15 Million Merits is something to behold), and would be the first black actor in the role. At 23, he’s even younger than Matt Smith too, which fits the trend of increasingly younger Doctors.
- Domhnall Gleeson
Possibly the least known of these three candidates, Gleeson is, as the name suggests, the son of Brendan Gleeson, star of In Bruges and Mad-Eye Moody in a little-known series called Harry Potter. Domhnall himself also appeared in the Potter saga as Bill Weasley, and like Daniel Kaluuya, was in an episode of Black Mirror. His filmography skews towards the independent side of things, although he has popped in up in larger productions like Dredd, Anna Karenina, Never Let Me Go and True Grit. If we had to choose, Gleeson would be our pick, purely for the payoff of the running joke of The Doctor wanting to be ginger.
So, if the gossip is true (which is probably isn’t, and these three are the final candidates to man the TARDIS, which would you want saving the universe?
Rulers Of Westeros of the day: Now that’s how Game Of Thrones should end. Everything’s coming up Davos!
Creed Bratton - All The Faces
As heard on the finale of The Office this week. It’s okay, you can cry now, the loss of a long running TV show is an emotional time, and it doesn’t help when the last episode is so heartwarming.
Attention to detail of the day: Hyped for the upcoming new season of Arrested Development on Netflix? Going through the obligatory rewatch of the first three seasons? Well Recurring Developments should help; a website tracking every running joke to appear throughout the series. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what the internet was created for.
Morbid reminder of the day: This infographic (created by Designbysoap) sorta kills the image of the invincible superhero doesn’t it? Also shows that unless you have either a) superpowers, b) genetic mutation or c) shedloads of cash and training, then your tenure as a hero will be very very short.
Mother of the day: It’s been eight loooooooong seasons of How I Met Your Mother (long enough for those kids to have stopped listening to Ted’s stories and gone off to get married and start their own families), but we finally know the identity of the future Mama Mosby. It’s her up there in that screencap; Cristin Milioti, who you might just remember from classic 30 Rock episode “TGS Hates Women” where she played ‘very sexy baby’ Abby Flynn (it makes sense in context, honest). Does that make Ted the crazy ex she had to run away from?
Anyway, that’s this decade’s biggest television mystery solved. Onto the next one: how the hell is Big Bang Theory still popular?
D’OH-light News of the day: Apologies for that dreadful pun. In case you missed the big announcement that Sigur Ros will be appearing in the season finale of The Simpsons, here’s what the Icelandic band will look like in the episode. The trio follow in the recent footsteps of Lady Gaga, Tom Waits, and The Decemberists in appearing on the long-running sitcom, but they will also be scoring part of the episode as well as reinterpreting that classic theme tune.
Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Futurama (as if we needed to tell you that), said of the appearance:
“I’m a longtime fan of Sigur Rós, and we’re honored to bring their Icelandic, ambient moods to our goofy cartoon show.”
The episode, entitled “The Saga Of Carl”, will air on May 19th.
It’s Really Happening of the day: Brand spankin’ new character posters for Season 4 of Arrested Development, premiering exclusively (and in one whole bunch!) on Netflix on May 26th. Hands up if you’re constantly blueing yourself until then.