The ultimate guide to Joss Whedon, entitled Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion: The TV Series, the Movies, the Comic Books and More, was released May 1. Read an excerpt now!

The almost 500-page-long book is a collection of essays on all aspects of Joss Whedon’s work (including the recently premiered The Avengers), and features contributions by Jane Espenson and Tim Minear. Hypable has received a copy of this book, and you can expect a full review soon.

For now, read the excerpt released by Movies.com, from one of the essays talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

Joss Whedon 101: Buffy The Vampire Slayer (The Movie)

Laura Berger

The 1997 television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is often cited as an “unlikely” critical darling. The title didn’t exactly inspire confidence, nor did the fact that the cast was led by former soap star Sarah Michelle Gellar. Perhaps most damning was the show’s affiliation with a poorly received film released five years prior—a film of the same name and premise.

The earliest incarnation of Buffy is something that many fans would like to forget; indeed, even Joss Whedon, screenwriter of the film and creator behind the series, is adamant about the fact that the film should not be considered part of the Buffy canon. Whedon has (repeatedly and publicly) voiced his disappointment with the film, which was not representative of his original screenplay. Viewers agree. The film has a score of 32 percent at Rotten Tomatoes; 11 “fresh” reviews are eclipsed by the 23 “rotten” ones (“Buffy”).

For most fans of the show, the movie is embarrassing. Diehard fans of the series have more success convincing people who haven’t seen the movie to watch the show because they don’t have preconceived notions (except the silly title, its affiliation with the WB, a teen-oriented network, the fact that it is science fiction and fantasy… etc.). In any case, introductions to Buffy are met with less resistance when the person in question hasn’t seen the film.

Many hardcore fans of the show do not rewatch the movie often—or at all. These same fans cringe whenever it’s mentioned, but interestingly, the details of the film are unfamiliar to them. They unceasingly criticize the film, but when they do watch it, they discover they still can’t summarize details of the storylines or comment on the characters. Merrick, Pike, Lothos—the characters that comprise the movie’s cast of characters are decidedly less memorable than the indelible Giles, Spike, and Angel.

The film begins with a flashback to Europe sometime in “The Dark Ages” (characterization is not the only area in which the film lacks specificity). A voiceover sets the stage: “Since the dawn of time, the vampires have walked among us, killing, feeding. The only one with the strength or skill to stop their heinous evil is the Slayer. She who bears the birthmark, the mark of the coven.” The Slayer is trained by the Watcher, and when one Slayer dies, the next is chosen. We are then introduced to Buffy, a blonde high school student, a cheerleader by day who will soon become—albeit reluctantly—a vampire Slayer by night. The fate of the world rests on Buffy’s (Kristy Swanson) shoulders. She’s passionate about shopping and gossiping and seems like an entirely unlikely candidate for superpowers.

The movie chronicles Buffy’s transformation from an unlikeable airhead into a powerful hero. By the film’s conclusion, we are cheering for Buffy; that being said, there is nothing remarkable about her besides her birthright. We want her to succeed, but we don’t feel particularly connected to her. Swanson’s Buffy lacks Sarah Michelle Gellar’s vulnerability and seriousness—her depth. Gellar is an anchor in the series; whether she’s facing witches, prom dogs, or ghosts, she manages to keep the show grounded. Imprisoned by her calling and negotiating the warzones of adolescence and the Hellmouth, Gellar’s Buffy is a Slayer and a person, whereas Swanson comes across as somewhat of a caricature.

This seems less the fault of Swanson than of the project itself. The film doesn’t bask in its silliness (except for one memorably amusing death scene) or dare to take its subject matter seriously, so it’s rarely funny or moving. It lacks any semblance of conviction; it doesn’t know what it is or even what it’s striving to be. There is a main villain—Lothos—but we don’t really know what he wants (other than to kill Buffy).

Some of the movie is unintentionally hilarious. Hilary Swank makes her first appearance on film as Buffy’s frenemy Kimberly. Swank is clad in cut-off vests and wears scunchies (unironically!); nothing in her performance suggests that she would go on to become a two-time Oscar winner. David Arquette “acts” as an immature and asinine sidekick, and Luke Perry plays a teenager—not at all convincingly. Perry was in his 30s when the film was released. We’re also supposed to believe that Buffy’s popular friends find Luke Perry’s character (Pike) unappealing and inappropriate boyfriend material for Buffy (as if superficial teenage girls would reject Luke Perry—Luke Perry in the ‘90s with a leather jacket, no less).

Donald Sutherland’s performance as Buffy’s Watcher Merrick is deeply unsettling; he seems less like a mentor and more like a predator. When Merrick first approaches Buffy and tells her that she is the Slayer and demands that she come with him to a graveyard, Buffy accuses him of being “a skanky old [man] who attacks little girls and stuff.” Merrick never loses the skanky old man aura. There is nothing paternal about Sutherland’s portrayal, and he seems ready to open his trench coat at any moment. Skanky indeed.

The film is sort of like an embarrassing picture from your adolescence that you want to hide. Burning it would be bad luck and a mite too dramatic. The portrait means something, in its own painfully awkward way. But there are traces—however faint—of what Buffy would go on to become: a rare example of a strong female character, an iconic hero. The movie is Buffy in braces. Buffy as raw cookie dough.

Works Cited

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Writ. Joss Whedon. Dir. Fran Rubel Kuzui. Perf. Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Paul Reubens, and Luke Perry. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2001. DVD.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992).” Rotten Tomatoes Web. 20 Oct. 2011.

Quiz: Which ‘Mean Girls’ character are you?

9:02 am EDT, September 29, 2016

Ever wondered if you’re more of a Cady or a Regina? Today is your lucky day!

To celebrate Mean Girls Day (October 3rd), Episode, the world’s largest mobile network for interactive stories and creators of Mean Girls: Senior Year, has made a quiz to determine which Mean Girls character you are.

Once you’ve found your Mean Girls spirit animal, continue the fun by downloading both seasons of the Mean Girls story on Episode for iOS and Android. Rejoin all of your favorite characters as you navigate everything from new crushes to sorority pledging. You choose how the story plays out.

Read full article

Ever wondered if you’re more of a Cady or a Regina? Today is your lucky day!

To celebrate Mean Girls Day (October 3rd), Episode, the world’s largest mobile network for interactive stories and creators of Mean Girls: Senior Year, has made a quiz to determine which Mean Girls character you are.

Once you’ve found your Mean Girls spirit animal, continue the fun by downloading both seasons of the Mean Girls story on Episode for iOS and Android. Rejoin all of your favorite characters as you navigate everything from new crushes to sorority pledging. You choose how the story plays out.

You go, Glen Coco!

Let’s play! Which ‘Mean Girls’ character are you?

Play Mean Girls in the Episode app today!

Note: This quiz was sponsored by the advertiser.

Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events will star Neil Patrick Harris in the role of Count Olaf, and on a recent episode of Live! with Kelly, the actor shared many interesting details about the new show.

Anyone who’s looking forward to the book to film adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s wonderful series will no doubt be thrilled to hear what Harris had to say while updating Kelly Ripa on what he’s been up to.

Perhaps most notably, NPH revealed how A Series of Unfortunate Events is being cut up into episodes. So far, the first four books are two episodes each:

Read full article

Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events will star Neil Patrick Harris in the role of Count Olaf, and on a recent episode of Live! with Kelly, the actor shared many interesting details about the new show.

Anyone who’s looking forward to the book to film adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s wonderful series will no doubt be thrilled to hear what Harris had to say while updating Kelly Ripa on what he’s been up to.

Perhaps most notably, NPH revealed how A Series of Unfortunate Events is being cut up into episodes. So far, the first four books are two episodes each:

Netflix’s ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ episode count

neil-patrick-harris-series-unfortunate-events-netflix

“They truncated all of the books into a two hour movie,” Harris said of the Unfortunate Events movie starring Jim Carrey, noting that it just wasn’t a great adaptation. “And there’s thirteen books in the series. So [Netflix’s take] is more spread out. Each book is going to be two episodes. We did the first four books, the first eight episodes of the show.”

As for the tone of the show? Great news: “It’s super dark,” he said. “It’s a much darker on the take on the material than has been seen before.”

When Kelly asked Harris if her kids could watch it, the actor dropped some interesting information about Neflix’s plans:

“I hope so!” he replied. “It’s not Rated-R dark. It’s the most expensive show that they’ve ever done. It’s the first one they call a four quadrant show, so they’re try to get four different quadrants to like it. So in addition to being for adults and for 20-somethings and teenagers, they want it to be for kids as well.”

Dark, appealing to all ages, and two episodes per book? We are so down.

Netflix has yet to share a premiere date for A Series of Unfortunate Events, but we’ll keep you posted.

Jessica Jones introduced us to Marvel’s live-action Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who has his own show debuting on Friday. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of time.

The mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rich and complicated. Not only do you have to remember what’s happened from episode to episode and season to season, it’s also important to keep in mind what’s happened in other shows and movies.

But that’s why we’re here. Looking forward to Luke Cage premiering on September 30? Us too. Having a little trouble remembering what happened in Jessica Jones and not feeling up to rewatching the show from start to finish? No problem.

Read full article

Jessica Jones introduced us to Marvel’s live-action Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who has his own show debuting on Friday. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of time.

The mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rich and complicated. Not only do you have to remember what’s happened from episode to episode and season to season, it’s also important to keep in mind what’s happened in other shows and movies.

But that’s why we’re here. Looking forward to Luke Cage premiering on September 30? Us too. Having a little trouble remembering what happened in Jessica Jones and not feeling up to rewatching the show from start to finish? No problem.

Everything you need to know about ‘Luke Cage’

The man

luke cage premiere date

We first met Luke in the series premiere of Jessica Jones and he was in the majority of the episodes for the season. He owned a bar in Hell’s Kitchen and made it a priority to stay away from complications. Too bad Jessica Jones is the definition of complicated. Sweet Christmas.

With chemistry pretty much off the charts, it didn’t take long for Luke and Jessica to start hooking up. Unfortunately, between Kilgrave’s manipulations and Jessica’s lies, the situation came to a head and Luke found out it was Jessica who was responsible for his wife’s death way back when Kilgrave was livin’ large with Jessica at his side.

Luke left after that, but not before he ran into Kilgrave with the intention of killing the man. Instead, Kilgrave used his power of mind control to plant Luke back into Jessica’s life and keep an eye on her until it was time for Kilgrave to use his trump card. He even forced Luke to blow up his own bar.

In a final confrontation, where Kilgrave once again played with Jessica’s emotions, Luke said he didn’t forgive her for killing his wife and, under Kilgrave’s power, attacked her until she was forced to put a shotgun to his head and pull the trigger.

Thanks to Luke’s powers, he survived, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t some damage. Luke was unconscious, and Jessica was forced to bring him to the hospital where Claire used her position as a nurse to sneak him back to Jessica’s apartment and keep an eye on him.

By the end of the series, once Kilgrave was killed and Jessica was arrested, Luke recovered from his injuries and left Jessica’s apartment when Claire wasn’t looking.

The myth

luke cage mike colter

Luke Cage’s powers are not unlike Jessica’s, though where they both share a similar level of strength, Luke has the added benefit of unbreakable skin. The experiments he was subjected to didn’t make him completely impervious to injury, as seen when the shotgun blast rattled his brain so much it did some internal damage. Areas like his eyes are also open to injury, if Claire sticking that needle through the socket is any indication.

Luke is also just, you know, a big guy. Is intimidation a supernatural ability? Because if so, this guy has got it in spades. He’s a good fighter and obviously used to dealing with the seedier side of the city, so even without his powers, he’d be good to have in a fight.

Luke Cage from the comics isn’t much different, though his interactions with other superheroes have given him an additional leg up. For instance, Iron Fist has taught Luke Cage additional fighting techniques, but we haven’t seen that in the MCU since Iron Fist has yet to debut on Netflix and it’s uncertain what their interactions will be like.

Apparently Luke also has a sweet jacket that’s as impervious as his skin. Given all the clothes we see him go through in the trailers for the upcoming season, perhaps we’ll see him gain a useful item like this in the upcoming freshman run.

The legend

luke cage clip

Luke Cage is already making a name for himself by the end of Jessica Jones, and it’s clear that season 1 of his own show is only going to further his story as a legendary hero. If you want to avoid spoilers at all costs, skip this section. If you’d like to get familiar with some of the show’s upcoming new characters, read on.

In Luke Cage season 1, it’s clear that Cornell Stokes/Cottonmouth will be to Luke as Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin was to Matt Murdock’s Daredevil. This is the guy who wears the crown around Harlem (where Luke has recently moved following his interactions with Jessica), and it’s pretty clear Stokes took no time in pissing off Luke.

Mariah Dillard will be an enemy of a different variety, as she’s a powerful local politician who also happens to be Stokes’ cousin. From the trailers it looks like the two are in business together, but the relationship is contentious at best. Alvarez/Shades, an associate of Cottonmouth, is also going to cause some problems for Luke.

On the other side of the line you have Misty Knight, a police detective who has Luke Cage on her radar. She might also be causing some problems for our hero, but she’s definitely one of the good guys. Her partner is Rafael Scarfe.

Claire will also be returning, this time in a starring role, so the hope is we’ll be seeing plenty of the nurse who is heroic in her own way. She might not have supernatural abilities, but she heals who she can, despite their various complications. She’s also there to light a fire up under the asses of heroes who might be losing their way — and she’s very good at her job.

Everyone’s favorite crook, Turk, will also be showing up in Luke Cage, as will Claire’s mother, Soledad. You can also expect Willis Stryker/Diamondback to play a part this season. He’s tied up with Cottonmouth and Shades and definitely has something against Luke. In the comics, they go way back, and Stryker even had a thing for Luke’s wife, Reva.

Here’s the latest trailer for ‘Luke Cage’ season 1

‘Luke Cage’ season 1 will be exclusively available to stream on Netflix come September 30