I bought the complete box set of Buffy (again), having once before bought it and found myself utterly incapable of watching more than a couple of episodes of Season 4 and Season 5.
When the show was actually airing my first wife and I watched it avidly all through the first three seasons, but the moment season four rang the changes we dropped pretty much all but casual interest and certainly never again made any effort to watch it as an event.
It picked up the usual suspects as “avid fans” at that point- the same sort of sad OCD types who have now ruined Doctor Who fandom by turning it into a niche show as far as they are able to.
This time around the show is playing in the background as I work, with me listening to all the episodes and watching Seasons 4 through 7 – the ones I simply couldn’t have cared less about when it was screening and which I thought were just nonsense.
I am watching them and finding that the Tara character is just as odiously irritating as I originally thought; the Dawn character is just as silly, arbitrary and painful as the first time around, and the ridiculousness of the plotless freefall is worse now I am actually tracking along through the seasons.
Tara as a character is just painful to watch – a distillation of the Buffyspeak they were so proud of, the tokenistic minority character they were also proud of, and perhaps worst of all the pandering to asocial audience members by telling them they can be included too! Yay! Somehow the achingly right-on pushy agendaness of it all robs what could be a sweet story arc of all but the most awful liberal talking points.
And then there’s Dawn.
Worse than anything in the later seasons – the lack of real “big bads” that actually build up properly, the self referentiality being all too tellingly an indicator of a lack of ideas, etc. – is that Steven Moffat is to Russell Davies as Espenson is to Whedon, and Doctor Who is such a terrible vehicle to plagiarise Buffy – almost beat for beat story for story. Ouch ouch ouch.