x-posted to kben
I know what's wrong with season seven.
The direction, for the bulk of midseason, is total crap. Like, pre-filmschool 101 student project bullshit. It's all very minor stuff... but Joss was always so good at being on set to make sure that stuff was right and in S7 there's all these little things that are off ALL THE TIME that make things feel weird. So far, I'm noticing mostly angles and the way people are shot, doing excessive two shots when you could cover something in a master. Early on, they had to shoot a lot of stuff in masters with less coverage because they had less money... thus it set a visual standard for the show.
Even when Joss FIRST directed this show, he had an eye for what looked good. And no, I'm not getting the jobs of Cinematographer and Director confused. The director still has control over what's ultimately shot. And they decide what KINDS of shots will be used.
Bad acting, bad writing... you can work around those, play to the strengths of a scene. A good director knows how to work with limited resources. I mean, look at early Boreanaz. But bad directing fucks up the whole damn thing.
I feel so much better having pegged this, though. It was like the Kennedy thing. At first there was something off about her, and I knew I liked her, but something felt weird... and I chalked it up to lack of direction for Iyari who was in the middle of a pool of actors who'd been in this gig for years. (Here I go, again.) Aly Hannigan's been playing Willow for seven years, she doesn't need to be told what Willow might do in said scene... But a new actor playing a new character who's been given the script the day of... they're gonna need some direction.
Don't get me wrong. I loves me some Buffy crew. I just think that the lack of constraints that they had earlier on allowed for more fuck ups. Before, you couldn't fuck up because there wasn't any money to fix it. It had to be done right the first time. They were still trying to hold on to ratings and make a name for themselves. By the time the final season rolled around, there was more money and no need to try and pull people in. Plus, Big Daddy Joss wasn't around to crack the whip. So, things suffered.
I gotta say, for all the net fans who bitch about this season sucking, they fucked it for themselves. It was the massive immediate passing of script and spoiler info around the web that made the writers have to struggle to be on top of things all the time. There was a department leak... and everyone was so greedily starved for info about the show, it spread like wildfire. They'd have to rewrite, thus making script changes the day of a shoot. And, yes, that happens normally, but not at the rate it was happening for them in S7. So, the performances lacked, the story suffered and we got a lesser product.
But it all boils down to crappy directing, I say.