For one, I've been listening to these really great podcasts from Buffycast.com. They're really focused and thoughtful, and I can't wait for them to make more. I've also enjoyed combing through the BTVS related-links over at Whedonesque. And I've found some interesting quotes that seem to confirm my theories that Joss-Sarah relations weren't always so peachy (thanks, in part, to Noxon).
First, here's a tidbit from a recent interview with Joss:
Q: What do you have to say to the people who complain about the final seasons of Buffy, who don't get season 6?
Whedon: Sorry. We do the best we can. We do what we think is right. Sometimes we sway too far one way, sometimes too far another. Season 6 was incredibly dark and that happens. I know that people said that Sarah complained; there were times where she said. "I feel lost." That's what we were going for, and eventually we realized that we had taken Buffy away from people, and they're not going to accept it. There were some members of the audience who had trouble with it and that I understand and that I respect, but that's where I thought the story had to go. When I started to feel it, I brought her back. The funny thing was that Sarah asked to talk to Marti [Noxon] and had a conversation with her at the end of the season and said, Now I feel like we're starting to miss the point, we're starting to miss the idea of the strong girl going to the dark side of what power is. I was astonished because I had the exact same conversation with her the day before.
And check out what writer David Fury said when asked why SMG didn't make an appearance on the final season of Angel.
FURY: We had approached her about doing the 100th episode. Buffy was going to appear in my episode, the episode that I directed, so we put out the offer to Sarah and she politely declined which, I will say, she had her reasons. I think there might have been a death of an aunt or something that she was dealing with but, regardless, I guess Joss kind of felt a little bit put off about the way it was done. There was a perceived notion, on both sides, I can say, between Sarah and Joss of ingratitude for both parties. Joss doesn't feel like Sarah's ever shown the proper amount of gratitude for what he's done for her and her career, and I think she feels the same way. That she feels she was never afforded the credit for Buffy's success and the gratitude from Joss.
And lastly, here's something Sarah said when asked why she decided to stop doing Buffy:
"I really didn't have any [input]. Maybe I should have, 'cause then we wouldn't have got so lost. It took me a while to work up the nerve to say something.
"It didn't feel like Buffy. But it's easy to be vocal now, because Joss isn't going to be yelling at me tomorrow."
As much as I'm grateful to Joss Whedon for creating Buffy, I side with Sarah on this one. She was Buffy. And I miss her.