Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Naratives

Ben details St. Patty's Day over at his blog, and even includes some Harn family history for good measure.

Excellent post on the demands readers place on writers and the narratives they weave, vis-a-vis Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8. This is the sort of lit theory re: 'pop art' that gets me going. It's only in a serialized form - and only in comic continunation of a TV show that is a continuation of a failed movie - that you can get at this kind of narrative complexity. When do stories end? Do they ever? Do continuations like Buffy or a proposed Angel Season 6 spoil what came before? Do readers/viewers have a right to know what comes next? Does Joss Whedon have a right to potentially water down his own creation by going back to the well, to satisfy his own personal desire for narrative continuation? What closure will the comic series bring, if any?

This relates to a conversation Ben and my cousin Matt and Sugu have quite often it seems: the pros and cons of serial characters. Superman is one of the great characters. But his stories will always suck. He's Superman; he's Coke. They changed Coke to New Coke, it sucked, people hated it, it went back to Old Coke. Superman always has to be Superman. All serial characters do, to one degree to another. When they attempt change, they always reneg on it and restore the status quo (didn't he die once or something?). Buffy is not a serial character. The TV series was a fairly complex and well orchestrated (less so toward the end) novel (or comic - the season arcs do mirror classic comic book arc structures) in TV form. This anticipated current TV novels (The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, etc.) to some degree. Now Buffy is a comic book, where few characters ever escape. My hope is Whedon has some second act for her - perhaps a long novel ala Sandman - and that she won't succumb to the want of the reader to have her around on a regular basis.

Oh, and Angel Season Six? Nah. They all died in that alley.

(UPDATE): Unless Buffy and the Slayerettes showed up in the alley. Ben and I went out to the pub last night and discussed as we often do all things Buffy. We weren't sure how much time has passed between Season 7 and Season 8 - on the show it was real time, so three months of summer passed during the hiatus. Turns out according to this PW article, it's been 18 months. Which means Buffy could have already saved Angel's bacon (Season 5 of Angel took place a year after Season 7 of Buffy, which means Season 8 takes place six months after that. Anyone confused? Bueller?).

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