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"A vampire in love with a slayer. It's rather poetic...in a maudlin sort of way."
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November 28 2005

TIME Magazine DVD reviews, including the Buffy CHOSEN collection. "The finest episodes come in the more mature later seasons--especially the Sondheimesque musical "Once More, with Feeling" in Season 6."

i was hoping for a longer review, i can never read about BtVS enough. I like the later seasons more than the earlier ones also, though i dont think the early ones were immature.
YAY! Finally, someone who agrees with me (and TIME MAGAZINE, at that). IMO, many of the more mature latter episodes were extremely well written and acted, and they are at times dissed or overlooked.

For me, season Five is the best of the series.
It's a bit depressing for Buffy to be referred to as a "Blast from the Past".
Buffy in high school > Buffy out of high school.

Although I do think season six is fairly underrated.
I'd never heard anyone praise the later seasons over the high-school ones. Other than "Once More With Feeling," I can't think of many outstanding post-grad eps, whereas I can think of only a couple of HS-era clunkers.

I'm curious--other than a reduction in witty dialog, how are the later seasons more mature?
Yeah, I always felt in the minority of folks who liked the later seasons best. Season 6 is particularly maligned, and I felt that was probably the best of the 7 seasons.

I'm curious--other than a reduction in witty dialog, how are the later seasons more mature

I think the subject matter was by necessity more mature, since you deal with different things in adulthood than in highschool. I mean, Buffy's no longer duking it out with Cordy for the queen of the dance, she's dealing with much more important, larger issues in her life.(And that's not to say she wasn't dealing with some of that stuff in HS, but she was less aware of it, it was less important to her.) Weddings, hardcore sex, Buffy really 'getting' her Slayer gig, dealing with her mother's death, then her own death, and by season 7 she's matured so much to the point that she'd be willing to sacrifice her sister to save the world, where just 2 seasons before, she was foolishly threatening to let Dawn *and* the world be brought down.

In the earlier seasons, we were still seeing post-Valley girl Buffy, dealing with teenage drama and metaphors for teenage drama; but in the later seasons, she's grown into a woman and she's dealing with more mature, adult issues. And it's natural. I'd have hated if the show had stayed the same, didn't allow for growth and change in characters. Then you get one-dimensional characters with rehashed concepts. But this show grew and changed and matured. Everything it *was* was perfect for the time it was in during the characters' progressions. In my opinion.
I agree, the later seasons were better, despite the fact that S2 is my favorite. However, all seven seasons of Buffy were genius...no matter what school she went to or who she was sleeping with, Joss and his merry band of mutant-type enemies made it great.
Of the later seasons, Season 5 is best. Season 6 was a bit inconsistent in its creativity. Alot of the time the core group seemed a bit tired. It's not a bad season, god there was no bad season. But every season had its thing that made it stand out. Season 7's was seeing old faces and watching the story reach an epic scale. Also not a solid season, but one i enjoy more than season 6.
I think season five was terrible. Probably my least favorite overall - maybe tied with season seven. Sure, the Gift and the Body were great, but we also got Joss' most boring episode ever - Family. Not to mention the dumbest premiere episode - Buffy V. Dracula. There were tons of other mediocre to bad eps like Listening To Fear, Into The Woods, Out Of My Mind, The Replacement. In fact, pretty much anything from the first half of the season was weak (except for that Spike ep...fool for something? I hear that was pretty good). It got better with Triangle, Checkpoint, Blood Ties, etc., but not much better. Then, just as the season was picking up steam, we get the talky, boring Weight of the World as penultamate ep. Not to mention Clare Kramer's attrocious acting throghout, or Dawn at her most annoying, or Riley being boring and useless, or the beginnings of mopey Buffy. Oh and the snake in Shadow is the dumbest looking thing ever.
While season five isn't my favorite, Family is one of my favorite episodes. To each his/her own, I suppose...
Season five is my favorite season while Season six has my favorite episode of the series. On the other hand, even though the arc in Season four isn't strong I think it has the most good stand alone episodes. Season three has possibly the strongest storyline ever(for me its a tie between 3 and 5). And season 2 is where the show found its footing with story arcs and punching us in the gut. Season seven..(spit) let us speak of it no more.
Well said, Rogue Slayer

And 1 more for the post-high school crowd. :)
Ah, favorite seasons... a thread that could actually draw more responses than the nudity thread. =)

I personally prefer the early seasons, but I didn't see them in the same context. I got into BtVS at the start of Season 6. So I caught up on S1-5 on FX over the space of 2-3 months (thank goodness for those reruns), then I watched S6-7 in "real time".

I don't know how much that played into it, but for me the early seasons feel like they were etched in stone, part of a mythical legend with larger than life characters and stories (Becoming, Part 2!!!). The later seasons, I could see it was a TV show. I could see sets, costumes, makeup, etc. I think something was different about the cinematography, like it was too bright and neat.

Many of my favorite episodes come from the later seasons (The Body, OMWF), but the early seasons to me are kinda perfect (S2 in particular).
Here's my two cents:

I am the age Buffy and same aged company were supposed to be. Part of what attracted me to the characters is I was occasionally going through similar things. (you know- as in the realistic aspect of the show, not the demon slaying part)

So aside from 1 and 2 being slow, seasons 3-5 really interested me partially for those reasons.

Season 6 had high and low points. It's a hard season for me to even give an overall because I either would love or hate an individual episode. I tend to say it was weak with the exception of the finale.

Season 7 just lost it for me, while in other seasons you saw the character growth, in this one I didn't see it so much. The characters just weren't themselves, and there was way too much "potential slayer" which left us with far too many new characters to deal with and not enough screen time for our old belove-eds.

So yeah, I would take the earlier seasons over the last 2... or mostly just the last one. I got *way* more into Angel around this time as well.
Can't agree with that sentiment at all. Season 7 dropped the ball in a major way ("Chosen" wasn't enough to redeem the second and last thirds of the season either IMO, though once the series was over I wasn't complaining. I felt satisfied). It started off promising, I love a number of those early Season 7 eps ("Selfless"!) but after "Conversations with Dead People" things really went to shit, I felt. The potential slayers were a horrible idea, or at least a poorly executed one. And the apologists for that year who agree it wasn't up to par but still say, "Well, it was better than almost everything else that year" just weren't looking hard enough for well-written TV. I was a hell of a lot more satisfied with what they were doing in Angel Season 4 that year, despite Charisma not pulling off the possessed-Cordy thing as well as you'd hope. And Angel arguably had the better final season overall, even though I had more nostalgia for Buffy 'cause it came first and I related to more of the characters.

I do agree that people are pretty unfair to Season 6. While I had issues with Willow's magic-is-crack storyline, I felt most of the season was strong and its best episodes were enough to hold it pretty far above Season 7 in terms of character consistency and writing quality. And viewer interest. I remember getting speech and battle fatigue around March when Season 7 began to wind down.

I love Season 5. Say what you want about it maybe not having the strongest villain (I'll take Glory over The First All-Talk-Not-Enough-Evil any day), but I feel that it was the strongest year next to Season 2 (depending on my mood, I might consider 5 the best season of Buffy).

Seasons 1, 3, and 4 are all way up there as well. Season 4 had some of the best individual episodes in the entire series. Season 3 had some great comedy and "The Wish" and "Helpless", especially love those two. Season 1's a little rough around the edges and it's got some cheese, sure, it's kinda hard to avoid that with The Master as your main villain, plus demons on the internet and demon hunter dummies...but it also had some standout episodes, was fairly dark and appropriately morbid in tone for the most part (I liked the underground feel of Season 1), and I thought the actors nailed the characters pretty quick.

[ edited by Kris on 2005-11-28 11:32 ]
I thought Willow's magic-is-crack storyline was one of the strongest arcs in Buffy's history, personally.

I do agree with the sentiment that season 7 started out extremely promising (I thought it had the best series premiere episode of Buffy ever), but unfortunately started to go badly towards the potential slayer arc. I just didn't think it played out on screen properly I felt.

Overall, though, I rate the later episodes very highly.
I know I've been a dissenter of late, but part of the reason I dislike seasons 6 and 7 is that the characters seem to regress rather than mature. I thought Buffy went through huge character growth in season 5 with the responsibilities she was forced to take on vis a vis Dawn and her mother; her romantic relationship becomes complicated in the manner of adult relationships. Even her relationship with Spike becomes complicated.

Willow and Xander don't get a whole lot of development in season 5, but at least they have the appearance of becoming more mature: both of them are at least thinking about commitment to their partners, and what that commitment means.

This is kept up a little bit in the beginning of season 6, but after that it all goes to hell in my opinion, and from then on the plot arc is about the characters displaying absolutely no ability to grow up. Then in season 7 Buffy becomes a militant creature with repetitive speeches and the rest of the characters are utterly marginalized--unless someone here actually sees Willow's relationship with Kennedy as "development"?--so they're basically frozen in a regressive state by the end of the series. I found it extremely frustrating that so much good development from season 5 was thrown down the toilet in the subsequent years.

Oh and off topic and on a fangirl note, I'm apparently exactly Buffy's age down to the day, according to the "official" birthday. Not that it matters, but oh, I don't mind.
....the apologists for that year who agree it wasn't up to par but still say, "Well, it was better than almost everything else that year" just weren't looking hard enough for well-written TV...


The use of the word "apologists" suggests that anyone who claims to like S7 actually knows they are wrong and the season itself was of no value. I don't agree with this at all. For myself, although it is not my personal favourite season, I tend to think it is the best season of BtVS in terms of its success in achieving what it set out to do. I have said that here in the past and my opinion has not changed.

I'm at a stage now where I increasingly feel there is nothing to be gained by defending this final season. People have made their minds up and if they are to change these views they will do it themselves. Everyone has their own way of looking at these things and who am to say one opinion is more valid than another? However, I am not an apologist. I love S7 because I happen to think it is bloody brilliant and I make no apology for that.

I think season five was terrible. Probably my least favorite overall - maybe tied with season seven. Sure, the Gift and the Body were great, but we also got Joss' most boring episode ever - Family. Not to mention the dumbest premiere episode - Buffy V. Dracula. There were tons of other mediocre to bad eps like Listening To Fear, Into The Woods, Out Of My Mind, The Replacement. In fact, pretty much anything from the first half of the season was weak (except for that Spike ep...fool for something? I hear that was pretty good). It got better with Triangle, Checkpoint, Blood Ties, etc., but not much better. Then, just as the season was picking up steam, we get the talky, boring Weight of the World as penultamate ep. Not to mention Clare Kramer's attrocious acting throghout, or Dawn at her most annoying, or Riley being boring and useless, or the beginnings of mopey Buffy. Oh and the snake in Shadow is the dumbest looking thing ever.


I just wanted to say I don't think I've ever come across a more stinging criticism of S5 than this. Wow! I was quite taken by surprise, to be honest. I will say that I really like all the episodes singled out for criticism. In fact, there isn't anything here I could find myself agreeing with.

In terms of whether the earlier seasons were better than the later seasons or vice versa, it doesn't work that way for me. I have my own favourite seasons, my own favourite episodes, my own favourite characters and my own favourire writers, etc, but in the end I really like all of it equally. I don't think the later seasons (including S6, which is a particular favourite of mine) were more mature, although I fully appreciate what Rogue Slayer says - the themes dealt with problems and issues encountered by people who were more "matured" (so to speak).

In the end, I can't imagine not wanting to see every one of the episodes spread across the seven seasons again - and many times in the years to come. A show like this doesn't come along very often and the best season for me is whichever one I happen to be watching at the time.
Just to give me short opinion on the fnial season... I think that the writing was very strong in the season, in general, but it just didn't work for a season arc. I mean, the first eight or so episodes are great (for some reason I've always really liked "Bring On the Night" don't know why...), as are the final five episodes of the season. In between that are some really good episodes ("Storyteller", "Potential") and some... well... not-so-good episodes ("Killer in Me"). But, I do think the writing was still there. It was just different and I think the writeres realized this. Especially when they started making fun of buffy's speaches. Classic.
Ilana, I think one of the themes of life is that quite often people do regress. The amount of people in their late 20s/early 30s who turn to excessive drinking, crack, domestic violence, shitting on life time friends (etc) is scary. They don't deal with things properly. They really fuck things up. And that, by the way, is what Willow does in season 6 of BTVS. And what Buffy does. And what Xander does. And what Giles does.

It becomes difficult to watch because people love these characters, and they don't want to see them doing the shit we do in real life. In my opinion, anyway.

[ edited by gossi on 2005-11-28 14:07 ]
Season two? Loved the Angelus arc and Spike/Drusilla were priceless, but Bad eggs, Inca Mummy Girl, Reptile Boy? etc. (Maybe I just don't like MOTW)

Season five IMO, didn't have a clunker in the bunch. LOVED Buffy vs. Dracula, since it got into the darkness within the slayer, etc. etc.On CDS, we are in the midst of episode discussion of FOOL FOR LOVE and are pulling up old reviews of FOOL FOR LOVE that we saved. The buzz was incredible.

Season three also had some great episodes, (the Wish, Zeppo, Band Candy, Prom, Graduation 1 and 2) The Mayor was a fun Big Bad.. What keeps me from saying it was best was that the Buffy/Angel love story was getting repetitive with the constant "I love you but I can't be with you" story.

The season six arc tied in nicely with the season three. Buffy was becoming her worst nightmare---Faith. Spike was a wild card. You just didn't know where the writers were taking us. Dark Willow scared me more than any Big Bad, etc. Some of the best written episodes and most memorable lines occurred in season six. (Espenson's "EVERY NIGHT I SAVE YOU) I know SMG wasn't fond of it and it deals in extremely dark themes, but Stephen DeKnight's DEAD THINGS is brilliant.

Season one had to get the show off the ground. PROPHECY GIRL? Buffy's Speech? How great was that? I'd make it my least favorite because it was so short, but it was still good.

Season four is my second least favorite season. I think it had some great episodes like HUSH, RESTLESS, SOMETHING BLUE and HARSH LIGHT OF DAY, but the Initiative story was rather dull and Adam was my least favorite big bad.


I thought seven had some weakness in it, would have loved to see more Xander, Anya, Giles,with less potentials. The First dealt in psychological head games, but after everyone figured it all out, it became less effective and that was problematic.
I would have really loved the writers to make more of a stand toward Buffy/Spike instead of sitting on the fence, (he had a soul, so why not?) but other than that... YAY BTVS. Greatest series ever, IMO.
Probably one of the reasons BtVS continues to be so fascinating is that we all take something different out of it. For instance, I love 'Bad Eggs', 'Inca Mummy Girl' and 'Reptile Boy'. In fact, 'IMG' would be in my Top 10 favourite episodes, not that I actually have a top ten because there are over 140 episodes I'd want to put in there!
Gossi, you are dead-on target about people regressing. Especially in the 20's and 30's, people are on their own without a guiding structure (parents, school) for the first time in their lives, and many people majorly screw up their lives, hurting people around them in the process. BtVS captures that flawlessly.

People who disparage the Willow "magic as crack" arc are looking too hard for a metaphor when all the issues are right there on the surface. Willow's problems are that she's a fixer and a controller. Magic gave her power and self-esteem as far back as Becoming. She first tried to use magic to control people close to her in Lovers Walk. And let's not forget that Something Blue was a Willow-magic disaster about trying to control her friends. Tabula Rasa was a major catastrophe for Willow, and she went back to the magic that had given her comfort and power for years. Everything else follows from that. It wasn't until after Grave that Willow began to find a core of self-acceptance that didn't depend on magic.

S7 is a bit like Ted from S2, a great story that ended up so rushed at key points in the climax that the story loses too much of its structure. The season as a whole did lose its steam when the First backed off and new potentials started pouring into town. Buffy's disconnect from the potentials came across well enough, but the whole business about her disconnect from her friends needed about one more punch in the gut. In particular, if Xander had had a major run-in with Buffy just before giving his speech defending her, so that the viewers knew he was questioning his words even as he praised Buffy, then the whole mutiny might have come off a little better. As it was, the Scooby mutiny, especially Dawn, felt very forced.

S7 isn't one of the great seasons (3, 5, and 6 were the best), but it's not a disaster by any means.
Throwing in my own (entirely subjective) opinions on the fire, I have to agree that seasons 1-4 were the golden years of the show for me. The first season is a little junky, but engagingly so. Seasons 2 and 3 are about as great TV gets -- as effective as art gets, in my opinion. Perhaps what pulls me to the show again and again is the way it combines so many things: the humor, the sweetness, the pain and the warmth of living with metaphorical truthfulness. The show was great because it was art, with all the pain and the truth of reality, wrapped deftly in a candy-coated shell. It's why I loved it. Season 5 is problematic -- there are the good things ("The Body", "Fool for Love" and "The Gift") and an interesting arc, but the bad things weigh it down for me. The clunkers of many of the middle-to-late episodes and the addition of Clare Kramer and Michelle Trachtenberg, both lovely people I'm sure, but not the best actors. This is the season where Joss stopped re-writing and over-seeing the writers to an obsessive (and loving!) degree, and you can tell. Or at least I could.

Six and seven are even more problematic. It's not that I don't agree with the direction of the storylines -- I love the musical to tiny bits, and that episode is centered on Buffy's spiralling depression and newfound closeness to Spike, both of which are conveyed beautifully through song and dialogue -- but the execution of them. The writing grew slack, and with it the acting, previously so good, grew haphazard and off-key. I love all the BtVS actors, some more than others, and know that they all had good to give, but not if the script isn't there for them. A TV show is founded on the writing, and what was once so sparkling with metaphor and wit now seemed just flat to me; OMWF towers above the efforts of the rest of the episodes. There are episodes I still liked, like "Selfless" and "Conversations with Dead People", "Tabula Rasa", "Storyteller" and "Smashed", but I have to admit, I only kept on watching the last 2 seasons because of loyalty.

The later seasons do deal with more mature subject matter, but I find the execution was flawed. For me, it's not the nature of what was dealt with -- I like comedy as much as tragedy, I like small stories as much as epics, but what makes a quality piece of art/entertainment is the execution of ideas, not the ideas themselves.

[ edited by dottikin on 2005-11-29 00:43 ]
I loved Claire Kramer as Glory. She was right over the top as I felt she was meant to be. But Season 6 will always be my favourite despite the Willow as Crack addict arc which did not work for me as well as it should have.I liked the idea - Willow doing more and more magic because it addressed or masked a real need but the visits to what's his name, the car crash. Nope. Didn't do it for me.
The Season that I felt worked the best was Season Two. I agree, the stand alone eps were not the best but the rest of it was.

I think one of the themes of life is that quite often people do regress. The amount of people in their late 20s/early 30s who turn to excessive drinking, crack, domestic violence, shitting on life time friends (etc) is scary. They don't deal with things properly. They really fuck things up. And that, by the way, is what Willow does in season 6 of BTVS. And what Buffy does. And what Xander does. And what Giles does.


A good point, gossi. Except for the fact that Giles is supposed to be much older and thus already mature.

I agree that later seasons were more mature in the sense that they have touched on more adult topics. However, if the article means "more mature" as "of better quality", I have to disagree.
While season 6 is still (for the most part) very good, season 7 is definitely weaker (in fact, the weakest) for me. It contains some great ideas but execution is off. It feels like it is missing some spark that would make it for me as enjoyable and rewatchable as the others.



and by season 7 [Buffy] has matured so much to the point that she'd be willing to sacrifice her sister to save the world, where just 2 seasons before, she was foolishly threatening to let Dawn *and* the world be brought down.


I am not sure about that. In my opinion, Buffy just said what "Council" Giles wanted to hear. She wanted his approval, wanted to convince him that she is becoming a "Mission Girl", a "General" he was pushing her to be. I just doubt that she would actually sacrifice Dawn. If Buffy were that "mature", she would not have had any problems with killing Spike, or putting Potentials into more battle tests. After all, from "the big picture" point of view, these are acceptable casualties. The mission is what counts.

Anyway, I like the "foolish" Buffy from season 5. You cannot abstractly love the whole world. You fight for it because it has people that you love and which love you back. And if you have to sacrifice them for the "greater good", the fight just loses its meaning. "If everything just gets stripped away. ... I do not see the point".

Just my opinion.
About S3 and the never-ending break-up between Buffy and Angel...

My Deity, I've known people like that. How many times did these two break up, at least ten or twelve? In addition to her attraction to bad boys, Buffy is addicted to making up after a bad break-up. She did it to Riley, too, and the reason that she started taking Riley for granted might be that he didn't give her enough reasons for break-ups. Still, there was "Doomed" and the distancing after Faith slept with Riley. So when Riley cheated on Buffy with those vamps, while Joyce was so sick, it was the gift of a perfect storm for Buffy.

Xander's speech about Riley (which was way out of line) didn't convince Buffy that she was losing a good man. An emotionally stable woman would have told Xander where to stick it, and would have been completely ready to let Riley go. No, what Buffy realized was that she was losing the opportunity for a make-up romance. There's no other reason for Buffy to go running after Riley at the end of Into the Woods. It was about Buffy's needs and flaws, not about Riley's virtues.

Spuffy repeated the same dance of break-up and make-up, at an even higher level of intensity because of Buffy's extreme neediness. Spike was right; she's in love with the pain, and that was true through all seven seasons.
I'm gonna lump my opinion on the big pile in the centre of this thread as well. Hey, everybody else is doing it, right?'

I'm one of those people who got into Buffy from the very start. Yes, it was on dutch tv, so when I got into the fandom, I think the start of season 2 was airing in the states, but I saw all the seasons in the correct order, which I have a feeling is something that tends to influence opinions on favorite seasons and the like.

Season one: A great way to start, and often underrated. WTTH/The Harvest was one of the best pilots I ever saw. The rest of the season had standalone episodes, sure, but they were fun. The storytelling felt fresh and new. And on top of that we got episodes like 'Angel', 'Nightmares' and 'Prophecy Girl', which is an episode which wouldn't be out of place in any 'best eps of Buffy' list.

Season two: This is hands down my favorite season. It has my favorite arc (B/A love which switches around and brings forth Angelus), it introduces Spike and Dru and it features killer episodes. Surprise/Innocence, Passion and Becoming 1 & 2 are eps that simply blew me away. Yes, there's 'Go Fish' and 'Bad Eggs' as well, but the thing is...I even tend to like the bad S2 eps. Which should tell you something.

Season 3: To me, this season has the strongest seasonal arc. Faith and the mayor? Great! It ties in nicely to Buffy's personal life and resonates on all kinds of levels. There's less outstanding single episodes than there were in season two (although...'The Wish' and 'Doppelgangland' anyone?) but overall it's great.

Season 4: This is still my least favorite season. The college and alianation theme works fine, but the Initiative arc is probably the weakest arc Buffy has ever had. Riley didn't work, the concept was too 'techy' and 'James Bond' for Buffy and the introduction of Adam happened way too late. It all ended in nice-looking explosions which didn't make you feel much of anything, which is very unlike Buffy. What's more, the season on a whole tended to turn more towards the funny than the dramatic. So there are lots of funny eps which are fine enough alone, but as a season it's just not that strong. Buffy is at its strongest when it's mixing genres, when there'll be a drop-dead funny moment just seconds after a heart-tearing emotional scene. This season played it straight much more than the previous three. Oh, and it's also the season that turned one of the greatest Buffy characters (Spike) into a joke. An evil vampire hanging around not getting staked? It just lacked credibility. However much the writers wanted Spike to be around, they never quite sold it.

Season 5: A return to form. Of the 'after highschool' years, this is my favorite. The arc is great, the show takes a turn toward the dark and there's a whole bunch of great episodes. Dawn's introduction is handled very nicely and the season lowpoint was its first episode. Buffy vs. Dracula just wasn't that great. But after that? Vey good television.

Season 6: A season that lacked focuss. The nerd trio was funny but lacked an actual role, the characterarcs tended to flatline without much actual devellopment (apart from Buffy growing up, which wasn't handled as strongly as it could have been) and the whole addiction storyline went from metaphore (which it should have been) to actual physical addiction, which in my mind was almost a cop-out. There's some good eps and some good themes, but on the whole it was too uneven to be great.

Season 7: Ah, the debated season. It's not my least favorite, but it's not the strongest either. There were too many new characters to deal with (all the potentials, the new principal, Andrew), and the storyline wasn't handled as tight as it could have been. The story progression wasn't always very logical. But, despite its faults, there are still a couple of very good episodes to admire here and the overall arc, though at times flapping, was still a thrill. It's also less uneven than season 6 was.

So, in closing, my favorite seasons, in order, would be:
2, 3, 1, 5, 6, 7, 4 ... although season 6 and 7 are pretty much at the same level, in my mind.
I will just add that I think some of the concepts in display in season 7 are fantastic to me - there's some class 'one episodes' in there. That said, I think some people just couldn't connect with the arc. Also, quite honestly, I think Spike became the ultimate in scenary chewing - even The Fonz had more to do in Happy Days.
. Also, quite honestly, I think Spike became the ultimate in scenary chewing


At least he had a plot arc in season 7, unlike say Giles or Xander.
Very true, Simon. In some ways, I wanted no potentials in season 7 of Buffy, and to have the core gang in Chosen against all the Ubervamps. Lots of Xander and Giles screen time, and a beyond hope final battle where they either all die, or it ends mid battle so what happened becomes mute.

Then I realised Angel's final season gave me that. Which is why I loves me some Whedon.
I think Season 6 was probably the strongest season of the show. I loved the character development, the difficulty the characters had growing up and moving on in life. I loved the dark Willow arc, I loved Buffy dealing with her own death, I loved Willow struggling to find purpose without using her powers, I loved Spike and Buffy's twisted relationsip and I loved the Trio. So yah, Season 6 is one of my faves, despite a few weak shows (although all seasons have them.

As for the rest, the second half of Buffy Season 2 is the strongest of the series, but the first half is loaded with a few very bad stand-alones. Season 3 is a tight absorbing season, and one of the best. Season 4 had a messy story arc but some great character stuff and wonderful stand-alones. Season 5 is another tight and compelling season, despite a relatively weak big bad. Season 7 had it's issues, but it's nowhere near the lows some fans seem to think it is. It worked rather well as a final love-note to the show, lots of callbacks, a few wonderful episodes and a great series ender.

The only season I can't stand is the first. I resent the fact that the show works better with the first year introduction. When I am looking to watch an episode, I have never reached for my first season DVD set. I enjoyed only a few episodes of the season, and loved only one, the rest vary from mediocre to awful. It's hard to get new people into it IMO, when the first batch of episodes can be something of a chore.
What I wouldn't mind knowing is who watched Buffy from the very beginning? And who came into it much later i.e. seasons 5 or 6?
I started watching the show from Never Kill A Boy On The First Date, onwards. I tend to think of S1 and S6 as my "favourite" seasons and as I mentioned earlier, I think S7 was the "best" season. In the end, though, there isn't a season or a single episode that I don't like.
I watched Buffy from the beginning since the BBC 1 began showing it and my opinions on the seasons have changed since rewatching them.

When season 1 was first shown I liked it a lot as it was the first show like it I'd seen, however now I find it hard to watch although I still enjoy the Whedon episodes, "Angel" and "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date."

Season 2 I also liked when I first watched it although I now find some of the MOTW episodes to not be as good as they were - "Some Assembly Required," "Go Fish," "Inca Mummy Girl" and "Reptile Boy" all stand out. I'd probably like to rewatch the season more if more of the episodes had been focused on the main arc.

Season 3 is one of the few seasons that I have liked consistently from first viewing and I remember the anticipation on the day of the finale. The spoiler-less, internet-less days were painful.

I also enjoyed season 4 and thought it was especially good watching alongside Angel season 1.

Season 5 I liked at first. I don't like it as much now but it's still a lot more rewatchable than season 1. I really like the last four episodes though as well as "Fool for Love" and the other obvious ones.

Then there was season 6 and 7. I hated these two seasons at first. I thought Bargaining was awful, I didn't like Teeth, the Trio annoyed me and in season 7 the Potentials annoyed me and the fact the First wasn't used as well as it could have been. Despite that though when I rewatched them I liked them a lot more as I knew what to expect and having seen them all so close together they worked in context. I've also obsessively worked out every plot hole in season 7. Also, imo, season 7 had a lot of good and consistent episodes - the only episodes I wasn't too keen on were from the mid-season Turok-Han arc.

All this considered, season 3's my favorite as it was the most consistent with the best mix of characters. Having said this I tend to judge seasons for how much I like the tone of each season and how I feel at the time, so my opinions are likely to change. And here endeth this mini diatribe.
Came in very late, Simon, about 2/3 through Season 6.

I love all the full seasons, Season 1 being somewhat expository of necessity. Agree with dashboardprophet about the season we are currently watching being my favorite. (We are re-watching Season 7 at the moment, and it just gets better and better with each viewing.)

And, I know these posts are by nature subjective, but I have a hard time understanding not liking (or loving, even) Season 5.

I adore Season 2...am overwhelmed by the perfection of Season 3...Season 4 is my "least favorite", but that's like saying Belvedere is my "least favorite" premium vodka...Season 5 is probably my personal favorite, which says a lot...Season 6, because of the wrenching, jarring, heartrending knowledge early on that Buffy was clutched out of perfect happiness remains a favorite, and I utterly adore Season 7, for the astounding resolution of the saga...and that Buffy's last word was "Spike"...and that Spike got to knock over the "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign one last time.

Sure, each season had a substandard episode or so, but even those contain more than enough great stuff to warrant rewatching.
I'll just add my opinion to say that I honestly and truly do love all the seasons. But which do I watch more? Season 1, Season 4, and Season 5. I adore Season 5 for the plot, the tightly written episodes, and Glory.

I thought she was an awesome villain from frame 1, and an interesting character overall, from her motives to her dialogue, and to the fact that while she was a hellgod who wanted to reclaim her previous seat of power in her home dimension, she'd more or less assimilated to our world. She knew pop culture, she had oodles of clothes and shoes.....I could go on and on.

In fact, next to the Mayor, she's my favorite villain in the series.

Season 1 I love because it got me into the show, and the episodes are fun and not as heavy as later seasons when life gets so hard for them all. Sometimes that's nice, and I really enjoy it.

Season 4 was the year of the individual episodes. Again, they were fun and loose. Yes, the Initiative plot could've been better, but since it wasn't really about them, or Adam for that matter, I can let it go. Besides, Adam gave us "Primeval," and I love that penultimate finale.

I too, got into the show at "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date," and never looked back. I remember watching the rest of Season 1 on TV, then taping a re-airing of the two-hour pilot. From Season 2 on, every episode got recorded and saved. Till DVD.
Hubby decided to hook me with season 2(though I think season 6 was actually airing at the time), and then I watched it in order after that. I eventually got around to watching season 1 when it was on marathon on FX I think.
I tried to watch it early on because so many were gushing over it, but couldn't get into it at all. After much goading from friends, I finally gave it a go during a Thanksgiving Marathon on FX, which I believe was the "best of Buffy" (voted by fans). After FOOL FOR LOVE, INTERVENTION and THE GIFT, I was hooked and started watching, borrowing and buying DVD's.

[ edited by spikeylover on 2005-11-28 17:47 ]
I came to Buffy after the show was over, based on recommendations rather than on viewing any episode. I did watch all the shows in order on DVD, from WTTH to Chosen.

I picked up S1 on a lark. I had a business trip to Minneapolis and Ottawa (probably the two coldest major cities in North America) in mid-winter, and took S1 to occupy my time in the hotel during the evenings. I got hooked!
Just to add:

Season 2 and 3 are hard for me to look at objectively, because they were the seasons I watched on TV every week, when no one was allowed to disturb me, before I used the Internet that much and found any Buffy communities. They're great just because I can remember being hit with the moment that Angel went evil and I didn't see it coming, or when Buffy stabbed him, or when Faith killed Finch...it's burned into my brain.

That includes "Inca Mummy Girl," "Reptile Boy," and any so-called "substandard" MOTW. Hell, I even remember the previews for those episodes and digging it. Then there's the character lines.

Willow's, "Angel, how do you shave?" in RB. And her whole rant at both Giles and Angel over how they are, or aren't, treating Buffy. The trio watching Indian movies on TV at the beginning.

Xander's, "Oh yeah, fall for the old, 'Let me translate that ancient seal for you' come-on. Do you know how many times I've used that?" in IMG. Xander's giddyness at having a pretty girl like him, and me almost hoping the mummy thing works out, because I'm happy for him. The first appearance of Oz. And Willow in the eskimo suit leading Oz to ask, "Who's that girl?"

Angel's post-Buffy/Xander dance insecurity in SAR, and Cordelia all over him. And in a very true moment, the scene where Buffy goes to Darryl and Chris' house, and Darryl's near catatonic mother just sits there, watching an old tape of her dead son's football game, because she hasn't been able to move on.

So yes, wonderful stuff and great memories, but I don't hold them up to this *pinnacle* of greatness that some do.

As much as I love the Internet, sometimes the nitpicking and judging seasons, and one rant or another, and spoilers...well, let's just say I miss the days when I just used to watch the show, obsessively watch my VHS copy 10-20 times waiting for the next week, and just enjoying it.

Because now I write posts like this, and am compelled to find out others judgements because it's so easy to, even though it shouldn't matter.

[ edited by pat32082 on 2005-11-28 18:16 ]

[ edited by pat32082 on 2005-11-28 18:18 ]
I recently started watching the show "Weeds", without any knowledge of the fandom or the plot or anything. And it's been an absolutely fantastic experience. Sometimes I think the fandom can actually take away from the experience of a show in some respects -- a classic is example are all the Buffy/Angel/Firefly websites where half the people didn't actually watch the episodes any more on TV, or who hated Firefly but would come into topics to diss the show and such. Plus, the spoilers.
and spoilers...well, let's just say I miss the days when I just used to watch the show


Oh, yeah. Any more, I really go out of my way to avoid spoilers. Since I only watch on DVD and stay at least a season behind on everything, that's kind of hard, but it's worth it. At the same time, I get my recommendations on what to watch next from the net, so the spoiler situation is really difficult.
I love the way the show provides so much hearty, nutritious, fulfilling, multi-layered (lasagna-like?) goodness that we can all disagree so wildly on which were the best seasons, episodes, villains, and arcs. I mean, how awesome is that? Some shows are so shallow and one-note that there really isn't enough "there" to even argue over.

If you've fallen into not watching your DVDs for stretches of time (weeks, months) and then suddenly have a renewed craving, which episodes repeatedly draw you back?

For me, it's usually first and foremost "Anne" (3x1) for some reason -- I can never watch that one too many times.

After that, it's "Bad Girls" (or any slashy Faith/Buffy ep), "Smashed", "Once More With Feeling", and "Storyteller" (Andrew!!) ... Oh, and sometimes "Becoming" (although these days when I get that need for Buffy/Angel weepiness, I'd rather watch the AtS episode "I Will Remember You").
Simon, That is a point that has been discussed very peripherally in the past, but not head on. I like S6 best and in many ways feel like I came to the show in S6 because that was the season that hooked me big time. In fact, however, I actually saw Welcome to the Hellmouth when it first aired and various episodes after that including School Hard and Band Candy, both of which I remembered very well years later. I liked and respected the show, but it came on about the time my son was born and I have not had much time for scheduled TV viewing since. To make things worst, once he was a little older, it was not a show I could watch while he was awake, so I don’t think I saw a whole episode after S3 until it was in reruns. (I remember seeing the Angel Buffy scene in Chosen and thinking, “Spike is her boyfriend and has a soul? How did that happen? Wasn’t he a bad guy?)

After Buffy had gone off the air, I started watching reruns at 7 am while making breakfast and lunch for the day. They were showing epi’s at 7 & 8 am and I had to be at work by 8:30 so I got to watch every other episode. That seemed fine until I got to S6. All of a sudden the situations, characters and relationships got so complex and there was so much depth that I started to tape the second episode to watch at night after my son had gone to bed. Then I started taping both episodes so I wouldn’t miss anything when I had to do things like wake my son up. Then I *needed* to see how the characters had gotten where they had gotten by S6. Enter the internet and the DVD’s.

To me the much criticized Willow arc was just part of an overall exploration of addiction and how relationships, personality and life experience affect, encourage and/or lead to an addictive situation. The stories were always really about Buffy, even when it was Willow or anyone else going through things. Willow’s situation made Buffy even more defensive and secretive about what she was doing with Spike. It took Willow away as Buffy’s support and confidant. In many ways I felt like they made Willow’s addiction so strong, straightforward and …well…conventional (for BTVS) so they could make Buffy’s more complex and more difficult to fully grasp at first watching.

So I started watching on day 1, season 1 and liked it, but became a fan when I saw S6 in reruns about 8 years later. My favorite seasons are now probably 6, 2, 5, 3, 4, 7, 1…I guess…maybe…Of course if I listed my top twenty favorite episodes they would be from every season. Add to that that what I really love about the show is the character and thematic development (I’m such a sucker for dynamic characters.) and it is hard to separate the seasons at all. And when I go back to rewatch episodes I have a tendecy to do it in connected arcs which include S7 a lot more than a second to last ranking would seem to warrent. It's a puzzlement. ;-)

ChisinVirginia, I have always loved the Sunnydale sign falling into the crater, but for some reason I never put it together that Spike had knocked it over...again. May I admit to a "duh" while I enjoy having one more thing to smile about that I didn't have before? :-D

So as the Sunnydale sign thing above illustrates, there are great things about having outline fandom around to discuss things with. On the other hand, the bickering, anger and hatred (!?!) which just stunned me when I came on line would probably have totally turned me off if I had found it while I was watching a weekly show. Part of me envies those poeple who had the chance to interact with the writers on some boards while the show was actually going on, while the other part of me is glad I saw the whole thing without the extra angst that so many people brought to the web and thereby the show.
FOOL FOR LOVE, ONCE MORE WITH FEELING, The end of SMASHED (wowza).. For a good laugh, I love SOMETHING BLUE and TABULA RASA. For laughing and being touching--I love INTERVENTION.

The PROM, DEAD THINGS and CHOSEN (if I want a good cry). SLEEPER is very entertaining to me, with the music and James kicks ass in all kinds of ways.

Basically, I am showing that I don't necessarily have one favorite writer although I have to say Joss would be it, if I had to choose and Deknight/Minear are tied for second. (Considering ATS episodes, too)

[ edited by spikeylover on 2005-11-28 18:29 ]
Saw a couple of episodes of season 1,2,3,4. Didn't find anything special about it. I was never a fan of the scoobies. I liked Tara alot. It wasn't until season 5 where Spike's story became more clear that i started watching weekly.
Went back to watch al the previous season and continued to watch the evolution of Spike and the love story between him and Buffy.
I started watching Buffy on FX, in season 5. When I realized that I was liking it I backtracked and saw all the episodes, but...out of order. Then I bought the DVDs and watched the whole thing.

Gossi, I can't disagree that people regress in life. But if the idea that "that happens" were used to justify every storyline, we could justify pretty much anything. The question that I think is more appropriate is "Does this work?" and since Buffy was originally a story about *overcoming* the tough spots in life (in the form of demons, etc.) making the show all about defeat pretty much wrecks the whole thing. In the end, they didn't overcome. They caved. If they had fought, and caved, and THEN pulled themselves together, that would be different. But at the end of the show all the characters are the sort of people that I, personally, would not want to know in real life. And since I had loved them before, that did make me sad.
I prefer the later seasons over the early seasons as well.
I started watching in S4 but was too busy to be able to keep appointment TV. It was only while watching S6 as it aired that I was able to get truly and well hooked. Breathless with love for the show, I bought S1 from Amazon and have never looked back.

I couldn't agree more with dashboardprophet and Chris in Virginia that whatever I happen to be watching is my favorite season. Even the episodes that are my least favorite ("Beer Bad") have so much to recommend them that I love them all. S7? Brilliant, with some problems. The more I watch it the more brilliance I see. S1? To be sure, it was filmed on what seemed a budget of $12, but there is so much cleverness and uniqueness there that I couldn't be more fond of it. As others have pointed out, WttH/TH are genius eps, as is Prophecy Girl. I recently introduced someone to the wonder of BtVS via S1 and he, no slouch in any department, was captivated within the first ten seconds. The look and feel of the show is so special, so unique, so extraordinary that he was stunned, despite the lesser production values, etc. It's the dialogue and the acting and the characters and the sheer originality and freshness of the thign. He has no idea of the grandeur that the series later achieves, but that'll be for future pleasure. S1? IMO, it's wonderful.

S2,3,4,5,6? I love 'em all. I find greatness in all of them. I also find little problems and quirks and things I'm not crazy about, but to me, these things are the exceptions that prove the "I love BtVS" rule. They are the imperfections that give BtVS a true, unparalleled beauty that no 100% "perfect" beauty could achieve. I think what gets me about BtVS and Joss's other creations is that despite the imperfections that one finds here and there, they stand head and shoulders above other shows because, (1) the vision is unique, special, wonderfully unusual, and (2) I can muse over and discuss and argue endlessly about the characters, the plots, the philosophical depths that are plumbed and the artistic heights that are reached. I cannot and do not wish to do this for any other TV show, and there have been other marvelous TV shows. It is entirely unsurprising to me, for example, that BtVS has stimulated more academic publications and meetings than anything else on TV ever has. There is that much there. If academic stuff isn't your thing, you have the enduring, devoted, crazily intelligent fandom to contend with. Yes, there is that much there.
Like Jackel I started watching when the BBC 1st aired Buffy and was totally hooked from the 1st episode. I remember reading a review of s1 in SFX (back when their reviews were given letters instead of stars as ratings) and couldn't believe that the reason they gave it an A rather than an A+ was "because s2 is even better". I was so hooked that I remember the Buffy movie being on ch5 sometime during that 1st season and watching it and actually enjoying it! That's how complete my addiction was, of course I don't think I've seen it since, because in hindsight it really wasn't very good :)

I do love every season but if pressed my favourite is probably season 2, season's 3 and 5 push it pretty close though. I'm also in the "season 6 is very under-rated" camp as I love me some darkness. s7 or s1 are my least favourite but still must see tv and works of genius as far as I'm concerned.
Wow, GVH--I agree with every word you said! Good to know I'm not alone.
I apologize in advance for a point-by-point response to Ilana, but this seems like a chance to explore the differing perspectives on the later seasons.

I can't disagree that people regress in life. But if the idea that "that happens" were used to justify every storyline, we could justify pretty much anything.


The thing is, regressing happens a lot. When people are under severe stress, they fall back on old habits, sometimes even when they know better. Some people learn from it, and some don't. Those who do learn, often learn only after repeating their mistakes at least once.

Buffy was originally a story about *overcoming* the tough spots in life (in the form of demons, etc.)


Originally, it seemed that way, until you start seeing them repeat their mistakes. And they all do. They overcome the demons much more easily than they overcome themselves.

making the show all about defeat pretty much wrecks the whole thing. In the end, they didn't overcome. They caved. If they had fought, and caved, and THEN pulled themselves together, that would be different.


OK, this I don't understand. They did fight, cave, pull themselves together, and finally fight and win. It just took a long, long time, and it was a hard fight, often against themselves. But they won.

What is it that we're seeing differently?

But at the end of the show all the characters are the sort of people that I, personally, would not want to know in real life. And since I had loved them before, that did make me sad.


At the end, these were battle-hardened people, exhausted, and probably suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Wounded people are harder to connect with, unless and until you understand their wounds.
In the end, they didn't overcome. They caved. If they had fought, and caved, and THEN pulled themselves together, that would be different.

Disagree with this completely. Buffy stopped seeing Spike. Willow got herself together. Yada.
I got into BTVS after season 6 finished. My Sister made me sit down and watch Fool For Love and Afterlife and I was hooked! I bought the season 6 VHS box sets and then went to the library and borrowed season one . After a week or so I could no longer tolerate having to wait to pick up the next tape so I mortgaged my soul and bought the DVD sets for season 1-5 . Then I started buying the Angel sets to pick up on the crossovers. By the end of the summer I had caught up and had found a friend who was willing to tape season 7 for me as it aired in The States and to post it to me . The weekly mugging of the postman thus became a fixture of my life.

Season 7 was the first time that I had to suffer through pre-emptions and hiatus' and it drove me mad! I found that once I could get my hands on the VHS set and watch in long arcs the season flowed much better.

Over the course of that first year the show snuck up on me and took me over . It got me debating online, writing for publication, attending conventions and making some new friends who have greatly enriched my life. I shall be eternally grateful to Joss and his team of writers and actors and to my sister who made me get past the *silly* title and actually take notice.


Favourite Seasons


Six.Because it got me hooked and introduced me to the amazing acting talent of James Marsters. And I * liked* the darkness!

Two. Because the last two episodes broke my heart in seventeen places

Five. Some great episodes here! Fool For Love which is the best episode of anything ever. The Body which is a stunning exploration of loss, The Gift which had me sobbing like a baby. I could go on and on!

Seven. I really enjoyed season 7! Sure the potentials were annoying but there was just so much tension and some stunning episodes and arcs.

Three/Four. A tie, some good bits, some duff bits but a lot of the best *stand alone* eps are on these sets ( lovers Walk, The Wish, Pangs ,Hush).

One. Not that I dislike season one by any means but it's the season which gets re-watched the least.

And I'm still of the opinion that even a bad episode of Buffy is better than a great episode of almost anything else ( though I respectfully ask to be excused another viewing of Beer Bad or Bad Eggs)

[ edited by debw on 2005-11-28 19:42 ]
I started in Season 1, but I missed season 2-5 coz I went to a boarding school in India right after...so I caught up with those on reruns and DVD's and tvtome.com while watching season 6 at the same time.

I can't choose a favorite season, though, because each time I go back to view a different season, I start to love it more than any other, if that makes sense.
I started in Season 6 in real time, was very confused, and slowly got less confused as I simultaneously watched re-runs on FX. I did see WTTH when it first aired, but wasn't hooked. It took seeing "Once More, With Feeling" to get me really intrigued, but after catching up on FX I was amazed I'd somehow managed not to watch it all years before.
I watched Buffy every week from the very first. No repeats though until Season Five. It wasn't until I fell in love with Spike that I got obsessed, got on the net and started watching repeats any chance I got. Including repeats that didn't have Spike. Go figure.

I too tend to really enjoy whatever season I happen to be watching with the exception of Seven. Other than Sleeper, and LMPTM I hardly ever pull out Season seven. Still bought it though.

Although I don't know if I would call Season Six the best season, it definitely is the DVD that gets the most watching in my house. Up until As You Were. The episodes after that are hardly ever watched but up until then, early Season Six gets repeated viewing.

Over this weekend I watched a lot of Season Four. (We started with Pangs in honor of Thanksgiving) I liked Season Four. I didn't like watching Buffy and Riley go at it with a complete lack of chemistry, but aside from that not only did it have some great stand alones but I actually liked the Adam and the Initiative Arc, the splintering and then getting back together of the scoobies, and I thought the Primevil fight was beautiful.

Orange-eyed, multi-voiced Buffy was cool.

Season Five gets watched a lot on a regular basis as well. Crush, Intervention, Fool for Love, the Gift, all great episodes.

Although Season Three has a lot of great episodes (Lovers Walk, Doppelgangland, the Zeppo, and I love that Glove episode,) we hardly ever watch it because of the lack of Spike.

Liked Season One but the same thing applies.

Season Two was a great season but doesn't get watched as often as 4,5 and 6.


Still I think it is kind of cool that everyone has such wildly varying opinions that they will defend with complete conviction. I think it says a lot for the show.
Wow, GVH--I agree with every word you said! Good to know I'm not alone.


Heh. Glad to be of service, Xoynx. And having, like, people agreeing with me isn't half bad either ;-)

Still, it's pretty interesting to see the different opinions on the seasons. And although I can't quite pinpoint a trend, I still think the season people came to the show tends to influence overall preference.

Lets take a hot topic: Spike. If you come into the show season 4 or beyond, you get to know the chipped or later souled Spike, which is then the 'natural' way to think of the character and what happened before that, in a way, is just coloured in backstory. On the other hand, if you saw the character for the first time in 'School Hard' in season 2, you might tend to think of Spike as a soulless vampire who later became chipped and got a soul - a thing that might not feel logical or true to the character at all.

Or, if you came in when Spuffy was already a thing, you might tend to have a preference for that coupling, whereas if you came in with the whole B/A-angst, Spuffy might always feel a bit odd.

Now I'm not saying this is true all the time (it's not even true for me, exactly), but I do think things like this can subtly change the way one percieves the quality of the different seasons.
I remember catching some (parts of) episodes of seasons 3 and 4 and thinking "Well, it is surprisingly quite good". During season 5 I have finally watched a full episode (it was "Fool for Love"), decided to check out the next one, then the next one :). "The Body" left me speechless, after "The Gift" I was hooked for life.

Season 5 is (and probably always will be) my favorite, closely followed by season 2, then seasons 3/4/6, then season 1, and finally season 7.
I watched Buffy from the beginning and it didn't take me long to follow it obsessively.

Of course I love every season so it makes it difficult to chose a favourite.

Personally whilst I love the early seasons, I feel the later seasons really are more consistant in terms of quality. I think people tend to be blinded by nostalgia and remembering things the way they were when thinking about seasons one and two. They are great, yes, but they had their fair share of mediocre or quite poor episodes. And of course that is a relative term, as every episode is of good quality. But you know the episodes I mean, I Robot You Jane, Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight, Inca Mummy Girl, Ted, Bad Eggs, the kind of episodes that are quite fillery, and although they have good moments don't compare to the strong episodes.

With later seasons, I feel that these episodes were fewer and farther between. Take season seven, for example, which opened strongly and fired on all cylinders to the season's end. There may have been one or two episodes that weren't the best, but I just felt in terms of quality of writing and performances I would rather watch something like "Sleeper" or "Bring On The Night" than "Inca Mummy Girl". I also think part of the reason for this is because the last few seasons had quite strong arcs as opposed to standalone episodes, so every episode has important parts.

I mean when you think about it, whilst Sarah did a great job in the early seasons of Buffy, I think she really matured over the years and her work in seasons five and later is some of her best. The same goes for the rest of the cast.

I think season one was fun, with a lot of standalone monster of the week episodes. Season two was a little more ambitious and more developed, and "Becoming" was fantastic, but there were a number of sub-par episodes. Season three was more consistant and worked beautifully as a whole. Season four had a lot of amazing individual episodes although some of the arcs like The Initative weren't great.

Season five reminded me of season three because there were a number of strong arcs but there was also room for standalone episodes, like "Fool For Love", the same way we had episodes like "Doppelgangland". Season six was completely dark and genious, often uncomfortable and at many times I didn't approve of the character's actions, but I could understand them, and there was a lot of humour to balance it out. Quite a lot of stand alone episodes actually, but I think that added to the character's feelings of disorientation and lack of direction.

I really enjoyed season seven and I thought the whole season was really well arced, certainly it had more of a feeling of "Oh God, what is going to happen in the next episode??" whereas earlier episodes would end on a joke or an uplifting song. Kind of like season four of Angel but without the actual cliffhangers. I didn't feel any episode was particularly disappointing, however there were a couple of continuity errors that bugged me.

I think maybe I would rate season five as the best, season three second and season six after that.
Intersting thread here.

I've often found that fans who watched from day one tend to be more critical of the latter years where fans who came to the show later (as I did) tend to be more appreciative of the final couple of seasons. Not sure why this is. Personally, I am not a big fan of high school narratives but some people are huge fans of material dealing with high school so I think that is probably part of it. The characters estrangement from each other in S6 certainly upset a lot of people. I don't think there is anything more vital in a long running series than the sense of family that is built up among the characters and S6&7 upset a lot of people by exploring (or destroying, to some) that family bond.

Personally, I loved the whole d**n thing. I sincerley doubt there will ever be a show I love more and am certain there will not be a show that maintains BTVS's quality level for seven years. I've never even seen another show come close, as I tend to find that even the best shows (dramas specifically, comedies less so) burn themselves out after 3 or 4 years. S2-to-6 are the great years for me. S1 is when the show is finding it's voice and S7 suffers from the inevitable creative exahustion plus Whedon's involvement in Firefly. Still love 'em however.

Just saw that I wrote an 'always' above when I meant an 'often'. Gotta be careful about these things.

[ edited by Unitas on 2005-11-28 22:21 ]
I just got my box set last week and am re-watching (savouring) Season 7. I realise that in terms of some of the action etc. it wasn't on par, but now that I'm in my 30's, I'm finding I really appreciate how the characters came to terms with their responsibilities whether it be relationships, 'callings', careers etc. There was a maturity and gravatas that was missing in the earlier seasons that reasonated with me as a more 'mature' viewer now.

But then we all watch and enjoy Buffy from different perspectives so to each their own.
No, what Buffy realized was that she was losing the opportunity for a make-up romance. There's no other reason for Buffy to go running after Riley at the end of Into the Woods. It was about Buffy's needs and flaws, not about Riley's virtues.

I think Buffy was in love with the idea of Riley. As a viewer, I could care less about Mr. Perfect Riley who could never get past Buffy being stronger than him. When I first watched AS YOU WERE (after viewing RESTLESS and thinking that was a hint) I thought that Riley had went evil, because he was such a male Mary Sue--and that wife, Sam? WTF?

I got annoyed because RESTLESS wasn't a hint, at all. (@!#$%) All was forgotten and forgiven where Mr Perfect Riley came on the scene. He was everything that Spike wasn't and her friends actually liked him. grrrr. For me? All I wanted was for Spike and Buffy to get out of that bad place together, whatever it took..

So season seven was good for me, because I felt that Spike/Buffy did get out of that bad place, and their relationship did become about redemption and love.

ETA: GVH, I tried to get into the show when Buffy/Angel were a couple, (because so many people I respected were into it) but I just couldn't. Most all of those people I knew who watched early really did get into Spuffy later on or quit watching altogether.

[ edited by spikeylover on 2005-11-28 21:27 ]
I came to it in Season 6 as well but Space was even then showing all previous episodes so with the help of my sister (why are they doing this? Who was that?) I got caught up fairly quickly. GVH, I do love Spuffy as the couple and perhaps it is for the reasons you suggest. Season 6 is my favourite season not only for the storyline but because this was how I was introduced to the "World O'Whedon".
Yet I think Season two was the best one. And I didn't much care for Season 7 because I felt there were too many eps which didn't advance the arc at all and since we knew this was the end, I wanted every episode to count.
As Unitas says, this is an interesting thread, but as I suspect we already knew, there is never going to be a consensus of opinion. Everyone has their own personal take on it. As to the view that generally people who watched from the start like the early seasons and people who joined later on like the later seasons, I don't think there is any reason to suppose this should be the case, although maybe its true. I can say that I started watching in the first season but that hasn't influenced my views about the later seasons. The season I probably watch least often is S2, although I don't think it really means anything.

I come from the same camp as phlebotinin and Chris in Virginia of just loving the show in its entirity - but I'm repeating myself now so I'll shut up and go away.
Spike and Buffy had to get out of "that bad place" on their own, each one alone. It's always that way. It's always hell. But it doesn't work any other way; they had to cut their dependencies on each other before they could find themselves.

Buffy always loved an ideal more than she loved the person, whether it was Riley or Angel or Spike. That was always a factor in her romance dramas. In so many ways, Spike got it right in Chosen when he said that Buffy didn't love him. She believed that she loved him, but Spike knew the difference.

As for AS YOU WERE, Riley was just completely shut down emotionally, and it was pretty clear that Sam was a rebound, even if she didn't see that herself. Buffy knew that she was in no place to pass judgment on anyone else, and she was finally learning a different type of forgiveness.
I think Spike/Buffy were dependent on each other in season seven, but I don't see that as a bad thing. I also kind of get a Scarlett/Rhett vibe from them at the end. Just as she realizes what she has, he lets her go.

As for Buffy loving the ideal, I would say that was true with Angel and Riley, but what of Spike? To me, he was the one she didn't want to love at all.

ETA: MissKittysmom, YOu really think that Sam was rebound? I thought that episode was to show Buffy what a crap life she had, and how she needed to make a change.

[ edited by spikeylover on 2005-11-28 22:48 ]
i cannot understand how some people can claim to be big BtVS fans and love it sooo much etc but then they sit there and say "i love BtVS, except season __ which sucked". there is no whole season of BtVS that "sucked".
I started watching BtVS since the first day it aired. I love every season for different reasons and every season has some things that i dont like or are not my favorite stories or bad guys, but every season is still great.
S1 looked pretty crappy, and i do believe that the music in S1 was just about awful.
S2 had more of the crappy A-stories than any of the other seasons i think (Some Assembly Required, Inca Mummy Girl, Reptiel Boy, Bad Eggs, Killed by Death, Go Fish).
S3 had the Buffy-Angel super-melodrama, and since i am not a Bangel fan i was less than thrilled. I also feel that Buffy was kind of wussy in the first half of the season.
S4 had the Initiative business. I didnt really care for it all that much, and Forrest annoys me to no end.
S5 was kind of slow to start. Thats all i can really think of for 5 (and this is an unimportant shallow reason, but Xander's hair was really bad:))
S6 had Hell's Bells. I list this in the "negative" kind of way because this episode, from the first time i saw it, always made me so depressed, and the problem was i wasnt depressed just at the end. The entire episode, from the moment it started, made me sooo amazingly down cause i just knew that Xander and Anya werent going to get married, i just had a feeling, and it made me feel so amazingly crappy.
S7 had the potentials and probably a little too much Spike. I also feel that Xander, Anya, Dawn, and Giles were not given all that much to do.

Those are mostly my big grievances with every season, but for every one of those things that annoyed me, there were 3 things i loved about the season. I just cannot understand how someone can honestly think that a whole season of BtVS (or Angel) sucked entirely.
I watched Buffy from day 1. In fact, I first got hooked on the show sooner than the vast majority of the public because a friend of mine is a newspaper editor and he slipped me the critic's copy because he knew I loved Forever Knight and Night Stalker.

Imo, the latter years are every bit as good as the earlier seasons. I think one reason some fans prefer the first three years is because the epis later in the season were stronger than the ones at the beginning of the year. And the reverse is true for seasons 6 and 7. 6 and 7 started out *much* stronger than 1,2 or 3 (all of those years had quite a few subpar epis). Plus, 2 and 3 had killer arcs that really heated up in the last part of the season. So, I think quality wise 6 and 7 are on average as good as 2 or 3 but that 2 and 3 saved the best for last and 6 and 7 opened up firing all guns at once and lost steam a bit at the end.

4 has some truly classic epis but again, the arc is a bit weak and all over the board. Imo, 5 is simply the best year of TV in the history of the medium. The arc was powerful, each epi flowed into one another and the pace was breathless. Even classic character-centric epis like FFL actually reveal a lot of info that will be important for the rest of the season and the series as a whole.

I rewatch each season at least twice a year and at this point I regard BtVS as one long seven-year season that is comprised of 3 parts: the teen years )1 - 3), the interim year (4) and the adult years (5 - 7).
there is no whole season of BtVS that "sucked".

Well, I'm sure there are people who think this. It comes down to this, I suspect: people watch shows for different reasons. A lot of people watched Firefly as sci-fi escapism, for example, but flipped out when they saw Serenity (because it had, like, real life events in it).

I'm sure if Firefly had continued, a percentage of those hard core fans would now be saying "Season 3 sucked because River left the ship?!@~ And Simon died of cancer~@! And Mal has gone legit! And Inara is not really a muppet, I refuse to believe it!".
As for Buffy loving the ideal, I would say that was true with Angel and Riley, but what of Spike? To me, he was the one she didn't want to love at all.


Well, S6 Buffy was an emotional trainwreck. She wanted pain and oblivion, and Spike was the handiest source for those things. That's not what Spike actually was, for any number of reasons (chip, love, remaining humanity of William, take your pick). Buffy was using Spike as something other than what he was. Was it love? Obsession? Self-destructive behavior? A cry for help? Probably parts of all of those.

MissKittysmom, YOu really think that Sam was rebound? I thought that episode was to show Buffy what a crap life she had, and how she needed to make a change.


Oh, yeah. Riley picked up with Sam, what, four months after leaving Buffy? Rebound. All you need is a stopwatch on that one. Also, Sam was pretty much the opposite of Buffy in all the ways that Buffy hurt Riley. Riley hadn't dealt with his own part in the breakup, or the relationship problems. Again, rebound.

As far as showing Buffy what a crap life she had, the fact that Sam was a rebound is really irrelevant. Buffy looked at Riley and saw a life that looked a whole bunch better than hers. And it was a sharp reminder of loss. Those were the kickers to get Buffy moving again.
well, honestly, i never really consider the people who say that any season sucked to be real fans. as far as the whole people not liking it cause it got to deep and realistic. those people would obviously be better off watching the OC or one tree hill or some other nonsense show that does not suck you in and make you really care.

regarding Sam, words cannot express how much i hate her. not cause i think Buffy and Riley should have been together, cause i am not a Buffy-Riley fan (do those exist, by the way?) but because i found her character so amazingly annoying. She was so perfect and told everyone exactly what they wanted to hear and called Riley "Rye" and when that demon got up again she held Buffy and Riley off and turned her face to the camera and was all "mine" with that horrible little smirk. She was one of those characters where i cannot stand anything they say or do, ever. She may be my most hated Jossverse character ever.
So, because I didn't like season 1 of Buffy I'm not a "real fan." Wow! I wish I had known that before spending so much time discussing what I love about the show and spreading my love of it to others.

I didn't like Season 1 of Buffy since I found the stories rather weak. I found quite a few of the episodes heavy-handed, thought the pacing was often off, and don't think the acting, or at least line-deliveries really meshed with Joss writing styles until late in the year. On top of that on a purely technical level, I always found the cinematography and lighting off... and didn't enjoy the music. I loved soem of the character interplay, the finale and a few other episodes though.

However I am a vocal fan of everything else, and if blindly loving what I consider the weak points is required for me to be a "true fan" then I have no desire to be one.
Razor wrote:

I think people tend to be blinded by nostalgia and remembering things the way they were when thinking about seasons one and two.


I have to disagree with you here. It's not nostalgia, it's just a preference for the way stories were told. I feel the storytelling in the early seasons was tighter. Only season five of the later seasons has a nice snug storyarc which unfolded at the right tempo, like seasons two and three had. But I point you back to my earlier season overview post, before I start repeating myself. So in short: i's not nostalgia, it's actual problems I see in later seasons which make me rate them slightly lower.

spikeylover said:

GVH, I tried to get into the show when Buffy/Angel were a couple, (because so many people I respected were into it) but I just couldn't. Most all of those people I knew who watched early really did get into Spuffy later on or quit watching altogether.


I did apreciate Buffy/Angel as a couple. It was purely romantic and more pure and honest (well, up to the point where Angel lost his soul, obviously). It was almost an ideal. And because that ideal got smashed and distorted it became very powefull indeed. Joss took something beautiful, slowly build it up and then smashed it up to get to the pain underneath (which we all love him for).

As for Spuffy: I don't dislike Spuffy on screen. I actually think it makes perfect sense for both characters. The thing that bothers me about Spuffy is the way it is interpreted by a lot of fans. Spuffy wasn't sweet and romantic, there was no 'awww, cute' factor there, no 'ooh, isn't Spike just lovely?'. It was brutal and needy and for a big part 'love' didn't play any role. It was all about 'obsession'. When Spike was soulless, he did not 'love' Buffy, he was obsessed with her. Maybe even just with the idea of her. When he got his soul, it wasn't redemption because his love for Buffy was so pure. It wasn't redemption at all, even. He was obsessed, he almost physically needed her. Hell, he tried to rape her at one point. Eventually he did find some form of redemption, when he offered himself up at the end of S7. But he had a soul by then, he was no longer the Spike we knew in the previous seasons, and that lead to a truly selfless act. Before his soul he was driven by his ego and the need to feed his obsession, just as much as he used to be driven by the need to kill and feed his bloodlust. He didn't mend his ways, he just replaced one drive with another. He was purely selfish.

And for Buffy it wasn't hugs and kisses either. It was a physical attraction and a need to be close to someone in a literal way. She was messed up and expressed herself in a totally inapropriate affair with the worst person she could find. There was no romance, no sweetness and in the end I think both Buffy and Spike knew that was not what they were about. Did it not grow? Yes, it did. Season seven was the first time they moved ever so slightly beyond just obession, lust and messed up emotions. But it remained a very messy affair, which I think even then was driven more by convenience and familiarity then 'true love' or anything of the sort.

Dhoffryn wrote:

i cannot understand how some people can claim to be big BtVS fans and love it sooo much etc but then they sit there and say "i love BtVS, except season __ which sucked". there is no whole season of BtVS that "sucked".


It's called criticism. I for one do not like to be a fan who blindly follows whatever is produced. Did I love the show to death? Yes. Do I love watching every single season? Yes. Even season 4, which I have expressed some issues with in this thread. It's still Buffy. Does that mean we have to sit back and just say 'everything rocks, it's Buffy, dude!'. No. That'd just be boring. To me fandom is love for the show every bit as much as intensive discussion. It's what makes it fun. Hell, by dissecting the show I learned to understand the dynamics of fiction more than I ever would have otherwise. And I'd call that a big plus.
GVH - not wanting to sound like a sucking up fan here (that's, you know, my job after all), but your last post hits all the nails on the head for me.

I so, so agree with the Spike thing - but had never known how to phrase it. Put simply, Spuffy was about a really messed up, broken relationship between two people. Intense, passionate, but so very broken.
i didnt say that i blindly follow whatever is produced, as i said in an earlier post, i have issues with every season and i dont absolutely love every episode. My problem is with people who say that a whole season of BtVS sucks and its all bad but then claim to be fans.
So, rabid, you didnt like S1 for the reasons that you stated, but you must have liked something about it for you to have continued watching. If you read my posts at all then you should get what point i was trying to make. There isnt a whole season that sucks, that isnt "blindly following" or sitting around saying "buffy rocks" to every criticism. Every season, just like every episode, has good points and bad points. Like Some Assembly Required, i am bored to death with the Daryl Epps storyline, i dont care about him at all so all the "sad" moments of him not wanting to be alone and watching people play football are pointless. What i look forward to about that episode when rewatching is the Giles/Jenny interaction and i feel that the "witty banter" is especially amusing in that ep. i dont see why people just assume that because i dont hate a season then i must be blindly following and loving every single thing about every season.
Heh. Glad to hear I'm not alone on the Spuffy thing, gossi.

Dhoffryn: so what you're saying is that it's okay to dislike an episode, but not a season? How do you decide where to draw the line? What if you don't like most of the episodes in a season, but you love every single episode of all other seasons? To just name one example. I don't think anyone gets to decide what makes another person a fan or not, it's the person in question who gets to decide that. If you think you're a fan, well, then you are a fan. That's the best definition I can think of.

If someone cares about the show enough to think of themselves as fans, or to get involved in the fandom, well, then I think it's wrong for anyone else to say they can't think of themselves that way. For whatever reason.

ETA: typo (does anyone else ever get the feeling editing for a typo just makes you look extra silly for the typos you unwittingly leave in? ;))

[ edited by GVH on 2005-11-29 01:02 ]
Interesting discussion. Makes me think about things differently.

MisskittysMom, you are saying that Riley/Sam weren't what Buffy saw--that the relationship was idealized? I never thought of it that way, I was just so annoyed at the Mary Sue feeling of it all. That's definitely an interesting take on it.

Also, you say Buffy idealized Spike in a negative way, in that she didn't want to see the good in him? Yes, I get that, (I said as much when I said he was the one she didn't want to love) I just didn't think of it in that terms. I do think she felt strongly for Spike and can point at different moments from season five on that prove as much. IMO, Buffy just wasn't aware of (or didn't want to acknowledge that) until it was too late for them..

AND GVH, I don't think Spuffy was about hearts and kisses but it was moving and I think it did become a story about love and redemption. (Also, I may be wrong, but didn't Joss himself say that Spike loved Buffy?) You can only take the Obsession thing so far, when Buffy was dead and Spike was there taking care of her sister and helping the scoobies.. There's so much more to Spike/Buffy. Really can't paint them in shades of black/white.

[ edited by spikeylover on 2005-11-29 02:01 ]
"Ilana, I think one of the themes of life is that quite often people do regress. The amount of people in their late 20s/early 30s who turn to excessive drinking, crack, domestic violence, shitting on life time friends (etc) is scary. They don't deal with things properly. They really fuck things up. And that, by the way, is what Willow does in season 6 of BTVS. And what Buffy does. And what Xander does. And what Giles does."


You summed that up perfectly, gossi. That's exactly why I consumed Whedon's work like a junkie from 29-32.
I love all the seasons, but later ones are more fascinating for me. I liked high-school seasons but couldn't accept some conventions. I can suspense my disbelief and accept vampires and demons but I can't believe that such handsome guy as Xander is an outsider in high school or that such cute girl as Willow doesn't attract boys' attention.

It was during later seasons that writers stopped to play at give-away. And the show benefitted greatly from their decision. Of course, it was painful to see beloved characters go through hell - but I love darkness and hate simplistic "everybody's gotta get their happy endings" type of show.

So - yes, I'm also a late seasons lover.

And I love Spuffy - broken season 6 Spuffy, mended season 7 Spuffy - they are so funny, so poignant, so real.
i just dont see how someone could say that they love a show to death, and then in the next sentence say that "S6 sucked, i hated it". Its the same people (mostly) working on every season so its not like every season is entirely different from the ones before it. Its still the same actors, the same writers, the same people. So you could not like stories that they do that season or episodes that were boring or uninteresting or something like that, but there isnt a whole season of BtVS that sucked. Its comments like these:
"Season seven..(spit) let us speak of it no more."
"I think season five was terrible."

that i am posting in response to. these arent criticisms, these are just people saying that the entire season sucked, period. i think that i would rate S4 of Angel as my least favorite Jossverse season ever, but that doesnt mean that i would say it was terrible or so bad i dont even want to talk about it.
i guess this could be solved with the whole glass half full/glass half empty thing. if there is stuff about a season that i dont care for, i focus more on the stuff that i did like, as what is the point of dwelling on the stuff that i didnt like?
about the "whos a fan" thing. to me there are different degrees of fandom, and i do think that any "fans" who actually think that a whole season sucks arent really true fans. nobody loves everything about every season, but everybody must like something about every season. to me that is what the real, true fans are. People who love every season for different reasons, but can actually talk about things that they didnt like and not just blindly love everything.
I agree with GVH, you can say a season "sucked" and still be a fan. That doesn't mean there was nothing good in that season. For instance, even the worst films I've seen this year have had a few scenes or lines of dialogue I enjoyed. That doesn't keep them from being terrible films. So if a season of Buffy is sub-par, it doesn't matter to me that I enjoyed, say, "The Gift" and "The Body." And like others have said, I've seen every episode of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly more than once. I've got all the scriptbooks and all the DVDs, and much other merchandise besides. But if I say that, to me, the last three seasons, were, for lack of a better word, bad, I'm not a true fan? I don't think so.

Also, I would like to approach my problems with the later seasons from a less plot oriented direction than some of the people here. For one, the lack of Joss hurt the later seasons. Speculate all you want about how much control he had once Marti was made co-exec, but the fact remains he was writing (and often directing) five episodes a season for seasons 2-3 (and four in season 4). He only wrote six episodes over the last three seasons combined, and only directed five of them. Now, I love Jane Espenson and Drew Goddard as much as the next person, but the fact remains that Joss was a) the creator, b) the best writer the show had, and c) the best director the show had. His absence in these areas hurt. Other staff changes hurt as well. After Jeff Pruitt and Buffy's stunt double left, the fights were never as good as they were in the early seasons. Buffy was left doing dumb looking spin and flip kicks in every fight. Sure, there were a few exceptions (Fool For Love), but the fights were in general weaker. There was also a change of DP after season five. I loved the way Michal Gershman, the show's original cameraman, shot it, even when it was on 16mm for the first two seasons. Ray Stella, the replacement, is an amazing steadicam operator, but a poor director of photography. The last two seasons looked absolutely horrible. It seemed everything at night had to be bathed in a blue filter, and everything at day in a horrible orange filter.

Going back to writers, and I'm sure Joss would disagree with me here, but the staff was never as strong in the later seasons as it was during the high school days. Season Three I think is the strongest writing team, with Joss, Jane E, Doug P, David G, Dan V, and David F. Once they let Drew Greenburg and Rebecca Kirshner write episodes, the quality of the show once again suffered.

Lastly, in High School you can get away with showing very little of anyone's parents, because high school life is pretty parent-free. It was actually refreshing how little we saw of Willow's and Xander's parents, for instance. In the later seasons, though, it just stopped making sense. How did all the potentials explain to their parents that they were going off with some strange british man to california, where they would live? Why did no one contact the families of any of the dead potentials to get a proper burial? Instead, Buffy buries them in her BACK YARD? In the middle of the suburbs? Where was Willow's family when she came back from England at the beginning of season seven? What did they think of Willow killing people? Were they even told? Where was Xander's family at the hospital when he got his eye gouged out? Sure, they're drunk and mean and what have you, but don't you think they'd want to know if one of their own got his EYE GOUGED OUT? These things just took me out of the show.

ETA: So now I'm not a true fan because since the show was still being worked on by the same people, it can't have changed that much in quality? Well for starters, as mentioned above, people who worked on it did change. I would also add that the supporting characters in the early seasons were complex and compelling - Jenny Calendar, Oz, Faith, Ethan Rayne, even characters that didn't quite reach their potential, like Mr. Trick, were fun. In the later seasons we got Riley, Kennedy, Dawn, Tara, Ben. Wow, what a boring group. When the best supporting character of the last three seasons is a toss up between Clem and Andrew, you know you're in trouble. Also, is someone not a true X-files fan if they say the last three seasons of that show are terrible? Is someone not a true Star Wars fan if they hated the prequels?

[ edited by bonzob on 2005-11-29 02:04 ]

[ edited by bonzob on 2005-11-29 02:10 ]
nobody loves everything about every season, but everybody must like something about every season. to me that is what the real, true fans are. People who love every season for different reasons, but can actually talk about things that they didnt like and not just blindly love everything.


Assuming I understand this correctly, the inference is that anyone who claims to love the show in its entirity is not a true fan. Okay, fair enough, although personally I cannot say I agree.

I do love the show in its enitirity - all seven seasons and 144 episodes, all of which have something great to offer me. I like every character because I find them all interesting and I think they all contribute something to the ongoing storyline. There are some characters I especially like and some episodes I especially like, but there is nothing I would ever want to see disappear and cease to exist anymore.

If I wanted to, I could pick holes here and there but these quibbles are so minor that I don't think it is worth the effort. Any flaws I might have identified are so insignificant to me that they do not affect my enjoyment of the show in any way whatsoever. I simply can't build up the enthusiasm to criticise it because there is nothing I feel the need to criticise.

If this all means that I cannot be considered to be a true fan, so be it. I will simply carry on watching and enjoying the show, proud in the knowledge that I'm not a real fan!
you just said that there are things that you didnt like, but you dont like to dwell on them cause why bother, and you would rather focus on the things that you liked, which is what i said in an earlier post. Are people reading all the posts or just reading one and responding to it, cause a few times now someone has responded to something that is out of context cause they apparently didnt read my other posts and it is a little frustrating.
bonzob, I disagree with just about everything you said there. I like the fights in S5-S7, i thought that the show looked better and better as it went along. I could address each of the problems you had, but that would take forever and you seem as set in your view that the later seasons sucked then i am in my view that they were just as good or better than the earlier ones. The SW thing is a different situation. The prequels came around 16yrs after the original trilogy, and there are tons of fans who dont like the prequels (as they were horrible, especially Ep3).
Also, you present the facts like the change of DP, the writer changes, the stunt coordinator, etc and then you make it seem as if it is widely accepted that those were all bad things. You say Tara is boring, i can think of a billion people who disagree with you there.
i like the later seasons, you dont, there isnt ever going to be an end to that. what i am saying is simply that a fan cant really think that an entire season sucked, or the last 3 seasons all sucked, cause then how exactly are they a fan? Like if someone only liked S1-S3, and thought that everything post HS sucked. Cause that would mean that they liked less than half of the show, so how exactly is someone a fan when they dont like 4 of the 7 seasons?

i still stand by my statement. there are different degrees of "fan". i think that true fans are one thing, you think they are another. there is no end to this argument, i think this and you think that, we arent going to change eachothers mind.

[ edited by Dhoffryn on 2005-11-29 02:42 ]
MisskittysMom, you are saying that Riley/Sam weren't what Buffy saw--that the relationship was idealized? I never thought of it that way, I was just so annoyed at the Mary Sue feeling of it all. That's definitely an interesting take on it.


He may have been a Mary Sue, but he was Buffy's Mary Sue. She needed that. She was just so needy, ya know?

I have to agree with D'Hoffryn that Sam is in the running for worst character ever. The question is whether that was deliberate. Could've been.
what i am saying is simply that a fan cant really think that an entire season sucked, or the last 3 seasons all sucked, cause then how exactly are they a fan?

It really depends how you define being a fan of something. It's really up to a person to say if they consider themselves a fan of something, and if they like a season or not - because somebody doesn't like season 4, for example, it doesn't mean they aren't a fan. It means you clearly don't think they are a fan.
you just said that there are things that you didnt like, but you dont like to dwell on them cause why bother, and you would rather focus on the things that you liked, which is what i said in an earlier post. Are people reading all the posts or just reading one and responding to it, cause a few times now someone has responded to something that is out of context cause they apparently didnt read my other posts and it is a little frustrating.


Well, it's actually not what I said, or at least, it's not what I meant. Just because I could, if I so wished, pick holes in something doesn't mean I don't like it. So, I'll just make a bold statement and say I like everything. Also, if it is helpful to know, I have read every post here. However, I am sure it's not really that important, so I shall beat a hasty retreat.
I personally think the general concepts and themes behind the show were never flawed, except perhaps a little bit in season 7, which focused more on plot-building that character development. But generally the reason I don't like season 6 as much as the others is because it was less well-executed- it had worse acting, dialogue, and individual episode plots (with the exception of a few like OMWF and the last three episodes). I also hated the nerd trio as a new "big bad".
I loved every bit of Buffy/Spike interaction, from the time they first met in the Bronze during season 2 right up til the time they experienced that intense moment in Chosen where their hands burst into flames, signifying Buffy was finally able to feel the fire again.

I agree Spuffy was never hearts and flowers. It was a love story, not a romance.
I don't quite agree with you Dhoffryn. In the case of Buffy, I believe the first season had it's highpoints, I enjoyed "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date," "Angel," "The Puppet Show" "Nightmare" and "Prophecy Girl" well enough. Overall though, I found it largely unimpressive, the thing that kept me watching was that I had seen better episodes on television, and the first season finale was excellent.

However transfer this to other fandoms. I am a fan of "The X-Files" I consider myself a fan despite the huge drop of quality in the final three seasons. The show was no longer great. Does that mean that I am no longer a fan? I see myself as a fan despite the weak final seasons.

Or what about Trekkies. Many Trekkies love the original series, the next generation and Deep Space Nine... but have mainly negative feelings for the last two series. Are they suddenly not Trekkies? Are they not true fans? I think they still remain part of the fandom.

Heck I love Star Wars, and don't like the prequel all that much, doesn't mean I'm not a Star Wars fan.

Anywho, everyone has the right to their opinion... I guess I'll drop this line of discussion after this message.

[ edited by rabid on 2005-11-29 03:11 ]
I call myself a fan of both 'Buffy' and 'Angel' yet I'm glad that both series ended. I found 'Buffy' to be more and more boring because I didn't care about the new characters, and the old, beloved ones became less accessible. With 'Angel', the entire Connor storyline became so forced, so drawn-out, so *boring,* that I cringed to learn that there'd be another season. Yet I still feel that I was a fan of both shows because I passionately loved the early seasons (I came in late into both shows, BTW), and I longed for a return to a warmer, funnier 'Buffy' and a pulpier, less-fantastic (in the literal sense) 'Angel'.

Am I not a fan because I recognize how great both of those shows used to be, how certain eps are so brilliant, so amazing, that they make other eps look tedious and soapy? Wouldn't I really be a lesser, wishy-washy fan if I thought that all the seasons were equally good? I'm a fan of the shows, fer chrissake, not a parent.
I also hated the nerd trio as a new "big bad".


Yes, I hated them too, but they were never a "big bad." The key line is in Normal Again, when the doctor referred to them as three little men who refused to grow up, and noted that as weak as they were, Buffy still couldn't take them out.

S6 was an enormous misdirection, in this sense. Joss is right that in S6, "life is the big bad." Buffy, Willow, and Xander were all their own worst enemies. None of us expected that.
This discussion has mostly been rolling along nicely, and with great contributions from all that needed no external moderation.

However, one thing I will have to call a halt to is the "Not a true fan" debate. It's reductive and uninteresting, not to mention potentially insulting. (My personal vision, FWIW, of fandom - if not its reality - is that "fan" is a self-given epithet, and should be as inclusive as possible.)

Anyone who can be bothered to think and write about the issues on display in this thread is a fan, whether or not they like every single season or episode. I think that goes for pretty much every member of this board. And, really, that's the last word on this sub-discussion.
The thing that I absolutely love about Buffy in season six was that she was good at fighting demons, but what if the soul-less creature you fight turns out to be your lover? Or if the bad guy isn't a demon, god or vampire, but a human with a gun? What if your best friend in the world turns out to be the big bad?

Fighting and killing big bads didn't resolve any of these problems. Love was the key. Love of Buffy coming from Spike to go and give her what she deserves after he had hurt her. Love coming from Xander to Willow to stop her from destroying the world. Love coming from Buffy to forgive herself and Spike. LOve to appreciate what she has and to acknowledge that Dawn was growing up.

To nail it home? the song that ended season six? Sarah McLachlan's PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS. All about forgiving and loving. This then leads us into season seven..

[ edited by spikeylover on 2005-11-29 04:06 ]
Just to add my 2 cents to the pot. :)

I was one of those who watched from the very beginning, ie. the movie, no less. I liked what I saw in Season 1, and that "like" grew to love as the seasons progressed. I thought the story matured as time passed, all the way to Season 7.

When I look back at the earlier seasons, I was amazed to find so many episodes which I thought were incredibly weak compared to the rest of them. Characters weren't as fleshed out, and the Angel/Buffy thing made me gag at certain points.

So yeah, I thought the later seasons (with the exception of S4, which I thought was kinda directionless) were much better in terms of characterization. They definately weren't as funny as the earlier ones, which is one of the reasons why I think some people pan them.

And to defend S7, my view is that in that season, it wasn't about Buffy anymore. Okay, the show's still called BtVS, but the focus wasn't really on her or the gang that much. It was on the next generation. The gang are veterans, and the season was about imparting, whether it was knowledge, or experience, or power; and I found that to be extremely satisfying watch.
Simon, I started watching in Season 1. Caught bits of The Witch and Angel when my sister was watching, but I think my first full ep was The Puppet Show (Xander and the humor in this ep was what initially attracted me to the series. I'd just read The Shining at the time too, so Xander's goofing off with the puppet all, "Redrum! Redrum!" equaled instant love. Later I realized from watching other TV shows and films that that's a pretty overused reference/impression, but it worked at the time and Nicholas Brendon still looks and sounds funny doing it). From there I watched the rest of the season and I think I caught up on most of the rest of Season 1 through repeats before "Prophecy Girl" aired. And stayed with the rest of the series + Angel without missing an ep.

Re: participation in internet fandom/discussions possibly ruining initial viewing experiences

For some shows, I agree with this. Take Lost for instance. I figured out early on last season that it's better for me to just watch it and not seek out debates about it very often. When I do feel like talking about it, when I'm curious about what others thought of an episode or a particular storyline, I can only really stomach discussions with those who are critical but fair. I don't enjoy posting/chatting with folks who adore a series unconditionally, but at the same time I don't wanna discuss with those who're so bitter and jaded toward scripted entertainment that they're picking on every other line and not cutting the characters any slack for being as flawed as people are in real life.

Dhoffryn said:

"i still stand by my statement. there are different degrees of "fan". i think that true fans are one thing, you think they are another. there is no end to this argument, i think this and you think that, we arent going to change eachothers mind."

[edited to remove rant about fan-created brands of elitism. SNT covered it nicely. This is what happens when you leave a browser window open for a few hours and don't finish writing/and posting 'til later]

"I just cannot understand how someone can honestly think that a whole season of BtVS (or Angel) sucked entirely."

Season 7 came damn near close for me. None of the few good/great episodes "saved" it exactly, but I was at least able to enjoy them. As for your other comment that went something along the lines of, "if that fan didn't like anything about the season, then why would they keep watching?", there's an easy answer to that one--because as a fan of the show, you have hope that it'll get better. In Season 7's case, halfway through it when I was getting really worried that it wouldn't pick up again, I was determined to see it through to the end. I still cared about the characters, or at least who the characters had been before all the Potentials nonsense, and I wanted to see where they ended up (or at what point in their lives the story would trail off). For those who didn't like Season 6 very much, or any of the other seasons, I imagine they stuck around for much the same reason--they figured or at least hoped that things would improve.

Also, I was loving Angel Season 4 at the time and it would've felt weird for me to be watching one and not the other. But more importantly, abandoning Buffy didn't feel at all likely, even at its worst, 'cause I loved it too much overall. The series, its characters, writing, ideas, the passionate crew behind it. I loved the series, just not that last season of it.

Giving up on favorites can happen for me though, and sometimes happens for good reason. If you'd asked me at any point during The X-Files seasons 1-5 (or maybe as far as 6) if I was planning on sticking with it, even if it went on for as long as The Simpsons, I would've answered a quick "hell yeah!" But by Season 8 I was hanging on just barely, even missed a few eps, and when I forgot to tape the premiere of the ninth and final season, I found I didn't care and just let it go (though I did watch a tape of the 2-hour finale that my friend saved for me). It just wasn't worth the time investment anymore. You know when you feel like you're not getting your hour's worth, it's time to let go and spend your time on something you find more worthy. It could've happened for me with Buffy, giving up on it, if it had gone on for another season or two and been as bad or worse than the majority of Season 7. I'm glad that's only a "what if?" scenario though.

[ edited by Kris on 2005-11-29 05:27 ]
Maybe the nerd trio was not the big bad of season 6, but I really think the season could have been much better if it had a big bad before the very end. I know the season was not about fighting an enemy, but rather about the gangs' personal demons, but I think these personal demons could have been shown equally well if they were fighting a powerful enemy. While I found season 6 interesting because of the conflicts between characters, I found it the least suspenseful/exciting because there was never any big threat of anyone dying or the world ending. That is, of course, until the end of the season, when Dark Willow entered the picture. Maybe if the Dark Willow story had been drawn out over more of the season, the way the Angelus story was in season 2, I would have found it more interesting.

I also have another comment on why the later seasons were in general worse. I think that the first three seasons were all building up a very tight mythology involving the history of Angelus' line of vampires (The Master, Darla, Drusilla, Spike). When Angel left at the end of season three I think a lot of this interesting mythology was transferred over to his show, and Buffy became less interesting. The later seasons did not build off each other the way the first three did- for the most part they each scrapped the old mythology and started with a new one. In season 4 we had the new concept of the Initiative, but season 5 was about something entirely different- Glory. Season 6 wasn't really about anything except the characters, and in Season 7 a new idea- the First- was introduced (although this had been introduced once before in season 3). In the later seasons, the only piece of mythology continuing from the first three seasons was Spike and his story, but he played a much smaller role than Angel did during seasons 2&3.

That was just a brief rant, but I'm not saying I don't like the later seasons, just pointing out one reason I liked the early ones better.
it seems that people really love badmouthing the last couple seasons of BtVS. I loved every season, and will continue to love every season. One of the things that i loved about season 7 were all of the references and how it was made for people who had been watching all along. It seemed like they stopped even trying to get new viewers, they knew it was their last season, so they had returning characters, references to past characters, tons of references to past episodes (i mean, Selfless alone), and it felt like the fans who had been watching since day 1 were being rewarded or something. Some of the potentials annoyed me (when i say this i am referring to rona, chloe, sometimes kennedy, and that was really it) but i liked some of them too. I liked Amanda, Vi, Chao-ahn, and Molly. I did think that Xander, Giles, Anya, and Dawn werent given a lot to do, but they did a lot with what they were given. Every season has its ups and downs, season 7 was no different.
I liked Season 7, not the best season, but still very good. The first batch of episodes were very strong (Selfless, Beneath You and Lessons were all good to great episodes)

A lot of people have problems with the rest of the season, but looking at an episode list, I thought... Conversations With Dead People, Sleeper, Never LEave Me, Get It Done, Storyteller, Lies My Parents Told Me, Dirty Girls and Chosen were all excellent. The rest of the season ranged from good to blah (Bring on the Night, Showtime, The Killer in Me and End of Days.)

I loved seeing Faith again, liked Principal Wood as a character quite a lot, enjoyed Buffy's final arc, liked Spike's character development, loved having Andrew around and totally dug all the callbacks.

There were problems though. Willow, Giles, Xander, Anya etc. etc. didn't have good arcs (although it can be argued that they got rounded out nicely nonetheless, they all had defining moments, but none had a full seasonal arc like Buffy or Spike.) The potentials were aggravating. Finally, and most seriously, the dialogue changed, there were quite a few occasions where I found myself growing aggravated with the over-burdened speechifying throughout the season, even if it does make sense narratively.

Still, it was a good thematic final year, and it had a lot of things to recommend it along with the weaker aspects. I actually am starting to feel like rewatching the last two years because of this thread though lol.
Thanks to Chris in Virginia, I've gotten the bug to buy several copies of the JossVerse DVDs to try and convert the masses. Oh darn, I (really 'we' since Sandy is addicted too!) have to watch every set. While I can say there are episodes that I think are slightly weak, I don't skip or fast forward through an episode.

Right now we're running through Buffy and Angel sets in parallel in our theater because we wanted to see what things looked like on 110" screen. Any Whedonesque folks are always welcome to drop by for a visit/showing. We're on the Whedonesque map as that little blob between Denver and Colorado Springs. My e-mail address is in my profile. I'm serious here. Sandy wants to do a Firefly/Serenity marathon after the BDM arrives on DVD. Hey, ruthless1, feel like driving a little south of Denver?

We started the theater run with Buffy S1 and started swapping between Buffy and Angel with Buffy S4/Angel S1. We just started Buffy S6/Angel S3 when the 40-disc set arrived. We're now going through the 40-disc set upstairs on a regular T.V. after the family has watched a pair of episodes in the theater. It is interesting watching Buffy S1 episodes interleaved with Buffy S5 or Buffy S6 episodes. Are there problems, issues, things I don't like? Sure, but I wouldn't trade my Buffy, Angel or Firefly DVDs for anything else.

ETA: grammar fixes, but I probably missed some...

[ edited by dcubed on 2005-11-29 06:58 ]
I disagree with GVH and Gossi.
For me the Buffy/Angel relationship was nothing more then a lie.
They didn't really know each other.
Buffy was just a little girl(couldn't care less that she was the slayer), and Angel was this mysterious noble vampire.
For all the hurt that Buffy and Spike put each other through, it was Angel who did the most damage. Buffy was already an insecure girl that pretty much got abandoned by her father. Then she has her first lover going soulless on her and trying to kill her and friends. In season 3 Angel left to try and give Buffy the normal life that she deservers. Yet it was because of Willow and Spike that she finally was able to get that. Willow because she activated all the potentials, so she wasn't the only slayer anymore and Spike because he sacrificed himself to close that hellmouth. As for Spike's love I do believe it was love. I saw them in season 6 as a reflection of each other. Spike before OMWF(first real kiss) was going the right way by being a listener and friend to Buffy, it was only after they started their brutal coupling that everything went sour between them. In the end they went their separate ways to fix themselves up. While in season 7 I believe they came full circle. Their relationship was one that went through all the phases. I do believe they trusted and loved each other. Again no opinion is wrong, this is just one of many.
MissKittysMom,

I have to admit something before I go any further, which is that this is not the only problem that I have with seasons 6-7. The truth is that much as I can analyze this other stuff, what really bothered me in the end is that I felt that most of the writing became...awful. It embarrassed me. If someone had walked in while I was watching an episode from season 6/7, I'd have been embarrassed to admit that I was a fan. I thought it sucked that much. I know that that puts me in the minority and an amazing number of people see no difference in quality between the earlier seasons and the last two, but to me the difference is glaring.

So it's POSSIBLE that if this regression that we're discussing had been written well and been believably acted, I would have thought "Hey, great idea." As long as the characters recovered by the end of the series, because "Buffy" was never supposed to be a show about failure--we have "Seinfeld" for that. I would argue, however, that they didn't recover because all of them stopped developing as characters and therefore, stopped growing up. Sure, at the end they put on their designer clothing and high heels and go to meet their annual appointment with the Big Bad (and don't even get me started on that one) but I can't see that as character development nor as maturing. In fact the feeling I got from the last episodes was "We have to do this because it ALWAYS happens in June." God, I hate those episodes.

"OK, this I don't understand. They did fight, cave, pull themselves together, and finally fight and win. It just took a long, long time, and it was a hard fight, often against themselves. But they won."

The way I see it is, they caved, they moped, then pulled themselves together for May sweeps without fundamentally changing at all. And I don't really see any of them fighting *themselves*, except maybe Willow who must have really done a number on herself, in that case, because she seems to undergo a personality removal. Not that she's alone. Xander and Giles are utter nonentities by the end, Buffy is arrogant and spouting repetitive speeches. The funny dialogue that made "Buffy" so enjoyable is replaced with--Andrew, which I see as a pitiful attempt on the part of the writers to be funny.

But that really just brings me back to my earlier point, which is that when you have bad writing, that's what happens. And that's what I think we're seeing differently, in the end: the overall quality of those two years.

The "true fan" argument amuses me--fine, so I'm not a "true fan." That won't disturb my sleep at night.
Well it wont disturb me either :)

Thank goodness you came along to inform me that i was wrong, and that S6 and S7 really were awful and i am just crazy, as well as anyone else who liked those seasons.
Maybe you should look into a career as one of those trolls that scour the internet looking for S6 slash S7 threads just to let everyone know they are wrong, people love them!
I came in pretty late - my roommate at college and I rented some box sets one night pretty much randomly, and I was hooked. I don't even remember which ones they were, but I started watching it as it aired (in the UK) from about midway through season 4.
I started watching reruns, then found the internet, then got the DVDs - by that time I'd seem most of the show, although there were a few episodes I saw for the first time on DVD.

Not sure which season I like best - I tend to watch them fairly uncritically and save the dissection for later, since I find that watching something critically can ruin my enjoyment of it, so i hate deconstructing things I enjoy. Seasons 1 and 7 are probably the ones I re-watch least though.

I did find that I didn't much like season 6 and 7 Buffy as a person - her relationship with Spike was indeed immensely unhealthy for both of them, and they were no good for each other.
Dhoffryn, I really, really hope you are under 13.

[ edited by Ilana on 2005-11-29 12:45 ]
Then i am happy to dissapoint you, i am in fact over 13. I know, sarcasm can be confusing to some, but just hang in there, eventually you'll get it.
There i go again with the comments, i find that i really can only take so much BtVS bashing until, a signifigant amount less when the people that are doing the bashing are other BtVS fans, or "fans" as is more accurate.
If you want to be an adult in this world, you'll have to learn how to handle "Buffy" bashing and a lot of other things besides.

On the other hand, any religion you decided to join would be very lucky to have you.


Cheers...
I can handle it, its just that everyone has their limits. i find you talking down to me funny, how old are you? When did you start watching BtVS? Its amazing how i say one thing and a number of people feel the need to jump on it and tell me how wrong i am, like just because i dont hate a season and i dont consider anyone who does hate a season a real fan, i am wrong.
i hope you having a grand old time on your high horse.
Dhoffryn and Illana, please cease discussion on this matter , otherwise you will find your posts edited or even deleted.

And if member perist in having a go at each other, they will find themselves banned as a result.
I really don't mind if you delete all of those posts...

[ edited by Simon on 2005-11-29 13:49 ]
Now, I mostly disagree with Ilana on nearly all those points -- although I do agree there was obviously a shift in writing and style, which is more in tone with Marti's shifting status on the show I suspect. Whatever the case, when it got to later seasons, the dynamic was starting to change in the writing room, but regardless Uncle Joss was still overseeing the breaking of the arcs and such. Or, in other words, the series shifted focus a bit as it went along (but not nearly as much as Angel did!).
Sue me, I find myself sympathizing with DHoffryn's view, because I do love the show as a whole. If it was so bad, would we be here at all? (or why would you be here posting?) I guess I get that and don't understand why the big controversy has come out of it. Oh well..

Anyway, interesting thread, especially considering such a small little blurb from TIME MAGAZINE (about the later seasons being the finest) was what started it. I had a feeling it would when I posted it. I'm SO GLAD that SO MANY spoke up for the later seasons. I had a feeling that the results would be like this, since I always got that vibe from the messageboards but not necessarily the press. (So YAY, TIME MAGAZINE for realizing there is some mighty deep shit going on in those later seasons)

[ edited by spikeylover on 2005-11-29 15:26 ]
In fairness, 99% of posts in this topic are people just debating about the style or quality of the later seasons. I don't think anybody in this topic has suggested the show as a whole is bad.
This thread will likely roll off the front page today so I want to reiterate. Our screening offer for JossVerse stuff wasn't just an attempt to nudge the thread away from the fan/non-fan sub discussion. If any Whedonesque folks in the area or any who are passing through Colorado Springs/Denver are interested in seeing your favorite episodes in the large, please drop me an e-mail.
Heh, I know I wouldn't dream of suggesting that. Hell, together with Angel and Firefly, Buffy is my alltime favorite show. I enjoy pretty much all the seasons, but just feel that there are some problems with later seasons which are worth discussing.

What is also funny to me is that there does seem to be somewhat of a split between people who like the earlier seasons better and people who like the later seasons better. There's not a lot of people (but still some) who like random segmens of the show best, which already indicates that something changed in the way the stories were told in the different seasons.

The problems lies in avoiding clichés: early season 'lovers' are sentimental nostalgics who can't seem to realise that the show got better as it moved along, whereas late season 'lovers' are Spike-fans who felt those seasons gave Spike a redemption arc and/or people who hate highschool settings and characterise teen-angst as being automatically less than growing-up-drama.

On the whole I feel we steered away from those clichés very nicely and I honestly did think this discussion was great, although I don't think many views were altered. I know I still stand by my original season overview post (I'd be one of those sentimental nostalgics ;-)).
Ahem. Long live Season Six as the best Buffy season EVER!!!

*giggles*

I agree with Mehitabel on one point for sure: I also re-watch seasons one and seven the least. That doesn't mean I still don't enjoy them once in awhile, however. The "suckiest" eps still have merit somewhere, IMHO. Several of my favorite eps are always on someone's hate list. Additionally, I've found through re-watching that timing has a lot to do with how much I like a particular episode. I love the Dracula episode, but wouldn't have liked it as a season opener. I hated Him because I watched it on a first date and he was so utterly bored by it. When I viewed it chronologically and after reading more about it, I actually liked it alot. And I've always been a Beer Bad lover because it was just so... funny. By NOT watching Buffy chronologically over several seasons as they originally aired, I'm sure I had far different reactions to most episodes than many longtime viewers. I also watched most of them spoiler-free and Internetless. This method of viewing undoubtedly helped shape my likes/dislikes. Many of my opinions weren't firm at all until I read and discussed, and then rewatched episodes.

But that's just me.
Perhaps the one thing this thread has proved is how passionate everyone here is about BtVS, a passion that is born out of our love of the show. I guess that won't come as much of a surprise to anyone. This passion exists because at one time or another the show has really moved us in a way that is probably very difficult to quantify. In some cases, the experience constantly happened throughout the lifetime of the show. For others it was stronger early on, or later on, or whenever, etc, ad infinitum. The same passion will drive disappointment as well.

On some strange level I've always found that one of the hardest things to understand is why others are not as passionate as I am about the things I really love. As an example, Dead Man's Party is one of my "Top 5" all-time favourite BtVS episodes. Being realistic, I fully appreciate that very few people (if any) would agree with this choice. However, when I watch the episode I still find myself mystified that others don't see it the way I do. That's the point, of course. My response to it is an emotional one that is wholly driven by the way I personally perceive and judge things. It's entirely individual to me.

In the end, the reason something like BtVS exists is this endless diversity of opinions and likes and dislikes. If we all thought exactly alike we would not have things like this. The world needs to be messy for them to exist in the first place.
Well, I came in very late in the game. The only thing I got to watch as it aired was the final season of Angel. I was one of "those" people who were put off by the name of the show. I had no idea what I was missing out on. I have since learned to actually watch something before I voice my opinions on it.

One day while flipping channels, I decided to stop on FX and see just how lame this show was. I honestly don't recall which episode it was that I saw that day (it was something from season 2) but it hooked me. I was converted, reformed and relgiously watched the episodes on FX each morning. Soon that was not enough. I had to get the DVDs (never bought a show before). I now own all the seasons of Buffy, thanks to the chosen collection (with duplicates of seasons 1,4 & 5) & seasons 1,4 & 5 of Angel (longing for 2 & 3). I truly love all the seasons. They are each special in their own way and I'd hate to have to give any one of them up. My personal favorites (if I'm forced to choose) are seasons 5 & 6. I liked many aspects of season 7 but I did miss the lack of comraderie in the scoobies. Also, the core 4 personalities seemed a bit off to me (though as some have mentioned it could be attributed to battle weariness and such). The thing I dislike the most about the final season is that I don't like Giles very much and he was always my favorite. He had already been through many battles, not to mention losing Jenny. He is older than the others and always seemed like a pretty together person. I just don't understand what happened in this last season to alter him so much. Oops, don't want to rant. I just hate to see Giles on screen and not love him. Anyway, I am on my 4th viewing of the entire series (currently on season 5 ep.19) and have watched some individual episodes probably 10 times. I am just glad to have a place to talk about all this where people don't think I'm nuts :)
Supersymetry wrote
The thing I dislike the most about the final season is that I don't like Giles very much and he was always my favorite. He had already been through many battles, not to mention losing Jenny. He is older than the others and always seemed like a pretty together person. I just don't understand what happened in this last season to alter him so much. Oops, don't want to rant. I just hate to see Giles on screen and not love him.


Curiously, how differently we see things.

Because|, for me, the situation with Giles in season 7 made me care for him much, much more! Until that season I was sure Joss won't kill him, but after Giles' row with Buffy I started dreading about his future. It was constant "OMG, don't they dare to kill off Giles!!" for me. I suddenly started rooting for him the way I never rooted in earlier seasons when he had his "opening credits immunity".
Opening credits immunity somehow doesn't give you a pass on the Buffy/Angelverse. Sometimes they'll put you in it just to kill you. (Tara) Doyle, Riley, anya..etc. etc.

I thought Giles acted in character in season seven. He is about the mission, since he proved that in season five when he killed Ben. He also told Buffy he would kill Dawn to save the world.

Spike was under the First Evil's power, and Buffy had him living in the house with potentials. I can see Giles' mindset, but I love Buffy for standing up for Spike.

The one thing that bothered me was at the end of the series, when Anya died, he was joking around. I remembered how ANya worried over Giles in GRAVE and it really stung to see him not caring that she had died.
I was intrigued with the original storyline of the BtVS movie so I got me a big old bucket of popcorn and made it MUST SEE TV when the series began. I fell in love with it more each year.

Take the aspect of the Big Bads for example. After every season I thought, “this is it, they can’t do better”, but TPTB always surprised me. I mean, how much more of a Big Bad can there be for a vampire Slayer than the Master of all vamps? Well, they did it by making Buffy’s lover the next BB and how the heck could anyone top that? I discovered that they could by bringing in the powerful Mayor with his own personal Slayer. The next season they went one step further and threw in the US government. After that it was an Evil God and I knew they couldn’t take it any further. Silly me, they made the main characters their own personal BB. After that it was the evil that lives in us all, The First.

For me each season was the best in its time and, to paraphrase Spike, took me to depths I didn’t think existed. The Big Bads, the romances, the storylines just kept getting better and better. The characters became more and more complex. I have to agree with the Time article but it does nothing to my admiration for the earlier seasons.

[ edited by Caroline on 2005-11-29 21:02 ]
Continuing in my tradition of long posts that end threads:

I'm always surprised in a thread like this when people say that they don't think anyone's mind got changed. It is not that I disagree, it is just that a thread where people are talking about what they liked and did not like never seems to me like something that is meant to change other people's minds, just give them insight into other people's points of veiw. If you don't like something or even think one thing is better than another, you may get a different kind of appreciation for it by reading other people's opinions, but it would be pretty strange to actully change a viseral reaction to it...and that is mostly what is being talked about. Did it work for you or not work for you.

To me it makes sense that some people who loved the early Buffy could be turned off by the later seasons when the show changed from a story of High School experiences to a story of adult experiences. Because the latter was what roped me in, I can go back and enjoy the experimentation and development of the story that lead up to the part that got me. However, I can see others not looking at the early seasons that way and being more dismissive. It's why they keep making more flavors of ice cream. How many are we up to now?

Oh and this surprised me:

“I liked high-school seasons but couldn't accept some conventions. I can suspense my disbelief and accept vampires and demons but I can't believe that such handsome guy as Xander is an outsider in high school or that such cute girl as Willow doesn't attract boys' attention.”

Wow, I never even thought about Xander and Willow as being too pretty to not be accepted because in my experience pretty has nothing to do with it. I knew some fairly homely girls who were in the “popular” group and pretty girls who were definitely not. The key seemed to be whether you were enough like everybody else. That colored everyone’s perception of your attractiveness.

Example: I personally lead a weird double life in which I was considered very pretty in the adult world and plain to ugly in the High School world.

I was working in professional theater throughout High School and was considered the “pretty all-American girl type” (it is how a casting director would probably discribe Kaylee.) As brutal as the things that casting directors and producers said to me, none of them ever said I wasn’t pretty enough. In fact, the only comment I remember concerning my face was that I was prettier in real life than in my photo.

But that was evenings and weekends. Monday to Friday from 7:35 am to 2:10 pm I was plain to ugly and told so without hesitation. It is hard to forget the face of a boy less than a foot from yours saying at the top of his lungs for everyone to hear, “You are so ugly! What a dog! You’re so ugly you should get up and bark!” I was enough of an outsider that once a group of girls got someone I was friendly with years before to make friendly overtures to lure me into the showers for an ambush. Nothing violent, they just wanted to get me soaked so I would have to walk around school that way. You know, casual humiliation, the funny stuff.

The fact is that what you look like is not what makes you popular in school…though it can of course help. First and foremost, if you aren’t like everybody else you are not going to be accepted. Now it is my son’s turn. He has a beautiful face but no friends in his 4th grade class since all the straight “A” students were sent to a different school this year and he was more artistic and quirky than studious.

The interesting thing is the way people make so many judgments about how easy other people’s lives are (and I am just talking about people in general, not anyone on this board particularly) based on their own insecurities. Whether it is judgements based on money, looks, race, ethnicity, job, class, where you live, what schools you went to, etc., it is so incredibly easy to do and such a trap. I always loved it when Joss’s shows got into the way that everything in others people’s lives looks rosy when you are looking at it from the outside.

Many years later when I went back to college I had a teacher about my age who was incredibly hostile to me from day one. She would find something to criticize even when I agreed with her about something. Then one day during a relevant discussion in class, I alluded to the double-life described above. She said something like “*You* were told you were ugly?” By the incredulous look on her face and some other things she had said in class I suddenly realized what the problem was between us. She apparently was still dealing with being picked on in High School and had pegged me as one of the popular girls from the in-crowd. She had been taking the opportunity to take me down a peg or two. She lightened up after that and we got along fine for the rest of the semester. To make it more ironic, she was a very attractive and stylish woman who I would have thought was probably popular in High School, if I had actully thought about it before.
It's not that I really felt that Giles actions were out of character. To me, he just seemed colder, more harsh. He seemed like there was no longer any turmoil or emotion over doing the tough things. But, that's just how I saw it. It's really cool to see how others interpret things.
newcj, you express something I wanted to reading this thread - this isn't really about changing anyone's else's opinion to align with yours. And discussion is great, of course, but I can't get why sarcasm in the not nice sense comes into it. People aren't coming here to piss anyone else off. They're coming here to express love for the show/s. But I guess how het up people can get defending thier favourite characters/ seasons just shows how seriously we take this stuff!

So, on that note, anyone who thinks Faith is rubbish is welcome to step up...kidding, mods, just kidding!

Anyway, I'm of the belief that every ep of BtVS has one or two perfect moments (usually more!), even if it's just a throwaway line or a glance. Or one of the cast looking damn hot. Yup, I'm shallow.
newcj:

I'm always surprised in a thread like this when people say that they don't think anyone's mind got changed. It is not that I disagree, it is just that a thread where people are talking about what they liked and did not like never seems to me like something that is meant to change other people's minds, just give them insight into other people's points of veiw.


Heh. I guess it was me who said that. I agree with you though, I don't actually expect anyone to change their opinions, nor do I feel that it's the goal of a thread like this. It's always more about understanding where other people come from. But somewhere, out there, in a discussion, is the ever-elusive argument that changes someones mind about something. I know I have changed my mind or opinion on things because of discussions. Either in real life, or on the internet.

My opinions about which seasons of Buffy are good and bad have also been shaped by episode discussions, season overview discussions and whatnot. At this point I don't think they could be changed very easily, since I've actually already looked at these episodes and seasons from several angles. But after airing, the initial episode discussion did tend to influence how I remembered an episode.

So when you're just bouncing opinions and ideas of each other, there is always the chance opinions get changed or formed. Although I never actually expect them to.

Now I get that in this discussion it was maybe more an exchange of tastes, but I do think there was some actual discussion in there too.

Oh, and just to be clear:

lfw:
And discussion is great, of course, but I can't get why sarcasm in the not nice sense comes into it.


This is something that's a shame, to be sure. I also don't think anyone ever comes in here just to anger other people and it's unfortunate when posts do get interpreted that way and things get slightly unfriendly.

newcj:
Continuing in my tradition of long posts that end threads


Well, mine might be slightly less long, but I think there's a good chance it'll end this thread ;-)
"Continuing in my tradition of long posts that end threads


Well, mine might be slightly less long, but I think there's a good chance it'll end this thread ;-)"


Thanks to everyone who made/makes me wrong about this. I don't mind ending a thread, but ending with a long post sometimes seems a bit pitiful. ;-)

Oh and GVH you weren't the only one who suggested that minds had not been changed, and I agree that any discussion can change minds. I just never really expect it when people are expressing general opinions rather than getting into specific analysis of particular points...but that could just be me.
I agree with lfw: every episode of BUFFY had at least one or two golden moments. Even "Where the Wild Things Are," which I hated with a passion, had Giles' God of Acoustic Rock scene, and Spike and Anya reminiscing about the good old bad old days. (And if you want to include ANGEL, "She" had Angel's dorky dancing.) Me? I prefer the high school era. But I understand why many people prefer Seasons 4-7. The themes in the later years were grander and more adult, but IMO, the execution was lacking.
Depending on my mood, I prefer to watch anything from episode 1 to episode 144. If I want to bask in the warm(er) and fuzzy glow of the high school years, when even when things got pretty bad, the show always seemed to end on a shared smile and wink, I'll watch Seasons One through Three. If I want to suffer a bit more (in a good way), I'll watch Seasons Five through Seven. Season Four I've always loved a little disproportionately because it's the transition year, and my life has just been full of those.

The other night I watched The Gift and Once More With Feeling and had a good happy-sadness. (Sure there's a word for that in German). Sometimes I just want to watch The Puppet Show, which like Kris, was my introduction to BtVS, and crack up. And, in some ways, the ending of that episode was never bettered . . .

Additional thought: I can see that if you're particularly engaged by one character, you'll prefer the shows or seasons that devote more time to that individual. I was always "fortunate" enough to like Buffy herself most, so I never felt deprived or shorted on her story-line.
And if you want to include ANGEL, "She" had Angel's dorky dancing.

Somebody told me David's dancing in "She" is a piss take of Joss dancing (he said that in an interview). I couldn't possibly comment. (Although I will say it's not dorky - I do the dork in dancing. A lot. It'll say that on my grave stone).

[ edited by gossi on 2005-11-29 23:33 ]
Oh man, if that is DB doing a Joss, that'll make me laugh even more. Those are some of my favorite bits of Angel I think, that and Mandy.
Oh, yes, nixygirl, Angel singing Mandy...we weren't watching in real time, so thankfully, my wife and I were able to stop the DVD and regain our composure...after laughing out guts out...
I was a fan from the original Buffy movie. I liked it just fine at the time - good campy fun. So I was very excited when I heard it was going begin as a series. I was there from minute one of the show and have loved it ever since. It blew me away! I began to see how much better the movie should have been. Although I think the TV show got better with every season, I think I'd have to pick S6 as my favourite - I like it dark!

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