TV Review – “Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season One”

The first season of Buffy The Vampire
hit DVD in January. Here’s my opinion of
that set.


Michelle Gellar
as Buffy Summers

as Xander Harris

as Willow Rosenberg

as Rupert Giles

as Cordelia Chase


as Angel

The Master


Written and Directed by a variety of people. The
IMDB has a list of
the people involved in all the seasons right here.
The driving
creative force comes from Joss

Original Airdate

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season One
originally aired between
May 3 1997 and June 2 1997.


Joss Whedon got sick and tired of seeing the little
blond cheerleader
get shredded and eaten by the creature in various
monster movies. He
created Buffy, the little blond cheerleader who will
kick the ass of
the creature that traps her in the alley.

Relation To The Movie

This excellent TV series follows an abysmal movie. A
modifications were made, such as Buffy’s age (which
didn’t really
settle down until the second season) and the way
vampires die.
Also, the actors playing the roles that are in the
movie have all been
changed. Finally, the biggest difference would have
to be the

High Point

The best of these twelve episodes, in my opinion, is
the seventh
episode, “Angel.”

Low Point

The low point of the season has got to be the fact
that they obviously
hadn’t planned things out very well when they started
out. The first
two episodes make references to the souls of
vampires. This dialogue
conflicts greatly with, well, just about every
episode from then on.
There are other minor details, like the year of
Buffy’s birthday
changing depending on which computer to use to read
her file in “I
Robot, You Jane.”

Quirky, Nagging Doubt

Does anybody else get the impression that Xander’s
nightmare in
“Nightmares” was originally intended to involve
Nazis? He made a
comment about Nazis early in the episode, the set his
nightmare was
filmed on had at least one swastika on the wall, and
his nightmare was
something completely different, and rather lame. I
get the feeling
that somebody told them they couldn’t use the
original nightmare after
the set had been built, and they came up with a last

The Review

This series goes out of its way to include the
traditional horror
movie setups, and find original things to do
with them.
(They even open with that sort of thing in the teaser
to the first
episode.) I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects were made on a plainly limited
budget. The
vampire morphs looked cheesy, the tentacles in
“Prophecy Girl” looked
rubber, the final shot in “Witch” looked pretty poor,
the beast in
“Teacher’s Pet” looked like a bad puppet, etc. The
money just
couldn’t cover the aspirations of the writers. I
give the effects 2
out of 6.

The story is where this series shines. Most
TV series will
start off with a collection of independant episodes
so that people can
watch them whenever they get around to it. This
series doesn’t do
that. Instead, it writes each new episode as just
the next part of
the lives of the characters. While a lot of episodes
will make sense
on their own, they often make references to past
events without
filling in the details with long exposition. The
full season DVD
releases are a great way to really show off the
subtle strengths of
the scripts. Unfortunately, some of the “freak of
the week” episodes
have villains that aren’t quite as threatening as
they should be, like
the creature in “I Robot, You Jane.” I give the
story 5 out of 6.

The acting this season had its ups and
downs. It was a small
show on a small network, so it couldn’t pay for big
names. Instead,
they found some people with talent, and some other
people with looks.
Nicholas Brendon and Alyson Hannigan are both
excellent, and they
really play on screen like people who’ve been friends
for life. Sarah
Michelle Gellar is competant, but not spectacular.
Anthony Stewart
Head and Mark Metcalf were perfect in their limited
roles. David
Boreanaz was hired for his looks rather than his
talent. (Joss admits
as much in the commentary over the first couple of
episodes.) I give
the acting 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this set inspired was
uneven. The
always lame creature-in-the-computer plot was
tiresome, while the
season finale was fantastic. For the season overall,
I’d have to give
it 4 out of 6.

The production was as limited by the budget
as the effects
were. I disagree with Joss’ comments in the
commentary; it looks like
it was filmed on 16mm film. This is even more
apparent when the
season is being viewed on DVD. The blocking was
often ham-handed,
probably because they were limited by the fact that
they were filming
in a warehouse and not in a studio. The directors
were very good,
Bruce Seth Green in particular, which helped to
compensate for the
limited technology they had to work with. I give the
production for
the season a 4 out of 6.

Overall, this is a great series that doesn’t
really shine
until you can watch a set of consecutive episodes in
order, as you can
with this DVD release. Unfortunately, they were
still finding their
footing and their niche at this point, and the truly
long-term arcs
didn’t come about until later seasons. (This may be
because the first
season was 12 episodes instead of the typical 22
episode run.) I give
the first season 4 out of 6.

In total, Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season
has earned 28
out of 42.

Additional Notes And Comments

This DVD set is missing something that all DVD
releases of TV shows should have: a “Play All
Episodes” button. It’s got to be easy to do, but
it’s often neglected.

You can buy this from or

4 replies on “TV Review – “Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season One””

  1. High Point

    To Be Specific:
    Cordilia: Ok so, how do we save it?
    Willow: Deliver.
    Cordelia: Deliver, where’s that? (hits DEL) Oh!

    • Re: High Point


      To Be Specific:

      Cordilia: Ok so, how do we save it?

      Willow: Deliver.

      Cordelia: Deliver, where’s that? (hits DEL) Oh!

      I like the bit in Witch myself:

      Giles: Why should someone want to harm Cordelia?

      Willow: Maybe because they met her? Did I say that?

  2. Is it worth it?
    I’ve never really watched any buffy before.
    Recently, I took a chance and bought the boxset of Angel season 1, and after watching it, had to go out and buy season 2 ;)

    My question is: is it worth going through all the buffy episodes, or will they look a bit out of place, seen as I’m used to the characters as they are now, and can I expect the same level of quality from these earlier shows, as to what I’m used to?

    • Re: Is it worth it?

      My question is: is it worth going through all the buffy
      episodes, or will they look a bit out of place, seen as
      I’m used to the characters as they are now, and can I
      expect the same level of quality from these earlier shows,
      as to what I’m used to?

      The production ideology on the first two seasons of Buffy
      is the same as it in Angel, but they were filming on 16mm,
      so the picture will look grainy. As far as the writing,
      acting, et cetera go, most of it is the same standard
      they’re at now. David Boreanaz was a small, recurring
      role in the first season, so his acting inexperience isn’t
      a big deal. Charisma Carpenter’s character grew a lot in
      the second season of Buffy, so you’ll see a very different
      (and badly acted/directed) Cordelia in this season. (They
      toned her down a bit for the second season.)

      In short, I’d say the second season would probably be well
      worth it, while the first season may be a close call
      because the characters you’re used to weren’t very
      prominent. Wesley wasn’t introduced until the third
      season of Buffy.

      I’ll get that review of the second season of Buffy up real
      soon now. :)

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