Average Customer Review:
( 515 customer reviews )
Write an online review and share your thoughts with other customers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
141 of 151 found the following review helpful:
BUFFY's most controversial and uneven seasonMay 08, 2006
By Robert Moore
Note: Insert standard spoiler warning of your choice here!
Season Six of BUFFY is the show's most controversial by far. Sarah Michelle Gellar has stated that she found the mid-season episodes between her and Spike to be degrading and unpleasant and many fans would agree with her. This was the season that Joss Whedon left the show as the day-to-day show runner and turned over the reins to Marti Noxon, though he nonetheless remained deeply involved with the show, supervising the story arcs and individual episodes, as well as writing and directing several episodes.
There is no question that Season Six contained some very memorable moments. There is also little question that the season had some weak episodes--especially at around the two-thirds mark--as well as some not-very-popular story arcs. The least popular aspects of the show was the self-destructive tendencies and actions of all the major characters and the lameness of the show's "big bads," the geek threesome known as The Trio. But in fact, the Big Bad of Season Six is each individual against him or herself. Buffy, struggling with her inadvertent removal from heaven by Willow, suffers economic difficulties, eventually taking a fast food job, eventually numbing herself with a demeaning sexual relationship with Spike. Willow becomes more and more addicted to using magic, to the point that it first threatens to destroy her relationships and eventually the world. Xander, fearful that his impending marriage to Anya cold lead to the same kind of family that he grew up in, leaves Anya a the altar. Anya, crushed by being deserted by Xander, reverts to being a vengeance demon. Dawn's kleptomania gets out of control until the others discover her problem. Giles makes an error by going back to England, imagining that Buffy needs to learn to live on her own. Only Tara does not engage in self-destructive behavior, but her accidental killing spurs Willow's killing spree at the end of the season. The season's motto could be: We have met the enemy and he is us.
There are titular villains. Warren, the robot-constructing geek from Season Five's "I Was Made to Love You," Jonathan, the geek who first appeared in the BUFFY pilot (he was considered for the role of Xander before Nicholas Brendon got the job), and Andrew, whose brother was involved in a flying monkey incident no one seems to remember, team up to take over Sunnydale. They are uber dorks, obsessed with the whole panoply of comic book culture and Star War action figures. Though them manage to pull off some stunts, apart from Warren's accidental killing of both his ex-girlfriend and Willow, they are a pretty silly lot. They are more like perpetual comic relief. BUFFY was always trying to do new things and I applaud them for doing so (the effort to always be fresh was one of the reasons it was such a great show), but I think it is safe to say that having them as the Big Bads was a bit of a mistake. In the end, their greatest contribution was in providing victims for Willow's rampage at season's end. Indeed, the single most horrifying moment in the history of the show had to be the terrible instance in which Willow, after catching and briefly torturing Warren for killing Tara, magically removes his entire epidermis. Not just on BUFFY, apart from some moments in THE SOPRANOS, I know no more terrible instance in the history of TV. Clearly they wanted to demonstrate just how far Willow had gone.
Although the season's story arcs were not especially satisfying, there were a number of unforgettable episodes. The season begins with a great sequence of episodes, as Willow with the assistance of Tara, Xander, and Anya raise Buffy, who had died a mystical death at the end of Season Five, from the dead. Their fear, based largely on Angel's being sent to a hell dimension at the end of Season Two, was that Buffy was suffering unspeakable torture in a different hell dimension. But we later learn that she was, in fact, in a place of great peace and repose, a place she could only describe as "heaven." The first six episodes see Buffy struggling to deal with her return to a place that now felt like hell. All these early episodes, even if not strong all the way through, contain at least some great moments.
Then come Episodes 7 and 8, not just the best episodes of the season, but among the best in the run of the show. "Once More, with Feeling" is often cited as the very best episode of BUFFY, and to those who wish the show had ended at the end of Season Five, my response is always, "Would you really have wanted for there never to have been "Once More, With Feeling?" This was the musical episode and while many shows have attempted musical episodes, this one stands far above what any other show has either attempted or achieved. What is amazing is how fine the episode was despite not having a world of musical talent on the show. Only Anthony Stewart Head (who had taken over the lead in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW in London in the original production and sung on albums by his brother Murray, the original Judas in JESUS CHRIST, SUPERSTAR), James Marsters (who headed his own rock band), and Amber Benson (who played Tara) had especially good voices. Though not a trained singer, Sarah Michelle Gellar nonetheless acquitted herself quite well both singing and dancing, and Michelle Trachtenberg, though not a singer, put her dance training to good use. Joss Whedon contributed a very fine group of songs. In one of the best guest appearances in the run of the show, veteran Broadway hoofer Hinton Battle (perhaps best known as the Scarecrow in the entire run of THE WIZ on Broadway) played the demon Sweet, who was accidentally summoned to Sunnydale, and who was responsible for the singing and dancing afflicting everyone. The most amazing thing about the episode was the way that the songs advanced every story arc in the show and greatly accelerated the action. The best songs were Buffy's Disneyesque "Going Through the Motions" that started the episode; Tara's singing of "Under Your Spell" to Willow (ironic in that she learned she was literally being controlled by Willow through magic); Spike's passionate expression of his love/hate for Buffy in "Rest in Peace"; the wonderful duet between Tara and Giles; and the great production number that preceded the battle-that-never-occurred with Sweet, "Walk Through the Fire." Not should also be made of Anya's great bit in an early group number in which the Scoobies are trying to figure out why everyone is singing and dancing. After singing that she has a theory that it "must be bunnies," the group very ignores her only to have her scream in a great hard rock voice:
Bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposed
They got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses
And what's with all the carrots?
What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?
Bunnies! Bunnies! It must be bunnies!
The popularity of the episode can be seen in the fact that it is the only episode to have its script published separately and the soundtrack has been released on compact disc.
"Once More, with Feeling" was followed by "Tabula Rasa," probably the funniest episode ever on BUFFY. After Tara catches Willow manipulating their relationship through the use of magic, Willow complicates things by attempting once more to make them all forget that she had used magic to control others. But the spell misfires and instead everyone in the group, including Willow, forgets who they are. The scene in which everyone tries to figure out who they are is a classic, the best part being Spike, who has been going about in a dreadful suit as a disguise to escape a loan shark (a demon with literally the head of a shark, the only really awful note in an otherwise stunning episode), deciding that his is Giles's son and that his name is Randy. When Buffy finds no ID, she tellingly decides that everyone should call her Joan, with echoes of St. Joan in her choice.
Unfortunately, while there are few out and out bad episodes, there are few absolutely stunning episodes until the ones that end the season. The one major exception is "Normal Again," which resembles many of the alternative reality stories of Philip K. Dick. Buffy is injected with some venom by a demon she fights, and the result is that she imagines that she is actually in a mental institution where she has been fantasizing for several years that she was a vampire slayer in a town called Sunnydale. Or is reality breaking through to make her cease fantasizing for a while. We fans, of course, can't imagine that all six seasons were a delusion, but it is nonetheless a brilliant episode.
Although I don't believe that this is one of BUFFY's best seasons, I can't give this less than five stars simply because even during this season BUFFY remained one of the most brilliant shows on TV. Not everything in the season succeeded, but they nevertheless continually strove to produce a special show. The show took risks; they never played things safe. The problem with taking risks is that sometimes things don't work out. Still, all in all this was a season with more to delight over than to regret.
170 of 184 found the following review helpful:
Still Great, but DifferentNov 09, 2003
By April D. Spratley
The Sixth Season of Buffy was indeed different. A lot of people seem to have had a problem with the darkness of the season, the emphasis on real life problems. However, I think the creation of the trio was brilliant. This season was all about exploring how the characters responded to real life challenges, as was the case with the trio. What made them so brilliant was the viewer could trace the devolution of the trio from mischivious to truly evil. They were normal people, a trio to match the early trio of Buffy, Xander, and Willow who allowed their greed and discontent to consume them, especially Warren. I found the trio truly chilling, if only because of all the monsters on Buffy, they were the only ones that were a glimpse of what a human being could become in reality.
Moreover, this season had many of the best episodes of the series. Once More, With Feeling is brilliant, I think in anyone's estimation. Tabula Rasa also is very funny. The finale of the season was a slam dunk, and Xander's yellow crayon speech was incredibly poignant. All the characters faced their inner demons by the seasons end; some triumphed, others were left in the following season to pick up the pieces from their disastrous choices.
I also can't wait for Season 7 to be out on DVD
428 of 472 found the following review helpful:
Bracing the Storm of Season Six!Sep 27, 2003
Season Six, to alot of fans, was a disaster train wreck! But don't be fooled by their analysis of this season because its one of the best seasons ever of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"! This is the season that took risks, and triumphed unnoticed by the fans, except a few. This season is misunderstood by many who first viewed it and therefore they disliked it, just like they disliked the final season,(Season Seven), but it wasn't because of the stories of this season, it was the gap of broadcasting that ruined the flow of the storyline, and therefore, this season needs another glance again, without interruption, and you'll understand what the point of this season was all about.
Many say it was dark, and yes it was the darkest feeling season since Season Two, and later Season Seven, but life itself, can get dark sometimes, and this was the point the series 6th year was trying to point out. If you've noticed, every season's theme has a metaphor in them, and this year was having the Scooby Gang bracing their darkest storm that could be thrown at them.
How is that? You may say, well, I'll tell you...
Ever since the very first episode, we've grown to love these wacky fun loving kids! In the First Season, it was the introduction period, the Slayer, her Watcher and friends gathering in the library, fighting monster of the week big baddies, along with school issues every teenager at one time or another will find theirselves in, plus a trial of a Slayer. In the Second Season it grew larger, they had to battle not only school, but love hormones, a lover gone bad, new annual baddies, like Spike and Drusilla,and the death of a close one, and trials of a Slayer. In the Third Season, still it was school, a rogue Slayer named Faith, a baddie named "the Mayor", and trials of departing loves and trials of a Slayer. The Fourth Season was college life, new baddie named Adam, and a government containment place for studies of demons, and again trials of a Slayer. The Fifth Season was departure childhood, going into adulthood, and fighting a big baddie named Glory, and the death of a dear one they'd miss forever, and also introduction of a sister. And now Season Six takes them farther, somewhere that the Scoobies had never faced before....and that was "life"!
Every year they've faced bad things, but they were never in a position of being left alone, to survive on their own, and to be a grown up. Someone here mentioned that its been six years later since they started their adventures, and that they were adults now, and they needed to center their lives as adults, and that person was right. It was time to move onward, brace whats ahead, no matter what lie uncharted. We had to see how these characters would react, if they were put in a position to where they'd hit rock bottom, to see how they'd reach the top again, to see really, how much strength they really have, besides magic, or mysttical slayer powers, and thats the storm one must face, to overcome their trials with triumph.
In this season, Buffy had to quit her hopes of returning to college, and get a real life job to pay the bills, make sure Dawn doesn't get taken away from her care, and at one point, she comments that her mother was the super woman of the family on how she couldn't believe she could do all the stuff that Joyce did! Xander has to confront the word "commitment" as he gets prepared to marry the woman he loves, and Willow has to overcome her craving for magic, which she deals with throughout the season by trying to give it up. The point, they each failed, they hit the bottom of the boat, as Buffy fell into depression, had an affair with Spike, (who in this season overcomes some major points in his life too), Xander's fear of turining into his father, leaves him leaving Anya at the altar, later turning her in the way of vengeance again, and Willow, she gets the sour lemon, as she gains Tara back,(who left her because of Willow's crave of magic), but she also loses Tara in the one of the most vicious and real murders of the series, which drives Willow into becoming evil with rage, and almost destroying the world. At the end of the season, all of them faces their problems, and they begin the start of rebuilding what they lost as they hit rock bottom througthout the season, as Buffy and Spike seperate, he goes to get a soul, she tries to tear down her gap with Dawn that they made during the season, and Xander and Willow come to terms with theirselves as they each step out of the eye of their own inner demons, their storms!
This season has great episodes! There's "Bargining", "Once More,With Feeling", "Dead Things", "Normal Again", "Seeing Red", and "Villains" to "Two to Go' & 'Grave". Each actor portrailed each character to heart so much, that their feelings grabbed ahold to you, as if you were the one's who were going through them as well! Also,do know that this season is *very graphical* in some scenes, this was the most *provocative season* in the series whole 7 year run. There is a few gruesome scenes in some episodes, and some very [physical] in tone,(especially with the Spike and Buffy, and Willow and Tara romantic storylines), but they were to make a point, that was needed for the story of the season.
It's a great and wonderful, powerful season,with a powerful message that was overlooked, this season took dangerous risks, and truimphed with their goal. Also know that this season is the *only* season that centers the Slayer and the Scooby Gang around the true hard cold life that we all may face once we reach adulthood, if not already. Many fans should charish this season to heart, it was indeed an unheard, unreconized, classic season for the series! I love this season! Enjoy, you won't regret it!
25 of 26 found the following review helpful:
Life's a Show on "BTVS"...or Once More, With TensionMay 12, 2004
By Mason Cole
Season Six of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" will not go down as the most celebrated in the series run. But it has already earned a well-deserved reputation as the most darkly adult of them all. A couple of episodes were of truly standout quality, including the Diego Gutierrez-penned psychological set piece "Normal Again" and the oft-praised, Emmy-robbed Joss Whedon musical extravaganza "Once More, With Feeling," which will have you under its spell. There were even a couple of quirky surprise episodes where Buffy lived up to its earlier comedic form, most notably in the episodes "Life Serial" and "Tabula Rasa."
The season started in a difficult place--Buffy's resurrection by her well-meaning friends pulled her out of heaven into the "hell" of Earth--and things never really got better, as the characters began a season-long slide into miasma. Long-time viewers of the show will be able to understand fully the heart-rending moments such as Giles' departure (twice), Xander's continuing troubles with Anya, and the shocking death of a major character in the season's nineteenth episode, "Seeing Red." But enough background material is presented in context that even newer viewers will be able to fathom the significance inherent in these moments. (I should know...this season was my first introduction to the Buffyverse.) They can also grimace as the show's characters, clearly coming apart at the seams, begin to act entirely abnormally...as two healthy relationships grind to a shuddering halt, a third--clearly unhealthy for both participants, though desired by both--explodes on the screen with violent and graphic power, finally culiminating in a shocking attempted rape.
With its themes of growing into adulthood, the denial of reality, the dangers of addiction, and learning to let go of what was, "Buffy" Season Six attempted more than any season of the show to that date. If it occasionally sputtered and faltered along the way, I think the fault can be laid at the door of overambition--not due to the fact that the cast and crew were "goin' through the motions." And for every uneven development, there are some truly excellent ones--the delicious creepy ambience that turns blood-curdlingly real in "Dead Things," Buffy's stunning revelation at the close of "AfterLife," and the final climax in "Grave" (which strains credulity but which manages to affect nonetheless) are all examples of the season's most memorable moments.
Two major characters die. Two old friends return. And there's a snazzy demon named Sweet who loves jazz. If you're a longtime fan, or just curious about the '90s cult phenomenon that was "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," you owe it to yourself to pick up this set. You'll love it. I've got a feeling...
22 of 23 found the following review helpful:
Fall From GraceApr 15, 2004
By James Harrison
Buffy's move from the WB to UPN ushered in an era of lesser quality. While many people feel that the major issue with this season is that it's too dark, I feel that it's not the darkness where the show makes a major stumble, but in the stories. Over the course of the season we're faced with multiple false epiphanies by Buffy, non-sensical changes to established canon (most notably the dramatic shift from the subtle metaphor of magic=sex in Season 4 to the blatant magic=drugs in this season), and subpar characterization, such as the non-use of Xander for most of the season. Arcs that could have been great have terrible execution. Willow's descent in darkness is set-up well, but when the trigger is pulled in the two-parter Smashed/Wrecked, it just feels false. The sight of Alyson Hannigan having to act through withdrawl is almost painful to watch. Similarly, the wedding arc between Xander and Anya is pushed to the side until it comes to an unsurprising conclusion that, in the end, has little impact overall.
The production values also take a hit, with the moster design turning subpar, the lighting becoming almost too bright, a shrinking number of sets (Get used to seeing Buffy's house and the Magic Box a lot), as well as the growing feeling that Sunnydale is populated only by the Scoobies.
Which is not to say that the season is without merit. Once More With Feeling is a tremendous hour of television, and almost makes the purchase worthwhile for just that episode alone. Normal Again is a wonderfully dark look at what would happen if Buffy were to go insane and turn on her friends. Life Serial is a wonderfully comic episode (the Mummy hand sequence in particular) that is sure to evoke more than a few laughs. Even the worst episodes of the season had a few moments that displayed the old greatness of the series.
While this season certainly did not live up to the previous seasons, it still remains above average viewing.
See all 515 customer reviews on Amazon.com