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Episode 72 - She / I’ve Got You Under My Skin / The Prodigal (feat. Stacey Abbott)

June 4th, 2021

“Cagey little brutes, aren’t they?”

 

The Mother of Angel Studies, author and vampire queen Stacey Abbott is back! This week we discuss the somewhat strained metaphor and textual subtext of episode 113, “She,” which for years I’ve remembered as unutterably terrible, but on this rewatch I find myself being a bit kinder to. If nothing else, the episode gives us some of the greatest comedic moments from all of this first season, possibly the series. Alexis Denisof deserves a pratfall Oscar!

 

Also on tap, 114, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” makes good use of a classic Hollywood horror trope, as well as providing the first tantalizing hint at darker depths to Wesley. And 115, “The Prodigal,” where the Whedonverse continues its focused, brutal assault on the notions of fatherhood.

 

NEXT: Post-Production Supervisor and Hollywood man-about-town Michael Holland is back to help me look over episodes 116, “The Ring” and 117, “Eternity.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:02:40  -  Main Topic

01:11:17  -  Outro / Next

 

 

LIBRARY

Celluloid Vampires: Life After Death in the Modern World, by Stacey Abbott

Reading Angel: The TV Spin-off With a Soul, edited by Stacey Abbott

Angel (TV Milestones Series) by Stacey Abbott

Near Dark (BFI Film Classics), by Stacey Abbott

Global TV Horror, edited by Stacey Abbott and Lorna Jowett

 

 

LINKS

Monstrum: A Peer-Reviewed Journal of Studies in Horror

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” by Frank Sinatra, Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956)

Episode 71 - Parting Gifts / Somnambulist / Expecting (feat. Johny Ho)

May 17th, 2021

“Wherever evil lurks, wherever the forces of darkness threaten humanity, that’s where I’ll be.”

 

Johny Ho is back! Wesley Wyndam-Pryce is back! Johny Ho is back to talk to me about how awesome it is that Wesley Wyndam-Pryce is back! In 110, “Parting Gifts,” Angel Investigations get their very own rogue demon hunter, as well as a shiny new tagline. 111, “Somnambulist” gives us Baby Hawkeye as a vampire, and Kate is finally in on the big secret. And 112, “Expecting” features the first of many mystical pregnancies, plus Ken freaking Marino!

 

Seriously though, all that matters is Wesley Wyndam-Pryce is here and everything will be okay from now on. 

 

NEXT: the saint of Angel studies, author Stacey Abbott joins me to discuss what some may or may not consider to be the low point of Season One, episodes 113, “She,” 114, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and 115, “The Prodigal.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:06:27  -  Main Topic

01:10:48  -  Outro / Next

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Rogue Hunter” by Vin Mott, Rogue Hunter (2019)

Episode 70 - I Will Remember You / Hero (feat. Matthieu Cravatte)

April 7th, 2021

“Is that it? Am I done?”

 

It’s taken much longer than I would’ve liked to get this episode edited and out to y’all, and I was way off what I will laughingly refer to as my game, but hey...our rats are low at least. This time around I’m joined by America’s favorite philosophizing Frenchman Matthieu Cravatte as we discuss the pain and heartbreak of network-mandated crossovers, the inspirational value of heroes, the lack of Nazi subtelty, and the first of many genuinely traumatic sacrifices made by characters on this series as we sob our way through episodes 108, “I Will Remember You” and 109, “Hero.”

 

NEXT: a rogue demon hunter joins the cast and we get some momentary relief from the pain (Cordy doesn’t, but we do) with episodes 110, “Parting Gifts,” 111, “Somnambulist,” and 112, “Expecting.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:05:00  -  Main Topic

01:13:55  -  Outro / Next

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Hero” by Lissie, My Wild West (2016)

Episode 69 - Sense & Sensitivity / Bachelor Party (feat. Michael Holland)

March 1st, 2021

Hollywood bigshot and industry insider Michael Holland welcomes us to HIS turf as we continue our transition from the cemeteries of Sunnydale to the morgues of LA. The conversation this time covers two episodes often dismissed as early-series filler, but which we argue actually have important things to say about the characters and the developing themes of the show. In 106, “Sense & Sensitivity,” we get some needed background on Det. Kate Lockley, including a genuinely marvelous emotional performance by Elisabeth Röhm, and insight into the interpersonal dynamics between our heroes. (Bonus: Angel as Magnum P.I.!) And in 107, “Bachelor Party,” Allen Francis Doyle gets a powerfully humanizing (or rather half-humanizing) storyline that makes the most of what will turn out to be the very limited time we get with the character, fleshing him out more in one episode than many shows give their cast in a full season.

 

NEXT: philosopher Frenchman Matthieu Cravatte joins me to probably get really sad as we discuss episodes 108, “I Will Remember You” and 109, “Hero.” Bring your own tissues.

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:14:57  -  Main Topic

01:38:43  -  Outro / Next

 

 

LINKS

Michael’s Blog  -  Holland Imaginarium

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Too Sensitive” by Op Ed, Satellite (2018)

Episode 68 - In the Dark / I Fall to Pieces / Rm w/a Vu (feat. Dale Guffey)

February 21st, 2021

Can we get back to Angel? Please?! *sobs*

 

My dear friend, author, and hot chick with superpowers Dale Guffey has stayed over from last week to help me get back into the swing of things. As avowed and unapologetic Spike fans, we bask in the glorious, bleach blonde silver lining that is that opening voiceover of the otherwise basic 103, “In the Dark.” As avowed and unapologetic Doyle fans, we savor every single hilarious and touching moment we get with him in 104, “I Fall to Pieces.” And in 105, “Rm w/a Vu” I mourn the Phantom Dennis spin-off we never got.

 

NEXT: recurring guest and friend of the show Michael Holland is back, and with the move from Sunnydale to LA we’re finally on HIS turf. He joins me to speak with Angelino authority on episodes 106, “Sense & Sensitivity” and 107, “Bachelor Party.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:04:00  -  Main Topic

01:50:12  -  Outro / Next

 

 

LIBRARY

Faith and Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon, by K. Dale Koontz

Reading Joss Whedon, edited by Rhonda V.. Wilcox, Tanya R. Cochran, Cynthea Masson, and David Lavery

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline, Showcase (1961)

Episode 67 - A Very Special Episode of Conversations with Dead People (feat. Nikki Stafford and Dale Guffey)

February 13th, 2021

Where do we go from here? That question has perhaps never been as relevant or as painful within the Whedony community as it is right now. It’s a difficult time to be a fan, as the recent and continuing alegations and revelations about the man that has, so far, given this entire fandom its name, force us to reckon with some hard truths. I thought this podcast could continue with perhaps just a passing mention of the controversy, but it quickly became clear that I, and thankfully some much smarter people than myself, would have to address this head on. And so I welcome you to this Very Special Episode of Conversations with Dead People. I ramble on uselessly, as usual, but two of my very favoritest people in the world, let alone the field of Whedon Studies, Nikki Stafford and Dale Guffey join me to talk about how and why all of this feels so much more personal than similar fallen pop culture icons; what, if anything, I should do with this podcast going forward; and what we think this might all mean for the Whedon Studies Association. It’s a horribly unpleasant topic of conversation, made so much more enjoyable by having it with such wonderful people.

 

NEXT: Dale is sticking around to record the podcast we’d PLANNED to record this week. We’ll be continuing our journey through Angel: The Series with episodes 103, “In the Dark,” 104, “I Fall to Pieces,” and 105, “Rm w/a Vu.”

 

 

LIBRARY

Bite Me!: The Unofficial Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Seven Seasons One Book), by Nikki Stafford

Once Bitten: An Unofficial Guide to the World of Angel, by Nikki Stafford

Faith and Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon, by K. Dale Koontz

Reading Joss Whedon, edited by Rhonda V.. Wilcox, Tanya R. Cochran, Cynthea Masson, and David Lavery

A Dream Given Form: The Unofficial Guide to the Universe of Bablyon 5, by Dale Guffey and Ensley F. Guffey

 

 

LINKS

https://timesupnow.org/

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Mad Woman” by Taylor Swift, folklore (2020)

Episode 66 - City Of / Lonely Hearts (feat. Stacey Abbott)

December 22nd, 2020

The sun has set on Sunnydale, and so now we leave behind the hell of the small town and head into the Big Bad City. Stacey Abbott, Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Roehampton University, editor of Reading Angel: The TV Spin-Off With a Soul, and author of Celluloid Vampires: Life After Death In The Modern World and Near Dark (BFI Film Classics) joins me to usher in the era of Angel, the/a vampire with a soul. We talk for a bit about how she was, for years, a shining beacon of Angel Studies at many, many of the Slayage Conferences, being the only person willing and eager to present on the spinoff series, before FINALLY diving into our discussion of the first two episodes.

 

“City Of” introduces the new paradigm of the film noir Los Angeles setting, with it’s dark alleys, buzzing neon, and rapid-edit transitions. We’re also introduced to a new player in half-demon “sidekick” Doyle, sent by the Powers That Be (“Powers that be what?”) to be Angel’s sponsor on his quest for redemption. And we get the very welcome return of Cordelia Chase, although she’s slightly different in this new setting than when we last saw her. And lastly, the notion of a Big Bad seems like it might not mean quite the same thing in this series as it did in the last one.

 

After the first episode sets the cast and stage, “Lonely Hearts” (or is it “Heart” singular?!?) begins to show us how this show will explore themes of heroism, good vs. evil, savior complexes, and helping the helpless. And one more damaged character joins the dramatis personae as Kate Lockley, the “cop contact sympathetic to the private eye” noir trope, enters the picture. 

 

NEXT: Stephanie Graves follows us from the graveyard to the morgue as we discuss episodes 103, “In the Dark,” 104, “I Fall to Pieces,” and 105, “Rm w/a Vu.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:18:08  -  Main Topic

01:27:06  -  Outro / Next

 

 

LIBRARY

Reading Angel: The TV Spin-off With a Soul, edited by Stacey Abbott

Angel (TV Milestones Series) by Stacey Abbott

Celluloid Vampires: Life After Death in the Modern World, by Stacey Abbott

Near Dark (BFI Film Classics), by Stacey Abbott

 

 

LINKS

Monstrum: A Peer-Reviewed Journal of Studies in Horror

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Touched” by VAST, Visual Audio Sensory Theater (1998)

 

Episode 65 - Fray (feat. Dale Guffey and Vickie Willis Navarra)

October 26th, 2020

With Buffy the Vampire Slayer in our review mirror and its amazing spin-off series Angel looming on the horizon, we’re going to take this limbo-like space in between to explore some comics. One comic in particular, Joss Whedon’s 2001-2003 four-color debut Fray. Joining me for this discussion 200 years in the making are returning guests Dale Guffey and Vickie Willis Navarra. Together we look at the trauma of being incomplete; female rage; Vickie blows my mind with talk of the control of a woman’s reproduction in the final battle; Dale blows my mind with definitions of the word ‘fray’; and I gush over the artwork of Karl Moline and Andy Owens (including my beloved fight choreography obsession).

 

NEXT: maybe Angel, maybe more comics. Who knows?

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:18:53  -  Let’s Go to Work

01:52:30  -  Outro / Next

 

 

LIBRARY

Faith and Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon, by K. Dale Koontz

 

 

LINKS

V.E.W. Navarra: Writing All The Things 

Call For Papers: LAWYERS AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM IN POPULAR CULTURE (Southwest Popular / American Culture Association)

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Four of Two” by They Might Be Giants, No! (2002)

Episode 64 - Chosen (feat. Nikki Stafford, Elizabeth Rambo, and Arlo Wiley)

October 2nd, 2020

“What are we gonna do now?”

 

All good things, as the saying goes. It’s been quite a journey, this rewatch and analysis of a show I’ve had a mostly-love-but-just-a-little-bit-hate relationship with for the past 20+ years, and I’d like to think we’ve all learned some things. For example, in this very episode I learn how to stop worrying and love the flawed metaphor at the end of the series, and you all have learned that I’m an insufferable twit. But fortunately I keep pulling y’all back in with wonderful guest hosts who are always more intelligent than myself, and this discussion of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer finale “Chosen” is no different as I welcome back a panel of fan-favorites. Original guest Nikki Stafford, most frequent guest Elizabeth Rambo, and most barely tolerated guest Arlo Wiley are here to pay their respects to a pop culture phenomenon that has spoken to and shaped each of us in immeasurable ways.

 

NEXT: As we leave the smoking crater of Sunnydale behind us, we head to the City of Angels, or one Angel in particular at least. After an as-yet-undetermined pause, Conversations with Dead People will return for a five season exploration the first vampire with a soul and his quest for redemption.

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guests

00:04:14  -  Main Topic

01:39:46  -  Outro / Next

 

LIBRARY

Bite Me!: The Unofficial Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Seven Seasons One Book), by Nikki Stafford

Buffy Goes Dark: Essays on the Final Two Season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Television, edited by Lynne Y. Edwards, Elizabeth Rambo, and James B. South

Television Finales: From Howdy Doody to Girls, edited by Douglas L. Howard and David Bianculli

The Deli Counter of Justice, written/edited by Paul Smith, Arlo Wiley, and Eric Sipple

 

LINKS

Nikki Stafford’s Great Buffy Rewatch Archive 

Whedonology: An Academic Whedon Studies Bibliography

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Look What We’ve Become” by Grace Potter, Midnight (2015)

Episode 63 - Touched / End of Days (feat. Dale Guffey)

September 28th, 2020

“Thank God we’re hot chicks with superpowers.”

 

Returning hot chick with superpowers Dale Guffey, recently crowned Area Chair of "Lawyers and the Legal System in Popular Culture" for the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association, continues her award-winning guest stint in the graveyard as we talk about sex with all the pre-Apocalypse hookups of 720, “Touched.” And in the penultimate episode of the entire series, 721, “End of Days,” we discuss deus ex machinas and swords in stones. There’s some amazing cross-cut fight choreography; Spike shows Buffy how to speechify; and wheelchair fight!

 

BONUS: Dale pitches Miss Kitty Fantastico: Vampire Slayer!

 

NEXT: All good things must come to an end. Nikki Stafford, Elizabeth Rambo, and Arlo Wiley join me to discuss the series finale “Chosen” as we eulogize Buffy the Vampire Slayer

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:10:07  -  Main Topic

01:52:16  -  Outro / Next

 

LIBRARY

Faith and Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon, by K. Dale Koontz

Reading Joss Whedon, edited by Rhonda V. Wilcox, Tanya R. Cochran, Cynthea Masson, and David Lavery

A Dream Given Form: The Unofficial Guide to the Universe of Babylon 5, by Ensley F. Guffey and K. Dale Koontz

Wanna Cook?: The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad, by Ensley F. Guffey and K. Dale Koontz

 

LINKS

Call For Papers: LAWYERS AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM IN POPULAR CULTURE (Southwest Popular / American Culture Association)

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Let’s Talk About Sex” by Salt-N-Pepa, Blacks’ Magic (1990)

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