Controversial Characters: Buffy’s Dawn vs. Angel’s Connor

SPOILERS AHEAD

Whenever a show has a devoted fandom there’s always going to be something that, right or wrong, the fans aren’t happy about. The big controversies on Buffy and Angel were the late additions of two new characters, namely Dawn and Connor. Now that I’m re-watching both shows, I’m looking at both characters with fresh eyes, wondering whether they deserved the hate.

Dawn

Dawn was introduced at the end of the first episode of Season 5. “Buffy vs. Dracula” (a great episode, by the way). Her introduction was really well done, first with hints and foreshadowing going back as far as Season 3, then with her unexpected appearance in the episode. After years of being an only child, Buffy suddenly has a sister, and everyone acts as though she’s always been there.

Controversial Characters: Buffy's Dawn vs. Angel's Connor, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, Vampires, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, BtVS, Angel, Angel the Series, Buffy gif huh

After some perfunctory hinting that Dawn is this season’s Big Bad, it comes out that she’s actually a mystical, dimension-unlocking Key, put into human form by some monks with too much time on their hands, and given to the Slayer as a sister for protection from the Hell God (Glorificus/Glory), who needs the Key to get back to her hell dimension before her window of opportunity closes. Got all that?

Yeah, it’s a lot.

I really believe all the planning around Dawn went into the character’s concept, and very little into the execution. Dawn is supposed to be fourteen when she shows up, but she’s written like she’s eight. It’s both painful and annoying to watch this teenager smiling with her mouth plastered in ice cream. Or interrupting Buffy’s training sessions because she’s “bored.” Or threatening to tell their mom that Buffy slayed in front of her. At fifteen, Buffy, Willow, and Xander were fighting monsters, trading quips, and hanging out at the Bronze. Their characters were funny and interesting. But somehow at fourteen Dawn is too young to be left alone without a babysitter.

And yet by season six Dawn manages to get worse, alternating between whining that no one spends time with her, and screeching for everyone to get out of her room. Maybe this is a realistic portrayal of teenagers (I have my doubts), but nobody watches TV for realism. If we’re supposed to sympathize with Dawn, the writers made it really difficult, especially when she shows no empathy for what anyone else is going through.

(I want to add that none of this is the fault of Michelle Trachtenberg, the actress who played Dawn. She did a decent job, but just didn’t have much to work with.)

By the seventh and final season, Dawn’s over her annoying phase, and even proves herself useful and capable– but she also fades into the background. Season five was supposed to be the show’s last season, but since it ended up extended for another two years, I don’t think they really knew what to do with her once she was no longer The Key. Overall, I think the Dawn character had a lot of room for improvement, and the writers/producers repeatedly dropped the ball. The show could have been just as good, or better, without Dawn.

Also, she killed Miss Kitty Fantastico.

Controversial Characters: Buffy's Dawn vs. Angel's Connor, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, Vampires, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, BtVS, Angel, Angel the Series, Angel and Darla

Connor

Connor’s origin story begins in season 3, and is almost as convoluted as Dawn’s. When two vampires hate each other very much (after spending centuries together as a couple), and unknown forces conspire to get them back together for a night, sometimes the mommy vampire finds herself nine months later going into labour in a back alley, where she finally just stakes herself to get the whole thing over with.

Connor is the human-ish son of Angel and Darla, both vampires, one with a soul. His existence is cause for much excitement, mostly by nefarious cabals who generally want to kill the kid. Despite Angel and co.’s best efforts to protect baby Connor, he ends up in the hands of Angel’s longtime enemy, a vampire hunter named Holtz. Stuck between letting Holtz take the baby or watching Connor fall into the hands of those who will definitely kill him, Angel chooses the lesser of two evils. Holtz escapes with the baby by jumping through a portal to the darkest hell dimension: Quor’toth. The portal is then sealed behind them with no way to open it.

Angel tries to get Connor back, but realizes it’s impossible. Once Angel accepts that he’ll never see his son again (it takes only a few days, apparently), another portal opens and out comes an armed teenager wearing a skin suit and trophies made of body parts. I’m not gonna lie– it’s pretty epic.

Controversial Characters: Buffy's Dawn vs. Angel's Connor, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, Vampires, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, BtVS, Angel, Angel the Series, Connor hi dad

We soon find out that not only did Connor survive Quor’toth, but he can kick some serious ass. Besides impressive fighting skills, he has super speed and strength. He can easily jump on a moving bus and he’s got a vampire’s sensitive hearing (but none of the drawbacks, like a need to consume blood or intolerance to sunlight).

I thought he was an excellent addition to the show, but a lot of people disagreed. Connor was so hated by some fans that when rumours started about bringing Spike to Angel, people started urging (there may have been a petition– I can’t remember) the producers to kill off Connor and bring on Spike. Note: none of the characters actually had to die to add Spike to the cast. It should also be noted that the dislike of Connor spilled over into people specifically targetting Vincent Kartheiser, who played Connor. The actor did an awesome job and deserved none of what was directed at him. This is why fandoms have a bad reputation.

I never understood why people found Connor annoying. Yes, the character did a lot of questionable– and some downright wrong– things (same as pretty much all the other characters, I might add). What haters didn’t seem to get (or care about) is that Connor is a deeply traumatized kid. He was raised in a hell dimension, by a man who (rightfully) hated his father and manipulated him into wanting to kill Angel. And that’s only the start of what Connor went through. He’s a tragic character who manages to never be boring. He also undergoes a fair bit of character development, and a redemption that continues in the comic books (meanwhile Dawn in the comic books goes back to being annoying, but with added recklessness). Watching these episodes again, I’m finding I like and sympathize with Connor even more now. It’s too bad he was hated– he could have pulled off his own show.

In the end, my opinion on these characters hasn’t really changed. Dawn didn’t improve Buffy, even though her initial season included one of the best villains ever. Meanwhile, Connor, despite having one of the cringiest storylines (him + Cordy = ew), was a great character and a solid addition to Angel. But what did you think of Dawn and Connor? Share in the comments…

Can’t get enough vampires? Download my books now:

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

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If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

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Quote of the Day + Update

Quote of the Day + Update, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Quote "October was always the least dependable of months... full of ghosts and shadows." Quote by Joy Fielding, autumn, spooky season, October, quotes

Happy October, everyone! I think I’ve mentioned before that this is my favourite time of year, from the changing leaves to the crisp air, right down to the shadows and ghosts. By the way, have those of you with pets noticed they act odder the closer it gets to Hallowe’en, or is it just me?

In other news, you may have noticed a I’ve been posting a bit less lately. That’s because I’m trying to focus on finishing my novel (fingers crossed). Not to worry, though- I still have plenty more to share, including some thoughts on controversial characters on Buffy and Angel (I’m also happy to take suggestions for posts you’d like to see– share in the comments).

While you’re waiting for my new book, download my other books…

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books, Amazon
FREE Blood Magic: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

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Music for Vampires

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

In the Buffy episode Surprise. there’s a short scene of vampire Drusilla dancing to a song. That song is “Transylvanian Concubine” by Rasputina. I loved the song as soon as I heard it, and it was perfect in the scene.

Buffy actually features a lot of good music, and even had a few bands play onscreen (Bif Naked, Cibo Matto, The Breeders, Aimee Mann…) But “Transylvanian Concubine” stood out the most to me. Give it a listen and see what you think:

Music for Vampires, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Transylvanian Concubine, Rasputina, Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Surprise, BtVS, Drusilla, Drusilla gif
Drusilla grooving

What did you think of the song? What’s your favourite song featured on a show or movie, vampire or otherwise? Share in the comments…

Looking for something to read with your music? Download my books now…

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books, Amazon
FREE Blood Magic: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

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Peak TV

Peak TV, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, vampires, What We Do in the Shadows, Taika Waititi, the Vampire Council
A few of the Vampire Council members

If I ever run into Taika Waititi, I’m going to thank him for creating What We Do in the Shadows. Well, more likely I’ll probably ramble awkwardly until he walks away. But if I were capable of talking like a person, I’d thank him.

Mild Spoilers

If you like vampires and referential humour, then the season 1 episode “The Trial” is made for you. In this episode we meet the “Vampire Council,” who rule over all vampires, and pass judgment on those who break the rules (for example, turning a baby, or “too much defiling”).

The Council is made up of actors who’ve played vampires in other shows and movies. They’re all going by their real first names, with the actors playing themselves as actual vampires (I can believe it for a couple of them). Not only have they played vampires, but their vampire characters’ looks have been faithfully recreated in their hair and makeup (and in one case wardrobe, or lack thereof). They even mention a few members of the Council who couldn’t make it to the meeting, just to get a few more references in. It’s brilliant.

If I wasn’t already swooning enough over the Council, they went and brought the well from Interview with the Vampire into it (the one that saw the end of Claudia). I probably missed even more references– I’m definitely going to have to watch the episode again.

Aside from the Council, there’s also an earlier cameo in this episode that had me laughing so loud I scared my cats a little.

What We Do in the Shadows (at least so far) is the vampire show we all needed. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

What do you think? What’s your ultimate vampire show or episode? Share in the comments…

Get Love Lies Bleeding now for 25% off! And don’t forget that Blood Magic and Tooth & Claw are always FREE…

July Summer/Winter E-Book Sale at Smashwords! Get Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas for 25% Off...

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

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First Time Watching “What We Do in the Shadows”

First time watching "What We Do in the Shadows." blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, vampires, psychic vampire, Taika Waititi

Somehow I totally missed the existence of What We Do in the Shadows until a friend recently recommended it to me. I really need to start paying more attention.

If you’ve been as out of the loop as I have, What We Do in the Shadows is a sitcom about vampires and their human familiars. It’s done in a faux documentary style, along the lines of The Office. It’s also produced by Taika Waititi, who (among other things) directed Thor: Ragnarok and is the voice of Korg (the guy made of rocks). They had me at vampires, but Waititi being involved didn’t hurt. I’m only going to be talking about the pilot episode here (I’m sure I’ll be posting more in the future), and I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers.

First off, let’s take a moment to be grateful for an all-too-rare vampire comedy. The world could use more of them.

The main group includes a familiar (Guillermo), blood-drinking vampires, and a “psychic” vampire, who drains people (and the other vampires) of energy. They’re all fantastic (Matt Berry plays one of the vampires– rejoice!) The vampires arrived in the New World two centuries ago, with plans to conquer the continent. Instead they end up settled in Staten Island. This wouldn’t be a problem except that a high-ranking vampire is on his way to pay a visit and see their progress. Meanwhile Guillermo’s tenth year anniversary as his master’s familiar is coming up, and he knows he’s about to get something special for all his years of hard work and loyal service (and does he ever…).

I was excited to see the vampires exhibiting “traditional” traits, including turning into bats, climbing walls, and sleeping in coffins. Don’t get me wrong– I definitely appreciate innovations in the mythology, but sometimes it’s just nice to stick with the classics.

I also have to say that I am in complete awe of the makeup department for the job they did with Baron Afanas– I hope they won an award for it. Words won’t do it justice, so please watch the episode and see for yourself. Doug Jones, who plays the Baron also did a great job. Side note: Jones played a “Gentleman” on the brilliant Buffy episode “Hush,” which did win an award. You should definitely watch that too, even if you have zero interest in watching the rest of Buffy. And Jones will be playing Count Orlok in the upcoming remake of Nosferatu. These are good times for vampires.

Overall, this was a great introduction to the show. It kept me laughing, impressed me with its production values, and made me fall for the characters. I hope it’s around for a long time.

Have you watched What We Do in the Shadows? Let me know what you think of it in the comments…

Want more vampires in your life? Download my books…

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

🧿
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