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Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 4 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another TV review and today I will be reviewing season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So after a good time with season 12 and 3, I am ready for more. Minor spoilers follow…

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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, Xander and Willow, except this time with less Cordelia and more Oz, 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 Buffy and her friends growing up and moving to university and taking on the problems that come with higher education and social interaction, but also all the classic supernatural issues that come with life surrounding the slayer.

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Story-wise this season definitely changes things up from the get-go, having the Scooby gang separated in different directions and experiencing the real world beyond high school feels very odd at first, but it does present some new adventures and personal journeys for some individuals especially when it comes to Buffy, Willow and Oz. There is a lot of new content to take in with some of it being hilarious and exciting, but it’s not all fun and games, there are moments of mystery, surprise, drama and melancholy emotions for sure. Luckily there are some familiar characters and scenarios to keep things from feeling too detached. I also feel like I’m at the right age to be watching this show, besides being a big fan of TV and being a massive fan of Joss Whedon and his work with other TV shows and films, right now, having been a recent university student, this show really resonates with me. Having gone through the whole uni adventure myself, this show happens to capture perfectly, the uncertainty and the ups and downs of being a uni student. Whether it be moving away from home and living in a new environment, being the newbie on campus, living with difficult people, having hard times in class or missing the old times before higher education. Plus whoever came up with the use of the song “Believe” by Cher is a don, it is one of my all-time favourite cheesy pop song from the 90’s.

Episode highlights include:

  • The Freshman
  • Living Conditions
  • The Harsh Light of Day (personal favourite)
  • Fear Itself
  • Beer Bad
  • Wild at Heart (personal favourite)
  • Pangs (personal favourite)
  • Something Blue (personal favourite)
  • Hush (personal favourite)
  • Doomed
  • A New Man
  • The I in Team
  • Goodbye Iowa
  • This Year’s Girl (personal favourite)
  • Who Are You
  • Superstar (personal favourite)
  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • New Moon Rising
  • The Yoko Factor (personal favourite)
  • Primeval (personal favourite)
  • Restless

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. Buffy this season has a lot to deal with, she has relationship issues, foes new and old trying to kill her, new levels of intimacy with university men, and on top of that, she has to be the slayer. It was interesting to see Buffy for all of her knowledge, confidence and power, still being a little naive, powerless and indecisive and I once again have to say that Gellar is the woman of the hour because she acts so well. Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg is simply amazing, this is really big season for Willow as she starts to become more efficient as a witch, we see her heartbroken and then go through an unexpected and radical change with her new friend. Hannigan is such a great actress as she happens to be cute, pretty, witty, smart and mysterious all at the same and that is quite a feat and Willow as a character was just someone I wanted to hug all the time. Nicholas Brendon is once again so cool as Xander Harris, this season really puts Xander in an odd position as he happens to the only non-university student and doesn’t seem to be going anyway with his life besides his odd jobs and his strange relationship with Anya. However, the guy is still full of some of the best one-liners, is still funny and seeing him around just makes me smile.

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Oh and Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles, a frigging legend. I think I’m in love. I mean I’ve always liked Giles, the guy is English, has a dry sense of humour and is very strict and dull as a character, but since becoming unemployed this guy has become a hell of a lot more interesting. Seeing Giles in a more casual manner makes for some interesting moments like Giles in a sombrero or Giles with a chainsaw or SEEING GILES BLOODY SINGING AND PLAYING GUITAR! I swear seeing that just changed my world and made Giles and Anthony Stewart Head as an actor like the best person ever. Emma Caulfield returns as Anya but in a more substantial role than before, now she’s sort of part of the Scooby gang and while she’s a little eccentric and does not know anything about subtly when it comes to voicing her opinions, however, she has a good heart and having her in a relationship with Xander makes for some really funny moments. James Marsters in this season as Spike, damn what a joy he was to watch. This version of Spike is bad to his old ways, he’s dangerous, manipulative, cunning and funny as hell, but he is also silly, unthreatening and surprisingly docile when in an unfavourable situation. Marsters again remains to be the voice of reason, has great lines of dialogue and because his new situations, his constant interaction with the Scooby gang is just the best thing ever.

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And then there’s Marc Blucas as Riley Finn, over the course of the season I got to like him more (especially when he meets Angel), but overall I’m not overly fussed about his character. I know he’s just an average joe by day/military guy by night, but as a character, he was never that engaging to me and just doesn’t fit into my view of the show. Amber Benson as Tara Maclay was definitely the most unexpected and interesting flavour to be added to this new cast, she’s incredibly shy, a bit of a recluse and no one really sees her, that is until Willow comes into play and she opens up a lot more. Benson does a great job of being super shy, vulnerable and adorable all at the same time. Lindsay Crouse was as Maggie Walsh but I never liked her from the moment I saw her and as for George Hertzberg as Adam, I say well done him, he was like the Terminator mixed in with Frankenstein, but with the intelligence and humour of a smart human. Adam is a little unconventional when it comes to being a villain as he wasn’t as clearly evil as those who came before him, I mean he was still bad, but in a more casual manner. Kristine Sutherland was once again good as Joyce Summers, however, she didn’t stand out that much considering everything that happened in this series took place further Buffy’s old home. After not seeing him for a while, the return of David Boreanaz as Angel was awesome, his moody yet cool persona is still fun to watch and I liked his complicated interactions with Buffy. Seeing Eliza Dushku as Faith brought warm feelings to my heart, for a while I wasn’t sure if the show would acknowledge her existence again, but they did and Dushku came back swinging in all of her fiery hotness and I liked having this girl back the picture even if it were for a short time. And finally the appearance of Danny Strong as Jonathan Levinson was like the best unexpected of this season, I almost didn’t recognize him in the episode he was featured in because he’d changed so much, but damn I have to give props to Strong, he killed it in his one-off episodes.

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So to conclude season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a bloody good season and is possibly my favourite season so far. Removing Buffy and company from their usual high school hijinks and placing them in college adds a great sense of the Scooby gang and with faces new and old showing up, new revelations taking place in Sunnydale and with stories full of bizarre, hilarious and emotional elements thrown in throughout, I was left thoroughly entertained and emotionally invested.

Rating: 9/10

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 3 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another TV review and after a little while away, I return to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So after a good introduction with season 1 and then falling in love with season 2, I now step into season 3. Annoyingly, I’ve had to watch the first half of this season twice as I started it last December, then dropped it after university got more intense and didn’t start watching again until July. Before going into this season my friends told me that the show only gets better from season 2 onwards and to say that I was hyped would be an understatement. Anyways, enough chatter, time to talk about season 3 of BuffyMinor spoilers follow…

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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, Xander and Willow, except this time with less Cordelia and more Oz, 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 deal with the relationship status of  Buffy and Angel, the new slayer Faith, the ascension of the mayor of Sunnydale and what happens when Xander and Willow get more screen time.

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Story-wise this season 3 was another great season filled with a great deal of drama and heartbreaking situations involving the main characters. Coming off of a fairly emotional climax at the end of season 2, this season provides plenty of challenges for not only Buffy, but also for Willow, Xander, Oz, Cordelia and Giles. This season predominately revolves around love and relationships and this leads to some really emotional and unexpected territories for all the main characters involved, but on top of that there is a theme of the future and moving on and that applies to the characters, their relationships, school lives and then eventually moving to college as well. One of the things I never highlighted in my reviews of season 1 and 2 is how well this show gets the balance between humour and drama just right, because even in a scene that’s very emotional or super serious there will always be someone around to crack a joke to break the tension. The rise of power for the mayor and the appearances of the different types of demons kept things varied and different, plus the twists and turns this show throws at you always keeps you guessing which was fun. I also feel like this season, for all the drama that took place, was a little lighter in tone and featured a lot more comedic moments and because of that I wasn’t left as emotionally scarred as I was at the end of season 2. I also wanted to mention how much I liked the action in this series, from the crazy and varied monster designs, to all the cool hand-to-hand combat scenes, it was all badass with my highlights definitely being the final fight between Buffy and Faith and the war at Sunnydale High’s graduation, that was some epic and mental stuff.

Episode highlights include:

  • Anne
  • Faith, Hope, and Trick
  • Brand Candy
  • Revelations
  • Lover’s Walk
  • Gingerbread
  • Helpless
  • Bad Girls
  • Consequences
  • Earshot
  • Choices
  • The Prom
  • Graduation Day, Part One
  • Graduation Day, Part Two

As the cast they are all awesome as recurring cast members really get some great moments to show off their acting skills and get better as their characters, while new cast members add a lot of interesting flavours to the show’s regular dynamic. What I liked was that everyone had relevance and even when some characters went bad the show still tried to show some moments of redemption.

So let’s start with Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers. SMG is still amazing as Buffy, her acting is believable, raw and really feel for her in these moments of crisis. In this season Buffy pretty much has everything thrown at her as the slayer and yet still has to deal with her school life, her mum, friends and relationships too. At times she is a bit of an emotional wreck, but considering all the stuff she has to deal with it is hardly surprising and this leads to some very difficult fights and conversations. All of this happens and SMG still looks beautiful and cute as hell haha. Then we have David Boreanaz as Angel. After the events of last season, I wondered if he would return for this season, but at the same time I knew he would be back and he is totally on-point as he still a brooding, complex and an incredibly layered person who has a great deal of knowledge and experience of life because of his immortality. I like how he and Buffy had to rekindle their relationship and be in love, but also have issues and eventually break up. Both Gellar and Boreanaz have great chemistry and you totally buy the fact these two are undeniably in love but have aspects of their lives that won’t keep them together permanently.

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Nicholas Brendon is still awesome as Xander Harris, in the earlier side of this season his jokes are not as funny as usual, but eventually he finds his rhythm and delivers some of my favourite laughs in this season. I like how this show gave him moments to shine and finally address his lack of usefulness in the main gang. Alyson Hannigan really got more interesting as Willow Rosenberg, last season really built up Willow’s character, but here she totally got to be more than she ever was before. Even though she was still her cute and smart self, this time round she seemed more assertive, adventurous and was in the thick of the action a lot more, and I loved her for that. Charisma Carpenter still looked incredible and was interesting as Cordelia Chase, she pretty much goes from being one of the members of the group to going back to her old ways in season 1, you know, being cruel and hurtful bitch. Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles is still one of the coolest dudes ever, he is always there to help Buffy and company, but he is also pretty sneaky and after learning more about his past you get to appreciate him even more. Seth Green as Oz is again the guy who isn’t very emotive, but provides moments of humor and got involved in more of the active with Buffy and company while also advancing his relationship with Willow too. Oz is probably my least favourite character in the group because he isn’t as charismatic as the rest of the gang, but he does have his moments where he’s pretty cool.

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Now let’s mention Eliza Dushku, who wonderfully plays Faith Lehane, damn! When she first stepped on the scene I fell in love. I was mainly familiar with Dushku from Dollhouse, so to see her so much younger here was an unexpected surprise. At first Faith is the new slayer who is a lot more aggressive, out-going and carefree than Buffy and it is fun to have her around as this massive contrast from our regular slayer, but after the series progresses and things take a turn for the worse, you see that Faith has a much darker side that starts to take over. At first I loved Faith’s spunky and more action-oriented attitude, but then she became a total bitch, but that’s what made her cool to watch as a villain. And we can’t talk about Faith without mentioning Harry Groener as Mayor Richard Wilkins. This guy is awesome, the reason I like him as the dominant villain of this season is because he’s not your conventional ‘I’m evil all the time’ kind of bad guy, he is very quirky, humourous and rarely ever demonstrates any negative thinking. That being said, the guy can get pretty unforgiving, ruthless and when things really start going badly for him the man can pretty much freak out and that’s what I really appreciated about Groener’s performance.

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Kristine Sutherland is pretty good as Joyce Summers, after the events of last season she has a hard time dealing with what Buffy did and trusting her daughter is very an easy thing from then on and Joyce definitely has some fun moments in this season too especially with Giles. Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce was pretty funny, he’s the new watcher who is supposed to come in and replace Giles, but he is pretty much ignored most of the time and no one takes him seriously. He’s much like Giles (being English and have similar mannerisms), but he doesn’t have a backbone and no one really likes him, well besides Cordelia which is still the weirdest thing ever. Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder is still a douche, but he is a pretty funny douche though, and seeing him in more humourous situations definitely helped me like him more this time around. Emma Caulfield was funny and entertaining as Anya and I was not expecting to see her so much leading up to the end of the series and Danny Strong as Jonathan Levinson has been one of my favourite hidden school characters and to see him have more screen time was awesome. And finally seeing James Marsters return briefly as Spike was an unexpected and joyful moment in time, they guy was just as funny, crazy and British as always, but he also gave a brief statement about love and relationships and I feel is one of the best bits of dialogue in the series.

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So to conclude season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is another great series of episodes that featured a great deal of action, drama and humour. While I don’t feel like this season left the same kind of dramatic impact that the previous season did, there was a great deal of character development, fun and excitement for Buffy and the rest of the main cast here and I’m interested to see what happens in season 4.

Rating: 8.5/10

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 2 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another TV review yo. So after checking out season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. and really getting into it, I decided to jump into season 2 straight away. For those who didn’t read my review of Buffy season 1 on it can be read right here. Now let’s talk about Buffy season 2 and man is there a lot to talk about. Minor spoilers to follow…

Once again we follow the live of Buffy Summers, a normal teenager by day, vampire slayer by night. As part of the “Scooby Gang” along with Giles, Xander, Willow and Cordelia, they take on the supernatural happenings that go on in Sunnydale as they tackle vampires, witchcraft, werewolves, sea monsters and other bizarre things.

The show continues to have episodic storylines but also has sense but also over the course of the series. This season starts out strong with Buffy coming to terms with the events that took place during the finale of the last season, but we also have to deal with her further relationship with Angel, the introduction of Spike, Drusilla, Oz and a few other faces, the future love lives of both Willow, Xander and Cordelia are explored and we also get to see the darker side of Giles. Everything is going down in this season and man does it get interesting.

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All I have to say about this second season is OMG! Frigging OMG! The writers really pull out the big guns for these stories as they are strong, intense and emotional episodes that’ll suck you hook you in and never let go. I mean there is humour, love, loss, loneliness, tension, confusion and drama. Holy cow is there some drama, from the start of the season its strong material and it builds up to an epic conclusion where all I could say was “Wow.” DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA! That’s all this show is now and it’s SO FRIGGING GOOD! I can’t stress that enough. And then there is death! Joss Whedon, god of all things TV and film apparently became infamous for killing off main characters because of this series and while I’ve seen it in his later works, I can now see why it was such a big deal. In the end, this show is filled with dramatic incidents that will tug at your heartstrings and leave you emotionally invested throughout.

Episode highlights include:

  • When She Was Bad
  • Halloween
  • Lie to Me
  • Innocence (Personal Favourite)
  • Passion (Personal Favourite)
  • I Only Have Eyes For You
  • Go Fish
  • Becoming Pt 1 & 2 (Personal Favourite)

When it comes to the cast they’re all brilliant with returning cast members changing a lot and really step up their acting game, while new cast members are a solid addition to the show. So again let’s start with Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers. SMG is still awesome as Buffy, while we still get all of her great qualities in terms of her being a courageous, sassy, quirky and complicated teenager, but we also get to see her t her best and most vulnerable. Buffy goes through a lot of significant changes that really change her personality and way of thinking, she basically goes through the best and worst times of her life and while I love seeing Buffy being all badass, I also loved seeing her so emotionally broken and tortured. Oh and by the way SMG still looks hot as hell, there is never a moment where she doesn’t look impeccable. 🙂

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As for the rest of the main cast they are all great. Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris becomes one of my main favourite characters in this season. Xander is still the funny, sarcastic and ridiculous guy that we’ve come to know and love, but in this series we really get to see him grow in confidence, become more assertive and speak his mind and come to terms with his feelings with Buffy, Willow and surprisingly Cordelia too. Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg is pretty much one of the best characters in this show by this point and Rosenberg really shows off her acting talent. Willow is still her funny and cute self, but in this season we finally get to see her sort out her emotional attachment to Xander and move onto Oz and then there’s a build up in confidence in not only her looks but assertiveness.

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As for Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase, let me just get this out of the way first… She is smoking hot! I swear she just looks incredibly pretty like all the damn time! Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the character. Cordelia really goes from being a horrible bitch to a much more tolerable bitch in this season, she’s still a source of humour because of her ditsy nature, but she does grow to like Buffy and the others and eventually becomes a full-on member of their group… And of course, there’s the whole thing with her and Xander! What the actual hell man? Random as hell but totally great for TV purposes. Also Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles has become one of my personal favourite people! Giles is the man stuck in his books, always coming up plans and being straightforward. But in this season we learn so much more about his dark backstory, see his developing relationship with Jenny Calendar and see him step up as her Buffy’s father figure which is beautiful.

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But the real star of this season is David Boreanaz as Angel. I love how mysterious he was in the last season, but here Angel’s allowed to be a little more emotional, awkward, funny, and most importantly menacing. Oh, and of course we get to see more of Angel’s history and that is a welcome bonus too. Boreanaz is a very versatile actor and his acting talent is so frigging impressive, I won’t say what happens specifically but Angel is at his best when he’s a bad guy, he is simply in his element and delivers most his best work in that regard.

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Now let’s talk about the rest of the highlights in the cast. James Marsters as Spike is a great addition, I love how British he is and he’s very relatable with his choice of language and mannerisms, but in addition to that, he’s a great bad guy with a cracking personality. Juliet Landau as Drusilla is someone I’m kind of half and half with, on one hand, I like how strange and creepy she can be, but sometimes I feel like her character is pretty annoying because of how strange and weird she is. Kristine Sutherland really steps up as Joyce Summers in this season, as Buffy’s mother she starts to question Buffy’s actions, lay down the law and discover things about her daughter that she can’t quite understand, and Sutherland handles her material with great flair and talent.

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I also had a lot of love for Robia LaMorte as Jenny Calendar, I grew to like her in season 1 and here she’s given a lot more material to work with as we discover more about her backstory and continue her relationship with Giles too. Her character goes through a lot and LaMorte does well in her role and looks fantastic at all times! This season is where Seth Green makes his appearance as Oz and he is totally great. He’s a guy who is pretty funny, level-headed and calm about a lot of the crazy happenings going down in Sunnydale, I just love his relaxed personality and how funny he is in some of these serious situations, and then there’s the fact that he eventually hooks up with Willow which is a beautiful and cute relationship. Overall Seth Green is a great addition to the cast fitting in perfectly well. Armin Shimerman continues to be a douche as Principal Snyder, but frigging props to him for playing the role so well. And lastly Bianca Lawson as Kendra was an interesting character, she was cool but very strange, hard to get attached to and Lawson’s Jamaican awkward accent was kind of off-putting at times.

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So is there anything I didn’t like? Well surprisingly enough yes. As great as this season was, I have a few nitpicks I wanna get out of the way like:

  1. Buffy’s strength: I dunno if it’s just me but I found myself questioning how strong the slayer was in this series, sometimes she seemed superhuman in strength and other times she seemed normal.
  2. Does everyone know martial arts? While I can understand to a degree about Buffy’s ability to fight, I find it strange how all the vampires she goes up against know how to do karate and crazy roundhouse kicks too, it’s just funky haha.
  3. The initial build up towards Buffy and Angel’s relationship: While it was inevitable that these two would hook up I found it strange how Buffy went from hating him to switching it around to loving him in a very short time before they became official
  4. Buffy and Angel’s relationship: While for the most part, I liked these two characters together, there were points where they’re lovey-dovey kissing-all-the-time stuff got really repetitive and boring, I just wanted something action-based to kick in.

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In conclusion season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is simply amazing. The show takes the foundations of what was done in the last season and steps everything up by ten! There is just a great plethora of stories to be told with excitement around every corner, character development in full effect and revelations that change the tone of the show forever. I haven’t fallen in love with a show this much since Fringe, Firefly or Breaking Bad, but now I can add Buffy to the list as Joss Whedon has proved once again that he is godly when it comes to telling great stories with amazing characters. Bring on season 3! 😀

Rating: 9/10 (An absolutely stunning season filled with great themes, characters and amazing storylines)

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2013 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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