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Well, I'm not really sure this counts as a rant exactly... Oh, who am I kidding? By the time I'm done this will be a rant.

Anyway, the back story here is that I'd been working on some Buffy fanfic and decided I needed a break, so I switched to reading some Potter fanfic... This, of course, took me out of a Buffy mind, so I decided to go back and watch some Buffy episodes (was even considering finally buying Buffy's season five) - since it hadn't been that long since I'd went back and watched the first three seasons I decided to start with season four.

The good news is that season four feels much better than I remembered it being. Some things still suck (yes, I mean mostly Riley), but the pay-off that is Primeval covers many many sins. So, much so that I was honestly considering using my Christmas loot to (as I said) finally purchase season five on DVD.

Though I am still bitter over the fight before the goodness - why is it that it never gets mentioned that without Xander Queen Buffy wouldn't even be alive? And I'm not even talking about the big season one save or the big season six save, especially since that one probably shouldn't be called a save at all. But in the first three seasons there is three times that come right to mind that show without Xander Buffy would be dead.
1. In the very first episode (or the second, since they are clumped together on the DVD its hard to tell which episode this happens in) if Xander hadn't went down in the tunnels with Buffy she wouldn't have managed to escape, because he wouldn't have been there to pull her up out of the tunnel.
2. Angelus in the hospital, though I suppose you could argue that Angelus might not have killed her, but it is safe to assume that Angelus with a helpless Buffy would NOT have lead to hugs and puppies.
3. The zombies who were going to blow-up the school. Sure, TeamBuffy was trying to keep the Hellmouth closed, but would that have really matter if the zombies had managed to blow up the school.

The flip-side is that season six feels much worse than I remembered it being. And to my surprise it really isn't just Dawn (or the BS magicrack), though she (and MC) does suck in six very much. Of course, both of those things sucked to me originally, but despite that I was one of the few wacky people who actually liked season six originally, but now after the first seven (eight) episodes season six really seems to go to hell in a hand-basket.

The first hint of this downward direction is in the musical episode with the BS Xander summoned Sweet - NO, just no! Dawn doing the deed makes the most sense, BUT the music had all ready started before Dawn stole the thingie, so the twist that it wasn't Dawn does make sense. It just doesn't work that it was Xander who did it. Personally, I think Xander was covering for someone, and I suspect that someone was Anya, who doesn't always view demons the same way as others, so aside from Dawn Anya doing the deed makes the most sense.

The next is the entire episode of Tabula Rasa, which actually makes me very sad because I really loved this episode first time around, but now I'm starting to agree with those who've said that this episode was the first indication that Whedon had completely lost touch with who these characters were. First off is the rather obvious, Xander (and this bugged me a bit even first time around) who is shown to faint. Wrong, Xander actually handled things pretty well originally, it was Willow that bordered on full mental break-down way back when.

Of course, Xander and Willow aren't the only two that don't exactly add up here. Buffy and Dawn with that almost instant connection just doesn't add up either. And for the record I'm not even talking about the fact that Dawn hasn't always been there, though this would have been a good time to play that up (I think it might have even been a good way to get the audience to actually feel sorry for Dawn), especially since it would have fit in with the overall weirdness that was between Buffy and Dawn through the whole of season six.

Seriously, at this point in season six (actually the whole of season six) Buffy wasn't connecting with anyone (except possibly Spike, but I don't think she was really connecting with him either), but in the beginning (of the series) she did connect with Giles, Willow, and Xander, and I personally think we should have seen that connection again in this episode, especially since this would have been the perfect place for it. I'm not saying she shouldn't have connected with Spike, because he did fill the early Angel role, so that worked, but the lack of connection with the others just didn't.
(What's weird is they (the writers, whatever) actually got this lack of Buffy connecting with Dawn when they did Normal Again, so why couldn't they have gotten it here? *sigh* I guess we'll never know.)

Also, not saying anything against Giles connecting with Anya, because I think that worked well - it was also a good build-up for the failed wedding between Xander and Anya later. And I also don't exactly have a problem with Willow and Tara connecting, but I think we should have seen a bit more of a connection between Xander and Willow or at least from Willow to Xander, which would have made her even more confused/conflicted.

I find myself thinking that it would have been better to have Dawn and Tara connecting instead of Buffy and Dawn, because when you look back Tara does seem to connect the most with Dawn, so having Dawn and Tara with a connection would have seemed (at least to me) more natural.

After that, though things really went wonky, though the next three episodes weren't bad... Actually, the episodes up through Normal Again weren't really bad except for Dawn being really annoying and no one calling her on it.

Dawn wants Willow better as long it doesn't screw with what she wants. Dawn wants Buffy to spend time with her but has no respect for what Buffy is going through, and I'm not even really talking about coming back from the dead, but having the job to pay bills and support the ungrateful little snot.

That's when it hit me, Dawn isn't the problem not exactly. But it was the inserting of Dawn into their lives by the monks that really screwed their lives up. Of course, I realize this was not intentional on Dawn's part, but I think this may be why she was so widely disliked, because it is clear that without her in their lives there lives would have been better.

The big way things would have been better is obvious, without Dawn Buffy wouldn't have died, so her depressed-fest of season six wouldn't have happened, but I also think there would have been happy ripples drifting out from that. For example, Xander asked Anya to marry him because the big battle with Glory was coming, without that I don't think Xander would have popped the question, because it seems obvious in hind-sight that he really was only popping the question because he didn't expect to live through the battle. I speculate that without the big question Xander and Anya's relationship would have ended much smoother, perhaps so much so that Anya wouldn't have jumped back into the whole demon thing.

Then there's Willow, who I believe would have also been affected for the better, because Glory destroying Tara's mind made Willow delve deeper into the magics clearly before she was ready, and bringing Buffy back certainly didn't help. Again, I think without that whole thing Willow would have taken the whole magic thing more slowly.

Still I think what gets me most of all is the conflicting themes - we're told (repeatedly, I might add) that mind-rape is bad. SO much so that Tara leaves Willow over it, but none of the characters EVER think about the fact that what Willow done to Tara is actually small potatoes compared to what the monks done to everyone.

So, I think I'll hold off on Season Five a bit longer, especially because one of the fanfics I'm working on has Dawn playing a part, one that won't work if I really get my rage on... Though this time I seem to be blaming the monks (Team Whedon) more than Dawn herself, I'm just not sure I should chance it, because I suspect watching Season Five would make the stuff I feel on the rewatch of Six seem like warm fuzzy bunny feelings.

PS - SantaMan, were you a little late getting your Christmas cards out this year? I only ask because I didn't actually get one from you until January 2nd. ;)
(After all, I was a bit late getting mine out, as well.)
Yeah my cards were sent late indeed, yours was in time btw. :)

I miss you around Terran. *hugs* also on MSN. ;)

I'll probably never get back into MSN, but I do keep hoping I'll eventually get back to posting on Terran one of these days.