Show Rating: 3 stars (out of 4)
Features Rating: 2 stars (out of 4)
(Buy the 3-disc DVD set now!)
It’s tough being a teenager and growing up with all the usual hassles of school, relationships and life. It’s even tougher for Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who is “The Slayer,” a chosen one who fights vampires, demons and forces of darkness–but still wants to have some fun, and maybe even a boyfriend.
In the pilot, Buffy, bless her destructive soul, has just settled into a new high school (she burned down her last one because it was full of vampires), unaware that these hallowed halls of education just happen to be located atop a mystical convergence point between Heaven and Hell. This gateway is referred to as the “Hellmouth” and it’s clear that the evil beings would love to suck Buffy into it. And guess what…only she can prevent these bloodsucking freaks from destroying mankind.
No one is supposed to know that Buffy is “The Slayer.” But that doesn’t mean Buffy is alone in her fight: she gets by with a little help from her friends, Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Xander (Nicholas Brendon), and Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter); her Watcher, Giles (Anthony Stewart Head); and Angel (David Boreanaz), a mysterious vampire with questionable motives who warns Buffy of impending trouble at just the right times..
The first season established most of the elements that have made Buffy such a classic cult heroine, especially the mix of sarcastic biting humor and dark supernatural evil, which is what truly separates this show from many others. The cast’s chemistry is a marvel given the infancy of the show, and the early storylines still hold up well.
The first season–comprised of only twelve episodes, as it was brought in as a mid-season replacement–also has a much lighter tone and feel than the following seasons, making it breezy and easy to watch.
The real treat amongst the extra features (which aren’t much for those used to lavish movie DVDs, but are still adequate) is the commentary by creator Joss Whedon on episodes 1 and 2, the two-part pilot of the show.
Whedon‘s patter is insightful and enlightening without being prosaic. We get a glimpse of what Buffy and her mates are all about that has until now remained hidden. Whedon reveals some of his original intentions, as well as some cool casting facts.
Ultimately, this DVD was worth the wait, and the show remains one of TV’s best. The first season of Buffy should be entertaining to all.
Audio: English, French
Subtitles: English, French, Dutch
All 12 episodes on 3 discs
Interview with Joss Whedon and David Boreanaz
Commentary by creator Joss Whedon on episodes 1 and 2
Special interviews with Joss Whedon on the first six episodes
Original pilot episode script