This was originally published in the 2013 ebook “Liz Tells Frank: The Skip It/Watch It Guides”, but it’s been a few years and people are still out there watching “Buffy” and “Angel” on Hulu with no idea how to do so properly, so what the hell. It’s almost Christmas. A perfect time to check in with these two iconic series.
It still astounds me that there are people in the world who haven’t watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I mean, what were you doing in the late 90s and early 00s? Not watching one of television’s great complex achievements? For shame.
It is less shocking when I find out that people haven’t seen Angel. “Vampire private detective” might sound like an easy pitch, but the show was always a weird nut, and never got the recognition Buffy did, despite hitting some magnificent highs over the course of its five season run.
While the two shows eventually took on separate paths — even eventually airing on separate networks — Buffy and Angel, much like their titular heroes, remain forever connected.
This guide attempts to capture not only which episodes are best avoided when watching both series, but how the two shows interacted during their initial airing — the one thing binge-viewing can’t quite capture without a little guidance.
Okay. So. This guide, officially, has been available in eBook form (along with others!) for a little while. But now was the time, with the revival coming towards us like a freight train, and with friends making an effort to rewatch hung up on misadvised installments, to release it to the people. Because now is the time, for the people to know that they maybe should not watch (or rewatch) all 201 episodes of “The X-Files” that have already aired. That maybe, just maybe, this seminal show, this series of delights, had some rough patches over its nine-season run.
Also, allow me to preface this guide with the following disclaimer: This guide is subjective. This guide is heavily influenced by my personal history with this show. This guide has a crush on Mulder and little patience for Reyes. This guide is at least 70 percent focused on identifying all the super-flirty episodes, and 30 percent focused on avoiding the really stupid stuff. This guide will be ignoring the existence of The X-Files: I Want to Believe.
This guide is here to help. Read the rest of this entry
Oh, Agents of SHIELD — a big thing done… well, not so great. At some point, I may tell Frank in full what happened during the first season of Marvel’s efforts to bring its superhero mega-franchise into prime-time broadcast television. But I started receiving requests for a Skip It/Watch It Guide for this show back in November. Clearly, the people have demands.
Here’s the most important thing about SHIELD — if you don’t have fondness in your heart for Joss Whedon and/or the Marvel Movieverse, you should probably just skip the whole damn thing. This show has potential, and definitely improves as it progresses, but it is an investment that you’d be totally justified in not wanting to make. Even though ABC did agree to continue the show, we’ll all look back on this season as a groundbreaking, but at best troubled, 22 episodes.
In a perfect world, this show would have been 13 episodes long, there would be a lot more make-outs and the hacker chick would have been shot in the head halfway through. This is not a perfect world. But for Whedon fans, superhero fans and those intrigued by what SHIELD might mean for the general media landscape, it will spark some interest. So, here you go. Watch in good health. This guide, I admit, came out as much more generous than anticipated. But that’s life in the NFL. Read the rest of this entry
You want it, baby? You got it.
That’s right, it’s a semi-comprehensive, totally subjective guide to 21 television shows of the past two decades, filled with recommendations as to which episodes to skip and which episodes to watch!
What new shows get covered? Oh, how about Alias, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer AND Angel, Dollhouse, Friday Night Lights, Fringe, How I Met Your Mother, Lost, New Girl, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The West Wing and The X-Files? How about THAT.
Plus, there are a few other surprises — like the Doctor Who guide getting updated through 2013! It’s a good time, especially thanks to Whitney Bishop and Andreanna Ditton’s Star Trek: Voyager and Farscape entries, and a foreword written by Farscape executive producer Richard Manning! Ricky helped make Star Trek, Frank!
The Skip It/Watch It Guides are now available exclusively on Amazon for $3.99. I very much hope you enjoy.
And, after seven long seasons, it’s time for erstwhile “Voyager” chronicler Whitney Bishop to bring us home. Take it away, Whitney! –Liz
Geena Davis: “We just heard a fascinating and disturbing study, where they looked at the ratio of men and women in groups. And they found that if there’s 17 percent women, the men in the group think it’s 50-50. And if there’s 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.”
Here, at the dawning of this last season of Voyager, I’ve got a theory for why, by the end, pretty much damn near every guest actor on the show is male — unless, of course, the character has to be a sex object, seduce someone, and/or give birth to someone, in which case that role can be filled by a lady — and that theory is basically summed up by that quote up there. The ratio hasn’t been great throughout the rest of the show, but by the end it’s just ridiculous. I think that the more time Janeway, Seven, and B’Elanna get, the more the show feels its gender quota has been filled and just defaults to male secondary characters.
I honestly think the lack of adult female roles has a lot to do with male perceptions of how women take up space. By the seventh season, Janeway still has the helm, Seven is an object of interest for many of the plots now, and B’Elanna’s pregnancy has pushed her back to frequent consideration where she once was absent from episodes entirely. Three women doing things is like having a show entirely about women, and therefore there’s no need to ensure gender diversity elsewhere.
To be clear, I’m not accusing anyone of malice or deliberate misogyny. But seeing seventeen percent and thinking it’s the same as half is just another indication of the failure of imagination that never let Voyager boldly go quite the way it should have. The show started out touting its female-led crew, but wound up not only struggling under its inability to keep up its initial promises of being Feminist Trek, but actually backsliding. That’s sort of sad.
And now, for Season 7… Read the rest of this entry
The adventure continues thanks to the wonderful Whitney Bishop, who continues her quest through the Delta Quadrant with the cleanest refugees in Starfleet. Season 6 is here — we’re almost home, you guys! –Liz
Season six of Voyager really becomes the Seven Show. On the one hand, that’s great, because Jeri Ryan is still the most talented cast member and Seven of Nine has some of the most interesting character development still left. Also, up until the end, it strayed away from the disasters that are usually her romance plots and embraced her ability to do other things, like take care of special-needs children and wear less makeup.
On the other hand, though, focusing on her means leaving a lot of good characters by the wayside. Nothing of note has happened to Chakotay in a good long while, and while Harry, Neelix, and Tuvok are present in a lot of scenes (and get to lead the plot in about an episode each), they’re generally supporting the action, not carrying it. That’s just death on a show that’s supposed to be an ensemble cast. I read that this season was a slog for Robert Beltran, and I have no problem believing that, considering how he was in every episode of the show (as was Tim Russ), but I don’t actually remember his being in most of the ones this season.
I’m also just going to point out the fact that three of the four cast members the show forgets about are three of its four cast members of color, put that down, and back away slowly. (If you’re interested in detailed-yet-spoilery statistics, Adherents.com has a list of Species / Race / Gender / Ethnicity Breakdown Among Star Trek Cast Members, which was a good read.)
SEASON SIX Read the rest of this entry