I think I'm not going to make any lists, just describe how I feel about S8.
I don't know where I sit here really. My LJ is decked out in S8 pictures, but then the thing I love most about S8 is the cover art. Jo Chen is brilliant, not only with catching the characters likenesses and giving them new expressions and poses but also with creating just spectacularly composed pictures. Her lighting, her set ups, that's what the promo pictures for Buffy should have looked like back in the day, then I might not have thought it something I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.
The other thing is that as a relative late commer to fandom I love the buzz about S8. I can finally be there, when it happens. Discuss it instantly on message boards and on LJ, I love that part and I was terribly excited about S8 when it first came out because of it. I gave it a great deal of laurel in advance, because in my mind a lot of things on Buffy were not solved or could play on.
There is Faith,who was ready to set up shop as her own hero. Giles, who never got an existence really independent from Buffy. There is Willow still riding the edge between being an extremely powerful force for good or for destruction. Then there's Buffy and Spike, who never really felt finished the way Buffy's other relationships did, there are also new characters like Wood and Kennedy that would have been interesting to follow. And of course all the new and different slayers around the globe.
Now Season 8 is almost three quarters done and it feels like it has pulled it's punches on a lot of those issues.
I love the parts about Faith and Giles continuing their own hunt. That's something I would even enjoy as a standalone series. A comic Faith spin of would be awesome.
Willow is addressed in S8 but everything about her has been drawn out for so long now that I wonder when the big bang is finally going to come. I feel like all the tension is gone from the issue by now and I'm not certain if the move to just show us Willow had changed and then only hinting at what happened for 30 issues was a smart one. The thing just doesn't have the power to grip me that long. That is as if Dawn had shown up in S3 and then just been there unexplained until S5. It was a mystery that needed to be addressed within a few episodes otherwise it would have just looked like an excuse to write a sister in.
The writing cringes back from the Buffy/Spike issue like the devil from holy water. That is something I can do with since I suppose you could let the end of S7 be a definite end to this relationship. It's just not the idea I like best. I would have liked the thing explored instead of violently ignored.
The slayers are a big part of S8 and I wish I could get into them, but it just doesn't work for me. They all seem so similar and noncommittal to me. Just with one layer of character. No real, oh yeah! heroic moments for them. They never reach the level of dept Buffy, Faith, Kendra or Nicky Wood had. They all range somewhere with the unnamed chinese slayer as cannon fodder (except for the Buffy double in the one shot, she did work for me, which is frustrating because it was never repeated).
That I have this lingering fears about the season not managing to pay off it's mystery built up doesn't help either. I'm paranoid that way, thanks to BSG probably.
I think I just expected a lot more and am now a little bitter about getting only something like Buffy light from the comics when I wanted the full blown dosage of humor, action, drama and heartbreak.
I watch quite some shows and dabble in a few fandoms but non of them gets me as excited, non of them stimulates me creatively or gets to me emotionally like Buffy does. That's a feeling I lost with the comics and hope issue after issue that it's only a very long "Teacher's pet" episode and will get great again. But a great pay off was never what Buffy was about, it used to be fun during the ride.
I'm probably being unfair and more critical about it then I was about the show and I'm afraid that's because I'm not as occupied with squeeing as I used to be, so I start to see every misgiving and plothole (reminds me of Vampire Diaries, where I got hypnotized by the way the dreadful main actress only plays with her eyebrows and makes the whole show the battle of the writhing caterpillars). I want it to be so interesting that I don't care about such things, damn it.
So I'll probably keep sitting my fence until the whole thing is done and see then if I can get behind the final product.