Monday, August 6, 2012

Educate Emma: TV: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, S6

I adored season five of Buffy, because it made me feel like the series was starting to go somewhere again. Season six continued this trend, and now I definitely understand why it's everyone's favourite season.

Season six basically deals with the aftermath of season five, and it is not an exaggeration to say that nothing happy occurs in the whole season. Sure, there are moments of comedy and cheerfulness, but none of the positivity is long-term. This season's quality could suffer from its lack of external obstacles and traditional barriers, but somehow the internal turmoil that all the characters experience heightens the brilliance of the season. From Buffy's struggle with mortality and darkness to Xander's uncertainty about his future with Anya, everyone deals with complex emotional issues. In fact, the antagonist of the season doesn't show up until very late, and they're an externalization of the psychological torment of the season. All of the emotion of previous seasons seems compounded in season six, only darker, grittier, and better written. It certainly makes for a riveting TV experience.

I can honestly say there's not a bad episode in the entire bunch, and that's a big difference from the horrifically campy plots of season one. It's virtually impossible to compare seasons five and six, as they are very different from each other, but I can say that they mark the peak of the series. I can't say whether season seven continues the trend, but I'll let you know when I find out.

Favourite episodes: Yeah, I really can't pick one in this case. There's the amazingly brilliant Once More with Feeling, which embodies everything good in this world. Seriously, it's a great piece of plot-driven creativity that must be seen by everyone ever. My other pick for favourite is a four-way tie, as the last four episodes work as their own big finale. They are all enthralling, and I can't imagine how people waited for a week each when it aired live.

Least favourite episodes: On a critical level, I can't say any of the episodes were bad. Doublemeat Palace was fun for its critique of the fast food industry, but I found it a little hard to follow. Then again, I was organizing my room whilst watching that episode, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. As You Were also left me feeling lackluster, but mostly because it had Riley in it.

Do you like your television seasons with more internal or external conflict? I'm curious to know.

2 comments:

  1. See I thought this might've been the worst season of them all, in part because it didn't go anywhere. It seemed to lose any direction and was just "Lets have the characters just do stuff".

    Buffy was always about the teenager trying to be normal but still saving the world. That's what made the first couple of high school seasons so great.

    In a way the progression makes sense though, Season 5 is a way for her to sort of give it one last try at some compromise between normal and still being a hero with Riley, but when that falls through she's clearly just a Vampire Slayer and no longer a normal part of the world which totally changes the dynamic. Part of this is caused by what they did with her mother in season 5.

    Another dynamic that is changed is Giles. I don't think this is a good thing either. I get that people grow up and it's time for Buffy to clearly be the authority/leader of the scooby gang, but having the "all-knowing" watcher/guide person helped keep her grounded. This will come to a head in season 7 btw.

    so..external conflict, at least in this show. That's what the show was born to be, vampires are clearly an external conflict and the show loses something imo with all the internalization in season 6.

    Also, shouldn't there be another slayer? This bothers me.

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  2. Maybe I need to go back and rewatch S6 because I had felt this was one of the weakest seasons by far. I think Ceetar hit it pretty damn well on the head--they'd left High School, were growing up, and the show twisted into more of a drama than anything w/the loss of a main big bad. Sure, it wasn't as campy, but that's what I'd grown to love about BtVS.

    That said, I LOVE Once More w/Feeling and you can't go wrong with extra lashings of Spike.

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