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27 November 2005
Buffy 1 - Doctor 0.  But why?

I have recently started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  About bloody time you might think but, as I think, better (eight years) late than never.  And, needless to say, given that it was a huge international hit, it’s brilliant.

While watching it I couldn’t help noticing some extraordinary similarities between Buffy and the new series of Doctor Who:

  • the 45-minute, story-in-one-episode format
  • Rose seems heavily based on Buffy even down to the special powers
  • Eccleston’s Doctor seems to have more than a whiff of Angel about him.  Even down to the leather jacket
  • Deaths off-screen (usually) - an apparent break with the Doctor Who tradition

They both have elements of mystery, spectacle and terror.  So, why does Buffy work while (for me, at least) the new Doctor Who doesn’t?  Why is it that Buffy seems perfectly paced while Doctor Who seems rushed?  Is it just bad writing?  That doesn’t seem to ring true.  Russell T Davies can certainly write.  And, if anything, his scripts were the weakest in the series.  Is there, perhaps, a problem with the settings?  Doctor Who has a new setting each week, Buffy, is always right there at the Hellmouth.  Could all the time spent setting the scene be taking away from the mystery?  Perhaps, but you wouldn’t have thought it would be that difficult.

The only thing I can think of is that in Buffy, the writers deliberately slow things down and allow the characters to mull things over in scenes that usually take place in the library.  This allows, us, the viewers, to get involved with the plot.

I like contrived plot explanations.

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  1. Patrick, I have all seven seasons of Buffy on DVD if you want to borrow any of them.

    Posted by Michael Jennings on 02 December 2005 at 05:16pm

  2. I think the reason Buffy works and why the new Dr Who (And Angel for that matter) take themselves too seriously. Buffy always gave me the impression of campy fun, where the other series are a bit too morose for me.

    Posted by Tristan Phillips on 04 January 2006 at 06:18pm

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