PODCAST – EP05 – Because of Buffy

Buffy-the-vampire-slayer

a.k.a. AhhhJossJossJoss

shona and tomShona and Tom recently recordedat The Vampire Ball – a convention to celebrate the worlds and works of Joss Whedon.

The dynamic duo take a moment to discuss and reflect upon the show that started it all (for us lot anyhoo!) – Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

After successfully identifying themselves as Willow and Xander (well duh guys, seriously!); the pair look at how this show changed their lives for the better; the cult of Whedon theme song (no really) and kitten poker as well as much much more!

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buffy full cast

Shona also mentioned my Buffy story (which you can read about HERE) which got me to thinking  (a dangerous pastime, I know!). So many of my con family have come together directly as a result of this oft derided and under-rated TV series.

What’s your ‘Because of Buffy‘ story?

We’d love to hear from you – how your life has changed ‘because of Buffy‘ – in big ways or small. If you’ve blogged or vlogged or podcast about it, let me know and I’ll get all linky with it!

what would buffy do

REWATCH – Angel – Spike and Andrew

This is one of my favourite scenes in the Buffyverse

Angel S05 EP11 Damages

I love that Spike – who clearly knows what’s to come – just stands there and lets Andrew hug him. Again. And Again.

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Spike 02

He knows Andrew, they’re mates…of a sort… so he doesn’t make fun or put him down (later there’s a gentle jibe but more at Wesley than Andrew and it’s very good humoured).

Spike 03

Also, Angel’s face – watching one of the Sunnydale set just ADORE Spike like that. And no harm for the rest of the team to be reminded again that there are other opinions on Spike (than Angel’s).

Spike 04

Couldn’t find a gif with the ‘like Gandalf the white…’ line

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Spike 06

It’s just so…Buffy. And frankly, Angel (the series) needed a bit of that.

VIDEO – Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S03 teaser 

Looking forward to this (more as a Marvel fan that a Whedon one of I’m honest) as it would seem are the majority of you – at least according to my little POLL here. 

RE-WATCH – Buffy – A History of Viewing

Well, this has been the summer of the re-watch and no mistake. On top of our regular viewing…and one or two new shows, we’ve demolished Supernatural, Dollhouse, Game of Thrones, Cold Case, The Last Ship* (unwillingly on my behalf) and himself is currently introducing me to Northern Exposure – one of his favourites from the early 90’s (loving it, for the record).

It’s been a ton of fun. Last week however, I felt … weird. It’s probably a symptom of my on-going unintentional long-term rejection of sleep but I’ve found myself out of balance and out of touch with myself.

Clearly I needed a sort of psychic restorative. A pick me up for the soul if you will.

Enter from stage right – BUFFY.

Ever since 1992 when I piled into a cinema to profess my undying love for Luke Perry; I’ve loved Buffy. Now, I realise that the film isn’t…a natural Oscar contender. There are some seriously hokey scenes; totally daft dialogue; the clothes; some of the cheesiest vampires ever captured on celluloid and I can’t express my gratitude enough that they ditched the ‘I can sense vampires with my womb’ concept for the series – nevertheless; Buffy was a kick-ass heroine faced with the same crazy making world as me. What’s not to adore?

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It wasn’t until 1998 that I caught my first episode of the tv Buffy (‘The Pack’). Zimbabwean TV – the ZBC – had hit a relatively successful patch, but it was usually a few years (or decades) after something had aired in the US or UK before it reached our one-channel set. So those classmates with links to SABC (the South African broadcaster) or satellites were pretty much responsible for our cultural growth. A friend brought in a video recorded from the telly which was passed around my friend group.

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It was just so exciting for me to have SFF set for teens that wasn’t Star Trek. With a female lead, the same age as me. Who wore normal (if pretty stylish) outfits and had a mom and friends and classes and also MONSTERS! WITCHES! DEMONS! I must have watched that episode a dozen times, familiarizing myself with Willow, Xander and Giles. I didn’t head bang to the theme song though. That came later I recall!

There were other things going on at the time that probably helped my fixation develop. Around that time, my family decided to return to Ireland after a 7 years absence. I was just 16 and not a particularly mature one at that. Though I adored my family, I was leaving my home. It was a really disruptive period and though it was obviously a transitional one that resulted in many wonderful opportunities and relationships; it was tough on all of us.

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We were barely back a week before I caught a re-run of the first season of Buffy on telly. To say that I clung to this one minimal link with the past reeeealllly understates my ability to over-think. Buffy in that moment became a constant for me. Something that was just mine and connected the two places I had called home at that point. After all, she had just moved and was starting over again too.

School in Ireland turned out to be like school anywhere. That first week though, was hilariously awful. Long practiced at walking around with one foot in my mouth; my ability to say the worst possible thing at the least opportune moment seemed to have magnified. It became clear that I would NEVER make any friends, that leaving Zimbabwe had been a HUGE mistake and my only chances at happiness were now GONE.**

buffy failure

Of course, this misery was short lived. I made a friend, then another until after a while, Ireland started to feel like a different sort of home. This process was greatly aided by my wonderful friend @Lainibop. She and I are very different people that just clicked. To this day, she is my heart and best self.

She also…had Sky. That meant that she got Buffy a half a million years before anyone else – and full episodes, not the butchered half hour/cancelled for snooker every second week as it seemed to be on terrestrial telly . The second that she learned how much the show meant to me, she recorded every episode of Buffy (and later Angel) for me to watch with her at weekends.

For four years.

What a friend, eh! She barely even knew me – it’s just who she is.

I really do Red

I really do Red

During that period, I settled in (good), cut my hair (not good), made some amazing life long friends (very good) and developed a crippling back condition (well, duh, does that sounds like a good?).

When I headed off to Leeds for uni, I carried with me my teddy George, a guitar and a rucksack, with my Buffy season 1 & 2 DVD box sets wrapped up in clothes (I actually bought the DVD’s in Ireland for uni – at this point I did not actually have access to a DVD player. Or a TV. At the time, that seemed quite normal – now I look back in awe and wonder at my little dork self!). For the most part, moving to the UK was terrific. There were ups and downs but at 19, I was more prepared for that. And at least I got away for uni – the poor old Buffster had to stick by the hellmouth…

And when things got rough, I just hid behind my Buffy…

Buffy continued to play a significant role in my life. During our ‘getting to know you’ wooing phase, himself and I watched the first 4 seasons in the course of a week (*eyes tear up with emotion*) – my first TV binge with a *boy*.

And then I grew up and left such silly obsessions behind me.

buffy grown up

Riiiight.

When Dollhouse aired, I finally cracked twitter and made some amazing friends from all over the world, with only one known common interest. Amazing! One of these friends convinced me to attend a convention (which I’ve blogged about before); thus opening a whole new aspect of fandom and friendship to me. Being a part of this world has been hugely positive for me – I’ve gained so much confidence in myself and in my passions.

Another twitter found friend – take a bow @FixatedOn – taught me about podcasting. He made me feel like what I had to say was interesting and funny, especially because it was niche, not despite that. Those two worlds collided beautifully when a Whedon guest at a convention gamely decided to record a podcast with me – you’re the best Reed.

buffy life lessons

Heck, Buffy is on my CV under interests and twice an interviewer has brought it up and we’ve ended up having a mini-geek-out, which is all sorts of cool.

No TV show can take the credit (or the blame) for me being the person that I am. The people in my life; the places that I’ve lived – these are what have shaped me. These are what I strive to emulate and live up to.

However, Buffy has been a uniquely placed marker for the different periods in my life. She has been a friend; a guide and sometimes a cautionary tale. We’ve laughed and cried and cringed together; sharing in successes and commiserating in our mistakes. And somehow found our respective places in the world***

buffy what would buffy do

*I’m pretty sure that I’ve forgotten a few here but in the interests of not outing myself as a utter tv addict; let’s ignore that right now.

**I can almost look back and laugh at the earnest drama queen tendencies of my teenage self…but it still stings just a little! Ooof, 16 was a HARD age!

***Which to be honest was tougher for me…I’m not fictional!

buffy i wear the cheese

INTERVIEW – Reed Diamond – Christmas Special the Second

Once again Culturally Fixated is joined by our Special Correspondent in LA to celebrate Christmas!!

Welcome back to the fabulous, the funny, the festive

REED DIAMOND

daniel whitehall gifWhat a chat!! We cover all sorts of everything – we dove straight in and began discussing Marvel, comics, Agents of SHIELD and Reed’s reunion with Jed Whedon, Mo Tancharoen and Dichen Lachman. From there – it was a hectic head first trip down the rabbit hole as we covered Rossum, Hydra, the spectrum of TV villains and the parallels of the fictional and real world.

Then onto Reed’s insanely busy 2014 – from Wayward Pines to the final season of Franklin and Bash, to working with Malcolm McDowell and his first foray in comedy (on TV anyway), then onto State of Affairs and back again.

REED DIAMOND

as Daniel Whitehall

All the while joined by Monkey (an actual magical monkey) and Donald (the inebriated and obscenely snobby elf). Daniel Whitehall – yup, heartless evil Nazi Hydra leader – even serenaded us with a chilling rendition of Jingle Bells.

Oh and I taught Reed how *not* to say Nollaig Shona (Merry Christmas in Irish).

***LANGUAGE***
We’ve very good. Practically not offensive at all.
***SPOILERS***
Agents of SHIELD. We ruin the living daylights out of the first half of the second season.
And the end part of the first.
Oh, we also assume that everyone is up to speed on Dollhouse and Much Ado About Nothing. Because why wouldn’t you be?
[audio http://culturallyfixated.podbean.com/mf/web/mr574p/ReedDiamond-ChristmasSpecial.mp3]

 

Say hi to Reed on Twitter. Don’t be shy – he’s delightful – @ReedDiamond

Subscribe to Culturally Fixated on iTunes!
 
Fancy more of our inane chatter? You’ll find us on twitter as @SteveCult and @Drneevil
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More Conversations with Reed Diamond

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D – Quick Moan

y’all know I’m a fan, right?

Season 02 is not off to a strong start for me.

Aside from the way that mental health is being depicted and the complete lack of support offered to those struggling with theirs…which I have a feeling will be a mini-podcast-rant very soon…

Guess who has been confirmed:

raina

BAH!!!

GEEK – Starfury’s fifth Vampire Ball

Just in the door from the Vampire Ball.

As life has been all sorts of hectic the last few months, I’m unlikely to get a full review up but I wanted to make a note or two while it’s fresh.

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Unfortunately two of the guests cancelled rather last minute – Janina Gavankar (probably best known for the L Word and True Blood but has been in all sorts of everything) and Tamara Gorski  (an episode here and there on a billion shows or so) which had the unexpected result of turning The Vampire Ball into a total Buffy and Angel event. Especially once George Hertzberg was announced – best known as Adam from Buffy season 4.

As y’all can imagine, I was completely gutted about that. 🙂

My journey to Birmingham was one of those things to be glossed over but the second I arrived at the rather lovely Hilton there, I happened upon a dozen or so of some of my favourite people in the world – my con family are as delightful as ever and always make me feel like home! Sadly, not all of the family were able to be there, but I’m delighted to officially add Shangel into my immediates – he can name every Buffy episode in under 2 minutes apparently. How could I not adore? (We also had this brilliant (if somewhat ranty on my behalf) discussion about William Shakespeare. He’s officially one of my best friend finds at a con…and given how much I love my con family…that’s pretty awesome!).

All the guests attended the Meet and Greet’s – even James Marsters which was a special treat as last year he skipped it. He’s been working through 25 SF must read books and is in the middle of the Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov and we had this mini-geek out over Heinlein’s A Stranger in a Strange Land and Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One which was one of the high points of (MY LIFE) the con for sure! Throughout the whole con – autographs, photos, talks – he was bouncy, chatty and kept challenging us to ask him ANYTHING at all as he can’t be embarrassed. We did our best, but his face, it did not blush!

Emma Caulfield was wickedly funny and sweet and we all had a natter about the now defunct Essnemma which included a variety of suggestions of other online shows we thought that she could start as an alternative! Somehow that ended up as our randomly shouting out various items of heavy machinery! During the photo session, she gave me a proper hug and while I was a little disappointed during her talks that she didn’t seem to remember much from her time on Buffy (which ended 11 years ago!); she was totally honest  and sincere about it. Actually it totally tied into her philosophy of life, living in the now and seeking balance so it made sense. The only downside – for her – was that she was just DESPERATE for rain and not a drop fell from the sky the entire weekend.

Jeff Ricketts was this con’s Reed Diamond. As he walked over, I just saw the Watcher Council lackey that spat on Faith…with flashes of one of the Gentlemen from the Host… then he started talking a mile a minute and was just the loveliest, chattiest, funniest person you could imagine! Utterly bonkers like, but in the best possible way – he introduced himself by channeling the psychic energy of the room…and basically turned out to be tuned into the adult one channels… Honestly though, he was absolutely lovely except for this one moment when we were talking about Angel and he recited his line ‘We loved her first’ and basically scared the bejesus out of me. Bastard!!! spider monster

He was also one of those guests that stays up until practically the crack of dawn then emerges the next day looking fresh as a daisy. Actually, I was one of five attendees that headed out on the Sunday night for a curry with him, George and Jonathan which was an absolute blast!!! (For those that know me, I had the korma…adventurous as usual!). IMG_1366

The second Hat Trick-er of the con was of course the inimitable Jonathan M Woodward, always one of the best guests. He brought his usual infectious energy and – in a break from the normal Communion (where JW and one of the other guests shares out pringles and whiskey with the attendees) – Angel make up artist Dayne Johnson did him up in full vampire make up as a special treat! During his guest talk with Jeff Ricketts, he pulled me up on stage for a brief and mortifying moment so for that I shall naturally love him forever… riiiight…

He and Jeff were both eloquent about their appreciation for the Whedon fandom whereby our passion for these shows transformed their lives and careers (in differing ways). Jeff appeared twice on Buffy and Angel but noted that because Firefly was such a cult show his one episode there seemed to impact more. Jonathan was also hilarious about being a big bad that actually managed to kill one of the main characters – a controversial but hysterical viewpoint!

George Hertzberg also flew the last night party flag high – staying up till at least 3am on the Saturday night. He was particularly nice to me during the photo session that morning when I was non-verbal. Yup, as is traditional, I lost my voice for a few hours after staying up far too late. Who could have predicted that my body requires more than 3.5 hours sleep to function properly? Bizarre. Oh, and during his Q and A with James Marsters; I was able to ask my Beatles question (relating to the Yoko Factor episode), so all the happy bunny me! He’s also RIDICUMALOUSLY tall. Twenty feet, easily. Something I just didn’t expect. I mean, Adam, sure, but the only time we see him and him (Restless) he was sat down.

As always, the weekend flew by far too quickly (though it may be for the best as I just can’t manage to get anything like enough sleep…or food…or non-alcoholic liquids…). And I just can’t wait until my next one!

 

Right. To snooze…perhaps to recover.

REWATCH – Angel

20140808-114242 am-42162786.jpgAngel is the only one of the Whedon stable of shows where I don’t feel like I have to start at the very beginning and work my way through till the end. With the exception of Connor and the whoe Shanshu propechy; I think that it’s probably because it’s less arc orientated than Buffy (and of course, there are two few Firefly to feel the need to watch in any order OTHER than the intended viewing one and Dollhouse is worth watching in order as it takes such huge leaps and strides forward in terms of story telling, concept and arc).

So I started with season 4, as it’s my always been my least favourite. The whole Cordy-Connor thing, just….wigs me out. And I actually like Connor for the most part – it was a story that had such potential but ended up being so icky (till his glorious redemptive turn in season 5).

Started on season 2 now. No idea why I remember this one as having been less than stellar – the first few eps are GREAT! Still feel the lack of Doyle though. *sob*

Planning on season 3 next, then it’s the ultimate season off – 1 vs 5… I think Spike might just win it out over Doyle…maybe!

 

REWATCH – Buffy – Season 07

Watching season 07 of #Buffy with himself.

Feeling smug because he can’t face anymore #SG1 but #Buffy is still going strong!

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GEEK – Starfury Invasion (#Inv4sion)

I was so determined this year that I was going to be all sensible miss and not attend any cons. THANKS THE SKIES that fell through and I am the proud purchaser of a Starfury Events Invasion ticket!

Squee!!

Words can’t convey my excitement. Not only is there an impressive range of actors from some of my favourite TV shows (including Arrow’s Paul Blackthorne and Caity Lotz, The Guild’s Sandeep Parikh and Whedon alum Felicia Day, TSCC/Raising Hope star Garrett Dillahunt and Francis Capra from Veronica Mars) but tons of my convention family will also be in attendance!

There will be dancing. 

There will be drinking.

There will be FUN!

(If your interested in finding out a bit more about how cons are run, I did a fairly detailed ‘what to expect’ post on the Vampire Ball a little while ago!)

 

Anyone have any questions that they’d like asked?