WTFBC – Book 3 – The Complete Companion – Review


 It’s always tricky reviewing a book that naturally divides itself up – short stories for example. If you get too stuck in on one section; you might not have time to get an overall view of the writing and so on.

And the write up’s always reflect that imbalance.  
Trust me. 
I speak from painful experience. 

Thankfully, everyone else had realised the same thing so rather then discuss this huge book in one go – we decided that we were going to discuss it first as a whole and then focus on one other section in detail. Being the logical people that we are – naturally Buffy was that section. Next time – tentatively set for the 18th of September – we’ll be discussing the Angel and Firefly sections. 

To try something new – because I can’t seem to get enough of that – I’m going to let our tweets do most of the talking. No matter how long I’m online; I’m constantly amazed at how easily concepts were conveyed in an conversation like the one that flowed last night. Going back over the tweets; it seems like so little was actually said. We’ve just gotten to know each other very well I guess!
Our conversations jumped about the place a bit, so I shall try to gather the strands coherently. I’ve done some minor editing – for example putting two consecutive tweets together – but only where necessary.  

 What I love about books like this is the origin story. 
In interviews & books, I love hearing about what influenced their creations.

Though we all of us enjoyed the book; we had quite a few issues and in our usual restrained way jumped right it. Given that Our Glorious Leader – THE WHEDON ONE – is still making films, comics and tv shows; the title irritated.

… it’s not the complete companion, it can’t be. he hasn’t finished yet! 

Immediately followed by…

he was still working on stuff while they were writing it! 

In addition; dividing the books up into tv shows; comics and films felt very simplistic. I felt that using an internal chronology or by theme would have allowed for strands without the shows to be connected in a less forced way. We felt that the book was weighted towards Buffy and Firefly with Angel and Dollhouse woefully under-represented.  

Yes! Chronology would have been good. But I think if they’d just made it more even throughout 
I felt they could’ve had a lot less of the Buffy essays 🙂 

Because some of the essays were addressing more than one tv show so theme may have been better, such as heroes, identity, etc 

Yes! I thought it was a bit unequal. Would have thought Dollhouse would give rich pickings. Maybe not as popular yet?? 

With such an uneven distribution of material; the added advantage of dividing it up by theme would have allowed us to cover a greater range of shows/comics/films. 

We enjoyed the 101; the interview with the Mayor…sorry Harry Groener and the essay about the lapsed fan, though we did feel that the information wasn’t new. All the info and the interview had all been published previously and – geeks that we are – most of us were familiar with the concepts. 

I loved the info about the voice over. Angel at start as Buffy is powerless but she takes it back and it’s her voice at the end 🙂 and the shadows representing how the characters have been touched by Angelus’ darkness 

We didn’t like when the writers were poorly informed about the topic…

Some of the essays didn’t really seem to know their subject matter either. Various comments on character progression assumed things incorrectly. If they had done their research they would have known that X character left because of the actor etc etc 

And we really didn’t like it when conclusions were drawn that ran contrary to canon…

Some of the essays seemed to be using Whedon’s works to pursue their own point, rather than making a point out of Whedon’s works

used as descriptions not as the point. Grrr 

I felt that about many of the essays, they just didn’t seem to have a Whedon related point

Or blatantly used the show to show a particular agenda. 

 I *hate* when people use my favourite show to validate an opinion on a social issue they have. and write off everyone who differs [with them]

 the most amazing thing about the  fandom – MY fandom – is that it’s totally inclusive. We’ll take anyone who loves it!

My raving quickly dissipated into laughter at the response
…yeh, except for that one guy. We hate him

However there were two essay that really got us steamed. 

I think I hated the women who hate women essay. In fact, yes I did. Packed full of bullshit 

I seem to remember swearing a lot while reading that essay 

Women who hate women – it says that women in buffy can’t be friends where men are concerned then refs 2 eps 

And love for Xander was fierce. As soon as the subject of *that* essay was raised; the troops were rallied and a defence promptly mounted. 
We agreed that Xander was vital to the group dynamic – not merely for being the heart and eye of the scoobies; but that as a non supernatural; he provided the space for the me’s to join in the fun. 
He truly grew up during the course of the evening. 
And of course he talked Willow down. That was just awesome. And lets not forget the Zeppo.

The essay about Xander – he peaked too soon!!!!! How about what he did in s7?? Poor Xander always gets belittled 

 I think whenever xander was mentioned throughout this section he got short shrift!

besides spike he’s the best character in buffy

he is the heart and the eyes. Well eye. 

if anything he’s vital because he keeps a ‘real’ eye on on things. Not supernatural 

Exactly! Everyone else was focused on the supernatural aspect of the problem at hand. Xander represented normality, & real life.

 Absolutely. Xanders finest hour had to be when he talked willow down from destroying the world. I always loved Xander….….I related to him more than the others. He had no powers. But he was just as important to the group dynamic.

we’re like the XDL – xander defence league
[RESPONSE]  Lol!!! We need t shirts and badges 🙂

He truly ‘grows up’. That essay seems to completely miss that.

I’m very glad we all love Xander 🙂 

Though we also agreed that the inherent message of the show was reflected respectfully and remained true to the core. 

I think one of the things I did like was that it became clearer to see Joss’s themes- the language, found family + by that I that’s not blood, but ‘found’- framily if you like. Strong women, of course & the resilience of children. 

i summarised it as ‘nobody’s perfect and lives up to the roles put on us by society’ 🙂

Ending on a high.

Loved the ‘Passion’ essay. 

Those were my favourites in the  section. Passions and Restless 

2 other faves were the ‘Passions’ essay and the ‘Restless’ essay 🙂

the restless one really spoke to me. for – as you all know – I wear the cheese. The cheese does not wear me.  

I think we have covered the Buffy section 🙂 

Next time we tweet; we’ll be covering Angel and Firefly. If we can wait that long…

 Would I be alone in my opinion that Angel was way better than Buffy? I enjoyed the angel portions of the book more

Some Buffy moments here: Youtube

Find fellow members on twitter by searching for #WTFBC.
Let me know your thoughts by either tweeting me @LeedsBookClub, commenting below or emailing me at




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