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May 14 2006

When Did "Buffy" Jump The Shark? An upcoming new regular feature in SFX magazine will cover this question, and they're looking for people to submit their opinions. (Free registration required to take part)

My opinion: it didn't.

I can already see this article annoying me.

...And how often do you beat your wife...
Since when does a quality drop equal 'jump the shark'? Because if it does, in my opinion it was Becoming Pt. 2. It's a stupid term. General consensus (based on magazine and internet reports, fans that I know, etc.) is that the series dipped a bit in Seasons 6 and 7. I'd agree... but it didn't come close to jumping the shark, because it was always trying new things.
It didn't, simple as that...
Imo, Buffy never jumped the shark. I'm rewatching season 7 and it's very good, The arc was a bit weak but the individual epis and writing were very good.

I think season 5 is the best, closely followed by 3, but to me season 6 is every bit as good as 2, in it's own way. TR, OMWF and DT are three of the greatest epis of the series.
I think Buffy beat up a shark once (forgot the episode) but never jumped it. There's a whole site already dedicated to this idea though (and I think it's been covered here).

My opinion: It didn't.

Every great series (Buffy's better than them all) has lesser moments and this idiotic "jump the shark" business is allowing for those lesser moments to stand out more than anything else.

HELLOOOOOOO, the fact that THE BODY exists as part of the show sort of nullifies any shortcomings because it's the most phenomenal piece of work ever shot for any medium.

And it's JOSS. We all know Joss's intentions behind everything he does are PURE. He LOVES his characters, his universes and, of course, HIS FANS. If something doesn't work than WHATEV, TV writers aren't perfect just like TV watchers aren't perfect.

Long post, sorry, just passionate fingers flyin over here.
Talking about biting the hand that feeds you. SFX would never have been as popular if it wasn't for Buffy. Are we supposed to forget about the umpteen zillion praise worthy articles and front covers that the magazine devoted to the show?
Great minds think alike Simon I was just over there telling them the same thing...I'll bet that comment doesn't make the magazine :)
...Jumping on the "never" bandwagon here. And this from a S7 hater -- it was still better than anything else out there.
I prefer "straddled the catfish" - a gentler term implying points where you go "Hmmmm", "Neyh?" or possibly "Eww!", but nowhere near the jaw dropping incredulity at the loss of style/nerve/continuity/coherence/bladder control of a full blown shark-jump.

We all have episodes which we prefer to greater or lesser degrees, but even in the episodes I like the least (such as "Him") there are winning moments - I had forgotten about the Buffy/Spike/Principal Wood/Rocket Launcher moment. A beautifully executed bit of silent comedy.

The truth is that the standard is just so damn high - a less loved episode is still streets ahead of most things on the box.
I don't think Buffy ever reached a point where it shouldn't have existed. I dislike most things about Season 7, but it was worth it to get Storyteller.

But if I had to pick a point where I first noticed someone acting out of character, it would have to be Superstar. Jonathan goes to huge lengths just to have friends, is genuinely sorry for what he's done at the end (after giving up his dream to save Buffy's life!!) and when he says all he wants is to have friends... Buffy just completely blows him off.
S7 gave us "Conversations with Dead People."

Angie Hart.

Can I just say one more time: "I'm soooooooooooo tired of this topic.
Season four... For the most part.
S4 gave us Tony & guitar.

Okay, I'll be lone dissent here and get ready to suffer some slings and arrows. In spite of having (IMHO) 1 great episode (maybe even the greatest) in "Once More With Feeling" and a damn good one in "Tabula Rasa", the rest of the season was so bad to me I feel it did jump the shark. But it's close. It ended with a bang considering what I think is the corner they had written themselves into.

There are also a terrific ep in Season 7 with "Conversations With Dead People." And some effective ones in "Storyteller" and some other eps from s6, the titles of which aren't coming to mind. There's some kinda something to like in virtually every ep from S6 and S7, but overall I thought they were an infuriatingly aggravating mess. Although I think was an improvement over 6, I still thought most of 7 was not particularlly well thought-out. "Chosen" was a good series finale--albeit (again, IMHO) a flawed one. But metaphorically speaking, it worked and the last sequence (Who can forget the softball gir?).

Although I'm glad that in the world of fiction Buffy Summers is still alive, I think as a world of art, the show would have been better off if it had ended with S5. Not my ideal ending but they earned it and it packed a wallop.

I realize this is more positive than negative about these two seasons. That's because I'm trying to be objective. But when Buffy was wearing the skis and approaching the shark, she did (IMHO) skim the top of its head.

That being said, I'm looking forward to our canonical S8 comics.


We're so awesome. And that was after the premiere of Ice Princess, so... you know, doubly awesome.

[ edited by TheZeppo on 2006-05-14 20:22 ]
See, to me, the show never even came close to 'Jumping the Shark'. If it'd started recycling every single damn plotline from the earlier seasons, then sure, but Buffy continued to grow and surprise. And very few other shows have the longevity of Buffy, even in my admittedly biased opinion. I'm rewatching S5 for probably the tenth time, and I *still* sob my eyes out through the entirety of 'The Body'.
I thought the show was brilliant up to the moment when Darla sneaked into the high school at night through the broken window. After that everything was rubbish... No, hang on, that's not right...

Actually, I thought the whole thing was bloody brilliant from start to finish and went out on a high with S7, which I love. I'm glad I feel that way because it would have been real shame to end up being disappointed by the show.

As WheelsOfJoy says, the whole jumping the shark thing has become terribly boring now.
That being said, I'm looking forward to our canonical S8 comics.

Which is the nub of the matter; When the dust settles and we count up all our surveys of likes and dislikes, we have not been put off; we still have a deep fondness for the Buffyverse and a thirst for more.

[ edited by malcolm on 2006-05-14 20:33 ]
Cool shot, Zep. Is she as sweet as she came across onscreen?
Haha, batmarlowe. I was kind of a jerk that day. Before the movie we both had to go to the bathroom, so we walked together and I said stupid things like, "So, I'm glad you're here so you can protect me."

And I kept referring to her as a Slayer or a Potential, and the woman chaperoning her started to get really mad. "Her name is JESSIE." But the little Slayer seemed to be okay with it.

She also said she doesn't think Joss directed her.
I just want to join the chorus of "nevers." Not even close, in fact. First of all, the general consensus on S6 is NOT as clear-cut as people think. There's a big community of people who love Buffy that don't talk about it on the internet, and a lot of those people I've met consider S6 one of the best seasons (as do I). And while S7 is my fifth favorite season, I still think it's utterly amazing with a lot of incredibly well written, powerful episodes and moments. So yeah, I too am tiring of reading all these comments about Buffy "jumping the shark." No Whedon show did that. S1 is by far the worst season imo, but it's still really fun to watch, especially in retrospect. The beautiful innocence of all the characters back then gives me quite the emotional reaction after knowing what's to come. :D
I always liked to think of Buffy as a giant, 140ish-hour-long movie, or 144-chapter-long novel. All of it is necessary.
Softball girl. *sniff* She makes me weepy every time. Cool pic, TheZeppo!

Perhaps those over at SFX just wanted to get the ball rolling so all of us out here could sing praises to Joss and Buffy... again. An imflamatory yet effective way to do so, imho.

Buffy DID jump the shark. At the end of OMWF, the most-recycled-drama-plot-ever was used -- the longtime enemies ended the show in a passionate embrace. The next ep was was TR, and we met *shudder* Sharky, the cheesiest -- and done so on purpose I'm sure -- Buffyverse villian ever. Spike and Buffy ended that ep in a passionate embrace also. I think it was a sly little jumping of the shark the writers pulled. Even if they didn't plan it that way, that's the way it appeared to me. I just re-watched those eps consecutively recently, and couldn't help but wonder just how-on-purpose the shark really was.
Great. Here comes more season 6 bashing. Goody. Ugh. I feel annoyed.

I guess I just am strange for loving season 6. I loved the darkness and chaos and the reality of it (and the evil nerds). I have never understood why most people couldn't get Buffy's struggle after being resurrected and yanked out of heaven. Ever had your heart really, really broken? Multiply that by 20 (minimum) and then think about how you would act. Pain does weird things to people. I even liked the magic as addiction arc, though it was heavy-handed and clich in some cases. I found the season fascinating. I read some where Joss thinks us S6 fans are a little bit nutty. Hes probably right.

People just didn't want to see Buffy change and acknowledge her dark side, I suppose. Hits to close to home.

Besides, the worst episode of Buffy is better then most of the rival celebrated fare out there IMO. I love alot of other shows past and present, but not like Buffy and Firefly.

[ edited by Charmuse on 2006-05-14 20:47 ]

[ edited by Charmuse on 2006-05-14 20:50 ]
S6 is always bizarre because the subject matter is so dark, yet the images are so bright and colorful. Adds to the feeling of cheesiness.

But still oh so good.
I think this whole jump the shark business.. on really any show.. is an overly simplistic means of analysing quality drops. I can think of a number of shows where I could form a good argument of "shark-jumping" (X-Files and to a lesser extent Alias immediately pop into mind,) but the idea that a single episode or storyline of a show can be pointed to and declared the source of the downward slope in quality is kind of ludicrous. Most of the time, these downward slopes have more to do with fan's personnel preferences (I can't, for instance, understand all of the negativity towards Buffy Season 6, which is one of my favorite seasons,) than actual quality.
Count me in as another Season 6 lover. And after finally watching Season 7 on DVD and not just here and there in reruns, I like it much better these days. Those two seasons are very different from the rest but with so much to celebrate I can't pinpoint any drops in quality. For all of Buffy, there was no drop in quality.
It depends on the definition, but I think everything that's on for a significant amount of time jumps the shark (Firefly was maybe not on long enough, though had 'Heart of Gold' aired, it may have jumped the hovercraft right there). I guess my definition of JTS is pretty weak, it doesn't mean the show's no good anymore, it just means it's passed a point where it'll never be as good as it used to be.

I'd say if Buffy didn't jump the shark with the Initiative (a tough argument, with the S5/S6 standouts that followed), it leapt over it with Doublemeat Palace and the penis monster.

As to a point TheZeppo raised, S6/S7 always looked too bright and colorful to me. I couldn't get into the show as much because I could see sets, costumes, hair/makeup. It looked like a TV show, not a 'verse. I don't know if they changed DPs, film stock, production designers, or what, but it just didn't look right (kinda... kinda... kinda like Charmed!).
Agreed, agreed, agreed.

The sixth is my personal favorite season. Always my favorite character, Buffy herself continued to evolve in exciting ways, even if it was hard to watch her suffer. That made it all the more real for me. Buffy faced death almost every single day, whether it was by her own hands or through other means, and of both the good (Jenny, Joyce, Tara, Anya, and Spike; not to mention herself) and the bad (assorted vamps, demons, and Big Bads). It stands to reason that she might've struggled to cope with all of it after awhile -- hence the 'darkness' of S6.
The 'Agreed, agreed, agreed' was to April. Heehee.
IMO many people have maybe missed the whole idea behind S7. I think that S7 (as the capper to the series) was I definitive look at not only how Buffy had grown into a leader and how she viewed her power, but the sharing of power and choices that hero makes on a journey. To me after viewing S7 it seemed like the natural progression of Buffy passing on what she has learned to the next generation. Never did Buffy "Jump the Shark". I do have some concerns about S6, but S7 was one of the best seasons of TV I ever viewed.
Buffy was more of a leader in S1 than she was in S7. A lot more.
Also take into consideration how S7 was aired, at least in the states. There were long gaps between episodes in the middle of the season. I think "Never Leave Me," "Bring on the Night" and "Showtime" (the season's mini-trilogy) weren't aired consecutively, and I'm sure that happened with the other seasons as well.

If an episode of your favorite show isn't a great one, and then you have weeks and weeks to wait until the next one, it gives one a feeling of... Meh. And that can take its toll in the long run.

Or maybe I don't know what I'm talking about.
Imo, the best evidence that Buffy never jumped the shark is the fact many fans discovered the show in the 6th or 7th seasons and fell madly in love with it. I post and lurk at a lot of boards and countless fans talk about seeing the show for the first time on F/X when it was showing the last two seasons and getting hooked.
To me, it never jumped. I have seen too many shows walk from beeing a masterpiece to the shadow of its former self just because it was continued too long, against better judgement an internal problems. I have seen shows where actors were changed, plots rehashed, ideas repeated... Fortunately, Buffy, to me, ended how it always was; a big, wonderfull masterpiece. Believe me, to see a beloved show fall and fall in quality when you have felt in love it and its characters is a hard thing. I count meself as one of the luckys that it did not happen here.
Darkness, me too.
I'd say Buffy DID jump the shark, with the end of Season 7 ("everyone gets to be a Slayer!! Yay!). And that, of course, is exactly where it should have.

(In a bit more detail, there were a lot of elements of Season 7 and the Potentials that were annoying and silly enough to seem JTS-y, to me. But, I firmly believe that S6 was the best season of all, so take what I say with a grain of salt.)
You know exactly what you're talking about, TheZeppo. I call it "networkus interruptus" and it drives me crazy. I loved season 6, not so much season 7, until I got the DVD's and watched the episodes back to back. Wow. What a huge difference!

My husband and I watched "Bones" for a while until we lost track of when, where, and what time it was on and not pre-empted for basketball or whatever. We're waiting for the DVD's.
Talking about biting the hand that feeds you. SFX would never have been as popular if it wasn't for Buffy. Are we supposed to forget about the umpteen zillion praise worthy articles and front covers that the magazine devoted to the show?

SFX is 75% Whedon-praise - I think they've earned the right to let a few readers voice some negative opinions...

Besides, the idea of jumping the shark is somewhat paradoxical anyway given that the majority of people capable of assessing where a show JTS would necessarily have to be pretty hardcore fans in the first place ;) It's all just a bit of fun if you ask me.
I guess I'm the odd one out here, but I'd say it jumped with Dawn. There were absolutely fabulous episodes and mini-plots afterwards (The Body, for example), but the overall season arcs and storytelling were never quite the same for me. But it's all opinion, and I doubt we're going to change each other's minds here.
Hopefully the article will be fair... To be completely honest, the show really ended for me when Buffy died (the second time). After that, the show just didn't feel like it had that much direction... that's not to say what happened after that wasn't worth it, many of my favorite episodes came after season 5... it just got dark and kinda whiny. Maybe SMG had checked out, or the resurection kinda wrote them into a hole, but it just didn't have the same charm. I don't call it a shark jump, jumping the shark implies when the writers run out of ideas and get desperate... that never happened.
I think there are two points that the series was never the same. Didn't have the same "feel". Beginning of season 4 and midway through season 6. That doesn't mean I think the show should have ended after season 3 or 5, it was still the best thing on but that was, imo, largely due to the amazing character development that had already happened for Buffy and her Scoobies in the first three seasons.

I'm not a huge fan of season 6 and less a fan of season 7 but even in the "worst" seasons ( my perception of worst) there are some amazing moments. Normal Again, OMWF, Lessons, EOD and Chosen come to mind.

In my honest opinion, none of the other writers were able to create the magic of Joss's most involved moments....that imo, was season 1-3, the time he was on set everyday. Maybe it was just me but I felt his absense. That's not an insult, btw. It's a testament to his amazing writing style.

In a nutshell it all goes back to that little song I get stuck in my head...Anything you can do, Joss can do better...Not to say I don't appreciate the other writers but they are no where near as powerful as Joss.
It don't think it ever fully jumped the shark. Every season has some great moments and I never stopped loving it. But it certainly straddled it off and on after they left high school.
and I doubt we're going to change each other's minds here

Aye. But as long as everyone is polite and respects each other's opinion then we'll be having these debates every so often from now until eternity.
Seems like a calculated and unimaginative way to up the body count of registrations.No thanks.
If anything, it jumped off the shark. I mean, when I first heard about "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", I thought "Oh, that's gotta be crap"...which pretty much means that I saw it as being on the shark already. However, when I actually gave it a chance and watched it (which just happened to be the moment when they aired "Once More With Feeling" over here), I saw that this show was definitely NOT on the shark. In fact, it was about as far from the shark as a TV show could possibly be (which eventually made me decide to watch the entire series and become a fairly big Joss Whedon fan). So, in my opinion, the show jumps off the shark the moment it starts after being presented as "Bffy och vampyrerna" by an annoying announcer on some crappy Swedish TV channel that for some reason airs it after midnight due to the daytime schedule being almost entirely filled with horrible reality shows that are and always will be INSIDE the frickin' shark.

So, long story short, bugger the shark. Buffy slayed the shark the moment I actually watched it.
IMO many people have maybe missed the whole idea behind S7. I think that S7 (as the capper to the series) was I definitive look at not only how Buffy had grown into a leader and how she viewed her power, but the sharing of power and choices that hero makes on a journey

Or, it's possible many of us did get that idea, but still felt the execution was flawed. I understood all the points the writers were trying to make in S7, and the big themes they were working with, but it's still my least favorite season, by far. It was clunky something BtVS rarely was before the writing was several significant notches lower, the potentials added a mass of characters that never really made an emotional impact... I could go on. Suffice it to say, my lack of appreciation for S7 doesn't have much to do with missing the themes of power, etc, that writers were exploring and which had the potential (no pun intended!) to be really interesting but in feeling like it lacked the execution that takes a thought-provoking theme and transforms it into really enjoyable art.

But, all that said... I still don't think Buffy ever "jumped the shark." Partly because I just happen to hate that term, partly because I still think it was a good TV show by the time it ended (and had an almost-great finale). It wasn't a shadow of its former self the way some TV shows that live way past their time become it just had started a slow decline. (And yes, while I reserve most of my criticism for S7, I think the decline actually started with S6... I get all the big themes there too, and like them on an intellectual level. But the show - OMWF aside never seemed to have quite the effortlessly perfect blent of genres, and tragedy mixed with humor, and superb writing that it so often had up through S5. To me, at least.)

I would say that Buffy wasn't even hitting on all cylinders until the Angelus arc, and even then, we would be gaining momentum and then there would be an episode like GO FISH or KILLED BY DEATH.

Season three was really when the show knew what it was. Season four had to recover the loss of Angel obviously. It had some of the best episodes but the Initiative story was draggy. Also, Riley was no Angel.

For me, season five and six are my favorite seasons. I can't find a boring episode in either of these seasons, with the exception of ALL THE WAY. (Trying to do the Angelus Arc with Dawn in one episode just didn't work) That said, DeKnight certainly redeemed himself with the brilliant "DEAD THINGS" which could possibly be the most analyzed episode of the verse.

Season seven? Hmmmm.. It is MUCH better watched quickly in the DVD set. Yes, it has flaws and isn't as good as three, five or six, but it still gets the message that Joss wanted across, IMO. As far as I'm concerned, any season that has the BENEATH YOU ending, HELP, SLEEPER, LIES MY PARENTS TOLD ME, CHOSEN, STORYTELLER, TOUCHED, CWDP and SELFLESS can't be too bad.

Also, if Buffy actually jumped the shark, would we be here talking about it?

[ edited by spikeylover on 2006-05-15 00:28 ]
" I loved season 6, not so much season 7, until I got the DVD's and watched the episodes back to back. Wow. What a huge difference!"

I've got a theory (stop singing now) that people who first came to the Buffyverse way late (like me) and never watched Buffy on the WB or UPN, just DVDs, love seasons 6 and 7 more than people who watched it first on the networks. Just a theory I had. Oh, and Buffy didn't ever jump the shark.
IMO many people have maybe missed the whole idea behind S7. I think that S7 (as the capper to the series) was I definitive look at not only how Buffy had grown into a leader and how she viewed her power, but the sharing of power and choices that hero makes on a journey

I agree with ACP. I perfectly understood the themes and motifs of season 7, but sometimes I dont think the writeres did. One of the things that has always created a general dislike, where I am concerned, concerning the final two seasons was the idea that story became paramount over characterization. For instance, what's important about Becoming Part 2? Is it the fact that Buffy saved the world or is it just how emotionally painful the events were for the heroes? In that sense, it didnt matter that Acathla had been closed, what mattered is what Buffy had done to Angel, how the scoobies reacted to Buffy's disappearance, and how these characters would react to the situation. That wasnt the case in seasons 6 and 7, what became important was the story told, and thus, the characters became pawns to the individual plot points. I understood completely what they were trying to accomplish, but the execution of that story is what I have a large problem with.

Again, I am with ACP, I dont think it jumped the shark simply because the show was still good. Though it wasnt up to par with seasons 1-5, it was still good and had some great episodes. Great post ACP.

Edited because spelling and puncuation matters. Well, most of the time...

[ edited by jerryst3161 on 2006-05-15 00:18 ]
"I post and lurk at a lot of boards and countless fans talk about seeing the show for the first time on F/X when it was showing the last two seasons and getting hooked."

Reddygirl, I totally got hooked during the sixth season and had no idea it was still on the air. I was watching it in reruns on F/X when after about a year a friend pointed me in the direction of a network I'd never heard of, UPN. For reasons I still don't know, I just assumed it was over and that's why I was watching it in reruns. I lived abroad for two years and then didn't watch much tv for two years after that. Buffy is the whole reason I now know I can talk about important matters such as these online! So yeah, I caught the second half of season 7 prime time. The rest I watched on F/X reruns/DVD -- and it still took a couple years of viewing in this manner to "get it" in terms of a singular creation from start to finish. And it was "The Body" that finally turned me from someone who liked the show into someone who worships Joss.

"I've got a theory (stop singing now) that people who first came to the Buffyverse way late (like me) and never watched Buffy on the WB or UPN, just DVDs, love seasons 6 and 7 more than people who watched it first on the networks. Just a theory I had. Oh, and Buffy didn't ever jump the shark."

Harmalicious, this is certainly the case for me. Even though the last half of Season 7 is all I watched during prime time airings, I didn't like it as much as the reruns I was simulataneously watching on F/X. Now I know that's because I didn't know the complete story leading up to Season 7. I only knew the story in chunks, and I completely missed Season 6 until it began showing in reruns -- so I didn't know the whole Buffy/Spike story, Willow's story, etc. while watching Season 7. I TOTALLY dug Season 7 on DVD, despite some minor flaws. Also, listening to DVD commentaries (still not through all of them yet) helped me understand the story immensely. As in, now I know we really weren't supposed to love Dawn or Riley that much when they appeared. In fact, we really weren't ever supposed to love Riley at all. Dawn was annoying at first on purpose, which is why those of us who hung in there kinda liked her by Season 7. Joss wanted us to truly suffer along with Buffy, didn't he?

[ edited by April on 2006-05-15 00:34 ]
Adding some S6 love. Agree that S7 plays better when watched back to back. Also came into the series at S6 and like so many, that's where I was hooked so admitting to possible bias.

Bottom line: No great white jumping occurred despite the occasional bad ep or lame arc.

Even though I never liked Riley...
....and what's that about Gellar wanting to get it on with Xander?
"....and what's that about Gellar wanting to get it on with Xander?"

hbojorquez, that one stumped me too. Surely I'm not the only one who thinks that SMG marching to Joss and demanding she get it on with Xander is a HUGE internet-gossip-fueled-lie?
Count me among those who got hooked on the show after seeing reruns of it on the FX network starting somewhere around Season 5 or 6. I was hooked and couldn't wait for all the episodes to air on TV so I went and got the DVDs and spent many a weekend in marathon watching sessions so I could get caught up. In my opinion, the show never jumped the shark - there were some episodes that weren't as good as others, but they were still better than anything else on television.
I know a lot of people will say season 7, and i might agree, until I think about it.

And remember that Season 7 gave us the best stand-alone character study episodes of the whole series. Storyteller, and Selfless.

And honestly, where seasons six and seven drop Buffy in quality, I honestly believe that characters like Anya only show their true value.

So yeah. Never.
I'll take the high road and just not say anything...
Storyteller one of the best character-study episode of the show? I have to disagree. Selfless, I agree. Anya was great, but she still stayed heavily underdeveloped. And what's wrong with Gellar wanting Xander? It's her opinion. I have never read anything about that she had demanded it from Joss.

[ edited by Koos on 2006-05-15 01:28 ]
"....and what's that about Gellar wanting to get it on with Xander?"

hbojorquez, that one stumped me too. Surely I'm not the only one who thinks that SMG marching to Joss and demanding she get it on with Xander is a HUGE internet-gossip-fueled-lie?
April | May 15, 00:38 CET

I've heard about that.Nicholas Brendon revealed it at a convention a few years ago.
I don't think Buffy ever jumped the shark.
I was intrigued by S1...hooked by S2, especially after seeing Spike come into the picture, pissed off by S3 because I really do not like Faith, and of course there was hardly any Spike.

Then S4 came along and I was interested in the Initiative, but really couldn't get into Riley...he was cute, but just...well boring to be honest.

From S4 on though I was very, very pleased as I loved the whole set up to Spuffy and I quite honestly was hooked on the show for Spike.

S5, 6, and 7 were excellent, although I did find the Potential theme a bit tedious, but there was so much else to enjoy that I could forgive that.
So NO!!!!! Buffy did not ever jump the shark in my eyes.
I don't think Buffy ever jumped the shark either. I don't even agree with those who believe it went downhill. I think it just kept getting better and better.

I think the show would have benefitted from a season 7 that could have concentrated on our main characters and their recovery and growth, and healing and all that. Then Season 8 could have introduced the Potentials and gave us that big finale. But that couldn't be, and it was done about as well as it could be, given that SMG wasn't returning and there was no chance of another season.

So anyhow, the answer is never. It never jumped the shark. Not in the sea, and not on land.
"I've heard about that.Nicholas Brendon revealed it at a convention a few years ago."

Huh. Well... if that's the case, I'm glad it never happened. Buffy 'n Xander? Eeww. I would have felt so cheated!
I watched Buffy religiously straight from its start on the WB, yet S6 is my favorite. Not all of us Season-6-O-Philes came to the series late.
I also started watching Buffy from the very beginning but consider 5 to be the masterpiece and 6 and 7 excellent years.
And I am one of those people who started in season 6, loved it, went back to watch seasons 1-5, and realized why season 6 wasnt as good. Its all a matter of perspective, but thats a great thing.
"Never Jumped" for me too, I think there's a lot of nostalgia around the first few seasons when the show was fresh so people don't acknowledge that there were quite a few clunky filler-type episodes back then (not every second season episode was Becoming Part 2!). Every season had its flaws and weak episodes IMO, but the show never really had a drastic drop in quality, and it never really jumped the shark. Season Six was darker, more depressing, and very different, which I think is the reason a lot of fans don't like it, while Season Seven has one of the weaker continuing arcs IMHO, but they both have enough great episodes that I don't see how you can say that the quality dropped in later seasons.
I started with season two (I couldn't understand how anything called "Buffy" could be good. Silly me.). I always felt season 6 was by far the best and on some level the most realistic season (I like the dark) and that season 7 wasn't the best, but had some amazing episodes.
Never jumped.
"I think there's a lot of nostalgia around the first few seasons when the show was fresh so people don't acknowledge that there were quite a few clunky filler-type episodes back then (not every second season episode was Becoming Part 2!)"

My least-favorite is Bad Eggs. But who am I to judge? I love Beer Bad. *ducks and runs*
Hey I love Doublemeat Palace, so whatev.
I have found at Whedonesque, LJ and other boards, you find many fans who absolutely LOVED season six as one of the best. Still, it never fails that when you see articles (except for the Time Magazine blurb) that we hear how the show went downhill then.

In reality, there were far more weaker episodes in season one and two then there was in season six. I would actually put season seven and two as equal in quality. (Some bad episodes mixed with some truly wonderful ones) For me, five, six and three really were the strongest of the series, IMO, so jump the shark? No freakin' way.

[ edited by spikeylover on 2006-05-15 02:57 ]
There has never been a show even remotely like Buffy, then OR now.

Has anyone ever tried to explain BTVS to someone who had never seen the show? It defies explanation. They end up looking at you like you've just grown another head or you're in dire need of a rubber room. BUT-

If they watch an episode from ANY season, they're hopelessly hooked.

You asked when did Buffy jump the shark?

I think one reason 2 might stand out in people's minds, quality wise, is for the most part the best epis were in the latter part of the season.
"I love Beer Bad."

LOL, oh my goodness, I thought I was the only one! Thanks April, you totally made my day!
I think "Beer Bad" isn't a great episode, but also that it's not a bad one either. There's a lot of really good stuff in it, especially in the first half of the episode.
In reality, there were far more weaker episodes in season one and two then there was in season six.

That may be true Season 2 certainly had its share of clunkers, especially in the first half of the season. Every season has had a few weak episodes - in fact, when i'm trying to get people hooked on the show, I always debate whether to tell them to skip most of S1 and the first half of S2. Certainly the background and knowledge is good, but the show did take a while to find its stride...
I think for me, the problem with the later seasons is that overall not on an episode-by-episode basis - the show felt clunkier and a little less consistent. There was less subtlety and metaphor and more spelling things out, and (again, speaking strictly for myself) the highs weren't as good (OMWF completely excepted, since that's my favorite BtVS ep of all). So yes, S2 might have had more weaker eps, but the highs of the many great episodes more than made up for it, whereas S6 felt less effortless to me. It wasn't so much the darkness I minded as the literalness of certain plotlines (like Willow's magic-is-drugs one) and the lack of many episodes that really wowed me. I also wasn't a huge nerd trio fan. Still, I found S6 far far preferable to S7. And both those seasons far preferable to almost anything else on TV. Don't get me wrong - even sub-par Buffy was, for me, always great (well, except for Beer Bad....). It's just a matter of degree.
Thank you acp. My thoughts exactly. (Except for the nerd trio thing... I LOVED those guys!)

Even at it's worst, Buffy far outshined the best of the rest of television. But having said that, the later seasons, particularly 6 and 7, just didn't wow me. OMWF is the obvious exception (and After Life, and Tabula Rasa, and Conversations with Dead People, and Lies My Parents Told Me...), but for the most part, by that point in the series I felt it had run its course.

And it had nothing to do with the "darkness" of those last two seasons, trust me. Darkness I got no problem with whatsoever.
Just to comment on a bunch of posts that said the same things that I feel, Buffy never jumped the shark, loved seasons 6 & 7 (but only after seeing them on DVD and not when I first saw them with the long breaks), Beer Bad is one of my favorite episodes and it was Joss who had thought about putting Buffy & Xander together. He talked about it in one of the commentaries for the dvd sets but I don't remember which one it was on.
Funny thing, I just watched "Gone" and "Doublemeat Palace" the other day, two of the worst episodes in late-series Buffy, and I still found a lot to love about them. I do think, though, that there is some missing spark in these episodes--and I don't know whether to attribute that just to the missing spark in Buffy et al., or to poor writing and directing. (Certainly, parts of "Gone" are among my least favourite in the series: what was Fury thinking with that "So long, coppah!" line?) I don't think the show jumped the shark, and I think season six is a terrific and integral part of the series (as is season seven, though I think that's weaker on the whole). Season six might even be my favourite. But there are some episodes that make it very hard to be a season six fan.
TamaraC said
Season 6 was the best and on some level the most realistic season

I've been saying that forever! It was by far one of the most realistic meditations on death I'ver ever seen.

(BTW) I love Season 5.... the only shoddy episode was Spiral..
The definition of jumping the shark (from is 'a defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now on ... it's all downhill.',

I think buffy jumped the shark repeatedly. When you watched the end of season 2 and thought - it can't get better than this. And then you saw 'hush' or whatever it was next for you. And then the musical... Buffy reached its peak repeatedly.
Another vote for: Never Jumped.

Also the Buffy/Xander plan is confirmed in one of the DVD commentaries, I'm pretty sure. And, seriously, I'm glad they didn't do it - but I also think the writers could have made it work. It's not a completely crazy notion.
Never. And by the way I loved Beer Bad. I think Nicholas Brendan really shines in it. Xander is funny and wise and sympathetic. And I never get tired of watching Buffy club Parker. Good Times.

But I am glad Gellar didn't get her way on the Buffy Xander relationship if that is true. Too incestuous for me. The only thing worse (to me) would be Buffy/Giles or Dawn/Spike.

My apologies to all fans of those relationships in advance.
If Buffy jumped the shark for me it was in its first season-for me by far the weakest of the seven, but then they were still feeling their way. After that, an episode here or there aside, it got better and better. And I'm in the Season 6 was best camp. In fact I would argue the run of episodes from Entropy in Season 6 through CWDP in season 7 was damn near perfect.
I'd add "Normal Again" to that run josscats, but I pretty much agree with you. It's hard to say that 6 actually *is* my favorite when really pitting it against the biggest highs of S2 and the awesome season-long themes, emotion, and execution of S5. But 2, 5, and 6 are definately my favorite three, in one big group. The one I prefer most inside that group changes all the time.
I adore the first season and never felt the "clunkiness" (is that a word?) in season 2. WTTHM, The Harvest, Angel and Prohecy girl remain at the top of my list for best episodes of the entire series run and they are season 1.
Becoming would be another of those episodes that rocked the house.
What's my line, Surprise, Lie to me,Innocence, Passion, Amends, Beauty and the Beasts, IOHEFY, Graduation Day, Band Candy, Revelations, Lovers Walk, The Wish, Helpless, Enemies, The Prom....
IMO, although some of the episodes were what some would call "filler", they served a purpose in the series in the early years. Character development and continuity. I really can't bring myself to describe any of the mentioned above as filler or Clunky, although I'll admit that I'm not really sure what clunky means.
Even in Episodes like Go Fish, which a lot might consider filler, we find out that superficial Cordelia really loves Xander and is willing to support him as she believes he has turned into a fish.

Joss did a fabulous job creating this wonderful Universe and imo, because of the timeless beauty of seasons 1-3, he was able to make the Universe bigger with the introduction of Angel the series. That says a lot for the success of the series coming off the early years..imo.

I'm also happy that Joss didn't grant SMG her wish in pairing Buffy with Xander. Although it might have changed the outcome of Empty Places.
I went over to the SFX site and those of you who think it didn't jump might want to go over and express your opinion because so far the responses are pretty critical.

Just saying.
When did it ever?
I'm coming in way late on this, but Buffy never jumped the shark. It had it's share of weaker episodes in every season, but as others have said above, even "bad" Buffy is better than most of the "good" episodes of other shows.

I think you may be right. I watched Buffy once in a while in earlier seasons, but I didn't really get into it until season 6. I tuned in to watch "Once More With Feeling," because I was writing a musical at the time and was curious. I loved it ans was hooked on Buffy. It was after that that I became addicted to the show. (Season 6 is my favorite season, followed by season 2, 3, 4, 1, 5, &7)

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2006-05-15 09:12 ]
Never jumped. I enjoy all seasons for different reasons. For me the characters are smarter and more likeable in early seasons (and they actually communicate), but I don't think that implies a quality problem in later years. Characters develop, and sometimes for the worse ;-)

Interesting that no one suggested Willow murdering Warren as a jump-the-shark - moment. That was pretty shocking, just think of sweet sweet Willow of seasons 1-3 and then the whole flaying thing.

I Was Made To Love You was a problem for me. Nice ep (if a little anvilicious), but the robot? I was never really comfortable with the science elements of Buffy, and this episode brought in Warren and his inventions.
Maybe we should have t-shirts with "Buffy Never Jumped !" printed on them (add me to the chorus). Never went near a shark. In fact, Buffy was landlocked, miles inland, the, if you will, Luxembourg of TV shows.

What i'd like to know is, when did jumping the shark jump the shark ?

Personally I think it was in about the third year, when the mainstream press got hold of the term and started mis-applying and overusing it (a few people above have made the same mistake - it's not just a really bad moment in a good show, it's such a bad moment that you know the show will never, ever be as good as it was, or possibly even watchable, again i.e. a moment which will inevitably colour your opinion of everything that follows).

(it also tickles me that people who like season 6 - of which i'm one though it's not my favourite - always preface their comments with 'i'm probably alone in this...' or 'I realise many disagree...' only to be met by loads and loads of replies to the tune of 'oh, I love season 6 too'. What a varied bunch of fans we are ;)
In spite of my '1st Place' love for the sixth season, no other season packed more shock and emotional punch the first time around like the second. When Angel lost his soul, when he killed Jenny, and when Buffy had to send him to hell -- well, let's just say that this was the season where I knew that I could expect the unexpected. It was also when I realised that this show, regardless of what direction it might take in the future, was likely going to be my favorite show of all time. And so it remains to this very day.
I just want to chime in with a defense of "I Was Made to Love You." I'll grant that the science elements of the Buffyverse never made complete sense, but if you rationalize them as having to do with the Hellmouth's energies (Warren did have some magical knowhow in addition to the robotics), then I don't see a huge problem with it. And "I Was Made to Love You" is one of the most underrated episodes of the series: smart, funny, biting, tragic. Warren creating a robot designed for love whose battery runs down; Joyce having been put on this Earth, loving her daughters, her battery running down. Puffy Xander. Giles talking about his adventures babysitting Dawn. The introduction of Katrina, which gains resonance after "Dead Things." If season five weren't such an amazing season already, this would probably be a high point.
Buffy never jumped the shark and truthfully I don't think 99% of the examples given for any show "jumping the shark" are actually consistent with what the phrase really means.

Most of the time people offer a jump the shark moment they are talking about a single episode or plot development that they weren't happy with but then go on to mention the fact that the show in question was pretty good after that. If a shark had truly been jumped then the show would have been irredeemable from that point onward. What they really mean is that they didn't like a certain thing and I seriously doubt that any television show that went on for seven seasons managed to please all the fans, all of the time.

Basically, I'm with those that are tired of the whole shark jumping concept, especially as it has now been watered down so much that the adverts shown during the show can now be considered a shark jumping example.

"Wow, did you see 24 last night? They actually had an ad for Burger King during the commercial break. That show has SOOOOO jumped the shark!!!"
Classic Definition of Shark Jumping:
"the moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak ... that instant that you know from now on ... it's all downhill."

On Happy Days, that moment was seeing the Fonz--once the coolest character on the show and probably the main reason for its success--looking absolutely ridiculous jumping a shark and thus bringing shame and humiliation to the character, the show, and everything connected to it. A Happy Days die-hard would have watched that moment in horror and been left wondering, "What the hell just happened to my show?" Subsequent episodes would only magnify the pain and loss and the realization that your show will never recover.

By that definition, Buffy never jumped. It never turned into a travesty or a vastly inferior imitation of its former self.

I tend to define shark-jumping a little less dramatically, as the moment when you know your show has passed its prime. I've gone on Whedonesque record as putting that moment in Tabula Rasa, at the appearance of the cheesy loan shark. I knew then that its best days--the incredible surge of Whedon-y goodness that started with the first sight of a vamp-faced Julie Benz in WTTH--were behind it. But it was still very good, if clearly aching from the diminished involvement of Joss. Joss was all over every episode in the first five seasons. He backed off in the final two seasons, and his absence is obvious. The best eps and moments in S6 and 7--OMWF, the psych major vampire in CWDP, the first scene with Caleb in DG--are invariably Joss-penned.
Andrew's tears closing the portal that was producing the ubervamps was jump-the-shark-worthy. I remember thinking, "wtf? Are we suddenly having Disney-like Deus Ex Machina resolutions? A confession of love and some tears in Beauty & the Beast works and, I find, is still affecting even now. Stuff like that may've worked in other animated or less heavy fare as well, can't recall any other examples at the moment. But on Buffy? Yeck. Like the snow being enough to cover the rising sun to the extent that it wouldn't be considered direct sunlight and burn Angel up in "Amends" wasn't bad enough.

Those two instances were horribly cheesy, fuzzy bits of feel good that had the show acting out of character, and not in an interesting break-of-format fashion.

There may've been other specific-to-the-episode jump-the-shark moments in a few seasons of Buffy, but I don't believe that the series ever jumped the shark as a whole. Not during major character or season-long story arcs at least. Well...Season 7 may've attempted to hop the shark a few times, maybe it succeeded...but it usually recovered somewhat. At the very least, I'm convinced "Chosen" made it all okay, for the most part.

[ edited by Kris on 2006-05-21 08:21 ]
I think we should get back to April's brillant realization that yes, there was a shark in Season 6 and while I don't remember anyone jumping it, they did beat it up a bit, didn't they? Perhaps SFX can have a new section "beating up the shark"?

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