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

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

🧿

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. "I have never met a vampire personally, but I don't know what might happen tomorrow." Bela Lugosi, vampire, vampires

Meet some vampires now by downloading 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: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books, Amazon
Blood Magic: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books
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

🧿

Batman, Dracula, and Andy Warhol

Batman, Dracula, and Andy Warhol, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampires, Dracula, Batman, Andy Warhol

Has there ever been a movie you’d love to see, only to realize you never will? Welcome to Batman Dracula, produced and directed by Andy Warhol.

From what little information there is about the movie, it’s set in parts of New York, including “The Factory” (Warhol’s studio). According to Warhol, the black-and-white silent film was an “homage” to Batman. Too bad he never got permission from DC Comics. to use their character.

Apparently the movie was screened during his art exhibits, but since Warhol’s death it’s been considered “lost.” Clips can be found online, including the one below (available until it’s copyright claimed by DC and/or– ironically– the Andy Warhol Museum). Music by The Velvet Underground and Nico was added later, as the movie was filmed without sound.

Based on the clip, there’s some impressive “cape-ography,” in this movie, and Dracula has good, intense screen presence. Jack Smith’s performance might just be the most underrated depiction of Dracula ever. You can also get a good feel for Warhol’s experimental style of film-making.

I’m not a huge Warhol fan, but I do think he was interesting; I’m curious to see more of his Dracula, as well as his version of Batman. In the film, Dracula is supposedly Batman’s “biggest fear,” and since the same actor played both characters this tidbit gives us an intriguing hint at Warhol’s approach. The title also suggests that they’re two sides of the same coin.

What movie do you wish you could see, but never will (it doesn’t have to already exist)? Share in the comments…

Some vampires might not be available, but mine are: 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: 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! ♥

Further Reading

Batman Dracula: Andy Warhol’s Eccentric Experimental Film

IMDb: Batman Dracula (1964)

Batman Dracula (partially found Andy Warhol film; 1964)

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

🧿

Revisiting the Classics

Revisiting the Classics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Bela Lugosi, Bela Lugosi's Dead, Bauhaus, video with lyrics, undead, mood music, moody music

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube lately, and I have a real fondness for music reaction videos, where people hear a song for the first time and, well, react to it. I love that these (mostly younger) people are interested in learning about music they missed out on, and I’m amazed at how many there are.

Revisiting the Classics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Bela Lugosi, Bela Lugosi's Dead, Bauhaus, video with lyrics, undead, mood music, moody music, Peter Murphy.
Peter Murphy, lead singer of Bauhaus. Photo by Mark Jeremy – https://www.flickr.com/photos/markjeremy/56264831/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48716048

In the spirit of sharing good music with those who may not have heard it before (or just want to hear it again), I present “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus. Put on your blackest clothes, crack open some red wine, and enjoy…

I’ve been pretty out of the loop on new music lately– do you know of any good recent bands or songs (any genre) you want to share? Let me know in the comments…

Now that we’ve set the mood, download my books and keep the vibe going…

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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