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271 of 287 found the following review helpful:
Incredible (spoilers below)Mar 09, 2002
By Arkaan Semere
The second season continued one what was successfully started in the first season. The second season is a lot more ambitious (remember, the first season only had twelve episodes, unlike the rest which had 22).
The story arcs in the second season are brilliant. The romance between Angel and Buffy reached gothic heights with Surprise/Innocence (Surprise is astonishing). When Angel turns bad, David Boreanaz manages to do a sensational job of acting the transition (the episodes "Passion" and "I Only Have Eyes For You" are incredible in detailing this, and Buffy's reaction). Willow's romance with Oz is wonderful, and Giles attachment to Jenny Calendar a welcome addition.
This show still manages to be surprisingly funny (as seen in Halloween, and Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered) and packs a wallop (the two part season ender, Becoming I & II, are essential viewing for any Buffy fans. They are incredibly moving). Yes, there are some clunkers (Killed by Death, Bad Eggs), but they are more than redeemed.
My favourites are: Becoming I & II, Surprise/Innocence, I Only Have Eyes for You, Passion, School Hard, When She Was Bad, and Lie To Me
For a show set in high school, the writers have neatly side-stepped making a caricature of Anthony Stewart Head's librarian/Watcher Giles. His befuddled sexiness is immensely appealing. Alyson Hannigan's performance as wallflower Willow blooming into a witch (her growing powers are smartly charted by writers all the way through season six) is strong, and having the animosity between Xander and Cordelia boil over into lust was a masterstroke. Finally, we have to give the star her due. Sarah Michelle Gellar proved with this season that she's actually a capable actress, both with comic timing (Halloween) and pathos (Surprise/Innocence).
The second season was an immense improvement over the first season (a solid debut) and the quality continues. In my mind, the second and third season need to be bought together (or at least both bought). Story arcs introduced in the second season are wrapped up in the third season. Buy this set, you won't be disappointed.
144 of 150 found the following review helpful:
The operatic second season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"Mar 13, 2002
By Lawrance M. Bernabo
I do not consider it hyperbole to talk about the second season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as scaling operatic heights, culminating with the glorious aria of "Becoming, Part 2," which I still relentlesly tout as one of the ten best dramatic hours on television I have ever seen in my life. I have watched a lot of television and have been teaching classes about this topic for over half my life, so I believe I can make a pretty convincing case. We witnesses the potential of this series in Season 1, when creator Joss Whedon held off on the revelation that the mysterious Angel was really a vampire, who just happened to have a soul and loved the Slayer, until half way through the abbreviated first season. In Season 2, we find out just how far true love can go wrong.
Love continues to be a very painful thing for the Scooby Gang, as Cordelia ("Some Assembly Required"), Xander ("Inca Mummy Girl") and Joyce ("Ted"), find out. Then again, prospects look much better for Willow ("Phases"), although we never really do take the Cordelia-Xander romance ("Go Fish") to be anything more than a cosmic joke, which does offer up the delightfully twisted "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" as the exception that proves the rule (footnote: Buffy spends most of the episode as the Buffy rat because Sarah Michelle Gellar was hosting SNL that week). Of the off-arc stories, "Halloween" and "Ted" are clearly the best of the bunch. But when it comes to romance, Buffy and Angel are truly on the road to hell paved with the best of intentions.
It is clear in the season premier episode, "When She Was Bad," that things are different. When Buffy dances seductively with Xander, taunting him with her sexuality, the ante has been upped considerably. The pivotal point in the season comes with episode 13 (of 22), "Surprise," when Buffy unknowingly undoes Angel's curse on the night of her 17th birthday by making love to him. Why the gypsies put in the Faustian (in the Goethe sense) escape clause via the moment of true happiness and contentment is debatable, but the galvanizing effect on the show is truly impressive. When Angelus brutally slays Jenny Calendar in "Passion," leaving her body in a grotesque display for Giles to discover in his bed (while opera music soars in the background), it is the symbolic Hellmouth of the show opening up. The audience is shocked into realizing how bad things can get, only the worst is yet to come. Giles's anger buys him one shot at Angelus, but Buffy has to rescue him. They turn on each other in anger, and Buffy actually slugs him to the ground before they collapse weeping in each other's arms. Buffy tells him, "I can't do this alone," but this proves to be most ironically incorrect.
Clearly Whedon constructs each season around two half-season story arcs. The first half of Season 2 heralds the arrival of Spike and Dru, and the quick departure of "The Annoying One." Of course now we look back and are amazed at what James Marsters has done with the role of Spike, but at this point it is Juliet Landau's ditzy psychotic vampire who provides the flair of the dark side. Whedon brings the first half to a climax in "What's My Line?," the show's first two-parter, where we are introduced to Kendra the Vampire Slayer. It seems Buffy's brief moment of death at the hands of the Master in "Prophecy Girl" has some long reaching implications we only begin to appreciate at this point. But with the return of Angelus everything changes. Spike and Drusilla are trying to reassemble the Judge, a grotesque who cannot be killed "by any weapon forged." Then everybody learns the truth about not only Angel's transformation but also Jenny's betrayal. Thus begins the deadly game of cat and mouse between Angel and his former allies, which culminates in the two parts of "Becoming."
Both parts of "Becoming" are written and directed by Whedon, and represent the apex of his work on the series. When Angeleus opens the portal to Hell, only his blood can close it, but things are not going to be that easy for Buffy. The dramatic culmination contains the best fight sequence (with swords) in a show that prides itself on innovative staging of its fights, and is an ultimately emotionally shattering experience captured beautifully by Sarah Michelle Gellar's slow dissolve into tears while the haunting Sarah McLachlan song "Full of Grace" is played. Joss Whedon had set this moment up from the first episode of the series. It is a payoff usually reserved for the final episode of a series and not simply the end of the second season. "Becoming" is truly an astounding accomplishment in the history of dramatic television and when you watch the entire second season again you can appreciate how brilliantly this shattering conclusion is set up.
The original theatrical film was a teaser, the first season on television was an appetizer, but the second season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was epic and once you see this, whether again or for the first time, you are not going to want to stop here. It is especially nice to see that the extras have gone up a couple of notches for the Season 2 DVD collection which is clearly priced to be accessible to BtVS's loyal fans. Yes, we all appreciated having the entire first season, just like our Buffy brethren across the sea, but certainly we expected more goodies from Whedon and crew, especially given the high quality of "The Watchers Guide," the show's official companion volumes. Clearly there is a lot of thought put into this show, which means any and all insights and looks behind the curtain are greatly appreciated.
55 of 58 found the following review helpful:
"Buffy" Comes Of AgeMar 13, 2002
By Jason A. Miller
With the features-packed DVD of "Buffy" Season 2 due to hit our mailboxes any month now, it's time for a look back at the episodes that arguably turned the show from closet-watching fascination to cult phenomenon.
Season 2 was "Buffy"'s first full-length run of 22 episodes, up from 12 the previous spring. David Boreanaz (Angel) joined the cast full-time, and in his first episode, "When She Was Bad", it's clear that his feelings for Buffy have not gone away during the season hiatus. The romantic tension between the leads is intense in the season premiere, with Buffy challenging Angel to a fight (which would come back to be very important later), and Xander and Willow nearly kissing.
"School Hard" introduced the season's recurring villains, Spike and Drusilla, the "Sid and Nancy" of the vampire world. Spike hunts down Buffy through dark school characters, and Principal Snyder drops the first hint of the dark Sunnydale conspiracy of silence.
"Inca Mummy Girl" and "Reptile Boy" are two fun monster shows. David Greenwalt, later the driving force behind the "Angel" show, will give audio commentary to the latter story, and this is anticipated to provide a great glimpse of how he's influenced both shows.
"Halloween", "Lie To Me", and "The Dark Age" explore the characters of Giles, Angel, Spike and Drusilla much more thoroughly, each showing scary glimpses of their dark pasts. The first of these stories introduces the recurring warlock Ethan Rayne, an old "friend" of Giles. The second features Jason Behr, who appeared in every WB teen series ever.
"What's My Line?", a two-parter, here with audio commentary by executive producer Marti Noxon (another huge cog in the "Buffy" wheel), introduces the notion of the "second slayer", sends the Buffy/Angel romance to a new level -- and features a surprising coupling between two other regulars. It's the first of the season's three two-parters, and you'll be impressed to know that this is the weakest of the three.
"Ted" is notable for Special Guest Star John Ritter. At the time, this bit of casting was seen as a triumph for the show, just getting attention in the national media. He's a great psychopath, Jack Tripper-style.
"Surprise"/"Innocence" is the next two-parter, presented with Joss Whedons commentary. "Innocense" moved "Buffy" from Monday nights to Tuesday, getting out of the "Seventh Heaven" shadow and anchoring its own night on the WB. Buffy and Angel have their moment of true happiness; Xander and Cordelia give Willow a moment of true unhappiness, and suddenly Spike and Drusilla are no longer the only villains. These two hours are among "Buffy"'s greatest achievement.
"Phases" is a funny werewolf show, moving Seth Green's popular Oz into the inner-circle Scooby Gang. "Bewitched, Bothered and Wildered" is Xander's comic Valentine's Day nightmare, with another appearance by Amy the teen witch.
"Passion" revels again in "Buffy"'s ability to kill off regular characters. Many BtVS fans name this their favorite episode of all time.
The season ends with a final two-parter, "Becoming", and when part two aired, the four-month hiatus until Season 3 began, became unbearable. These two hours show, via flashback, the origins of Drusilla, Angel, and Buffy. The Buffy/Angel "forbidden romance of all time" comes to a shocking conclusion, and Spike comes to a sudden decision about his loyalties. Pay special attention to his fight with Buffy at the beginning of Part Two. Five years gone by, he's still with us.
The final episode changes every basic premise of the show, and if you haven't seen it before, you'll be left stunned. Indeed there's barely a rotten episode in the bunch, with only a couple of the 22 hours you won't watch more than once. With a sixth disc full of production featurettes, and hours of commentary from the production time -- and at an extremely reasonable price for a 6-disc set -- this is the must-buy DVD set of the year.
36 of 40 found the following review helpful:
Buffy at her best.May 14, 2002
By Timothy E. Jones
I'm sure that all fans agree that the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the best overall season of the entire series (to date). With the introduction of "The Big Bad" Spike and his clueless mistress Drucilla, the rivalry between Angel and Spike, the intruduction of a new Slayer (the ungodly cute, but awkward Kendra) and finally the introduction of Seth Green as Willow's boyfriend OZ made for some fun times infront of the screen.
When She Was Bad: Buffy's cold, distant behavior is escalated when she learns of plans to ressurrect the Master.
Some Assembly Required: A perfect woman is being created from dead body parts, the finishing touch -- Cordellia's head.
School Hard: Spike crashes into town, wishing to add a third slayer to his list of victims.
Inca Mummy Girl: Buffy's south American exchange student friend turns out to be an Incian Mummy brought back to life.
Reptile Boy: Buffy & Cordelia go to a frat party and become the main course in the feeding of a demon.
Halloween: The gang is volunteered to take kids trick-or-treating, but their costumes take on the role playing attributes, of course Spike tries to take atvantage of the situation.
Lie to Me: An old boybriend of Buffy's is a part of a sect which worships vampires.
The Dark Age: Sins of Giles' past catch up to him, as a demon he himself created comes after him.
What's my Line (2 pts) : Spike calls on three deadly assasins to keep her out of the way of a ritual, but four people come, the forth is a young woman who introduces her self: "I am Kendra, the Vampire Slayer". Buffy learns that she and Kendra were trained differently, but they join forces, rescuing Angel from Spike's ritual, but allow Drucilla to be restored, and Spike to be crippled.
Ted: John Ritter is a master chef who wishes to marry Joyce, but he realizes three's a crowd. (It was only a jo-oke, je-e-eze!)
Bad Eggs: Students are given eggs as a parenthood lesson, but the eggs really are creatures who take over the students and lead them to the basement to dig up the mother creature.
Surprise (1 of 2): We learn that Jenny is really the descendant of the clan who cursed Angel, and she has just sent him to the most remote region of Earth possible.
Innocense (2 of 2): After a moment of true happiness, Angel is returned to his vampire self and is reunited with Spike.
Phases: Oz becomes a werewolf after being bitten by his cousin Jordy.
Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered: Distraught about being dumped by Cordy, Xander has Amy help him with a love spell that goes wrong.
Passion: Angel has a new way of life, and it involvs terrorizing Buffy, and Jenny wishes to help restore his soul.
Killed by Death: Buffy is taken to the hospital with a fever, and learns the sick children are being persecuted by a monster that may be death itself.
I Only Have Eyes for You: The ghost of a student haunts the halls forcing people to relive a murder.
Go Fish: The Swim team members are gradually being skinned alive like fish.
Becoming (2 pts): Buffy and Willow learn of a spell that will restore Angel's soul. Kendra returns only to be killed by Dru. Spike and Buffy form their first alliance, and Joyce learns that Buffy is the slayer, who tells her if she leaves the house she better not ever come back.
Besides these episodes, the DVD's bring us hours of extras, including interviews, teasers and even a few commenteries.
34 of 38 found the following review helpful:
Go on try it...ignore the titleMar 09, 2002
"on the rock that spews lava.."
The second season of Buffy is on its way, and it's about time. With the second season, we get the full 22 episodes instead of the 12 of the first season. We also get to see all of the cast members really find their characters. Sarah Michelle Gellar simply shines in this season, reprising her Buffy character and in doing so, brings us along as she matures while dealing with high school, a boyfriend (Angel, a vampire to boot), and her mother finally discovering that she is the Slayer. Willow (Allyson Hannigan) begins her foray into Wicca (which will play heavily in later seasons), and gains a boyfriend as well (Oz, played by Seth Green)). This season is where the show finds itself. Xander, Cordelia, Giles, and Jenny Calendar, all are here and start really bonding together until the scoobies really come together as a unit.
This season has MANY great episodes, and the story arc that builds is considered by many as the best of all the six seasons of Buffy. This is the season where we see Buffy and Angel become both lovers...and worst enemies. David Boreanaz plays his evil-self part very well, and many will argue that the 2-part season finale (Becoming 1 & 2) are the best episodes of Buffy period. One of the other things we see is Spike (James Marsters) becoming a likeable villain. This will pan out in later seasons.
For Buffy fans, this DVD set is of course a no-brainer. For those who have not watched the show, or don't understand the passion behind the fans, this is the season that will open up your eyes. Ignore the fact that the show sounds like some teenie bopper flick show...it's not. I highly recommend it.
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