Sunday, August 29, 2004

Buffy Season 5 Part 1

I've had this DVD collection lying around for a few months now, but I only just finished watching the whole thing. As you probably know, I love Buffy more than just about anything else in the whole universe, so it goes without saying that I liked it. However I still don't think I can resist geeking out and describing the whole thing in nauseous detail.

The impression I get is that season 5 of Buffy was considered a bit of a decline in quality when it first aired, but is now viewed rather more fondly after the unpopular 6th season and the just plain crappy 7th season. I'd probably agree that by the end of the 5th season, Buffy hadn't jumped the shark, but there was definitely a fin visible in the water not too far away. I think the problem was that the writers just ran out of things to do with Buffy's character. The first three seasons are the most popular because they had their very appealing high school analogy to work with, but after that they just got a bit lost. Season 4 had a lot of very good episodes, but the overall story arc for the year didn't hang together that well (Joss Whedon himself says exactly the same thing in an interview an the DVD), they tried to have a bit of a 'finding your way in the real world/becoming an adult' sort of theme to it, but as you can imagine, it didn't resonate as much as the high school based episodes. Plus Riley was boring.

Which brings us to season 5. The first half is pretty standard Buffy stuff, a new big baddy, lots of relationship drama etc, it's really just setting stuff up for the second part. The main change is the addition to the cast of Buffy's sister Dawn. Dawn isn't a particularly popular character, but at least to start with she fits in fairly well, as she's supposed to be young and naive, and her annoying adolescent behaviour makes sense. It's a pity they had to keep her around to stink up the later seasons. (The writers obviously learned their lesson, since they thank god got rid of Conner at the end of season 4 of Angel.) Other than that there's a lot of cool stuff I think they could have done but didn't. I thought they could have done more with the whole 'madness' thing they touched on in 'Listening to Fear' (where an evil alien demon is summoned to hunt and kill crazy people), with Glory (the big baddy) sucking peoples brains out and leaving them insane, Buffy's mum going crazy from a brain tumour, and the whole shared delusion of Dawn's life being inserted artificially into everyone's memories.

The best episodes include 'Fool for Love', where Spike tells the story of his past (and ties in with Angel's flashbacks in the corresponding episode of his show). 'Real Me', I can't remember exactly what I liked about this one, just that I did, maybe it's because I like Harmony the bimbo vampire. And lastly one of the funniest Buffy's ever, 'Triangle', where Willow accidentally releases an angry troll: "Bring me stronger ale! And some nice succulent babies!", [Troll bashes rubbish skip] "Ha! Puny receptacle!".

The only real stinker is the first episode, 'Buffy vs. Dracula', which can be basically just be summed up by the title, and is as lame as it sounds.

Well, it looks like I have a lot to say about Buffy, but the rest will have to wait for another time. I'll probably write something about Angel season 2 part 1 soon too, I'll bet you can't wait!

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