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Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 7 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another TV review, today I’ll be reviewing the 7th and final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So after this crazy ride of going through seasons 12, 3, 4, 5 and 6 I am ready to finish this thing. It is ridiculous that it has taken me this long to finally finish this show and review, I mean I’ve been watching this show for practically TWO YEARS! I think it is about time I get it done. 😛 Minor spoilers follow…

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As usual, we follow the life of Buffy Summers; young lady 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.

Story-wise this season deals with the destructive fallout from season six, but also presents a whole new form of obstacles for Buffy and company to tackle. I read online that season 7 was about bringing the show back to its roots and that’s definitely felt with the reintroduction of Sunnydale High School, Buffy being the center of attention as the Slayer, the focus on the Hellmouth, the First finally coming into play and a focus on the core group (Buffy, Willow and Xander). It feels incredibly nostalgic, but also new a fresh because of the new characters and scenarios which inhabit this season. A lot of sacrifices and death and you can’t help but feel for everyone involved, and that’s especially true for Buffy who carries the fate of everyone on her shoulders, most make all the decisions and live with the consequences whether they are be good or bad. There’s a genuine feeling of dread and despair thanks to all the talk and mind games of the First, death and overwhelming situations that Buffy and company have to overcome whether it be successful or otherwise. Its like there’s a cloud of depression hanging over the characters, more so than anything that’s come before and while there are moments humour, it isn’t as frequent as it was before. Everything feels like its come full circle with certain questions finally getting answers or story elements that took place several seasons back finally getting coming to pass now.

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My issues with this season are minor but notable. The overall tone is a little on the dark side and desolate side and while that is necessary because of what was happening, it just wasn’t as fun to watch. There isn’t as much humour as before and some of the stories weren’t as impressive as previous seasons. And finally the inclusion of certain new characters just pissed me off, they weren’t Riley levels of bad, but they got close.

Episode highlights include:

  • Lessons
  • Beneath You
  • Same Time, Same Place
  • Selfless
  • Him (personal favourite)
  • Sleeper
  • Showtime
  • Bring on the Night
  • The Killer in Me
  • Get It Done (personal favourite)
  • Storyteller
  • The Lies My Parents Told Me
  • Dirty Girls (personal favourite)
  • Empty Places
  • End of Days (personal favourite)
  • Chosen (personal favourite)

When it comes to the cast, the once the main original cast members do such great jobs and some deliver some of their best work in the series and because of the First, there are opportunities to certain characters current and old in really interesting lights. Also is all about giving speeches, Buffy gives an awesome speech, so does Xander, and Anya, and good few other people and they are really well-written and well-acted too.

So let’s start with Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers. This season presents us with a much more seasoned and matured individual who is brave and smart, but also slightly more tough and is aware of the dangers that lie ahead. SMG again does a wonderful job in this role adding layers to an already great character by still giving us all the light-hearted and humourous material we’ve come to expect from Buffy, but also giving us different shades of the character whether they are more aggressive or assertive. Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg once again does a lovely job in her role, while Willow’s not nearly as significant as she was last season, she has plenty to do and her moments with Buffy and Xander, and taking on magical-based activity are good too. Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris still does a great job, Xander is once again highlighted as the heart of the group and is a character full of courage, heart and commitment to his friends and the cause that Buffy is fighting for. Brendon really does well and has some really powerful scenes. Also Xander gives a great pep talk to Dawn about being special/important even when you’re not the main protagonist, it was one of the most beautiful and memorable moment of the series for me.

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Michelle Trachtenberg was also pretty good as Dawn Summers, as I stated beforehand, I haven’t always been Dawn’s biggest fan, however I have been warming up to her and this season her character wasn’t in the spotlight as much and I preferred that, she has her moments of importance but overall doesn’t take up too much time in the main stories. James Marsters as Spike, was and always will be a badass. Spike is still humourous, charming and mean, but he’s also caring, troubled and tragic. There are so many layers to this man, he has more courage and heart then most of the characters will ever know and only a handful of people see it. Marsters just excels at his material and proves time after time why he is one of the quintessential characters of this show. Emma Caulfield as also does a good job as Anya, still sarcastic, blunt and funny, but also useful and she has good moments of heroism and drama with Xander. And even though he’s not around as much, Anthony Stewart Head is still the man as Rupert Giles, even though his character was a little at odds with Buffy, he still provides moments of insight, humour and awesomeness.

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Now let’s talk about everyone else. Firstly there’s Tom Lenk as Andrew Wells, I did enjoy Andrew for his pop culture references and silly behaviour, but at the same time the guy was such a wimp and had no respect from the others that it made me dislike him a lot too. D. B. Woodside as Principal Robin Wood, at first I thought he was too nice to not be suspicious, but is turns out that he was a good guy after all with an interesting backstory and a few cool moments to make him a likeable character. As for the Potentials, there’s only a few I choose to acknowledge; Iyari Limon as Kennedy who was the most developed of the new girls and while I liked her headstrong nature, it also annoyed me on occasions and I’m kind of in two minds about her relationship with Willow as well. Sarah Hagan was my favourite as Amanda, she was cute and delightful, and I also liked seeing Felicia Day as Vi too. I have to give this season major props for not only bringing back Eliza Dushku as Faith, she was one of my favourite characters from this show and to see her sassy, sexy and laid back personality being brought back into the fold was much appreciated and Dushku was lovely. But, having NATHAN FILLION as Caleb, that just rocked my world. Anyone who knows me knows how much of fanboy I am when it comes to Fillion, and since I watched Joss Whedon’s shows backwards I had no idea that he was in this, so to see him show up was like the best thing ever. Caleb has such a way with words, he’s calm and collected and full of style, but he’s also crazy, absurdly powerful and scary, and Fillion does such a great job, he’s a likeable douchebag that does really evil things haha.

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So to conclude season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a great send off to a great TV show. It is like a culmination of everything that has transpired coming together in an epic, drama and emotional manner. The characters have never been stronger or more engaging, the themes have impact, the loss hurts and the triumphs are wonderful. In the final episode there’s a sense of nostalgia, humour and heartbreak during and after the show ends, but I think that’s how you’re supposed to feel, and while this season wasn’t my favourite, it definitely ends on a high.

Rating: 8/10

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2015 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 6 Review

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 12, 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…

buffyseason6cover

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.

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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
  • Afterlife
  • Flooded
  • Once More, With Feeling (personal favourite)
  • Tabula Rasa (personal favourite)
  • Smashed
  • Wrecked (personal favourite)
  • Gone
  • Doublemeat Palace
  • Dead Things
  • Older and Far Away
  • As You Were
  • Hell’s Bells (personal favourite)
  • Normal Again
  • Entropy
  • Seeing Red (personal favourite)
  • Villains
  • Two to Go (personal favourite)
  • Grave (personal favourite)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Rating: 8.5/10

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 5 Review

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 12, 3 and 4, 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, 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.

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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.

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Episode highlights include:

  • Buffy Vs. Dracula
  • The Replacement (personal favourite)
  • Family
  • Fool For Love (personal favourite)
  • Into the Woods
  • Triangle
  • Blood Ties (personal favourite)
  • Crush
  • The Body (personal favourite)
  • Forever
  • Intervention
  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Rating: 8.5/10

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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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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Pokemon: Origins Review

Howdy people of the internet, time for me to give you an anime review on this chilled out Sunday. Today I’ll be reviewing Pokemon: Origins, an anime that I’ve been meaning to watch since before Pokemon X &Y came out, but because of my attachment to my 3DS and my uni work I hadn’t gotten around to watching it until now. Now I’ve watched it all in Japanese with subtitles so I won’t be covering the English version, nope, this’ll be a review in its purest form. Okay let’s get started.

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So the story in Pokemon: Origins is basically a TV special that unlike the current (and quite poor) on-going Pokemon TV series, Origins is more faithful adaptation of the first generation of Pokemon games, Pokemon Red and Blue (Green in Japan). Origins follows the adventures of the boy known as Red along with his first Pokemon, Charmander and as the travel across the region of Kanto they will do battle with his rival Green, taken on Gym Leaders, taken on the evil Pokemon organisation known as Team Rocket and all that other good stuff along the way.

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As an adaptation of the original games, Pokemon: Origins succeeds on nearly every level. The special is broken down into four main parts; “Red“, “Cubone“, “Giovanni” and finally “Charizard” and within each episode there was a specific plotline to follow related to the name of the episode. As soon as this first episode starts up you’re hit with nostalgia. The people behind the anime knows its source material and it knows its audience and anyone who knows the game will see that Origins is chalked full of references big and small. Everything from Professor Oak showing up at the beginning to the various Pokemon locations to your run-ins with Team Rocket and the Gym Battles, it’s all there and it is nostalgic perfection. There are so many aspects ripped straight from the games to the point where I think even some of the dialogue the characters say is exactly like the game, the level of commitment to the source material is pretty insane.

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Now as I said before this is an adaptation, so as per usual there were a few liberties taken with the source material. Since this special follows Red’s adventures, they had to flesh out the character so we have to watch him win, fail and grow as a trainer and while it works for the most part, there are a few conventional and convenient anime cliché moments that keep this from being better than it is.

In terms of characters there’s only really two main people to follow and that is Red and Green. Red is the star of this TV special. He’s a fiery little boy with dreams of completing his Pokedex, but at first he doesn’t have the right skills, he’s not a very good trainer as he doesn’t know the basics and has to learn as he travels and over the course of the four episodes he grows and become a more confident and capable trainer. Red for the most part was a fun character, but he was probably one of the key elements that made me dislike Pokemon: Origins for this one simple fact: he’s an idiot. My god, I have never seen such a failure of a Pokemon trainer in my life (not since Ash Ketchum). Seeing this boy struggle and fail was so painful to watch. Red doesn’t know type advantages, tries to capture another trainer’s Pokemon and doesn’t seem to fully understand strategic battles. Maybe I’m being harsh on him because he’s a newbie, but my god his foolish just pissed me off.

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Outside of Red there is of course Green. Anyone who knows the games will remember this guy as the little prick who came across every once in a while who was very overconfident and insulted you at every turn. Green in this adaptation was great, he was the best kind of rival who was smart, faster at learning the ways of Pokemon and was always one step ahead of Red.

Everyone else is either a supporting character or a side character. The appearances of Professor Oak, Brock, My Fuji and Giovanni were all pretty interesting and nice and were for the most part in line with what was in the games.

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Presentation-wise this is just some really awesome stuff. OLM, Production I.G and Xebec are the studios behind the creation of this special and their work is nothing short of wonderful. Of course there’s been an animated TV show for Pokemon since the late 90’s, but Origins feels far more accurate to the games with more active (and sometimes violent) Pokemon battles, wonderful drawn characters and incredible locations and the attention to detail is SO good! But what could be considered even better is the music, oh my god the music done by Masafumi Mima is GORGEOUS! The composer has taken the majority of the songs from the games and re-imagined them with a more realistic set of instruments and the end result is one of beauty! Almost every song you could imagine from the games has made it in, from the Gym Leader theme to the Lance battle theme to Green’s theme (my personal favourite), it’s all there and it kicks ass!

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In conclusion Pokemon: Origins is one hell of a nostalgia trip for fans of the first generation of Pokemon and is probably the most accurate portrayal we’re going to get in terms of an animated adaptation of the video games. This four-part special, while short, captured the essence of the games through the characters, locations, music and of course the battles too. While isn’t perfect due some inaccuracies and Red’s poor trainer habits and character flaws, otherwise this a bit of anime fun no fan should miss out on.

Rating: 7.5/10 (A good, nostalgic adaptation of Pokemon)

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2013 in Anime, 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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Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 1 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to what I hope will be the start of many TV reviews to comes. Today I will be reviewing the first season of one of the most well-known and beloved TV shows from the 90s, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now I watched a bit of this show when I was a kid but was never an avid fan or followed it in any capacity. Since 2013 was the year when I decided to explore Joss Whedon’s back catalogue starting with Dollhouse, then moving on to Firefly and Serenity. Now that I’ve finally arrived at Whedon’s longest running show I was interested to see what the hype was about and I can say now this show is definitely worth a watch.

This show involves Buffy Summers, a seemingly normal teenage girl who has a not so normal secret, she’s a vampire slayer. At the start of this show Buffy’s already been a vampire slayer for a while, but this has affected her social life and previous times at school. After moving to a new school in Sunnydale Buffy attempts to start to life fresh again, but can’t due to the supernatural happenings goes on in the town. So after a few adventures Buffy along with her watcher, Giles and her two friends Xander and Willow tackle these bizarre episodes as they take place over the course of this season.

The show deals with a lot of issues not only in the episodical sense but also over the course of the series. What we mainly get is the ups and downs of high school life and Buffy balancing her normal life with her slayer activities. This first season basically establishes who Buffy is, the types of enemies she’ll be facing outside the regular vampires and we establish Buffy and her little group as they solve mysteries together.

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What I like about this show is its unusual nature. I’m assuming at the time that a lot of the codes and conventions of this show involving its handling of powers, mythology and having a strong female leading character were not that common in 90s.

The show can’t be hated on for its creativity, in each new episode there is something new and there’s a different challenge for Buffy and friends to take on. You got vampires, witchcraft, puppets, animals and more. I for the most part I really like the stories and writing in this show, its strong, witty and at times quite heartfelt. There is a fair amount of variation and while it doesn’t always work it is definitely noteworthy. For all of his good points there are a few bad ones I have to bring up, Buffy has a very cheesy nature to it which is an element found throughout all shows in the 90s, this leads to some cheesy dialogue, questionable stories and not so tight fight choreography.

Episode highlights include:

  • Welcome to the Hellmouth
  • The Harvest
  • The Pack
  • Angel
  • I Robot, You Jane
  • Nightmares
  • Prophecy Girl

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When it comes to the cast they’re very solid both in the area of the main and recurring stars of the show. So let’s start with Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers. Buffy is a sassy, brave and tenacious teenage with knows how to kick ass but also wants a normal life outside of her duties as a vampire slayer and Gellar shows a lot of range over the course of this first season. Also I can see why Buffy had so many male fans back in the day, she was the definition of hotness. Gellar always looked good, she was gorgeous and was practically the first celebrity crush young boys (I know because a fair few of my mates were OBSESSED with her).

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Then there’s Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris. Xander is a man who is a constant source humour, sarcasm and surprise. I like his character because his great dialogue, strange nature but also his rational thinking in some of this difficult situations. Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg is also great, I love her because of her cute, nerdy nature. At first she’s really timid and not overly confident but we get see her grow over the course of the series, Hannigan does well in giving us a very likeable and relatable character in this first season. Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles, this character is the person who watches over Buffy and supplies the kids with information. I really love Head’s performance because his character is so attached to his books, so out of touch with current things and his seemingly calm/boring demeanour. And lastly Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase is great too, her character essentially the popular girl who’s self-centered, insensitive and puts down all people around her who aren’t popular. While her character isn’t that likeable Carpenter does well her role and does have funny moments in this season too. There are also other notable characters I liked including David Boreanaz as Angel, Mark Metcalf as The Master and Brian Thompson as Luke.

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In conclusion the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a lot of fun. The show starts in a very intriguing fashion progressing with interesting storylines, a great deal of emotion and a cool cast of characters led by a strong leading lady in the form of Sarah Michelle Gellar. While I’ve only just started this show, I can see the appeal and can see why the show was such a big deal back in the 90s, can’t wait to see how the rest of the series unfolds.

Rating: 8/10 (A strong and enticing first season start to show)

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2013 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Ultimate Spider-Man Episode 8 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to be giving you my review of the eighth episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man.

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Okay so here we are at the eighth episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, nearly ten episodes in now and it is by this point in a lot of TV shows where one can determine whether a show is good or not. And holy man, after seeing the latest episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man I just have this to say… I seriously think there is no hope for this show. The latest episode entitled ‘Back in Black’ (like the AC/DC song and album but nowhere near as cool) has to be the worst episode so far and its mainly due to how disappointed I was with the way the narrative and the characters were used. The episode was completely lackluster and shows why The Spectacular Spider-Man show was far superior in every way.

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Oh yeah, Venom’s back and looks much more in line with the comics, however he’s nowhere near as cool as he should be.

So the story in this episode is as follows:

“When the terrifying Venom returns, Spider-Man (who has come down with a cold at the time) tries to stop the villain and save Harry Osborn (who has become the host of Venom after trapping its fragment). Spider-Man must decide if he can trust his new teammates with the shocking truth about Venom before asking for their help.”

So yeah following the events of the fourth episode Venom returns, though his initial return is very different; he appears on the scene as the black-suited Spider-Man (like Symbiote Spidey from the comics). And yeah goes around saving the day in a very heroic way while showing off at the same time. Naturally suspicious that Venom’s back  Peter goes off on his own to discover the truth of the situation, while that’s happening New York seems to have fallen in love with the new Spider-Man and forgot all about the original one. At one point while in school, Harry goes to talk to Peter privately and he seems in a super happy mood (I wonder why? *sarcasm*), it is at this point that we learn that Harry is indeed the new black-suited Spider-Man (wow, who didn’t see that coming? *sarcasm*). Harry seems to have found a way to control it through a switch on his watch, but naturally Peter tries to warn him off it saying that it’s dangerous, but Harry doesn’t take his advice and gets a bit aggressive as he leaves. It is at that point when Peter knows something’s wrong. Eventually Harry become corrupt with power and Venom eventually takes over and starts attacking the innocent, so then it’s up to Peter to fight Venom and save Harry.

Okay let me just get this out of the way, I didn’t like the story in this episode at all. I wasn’t overly keen on the way Venom was introduced into this show, it just seemed to early and there wasn’t much justification for his existence other than the fact that he’s a major Spidey villain and the fact that he’d look cool. But in this episode they went with that silly possible storyline at the end of episode four; the fact that Harry could become the new Venom. I didn’t like that idea and when I saw a new Spider-Man running around it only took me a few seconds to guess who the person was behind the mask. I really didn’t like how they introduced the black-suited Spider-Man, that is one of the most iconic and coolest traits for Spidey and for it to be on anyone other than Peter Parker, that doesn’t sit well with me. Then we find the black-suit transform back into a more familiar face, Venom who is as big and nasty-looking as he should be (though a little too chunky in some cases). Also I can’t belief how single-minded the people in this show are, they all seem to think immediately that the black suit Spidey is a completely different one from the original, not one person questions the possibly that black suit Spidey and regular Spidey might actually be the same. I mean sure they aren’t in this case, but still, logic people! And another thing, how does everybody automatically convert to being black suit Spidey fans, besides the fact that it’s a new look there’s no justification for it, it’s just absurd how the thinking patterns of these people work in my opinion.

This story overall just felt bland, uninteresting and unappealing. This show has so much potential, yet it chooses to waste it on lackluster storylines with bad dialogue, actions with no proper consequences and child-like humour which is not funny nor is remotely good. And speaking of jokes, I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it again… THE HUMOUR IN THIS SHOW SUCKS BIG TIME! I really can’t believe how unfunny as Spider-Man show can be, but the writers of this cartoon clearly show it can be possible, and it’s all down to Spider-Man himself. Everything that Peter/Spidey says is pure foolishness, it’s not witty, it’s not well-timed, it’s just poor, it’s pre-school humour. Now I know there are some people over ten years old that enjoy this kind of humour, but for Spidey fans we know that the writing in this show could be so much better.

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Peter/Spidey with a cold in an episode. Not a good idea, never again!

When it comes to the characters, oh good gravy they break my heart. Peter/Spidey as always virtually useless. He makes stupid jokes, never really has a smart moment (unlike his comic book origins suggest) and he seems so dumb. In this episode he has a cold and it makes him even more annoying than usual and there’s this reoccurring joke where people keep telling Spidey to ‘Vampire sneeze’ and there’s all these other cold-related jokes too, it gets really old really fast! There’s one point where he runs out of web while pursuing Venom I think and just flutters around as he plummets to the ground. Now a normal Spider-Man would have packed extra web cartridges (it’s been done in every animated show), but oh no, not in the Ultimate Spider-Man, this Spidey is just content is being as useless as possible. There’s also one point where Peter imagines what would happen if he revealed his secret identity and the short comedic scenes that followed made me cringe. Then there’s Harry Osborn, I’m glad he’s been given a more substantial part in the show, but there is barely any of Harry’s classic mannerisms that make him such an interesting character. He just seems like he wants to be the best at everything and it doesn’t come across in a good way in this show, he just seemed to annoy me a lot. White Tiger, Nova, Iron Fist and Power Man take a backseat in this episode and I can say about that is, yay! Epic win” 😀 Everybody else in the episode are just there, Norman Osborn is still a man of power who neglects his son and constantly wants a new version of Venom developed. While Doc Ock still just sits in front of his computer screens monitoring and experimenting. You know, the same old stuff. Though I don’t like how Doc Ock is still just a lackey hiding in the dark basement working under Norman Osborn, he’s meant to be a super villain and yet he seems like nothing more than a sneaky lab assistant, just plain old boring.

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As usual the real standout point of the show is the animation. As usual the art is good and the animation is as fluid as ever. As Venom#s second appearance in this show, I thought this version of him was more in line with the comics and the stuff seen in Spider-Man: The Animated Seriesand The Spectacular Spider-Man, though he was a fair bit bulky and reminded me more of the Mac Gargan versin of Venom in terms of size. The final fight between Spidey and Venom was good, there was dynamic stuff done here, but the fight was nowhere near as creative or exciting as The Spectacular Spider-Man.

In conclusion this episode was pretty poor and it is making question why I am still watching this show. I’ve given it eight chances already and all I’ve got is okay to sub par episodes that taint the Spider-Man name. Now it may seem like all I’ve done is rant in this review and to some degree yes I have and it is for good reason. I have seen Spider-Man at his best and comes in the shape of both Spider-Man: The Animated Series and The Spectacular Spider-Man, both shows are creative, impressive and area MILES better than this show will ever be. I remember when people used to hate on The Spectacular Spider-Man for its approch to the Spider-Man mythos and yet it the source material justice when compared to Ultimate Spider-Man. So you may ask if I hate this show so much, then why am I still watching it? Well its simply because it’s Spider-Man and because part of me hopes that this show will eventually get it’s act together and actually become something worthy of watching. But for now it looks like the Ultimate Spider-Man should just be shut down. Spider-Man and his fans deserve better.

Rating: 5/10

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Ultimate Spider-Man Episode 7 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to be giving you my review of the seventh episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man.

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So here we are with another episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man and to be honest it isn’t as good as last week’s one, but it still works on a few levels mainly because of the appearance of the Hulk and some much-needed Spidey and MJ time.

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One of the key aspects that make this episode work, HULK SMASH!

So what’s the story in this episode well it goes a little something like this:

Spider-Man finally agrees to a video interview with Mary Jane, and she gets the exclusive scoop when she records Spider-Man and Hulk in an all-out battle against Zzzax throughout Manhattan.”

And to be honest the story is alright at best, it mainly works because of these following things:

  • The interaction between Spider-Man and MJ
  • MJ’s constant need to the ultimate news story by running around to be where the action is
  • The appearance of Hulk (Of course!)

This episode was all about Mary Jane attempting to get the ultimate news story about Spider-Man for the Daily Bugle and it is interesting to see an episode focused on her. Because up until now we’d only seen snippets of her character in small conversations with her and Peter, also it was intriguing to her how much a her character had changed from the basic conventional stuff we’d seen in previous comics and TV shows. I don’t know why, but this episode just came across as a little tame and lacking in epicness, with all the stuff that went down in this episode you’d think it’d make for a more exciting episode, but alas that wasn’t the case with episode 7. The only good thing about it was that there was some development for Peter and MJ and we also get to see more of MJ in this show and see where her character is going in the long run.

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In the character department it was another Peter Parker-based episode so there was only so many people to focus on. The main people in this episode was Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson and the Hulk, with some additional supporting cast making an appearance. Let’s start with the main character of this episode, Mary Jane Watson. As I said before her character has changed a great degree from the basic conventional stuff we’re used to, in earlier episodes it did take some time to process that she was the aspiring journalist complete with the character and everything, but now I’ve sort of adjusted to the idea. It does make her character more relevant and important, though the way she kept running towards danger just for the ultimate story kind of annoyed me with the way Spider-Man had to keep running to safe her from danger. And talking about Spider-Man, he isn’t much different from the stuff we’ve seen already. He still makes bad jokes, says something smart and then offsets it with a stupid comment and still seems to lack that “proper Spider-Man” quality that has come with previous animated shows and more importantly the comics. He’s not super mega smart, his level of fighting skill isn’t as creative as it should be and as a superhero he seems so clueless and constantly needs the obvious pointed out to him. It’s heartbreaking to watch.

And lastly we talk about the main attraction, the Hulk! Now when I heard he was going to be in this episode I was totally excited. I was still on an Avengers high after seeing the movie so seeing him in this new show was bound to make me happy, however his appearance in this episode wasn’t as spectacular as I would have hoped. This Hulk came across as a tad dumb and used a very limited vocabulary and while that’s nothing we haven’t seen before in comics or other animated adaptations I guess I am used to seeing a much smarter Hulk like the one in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes or the live action Avengers film. But he does do some good in the episode, he was be, load and proud and smashed everything, he also seemed to have some good banter with Spidey offering up some good moments of humour too.

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When it comes to the presentation, as I have said before the Ultimate Spider-Man can deliver. There was also an interesting style that this episode happened to take by using the whole behind-the-camera perspective (thanks to the story being from Mary Jane’s perspective behind her camera). I have only seen this style of presentation done on the odd occasion in cartoons, but not for an extended duration of time like in this show and for the most part it works okay, though it can be tedious at times. Other than that the animation is completely fluid, slick and full of character and motion. The action is done pretty well from all of the destruction to the intricate details of the fight scenes and overall the art style still holds up well here. Though if I had one complaint it would have to be on the look of the Hulk. It’s particularly bad or anything, but personally I think he looked a little off. In The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes they got the overall look of the Hulk down to a tee, though he was lacking n definition (probably though the art style of show). But in this show he seemed a bit small, too detailed in muscle definition and lacking in body mass. After seeing the 90s Hulk show and the latest Avengers film I have a particular way I would like Hulk to look and I guess that’s just me nitpicking, but that’s the way I feel haha 😀 But overall with the introduction of the Hulk, the Ultimate Spider-Man benefits in the action department.

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In the end while this episode did have some genuinely nice moments, overall was just okay and again nothing out of the ordinary. I have seen scenarios and plots similar to this in other superhero shows over the many years I have been watching them and it has been done better. The inclusion of Hulk was nice and it was great to see another Peter Parker-based episode especially with his screen time with Mary Jane. But alas the Ultimate Spider-Man has a long way to go before it truly becomes anything worth shouting about.

Rating: 6.5

 
 

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