TV Review – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Season Four

The fourth season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer hit DVD on
Tuesday, June 10.

Cast

The complete cast and crew listings are available here from the
IMDB. The main stars are:

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers

Nicholas Brendan as Xander Harris

Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg

Anthony Stewart Head and Rupert Giles

Seth Green as Oz

Amber Benson as Tara

Emma Caulfield as Anya

Marc Blucas as Riley

James Marsters as Spike

The show is the brainchild of Joss Whedon.

Original Airdate

This is the season that ran from 1999 to 2000.

Synopsis

With Angel gone, Buffy and company must deal with the first year of
college, and a government group that wants to do their job.

High Point

Spike’s transformation in “Doomed” was a close second to “Hush.”

Low Point

“Where The Wild Things Are”

The Review

This was a completely new direction for the show. If it hadn’t been
broadcast after the first six seasons of The X-Files, it may
even have been a new direction for television. Instead, we had some
nice character work mixed with some tepid villains. I give the
originality 4 out of 6.

The effects moved toward the physical rather than the CGI,
which is the way to go with this budget. I give them 4 out of 6.

The story is fairly well done. The villains took a greater
prominence earlier in the season, and were a greater focus than they
had been in the past. There were also some large risks taken, with
the silent episode, the season finale, Willow’s love life, and the
idea to force Spike down the path to redemption. Most of those risks
worked very well. (I’m not thrilled with “Restless”.) I give it 4
out of 6, because I just wasn’t scared by any of the major villains.

The acting was well done, as most of the players have
become
very comfortable with their roles. Marc Blucas did better work here
than I remember seeing from him in the fifth season. I give it 5 out
of 6.

The emotional response to the main story arc was pretty
poor,
but the incidental storylines (like Spike, Willow, Riley, Xander, and
Giles, as well as the confrontation between Angel and Riley, as well
as other specific moments) were all well crafted. I give it 4 out of 6.

The production was extremely well tuned. “Hush” must
have been
an incredible strain on the production crew, but it paid off in the
end. The only problem I noticed was in the editing of “Harsh Light of
Day,” with Spike’s on-and-off necklace. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it was the weakest of the show’s first five seasons,
but it’s still solid entertainment that paves the way for good stuff
to come. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Four receives
31
out of 42.

4 replies on “TV Review – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Season Four”

  1. UncleJam says:

    Season 4
    Ah, Season 4! The year that Buffy went from “great” to just “good”.

    Captain Cardboard as the new boyfriend. Willow comes out. Willow
    gets
    a girlfriend with whom she has absolutely no chemistry. Spike begins his
    transformation from a good villain with a slight moral tinge in his
    character to a hopelessly useless bore. Xander and Anya get more
    involved. Good and bad all around, but not as good as the previous
    three years, which will be forever enshrined as Classic Buffy.

    But “Restless” was freakin’ brilliant, man! That was the last great
    episode
    of the series, with the single exception of “The Body” in Season 5.

    I do agree about “Where the Wild Things Are” though. That and
    “Beer
    Bad” and quite possibly two of the worst episodes ever (not counting the
    last two seasons, which would hopelessly skew the curve). And they were
    both in this season.

    • Jackolantern says:

      Re: Season 4

      Ah, Season 4! The year that Buffy went from “great” to just “good”.

      It should probably be said that the worst of Buffy, when compared with
      just about any other show on television is better in every conceivable
      way. When you look at it that way complaining about Buffy is like
      complaining about having to much fun.

      • UncleJam says:

        Re: Season 4

        It should probably be said that the worst of
        Buffy, when compared with
        just about any other show on television is better in every conceivable
        way. When you look at it that way complaining about Buffy is like
        complaining about having to much fun.

        Well, I don’t know if I’d go quite that far (e.g. most of Season 7 is pretty
        much unwatchable if you ask me, as are large parts of Season 6), but
        you
        do have a point.

        • Timeshredder says:

          Re: Season 4

          This was actually the first season that I started watching Buffy regularly (my wife picked it up at the end of Season Three), and it was good enough to hook me, though I immediately preferred the vids and reruns of the first three seasons, when I saw them.

          And yeah… Hafta agree. The last couple of seasons were really rather bad. I especially disliked season six, and only watched seven because it was the end. Also, I think Amber Benson has been unfairly criticized on the ‘Net. I thought Tara worked as a character, though in a way that was different from the original Scoobies.

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