Continuity mistake: After Buffy finds Morgan's brain, Willow pulls up Morgan's school file on one of the library computers without even touching the keyboard. One moment the monitor is on the desktop, the next it's showing Morgan's file.
Despite having been born in the late 80's and having grown up a true 90's kid, I must admit that I was never particularly aware of the cultural phenomenon that was Joss Whedon's beloved series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." I mean sure, I knew the show existed, and I had watched the original movie with my older sister a few times. But that was about it. I think I was just a little too young at the time to really grasp just how massive and important the show was, and how much it appealed to audiences of all ages. But as I grew older, I found myself gradually becoming more and more interested in the series, though I never quite had the time to finally hunker down and watch it from start to finish, outside of having seen most of the first three seasons while I was in college.
However, like many others last year during the global pandemic, I opted to use my spare time while I was furloughed to catch up on movies and series that I've been meaning to watch. And "Buffy" was right at the top of my list. Over the course of four months, I gradually watched through the series in its entirety for the first time, along with its popular spin-off "Angel."
And how was it? It was as outstanding as I ever could have hoped it would be! While it may be a bit dated at times, and while some seasons are stronger than others, I was shocked by just how well it held up, how relevant many of its themes still are, and just how darned entertaining the show is. This is one iconic series that still manages to thrill and enthrall even decades later!
Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Buffy Summers, who is seemingly just your ordinary teenage girl, worried about things like boys and homework. Except she's not just your ordinary girl - she is "the Slayer," a chosen one gifted with superhuman strength and agility, who is destined to do battle with vampires, demons and the forces of darkness! And together with her best friends Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Willow (Alyson Hannigan), along with her "Watcher" Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), she must face non-stop adventure as her little town of Sunnydale is invaded by creatures and monsters over and over again.
While his credibility and star-power have completely evaporated due to a string of icky controversies, creator Joss Whedon and his crew of writers and directors crafted a wonderful and addictive series in "Buffy." Deftly mixing creepiness with campiness, and drama with comedy, the show is a unique blend that is deeply satisfying to watch. Especially once you get passed the bumpy, lower-budget first season and into the much more refined remainder of the show. The series tackles timeless themes that many people face as they grow and age, and does it with a refreshing sense of wit and style. And it's just plain darned fun to watch thanks to the endlessly likable characters and sharp humor. Whedon is well-known for his stylized dialogue and for injecting clever gags into his works, and it's just splendid here. The show is absolutely hilarious, which helps even out the darker moments.
The cast is absolutely fantastic. Gellar makes for a compelling lead in Buffy, and it's a lot of fun to see how the character evolves over the seven seasons as she grows and changes. Gellar really knocks it out of the park - there's a reason she's still beloved in this role. Brendon and Hannigan are absolutely phenomenal in their roles as Buffy's friends and allies in the war against darkness, and they add a lot of heart and humor to the show. Heck, at times they even overshadow Buffy - especially Hannigan. Anthony Stewart Head adds a sense of class to the proceedings and is a great deal of fun as Buffy's long-suffering teacher and advisor Giles. And a revolving door of supporting players add quite a bit to the series. Particularly notable are an excellent David Boreanez, a brilliant James Marsters, an adorable Emma Caulfield, a very likable Amber Benson, a hilarious Seth Green and a very solid Michelle Trachtenberg as various allies of our heroes who come and sometimes go over the seasons.
I also have to mention the general production of the series. While the effects are dated, and there is a definite sense of the early seasons being "super 90's," the show is typically very well put together. The cinematography is quite excellent for its time, with later seasons still holding up quite well. The music is awesomely moody and sets the tone exceptionally well. And the production and creature design is usually top notch stuff.
Now before I wrap this up, I feel I should address one other thing. There seems to be almost a mandatory and prerequisite need to discuss the various seasons in these sorts of reviews. Because everyone has their opinions over what the "best" and "worst" seasons are. And I have to admit... I do have my own opinions. But the most important thing I have to say is, I don't think there are really any "bad" seasons of "Buffy." Sure, some seasons are stronger than others, but I really enjoyed all seven for the most part, and see them all as vitally important pieces of the puzzle. So I wouldn't recommend skipping any of them, or stopping at a certain point. It's all worth seeing.
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is a magnificent series that still stands tall decades after its initial release. Its themes are still relevant, its characters are still likable, and it's still a blast and a half to watch. And it easily earns a perfect 5 out of 5! Now if only we could get a proper HD remaster that maintained the original 4:3 aspect ratio and stuck closer to the original color-correction.
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