DVDs in Review: #96 - Buffy: The Vampire Slayer - Season Two

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A while back I looked at the complete first season for Buffy and on the whole I still remained impressed with it, yes there was an ample spreading of cheese in the plots and the acting was a little ropey at times but the show's freshman season has held up well over the passage of time.

Recently I picked up the second season, a season I have vague memories of catching the occasional episode, but as I was nowhere near the TV for a lot of the time it aired over here I didn't recall much beyond the odd good bit I'd seen. So I was heading into somewhat uncharted territory with only the vague notions of 'Spike turns up in this season' and 'Angel turns bad.'

I think the first thing which shocked me about this season is it's length, where as the first season is just "twelve" episodes in length the second season is a might twenty two episodes. That's a whole lot of slayer-iness, vampires and snappy dialog; at least that's what I hoped it would contain.

Thankfully I was not disappointed, while the first season of Buffy took the horror/drama/comedy thing off into the wilderness it's the second season which turns around, pours petrol on the trees and figuratively blazes a path right across television. The season is chock-a-block full of iconic and memorable episodes alongside a superb metaplot involving the completely awesome Spike, the fun but irritating accented Dru and quite simply the greatest face/heel turn in the history of television. I knew Angel's flip was coming, but it didn't make it any less surprising when the moment came, I almost feel sad that I missed out on the shock of experiencing that without any foreknowledge.

The great episodes in the season include; "When She was Bad", "School Hard", one of the best Halloween episodes ever in "Halloween", "What's My Line", the amazing duo of "Surprise" & "Innocence", "Phases", "Betwitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and of course the two parter "Belonging". Other great things in this season include the birth of Xander/Cordelia relationship, one which I adore even to this day and the introduction of Mr Pointy - Best. Stake. Eva!

Of course it's not all brilliance, a couple of episodes are pretty stinky - "Go Fish" (Which guest stars a young Wentworth Miller, already sporting a Michael Schofield haircut) is pretty bad. Likewise "Some Assembly Required" and "Ted". All of which feel like filler episodes without much worth to them, especially Go Fish. I really disliked that episode a lot, despite there being a Xander in speedos moment.

All of that said there's no doubt that the second season of Buffy is where the show turned a corner and went from being a great show into something really special. It laid down the groundwork for many future seasons, matured the 'big bad' format of the show and gave us the single best character created by Joss - I of course mean Spike (James Marsters) - a character so fantastic that he still deserves his own show to this day.

It's because of Spike that I enjoyed the second season so much, even moping about in a wheelchair he couldn't help but be brilliant - and he just improves in the seasons ahead...

Of course, I need to get Season 3 before I can watch it.

Special Features:
Commentaries on selected episodes
Three featurettes
Cast Biographies
A Stills Gallery
Gallery of Set Designs and Monsters
Scripts for selected episodes.

The Details:
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 (presented in 1.33:1)
Rating: 15
Region: 2
Run Time: 15h 30min
Soundtrack: French, English
Subtitles: Dutch, French, English (Though I had some trouble making these work when watch via my 360)


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