Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another TV review and today I will be reviewing season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So after having good times with season 1, 2, 3 and 4, I am ready for more. Minor spoilers follow…
As usual, we follow the life of Buffy Summers; normal teenager by day, vampire slayer by night. As part of the “Scooby Gang” along with Giles, Willow, Xander and Anya, except this time with more Spike, as they take on the supernatural happenings that go on in Sunnydale.
The show continues to have episodic stories, but also has stories that continue over the course of the season that relate to things that have happened in the past and present too. This season deals with the concept of death of and how it affects the slayer. In addition to that we see the introduction of Dawn (Buffy’s sister), get a deeper look at Spike, have more magical happenings with Willow and deal supernatural issues that come range from the standard fare to god-like scenarios.
Story-wise this season continues some of the themes from season 4, however it takes the darkness and despair to a whole new level. That doesn’t mean that the trademark humour is gone, it is actually still around but is used sparingly this time around. What I liked about this season of Buffy is the fact that took major storylines that could have spanned an entire season and condensed it into a few episodes. Normally that can be seen as a sign of rushing, however the writers find a way to move things along a brisk pace resulting in well-thought out stories that told in concise manner. Episodes and stories moved swiftly and some had a great deal of levity to it especially the episodes that Joss Whedon directed, and speaking of Mr. Whedon I have to say that he knows how to do the unexpected, tug at your heartstrings and great very real/fantastical experiences.
Episode highlights include:
- Buffy Vs. Dracula
- The Replacement (personal favourite)
- Fool For Love (personal favourite)
- Into the Woods
- Blood Ties (personal favourite)
- The Body (personal favourite)
- Tough Love
- The Weight of the World (personal favourite)
- The Gift (personal favourite)
When it comes to the cast, the regulars once again give us such beautiful and memorable performances, while the new additions certain shake things up for the recurring cast members.
So let’s start with Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers. I’ve always liked Buffy as she’s a delightful, beautiful, sarcastic and incredible individual with an awesome screen presence and kicks plenty of ass. But in this season it seems like Buffy has really stepped up and become more than just the slayer, she is a true superhero. In this season Buffy wrestles with all sorts of monsters, deals with relationships with her friends, family and lovers and has to come to terms with death in the most brutal of ways. SMG does such a fantastic job in this role and this is the best acting I’ve sen from her so far. Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg is delightful, this character continues to grow and develop as person and as a witch and it is incredible to see how far she has come. Back when the series started she was so shy and cute, now she’s still cute and funny, but is way more confident and assertive. Nicholas Brendon is fun as Xander Harris, however he is a bit more of a douchebag this season giving Buffy and Spike grief and just being generally unlikable. Michelle Trachtenberg is the new face in the crowd as Dawn Summers, she is quite different to her sister but at the same time very similar. It is interesting to learn about her, see her grow up and adjust to the difficulties of early teenage life in addition to all the extra drama that follows Buffy. James Marsters definitely steps up a in a big as Spike, his role was already being expanded following last season, but here he is at the forefront of most story and it is interesting to learn more about his backstory, see his character development and have him interact with Buffy and company in such dramatic and humourous ways.
Anthony Stewart Head still kicks ass as Rupert Giles, while there aren’t any super fun standout moments like season four, we don’t get to see him in a more assertive and aggressive manner. Just seeing him put his foot down or just be kind of dark and sinister is delightful for me. Emma Caulfield continues to be a source of humour and confusion as Anya, and while some of her blunt statements can be frustrating, this season you really do feel for her as you see that she’s really just innocent and doesn’t know any better. Amber Benson was a lot more fun as Tara Maclay, in this season Tara has more to do and say and we got discover more about who she is, what makes her special and how deep her relationship is with Willow. I really liked Clare Kramer as Glory, she was a very different kind of villain as she was very charismatic, confident and casual about her evil deeds and while she didn’t always have the answers, when she was in control of a situation she was a beast. I liked Charlie Weber as Be, but I didn’t care much for him. Kristine Sutherland was once again a joy to watch as Joyce Summers, she was kind and sweet and brave in the face of extreme hardship.
So to conclude season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a great, if somewhat heartbreaking season that deals with death, gods and the power of family. There was a lot to love and overall I feel like this season was stronger than the last, but I guess there were a few nitpicks I have here an there that stop it from being perfect.