Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another TV review and today I will be reviewing season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So after having good times with season 1, 2, 3 ,4 and 5 I am ready for more. Oh and before I go into this review I have to apologise for the wait, I had finished this season almost a month and a half ago but just couldn’t find the right way to word it until now. 😛 With that out of the way, on with the review. 🙂 Minor spoilers follow…
As usual, we follow the life of Buffy Summers; teenager by day, vampire slayer by night. As part of the “Scooby Gang” they take on the supernatural happenings that go on in Sunnydale.
The show continues to have episodic stories, but also has story arches that continue over the course of the season that relate to things that have happened in the past, but have are also currently happening too. This season deals with the death and resurrection Buffy, and then her having to grow up and deal with issues that come with being a regular adult. There is also the rise of The Trio, Willow’s growing talent in magic and Tera’s concern for her dabbling in the dark arts, Xander and Anya’s developing relationship, Dawn’s secret issues and Spike’s continued obsession with Buffy.
Story-wise this season deals with a lot of dark and adult subject matters, and rather than detracting from the show’s formula, it allows the characters and stories to develop, mature and create new, exciting and unexpected scenarios. Once again the show happens to strike that right balance between humour and really seriousness, but what surprised me was how mature the stories and subject matters got. The show deals with subjects like life after death, sexual lust, rape, addiction, marriage and it’s not like they are just dumped in there quickly, they are right at the forefront of these stories and they feel realistic, raw and grip you on the most engaging and emotional level. And while I’m no stranger to these types of scenarios on TV, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised at how these things were handed, adding new levels of drama and digging into deeper emotional territories which was brilliant. I will say that this season, because of its dark subject matter and some of the storylines isn’t as fun or as enjoyable as some of the material that’s come beforehand. That being said, season 6 felt so progressive, smart and fun and the writers and Joss Whedon should be commended for taking these steps to advance this show. Oh and big shout out to the muscial episode, I had waited years to see it and it did not disappoint. 😀
Episode highlights include:
- Bargaining Part 1 & 2
- Once More, With Feeling (personal favourite)
- Tabula Rasa (personal favourite)
- Wrecked (personal favourite)
- Doublemeat Palace
- Dead Things
- Older and Far Away
- As You Were
- Hell’s Bells (personal favourite)
- Normal Again
- Seeing Red (personal favourite)
- Two to Go (personal favourite)
- Grave (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. But this was clearly a big season for the main three characters; Buffy, Willow and Xander.
So let’s start with Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers. I love how this season presented her with a lot of the issues that regular people start to have to deal with at her age like financial problems and getting a job, but also having to not only be a sister to Dawn but also be a parent to her too. Oh and Sarah, what an amazing lady. Her acting was top-notch this season, as usual SMG brough that incredibly bright, fun and witty side of Buffy to screen, but then we also got to see the more vulnerable, relatable and dramatic side of her too and the way SMG handled the more serious material was so realistic and emotionally engaging that I was left almost speechless by how much her acting affected me. Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg was great, this was the season where we got to see the best and worst of this character. Willow continues to be cute, charming and fun, but she also starts to show confidence, arrogance, deceptive tendencies and a lack of caution which affects the lives of everyone around her especially Tara. We got to see a very different side of Willow this season in addition to all of her regular traits and I adore Hannigan’s acting in this season as it was so convincing and awesome. Nicholas Brendon is another person who gets a lot to do as Xander Harris, Xander has always been an important character in this show, but this season really gives him more to beyond the regular comic relief, he’s given a lot of dramatic and emotional material, he’s at the forefront of a lot of stories, and we also get inside his head, learn about his loves and fears and see why he’s so vital to the gang. Brendon is great in this season and gives his best performance so far. Michelle Trachtenberg was also pretty good as Dawn Summers, I will admit that Dawn kind of annoyed me this season as her emotions were very bipolar when it came to Buffy and she was quite whiney a lot as well. That being said I could understand her because she was a teenager and she’d had to deal with so much for a person at that age.
James Marsters as Spike, wow, this was certainly a big season for him. Spike grows so much this season, continuing a lot of the themes from before, this time round Spike is still fun, mean and caring, but he’s also damaged, alone, lusting and all over the place. Marsters should be commended for handling his material with such professionalism and charisma, but also for being the same old charming and endearing actor we’ve come to love. Emma Caulfield as Anya was awesome, Anya’s always been a good source of humour and emotion, but this season really pushes her character forward and develops her in such dramatic ways and at one point I felt so bad for her in a way that I’d never thought I ever would, and Caulfield just broke my heart with her great acting. Amber Benson was really good as Tara Maclay, Tara has been a character I really got attached to from her first appearance and this season she become more integrated into the crew and has such a beautiful relationship with Willow. Benson is so lovely to watch in this role and she gives such fun and memorable performances. Anthony Stewart Head continues to be awesome as Rupert Giles, while Giles presence in this season is certainly smaller than before, he is by no means any less significant and in a lot of ways he’s more important than ever. I loved his story arc, interactions with Buffy and how he happened to be around at just the right times in certain episodes. I love ASH in this role, he’s just so badass and dramatic, and getting to see him sing again was just the best thing ever.
Now lets talk about The Trio with Danny Strong, Tom Lenk and Adam Busch as Jonathan, Andrew and Warren. Jonathan has always been one of my favourite hidden characters and he’s gotten progressively bigger over the time, but I didn’t expect him to return to this season on the side of evil. I liked how he was still kind of awkward, funny and the voice of reason within the group and Strong was great. Adam was my least favourite of the three as he seemed like a spineless lackey who just followed Warren without having much personality of his own, though he does have moments where he stood out. Warren was definitely the most memorable of the three, he was the leader and had the most cunning and villainous aspects. This guy was creepy, cold-hearted, manipulative and knew how to take things too far, and Adam Busch was really good in this role. I also really enjoyed James C. Leary as Clem as he was such an odd yet funny character and the return of Elizabeth Anne Allen as Amy Madison was very welcomed as she had an interesting role to play.
So to conclude season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is bloody brilliant, while it certainly one of the least joyful seasons of the show, it still had a lot of the trademark humour and provided me with some of the best drama I’ve seen in a TV in a while. This season tackled some really dark and mature themes, had some brilliant performances and super memorable storylines. I’ll be sad to see this show end when I finish season 7, but I’m super hyped for it.