Review of the Week (13/14/15): Zelda, Buffy/Angel, Malory Towers

I keep writing and re-writing this intro in an attempt to find pithy things to say about how I’m experiencing the passage of time, what lockdown is like where I am, how I’m filling my days other than the brief list of highlights I’ll record here. Some days I pour my heart out in my diary, trying to track how this all feels, light a pathway in case I ever want to walk back this way. Some days I do nothing at all. When I started trying to write a lighthearted weekly-ish blog about all the stupid stuff I watch and read and play, I didn’t imagine I’d be blogging a pandemic.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
What?:
Link awakes from a 100 year slumber and is told to rescue Zelda from Calamity Ganon but, because he’s being controlled by me, spends dozens of hours trying to find Koroks instead

The Switch isn’t my platform (PC til I die) and this is the only game I’ve tried on it that I’ve kept at for more than a couple of hours. I played for a while when it first came out then gave up in a huff because I’m rubbish at puzzles and I got stuck on the stupid camel. This time I’m mostly ignoring the plot and roaming around Hyrule with no other goal except to climb the tallest mountain Because It’s There.

This game has been out for 3 years and you definitely do not need my review of it at this stage, but if you haven’t gone back to it in a while, I’d recommend it as a really good balm for these Unprecedented Times. When the afternoons start to drag, it really burns through a few hours to make a shit-ton of stamina-boosting elixirs and send Link doggedly climbing up a vertical cliff.

Buffy/Angel
What?:
I’m re-watching Buffy and Angel like it’s 2001

At some point in the past few weeks, we reached the end of Buffy Season 4 and Angel Season 1, having watched them concurrently (using this guide) for the first time.

And like…it’s a miracle Angel didn’t crash and burn, isn’t it? Whether you believe that Glenn Quinn’s Doyle got written out as a purposeful creative decision or because he got the sack, Season 1 is still a patchy, tonally confusing mess that effectively starts from scratch 10 episodes in. In contrast, Season 4 of Buffy is fully bedded down and trying to grow up now that its characters are out of high school, which mostly emerges as everyone being complete shits to each other. (As a side-note, I love that Giles spends the whole of S4 in an unemployed existential crisis. Feels very ~relevant~.)

But despite all that, there really is a lot that clicks into place when you watch these two shows together. Suddenly Angel feels less scattered and more like… monster-of-the-week light relief next to the stodgy self-seriousness of Buffy’s plot arc with The Initiative. It’s a lot of fun to track Spike, then Faith, ping-pong between Sunnydale and LA, getting to do 18 rated stuff in LA then having to tone it all down again for Sunnydale. And the Buffy S4 finale, Restless, suddenly looks like the beautiful, artistic experiment it was intended to be when you can directly compare its deliberate weirdness to the we-didn’t-know-where-we-were-going-with-this bluntness of Angel’s S1 closer.

It’s also hilarious to watch either of these shows in the context of Torchwood S1, which tries so hard to be Angel-but-in-Wales, and misses the mark gloriously despite the fact that Angel S1 is a hot mess and so is Torchwood, but Torchwood is more of a hot mess somehow?? Bless its heart.

Malory Towers
What?:
A series of Enid Blyton novels charting the escapades of Darrell Rivers and her chums as they progress through life at their all girls boarding school, Malory Towers

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i have girl on the left’s hair atm because it’s a lockdown so my pixie cut is growing out

I will fully cop to having read the Malory Towers series so many times as a child that it is imprinted on my heart. Re-reading it in the sun with a glass of wine is not an adult experience I expected to have, but I’ve cherished the hours I’ve spent back in that school this week.

I retreated back into the books not only because they’re reassuring, but because CBBC have made a new adaptation which went up on iPlayer last week. I watched the first few episodes and it’s…alright-ish, but feels overwhelmingly rushed and truncated. The majority of today’s kids are unlikely to have been to a single sex school, let alone a boarding school, and the show charges headlong into lacrosse and playing tricks on teachers without doing much to establish the basics of how the world works. I have too many opinions on Malory Towers; I ranted to my husband for about half an hour about the aforementioned lacrosse, and I can’t get any of my more in-depth thoughts coherent in text because my brain is just not working.

But I will say that UNFORGIVABLY there was a moment in the adaptation where one of the teachers referred to ‘Malory Tower girls’ and I’m sorry, it is Malory Towers, there is an s on the end, whoever was responsible for this crime is dead to me, how could u

Tell you what though, a lot of people mis-remember this series as twee and jolly, and they forget that in the books a girl nearly falls off a cliff whilst unknowingly trying to post a parcel of stolen goods, and another girl who was being vain about her singing voice catches pneumonia and can barely talk for the next two years, and another girl gets cocky about her swimming and then gets caught in a rip-tide and dashed against the rocks of the Cornish coast. Enid Blyton does not pull her punches.

The best bit of re-reading the books was getting to book 5, when Darrell writes the school pantomime and discovers she has a talent for it, and realising that Enid Blyton chose my career path.

Anyway, I’m going to call my first-born Darrell and no one can stop me.