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on 11 October 2008
After the dramatic ending to season 5, season 6 promised much but sadly delivered little. If ever a season of a show could be said to be a triumph of style over substance, it's this season.

It's not all bad. The acting is excellent, the musical is an audacious piece and the following episode, "Tabula Rasa" is fun. I also liked the idea of a darker season.

But then the problems hit and hit hard. The Trio are simply not funny, falling back all too often on the most obvious and banal of cliches. For a show that was built on the premise of usurping cliche, its a sad end.

As for the much-discussed Magic Addiction storyline and the murder of Tara, words fail me. The addiction doesn't work, due to the woefully bad writing involved, and as such it undercuts every plot point that accompanies it. As for the death itself, it was badly written, badly staged, badly directed and is so full of holes (no pun intended) that it lacks any credibility. And whilst I do not beleive it was ever the writers intenion to fall into the trap of the dreaded "Dead/Evil Lesbian" cliche, they have instead come up with the definitive version of how it looks on-screen. Not an accolade to be proud of.
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on 15 April 2009
There have been many TV series which were kept alive long past their time. Some because there was nothing that could fill the void in the schedule, some because the people simply refused to let them go. But like "The Simpsons," I believe that BTVS was kept alive for a single reason. Because there were still hundreds of millions of dollars to be made in merchandising and advertising fees.

Show me a fan who believes that BTVS wasn't supposed to conclude at the end of series 5, and I'll show you a deluded person who simply couldn't accept Buffy's death.

The opening scene and the ending of that final episode might have both been far too cheesy for my taste. But even leaving aside the obligatory, "Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer..." fast cut montage, the story was over, Buffy was dead, "She Saved the World a Lot."

Because this was a fantasy series however, it was easy for Joss Whedon to drag Buffy from her grave. But after creating spectacular characters like `Glory,' `Adam,' `Mr Trick,' `Mayor Wilkins' and the stories to go with them, it seems as though he simply couldn't be bothered any longer. And at the risk of offending everyone, I can even take a guess what his creative process might have been.

Please remember of course that these are only my personal opinions. No one except Joss Whedon really knows what he was actually thinking at the time. But then again, the sixth series is so littered with misery and metaphors that you don't need to be a genius to work it out.

"Okay, erm...Willow's put in charge of the Scoobies, but she's scared and she wants Buffy back. After a few episodes she drags Buffy out of Heaven, and Buffy spends the rest of the series wishing that she was dead. God, I know how she feels."

Once again, show me the fan who believes that Buffy's half-heartedness, death wish, misery and emotional pain wasn't a reflection of Joss Whedon's feelings towards the series, and I'll show you a deluded person who was too happy to see Buffy alive to really notice. I, e, Willow and Xander constantly reassuring each other that they'd rescued Buffy from Hell, and so it'd take a little time for her to adjust.

In the end, the `Mental Hospital' episode was a metaphor for Joss Whedon's feelings about the series; the psychiatrist talking about the few months of `freedom' between the end of the fifth series and the beginning of the sixth. And even though it's a bit of a stretch, I did sense a great deal of meaning in Spike's anger and concern, terrified that Willow's selfish cowardice had brought the woman he loved back `Wrong.'

Of course, there was no way that this self-pity could possibly fill 22 whole episodes, and so Joss had to keep going.

"What next, erm...Willow gets addicted to magic and Tara breaks up with her. Yes, a nice `Say No to Drugs' metaphor to keep the Network happy. That should kill a few episodes. Buffy's so depressed and miserable that she starts having sex with Spike to punish herself. Xander leaves Anya at the alter because, like Cordillia, she was just a dumping ground for his unrequited love. Anya becomes a vengeance demon again. But oh God, we still need a villain!"

After creating a Hell God, I can't help but feel that the poor man had nowhere to go but down.

"What about if we just get Warren and Jonathan to be the villains in this series. And what about the kid who raised the Hell Hounds in series 3? Oh, the actor's not available. Okay, how about just casting another geek and saying that he's his brother? Yes. We can call them...The Trio."

That took care of the villains and the majority of the unbelievably pointless and irritating comic relief for this series. Except of course for `Clem' (don't get me started) and for the utterly farcical `Amnesia' episode.

Even the most devoted Buffy fan must concede that this episode was ridiculous filler, a bit of a laugh on Joss Whedon's part and a desperate cry for help. But at the end of the day, three High-school losers couldn't plausibly threaten the world. And so Joss still had to figure out what he could do for the grand finale.

"What about Willow? Yes, she's really powerful, and that power simply has to turn her Evil at some point..."

Of course, everyone knows that power can NEVER be a force for good, and that "Power Corrupts, Whilst Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely."

After all, this was the reason why Buffy and Willow had both spent five series whimpering, cowering and holding themselves back, certain that if they ever fulfilled their potential, then it would cause nothing but destruction, misery and death.

Remember people, if you have any kind of talent or potential beyond sports, music and other `socially acceptable' activities, if you ever dare to try and stand out from the crowd and to make the world a better place, then you are `Evil,' people will shun, fear and despise you for it and you will never have a `Normal' life. But baring all that in mind however, what could possibly turn Willow from a cowering, lesbian magic-addict to an instrument of Evil?

"Her addiction to magic? No, that's a bit of a stretch. I know, what if Willow gives up magic and gets back together with Tara, but then `The Trio' kill Tara and Willow goes berserk with rage? That could work. But wait though, Andrew and Jonathan are just the incompetent, closet-gay comic relief and the twinge of conscience. But Warren...Yes! What if Warren kills Tara?"

So Joss had devised the series finale, but there was still one major problem. It was obvious that Willow would take her revenge by killing Warren as an expression of her `Evil,' but she'd still be a Heroine in series 7. And the Network's morality demanded that a Heroine must never kill a human being in the series, unless that person could `justifiably' be killed.

Even taking into account the fact that `The Trio' were supposed to be the (comic-relief) villains in series 6, Warren's sudden switch from lonely computer nerd to woman-hating criminal made Forest's character development in series 4 seem almost plausible by comparison. But taking the `Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' character in `Beauty and the Beasts' (series 3) as a template, murdering a kid in the Jazz band and the school psychologist wasn't enough to justify Angel killing him. The fact that he was trying to kill Buffy at the time wasn't enough to justify it either. Even the fact that Angel had spent centuries being tortured in Hell and was little more than a wild animal wasn't enough.

When push came to shove, only the fact that the guy had hit and eventually murdered his girlfriend satisfied the Network's moral criteria. So even though I hadn't quite fitted all the pieces together at that point, the moment that Warren cracked his ex-girlfriend over the head with a champagne bottle, I knew that he was destined to be killed.

To this day though, one of things that annoys me the most about series 6 was that after two series of being `Even more pathetic than Willow,' Tara's character had finally started to blossom before being murdered for the most clichéd of reasons, and uttering the most pathetic dying words in Television history.

"Your Shirt."

Was that it? Was that honestly the best that Joss Whedon could do?

Of course it wasn't. But then again, the entire series was thrown together, half-hearted and incredibly half-*****.

"But what about the Musical episode?" I hear you cry, considered by many to be finest episode of BTVS ever made?

As a matter of fact, I hate all musicals with the exception of "South Park, Bigger, Longer & Uncut." I hate the sixth series of BTVS with a passion. Joss Whedon's songs were all mediocre and derivative. And anyone who can watch the Musical episode without appreciating the overwhelming sadness and emptiness of the story is just kidding himself. Does that answer your question?

In short then, BTVS ended at the conclusion of series 5. The story was over, Buffy was dead, "She Saved the World a Lot."
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on 16 May 2013
Spoiler alert...

Buffy is arguably the funniest, sharpest-written, best-cast, most consistently well-acted, best blend of comedy, drama, horror and farce you will ever see. Across its 7 seasons it raised the bar to an extraordinary level, which even Joss Whedon's sister show (or should that be brother show) Angel struggled to match throughout its own successful 5 season run.

This, season 6, was bought to complete my set after my 'old' discs started to play up. It's one of the darkest, sitting in the run between the suddenly sober season 5 (where poor Buffy lost her Mum, gained a sister (to the annoyance of much of the fanbase ) and the elegy-like season 7. Here, Buffy battles not so much external enemies (like the simple but terrifyingly powerful, diva-like Glory in season 5, and the equally unstoppable and equally merciless natural causes ) but her own darker impulses and those of her friends, making it arguably the series' most introspective and 'internal' season. Unlike the bright, blinding but harsh sunlight that permeated season 5, season 6 mostly takes place in the dark, with previously much-loved characters turning on each other in shocking ways. Xander, for so long the willing butt of the jokes, suddenly has cold feet about his wedding, which threatens to completely shatter a happy and unsuspecting Anya. Willow's love of the power and respect that comes from her magic use, finds herself unable to stop, threatening the people she loves and most of all her relationship with the loyal, responsible and concerned Tara. Giles departs for England at arguably the worst possible moment, leaving those who always looked to him for advice and wisdom rather lost. Dawn, Buffy's sister, while mostly free of the danger she experienced last season, feels neglected. And then of course there's Buffy herself, unwillingly brought back from the dead into a world where she has to once again thanklessly fight evil, delving into a self-destructive and miserable relationship with a still-soulless Spike simply in order to feel, and worst of all having to work endless double-shifts in a fast food joint, just to keep a roof over her sister and herself.

Despite all this though it's still Buffy, one of the wittiest series to hit TV, and of course there are moments of light amid the darkness - personally I found more to laugh at in the 1st half of season 6 that all of season 5 put together. The Trio, for instance - robot-designer Warren who Buffy clashed with in season 5, shy wannabe illusionist Jonathan (familiar to long-term fans as a recurring character), and weak-willed Andrew ('the other one') seem to be almost a parody of a set of camp, technology-obsessed geeks who are out of their depth acting as 'arch-nemesises' to Buffy. But when a shocking accident happens later on in s6, things get very dark indeed - expect bloodshed of several characters, and a heartrending but oddly cathartic conclusion where 1 much-loved central character finally embraces their grace, 1 finally embraces life, and 1 - well - that would be telling!

My advice? Buy s1 to s7, watch them in order (as i did) and experience a brilliant show with depth, themes, story arcs mixed with great one-offs, and enjoy. Lots!
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VINE VOICEon 22 August 2013
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of those really great TV shows that gets into the lists of 'best ever TV programme,' which is pretty something considering its a fantasy show not some gritty filmed novel about drug gangs in Baltimore or - er - extortion gangs in New Jersey.

Years after watching all the series - mostly on dvd - it is interesting to revisit what works and what - after all this time - doesn't so much. Season Six works. I know there is no Big Bad to match Glory - 'the God' - in season five, nor is there the ever-present threat (often over-stated) of season seven, but season six has some of the best stand-alone episodes of the whole show - 'Once More with Feeling' (of course) and, my favourite Buffy episode of all time, 'Normal Again,' which puts forward the idea that Buffy is in an asylum and the whole show - all six series (to this point)- is just her psychotic delusion. Actually this is brilliant - a really clever idea that might sail over the heads of many, but is beautifully sustained with the last scene in the asylum that - if you think about it - CAN'T come from Buffy's tortured mind.

Having said the Big Bad isn't up to code in this season, the leader of the Trio - Warren - is REALLY nasty - not in a supernatural, munching on disposable Sunnydale High students way - but in a seething mass of misogynistic rage that is all too human way. He IS a human monster and, because of that, is more insidious than - say - Drusilla. (He gets used by the First in season Seven more - in my opinion - as a result.)

Nothing matches Dark Willow, though. There was a pre-cursor of how cool Willow would be as - you know - skanky and evil - in the episodes from season three where she played a lesbian vampire from another dimension, but the veiny, black-eyed one is in a league of her own. I watched a season two episode today on Sci-Fi (not too bad - Jenny Callender wasn't dead!) and Willow was doing that whole goofy, smile when your Barbie is mashed schtick and - frankly - I just wanted her to magically zap Giles in a scene that could have leapt from Patrick Swayze's 'Roadhouse.' "I want to fight him!"

Lastly when it comes to Buffy's vampire lovers, most people are either in the Angel camp or the Spike community. When it comes to BTVS, I am very much a Spike fan. I think Angel is much better in - er - Angel and tired of his tortured, far-away glances in the parent series. Spike in Season Six is very good (though I actually think his true redemption happened in season five, but I digress.)

If I had to keep one Buffy season (don't make me!don't make me!) it would be six. Never did buy the apocalyptic end of season five anyway (she'd never worked that out before!) so I am not with those moaning minervas who say BTVS should have ended then. Can you imagine a Buffyverse without Once More With Feeling? No. Season six rocks
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on 19 June 2004
When many people think of season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they may feel that it should have ended at season 5. This is wrong. This show this year shows amazing complexity and enropy in a form that no-one sees coming. Marti and David write an amazing season opener and finale and the episodes in between are so superb and we learn so much about our characters.
Buffy comes back from the grave, but will everything ever be the same?
Xander is finding his place in life with Anya, but not revealing his own reservations about the marriage
Willow abuses the dark magicks which is clear reference to drug abuse, and becomes the big bad of the season
Tara really shows beautiful character that we havnt seen before, until Seeing Red in which the show will never be the same again
Anya again has reservations about her marriage thinking that Xander wont like her when shes old. Because age is nothing she had to deal with when she was a demon
Giles is like a yo yo and comes back and goes and comes back and goes
Spike shows more devotion to Buffy but it all ends badly
This beautiful season isnt understood. People who say they dont like it, physically dont understand it. It has so many metaphors and so many meanings that you need to watch it many times to grasp the brilliance that is season 6.
Acting as usual is stunning. This has always been Buffys show and Sarah Michelle Gellar does stunning work showing her inability to feel, and be happy. Alyson Hannigan gets to prove her badass acting as bad Willow and ultimatly Good Willow. Amber Benson does the most beautiful work here as Tara who we all love and miss in the show. Nicky Brendon does good work as Xander but isnt in it as much.
"Understand we'll walk hand in hand but we'll stand alone in fear"
isnt that what its really about?
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 April 2012
Challenging, ambitious, courageous, daring and not particularly good, the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a curious paradox, boasting some of the most quotable dialogue (the supergeek supervillains argument over the best Bond, Spike's every other line) and one of the most fondly remembered episodes but never being able to shake the feeling that they really should have left the gal and the show in their grave. There are some intriguingly dark ideas - torn out of Heaven by her friends, Buffy spends much of the season trying to come to terms with being brought back to a life of fear, loss and uncertainty while the leader of the initially comic geek trio displays an ugly undercurrent of misogyny - but too many episodes are just lazy. Always boasting smart writing, the temptation at times veers to settle for smartass, only just dodging the bullet. Not only is the fun gone, but the often unremittingly joyless tone of the season ensures that none of the intended dramatic highs stand out - when everything is one-note miserable, what's another crisis more or less? There's not even much slaying going on as it piles on more soap opera angst, turning it into a veritable Sunnydale 90210. There's little of the real emotional power that enabled some of the supporting players to show their strengths as actors here: they have character arcs, many of them interesting, but it can't shake the feeling that they've been doing this too long to really be enthused by it. And yet it has one of the smartest episodes - Once More With Feeling, where creator Joss Whedon almost seems to turn the show into a mirror on conflicting emotions to its return with songs like Going Through the Motions. Still, it rallies for the finale, though.

Decent but insubstantial extras on the boxed set, but once again the UK set is cropped widescreen rather than (as per the US edition) the original fullframe.
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on 22 March 2018
okay the last season I ever watched of this season and it is because I am a big fan of Tara, and as you know if your a fan, of this series she was Killed in seeing Red that is great. love the beginning of the episode when Tara , & Willow are in bed together it is so sweet and dawn response when she she Tara, come out of the bedroom is great. I love you guys dawn always loved Tara and Willow the cool Aunts on the show this should have been the last season because after Tara death hated the show if you must buy the dvds get season 4. season 5 the best season by far. and season 6 it got me at the beginning of seeing red when I saw Amber Benson name in the opening credits for the first time thought she was going to be a regular on the show sadly they killed her. the next episode after seeing red hoped Tara death would be Willow or dawn nightmare but we see the coroner take her body out of the house it killed my love of this show it should have been the last season after Tara death. Tara & Willow Forever.
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on 6 December 2011
I'm only a relatively new fan of Buffy. It was only around a year ago that I had not seen a single episode, and picked up the first season after wanting to check it out for a while. It didn't take me long to get hooked. I picked up the remaining seasons as quickly as possible, doing my best to not run out of episodes to watch until I reached the very end.

I would rank my two favourite seasons as being 5 and 7. I think they were both truly amazing seasons. But sandwiched between the two, was Season 6, which I found to be surprisingly mixed in quality.

I suppose much of it can be traced to the aftereffects of some of the events of season 5, but much of the characters seemed.... well, just a little off. Buffy's borderline nymphomania, Spike's general desertion of all his character development of the previous season, and various other character choices that struck me as odd and out of place.

I guess another issue I had with it is something that many might find a positive. For me, it sort of lacked the story that the other seasons had, without a clear threat looming overhead. Thing is, by the end, this may not be a bad thing, because it made room for some fantastic developments towards the end of the season. But it just felt a little unfocused and uneven for much of it.

So why the four star rating with all these complaints? It's very simple. Even at it's lowest quality, Buffy still offers a whole lot. There's still a lot of humour, action and quality drama to make this season great. Of course, it has the added bonus of the amazing musical episode Once More With Feeling, which is honestly just as good as people say.

All in all, while the season offers many of the series' higher points, it also offers even more of its lower ones. Despite this, it goes without saying that if you're this far in, you have to keep watching. Even if only for the musical episode and the amazing shocks towards the end.
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on 18 October 2003
If you already own the videos and you're buying the DVDs mainly for the extras then don't bother.
I found my self very disappointed with them, luckily I bought them second hand so I didn't fork out the whole amount.
The commentaries are uninsightful "Look, see, doesn't Emma look like Sarah from the back there? Can't you just imagine our horror when we realised that" !?! Most of the time it's just the writers and directors going on about how much fun the show is to work on and how great Joss is. There are huge gaps in the voices when we're left with just the episode playing really quietly until someone says "look see, she looks like Sarah again".
The "behind the scences" of Double Meat Palace is a charade. There is no behind the scenes footage, it's just the writers and directors plus 2 cast members telling us what their first job was and what their dream job would be.
All in all, as I said before, if you want to buy these for the extras then you'd be better to borrow them off someone (coz you'll only watch the extras once anyway) or buy them as cheap as you can.
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on 1 April 2003
Ok Joss Whedon is a genius. Few can refute this after the sheer brilliance of episodes such as Hush, The Body, The Gift and now the simply fantastic Once More With Feeling. It's just a shame that the rest of the storytelling in this season doesn't match up to the now infamous musical episode.
Maybe it's because the audience is made to feel slightly distant from the characters. With the return of Buffy in the opening episode we're always kept at arms length. Which is good for a couple of episodes, but we spend too long out in the cold. This makes it harder for us to be drawn back in again when we're really needed; during times of sadness, pain, joy and danger.
The lack of true villains too, makes it less easy to truly enjoy this once great show. Don't get me wrong. The study of the human condition with the troika (or the geeks) is a joy to watch and the three guys work well together, bringing the most laughs to the show. But they do get tedious and the character arc for them, although subtle, does leave me wishing for the days of Angelus, The Master and the Mayor back again.
Willow's magic addiction, although a great idea, feels slightly empty in execution, and lacks the bite we've come to expect from Whedon. Especially after watching it's sister show Angel. Villians and Two to Go are perhaps the strongest episodes after Once More... but the finale. Grave, feels rushed. Almost as though the writers discovered they'd run out of time and cooked something up so it wasn't left over for the next season.
Spike's arc I think, destroyed his character. Or at least knocked it down a bit. If we'd wanted another Angel we'd have watched Angel right? He lacks the cutting humour and the cool factor that he had in season 4. Now he's moany and whingy and you just wish they'd put him out of his misery. The finale in the cave, I admit, leaves me wanting more from him. But I just hope this will allow them to turn him around a bit.
Overall I think this is was a light fluffy package of episodes which had been advertised as dark and brooding. It's still better than a lot of the rubbish on TV but we've come to expect more from this team. Although it's an absolute must for any Buffy fan, if you're buying this on a whim, go get Season 2, 3 or 4 for a better view of what this team of writers is capable of.
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