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August 15 2010

When did Buffy end? Some interesting thoughts on what you might at first blush think is an obvious answer.

There are perhaps two types of long-running shows: Those which reinvent themselves often enough to be fresh and worthwhile, and those which are simply more of the same and should have rightly ended long before they actually did.
Oh, that's easy. It's when she looked over her road to the future and gave it a brilliant smile!
I find these kind of opinions frustrating. Regardless of one's disapproval, Buffy was easily one of the best shows on television all the way through its run (with the exception of season one at least for me, only because the show was still finding its feet.) That being said, I would not love the characters of Buffy nearly as much as I do without every single one of the seasons. That is why this show was always amazing. Each season advanced and deepen not just character stories, but the characters themselves. This writer says these peoples lives sucked and they had to deal with it. Guess what. Their high school lives sucked to. And life only gets harder after that. They had a lot of fun, too. But young adults tend to have a lot of shit they work out and then find happiness. And then more conflict. It's called life.
Can. Worms. Open.

This topic will not end well.
It's still going on, of course.
The answer to that question has no real answer: it's a matter of viewer perception.

Personally, I think as long as there are fans to keep the Buffy and Angel 'verses alive, they will never end.
I'm always bothered when people talk about the whole "high school is hell" thing being the central basis of the show. Certainly it was ONE of the central aspects, but I've always thought that, and I know I'm not alone in this, Buffy was about growing up in general, not just experience in high school. There were metaphors and allegories throughout the entire run, and I think they're cheapened when one discards them in favor of saying one is the central meaning behind the show. The show was about the growth of the scoobies et all, which they continued long after high school.

Also, menomegirl, I completely agree.
This isn't actually staying on the front page, is it? Everyone has an opinion on this (many of them different)...but really?
The author says Season 4 is the last good season... (which is the one of the worst, in my opinion)

But are we going to say any show is over once it's past its prime? That's just silly.

@Tyler823 I totally agree. If the concept of Buffy is contained to high school, then the show had predetermined lifetime. I mean, high schoolers grow up and so did Buffy.

[ edited by The TV Obsessed on 2010-08-15 05:09 ]
This might turn into something too long for a comment, but I don't really have a space to do a blog post in response so we'll see.

In thinking about Buffy and it's narrative continuation, I like to compare it to two shows on the BBC, Doctor Who and Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes. Doctor Who, like the name says, is about the Doctor and his companion. There's an inherent problem though, because the Doctor isn't supposed to age, but actors obviously do. Bam, regeneration. Now you have a whole line of actors, all playing the same character albeit differently.

LoM/AtA were about the world Sam Tyler and Alex Drake found themselves in so the main character could be replaced, and the central mystery of the story could still be continued. So in both examples, the central concept of the show could carry on while different leads rotated in and similar stories could be told.

So is Buffy about the mythology of teenage vampire slayers? Could it be like Doctor Who/LoM/AtA and focus on that mythology with different stars? It could have until Buffy decided she wasn't going to die at 16. So then the show is about Buffy, the slayer who changed everything. "The thing about changing the world, once you do it, everything's different." Once it was clear that Buffy wasn't going to die like every slayer before her, it should have been clear that the show was going to have to change with her.

So for me, the question is, was that the right narrative choice? With a built in self destruct button "Slayers" could have been one of the longest running Sci-Fi shows ever, and Joss would get a chance to write a meaningful death for a main character, and maybe stop killing so many supporting characters?

But that's not usually the way American TV shows work. Really, you can't blame an actor with a steady gig wanting to hang onto the role. But I look at a show like The Office, had Michael been fired like two seasons ago, the show wouldn't be in its current situation where it's changed to keep Michael relevant, only to lose Steve Carrell before they're ready to stop making the show.

So I say, take a page from the BBC. Buffy dies saving her friends in Graduation. Season 4 opens up in Cleveland, where we meet Vi, the Vampire Slayer : )
Yes, it is. Need to explore these parts from time to time, let them air dry so to speak.
Buffy will continue as long as Joss has stories to tell. Ridiculous hubris to think something else. Next topic.
The fact that I'm still rewatching Buffy and reading comics about her means the show never ended in my book.
Can't seasons one through three just be defined as a like mega-arc? I see what the author is saying about setting and characters and stuff in this regard (most definitely not about quality), but just because these things change doesn't mean the PREMISE does.

I guess the author is trying to say it did, but how can one think that? kind of confusing. Buffy is the Vampire Slayer. She fights evil and has friends. That's the premise I saw for 144 episodes.
I stopped reading at "season 4 the last good season".
I totally agree with what Rocknjosie said. I love Buffy, it is definitely one of those shows that I will forever come back to. However, in the same token, whatever happened to there being more than one side to every story?

And, in this day and age, with all of those Slayers running around, you wouldn't even need to kill off Buffy to create a new take on an old premise.
The author has a very close minded view of the show. And to say that season four was the last best season??....sheesh.
Well, the show was/is called "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." That's sort of the whole mission statement/summary thingy right there. It contains within it a character, cultural baggage to explore, and a challenge/conflict all wrapped up in one nice, tidy package with a string bow--a sparkly one. Maybe in pink... ~_^ (Although, furoshiki are quite lovely as well.)

I would argue therefore, that the series ends when Buffy is no longer a Vampire Slayer, however that happens. One interpretation of that could be that the series ended with "Chosen" if you want to capitalize and important-ize the "The." (Somehow, I never personally felt like Faith's existence took any of Buffy's "THE-ness" away from her--maybe because even Faith seemed to think of Buffy that way.) As long as the series revolves around Buffy it exists. If it becomes too diffused in it's focus, I think it ceases to exist and needs a new name to honor it's new form.

[ edited by BreathesStory on 2010-08-15 06:19 ]
Buffy's not gonna end, like Tinkerbell...something along the lines of she needs us to believe so she can keep existing? Well in that case, Whedonesque alone can sustain her for the next ever!
So dear author, I must disagree with you on every aspect of your article, but thank you for your input.
Ugh, I get so annoyed with how anti-the UPN years so many people seem to be. Did S7 have some weak storytelling at some points? Yes. But so did season 4, perhaps even more so. They also both had great eps and not so great ones.At the end of the day I would not trade one season of Buffy for anything :)
What is this "Buffy" you speak of?
Last time I checked, having the seventh season of a show seem different than the first was called "character development." I know it's a rare and mythical phenomenon when it comes to television, but yes - these things CAN happen.
Alright, I've actually been lurking for the past 7 or 8 years (seriously) and when I read this I HAD to join to comment because this is something I've thought about a lot.

For me, there are two distinct shows (well, maybe 3 with Seasons 8 and 9 but that's neither here nor there). The first show is Seasons 1-4 and ends with Restless. The second show is Seasons 5-7. Joss always described Restless as the pilot for Season 5 and I think it works that way...but the thematic and tonal shift from Season 4 to Season 5 is so great that to me they form two different shows.

People complained at the time that Season 6 was too dark but if you watch Season 5 there's very little of the darkness of 6 that wasn't already present in Season 5; it just wasn't pervasive until Buffy had her mental breakdown in "Weight of the World."

On the other hand, the lightness of Seasons 1-3 was still very present in Season 4. The characters still felt the same. It's just that in Season 5, people found their new footing. I've read that some writers (maybe it was Joss?) described Seasons 6 and 7 as a 44 episode "maxi-season" but to me, it's really 5, 6 and 7 that form this giant season.

Ahh well...hopefully I'll post here again sooner rather than later. I've always wanted to know if anyone knows what happened to Radio Buffy (the internet radio station/website) but haven't had a place to really ask since I can't get posting privileges on the old host's personal forums (even though I was able to join).
I absolutely agree with the article. I watched Buffy for the first time only last year and after season 3 it was just a chore to get through everything else afterwards.

It was like there was nothing new for the characters to learn and we were just there to witness their relationship problems with the occasional "baddie" who would end up just slugging it out with Buffy in the end while waiting for some magic spell to help end a season.

Angel may have started off slow, but at least by that shows end I was furious at how everything was ended so abruptly whereas I just couldn't wait for them to put Buffy out of its misery
"Waaah! Waaah! Waaaah! My favorite show changed! Waaahhhhh!!!"

In my opinion, the show became WAY more interesting *AFTER* season 3. When I re-watch episodes, they're almost ALWAYS from 5-7. Why? Because I *want* to see the characters' relationship troubles. I WANT to see them struggle to find themselves. I love Anya, Tara, Glory, witchy!Willow, etc. much more than Cordelia, Oz, the Mayor, and nerdy!Willow. (To be fair, I love Cordelia on "Angel," and I think that her transformation from "Welcome to the Hellmouth" to "You're Welcome" is an amazing process.)

The author of the article is fundamentally wrong about the show, because he doesn't understand that the show is primarily about Buffy's loneliness. That's how I've always viewed it, from start to finish, and "Chosen" wraps the show up perfectly in this sense. (For sake of convenience, I'm only referring to the televised seasons.)

Clearly, this guy doesn't like to see characters evolve over time. I'm sure the process I mentioned before, concerning Cordelia's transformation across both "Buffy" and "Angel," is painful for him to watch. The author comes across as impatient and uncaring for the characters.

This really pisses me off.
Well, I prefer to have had everything that came after Season 4, which includes The Body, in Season 5. As far as learning new things, they were aplenty, in that episode, and others, such as Xander counseling Dawn in Potential, Season 7. I'm far behind on Season 8 but I'll catch up eventually and now there will be a new season, which, Yay.
I suspect that a lot vehement haters of anything beyond S3 or S4 have shipper subterfuge lurking under their reason. The whole series is brilliant and its evolution and development are what make it amazing. Of course, their is also evangelical the guy I work with, who stopped watching because "Willow went all gay and witchy and everyone else got weird". LOL!
The series changed a lot over the years, granted. But when did the show end? That's easy. It ended with "Chosen."

Seasons 3 through 5 are my favorites. I can't dispense with 1 and 2 because 3 wouldn't exist in the same way without them. (Also, I like a lot of the individual episodes.) I sometimes wish I could dispense with at least parts of 6 and 7...there are even points where I think that losing the musical, and the incredible first half of 7, wouldn't be too much to lose if I could just be rid of the rest as well. But then I think about losing "Chosen," and I can't do it. It's the perfect cap. I'm sure "The Gift" would have done fine in that regard, but "Chosen" just resonates so much more.

As BreathesStory put it, there's a definite mission statement in Buffy. But I don't think it's in the title itself, but in the following lines: "Into every generation a Slayer is born. One girl in all the world," etc. Giles himself gave us the speech. And as rocknjosie might agree, Buffy Summers was a girl born to break the rules. What's the best way for a tale like that to end? By having its main character destroy the central assumption of the story. Those two scenes together serve as perfect bookends for the show: The Watcher who says, "This is how it is," and the Slayer who responds, "THIS is how I want it to be."

I am on record as being not a fan of Season 8. One of the reasons is that I think the characters are being twisted to fit the plot. One of the reasons is that I just don't like a lot of the plots that much either. But the main reason, if I'm being honest? Buffy found her perfect ending already.
Does anyone remember the web site jumptheshark.com? well before it dissapeared there were people who thought that the show jumped when Angel lost his soul. Or when Oz and Willow hooked up. So even amongst the 'school years are the best years' crowd you have division over when the show went downhill. So arguing it is kinda moot. Whats done is done and you can either take the parts that we liked or the sum of it all. Personally I think Once More, with Feeling is the show's peak. The plot kinda fell apart afterwards but I STILL would not trade in that season or the last one for anything. Episodes like Dead Things, Seeing Red, Beneath You, Selfless, Conversations with Dead People, and Chosen. Thats not all I enjoyed about those seasons but thats what sticks out in my mind. Some of the best writing, acting, and direction on the show came out of those last 2 seasons.
Yeah, eddy reminded me about "Selfless" just now. Pretty much the only episode with Anya in it post-Season 4 where I actually liked her. And Drew Goddard's writing...yeah, consider my above comment amended. When keeping things in perspective, even the bleakness of Season 6 and the meandering tone of Season 7 aren't worth trading in if it means I lose Relatable Anya and the fantastic pen of Drew Goddard.
With the movie according to some.
Each week, when the little demon went "Grr Argh".
The correct answer is that it ends when it stops making money for 20th Century Fox. And seeing how they like to milk the fandom cash cow, will probably be never.
Hm, can't really say I agree with the article. Buffy being able to change it's own status quo, to evolve, that was always a bonus for me, so I loved it that it's characters could grow up and move one from High school.

I also think that it was a composite work of many writers, actors and other folks so to me Buffy ended when she stood over the crater of the hellmouth.

[ edited by Changeling on 2010-08-15 10:18 ]
I honestly would not have been able to watch Buffy in high school for seven years. Seasons 1-3 were brilliant, no doubt but as the show progressed throughout season, it progressed naturally throughout time. Had seasons 4-7 searched the same ground as the previous years, it would have felt artificial. I cannot honestly say that I was doing the same things, being the same person, or living the same life three years ago, so why did it have to be that way with Buffy? There is a definite split in the series style, but no midway end to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, if anything it made it last all the longer. This article also fussed about people leaving and dying. People don't always stay. People get fed up, people get bored, people move on. And honestly, in a show like this where everything is so potentially life-threatening, people are bound to die and as much as I hate to see my favorite characters die, I have to to admit that it makes the show better. The more I cry, the more attached I got and I cannot get attached to the artificial. And seriously, sometimes the brilliant work of the later seasons is denied because of this fear of change.

In short: ITS JUST CHANGE! GET USED TO IT!

Where's the end?: Technically when Buffy dies (the final time) there's no more "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"... but I'm not sure that's ever gonna happen and that's okay by me.
Okay. Here's the thing. Buffy was great because it evolved. Something doesn't have to be dark to be good (as some people think), but for a show as existential as Buffy, that claims to be about 'growing up', it's gotta go there sometime. The fact that it did go dark, is evidence of the show's honesty and relevance.

The darker seasons, season six, challenged the audience, some of you just couldn't take it!
GUYS, he's not CRITICISING seasons 4-7 (well, not entirely). He's just saying it's a different show. I'd say the same about season 5 of Angel, although it's perhaps my favourite season it features brand new sets, characters, and most importantly MOTIVATIONS for the entire cast. Is it still about a vampire? Yes. But most of the storylines from the first few seasons concluded in that Jasmine arc, and in Home they were offered and took the chance to start again. When the entire premise of the show shifts like that, refreshes like that, then you could call it a new show.

I enjoy seasons 4-7, but I believe he's right that there's something more 'true' about seasons 1-3. When season 4 starts she's not the schoolgirl battling monsters in her spare time while she sneaks off to see Angel. She's now a freelance slayer attending college in her spare time. The core premise has shifted, and while the characters are still there the show is not the same. That said, would I want it to have ENDED there? No. Bring on The Further Adventures of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Bring on Hush, The Body, Once More With Feeling, and Chosen. Because those characters are still so powerful, no matter what show they're in.
"Buffy ended the day she got her diploma" What an absurd statement. Obviously some people never get over high school, or have a problem dealing with change, or whatever. But it always amazes me that anyone with such a rigid point of view, is a fan of BTVS in the first place.

In fact, I have a hard time regarding this person as a real fan. The series ran for seven glorious seasons, each one a gem, in it's own way. How sad if it had really ended with season 3. Think of all the wondrous entertainment we would never have had.

Bleeeh.
I don't understand the whole "different show" thing. the show is about life and life is about change.
But most tv shows aren't about change, that's the guys problem. I think in the tv world Buffy was just so out of left field that many couldn't adjust. Every season was so new to someone who maybe wasn't as invested as we were that they may not grasp the subtle nods toward character progression. Where we see life, they see the incomprehensible!
Yes, in one way the show ends only when people stop caring about it. In another, it ended when Buffy smiled by the crater. The TV show ended then, at least. It didn't end at Graduation Day because the characters continued to grow and develop, and became ever more interesting. Yes, the young teenage quippy Slayer had to change and the themes became darker, but that's because the show was about growing up.

My favourite seasons are S5 and S6 - I love many, many of the episodes in S4 but felt the Initiative/Adam arc was less successful. No way would I want to deny myself a single episode, however, of that season or any other; even the least successful (DMP, Bad Eggs...) have their moments of wonderfulness. I respect the poster's right to have different preferences, but the show is the show is the show. And I love it all.

Shey, your point: How sad if it had really ended with season 3. Think of all the wondrous entertainment we would never have had. is absolutely spot-on. How sad to deprive oneself of all that.
Something to consider: the plan for the animated Buffy series was to keep her in high school for the entire run.
So...am I the only one who liked everything they did with narrative? Am I just too easy to please?
The only reason I watched 4-7 was Spike and every season had some excellent eps. Season 4 had the very funny Pangs followed by Something Blue and the wonderful Hush. I think my favorite ep was Fool for Love in season 5,but The Body and Anya’s confusion over death was heartbreaking. In season 6 we have the great musical Once More With Feelings, Dead Things, Smashed where Buffy and Spike brought the building down and the very sad Seeing Red. I loved all the eps at the start of S7 when Spike was crazy in the basement, the one in the church was very telling. Once all the would be slayers came on board the show went downhill for me, did not like most of them and it was hard for me to enjoy the show…even with Spike being in it. The last 3 eps kind of made up for the middle of the season.
There are really two answers possible --

1) When Joss says
2) When people who know better than Joss say

Buffy didn't end just because any particular person or group decided to end their consumer relationship with it.

If I figured I knew better than Joss on the subject, and was going to say "here is where, no matter how good anything is that came after it, 'Buffy' was a completely perfect and contained and satisfying story", it would be at the end of Season 3.
This is a horrible article. Either the person that wrote this was very stupid, they didn't understand the show, or they skipped a bunch of episodes. Honestly, Season Six was my favorite season our of all of them. Hilarious Spuffy goodness, anyone? xD
season 3 was defintly my favorite, and i didnt like season four mostly becouse of my disapointment Adam didnt do more. was was by far my favorite villian and he mostly just sat arund and waited for the finally. but the show fund its feet again and i thought season 6 was great to, but season seven was a great ending to the show, i havent got into the comics much, but mostly couse im not itno comics
There seems to be a number of people who will always lament the fact that Buffy didn't stay in high school forever.

If I had to guess I would say that these people might wish they were still in high school themselves. Shrug. I always loved Buffy, but I got way way deeper in toward the end of season five and through to seven so I really can't relate to this article.

Although I do bitch a lot about season 8 so maybe I should be more understanding.
My favorite seasons are seasons 2 and 3.They are basically tied followed by season 5.My least favorite season is season 4.I didn't really care for the arc that season although there are great individule episodes.

Seasons 1,6 and 7 are sort of mid level seasons in my list of enjoyment(I like season 7 more than 6) although again there are some great individule episodes.I am really enjoying season 8 though and once it's finished,I'll make a final decision where it ranks on my order.

So my order is...

Seasons 2 and 3
Season 5
Season 8(for now)
Season 7
Season 1
Season 6
Season 4

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-08-15 15:57 ]
Wow. I'm sorry. I really don't understand why so many people here are upset. I thought the question was an interesting one--one that I had never considered, and one that would also be quite fun to play around with in my head. It seems to have pushed an awful lot of buttons here, though.

As I understand it, the writer was using S1 as their template for BtVS. They asked the simple question of: When did the series stop feeling like S1 in it's concept, themes, and execution. I think that if one accepts their beginning premise, they have a point--one from which much intellectual fun can be wrung. And it was! Thumbs up!

However, I personally don't agree with the premise, because it assumes Joss knew shat he was doing from the get go and that S1 was all that he intended the show to be. He's on record as stating that he didn't know what he was doing and I think S1 bears that out. He was creating something new, genre wise. He was learning how to construct a season, learning how to use his premise to explore various themes, learning how to balance episodes with arcs, and various immense piles of other things that add to the complexity making of a tv show. Heck, he was learning how to film. After a while, arguably S3, he got very good at these things and developed a fully realized and nicely boxed template that could have just continued on a la "Law and Order."

But was this template what he was ultimately aiming for? I have no idea. I do think it's obvious from the work, that Joss needed to challenge himself by learning and exploring the art of telling stories on tv in different ways. So he did. And then everything began to not feel nearly so cohesive as a show, but I think a richness of experience was added and layered to it as he pushed and pulled his template into new directions. IMO, if he hadn't been allowed to do that, the show would have ended much, much sooner.

So I figure the questions are:

1. If one was to pick say...five episodes that epitomize BtVS, stir them up, define their mean, and call this the template... Did Joss ever break the template, and if so, when did it happen? (Since S2 and S3 consistently rank as fan favorites, it makes sense that most of the five would come from those two seasons.)

2. And perhaps more importantly, if the template did break, did it never make a return appearance?

I don't think that the answer "Whatever Joss says it is," is a valid one. Creators are constantly reaching and trying to define and refine the manifestations of their ideas. (It's called the creative process. ~_^) For many, there is no definitive, beginning or ending to their explorations, just boundaries imposed by the culture so that the creations can be in a consumable form. Artists are famously capable of "ruining" their own work and not knowing when to stop with a particular piece--usually because they didn't acknowledge the piece as a defined entity in the first place. It also happens when the creator doesn't recognize when an idea has been expressed completely. And it happens to us all.

A work of art is a form of communication. It is a communication from wherever/whatever the creator draws from of an force* that desires to be expressed via a particular medium. And it has no meaning (beyond possibly personal therapy) if there is no audience to receive it. Art needs an audience of some sort to complete it. /pontification

*I am defining matter, energy, and thought to be the same thing--which in my experience as a maker, they are. I thought the word "Force" was a decent summation of those three things.

Eek! Holy thought spins, Batman! Did that ever get long!
When did the series stop feeling like S1 in it's concept, themes, and execution.


Erm...in S2.

I mean, the show was always changing, but (to me, at least) those changes always felt like logical steps forward in a journey, not just baseless changes to the format. To me, Buffy is (among other things) a powerful coming of age story that spans from high school to adulthood, ending at the very beginning of self-actualization and Buffy making her own place in the world. S7 is a point where the story really feels like it's complete in a way that some stories never are.

Obviously this is all subject to opinion, but I see a lot of distinction between a story that changes as it goes and a story that has ended. I can definitely understand wishing the story had ended at a certain point (I never used to understand this, but then I read season 8), but to say the story ceased to be the same story just because of its changes seems a bit silly to me. Shrug.
Buffy's end can be basically anywhere. It just depends on viewer perception. I know of fans who, in their minds, have Buffy in Rome dating the Immortal as canon. Others end it at season 5, 7, ect. Even the novel that I seem to forget the title of - where Tara comes back - some accept that as canon. It's all up to viewer perception. In my mind, Buffy is continued in comic form.
I also found the question a very interesting one.
Provocative obviously as one can see from the comments.

And I get the point, that the show changed drastically at the beginning of season 4. But I kinda thought that that was the point...

For me that made it worth watching. I really have no interest to watch a show for years that doesn't reinvent itself. And Buffy is a fine example of a show that managed to do that.
Buffy - as a story - will end when Joss Whedon is done with it. Simple as that. Until then, it continues in whatever format he wishes it. And no amount of others' opinions contribute to anything - IMHO - same as it does not boil to FOX making money out of it. If Joss will continue to write outlines of future seasons into his desk only - the Buffy verse will still be ticking. And honestly, I don't think it is even fair to discuss just the Buffy tv series S1-7. The story is not complete without the Angel series, the Fray series and S8.
Reading this article made me think that the question the author really had in mind was "When did I stop enjoying the show?", rather than "When did the show end?". Really, the question he posses is a very subjective one, that each of us will probably have a different answer to (although, I imagine most of us here will have a similar one.)

Of course, the show changed a lot over the course of its run, but those changes can be seen between each season and even between different episodes of a season. The start of season 2 is very different in tone to the final episodes of the same year, for example.

There is definitely a thematic shift between season 3 and 4, with the ditching of the "highschool is hell" metaphor. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the general themes of growing from adolescence to adulthood weren't already there in the early years; they were just simply wrapped up in a nice package as highschool, which is the natural point of contact between American teenagers. In someways, season 4 does attempt to continue the metaphor of highschool is hell, replacing highschool with university, but doesn't succeed, in my eyes, as well as the previous years (interesting that the author sees this as the last good season, where the themes of growth are still given a central location, rather then being less physically represented - although I agree that it is the season with the best comedy episodes. Perhaps there is an interesting question here about some people finding enjoyment from settings over characters.)

I think one of the reasons why this question seems to fit well with Buffy, for more reasons then simply it being a show that constantly evolved, is because of the way Joss and co. were always able to create a nice package at the end of each season. I remember thinking not too long ago about what seasons Buffy could have ended in a fairly satisfactory way. The only one I could really see as not giving us a sense of completion was season 6 (3, 5 and 7 are the most fully complete, whilst 2 would have been a rather depressing and up in the air ending, but still an ending. 4 might hint at a lot of what is to come, but a character study in that vein works well, as does the idea that their lives will continue even after the show has finished, just as Chosen suggests - as did Angel's finale. In that way, Tara's closing words could be seen as an ending, as well as a new beginning.) So, it is easy for people to latch on to something they consider to be the correct ending, be it the destruction of Sunnydale High, the death of Buffy Summers or the sharing of the Slayer power and the destruction of the town. Each offers a completion of the core ideas that run throughout the show and it just depends on the elements you as a viewer connect with most.

It is an interesting question, but I think the writer does come across just simply not liking the years after 4, rather then giving a real analysis (fair enough, as it is his blog.)

Edit: As for the comic book season, I've read about the first 20 issues. It is quite good, but it isn't the TV series. Definitely can be considered a continuation of the characters though.

[ edited by Vandelay on 2010-08-15 20:10 ]
Really? A 'when did Buffy jump the shark' discussion? Again? There are as many answers to this question as there are ppl who have watched the show.

The only real answer is this: so long as we talk about Buffy, she never really dies.
Except for those two times, but those were strictly temporary because we all clapped so well.
Two camps seem to be emerging, "the show belongs to Joss" camp and the "the show belongs to us". Regardless of when folk thing Buffy ended, this seems to be the central issue.

I think it's fair to say that Joss as creator of the Buffy character controls her fate, and so Buffy's story continues on in whatever form he chooses to tell it. Using Doctor Who again, if Russel T Davies wants to churn out more stories about the David Tennant's Doctor, he's welcome to.

But the eleventh Doctor is Stephant Moffat's, and similarly, if Jane Espnenson wanted to create another Slayer series for TV involving a different main character, that'd be part of the "Buffy" story and frankly would probably add some depth to it.

So yes, Buffy is Joss', but the universe Joss created can be used by anyone given permission to play in it and it's fair to say that we haven't gotten a teenage slayer myth story since S3, and that can be disappointing for those who liked teenage slayer myth stories.

Same way that Firefly fan movies keep the verse alive and expand it even, but the Captain is pretty much frozen in time after Serenity and does nothing until Joss says he does.
If a show runs for seven seasons and the characters, plotlines, and themes are still basically the same at the end of the series as they were at the beginning...that show is REALLY, REALLY BAD.
I'm sorry but the writer makes a seriously flawed presumption. To him it was a TV about high school. HS is hell. To me it was about a young women coming to terms with her power, who happens to be in high school. And guess what when she graduates she finds out that life is hell.

For me it continues on in the great comics.
Interesting topic, but I don't think I'm breaking any new ground by saying the author is incorrect on this one. Then again, the author is NOT an idiot for thinking what he's saying either.

One problem here is the idea of premise. In the author's mind, he's formulated that the premise was a high school girl who fights demons with her friends. Joss's original conception of the reversal of the the high school horror movie might seem to support this partially, but I've never read anything from him that this "image" was anything other than inspiration. Certainly that image was only played out a handful of times in the show anyway. Most of the time, rather than "shocking" the vampires it seemed to play out more like a dance for survival.

As for theme, well the truth was that every season presented different themes. The only themes that were heavily infused in the show were the power of friendship and female empowerment. There are more, but those are the easiest to spot. And they did NOT change for seven seasons. Even as dark as season 6 gets, Buffy DEALS with her problems (empowerment). And Willow relies on her friends to help her back from the edge (power of friendship) and herself (empowerment) to get the rest of the way back.

The series itself was very serial during S2, so like it or not the show really took the path that it needed to take. Buffy had to leave high school or die. Those were really the only two options.

For me personally, the series also worked because I was the exact same class as Buffy. As a result, the show often hit home at the right times. I think in some ways that is part of the show's problem for some people. The transition from HS to college or in cases HS to real life is a very unnerving experience and unless you vividly recall it, it's not as easily emotionally accessible as partying in college or the zaniness of HS.

I think the BTVS the author envisions is closer to a procedural than a serial. Or, a serial whose time is so compressed that nothing ever changes.
Reading this, perhaps the more pertinent question is, 'When did the show make a change that I enjoyed less than what came before?'
Well, I only half agree with this article. None of the seasons were bad as this bloke says, but I would say there are certain seasons where Buffy was at its prime. And though it's different for everyone, I do have to say Seasons 1 through 3 is really where I found myself enjoying...everything. I loved the entire arc of it all and those episodes to me contained a lot of the fun, quick wit we know Buffy is best at! So my favorite seasons are 1 through 3(Not 4 -- blech, bad) BUT -- this is where I got off.

Seasons 5 through 7 are also very good! I don't watch as many of those episodes over and over, but there are the few that I love to see again and again. The later seasons aren't the same as 1 through 3(In its arc, HS, Angel etc way), but simply because the shows main themes and ALL the characters matured and developed in one way or another(And I love character development; without it a show grows easily old for me. Thank you Joss and those other writers who understand the beauty that is CD).

So yea, I like 1 through 3 best, but to say that the rest of the Buffy 'verse is rotten and unnecessary is stepping over that white line for me and many other fan's I must say. You don't have Buffy without ALL of Buffy and ALL of her friends.

PS: I might be slightly biased just to the fact I'm a Junior in HS, so, the "high school is hell" deal is still very pertinent to me. Oh and I love Angel, when he left my heart kinda did that thing where it feels like it's in quicksand...
Oh, he just didn't go far enough. For the True Buffy Purists (tm) it all went downhill after Principal Flutie was eaten by wolves. Any Real Fan could see that!
xWolffspridex, I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict that a rewatch of it all 10-15 years from now will completely change your perspective on later seasons of Buffy and all of Angel. :) I found high school to be hell, but it was a very mild and safe level of hell compared to my early to mid-twenties. Of course I have many many years of removed perspective from both those times periods now, but Angel and S6-7 of Buffy have way more resonance for me than seasons 1-3 could ever have.
TamaraC, I don't doubt that for a second! I bet that years from now I'll be able to see more parallels with later-season Buffy life. But nonetheless, I don't doubt that it'll be fun to look back on those high-school-days of Buffy just as well.

Oh and thank you for ensuring me that college and onward life is just going to get better...thanks. Thanks a lot.
ok, so we agree that saying buffy either should've stayed in highschool or should've been cancelled after the 3rd season because it wasn't the same later on is actually the same nonsense as saying in real life you should either repeat highschool or kill yourself after graduation because otherwise you're not true to yourself. right?
Oh, he just didn't go far enough. For the True Buffy Purists (tm) it all went downhill after Principal Flutie was eaten by wolves. Any Real Fan could see that!


Pfft! That's just ridiculous!

We all know that Buffy ended after she killed Lothos!
Things get much better at 30, xWolffspridex. And post 40 kinda rocks. :) I would love to see Buffy at 35. Now that could really be amazing and you know, different. Does she have kids? Does she marry? Divorce? Change her name? Does she continue to accept and grow into her power or does she resent the heavy responsibility and become more bitter? Is the mantle heavy or light? I guess the story will have to continue for many more years. I hope they do accelerate her age in the comics though. I want to see a grown-up Buffy. She's still a kid.

The seasons that the author of the linked blogginess has an obvious personal preference for was but a prologue to the real story of Buffy just as high school was formative for most of us, but only a prologue to life.
For me, the show ended with Chosen. I would have liked it to end with The Gift but that's neither here nor there as I can't control that.
Like azzers, BtVS resonated for me because I was in high school with these characters. I grew up with them, I went off to college and had to deal with life. What Buffy experienced in Season 6 was very real. I personally think the writers kept Buffy in a dark place for too long but I remember feeling like her. I was not suicidal but I was depressed. The real world sucked and no one warned me about it. I didn't want to take care of my little sister and find a job and figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I am a huge fan of seasons 1-5 and they are the seasons I rewatch on a regular basis. That said, I still think seasons 6 and 7 were/are important. Just because I may not have liked where the character's archs were taken doesn't mean they were not important.

Now, Season 8 is WHOLE other story. Season 8 is not the Buffy I remember and that has a lot to do with the actors. I just cant seem to connect with the verse characters in two-demensions. Some may think this is because I don't like grahpic novels so let me put those people at ease. I'm an English major, studying to be an English teacher and I love novels of all types. Fray was fantasic, I also enjoyed Maus and Persepolis. I understand that Joss feels he has more stories to tell but for me these stories don't resonate because they're not alive.
For the True Buffy Purists (tm) it all went downhill after Principal Flutie was eaten by wolves. Any Real Fan could see that!


Principal Flutie was not eaten by wolves. He was eaten by teenaged schoolchildren who happened to be possessed by spirits of hyenas at the time.

bho1-I think the site went poof so I'm not sure if this helps but here: Radio Buffy. And welcome!

[ edited by menomegirl on 2010-08-15 23:03 ]
I want to see a grown-up Buffy.

I second that.

Though I understand the reaction towards seasons 6 & 7, I think is was an address towards the other characters, namely Willow, Giles, and Xander.
I think is was an address...

Please bring out the word police, I'm so busted!
I think it stopped in season 5, when she died for the second time. It was a good ending because it was enough. You could feel a new begining in the wind, but a lot of stuff got done. People grew up, grew together, grew apart. It had sacrifice. It was the cusp of becoming. Very Empire Strikes Back. There was enough unanswered to make you go "hmmm" but not enough to really say, "hey, lets raise her from the dead." I think s5 was the place to stop. Everything else feels like ... well, kicking a dead horse.
Something to consider: the plan for the animated Buffy series was to keep her in high school for the entire run.

Right. A half-hour, more accessible premise centric sitcom style show that probably would have lasted no more than 3 or 4 season. 1-3 were fun. Season 2 has always been my favorite, but the intention of the animated wasn't to explore the same adult themes that Buffy did in live action.

I think s5 was the place to stop. Everything else feels like ... well, kicking a dead horse.

And I would completely disagree. I think season six did season five from a different and stronger (on the writing side) perspective. And at least the last couple of episodes of season 7 is how this show needed to end. The Gift might have been a great closer for Buffy as a character, but Chosen was the answer to the problem of the premise.

I also happen to think season five (with the exception of The Body) and The Gift are incredibly overrated. Also, I certainly wouldn't have loved Tara or Anya or Dawn without the following season. Not to say they didn't have their faults, but which season didn't?

[ edited by marvelknight616 on 2010-08-16 00:37 ]
I really hate when fans think they can say when something ends.
"Buffy" the show ended with "Chosen"; "Buffy" the story will end when Joss decides he's said all there is to say about it. Period. Whether those stories "resonate" with any given group of fans or not is completely irrelevant to the story. Those fans who claim the story ended with "The Gift" don't have to watch anything past that, and those who claim it ended with "Chosen" don't have to read the comic; but neither group's opinions of "when the story ended" have any bearing on reality. It will end when it ends.

[ edited by Rowan Hawthorn on 2010-08-16 00:55 ]
People can of course decide their own personal break-points, regardless of the fact that reality will keep on merrily chugging away and Buffy is now a space goddess having sex at the behest of the universe and Angel is a tool of the first rank. For me, there are two criteria: season arcs and episode quality. While I would love to stop watching beyond season five, as the show ties itself up in a relatively neat little bow with The Gift, and the season arcs for seasons six and seven were, to put it charitably, lacking, there is that niggling problem of episode quality. I have no problem with the writer of the article bemoaning Buffy’s change from high school girl finding her way to disillusioned twenty-something having despondent vampire sex, but I do take issue with the assertion that season four was the last season to have great episodes. Diss the season arcs after four all you want (though I would say five’s arc is far superior to four’s) but there were far too many great episodes in seasons five and six to just throw those seasons out with the bathwater.

Luckily for all of us folks who think the show should have ended before it ended, season seven has neither a good story arc or any great episodes (with the exception of Conversations With Dead People, but that one alone isn’t anywhere near enough to elevate the season as a whole.) So, for me--shaking my fist in the face of the reality of Buffy’s space goddessness--I say the series ended with “Grave”. (A fitting title, come to think of it.)
Season seven has some of my favourite episodes in it. As does four, but apparently everybody hates season four.
Hellmouthguy: "Lessons" was the best season opener in a while, even though the season squandered its potential. "Help" was very good. "Selfless" was fantastic. Don't know what you think about it, but I liked "Never Leave Me" a great deal. "Storyteller" was probably the only good episode, other than "Chosen," from the back half of the season, but there were still at least a couple fair ones -- "Potential" and "Lies My Parents Told Me." I'd put those first nine episodes of Season Seven, in terms of quality, up against any other nine-episode stretch in the series, with the exception of the back half of Season 3.

There's a lot to not like about Season 7. But I think it had more good episodes than you're willing to give it credit for.

[ETA: Even if you're JUST talking great episodes, "Selfless" has to make the list.]

gossi: I think both Seasons 3 and 5 are superior, as well as the last half of Season 2, but Season 4 is still my favorite. The plot is all over the place, and it's got some very low lows, but it's also got some very high highs, and the character work was fantastic.

[ edited by BAFfler on 2010-08-16 03:16 ]
Also, I'm a little puzzled about some of the hate on here toward people who don't like the comics. The question on the table, from the article, reads as follows:

"When exactly did ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, the series, end?"

And the answer to that is..."Chosen." The series ran seven seasons, one hundred forty-four episodes. "Chosen" was episode #144. Quod erat demonstradum, and all that. There are large parts of Seasons 6 and 7 I could get rid of happily.*** But they're part of the series, and they led to some good things down the line in most cases, and so I consider them part of the show both from a "reality-based" standpoint and from a "personal preference" standpoint.

*** (And no, it is not because, as tedley! somewhat ridiculously asserted above, I "just couldn't take it!" It's because I am alternately disgusted and bored with those episodes. It's not much of a challenge to disgust people...just show a warrior for good shacking up with an unrepentant bad boy and laughing at his jokes about eating an interior decorator. That should do it. Nor is it much of a challenge to bore people, as my long posts have consistently proven.)

Having done my best to cool the flames, I will now ignite them again -- and probably direct them at me -- by saying that AFAIAC, "Buffy" the story ALSO ended at "Chosen," and Joss Whedon has recently indulged himself by heading a team which has written and published some non-canon, post-finale fanfic. And this opinion is not only mine, but incontrovertible fact. Because I am never wrong. How do you know? Because I told you so myself. And I am never wrong, so that should be irrefutable evidence. :-D

(Please notice me trying to defuse my opinion with humor. Now, please notice yourselves refraining from insulting and/or flaming me. And then, please notice us getting along, and becoming fast friends, and possibly exchanging birthday presents and Christmas cards this year. k thanx, and if you're looking for birthday gift suggestions, I love suede in all its forms...)
I'm not really upset with folks who don't like the comic. It's more the idea that *we* can decide when the series ends. :D

If you have your own personal idea that we never had President XYZ as president. Good for you (but slightly delusional). That doesn't mean we never did.
@gossi Heh. S4 was the one that really hooked me on the show. It was during that season that I just knew it was going to be one of my favorite shows ever.
Season seven has some of my favourite episodes in it. As does four, but apparently everybody hates season four.

Now gossi, when did you ever get that idea?
Loved season 4. 6 and 7 (yes 7) were the best seasons by far. No contest really. Loving 8 as well. The Angel stuff is fascinating and I'm totally intrigued with what is going to happen next. I dare Joss to upend all shipper nonsense. So. Much. Fun!

I realize that my BtVS is a totally different series than the "real fans" who hate Marti Noxon (for some reason I have never been able to surmise. Not an invitation to tell me about it. I'd rather you stick knitting needles in my eyes), but there it is. Your BtVS is not THE BtVS. It is simply an interpretation by a viewer. One lonely viewer with baggage and opinions. Of course, as a BtVS fan, your opinions are many and loud and I am sure you are supported in email and on other forums by countless true fans. YAWN. :)

[ edited by TamaraC on 2010-08-16 06:00 ]
For me, as long as there are fans of the series (TV and comic), Buffy will never end. Long after the creators are gone and the stories are stopped being told, the series will always be in our hearts one way or another.
I've never understood the Noxon hate either. (Then again, I seem to like a lot of things that most people hate. S4, S6, S7, Beer Bad, Marti Noxon, Kennedy to a degree. Generally, I just love the whole show.) When I actually look at the list of episodes Marti Noxon wrote, she has a high percentage of my favorites (second only to Joss, I think).
Rowan Hawthorn: Those fans who claim the story ended with "The Gift" don't have to watch anything past that, and those who claim it ended with "Chosen" don't have to read the comic; but neither group's opinions of "when the story ended" have any bearing on reality. It will end when it ends.

This, basically. As PK Dick said, "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.". Substitute "liking" for "believing in" and you're there. Or to put it another way "If wishes were horses we'd all be eating steak" ;). No matter how hard we clap, seasons 5, 6 and 7 exist and are part of the serial story "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", as is "season 8" (whether you don't like what happens in it or comics in general or whatever).

BaFfler: "When exactly did ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, the series, end?"

And the answer to that is..."Chosen." The series ran seven seasons, one hundred forty-four episodes. "Chosen" was episode #144. Quod erat demonstradum, and all that.


A series doesn't have to be on TV. QED (and all that ;).

(I agree the comics aren't a TV show, which is why I ALWAYS put speech marks around "season 8" - it's not a season - but they're still part of the series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" because they follow one after the other - or are serial - and they're - here it comes kids, the dreaded word ;) - canonical)

rocknjosie: LoM/AtA were about the world Sam Tyler and Alex Drake found themselves in so the main character could be replaced, and the central mystery of the story could still be continued.

Nope, 'Life on Mars' ended, it's a complete story unto itself. As they wrote the end they had no idea that there'd be another series to follow it, let alone (in some sense) continue the story. 'Ashes to Ashes' wasn't about replacing the main character, it's a sequel series (this is a misconception possibly related to the shortness of LoM - to a US viewer it was barely getting started, ran for less than a "season", but over here a lot of TV shows run for a few - short - series then end, it's just part of UK TV).

There's an inherent problem though, because the Doctor isn't supposed to age, but actors obviously do. Bam, regeneration.

Almost. The Doctor does in fact age, regeneration is mostly about continuing the series when the lead actor wants to leave.


In general, the article's based on a false premise which is "I (the author) know what Buffy really is whereas its creator/other fans don't". So seasons 5-7 aren't good because they're not really Buffy. Well, that's entirely subjective obviously. The question as framed is basically a non-question and actually does boil down to "When did Buffy jump the shark ?", as eddy alludes to upthread (while at the same time making me feel like Old Man Internet by asking "... does anyone remember the website jumptheshark.com ?" ;). As such it's not particularly interesting in itself IMO, except as a jumping off point for discussion (and even then, the discussion condenses down to "I think it was season X" ... "I disagree !" and so on).

[ edited by Saje on 2010-08-16 14:08 ]
The website "jumptheshark" is besides the point. Who here remembers watching the Happy Days episode on first airing? Yeah. I have to go take my dentures out now.
Who here remembers watching the Happy Days episode on first airing?

Me.
Saje: So I shouldn't be expecting a birthday gift from you? ;-)
It's an interesting article, true.
BUT the conclusion failed. It's not Buffy that ended in s3, it's a PART of her life that ended! Or would anybody of you think your life ended with graduating?
Saje: So I shouldn't be expecting a birthday gift from you? ;-)

Well, no but no less than before ;-).

(clearly it's not a blue moon so we couldn't agree without tearing space-time apart BaFfler. And suede is so impractical anyway. You'll thank me in the long run ;)

Who here remembers watching the Happy Days episode on first airing?

Me.


Yeah, me too. Or rather, I remember episodes before and after it, must admit i'm not sure I actually remember him jumping the shark at the time (or the UK equivalent of "the time") or if i'm just remembering clips shown later or even "remembering" an imagined scene composed due to knowing what happens. Funny thing memory.
I think someone left the "Ick" turned on.
Heh, of all people, its you saje!

Please correct this.
I would 'Hatter, if I had even a remote clue as to what you're on about ;).
Pretty sure it didn't end when Buffy climbed on the back of Pike's motorcycle.

Other than that, when the credits came up after Chosen. Unless you like the comics. Which is fine.

The author seems to be talking about the end of the first (high school) story arc. But I don't think the show was called Buffy the High School Student.
Saje: You seem to have left open an italics html tag.
Seasons 1 through 3 and then 4 through 7 of Buffy always seemed like two different halves of the show to me, but that doesn't mean it all wasn't still Buffy. The comics are Buffy too, they're just different, that's all. I mean, I only just discovered the show last November, so I'm definitely among the group that says that as long as people still love the show and more people become fans of it, it's never really OVER.
Hellmouthguy:
So, for me--shaking my fist in the face of the reality of Buffy’s space goddessness--I say the series ended with “Grave”.

Good for you. When that means anything at all to the Outside World, I'll be sure to make a note of it.
Saje: You seem to have left open an italics html tag.

Huh, that's really weird Xantastic1316, usually when someone leaves a tag open everything that follows is italicised/bold/etc. whereas all your posts looked totally normal to me (also, Simon or someone else is usually pretty quick to edit the issue into oblivion. Wonder if it looked normal to them too ?). Anyway, closed it now so hopefully it should look normal to everyone.

(clearly i'm having a bit of a Monday, someone should issue a warning ;)
My take on it is this. My name is Kevin. When I was a child, I ran around and played in the mud. I had no real problems, other than my marbles getting dirty. Then I grew up and went to school, where the biggest problem was my terrible face. (This continues to be a problem). Then I left school and got a job, and discovered the world is horribly scary, and slightly glorious. Then I got a girlfriend. Then I lost a girlfriend. One day I could get married.

All of this is still Kevin. I won't die if I get married.
I really stopped liking things as much after season 5, even though I only watched the show in reruns. I thought the last two seasons totally ruined the Buffy and Giles relationship, and I hated what they did to Giles' character. If ASH wanted to leave, they had a lot of ways they could have written it better than the way they did. It's a conundrum, though, because if it had ended after The Gift, Buffy would've still been dead.
Saje: That is weird. All the comments after yours looked italicized to me (and, I'm assuming, to MadHatter too). And, yeah, I've seen Simon grab open tags, he's pretty quick about it.

Methinks there are mystical forces at work here. Someone should call Buffy...but from which season?
There's a lot to not like about Season 7. But I think it had more good episodes than you're willing to give it credit for.


Well, good perhaps, but I was referring to great episodes, those memorable classics that anchor a season in our memories. I stand by my assertion that seven gave us only one classic, Conversations With Dead People. I think Selfless was entertaining, and so were Same Time Same Place, and Him. (In fact, the season was pretty entertaining in general before the potentials arrived and the season arc started up.) But classics--I'm not seeing them. The closest the end of the season came, for me, was Storyteller, but my ambivalence toward Andrew, Willow/Kennedy, and the marginalization of just about anyone not named Spike knocked that down many notches. (Faith and the Vulcan was neat though.)

If you have your own personal idea that we never had President XYZ as president. Good for you (but slightly delusional). That doesn't mean we never did.


Yes, but reality and a fictional television series are two different animals: it does not require an act of imagination to believe in the President. But fiction absolutely requires it; our minds are half the equation of a TV show. (Or a book, movie, whatever.) And so each of us reserves the right to decide, *for ourselves*, when we get off the fictional train of any particular series. In my mind season seven didn't happen, because I don't want it to. And before people say, But it did! The proof is on the DVD's! Well, sure. But Buffy Summers doesn't actually exist, does she? Sarah Michelle Gellar, an actress living in New York, exists. There is no such thing as Buffy Summers unless we use our imaginations to conjure her. And I have decided not to bother conjuring after season six. That doesn't mean I'm trying to assert that my mental conjuring or lack thereof applies to other people's heads. Just mine.

By the way, Noxon haters: Marti Noxon wrote some wonderful episodes. I Only Have Eyes For You is most certainly a classic episode, and criminally underrated.

Good for you. When that means anything at all to the Outside World, I'll be sure to make a note of it.


Sigh. Really?
but apparently everybody hates season four.
gossi | August 16, 02:57 CET


Not everyone! It's my second favorite season (after 6). I think it was brilliant, from start to finish. The Freshman was such a spot on depiction of Buffy as suddenly a little fish in a big pond and the difficulty she had adjusting ... it set the stage for her character development for the entire season, which I saw as a coming to terms with the fact that she was more comfortable in her role as the Slayer, than as a young woman trying to be "normal"

Her relationship with Riley put an even finer point on that, as she dealt with adjusting to what she thought she wanted most - a regular guy (although this played out more in season 5, the ground work for this not being exactly what she really needed, was firmly in place by the end of S4).
A lot of people who love Spike, disliked his arc in S4, but I loved it - and Spike is my favorite character. The changes he was forced to make laid his character's ground work for the rest of the series, as well.

Willow's arc was heartbreaking and exhilarating perfection, and Xander's very different transition (the one who couldn't go to college) fit in seamlessly. And Giles' transition from watcher/librarian to mid-life crises guy, was done to perfection.

Adam wasn't the most interesting Big Bad, but I thought of the entity that was The Initiative as the real protagonist. This is the season where we learn that not all demons are evil, an idea that had up until then only been toyed with through Oz.

Add a few of the best individual eps in the entire series - I don't think anyone would argue with either Hush or Restless and I would add Pangs, The Initiative, Goodbye Iowa and This Years Girl/Who Are You, another seamless piece of the story telling puzzle, as Faith returned.

Then a season finale that broke the mold - the Big Bad is defeated in the next to last ep, and the final ep is a stunning piece of work with what turned out to be possibly the best, most complex and multi-layered foreshadowing of any episode of series TV, ever.

I can never figure out what's not to love about season 4.

Arrrrg .... excuse all the edits, I kept overlooking typos. :_)

[ edited by Shey on 2010-08-16 15:10 ]

[ edited by Shey on 2010-08-16 15:14 ]

[ edited by Shey on 2010-08-16 15:18 ]
This article makes a good point. The story that was started in season one - the story about Highschool as Hell - did indeed draw to a close at the end of Season 3.
That doesn't meant the rest of the series wasn't worth anything. It just means that the story changed and shifted to reflect what the character was going through. I like aspects of every season personally.
Skimmed thru the 100+ comments and it's pretty much as I expected.
:P

I'll say this. There was nothing in that article that was fresh or original. This has been debated ad nauseam. And, given a magical power, who would go back in time and cancel Buffy after S3? or S4? or S5? (Okay I'll stop.)
I would, just to prove I had magical powers. Then i'd go back and uncancel it and 'Firefly'.

Methinks there are mystical forces at work here. Someone should call Buffy...but from which season?

Aaargh, not the whole "Which season Buffy is best at dealing with rogue HTML tags ?" debate. Can open, worms everywhere ! Stand by for imminent thread-lock !
... and Joss Whedon has recently indulged himself by heading a team which has written and published some non-canon, post-finale fanfic.

Insulting to Joss and simply not true it isn't canon. Talk about opening the proverbial can of worms as someone mentioned above.
The author's intent is given away by the title: he wouldn't have chosen that title without an intent to read his own conceptions into the show, assume they're universally valid, and pronounce accordingly. Not that he isn't in good company doing so; Arnold Toynbee, Christopher Hitchens, and the psychiatrist Dr. Bonkus in "Beetle Bailey" have all been guilty of it.

He's forgetting the concept of "cycles." Cycles are bigger than arcs or seasons and include soem number of them less than the whole.

Which isn't to say he doesn't have an argument, altho I don't think it isn't too well-conceived. I also disagree with most of the responses he got, altho several are well thought out.
But some are just jaw-dropping. Like the poster who said it was a sign of the Trio and Willow sharing evil intent in that none of them had or were looking for jobs. Umm, neither was Tara; all 5 of them were flippin' full-time college students, f'Pete's sake. Some people just don't pay attention.

I'm thinking the question is, for me, irrelevant by definition. Joss, Sarah, and, in those worlds where she's real, Buffy are 9, 21, and 25 years younger than I'm. So, by the time the final words are written, my mind will be perfectly fixed upon things above and the cares of this world will have fallen away.

Since it wouldn't be one of my posts without it, here's the egotistical comment; for me BtVS ended just before the "Harmony bites" issue, since by then it had expanded to where I could no longer fit it into my "Children Of the Dale" sub-verse :-).

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2010-08-16 17:41 ]
Hellmouthguy:
Sigh. Really?

Yes, really. Because as long as Joss and company still "bother conjuring", the story is going on whether you "conjure" or not. I know that, because I can still get the story. So, it must be there, no?
Rowan, the point of my initial post, as well as my response to your rude reply, is about a mile to your left.
Aaargh, not the whole "Which season Buffy is best at dealing with rogue HTML tags ?" debate.

Oh Puh-leez. You know she'd call Willow.
Rowan Hawthorn and Hellmouthguy if you want to have a go at each other then take it elsewhere.
Oh Puh-leez. You know she'd call Willow.

Ah but from which season ?

*runs*

(course, in actuality - the fictional actuality not the actual actuality - any season Willow could fix rogue HTML tags. She is, after all, a whiz ...)
Tonya J sez:

Insulting to Joss and simply not true it isn't canon.

Tonya, is it possible that you missed the part right after what you responded to, where I tried to make light of my own opinion and defuse what I knew in advance was going to be a sentence that would get a lot of people steaming? I guess I won't be expecting a Christmas present from you either. :-) And I was so looking forward to getting figgy pudding from Saje this year. For me, figgy pudding is like a tea cozy to Buffy -- I don't even know what it is, but I want some.

Having said that, I must regretfully reaffirm my opinion. I am well aware that Joss considers Season 8 to be canon. I know he's the creator of the concept, and that his is therefore the most -- for many people, the ONLY -- important opinion. But I treat the stories of Season 8 much like I do Episodes I-III, and for mostly the same reasons. I have problems with the way the characters bend to the plots, I don't think the plots are necessary to the larger works, and considering them as such impedes my enjoyment of the good stuff. So I'm sorry if you think what I wrote was insulting to Joss, but all things considered, my primary preference is for the series I love not to be insulting to ME.

Hellmouthguy: I still think "Selfless" was an instant classic. But fair enough. And you're absolutely right about "Eyes," by the way. Criminally underrated doesn't begin to cover it.

Saje: I dunno. Willow from Season 1, very early on, might have had trouble. Seems like everyone on the show was having trouble with computers, at least in the "talking about them" sense. I still cringe at some of the "sophisticated" computer slang present in "I Robot, You Jane." And Sunnydale's computer networks seem so easy that even I could crack them with one terabyte stuck up my RAM. But Willow from late Season 1 on is most definitely a whiz. She's the man, she's the only one who can give your wish right to ya. (Yeah. That's right. I went there. I played with the joke. Can YOU feel a brand new day?!)

[Edited for grammar.]

[ edited by BAFfler on 2010-08-16 20:03 ]
It's already been said, but the show was called Buffy the Vampire Slayer not Buffy the Vampire Slayer Goes to High School.

As far as the show being about "growing up", there tends to be a lot of growing and changing that happens after high school (or there should be). I really enjoyed all of Buffy and could identify with a lot of the post-high school stuff. It is hard to get out there in the world and figure out who you are/who you want to be. I thought the series did a pretty good job exploring that.
There's a new issue coming out this week, so I would have to answer the question with "it hasn't yet."
Saje: I dunno. Willow from Season 1, very early on, might have had trouble. Seems like everyone on the show was having trouble with computers, at least in the "talking about them" sense. I still cringe at some of the "sophisticated" computer slang present in "I Robot, You Jane."

That's probably because you're not jacked in (and we all know what that means).

(I dunno though, to me transferring demons from ancient grimoire type things to internet is a step above basic HTML so I bet she'd already mastered that)

And you guys don't have Christmas pudding in the US BaFfler (figgy pudding is - more or less - just Christmas pudding but with figs predominating rather than e.g. plums or some other fruit) ? I can't give you a figgy pudding for Christmas but I can go one better - I can teach you to fish ;).
Figgy pudding is indeed delicious (although I used cognac in mine, 'cause I just like it) and it does store very well so that you can make it during the off season. I made mine and stored it in the back of the fridge for five months.

So as not to go completely off thread I now feel obliged tie this post in by making the prediction that BtVS will end by fruitcake. The Buffy verse is rich and strange--it could happen, right?
Seems like this thread is bordering de-railment. Which is fine.

But, in a sort-of related remark to TamaraC, I'd like to give myself up as Example A in Buffy influences on you change as you change. I just finished re-watching the entire series. (Stayed up for "Chosen" 'til 12am last night.)

Before I re-watched the series, I was very into seasons 3-5. I thought "The Gift" was epic (still is).

However, I think my love has shifted to Seasons 5-7. Season 6 wasn't as dark and gloomy as I remembered... more realistic so to speak. Season 7 was a wonderful balance between friends, Spike, and Potentials.

And what changed? Not the series. That's frozen in time. I changed. And I found new and even better appreciation for those "trouble" seasons that divide camps. Even at Buffy's "worst", she was still Buffy. But Buffy in grown-up world, which I am too. I think that's what makes Buffy eternal- any time you watch it, you can take away something that's occurring in your life.

And, of course Season 8, because I miss my friends so.
I also will say I like Season 4. People seem to forget all the goodness besides Adam (in fact, a lot of the season has nothing to do with Adam).
I was always the same age as the Scoobies when the show was airing originally (or just a little older catching up on them on DVD a couple years later), so I saw everything through them back then. Nowadays I have a truckload more sympathy for the adults around them in the early seasons, especially Giles. It doesn't end for me until I can't rewatch and see it all differently 10 years from now.
Look at you in your fancy new orange clothes, congrats on making it to the bigs Sunfire ;).

(quick, everyone misbehave so Sunfire gets a chance to try out her new powers... Err, Spike is rubbish and so is Angel, Clem and Buffy 4 EVAH ! Buffy being in an asylum is the only sensible take on the series after 'Normal Again' ! Greedo shoots first, it just makes more sense !)

Yeah, korkster's "never step foot in the same river twice" point is a good one. Even now, every now and again, someone on here will come up with a perspective on a scene or episode that would've never occurred to me in a million years. I guess the characters I most identified with were roughly mixed between Willow and Giles/Spike (Willow was the geek from the outset, Giles and Spike are older and British) and that hasn't really changed much but I was (legally ;) all growed up when I started watching the show.

So as not to go completely off thread I now feel obliged tie this post in by making the prediction that BtVS will end by fruitcake.

This is how it ends, not with a bang but a fruitcake.

(wouldn't surprise me, can't stand the stuff myself)
Yay, Sunfire! Your new color suits you.

Yeesh, I didn't like those puddings before, and I had no idea they were kept around for months. Really doesn't add to their appeal.

Long Live Buffy! (See, I'm on topic.)
Actually, no, Saje. I've never had Christmas pudding. I've had pudding ON Christmas...but something tells me that's not quite what you meant. What's all this about teaching me to fish, though? I know how to fish...and how would that help me get pudding anyway? ;-D

Also, I don't believe Willow really INTENDED to put Moloch in the computer, so giving her credit for doing it seems a bit much. But whatever. You're British, you guys have different standards. :)
Lower standards you mean - look what we call pudding FFS !?

(and if that's what she can do without even trying ... ;-)
Thanks for the well wishes! And that's a banning for Saje for stealing my Buffy/Clem joke.
*says nothing due to being banned*
Quick! Everybody talk about Saje behind his back!
*seethes silently and emphatically doesn't say "Hey, i'm sitting right here !" due to, y'know ...*

(being cast out from the fold has really helped me get in touch with my emote-ions)

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