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Buffy - Willow and Tara

Buffy Season 1 - Review

Posted on 2008.09.24 at 01:49
Current Mood:: contentcontent
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Okay so I'm currently engaged in rewatching Buffy from the start but at a more moderate pace. Because it would be a bit much to review each episode individually I've decided to clump together all the episodes I do watch in one week to be reviewed on the Monday of the following week. This one is a bit late because of I've been busy. This week I review the entire first season which I rewatched last week.

Welcome To The Hellmouth/The Harvest:
If rewatching Buffy has proved one thing to me thus far then that thing is that Willow's fashion sense has vastly improved over the seasons. Welcome To The Hellmouth/The Harvest does a good job of getting everything going by just getting it going. Buffy already knows she's the slayer. It isn't a storyline about her discovering her abilities to fight vampires and so on and so forth. She already knows and is competant and is dealing with it. This I consider to be a good thing. It introduces all the main characters for the season. It's weird to look back on this and see how little Angel was involved at the beginning, only appearing to warn of impending danger and then fleeing into the night like some kind of night flee-y thing. It's a good opening episode, sets up the general premise, introduces the characters in a good way (Giles's introduction is the best), Buffy fights and slays a few vampires and the world is saved. Possibly my favourite part of the episode is Buffy's reaction to everyone knowing about her being the slayer.
One of the things I should really focus on in this review is The Master. He doesn't last long, just the episodes covered in this review, so he needs to be fully reviewed by the time this review has finished. Personally I think he's the lamest Big Bad to ever walk the Earth. He's trapped inside the Hellmouth by one of his own spells, he has a bunch of morons working for him, he messes up every opportunity he gets and he's seriously ugly. I'll elaborate further why not? He's introduced here and he's like one of the classic vampires from the olden days. In this episode he's trapped inside the Hellmouth and so he binds his soul (vampire with a soul? next he'll be wanting to help the helpless or something!) with that of one of his mates and then his friend goes up and drinks and the master gets powerful and gets out. Only his friends aren't that powerful or clever. Which is unfortunate for him.

I liked this episode on first viewing but this is a bit more difficult the second time because Amy/Amy's Mother (?) seems likeable at first and at one point they conclude that Amy can't be the witch because she was genuinely surprised. That makes sense because as I've previously noted at the beginning Amy seemed likeable. Like she was her proper self before being swapped with her mother. Okay so if we assume that's Real Amy, she goes home and she's unmistakibly her mother, furthermore Amy's Mother is unmistakably Amy and they have a conversation that gives the impression that Amy has been Amy's Mother all day (at least). Therefore is the whole genuine surprise thing just good acting on the behalf of Amy's Mother or did everyone except Amy and her mother go to sleep for a whole day while Amy went home, got bodyswapped and then Amy's Mother came to school in her body. I'm guessing the latter and then everyone just forgot they'd gone to sleep for a whole day.
Anyway that was a longwinded explanation of something which isn't really relevant to anything ever. It's still a reasonable episode (gotta love cheerful Buffy with the horrible curse on her) but trying to work out when it's Amy and when it's her mother makes my brain ache.

Teachers Pet:
And the award for "Worst Giant Preying Mantis Puppet Ever" goes to... this episode. Also: Hypothetical Situation. You are a giant preying mantis disguised as a hot teacher who is systematically mating with and killing all the virgins in a high school science class. You are in the class surrounded by pupils and talking to one of your potential targets. You hear a sound behind you. To look behind you do you: a) turn around or b) turn your head all the way around potentially exposing your secret identity as a preying mantis to the entire class and whoever may be stood behind you?
I liked this episode the first time around but it's little things like that which can ruin the episode.

Never Kill A Boy on The First Date:
The Hunt for the Anointed One. Reasonable episode. Not superexciting but it does introduce the supervague role of the anointed one. I didn't really understand the point of the anointed one. Great he's anointed but so what? What does that mean? He's evil? He's just a child, what can he do that is so great? He isn't one for the clever schemes, or for the fighting. His only use is leading Buffy to the Master during Prophecy Girl and by that point if the Master had just sent a normal vampire up there to give her directions she would have come anyway. I wouldn't have minded the anointed one had he proved to be a superevil force for bad or a powerful fighter or something. As it was he was just a waste of time and space.
The episode is again reasonable. Buffy wants to date some bloke. He decides he likes poking around morgues and not taking hints. Buffy has to save him from a particularly insane vampire.

The Pack:
This is a good episode. I'm glad that when this episode was filmed they decided not to try and show real hyenas during the course of it as with Teacher's Pet in mind I can only imagine what they would look like. The Hyena People are very well acted and rather creepy. Plus it's something of an unusual episode. And I approve of episodes like that. So bravo.

The episode where Buffy discovers that Angel is a vampire. It's a good episode, although the characterisation of Darla is a bit strange. She doesn't seem to fit with the heavy characterisation we get in Angel. I'd managed to forget that she starts walking forward slowing while shooting. It does seem like a bit of a lame strategy but hey at least she's thinking outside the box eh?
Oh and more proof, if proof be needed, that The Master fails as a Big Bad. He kills off three of his most powerful vampiric agents simply because they fail once. He doesn't even do it because he's going to enjoy it, he just does it for the principle of the thing. He's not exactly what you'd call clever is he?

I Robot... You, Jane:
This episode is good and I do like it but it loses major points for having the worst continuity error ever. I mean seriously. This computer maniac bloke is going somewhere and Buffy is to follow him. He gets in his car and drives off while Buffy walks after him. Excuse me but either he has the slowest car in the world or Buffy can walk unexpectedly fast. It just annoys me.
Other than that I like this episode... especially the Moloch robot.

The Puppet Show:
This is a good episode. Had it turned out that it was 'an evil dummy' then this would only have been a reasonable episode but because this defied all expectations and it turned out that the talking ventriloquist dummy was actually one of the good guys it gets good points. Giles loses a couple of points for being such an idiot for someone so smart. But it's good overall. Best moment is after the demon is killed and the curtain goes up. Now there's an unusual scene for curtains to go up on.

Really like this episode. It's a clever premise and I enjoy all the little things going on in the background about everyone else's nightmares coming true. Buffy's difficult history test is also good. I wish my exams had been like that. Besides the not having the opportunity to write down the answers before the time skips forward that is. The Ugly Man is a good enemy who looks threatening, although I had remembered him as being larger and more ugly. This is a really good episode which is rather unusual for the first series. Oh and how about more proof that The Master is the world's worst Big Bad? He gets out of the Hellmouth because Buffy is afraid he might, then what happens when the whole Nightmareness subsides? It didn't seem like anybody was pulled back to where they had been before the Nightmares started. Therefore in theory The Master should have been able to stay outside the Hellmouth even though the effect had subsided. So my theory of how he was restuck? He was sick of living in that underground church, and so planned to move out to somewhere better. He was just back at the church picking up his things (like his toothbrush and that) when the nightmares ended and thus as he was still inside the Hellmouth at the time of the nightmares ending he was retrapped there. As he might have said "Damn and drat! Foiled by a toothbrush!"

Out of Mind, Out of Sight:
A reasonable episode but I think the whole bit at the end where Meredith was inducted into a school for invisible children was a bit peculiar, but a lot of episodes from the first season did that 'Or is it?' ending. Like at the end of Witch with Amy's Mum trapped in a statue, or the end of Teacher's Pet with disgusting little eggs starting to hatch, or... actually that's it but it does seem to happen a lot. Trust me I was there. Anyway invisible girl is all invisible. She's not happy about being ignored and decides to uglify Cordelia. It is a reasonable episode and I especially like Meredith's trick of using a CD player to lure Giles, Xander and Willow into a booby trapped room. The cleverness there being that since she isn't actually there and that room is just a booby trap so she could actually be in the room with Cordelia. However this cleverness falls apart if you think too hard. Who closed the door if she was hiding with Cordelia. Who set the gas running anyway? Wouldn't you need to be on the inside of the trapped room to do that. Perhaps I should stop trying to engage my brain until after the end of season one.

Prophecy Girl:
So here we are at the end of the first season. At Buffy's first death and at the end of the Master. I've already expressed how little I think of the Master as a Big Bad but here he really excels. He decides to open the Hellmouth and rule over the world with his army of vampires and demons that rise from beneath it. Nice plan, has a good chance of killing most of the humans on Earth, has no chance of you ruling the world. Personally I'd bet that not a single thing that rose from that Hellmouth would bow down and let the Master rule them.
So there you have it. Buffy Dies, The Master Rises, then the Master Dies and then they all head off to the Bronze. It's a good episode, though not typical season finale fare. My favourite part of this episode is the theme tune coming on while Buffy heads to the school. Love that.

So all things considered the first series of Buffy isn't as bad as I remember it being. Sure there are some glaring continuity errors and shoddy props but the heart of the series is still there, hidden under that clunky and unworkable dialogue. 6/10

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