Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Watcher’s Guide 1 by Golden and Holder: C+

From the back cover:
As long as there have been vampires, there has been the Slayer. One girl in all the world, to find them where they gather and to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their members. She is the Slayer.

Exclusive Interviews, Totally Pointy Profiles, Behind-the-Scenes Info, and Other Buff-stuff About the Hit Show.

The title Watcher’s Guide suggests to me that the guide is meant to augment the experience of someone watching the show. In addition to a description of the episodes, therefore, I expected at least some analysis, some discussion of what the episode was truly about, or its purpose in furthering the events of a particular story arc or a character’s development.

Instead, the action of each episode in the first two seasons is summarized in a few paragraphs, a quote of the week is chosen, romance progress is charted, and there’s a small section devoted to continuity between episodes. If one is already a watcher of the program, this information is irrelevent and redundant. I have found much more insightful episode commentary online.

On top of that, the summaries are fond of including questionable value judgments, deeming things hilarious or gorgeous, for example, that really aren’t, in my opinion. Example: Is the following exchange “hilarious,” as claimed, or merely cute, funny, and totally in character?

Oz: I’m gonna ask you to go out with me tomorrow night. And I’m kinda nervous about it, actually. It’s interesting.
Willow: Oh. Well, if it helps at all, I’m gonna say yes.
Oz: Yeah, it helps. It-it creates a comfort zone. Do you wanna go out with me tomorrow night?
Willow: (cringes and slaps her hand to her forehead) Oh! I can’t!
Oz: Well, see, I like that you’re unpredictable.

The latter half of the book is made up of sections devoted to monsters, relationships, cast and crew interviews, and a list of all the songs to appear in the episodes. The monsters and relationships sections just reiterated things that I already remembered from watching the show, though I guess the former could be useful if one, like, urgently needed to refresh their memory on Machida. Every member of the cast and crew that you could possibly think of got their own interview. Some of these were interesting, but they got repetitive. But hey, at least I now know about everyone’s scars, tattoos, or other distinguishing marks!

What is excellent about the Watcher’s Guide is that it often includes dialogue from the script that didn’t make it into the finished episode. This ranges anywhere from a couple of lines to full-blown scenes, some of which are awesome to have in print—like the dialogue we don’t get to hear from the phone call at the end of the episode “Passion,” for instance.

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