Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Seventh Season |
Actors: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Emma Caulfield, Michelle Trachtenberg, James Marsters
Directors: Alan J. Levi, David Fury, David Grossman, David Solomon, Douglas Petrie
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
As Buffy acompanies Dawn on her first date at the new Sunnydale High, Giles continues Willow's magic education in England. But while Buffy is surprised to be offered a guidance counselor job, Willow is shocked to experienc... more »
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Let me explain my rating
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 08/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike other seasons of BUFFY, one needs to defend either a low or high rating for this season. One can take either of two tacks with Season Seven. One could give it a low rating based on comparison with other seasons of BUFFY, because there is virtually no debate that this is the weakest season in the show's seven. On this criterion, I would probably give the set a three-star rating. On the other hand, one could base the rating not in comparison to BUFFY's other seasons, but to other shows, and on this basis I don't see how you can give the season anything less than a five. Yes, it is BUFFY's weakest season; yes, there are some serious errors made during the season; yes, the writing isn't as sharp or as consistent. Nonetheless, it was during the 2002-2003 television season, along with ANGEL (which had its own problems in its Season Four), FARSCAPE (which while superb was not as nearly sharp as Season Three), and ALIAS, among the finest shows on TV. It is my least favorite season of BUFFY, but given the option of watching either it or any season of LAW AND ORDER or FRIENDS or CSI, I would choose Season Seven of BUFFY in a nanosecond.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
So why do BUFFY fans find Season Seven to be so disappointing. I think there are a variety of reasons. Here are a few: 1) Although there is some very sharp humor during the season (e.g., a conversation about fast food delicacies between Spike and Andrew on a motorcycle, after which Spike warns that he will kill Andrew if he ever tells anyone about it; Anya's asking Andrew why he doesn't use the bathroom for the same purpose everyone else does [not the purpose one might first imagine]; and a phenomenal first encounter between Faith and Spike, when she doesn't know that he now fights on the side of the good guys, and tries to slay him, with the two of them debating on who has reformed and who did so first), the humor isn't as consistent. But the tone of the series changed. Even in Season Six, the show maintained a humorous tone most of the time. In Season Seven, there is a constant attempt to inject a sense of impending doom, which unfortunately alters the show's mood in unpleasant fashion. Buffy almost completely ceased her quipping. 2) Although Sarah Michelle has gained a number of detractors since the end of the series (I think mainly for her lack of interaction with fans), I always think she did a marvelous job in the only crucial role on the show. Unfortunately, in Season Seven she was asked to do something that her character wasn't well equipped to do: more or less be a great leader. Buffy in the first six seasons was always more of her own person, not quite a loner, but although the central figure in the Scoobies as the Slayer, not a leader either. But in Season Seven after the Potentials arrive, she is asked to be a leader. What is worse, she is asked to lead not merely by example but by giving morale-boosting speeches in every other episode. Unfortunately, the speeches were horribly written and awkwardly inserted into the episodes. I was more put off by her General Patton speeches more than I was by the notorious "cookie dough" speech she gives Angel in the final episode. 3) Worse of all, the Potentials completely altered the structure of the show. I know many people simply didn't like the individual actresses portraying the Potentials, but to me that wasn't what was so bad about them. Because there were so many of them, they gradually started eroding the screen time left to deal with the stories of the main Scoobies. Actually, Season Seven is very good up to the episode when the Potential start arriving. The episode where Anya slaughters as vengeance demon all the members of a fraternity, only to repent after failing to convince both others and herself that this was what she really wanted to be doing, and then walks off by herself at the end of the story is quite as good as what we had seen in the previous two or three seasons. But once the Potentials arrived, there simply wasn't room or time to deals with individual characters any longer. Xander, Anya, Dawn, and Giles more or less get squeezed out of the story. Only Buffy, Willow, and Spike, and later in the year Faith, get to have their stories told at all. In Seasons One through Six, four or five or six or seven was company, but twenty proved to be a crowd. 4) The lameness of The First as the Big Bad. Cementing this was the terrible use of the great use of Nathan Fillion (who was spectacular as Mal Reynolds in FIREFLY) as Caleb.
One other thing to lament about Season Seven was recently revealed by Joss Whedon, when he explained that they hoped to bring Tara back in Season Seven before contract negotiations broke down. In an early episode, Buffy would somehow manage to gain the ability to make a single reality-altering wish. Several alternatives are instantly imaginable: wishing her mother back, lifting Angel's curse, perhaps not even being the Slayer. Whedon imagined Buffy going to Willow and showing her new shoes, as if they were what she had used her wish for, Willow's incredulous reaction, and then Buffy telling her to look behind her, where Tara would have been standing. Now that is an episode I would have liked to see.
But sometimes the negatives seem to mask the large number of extremely good things in Season Seven. For instance: 1) Except for "Him" (where Buffy and Dawn fight over the attentions of the same high school student) there were no out and out from beginning to end bad episodes. The bad stuff largely took place within a show that features some good things. 2) A few absolutely stunning individual episodes, especially "Conversations with Dead People," the hysterical "The Storyteller" (centering on Andrew, who provided many of the funniest moments of Season Seven, and who is one of the odds on favorites to be in any BUFFY/ANGEL spin off), and the great episode where Spike deals with unresolved conflicts concerning his mother. 3) The struggles of both Willow and Spike in dealing with their respective inner demons, Willow with having killed in Season Six and Spike with his having a soul. 4) The return of Faith, which while BUFFY did not provide her with as many great moments as ANGEL did for three episodes preceding her return to Sunnydale, were great. The tremendous chemistry (more as kindred spirits than sexual) between Spike and Faith, especially in a long conversation they have in Buffy's basement, one of the highpoints of the season, has many people hoping for the demise of TRU CALLING (Eliza Dushku's current and lightly regarded show) so that Faith and Spike can head a spin off.
Then there is the ending. Many hate it. Many love it. Personally, I think it was a perfect end to the series. BUFFY was always a fictional representation about the empowerment of women. In the climax of the season-and indeed, the climax of the entire series-Buffy with Willow's help discovers a way to empower not merely the Chosen One, the lone Slayer, but all potential slayers, all over the world. Best of all, the show managed to resolve Buffy's central dilemma that was established in Season One and continued through to the end: How could she, whom fate had selected to be The Chosen One, ever manage to live the kind of life she dreamed of having? By empowering all potentials, and in effect creating dozens and perhaps hundreds of Slayers, Buffy ceased to be The Chose One. In the final seconds of the show, Faith says to Buffy "Yeah, you're not the one and only chosen anymore. Just gotta live like a person. How's that feel?" It seems to take a second before the question hits her, but when it does, you can almost feel Buffy's relief, and her face lights up with an extraordinarily happy smile. You can feel her relief at having triumphed over her fate.
I can't imagine a more perfect ending to what I honestly feel is the finest television series in the history of television."
M. Gosney | Indiana | 09/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Love or hate the final season of Buffy - one important fact cannot be overlooked, the complete circle the series and characters took while at the same time growing into a more evolved and mature show. I highly recommend you view this season, but only after viewing the previous 6. The show did take a different direction and focused in on the First and the Slayer, but this is not a negative, just a completion.
I agree with many that the series finale should have been a bit longer. There were so many details and points made in this episode that to a casual viewer, it would be overlooked. To those true fans of BTVS you will see how far the show has come. If unsure yourself, it is best to view season 1 again, especially the final episode of season 1. You see Buffy mature from being told she is the "chosen one", the only one, into a cunning fighter with her new-found scooby friends, then dependant upon them, and finally into an individual who learns to at once take on responsibility, and share responsibility. You see the other characters mature into heroes of their own and for all their weaknesses, the strenth the gang has is in its unity. That was the one thing that made Buffy more powerful than previous slayers and this is touched upon as well.
The sacrifices made by the scoobies is also noted, although little attention is given to the brave death of Anya, and the final episode gives a tribute to a great scene from the final episode of season one in which the Fab Three are walking away from Giles and his utterance of "the earth is doomed" is as sharp and funny now as it was then. The final episode of season 7 ends in the only way that the series can - answering all the questions the show asked with hope and bravery.
If you are a fan of BTVS then you must check out this fitting ending to a most brilliant show."
A fitting end for a magnificent series
Tom Benton | North Springfield, VT USA | 02/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a huge "Buffy" fan, I was both nervous and excited when I received the Seventh Season DVDs in the mail: nervous, because it was the final season - what if it wasn't good? And excited, because it WAS the final season, and traditionally, much happens during the final year of a TV show. I'd read reviews claiming that the season was terrible, so I began the season expecting to be a little disappointed.
But I wasn't. The first five episodes were terrific. They made me feel like I was back in the good ol' days of "Buffy", in the early seasons. "Lessons", the season opener, was great and filled with Joss Whedon's trademark wit (although he wrote the episode, he didn't direct it). "Him", while not the most brilliant episode, was very enjoyable (particularly a sequence towards the end of the episode, with some terrific music and editing). "Conversations with Dead People" was a great episode, thanks to numerous intriguing storylines and a fine script (not to mention a great performance by Jonathan Woodward as a talkative undead college student).
From there, it all went downhill.
Out of nowhere, the show's footing disappeared. The "Potential Slayers" were introduced, a group of whiney girls whom do nearly nothing for the storyline. For something like seven or eight episodes, we're forced to endure the training of the Potentials. Those eight or so episodes are some of the worst - and by far the hokiest - that the show has produced. The show's major comeback was the seventeenth episode, "Lies My Parents Told Me". It was a very interesting, cool, well-written episode, in which Principal Wood attempts to murder Spike for a crime he committed long ago. From there on, the show improved, but it still wasn't like it used to be.
The finale - "Chosen" - was one of the greatest episodes of the show. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, it's filled with great Whedon dialog, humor, and action. Whedon gives the show the dramatic, explosive, and very fitting ending the show so rightly deserved.
The two finer characters introduced in the season - Principal Robin Wood, and Caleb, the Evil Preacher - really improved the episodes (although Wood seemed to disappear in some of the later episodes). As I love Joss Whedon's sci-fi/western show "Firefly", I thought it was fantastic to see Nathan Fillion (the star of that show) appear on "Buffy" as Caleb.
Willow never really shines in this season until the final episode (you can tell Whedon loves her). Sarah Michelle Gellar does her best to work with the weak material she's given, as do the rest of the cast members.
The really horrible thing about this season is that there's a point where you just stop caring. You watch the episodes because you have to to complete the series. But the season is worth purchasing, if only for the first seven episodes and the last five episodes.
TOP 5 OF THE SEASON
2. "Lies My Parents Told Me"
3. "Conversations with Dead People"
THE DVDS: These DVDs are the same as the original releases, but with a reduced price and thin packaging."
She saved the world - a lot
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 01/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From 1997 to 2003, Joss Whedon gave his audience some of the best episodes aired on television. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER showcased an empowered young girl saddled with the unintimidating name of Buffy Summers, who, with the help of her high school friends and her stuffy mentor Giles, faced sundry monsters and saved the world - a lot. Along the way, she managed to leave an indelible impact on our pop cultural consciousness.
Before its series debut, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, based on its promotional push on TV, seemed slated to be a straight-out horror series starring an erstwhile typical high schooler who battles vampires and demons. But, fairly quickly on, this unassuming little show, thanks to Whedon's intense and witty, pop-culture savvy yet very literate writing, met and surpassed the viewer's expectations. Whedon created compelling stories and characters who grew on the viewers; for seven years, we watched them strive to maintain a normal life as they navigated thru high school, college life, and then to adulthood, all the while frequently facing down supernatural threats. Which brings us to Season 7.
Possible SPOILERS follow: Here in the bittersweet and melancholy finale season, Joss Whedon attempts to provide closure to the show and also to bring it full circle to its origins. The opening episode "Lessons" has Buffy escorting Dawn, for her inaugural school day, back to good, ol' Sunnydale High, which has just been rebuilt on top of the old one. This, by the way, means that the Hellmouth is very much alive and again active. Somehow, Buffy is offered a job as a school counselor at Sunnydale High by the enigmatic principal, Robin Wood (24's D.B. Woodside). Back in England, Willow, under the tutelage of Giles and a benevolent coven of witches, has been recovering from her turn to the dark side (Season Six) and receives a horrifying glimpse of the future for Sunnydale. Meanwhile, Spike is found dwelling in the Sunnydale High School basement in a bonkers state of mind, influenced by his new soul and possibly also by...something else. Lessee, who's left? Anya is again a Vengeance Demon, though her heart isn't really in it. And Xander is still fixing windows...
The season's major story arc involves the return of the First Evil, the original and the source of all evil. The First's return is made possible by the instability caused by Buffy's having died and consequently being resurrected (again, Season 6). Very early on, we get a hint of the season's Big Bad as various Sunnydale denizens spout the ominous warning: "From beneath you, it devours." This season also increases the scope of Buffy's world even more as most of the Watcher Council are annihilated and Giles is forced to seek out Potential Slayers (who are also being killed off one by one by Bringers, no-eyed, murdering servants of Caleb and the First) and bring them to Sunnydale for protection. Now, more than ever, Buffy's leadership skills and methods are tested and even questioned as several of the Potentials prove to be uncowed and contentious free thinkers. Buffy has never been forced to deliver as many bracing, rallying speeches as she has been this season, which attests to her foe's overwhelming level of menace.
Because the First cannot enter our world in a corporeal form and can only assume the identities of dead people, this is an opportunity for a callback of Buffy's past uber-foes. For one last time, we get to enjoy cameos of the Master, Drusilla, the Mayor, Adam, Glory, and two of the Nerd Trio. Pretty neat. Besides the First, Buffy faces two despicable and truly hard-to-kill villains, who are themselves minions of the First: the Turok-Han, an early caveman type of vampire (thus, even more sturdy than contemporary vampires) and Caleb, the frightening, mysoginistic preacher who convincingly beats Buffy senseless in several encounters.
As ever, the writers do an amazing job. The episodes are obviously action-packed. But, underneath the surface, the show is laden with metaphors and symbolisms. Themes of isolation, the isolation of a leader, female empowerment, sacrifice, friendship, and humanity are touched on in great depth. This season is also about the quest for redemption. Most of the members of Buffy's Scooby gang, ironically, at one point or another, were evil or have turned evil in the past: Willow, Spike, Anya, Faith, Andrew...All these characters are trying to find their way back to atonement; it won't be easy.
This season has to be the one with the most recurring characters in it. Principal Wood and the Potentials are introduced. Season 7 also marks the return of Andrew, Faith, and, in one episode, Angel. With the glut of additional characters, the core Scoobies are given short thrift here, although Dawn does shine in "Potential" and Xander proves his worth in "Potential" and "Dirty Girls." One episode, "Selfless," really focuses on Anya and paves the way for her eventual return to the fold. Only Spike seems to maintain copious screen time throughout the series. The camera, of course, is ever on Buffy Summers.
The arrival of the Potentials does usher in a freshness to the series as it simultaneously takes the spotlight away from the Scoobies. The take-charge Kennedy (Iyari Limon), the feisty Rona (Indigo), and Amanda (Sarah Hagan) prove to be welcome additions to the cast, while the non-English speaking Asian Potential drops some instant funnies. "Conversations with Dead People" reintroduces Andrew (the very good, very funny Tom Lenk) as a possible good guy, while "Dirty Girls" marks the welcome return of sexy Faith (Eliza Dushku) as her encounters with Spike provide some of the high points of the season. The awesome Nathan Fillion, by the way, is scary good as Caleb.
The Special Features provide episode commentaries by various cast and crew members on "Lessons," "Selfless," "Conversations with Dead People," "The Killer In Me," "Lies My Parents Told Me," "Dirty Girls," and "Chosen." Disc 3 has the featurette "It's Always Been About the Fans." Disc 6 offers up four more featurettes (the 36-minute long "Season 7 Overview - Buffy: Full Circle"; "Buffy 101- Studying the Slayer" - various television critics talk about the show's influence; "Generation S" - interviews with the Potentials actresses; "The Last Sundown" - a look at Joss Whedon's top 10 favorite Buffy episodes and some of his thoughts about the series); an outtakes reel (not that funny); "Buffy Wraps" (the wrap party with cast and crew, but where was Sarah Michelle Gellar?); and for those who care, a DVD-ROM Willow Demon Guide.
Years ago, Joss Whedon wanted to shake things up by turning topsy-turvy the cliche of the hapless, little blonde damsel needing a hero to come to her rescue. Seven years of quality television has proven that audiences will accept a tiny girl being capable of slaying monsters while remaining quintessentially feminine. So, above all else, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is meant to be a feminist allegory. But, for those who aren't into that, there's still so much that this season has to offer: an us against the world mentality, superlative action sequences, shivery horror/fantasy elements, witty repartees, heartfelt dialogue, gripping, dramatic stories, and great acting. And, of course, great, iconic heroes in Buffy Summers, Spike, Faith, and crew. Five stars for one of my all-time favorite shows EVER.
Oh, yeah, and I like the slim set collection.