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: What is your pet’s Ilvermorny house?

Why should you be the only one who gets a second wizarding house?

1:00 pm EDT, July 29, 2016

Will your pet be sorted into the same Ilvermorny house as you, or will you have to disown them for joining your rival?

Step aside Hogwarts, there’s a new wizarding school in town (or rather, across the sea)! With a new school comes new houses, and a new sorting test. You might’ve gone through an identity crisis after taking the test for yourself, but you’re not the only one who needs sorting. That furry, scaly, or feathery friend needs to know where they belong too, and we’re here to do just that! Last time we helped you find out what Hogwarts house your pet would be sorted into, so now we’ll help you figure out what Ilvermorny house they belong in.

It’s typical for pets to have similar personalities to their owners, so maybe your pet will end up in the same house as you. But to those who have house rivalries, brace yourselves: It’s also possible your pet will end up in a different house than you, maybe even your rival house! Will you be saying ‘bye bye birdie,’ or do you thrive in competition? That probably depends on your Hogwarts and Ilvermorny house.

Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, or reptile, all pets are welcome at Hypable’s Ilvermorny sorting ceremony! Take the quiz below and let us know where your pet’s loyalties lie, and be sure to take it for each of your pets (unless they’re a squib. Is there an American name for squib?). Don’t want any of them to feel left out!


Now that you know your pet’s Ilvermorny house, maybe you’ll want to decorate their bed with their house crest (shoutout to the Hufflepuffs)! Or maybe you’ll forbid them from entering your room if they’re in a different house (shoutout to the Slytherins)!

Did your pet get the same Ilvermorny house as you?

Forget seeing Luke Cage and Daisy Johnson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to Jeph Loeb, it’s simply too hard to plan.

Although the Marvel movies and TV series ostensibly exist in the same universe, and although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does its best to include Avengers references whenever possible, TV show characters are unlikely to ever show up in the movies.

This despite Chloe Bennet’s continued efforts to remind people that she is, in fact, Marvel’s first on-screen female Asian superhero, and the awesome crossover possibilities the Marvel Netflix series have opened up.

Marvel fans have long been aware of the difficulties of bringing TV characters into the movie ‘verse, but at the 2016 TCAs, Jeph Loeb provided a few more reasons for why it’s practically impossible to coordinate.

“Part of the challenge of doing this sort of thing is that the movies are planned out years in advance of what it is that we are doing,” Loeb says, as quoted by SlashFilm. “Television moves at an incredible speed. The other part of the problem is that when you stop and think about it, if I’m shooting a television series and that’s going to go on over a six-month or eight-month period, how am I going to get Mike [Colter] to be able to go be in a movie? I need Mike to be in a television show.”

In terms of planning out the character arcs, this makes a lot of sense. A Marvel movie might be mapped out years in advance of production, for not to mention release, which means any character scheduled to appear would need to have their stories planned for many seasons in advance. The continuity would certainly be hard to keep track of.

Of course they could still throw in cameos, which fans would probably really appreciate — and crossovers from movies-TV are much more doable, as evidenced by Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander)’s multiple appearances on AoS.

But Marvel is wary of doing that too much, too, because “we never want to be known as an Easter egg farm. It has to work within the story. We never want to do Luke Cage gets into a cab as Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock are getting out of the cab,” Loeb says, referencing The Man From U.N.C.L.E..

However, don’t lose hope yet. “Anything is possible,” says Loeb. “As I often get reported by you folks for saying #ItsAllConnected, our feeling is that the connection isn’t just whether or not somebody is walking into a movie or walking out of a television show. It’s connected in the way that the shows come from the same place, that they are real, that they are grounded.”

Would you like to see Marvel TV and movie characters cross over more?

If Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda weren’t enough to get you excited about Mary Poppins Returns, maybe Meryl Streep’s name on the roster will do the trick.

Mary Poppins Returns is not a remake of the original 1964 classic but rather a sequel to the Julie Andrews-led musical. As such, it stands to reason that we’ll be getting some new characters this time around. One of those characters will be Miranda’s Jack, who will be a street lamplighter.

And, according to Variety, another one of those new characters will also be portrayed by none other than Meryl Streep, who will be taking on the role of Mary Poppins’ cousin, Topsy. And, yes, the legendary actress will be taking on a singing role for the film.

This will also reunite Streep with her Into the Woods co-star Blunt, as well as Director Rob Marshall and Producer Marc Platt. Streep played the Witch in Into the Woods, while Blunt portrayed the Baker’s Wife opposite James Corden.

Disney’s official synopsis for Mary Poppins Returns reads:

Blunt has been cast as Mary Poppins and Miranda will play a new character, a street lamplighter named Jack. Drawing from the wealth of material in P.L. Travers’ seven additional novels, the story will take place in Depression-era London (when the books were originally written) and follows a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, who, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

Mary Poppins Returns and will hit theaters December 25, 2018.

Are you on board with ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ now that Meryl Streep has joined the cast?