Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

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The Time Travelling Lamp

I felt concerned for a Tiffany lamp I saw in an action scene on Buffy the Vampire Slayer last week. The second season episode, "The Dark Age", has Buffy and Jenny (possessed by a demon) tossing each other around in Giles' apartment. I spotted what looked like a Tiffany lamp in the fray.

I should have remembered what a low budget the show had--there's no way they would've had the money to break anything that even looked half convincingly like a Tiffany lamp. Buffy and demon Jenny conveniently tossed each other about in the other direction.

Then, last night, I was watching an episode of The Magicians in which Penny space and time travels into a room and knocks over a Tiffany lamp. Not a real one, I'm sure, but it seemed like an omen to me.

I really don't have the binge watching instinct, I guess. I started watching The Magicians years ago and I'm only just now approaching the end of the final season which premiered in the first half of last year. It's rare for me to even watch two episodes on consecutive nights. And I do like the show. Though I think some series may more naturally compel me to serial viewings. I'm quite happy to watch Buffy on a nightly basis, for example. I think it's something about the untethered quality of the writing on The Magicians.

The first two seasons of this Harry Potter for grad students focuses on the characters' messy personal lives and nurtured resentments. But very soon the show became something much more like watching a group of MMORPG gamers. Which is fun. The magic, curses, earth shattering events, trips to the underworld and alternate dimensions, feel less and less tangible as it all comes along so quickly and casually. It's also a bit like a 1930s adventure serial. The excitement is in the feeling that absolutely anything could happen next. There's no sense of any master plan, anyone trying to tie together themes. When something is referenced from an earlier season, it feels like the writers said, "Oh, hey, remember--?" and built on that rather than like they had this stuff in their minds all along. Like when Elliot remembers the "Inner Light" style lifetime romance he had with a recently deceased character. Suddenly the writers realised he had a much bigger claim on the character than Alice, who'd been more in the spotlight.

A lot of things just seem to settle in for convenience. The characters visited the apartment of one of their adversaries and as discussions there continued over several episodes suddenly they were living in it. An off-hand line is given to the original owner of the apartment to sort of, but not really, explain it. This didn't explain the fact that, despite the group having lived there for some time, the decor still looks like an department store display.

Maybe everyone's too busy trying to destroy the moon or grief counsel Hades or time travel to think about stuff like that. The Magicians made a choice to be completely ungrounded at some point. Maybe it takes some impact out of the events portrayed but there is such a nice stream of inventiveness to it I continue to enjoy it. It's like listening to kids at a slumber party make up stories all night.
Tags: buffy the vampire slayer, fantasy, television, the magicians, tv show

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