on 29 April 2006
Well , I must say I enjoy Buffy greatly, so excuse this ever so slightly biased review.
Where to begin? I have watched Buffy from the start, and this season is probably my favourite. Better episodes, better effects, although still some dodgy moments where you can easily see that it is not Sarah Michelle Gellar doing the stunts, and better storylines. This is, for any Buffy fan, a must-buy, as it is essential to anyone who enjoys the comedy-horror genre.
Although Season 5 is still comedic, it also has many more serious moments. Not to spoil it for those who have not seen the series yet, two major deaths rock the Sunnydale Slayage Crew. These are excellently handled, and in no way seem like they are tying off loose ends.
The episodes are excellent. From fighting Dracula, to multiple Xanders. Froma new sister, to an old foe swapping sides. This season is excellent.
The first disc houses such gems as the introduction of a sister, without any back story or any clues into why she is there. These facts are revealed slowly through the next disc, with amusing storylines for Spike, clearly an excellent addition to the princpal cast. Anya also comes into her own, and becomes revels in the joys of capitalsim.
Through the next disc a departure of a relatively new character, Riley, hurts Buffy tremendously, whilst the appearance of a troll lightens the mood considerably. The fourth disc includes the funny episode where the Watcher's Council return to Sunnydale, and reveal a shocking secret about the main enemy of this series. Spike also has a choice to make, whether to fall back into the arms of his old flame, Drusilla, or to move on and persue his newest conquest, a source of exasperation for Buffy.
The fifth disc is a solemn affair, with the death of a principal cast member, who had been with Buffy from the beginning. As Buffy and her 'Scoobies' attempt to cope, the attacks on them by the villain of the series grow more violent and frequent, leaving a dissuaded Buffy sure that she cannot beat the villain. When his new enemy learns of an importance in the Scoobie gang, and this member of the gang get captured, Buffy goes into meltdown. With the help of Willow, Buffy recovers and faces the most terrifying villain ever in the history of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, with a conclusion that is heart wrenching.
That was a long description, but Buffy is worth that. Joss Whedon, the creator, has truly emersed us in the most interesting TV show of recent times. A must for fans, and a must for anyone. I encourage you to buy this DVD. No, I implore you to buy it.
I always think of the second season as being the best year of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," mainly because the grand two-part finale of "Becoming" was the operatic high point of the series. How could Joss Whedon ever top the moment when Buffy kissed Angel, told him that she loved him, and then killed him? The short answer is that it could not be done, but no one can accuse Joss of not trying. Besides, one thing we have consistently seen each season since the second is that if the top is not as high, the bottom and average scores are on the rise.
Having dealt with the Master, Angelus and Acaltha, Faith Mayor Wilkins, and Adams and the Intiative, the ante gets upped beyond vampires and demons to the level of a god for the season's final battle. After the abbreviated first season Whedon always comes up with a first half story arc that combines with the second half story arc for the big finish, but this year Glory shows up in episode five. However, Joss remains true to the formula because the Fifth Season comes down to Dawn and Glory, and even with the appearance of a deranged deity from another dimension, it is the sudden appearance of Buffy's kid sister that defines the season.
Dawn pops up at the end of the season premier episode, "Dracula," the first really comic opening for a Buffy season, and we do not find out about the "Key" until the fifth episode, "No Place Like Home." But then we do not find out that Glory is a god until Quentin Travers drops that little bombshell at the end of "Checkpoint." If anything, I would have liked Joss to have played out the mystery a bit longer, but it was fun to have Buffy and everyone just accept Dawn and the idea that she had always been there. Plus, throwing a bratty kid sister into the Buffy mix is a nice way of shaking things up. Then again, Joss had a way of topping that with regards to Joyce Summers.
There are a few choice examples of significant character evolutions in the history of television programming, and with "BtVS" we can add Spike's name to the honor role that includes Margaret Houlihan and Charles Emerson Winchester from "M*A*S*H," and Lou Grant going from a supporting character on a classic sitcom to the lead of a dramatic program. The chip the Initiative put in Spike's head in Season Four was only the start of the fun, because now Spike has been having dreams about the Slayer. William the Bloody with a crush in his head. The end result is that in "The Gift" so many of the memorable moments involve Spike: Willow tells him to go and he goes, the look on his face when he realizes he has failed Dawn, and the fact that he is the one who totally breaks down sobbing at the end. Throw into the mix Spike's refusal to tell Glory about the Key and his reward from Buffy.
The Fifth Season is not without its flaws. Glory is given a convenient Achilles heel regarding Ben and manages to avoid a sustained all-out assault until the final trio of episodes. In terms of character transformations we also have Xander renouncing his role as the show's "butt monkey" and Anya becoming the show's comic relief. I appreciate the desire to do the former but the latter gets played out way too often over the rest of the series. Compare the Anya that was turned human in Season Three with what we have at this point; did she really learn nothing during 4,000 years as a vengeance demon? After all, she was human once, and in a bad marriage: did she forget all that? I reached my Anya saturation point during this season, where I started wincing a lot at her comments (but Whedon does use this for a great moment in "The Body").
Of course, if we are talking changes in characters then we have to applaud the Willow that takes over at the low point of the season when Buffy retreats into her self in "The Weight of the World." In retrospect it is rather astounding to look at how many changes the gang goes through in the Fifth Season. From where they started, seldom have characters come this far; and there are still two seasons to go.
In terms of DVD extras all you need to know is that Joss Whedon does audio commentary for "The Body." You already know he should have had an Emmy nomination for writing that one, but he should have been nominated for director too: pay attention to the way he uses the camera to capture Buffy's disorientation and provide one of the best portrayals of grief in television history.
on 11 August 2004
This is the season that got me watching this excellent show, I only caught the tiniest bit of a single episode, but was so eager to find out more that I ended up watching it every week. You MUST buy this DVD, it is the best season of this great show, which is saying a lot. It contains some of the best written, and well acted episodes ever on TV, Fool for Love, The Body, and The Gift, to name but a few. The story arc of this season is so expertly written that it unfolds at exactly the right pace, keeping the viewers on the edge of their seats all the way through. Despite what other reviews say about the season opener, Buffy vs Dracula, this episode is hilarious. It is by far the best season opener of the show, as others attempt to jump staight into the season arc, or concentrate too hard on tying up loose ends from the previous season quickly so they can get on with the main story. This episode is simply a very good stand-alone episode, which simply provides Buffy-style entertainment at its best, taking a cliched story, and twisting it hilariously and stylishly to fit a contemporary audience. It also offers one of the last comedy centred episodes before the main arc of this season takes hold.
The final five episodes of this season are possibly the best end to a season ever, and highlight subtle character developments that have occurred throughtout the season, such as Spikes attempts to get Buffy to trust and appreciate him, turning into real care for her, and Willow's growing power as a witch.
This season also covers issues that can't be solved by simple force, which is how Buffy usually solves things, her mother dying, her boyfriend leaving her, and the fact that she is simply not strong enough to fight this seasons Big Bad, Glory, eventually leading to her fleeing the town in a desperate attempt to escape what she can't fight.
This season also deals with where the Slayers power comes from, and what she actually is. While Buffy assumes the message "Death is your gift" to mean that a Slayer really is just a killer, she learns the true meaning in the shows amazingly tense and dramatic finale, which in my opinion, is the best hour of TV ever made.
Even if you have never watched this show before (which is unlikely if you're reading this review) you should still buy this, it is well worth it, as it will open your eyes a simply great TV show, that will be glad you didn't miss.
However, if you are an avid fan of this show, you will probably want to buy this to simply complete your collection if nothing else, but this boxset is far more than that, in my opinion, the best of the whole series.
on 28 October 2002
This is a beautiful set of 22 episodes. The comedy and pathos of Spike's growing obsession with Buffy is so touching and funny. The whole Dawn storyline is just the most audacious thing you'll ever see in any TV show - dropping in a new character as if she'd always been there, without any acknowledgement of this for about five episodes. Never has a genre TV show assumed its audience to be intelligent and committed enough to accept such outlandish manipulation its the canvas of characters. There's the gradually increasing tension between Buffy and Willow, as Willow grows into a powerful witch with her own agenda and concerns (one of the most thrilling episodes involves Willow exacting revenge for the lost of her girlfriend Tara.) And how about the increasing hilarity of Anya and totally laugh-out-loud disaster that goes by the name of Harmony - the vampire who loves unicorns. It's just a continuous stream of funny, intelligent and gripping fantasy television.
on 4 November 2002
Series 5 of 'Buffy' is probably the best yet, remaining consistent in its unique blend of drama, comedy, horror and tragedy. The series sees the arrival of Buffy's sister Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg - Harriet The Spy), who apparently has always been there. There's also the new Big Bad, Glory, a seemingly unstoppable foe. It's impossible to know where to start with such a constantly innovative show, although it's fair to say that once started it's easy to run on because there is just so much here that's worthy of note.
The pilot, 'Buffy Vs. Dracula', side-steps potential corniness to put a post-modern spin on the tale. Indeed, for anyone who's read the book it's a real treat to see Buffy and her gang adopt personas from the book and witness an absolutely hilarious ending as well as get a few allusion to what is to come. Other episodes worth pinpointing are 'Fool For Love', an outstanding episode that deserves kudos for its technical innovation as we get to see how Spike killed two Slayers in the past. As usual though the Joss Whedon penned episodes are the best, with 'Family' moving forward leaps and bounds in its gentle depiction of a normal lesbian relationship in Willow and Tara. However, it's 'The Body' that is perhaps not only one of the best 'Buffy' episodes yet but one of the best moments in the whole of television history. Set over one day we get to see, in four scenes only, the gang's reaction to the horrific death of someone close to them. Quite simply, it is the best study of grief that I have ever witnessed, either on the small screen or in the cinemas. Whilst Buffy is too shocked to say anything, Dawn breaks down, Willow becomes paranoid about how she should be acting and Anya achieves a glimpse at mortality that terrifies her. Any other show would be tempted to have a sentimental episode filled with tears and heartache but Whedon manages to get you crying from single lines - in particular Willow's yearning 'Can't I just be a grown-up'? Never has television been so painful, so gripping and so outstanding. There's also an impressive use of the long-shot and a complete lack of any score that adds to the poignancy and realism of the episode. Whedon also wrote the season finale, 'The Gift', which offers a fantastically mounted confrontation between Buffy and Glory as well as a conclusion that's shocking and heartbreaking.
Of course, it would be wrong to talk of 'Buffy' and not mention the performances. Sarah Michelle Gellar's performance in the title role constantly speaks actress of a generation, especially in the episode 'Forever'. The show always gives each actor a chance to shine though. Nicholas Brendon shows amazing versatility in 'The Replacement', where he gets to play both his good self and his useless self. Alyson Hannigan puts in her best performance yet in 'The Body', Clare Kramer puts in a wonderfully over-the-top performance as Glory and Michelle Trachtenberg shows amazing maturity in her performance in 'Blood Ties', an episode that has more than a passing reference to adoption. It's commendable that any actress could fit so well into an already well-established cast.
The only real thing to say is that this is a show that has matured along with its characters and audience. It started off excellently, something original that cleverly used metaphors to represent life as a teenager. Who'd have thought that it could have sustained its excellence across what is now seven series? It remains innovative, involving and constantly interesting. If it wasn't for its title and people's bias that this is a children's show (it's not) this would be seen for what it is: a landmark in television history.
on 24 May 2004
The title of my review may be a quote from season 7, but it is true. Season five is all about the power. Glory has it, Buffy doesnt. This means Buffy has to fight with not just her fist, her brains. Dont get me wrong, she is very cleaver with the fighty stuff, but this season stretches her. In the first episode, this is about the only episode in the season that we get to see her laugh and smile and have fun. The rest of the season the world gets in her way. A lot of things happen in this season. Goodbye Iowa, Goodbye Mom, Goodbye Buffy. Its a grief stricken year. We meet Glory (Clare Kramer) Buffys best ever villan, who seems to be unstoppable and needs new sis dawn to get back to her hell dimension. Its all very complicated. The acting also improves in this season. The best acting being portrayed in The Body and The Gift and Emma Caulfield (Anya) shows amazingly funny humour ability in Triangle.
You really need to see it to belive it. It is what makes Buffy such a phemonimon. Its so amazing and beautiful. It always has been Sarahs show and in season 5, she really proves why she was cast.
peace out slayers
on 13 September 2002
Yet another change in direction sees the cast of Buffy begins the maturing process both in terms of characterisation and content. Episodes like "The Body" provide the whole cast with ample opportunity to shine in their roles, while the script manages a tight balance between the heavy emotion and maintaining characterisations that could easily have spoiled the impact of the episode, while "The Gift" provides us with one of the best season finales to date.
While relationships between the characters are explored on a new level, so is the issue of Buffy's mortality. Although dealt with in previous seasons, this is the first time we really get a sense that the Slayer's life-span is a limited one, and the group as a whole can be seen as completely vulnerable. This tends to be what sets a trend of seriousness that is further explored in the following season.
As always there are the odd disappointing episodes (none as dire, however, as "Beer Bad" and "Superstar" in Season 4), but the season still keeps up the pace with its fine mix of humour and horror. The wonderful thing about this programme is the constant back-referencing, leaving you feeling that, after consuming a season or two, you have watched one long film. Season 5 succeeds in adding to this experience admirably. A must for all Buffy fans - you won't be disappointed
on 1 February 2006
Season 5 really turns the Buffy universe around. Expect major changes, big revelations and phenomenal storylines. As usual, this season comes with about 24 episodes, however this season is far from episodic. Apart from a few episodes which are self contained, season 5 is mainly just one big long storyline continued throughout.
And what a storyline - Glory, a god in human form, is threatening to spill all realities onto earth, effectively destroying it. Of course, it's up to Buffy to stop the most dangerous enemy she's ever gone up against - can she truly be mightier than a god?
This season is virtually faultless - a wacky blend of humour, horror and action. It is well paced throughout.
The best thing about this season, once again, is Spike, and his constant pining after Buffy. Yes, the series uber-villain has the hots for the Buffster, and its hilarious to see that play out. Spike still gets to have huge fight scenes along the way, but being the coolest and funniest character out of them all he steals every scene.
And good riddance to Riley! While he was perfect for series 4, he really didn't have much to do here, and it was only a matter of time before he left - although the circumstances upon which he leaves are shocking and surprising.
But the biggest new entry to the series is Dawn, Buffy's sister. Sister? Yes, exactly, a complete turn around for the show, and a fantastic development. At first I thought it could be annoying, having a yuonger sprog get in the way, but Michelle Trachtenberg plays Dawn very well, and is never once annoying or unrealistic. The character is extremely important to the series, and her storyline takes a while to play out and make sense, but it really provides the emotional connection to this series, which is no better realised than by the series finale...
All the gang are back too. Xander is better in this series, more funny and less annoying. Anya is also becoming a well fleshed out character too, and one of the highlights of the episodes. Giles, now brought back to full watcher status, even sets up his own shop, which gives his character more of a purpose after he just mulled around in series 4 after the loss of his library.
There are very few clunker episodes, with most of the boring episodes being the self contained, baddie on the loose, buffy kills it storyline. The best episodes are the ones which have Glory in them, developing her plot to kill Buffy and Dawn. The best storyline though is one set in the past, and details the history of Spike - superb!
on 28 March 2006
I got this season late. I had ALL the other seasons including the ones after it. The only reason I didn't get it before was that I thought it didn't look much good. But I have to say that it is the best season of Buffy full stop, no questions asked.
The episodes are richly layered. There is a main plot which is about the Key and Glory, who may I say is the best villian ever known. There are also smaller plots within it. The fighting is the best you will ever see. The humour is at best. The magic is brilliant, although I must say not as good as the magic in season 6. But still don't let that put you off. However, we see a semi-dark Willow against the inevitable Glory. Did I mention she is the best Villan ever, LOL!!! The Special features are amazing, the picture quality is brilliant and clear. The sound is crisp. What more do you want. Get this season above all others.
There is not one episode that is boring are slow.
They are all brilliant.
Although they are all brilliant there are some standout episodes they are:
No Place Like Home
I Was Made To Love You/ The Body
As you can see there are so many great episodes. All the ones that I haven't mentioned are all still great.
BUY IT NOW.
on 9 May 2005
Out of the seven series that Joss Whedon made of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this would have to be my favourite.
Series five has an excellent mix of magic, loss, laughter and quirkieness that makes Buffy the Vampire Slayer the classic show that it will always will be.
This series sees Buffy come up against a goddess, banished to earth for her evil deeds. Searching for a magical key that will return her to her dimension, she eventually finds out that the key is being guarded by the slayer.... our own Buffy.
In this series we get to meet the wonderful Dawn a character that becomes lovable in the remainder of the series, of course there is a tragic loss but I won't ruin anything with the detail. Xander and Willow also get a great buildup in this series as we get to see their strengths and their weaknesses.
Our main star Buffy, grows up in this series but still retains a great mix of girlie innocence and "weight of the world" responsibility.
And of course, if there is just one reason to watch this show it is always the funny puns and one-liners that make it what it is.