Ever since I first watched the series (which, sadly, was not as it aired) I’ve rewatched “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” just about every year. That’s a lot of rewatches (which kind of annoys my husband). Every time I delve back into the world of Sunnydale I discover something new or I see how all the pieces were meant to fit together even when the set-up was seasons before. I marvel at the writers’ brilliance. I like stepping back and thinking about what each season’s them was allegorically. The first three are obviously about how school is literally hell. The fourth is all about college and growing up/letting go. The seasons afterwards seem to lose a bit of it’s messages and that may be why they’re not as enjoyable. As a whole, the last three seasons speak about the pressures of the world, how hard it can be to make tough decisions, and about being an adult in general.
My favorite season is the third. There are just so many great episodes in this season. We meet Faith in “Faith, Hope & Trick.” But there’s other great episodes like “Band Candy.” “The Wish,” “The Zeppo” (Xander’s best episode in my opninon), “Doppelgangland,” and ending with “Graduation Day 1 & 2.” I feel like this is the season where The Scoobies are united the most. If you’re into the whole Buffy/Angel romance of the series then this one is a high point (ok, except for the end because David Boreanaz has to leave to go do his own spin-off show).
In this rewatch I found myself more tolerant of Dawn for some reason. Yes, even in the fifth season where she is her most annoying. I also enjoyed the entire sixth season more than usual. I’ve always loved “Once More With Feeling,” and “Tabula Rasa.” I’m also a fan of evil Willow’s arch. But, normally I really don’t care for the episodes that explore Buffy’s re-integration to the land of the living. Her sour attitude is a downer and doesn’t keep with the previous seasons. But, this go-round I felt more invested with her figuring out how life works. I guess because I’ve passed/am passing through that stage of my own life where it seems like nothing goes right, there are too many bills to pay, and oh my god why can’t I get anything right.!?!
And then there’s the seventh season. I don’t think I’ll ever come about to liking this season. It’s just so. effing. serious. Even their lighthearted episodes like “Beneath You” just seem like it has a different pace and tone than a usual Buffy episode. It’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” so there’s still humor and plenty of witticisms to be found, but this season just felt like it was all about the Big Bad. I guess when you have an endpoint in sight you need wrap everything up so that there aren’t too many loose ends. You don’t have time to set up sub-plots that send characters in different directions. Everyone needs to be in place for the finale. Unfortunately that leaves us with a super serious season that becomes obsessed with the end. On the plus side? After several times viewing this season I’ve learned to just ignore the annoying Potentials and focus on what the main cast is doing.
The only other show that has captured my attention and devotion as much as BtVS has been “Doctor Who”. They both are great examples of shows where there are characters to love, an over-arching season theme/mystery, fun to watch, and really well written (ok, most of the time. Each show has had it’s share of terrible episodes). I wish there were more shows out there like it!
If YOU want to watch Buffy for the first or millionth time, it’s available on Netflix!