This is a complete guide to the whole of Buffy, all seven seasons. It assesses every detail of each episode, something your offical guide book won't have. I highly rate this, as an ultimate guide to one of my favourite tv series. Also check out Redeemed, the Angle guide, a companion book that togther make up the Buffyverse.
Lawrence 'Mad Larry' Miles is one of the hottest young novelists in Britain today and while I'd rather he was creating new and original fiction rather than just commenting on other people's work his opinions here are witty intelligent and perceptive. Mad Norwegian's production values are characteristically shoddy (the care lavished on Miles' fiction publications is missing) and the proof-reading is non-existent but even in diluted form this is probably the closest we'll get to a definitive guide to Buffy.
The most puzzling aspect of this book is that the authors don't actually seem to like the series very much. It's no exaggeration to say that they actually seem to be struggling to watch seasons 5, 6 and 7 through to the end. They are fairly positive in tone towards the high school years, yet seem to lack interest in exploring the deeper meanings behind the episodes from later seasons, often simply dismissing them as having none. There is also a rather irritating focus throughout on "this is when the show started going bad", "this is when the show started turning into a soap opera" which becomes quite tiresome to read. You'll find that trend beginning as early as season 3 with The Prom episode apparently being the shows first step into soap opera. Even the positive early episode reviews contain grumbles about how these episodes achieve what they set out to do, unlike those awful later seasons.
I'm the first to appreciate a guide that isn't all fluff, that actually does give honest appraisals for each episode rather than being afraid to criticize anything. However this book falls into the other extreme and by the time of the latter half of season 5 it starts coming across as more of a fanboy rant than you would find on websites like jump the shark. They literally seem to hate nearly everything about seasons 6 and 7 especially
The equivalent Angel guide has much more detailed and interesting reviews, and crucially there is an affection for the show that always shines through so that, even when an episode is slammed as being a waste of time, more often than not it's mentioned almost apologetically that this is the worst the season has to offer. Whereas this Buffy guide seems to see the majority of seasons 5, 6, and 7 as all awful with only the only occasional episode that is worth watching. Even fan favourite episodes like Fear Itself, Life Serial, or Storyteller are seen as a dreary and pointless waste of time. Being so unrelentingly bitter in tone takes the fun out of even reading this book. It's by no means a bad book, it genuinely is quite interesting to read, but it's not one of the Buffy guides I reach for that often to re-read to be honest because it does seem to take such obsessive joy in ripping the show apart. Surely celebrating the show, even while acknowledging its weak spots, is the main purpose of an unofficial guide that is aimed at fans of the show? You'd be hard-pressed to argue this book celebrates much of anything other than the high school years, and that time period consists of 3 out of 7 seasons
It does have the right balance for seasons 1-3 where most fans would agree with the opinions on episodes like Reptile Boy and Ted being failed experiments, but still a love for the show overall will still come across. But where is the fun in reading one scathing review after another for seasons 5-7? Some of those episodes deserve every bit of the bile that the authors express, but the majority do not. They almost seem embarrased to be watching Selfless and dismiss the troll scenes as just silly, but to not appreciate that sense of fun is to not appreciate a major part of the show itself
Really good informative guide to one of the best sci/fantasy series ever and my personal favourite series. The information given was concise easy to read and entertaining. A good guide for both the beginner to the Buffy universe or the die hard fan who is looking for extra behind the scenes info.
Buffy books sucks. The TV series is bad enough but Im getting really annoyed now. The authorised ones that at least have something to do with the TV series are bad enough but the unauthorised ones are just simply awful. If you want a good vampire book, stick tot he classics. You wont regret it.