TV Review – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Six”

My apologies if this doesn’t read as well as most of
our reviews. I’m still not completely over the bug
I’ve been fighting, so I’m not sure I’m as lucid as
usual. (The last review I wrote while feeling like
this was for “Brigadoon,” which embarrassed me a bit
when I went back and reread it a few days later.)

Cast and Crew


Complete information is
available from this
IMDB
page
.
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

Amber Benson as Tara

Emma Caulfield as Anya

James Marsters as Spike

Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn

Adam Busch as Warren

Tom Lenk as Andrew

Danny Strong as Jonathan

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past TV reviews can be found here.

A Warning

If anyone out there is following this show on DVD
having never seen
the broadcasts, beware of the special features. The
Academy of
Television Arts and Sciences interview on disk three
will ruin pretty
much all of the surprises for the rest of the season,
and the last
entry in the special features menu on disk six has
some minor spoilers
for season seven. Also, in the interest of providing
spoiler
warnings, I should warn people who haven’t seen the
season to skip the
Low Point discussion below.

Original Airdate

This season originally aired from 2001-2002.

Synopsis

Buffy has to deal with life in general, and immature
nerds in
particular.

High Point

“Once More With Feeling” (better known as the musical
episode) is
probably the best episode of the series. Other
highlights include
the last few minutes of any of the last seven or so
episodes,
“Smashed,” “Normal Again,” and “Seeing Red.”

Low Point

For the season ender to work properly, Spike
shouldn’t have mentioned
the chip that much. (Personally, I think he should
have mentioned it
once to Clem, just before leaving, and then
maintained ambiguous
dialogue for the rest of the season. He shouldn’t
even have said
that’s when he started to change. Had it been up to
me, he’d have
complained about how much easier it was when they
were trying to kill
each other, say that he can’t even do that because of
“this bloody
chip,” and then stormed off demanding to be “put back
the way I was.”
The rest would have worked better if he hadn’t
mentioned the chip
three more times.)

The Review

This season took an original direction for
the series. For
the first five seasons, the viewer had the option of
shutting down the
higher brain functions and pretending the series was
nothing more than
some fun escapism. This season, reality starts to
creep in, and
there’s just no way to get through the season without
thinking. There
are some dark and unpleasant journeys here that many
people will find
difficult to watch. In any event, these aren’t
journeys the series
has taken us on before. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects are actually better than the
previous seasons.
This was the first UPN year, so they had a bigger
budget, but most of
that extra cash went to paying cast and crew
salaries. For whatever
reason, be it more money, the move to more physical
rather than CGI
effects, or just the cold realization that things
could end at any
moment, they did a better job. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story was well told. The progression
was smooth and
believable, and was packed with resonant moments.
This writing team
knew what they were doing. It wasn’t pleasant, but
if it wasn’t well
written, it wouldn’t be this uncomfortable. I give
it 5 out of 6.

The acting was good. Alyson Hannigan, Amber
Benson, and
James Marsters really got a chance to go somewhere
new with their
characters. There were a lot of emotional extremes,
which really gave
the cast a chance to show off. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was remarkably
strong. As I said
above, this wasn’t a pleasant journey for the
characters, but the
audience was getting dragged through that pain right
along with them.
There were some very powerful moments this seasons,
and not just in
the episode ending cliffhangers. I give it 6 out of
6.

The production was well done. They did a
few new tricks,
like the rotating camera to change location (cool all
three times it’s
used), and reused the good ones they had before. I
give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a good season. It’s
remarkably different
from the other six, though. Personally, I respect
the quality they
gave us, but it just doesn’t provide the sense of fun
that I got from
the other years. If not for the musical, this would
be an extremely
dark season. Yes, there were some very happy moments
in the end of
“Entropy” and the beginning of “Seeing Red,” but that
didn’t exactly
last. The cast and crew did a good job putting
together a season with
some great writing, universal themes, and realistic
consequences to
bad choices, but they didn’t give the fun and
empowerment that I’ve
come to expect from the series. I give it 4 out of
6.

In total, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season
Six
receives 35
out of 42.

16 replies on “TV Review – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Six””

  1. Alexius says:

    Entropy
    The Last Two Minutes Of Entropy (A Minute-Thirty, If I Recall When I Timed It Correctly) Are My Favorite Moments In All Of Television And Film Entertainment. I Know It Doesn’t Work As A Stand Alone Moment, Without The Buildup Of The Rest Of The Series, But Never Before Or Since Have I Had An Emotional Response That Strong. The Next Episode, Was All Icing On That Cake. (Until The Ending, When You Find Out The Cake Was Actually A Pile Of Maggots You’ve Just Eaten.)

    Plus, The Musical Episode Was Amazing.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Entropy

      The Last Two Minutes Of Entropy […]

      Plus, The Musical Episode Was Amazing.

      Will you people stop assuming we all know the names of all the episodes!?

      Oddly enough, the best known episode (and the one named and identified above) you refer to with a succint description… this’s gotta be some sort of sadism-light…

      • Alexius says:

        Re: Entropy

        The Last Two Minutes Of Entropy […]

        Plus, The Musical Episode Was Amazing.

        Will you people stop assuming we all know the names of all the episodes!?

        Oddly enough, the best known episode (and the one named and identified above) you refer to with a succint description… this’s gotta be some sort of sadism-light…

        I’m Sorry.

        Entropy Is The One Where Most Of The Episode Features Anya And Xander Fighting, Ends With Spike And Anya In the Magic Box, Spike Revealing To Xander About Spike And Buffy, And Everyone Running Off Pissed, Then For My Favorite Two Minutes, Cuts To Willow In her Room, And Tara Walks In. (Attempting To Be Kinda Vague Incase Someone hasn’t Seen It.)

        ‘The Musical Episode’, Once More With Feeling, I figured Was A Description, But In Case It’s Not, That’s The One Where Everyone Sings A Bunch.

  2. Eldhrin says:

    The musical episode…
    …the musical episode, in my opinion, was extremely dark. Yes it’s all bundled up in Broadway or West End-style musical jolliness and bright colours and silly little songs about parking tickets and dry cleaning, but during it we learn important and largely depressing things about Xander and Anya, Dawn, Spike and most importantly Buffy. Well, maybe not Buffy, as we already knew, but the others find out. Her final song is seriously powerful, and no less dark for happening in a musical context.

    I would take my hat off to Joss Whedon, but I’m not wearing one.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Heresy

      While I admire the show’s willingness to take chances, this season didn’t entirely work for me. For starters, I thought killing off a character when you know she’s going to return was cheap.

      And don’t get me started with the musical ep.

      “Tabula Rasa” and “Normal Again” were my high points. I thought they stretched the series potential as much as having the characters sing did.

      • y42 says:

        Re: Heresy

        And don’t get me started with the musical ep.

        Because you loved it so much? ;-)

        I did. But like my friend said: “So Xander summoned a demon that set a bunch of people on fire, and Buffy doesn’t care?”

      • UncleJam says:

        Re: Heresy

        And don’t get me started with the musical ep.

        Thank Jeebus I’m not the only one!

        It’s singing, people, nothing new, nothing innovative, nothing remarkable, nothing even particularly good. It contributed nothing to the story that couldn’t have been taken care of in ten seconds of dialogue. Stretching it to an entire episode, let alone an over-sized episode, goes beyond ridiculous to downright irresponsible. Did it tell us, the audience, anything we didn’t already know? Did it tell the characters anything they didn’t already know? Okay, Dawn steals and Buffy was happier dead. There, was that so hard? And I still have time to bitch some more.

        And what was the point of the demon, anyway? He makes people dance and sing about their innermost secrets? Wha–? He seriously needs to look for a new job, ’cause that one? Sucks hard.

        Gah, the crowing over Joss’ self-absorbed wankfest musical episode is so beyond belief, it’s actually kinda funny. But, then again, the rest of this season was so horrifically awful that perhaps I can understand why everyone latches onto even a subpar episode like this one. At least it’s crapitude was merely over-the-top instead of nonsensical like the rest of the season.

        • robertgadlen says:

          Re: Heresy
          You know, thats the way I felt about this season the first time through it (well, not Once More, With Feeling, that I loved right from the get go). I think that many repeat viewings of it (thank you FX!) have helped a lot. While I originally tuned into Buffy to see a monster of the week show, I grew to know and love the characters as people; and guess what, sometimes life sucks a lot. While I think that some of the season can be a bit overdone at times, like Willow’s addiction subplot, I really like the Buffy-Spike story and the Willow-Tara story. I’m just a sucker for love based melodrama perhaps, but I think that the acting was superb and there are moments in the season that can make me deliriously happy (see the previous comments about the end of Entropy) or just tear my heart out (the montage at the end of Tabula Rasa or Buffy calling Spike William in As You Were). All in all, not my favorite season but hardly as bad as you make it seem.

          Also, it could be worse, it could be season 7. ;)

          • Grounded says:

            Re: Heresy
            I thought S6 was worse than S7. After Smashed/Wrecked, the bad eps just kept flowing right up until the end. If it hadn’t been for the excellent season of Angel running concurrently, I’d have given up on Buffy altogether at this point.

            I just checked the old reviews and Angel S1 received 35/42, placing Buffy S6 as it’s equal. Madness I say!

            • Timeshredder says:

              Re: Heresy

              Yeah, at our place we really started to lose interest over the last two seasons, though we thought 7 picked up a little. As I’ve said elsewhere, I see Buffy’s death as the show’s shark-jumping point.

              • Grounded says:

                Re: Heresy
                Although there were some good eps afterwards, I still maintain the shark-jumping coincides directly with the start of S5. ‘Buffy vs. Dracula’…oh dear, oh dear.

                • Timeshredder says:

                  Re: Heresy

                  shark-jumping coincides directly with the start of S5. ‘Buffy vs. Dracula’…oh dear, oh dear.

                  Despite the introduction of Dawn the Whiner, and a generally poorer season (to be honest, I don’t think the show ever matched its second and third seasons), I didn’t mind S5 (and “The Body” was extraordinary). But yeah, I could see someone making the case.

                  I have a take on the show as a whole here at the Retcon Files, for those who might be interested. I should probably update to include even more on the final seasons.

                  • Grounded says:

                    Re: Heresy
                    Some good observations in there :) Although there was a lot of retconning towards the end, it was more the quality of the actual storytelling that disappointed me. Retcons can usually be ‘forgotten’ if they result in really good stories.

  3. spikeskaemo says:

    once more, with feeling…
    I loved “Once more,with feeling” it was the best buit i also really liked “Tabula Rasa” i love all the songs in the show except Walk through The Fire. i heard that one too many times. Like Vamp Willow says “Bored Now.” well who picks the name Joan for themselves. chaotic destructiv e much. it’s like Cletus the slack-jawed yokel. well it was ok. i dont like willow for what she did. well i still like her but she should not have done that to tara. tara should not have died. sad.

  4. Tom Wake says:

    7
    Has Season 7 been reviewed yet?

    • fiziko says:

      Re: 7

      Has Season 7 been reviewed yet?

      Not as a whole. I should really get around to that, eh?

Comments are closed.